"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, be it pride
, or even love
. But wait, they have a justified reason for their actions? They may not be so much evil
as they are anti
? They may end up sending the hero into a depression
after their motives come to light? Here is a villain who has a justified reason for being what they are, or has justifiable motives, or makes accurate assessments of the world or the hero/es. In any case, this is a villain who unexpectedly has a point about something.
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 easily fall under Designated Villain
. Compare Anti-Villain
and Ambiguously Evil
. Compare Jerkass Has a Point
and Strawman Has a Point
for other characters designed to be detestable who nevertheless are right about something.
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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. The only issue with him capturing Numbers is that he takes the soul of the person who possessed it.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Daimon calls out Kaiba on the way he used and abused both The Big Five, and his own brother, Mokuba, during his coup against his adoptave father Gozaburo. While Daimon‘s a bastard, and in no position to criticize, he's not wrong when he points out how unacceptable Kaiba's behaviour was.
- 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.
- In Psycho-Pass, the antagonist Shogo Makishima may be a sociopathic serial killer who instructs would-be criminals how to commit their crimes, but he is spot-on in his criticisms of the society in which he lives, and especially of the sybil system.
- The Big Bad of Puella Magi Madoka Magica is despicable no question, but he has a point; a system where a relatively small amount of people are traumatised and killed is a lot more preferable to the premature heat death of the universe. Both the characters who find out about this agree, and while one doesn't try and change it the other keeps it in place but slightly alters it to make it less harsh on the girls.
- Every antagonist in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is right, and the fears they give for their actions are completely real. The Giha village chief is right that living underground keeps them safe, the Adai village chief is right that they don't have enough food to feed more people so his methods keep the the village as a whole alive, Lordgenome is right that suppressing humanity keeps them safe from the Anti-Spirals, and they're completely justified in their goals because otherwise the universe is at risk. In the end it's only sheer dumb luck (and manly spirit) that their fears are defied.
- 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 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.
- Batman: Under the Red Hood: 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 Simon Bloom, Sirabetta, the Big Bad of the first book, is quite correct on how the Knowledge Union has some significant flaws.
- Isaac Asimov:
- In "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.
- The 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Firestarter, the Shop's methods are reckless and dangerous, but they cannot be faulted for wanting to get Charlie and Andy under control. Either of those two, alone, is hideously dangerous, and the two of them together could cause untold havoc.
- 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.
- In Doctor Who, Torchwood started as a nationalist organisation with full intention of not just using Imported Alien Phlebotinum to defend Britain, even if they have to steal and kill to get it, but also to ensure its dominance over the world, and possibly other worlds. But given the constant threats that Earth faces and the complete incompetence of UNIT to deal with anything at all without the Doctor helping them, it makes complete sense to resort to drastic measures to ensure the next wandering alien doesn't wipe Earth from the universe.
- Jamie Lannister in Game of Thrones. During a heated exchange when Catelyn Stark tries to insult him by calling him 'Kingslayer' and dishonourable, Jaime quite rightly points out that the king in question was an insane monster (he could have equally pointed out that Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon also betrayed the king by rebelling against him in the first place). Then Jaime points out that Ned Stark (Catelyn’s husband), while honourable, was not without his flaws either and Catelyn herself hardly fulfils the ideals of "Family, Duty, Honor" either, since she always resented and hated Jon Snow for something which was ultimately not his fault. Jamie is an asshole, and his own behaviour has not been any better, but he is not wrong when he points out this self-righteous hypocrisy.
- 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 a Crapsack World, 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.
- Sly Cooper:
- 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: The Sith Lords 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 her arrogant assumption that she is fit 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 makes her a 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. 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?
- Assassins Creed III:
- William Johnson 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.
- 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 is The Quisling who sold out humanity to the Combine so he could be in charge. He's also completely right that surrender was preferable to annihilation, and that if he doesn't convince the Combine that humanity are useful in some way they'll just kill them all anyway. In the midst of his desperate ramblings at the protagonist to dissuade him from accomplishing his mission during the endgame, he 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 Neverwinter Nights 2 Mask of the Betrayer a player that does a Face-Heel Turn can justify it by being sick of getting constantly yanked around by cosmic forces. Essentially, they call the gods out on their general dickery and declare war on them. While some gods don't abuse mortals much, most do and all manipulate lives to their own benefit.
- In Injustice: Gods Among Us, the New Regime trailer. While Injustice!Superman and his fellows became evil, they are right: before coming to power, criminals were unstoppable, as it was essentially nothing to fear for them: government did nothing to properly imprison or punish, and heroes didn't kill in any circumstance. "Look at the Joker. Would he even exist if not for you?
- Iji pulls this out multiple times as part of its White and Grey Morality, with every villain having at least one good point either about the overall plot or the title character herself (except for Asha, who's just a dick). The Anti-Villain Big Bad tops them all; everything he says is right, there's really nothing he nor Iji can do to stop the inevitable, and Iji only continues her mission because the only other option is death, just like him.
- In Higurashi: When They Cry's Meakashi-hen, as completely insane and sadistic 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.
- Cracked: Invoked with "9 Famous Movie Villains Who Were Right All Along".
- Linkara invokes this in his rant about why Izaak Crowe's whining in Batman: Fortunate Son is idiotic, followed by the relevant clip from The Dark Knight:
: I hate to agree with a villain, but The Joker
- Deadcoders Reviews has this opinion in regards to Code Lyoko:
"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."
- 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 in the United Republic of Nations are forcing non-benders to live as second class citizens. This belief carries some weight since the state is governed entirely by an unelected council that at the time was chaired solely by benders, the heavy hitters in the military and the police are mostly benders, the biggest sport in town is one that only benders can play, and benders apparently get more job opportunities (such as firebenders who power the generators with lightning) than non-benders. Though we don't see too much of it in the series itself, Word of God is that the Equalist Revolution did convince the United Republic to abolish its unelected council and replace it with a democratically-elected government implied to be actively addressing the bender/non-bender divide, with the current president himself being a non-bender.
- 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, and decides to leave the spirit portals open.
- 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 problem is she's having them abducted, keeping them from contacting their families and loved ones, having them "trained" by a Drill Sergeant Nasty Dai Li agent (he basically just earthbends projectiles at them and forces them to try and deflect them and punished Kai when he kept another airbender from getting hit), and is treating them like slaves.
- At one point, a group of bandits tries to steal tax money the Earth Queen demanded Korra deliver to her in exchange for helping find the new airbenders in Ba Sing Se. After she and Asami fight them and drive them off, one of them exclaims that she's on the wrong side, and the gold belongs to the people. Korra admits that she has a feeling that he's right, but still delivers the gold in the hopes the Earth Queen would uphold her end of the bargain, and calls the Earth Queen out when she doesn't uphold her end of the bargain.
- 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, though Zuko and his daughter have been a definite step up), the inept President of Republic City, and the cruel, vindictive Earth Queen - Zaheer has a very valid point that not even Korra can deny, though she doesn't agree with Zaheer's goal of creating total chaos.
- 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 nephew Wu) being an incapable leader who would essentially be a puppet installed by the other nations instead of a strong leader with enough authority to be able to push back against them. Wu himself eventually agrees with her about the obsolