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"Picking a fight in a school? There's no way this makes sense."
Time and time again a story is told with the classic hero vs. villain
setup with the villain committing acts deemed evil by good, neutral, and the normally apathetic. The villain usually commits said acts for their own personal reasons. But wait, they have a justified reason for their actions? They may not be so much evil
as they are anti
. He may end up sending the hero into a depression
after his motives come to light? Here, my friends, is a villain who actually has a justified reason for being what he is. Due to the nature of their villainy if they become too excessive in their methods they can easily fall under Well-Intentioned Extremist
they can also easily fall under Designated Villain
. Compare Jerkass Has a Point
, Ambiguously Evil
and Strawman Has a Point
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Anime and Manga
- Yu Gi Oh ZEXAL has this with Kaito Tenjo. He believes the Numbers' cards are evil, and from what has been seen, the Numbers can easily make the good bad, (Ukyo, Fuya to a lesser extent) and the bad worse, (Jin, Rikuo, Kaio). Also, his claim that the Numbers want to destroy the world seems plausible, seeing the evil from Black Mist who was able to capture Astral and control Yuma's body against his will. In fact, the only issue with him capturing Numbers is that he takes the soul of the person who possessed it.
- In Bitter Virgin, maybe he doesn't exactly earn the title of "villain", but when Yamamoto grabs Hinako in the final chapter, setting himself up pretty nicely as one more in a long line of abusive bastards, he makes her realise that, without intending to, understandable though her reaction was, she has truly hurt the feelings of some of the guys in her class, most of whom wouldn't even dream of harming her the way her rapist did.
- Deadcoders Reviews took this trope Up to Eleven with this rant:
- "Some people ask why XANA immediately tried to Kill Jeremie in this episode, given that Jeremie really isn't a threat. I think I figured out why XANA tries to exterminate humanity. When XANA was first created, the very first person he met was Franz Hopper, a man so crazy that even Aelita pointed it out at one point. The next person he met was Aelita. Since XANA has at least a peripheral understanding of the outside world, he can sense what's going on in the factory. That means that he can sense the horrors of french engineering. He can also sense the school, which means that he can sense the amazing incompetence of a school that hired Jim, hired a man as crazy as Franz Hopper, keeps open containers of toxic waste near children, and is run by a man so spineless that Sissi can manipulate him. He can also sense the hospital, and the horrors of the french mental healthcare system. Based on all these things at once, my guess is that XANA encountered all of these horrors of humanity, and it's first reaction to a species that consistently produced such horrible things was, "AHH! KILL IT! KILL IT WITH FIRE! actually, SCREW FIRE, KILL IT WITH FIRE, ORBITAL BOMBARDMENT, DEATH LASERS, CAPTAIN JANEWAY'S CYBERNETIC SPIDERS, ARMIES OF ROBOTS, THE POWER OF STEPHEN KING NOVELS, WEATHER, ELECTRIC TAR, AND ANYTHING ELSE THAT COMES TO MIND!" XANA is not evil. It's just trying to save itself and all other species from the horrors of humanity. Given that the main and secondary cast includes Yumi, an implied domestic abuser; Ulrich, a disturbed stalker; Jim, a person who smiles at the thought of rubbing himself with poop; Jeremie, a necrophile; Aelita, a pedophile; Odd, a manwhore moron; and other horrors, I kind of have to side with XANA on this one."
- In ElfQuest, Rayek realizes that the accident that brought the High Ones to the World of Two Moons is going to happen in the future, and the Palace is capable of time travel. He brings up the idea of going to that exact moment and preventing the High Ones from being sent into the past and driven from their home, and preempt centuries of struggle and suffering on their part. When Cutter objects, Rayek makes a point: the presence of elves has always negatively affected the World of Two Moons (going back to the first volume, when a human tribe caused a forest fire to drive the Wolfriders out), but they're literally aliens; the world had its own path before they arrived by accident, and it has a right to its own destiny. Of course, that point gets quickly lost in Rayek's otherwise power-hungry, elitist motivations, as well as his dismissal of the fact that, unless they are in the Palace, all elves born since the crash who are not dead and have their spirits tied to the Palace will never exist.*
- Begrudgingly pointed out by Linkara, Mephisto does have justification why he doesn't want Peter's soul in "One More Day". The souls he collects would have the satisfaction that they have sacrificed themselves for the greater good, and Mephisto would lose any joy in making them suffer.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight: Simone Doffler goes rogue from Buffy's Slayer Organization largely because they repeatedly refuse to let the Slayers use guns. Aside from Buffy's general dislike of guns, the Scoobies really have no real reason to give her why not.
- Often the case with Magneto, (and a lot of other Well Intentioned Extremists,) and the main reason why he so often swings between being an enemy or an ally of the X-Men, and even as an enemy he seldom completely loses the sympathy and grudging respect of both the X-Men and the audience. This carries over to the films, where it is indeed usually humanity (or, at least, a human,) who escalates the human-mutant conflict, but his possibly-justified retaliation crosses the line by targeting innocents as well as the guilty.
Films — Animated
- Monsters University: Mike and Sulley accidently break Dean Hardscrabble's last memento of her scaring career, so she gives them a dressing down, by giving them hypothetical scenarios that they both fail, and get kicked out of the program for. She fails Mike immediately because as smart as he is, he's just not intimidating, and she fails Sulley because, while he's intimidating, he doesn't use his head to analyze and adapt to scaring situations. The film shows she's right about both, and they need to work together to be efficient.
- One from Batman: Under the Red Hood, from the titular character. No matter how many times Joker may get slammed into Arkham, being the Cardboard Prison it is, he always returns at some point to wreak more havoc. While Batman does think about killing Joker, he fears about never coming back. However, among Batman's rogues gallery, Joker DOES have a higher kill count alone than most and will most likely never stop killing as long as he is able, so putting him behind bars or a padded room does no good. Yet because he's Batman, he won't take that step. Some people find it easy to side with Red Hood here, even though he is a bit demented.
Films — Live-Action
- In Jet Li's The One, his character Yulaw is wanted for murdering alternate versions of himself in parallel dimensions. In doing so the life force of the duplicates he kills is divided among the remaining parallel selves, making them stronger. When placed on trial early in the film for 123 counts of murder, Yulaw points out how can he possibly be guilty of murdering himself? He then goes on to say all their energy will simply go into a single individual. When one looks at the troubling implications of the multiverse regarding freewill, Yulaw's goal seems more like a subversion of predestination. Of course it's made clear he's lost all compassion due to his obsession.
: "You call it murder. How could I murder myself, a hundred and twenty three times? I just took those wasted energies and put them into one container... me. It made me faster, smarter, stronger. What if that is our fate? To unite with our other selves. To be unified forever. To be one. I will
be The One
- In The Dark Knight, one of the reasons why the Joker is so effective a villain is that he's very good at pointing out the flaws in the principles of others, and exploiting those flaws to his advantage. Some examples are: 1) He immediately recognizes that Batman is the real reason why organized crime is threatened in Gotham and points this out to the mob, which causes the mob to hire the Joker when they realize he was right, giving the Joker access to Gotham's underworld. 2) He exploits the fact that Batman really is an unlawful vigilante by promising to kill people until Batman unmasks, turning the city and the cops against Batman. 3) He convinces Harvey Dent to become Two-Face by telling Dent that the so-called justice system that he supports is filled with corrupt people who constantly tolerate corruption and profit from crime, which is true since Jim Gordon is forced to work with suspect cops in order to have enough men to do his job. 4) He constantly claims that people are complacent and corruptible and backs up his beliefs by putting people in a position where they have to choose to obey the law and their principles, or lose something they dearly love (only Batman consistently demonstrates his incorruptibility).
- In Rocky III, Clubber Lang is outraged that Rocky won't allow him a shot at the heavyweight championship title and publicly accuses him of only ever taking easy matches. He's actually right: it turns out Rocky's manager Mickey has quietly been refusing all challenges to the title except those he knows Rocky can win.
- In Gladiator, Commodus tells his sister Lucilla that "If father had had his way" in turning Rome into a republic again, "the Empire would have torn itself apart." A glance at Roman history shows that this very well could (and probably would) have been the case, resulting in civil war, at the very least between those wanting an Emperor and those wanting a Republic, if not even more fragmented than that.
- Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Yes, Vice Principal Ed Rooney had gone too far by breaking into the Bueller home, but that doesn't change the fact that Ferris is skipping school, has done so at least nine times before (even hacking into the school computer to change the records), and has done so by blatantly exploiting the good will of everyone around him.
- The 70's film Over the Edge presents police officer Sgt. Doberman as the face of authoritarian evil for trying to do his job and treats his shooting of a teenager as a Moral Event Horizon because the kid was pointing an empty gun at him while screaming "Die, pig!!" The sympathetic characters immediately dismiss Doberman's point that he had no way of knowing the weapon was unloaded, conveniently ignoring the fact that it's a damn good point. Anyone who's had firearms training —including police officers— knows they absolutely cannot afford to assume that any gun aimed at them isn't loaded, and common sense dictates that anyone pointing an empty gun at somebody guaranteed to have both the means and ability to shoot back is clearly Too Dumb to Live.
- Yuri Orlov, the eponymous Lord of War is an amoral arms dealer who sells weapons to warlords whom he knows will use them to massacre innocent people. But, as he points out, plenty of innocent people are massacred without advanced weapons; the Rwandan genocide was committed primarily with machetes. Also, as he points out to the Hero Antagonist, Jack Valentine, there are often good policy reasons why the United States or other democratic governments will want to arm one side in a conflict without doing so openly, and he and arms dealers like him are essential to doing so.
- Trask in X-Men: Days of Future Past. He made a lot of work to convince obstructive bureaucrats that mutants do exist, that they can be dangerous, and that America needs some kind of protection from them... and Magneto proved that Trask was completely right.
- As said under Comics above, Magneto also counts as this, especially in X-Men: First Class when the actual moment of the inevitable break between him and Charles happens because he wants to retaliate against people who have just tried to kill all the mutants (including the ones to whom they are allied,) in an attack solely motivated by fear of what they might do with their power rather than because the mutants were in any way aggressive towards them at the time. Charles' protests that the men Magneto's immediately targeting were Just Following Orders, unsurprisingly, does not make the Holocaust-survivor relent.
- In Simon Bloom, Sirabetta, the Big Bad of the first book, is quite correct on how the Knowledge Union has some significant flaws.
- In Isaac Asimov's story "The Dead Past", the government agents trying to prevent the protagonists from learning the secret of viewing the past seem like a classic heavy-handed Government Conspiracy... until it turns out that they're simply trying to prevent privacy from being utterly destroyed by the dissemination of devices that can view any place at any past time from a century ago to a microsecond ago.
Happy goldfish bowl to you, to me, to everyone, and may each of you fry in hell forever. Arrest rescinded.
- Honor Harrington: The Mesans are in the author's own opinion correct in their position on transhumanism and genetic engineering, it's their Utopia Justifies the Means ways that are wrong.
- Asimov's short story In A Good Cause... centres around two old friends, both initially part of a movement towards human federation in the face of the united alien empire of the Diaboli, with one remaining the idealist and getting arrested for it several times, and the other turning against him and gradually rising up in Earth's government. The first scene encourages the reader to sympathize with the idealist by establishing that there now is a united human federation, and it regards the idealist with respect and a bit of shame for repeatedly arresting him. Every time the two friends interact (the story uses large time-jumps to pass the time the idealist actually spends in prison), the one who turned against the movement chides the idealist for not being pragmatic enough. In the final scene where the two interact... the pragmatist's manipulations has led to the aliens being defeated and the human worlds moving towards federation, just as they both wanted all along.
- Skitter from Worm when talking to almost any hero or their bosses, pointing out that the system they belong to is damaged and imperfect, the heroes aren't as clean as they pretend, or, in one case, that they're deliberately trying to induce a hostage situation. The last one is so convincing that the hostages side with her.
- John Farson, the "Good Man" of The Dark Tower, is a cruel, power-hungry despot, or so we're told. However, he's right that the Affiliation is ruled by a cabal of thugs with vague aristocratic pretensions who maintain power largely by having the best guns.
- Star Trek:
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "Birthright", Worf learns about a Romulan prison camp where Klingons POWs have been held for decades. When he arrives, he's shocked to see the Romulans and Klingons living amicably. He is especially outraged that the young Klingons born there know nothing about their heritage. But Tokath, the Romulan commandant, points out he had still done something no diplomats from the Klingon or Romulan empires, or even the Federation has done: forge a manageable peace between Klingons and Romulans. Particularly since he had the choice of killing them or sending them back to the Klingon homeworld, where they'd have been dishonored and shunned.
- The Monster of the Week in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Hope and Fear" is an alien who devises an elaborate trap for Voyager on the grounds that Janeway's alliance with the Borg against Species 8472 in "Scorpion" enabled the Borg to assimilate his entire species, whereas if Janeway had stayed out of it the Borg would've been extinct by now.
- As part of its efforts to bump the Chaos Gods of Warhammer 40,000 from their standard Chaotic Evil approach to a more Chaotic Neutral one in Black Crusade, they remade Nurgle, the already Affably Evil God of Pestilence and Decay into an agent of Eternal Recurrence. Nurgle wants to destroy the current galaxy because he deems it's time that it perished and decayed, so that new life and civilisations can rise from the ruins, stronger and healthier than what was. Considering that the setting is basically Crapsack World turned Up to Eleven, with the primary human empire being a conglomeration of all the worst aspects of humanity's past, outright described by the authors with terms like "rotting" or "decaying" and spending more of its forces fighting futile battles to suppress internal dissent and political upheaval than against fighting the very real alien invaders, it's kind of hard to argue that maybe it would be best for the setting if it was quietly killed off and something new allowed to evolve in the ruins.
- Dickinson (who's more of an Anti-Villain) in 1776. One of his main objections to independence is that a bunch of ill-trained militiamen has no chance of defeating the British armed forces, then the strongest in the world. It's a very good point, really.
- In Mega Man 9, Dr. Wily convinces Dr. Light's newest robot masters, all of whom are about to reach their expiration date and due to be recycled, that they shouldn't have to die because the law says so and that they can still live perfectly useful lives. While Wily is just saying this so he can use them to frame Dr. Light, he is right in that the robot masters are still sentient living beings that are being trashed because of the law and not by choice.
- This causes all kinds of confusion when one remembers that the robots in Mega Man are not sentient, and shouldn't be able to make decisions like that. The whole plot of Mega Man X was supposed to be that the titular character was the first sentient robot in the setting.
- The robots in the original Mega Man are sentient, to a point. They cannot reason or have true free will like the robots from X series. If the Robot Masters in 9 were like X, they would not allowed themselves to be killed while they have no real choice in the matter since they had to obey humans.
- Dr. M from Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves may be a terrible person to work with, a lab nut, and an overall Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain but he DID buy the island legally so everything is technically his and he could've claimed his right to kill Sly seeing that Sly invaded his land.
- Diablo III has your main character as his allies forced to negotiate with the ghost of Zoltum Kulle, an Obviously Evil villain who makes no attempt to hide the fact he is using you to be revived. During your cooperation, he passes most of the time explaining your character that he actually is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who want to awake Humans' true power, and that your own allies are manipulating you for their own purpose. At the end of Act III, it turns out one of your allies, Adria, was indeed using you to prepare Diablo's resurrection.
- Mundus in DMC Devil May Cry mocks Dante's desire to free humanity by pointing out that humans had freedom before Mundus arrived, and "They fought. They killed. They starved." Vergil shares Mundus' opinion of humanity, to the point that he wants to rule humanity with Dante after Mundus' defeat.
- Darth Traya, from Knights of the Old Republic II, justifies her actions by proclaiming that the Force uses people as tools and that she wants to break free from the cycle of massive galactic wars by destroying it. Though she's the villain, she has a point: the wars between Jedi and Sith rage on for millennia afterward, with countless innocents in the crossfire and no end in sight. Of course, her mind-bogglingly arrogant assumption that she is fit - and, indeed, techically capable - of standing above the conflict, instead of being just another Sith urged by the Dark Side to plan an action that will kill all life in the Galaxy is what makes her a villain.
- There's also the matter of a single Jedi or Sith being able to influence the entire galaxy. Is that sort of power something any one person should have when individuals will lay waste to everything just to obtain it?
- William Johnson in Assassin's Creed III in his Hannibal Lecture before his death claims that if the British control on the colonies was broken the colonists will encroach on the Native American lands and displace the inhabitants...something that obviously occurred in Real Life and is even later touched on in universe.
- Haytham has a conversation with Connor about The Templars. Haytham angrily points out that the people Connor works for are not much different then the Templars and that the only difference between them is Haytham "Doesn't feign affection" The Templars wrote the history books and manipulated information and society both through subtle means and by blatant means like the piece of Eden. Samuel Adams himself says that since nobody knew who fired the first shot that started the war he was going to spin it to look like self defense rather then treason. For the greater good just like the templars do.
- The terrorist group Ilias Kreuz in Monster Girl Quest are a gang of criminals who show no mercy whatsoever toward monsters and slay them without hesitation. However, when these monsters also tend to show no mercy to humans whatsoever and either devour, enslave, or kill For the Evulz any human they encounter, it's kind of hard to not understand where Ilias Kreuz is coming from. Out of over 200 monsters, about 9 of them are actually friendly, and three of them had to be beaten in a fight first. They start attacking humans in chapter 3 again, by the way.
- The Big Bad of Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, Kerghan, believes that the afterlife is far more peaceful and pleasant than existence as a mortal and therefore intends to act on the logical conclusion. As two certain party members who have died and been resurrected respectively raised as undead can confirm he is right.
- During Penelope's Motive Rant in Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time, she points out that Bentley could have done so much more in life than just been the brains of a group of thieves, given how unbelievably smart he is. Of course she's absolutely right and Bentley even agrees, but he loves his friends so much that all he's ever wanted to be is part of their team.
- Cardinal Albert Simon, the Big Bad of Shadow Hearts, wants to wipe out humanity and restart civilisation because of the brutal repression of human elites. The party doesn't even disagree with him about the repression, but still fights him because of the loss of innocent lives. The sequel reveals that his actions in the first game were a misguided attempt to stop Rasputin.
Albert Simon: Only an illusion of peace exists in the superficial calm of our lives. In fact, the blood and tears of the poor are sacrificed daily by a handful of elite power-mongers. No matter how far science and technology advance, repression will never cease. We’re only human. Whenever the calls for revolution turn into concrete action, instigators are met by the full resistance of the elite, who stop at nothing to keep their power.
- In a bizarre mix of this and Even Evil Has Standards, Azrael of Blazblue, sociopathic monster he may be, is quick to call out Sector Seven's motives for releasing him. It's difficult to disagree with him.
"So, let me get this straight: First you guys get Kokonoe to capture me and put me on ice, and now you're releasing me so I can kill her? That's the joke of the century right there. You're a bunch of selfish assholes by any standard."
- In Mass Effect, Cerberus is portrayed as evil for trying to make humanity strong without the Citadel Council, with their primary argument as 'When the going gets tough, the aliens will abandon us". Guess what happens at the beginning of Mass Effect 3?
- In Shin Megami Tensei IV, no one can say Tayama isn't an arrogant, amoral asshole, or that the Red Pills his Ashura-kai create aren't unspeakably vile, considering the production method , but unfortunately he's not bluffing when he stresses the importance of both for Tokyo. After the events of the Alternate Timeline arc are over, the prentice Samurai return to a Tokyo that's now worse than the two Death Worlds they've just visited, due to the fall of the Ashura-kai and the collapse of the Red Pills' production lines.
- In Half-Life 2 Dr. Breen, in the midst of his desperate ramblings at the protagonist to dissuade him from accomplishing his mission during the endgame, inexplicably delivers this line:
"Tell me Doctor Freeman if you can, you have destroyed so much... what is it exactly that you have created? Can you even name one thing?? I thought not."
- In Final Fantasy X, before Maester Seymour is revealed as a villain, Wakka questions why a maester of Yevon is supporting a mission using technology that's taboo to their faith. Seymour explains that he should stand against the use of machina, but that so many are willing to risk their lives and put forth so much effort to destroy Sin, it's really for the good of everyone that he turns a blind eye to the teachings. Even Tidus, who never liked Seymour to begin with, had to admit it made sense to him. Though it's ultimately subverted by Maester Kinoc, who says in so many words that the maesters know this isn't going to work, and are trying to send a message to anyone who still doubts them.
- In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni's Meakashi-hen, as completely insane and sadisitc is Shion Sonozaki is at this point, she's actually got a good point when she's calling Kimiyoshi out over Satoshi being treated unfairly due to Sins of Our Fathers. Might be a social commentary by the author, since it comes up again in Minagoroshi-hen.
- Justice League Unlimited:
- Project Cadmus created several threats to the world, but they do have considerable ground to stand on for their actions: the League didn't tell anyone about their big Kill Sat, they themselves have made questionable decisions in the past, and the Justice Lords were able to take over their world with only six of the founding members.
- The Justice Lord Batman pulled one of these on the League one in a scene that even the writers were unable to directly respond to.
"And with that power we've made a world where no eight year old boy will EVER lose his parents because of some punk with a gun...."
- Batman: The Animated Series:
- Lock-Up points out that Arkham is a Cardboard Prison with a revolving door, and the villains keep coming back. This doesn't justify his excessive punishments, but it's telling that, when he shows up in the comics, Batman does briefly team up with him.
- "Joker's Wild" inverts this when Batman, caught in one of the Joker's explosive death traps with which he also plans to level a casino, manages to talk his way out by pointing out to the Joker that he's playing into the casino owner's hands, since the guy is trying to get the casino destroyed as part of an insurance scam. Much as it infuriates him, Joker realizes Batman is right, and has to abandon his death trap to go settle accounts with the casino owner instead.
Joker: "I hate it when you make sense!"
- In The Batman Francis Grey's complaint about his 17 year sentence for stealing a small item.:
Francis: I took a watch! Everything else was just an accident.
- In the Wonder Woman film Persephone's arguments about the wrongness of Hippolyta's hiding the Amazons away from Man's World:
Hippolyta: "You were given a life of peace and beauty!"
Persephone: "And denied one of families and children. Yes Hippolyta, the Amazons are warriors, but we are women too."
- The Legend of Korra
- The Equalists claims that benders are forcing non-benders to live as second class citizens. This belief carries some weight since the city is governed entirely by benders, the military and the police force mostly (if not entirely) consists of benders, the biggest sport in town is one that only benders can play, and benders get more job opportunities. (such as firebenders who power the generators with lightning) than non-benders.
- Amon in particular mixes this with a What the Hell, Hero? speech after the Wolf-bats win the probending tournament through very, very obvious cheating. He shames the entire crowd for rewarding those who don't deserve it and he points out that benders who don't use their powers responsibly don't deserve to have them at all, before swiftly relieving them of that burden.
- In the Season 2 finale, Korra realizes her Evil Uncle might have had a point with his plan to break the barrier between the Spirit World and the Material World, he just went about it in the wrong way (choosing to rule over both as an Evil Overlord instead of letting the two sides coexist peacefully).
- Season 3 gives us Earth Queen Hou-Ting, who conscripts all of the new airbenders in Ba Sing Se as her personal army against their wills. While this is shown to be nothing but despicable, both she and Commander Bumi point out that as their monarch she really can conscript any of them she pleases.
- The main villains of Season 3, Zaheer and his companions, want to remove all world leaders, plunging the world into chaos. Considering some of the authority figures we've already seen - the warmongering Fire Lords (one of whom carried out a genocide of the Air Benders) the inept President of Republic City and the cruel, vindictive Earth Queen - Zaheer has a very valid point.
- General Kuvira in Season 4 usurps the throne of the Earth Kingdom and instead crowns herself Emperor due to the heir apparent (Hou-Ting's bumbling son) being an incapable leader who would be a puppet installed by the other nations instead of a strong leader with enough authority to be able to push back against them.
- In the original 1972 adaptation of The Lorax, the Once-ler tells the Lorax that if he shuts down production of the Thneed factories which are destroying the Truffula trees, it will put hundreds of workers and family members out of a job. Unfortunately, the Thneed production goes too far and the very last Truffula tree is cut down to make them, resulting in not only the permanent closing of the Once-ler's factory, but the complete destruction of a beautiful forest. And he is implied to regret this mistake.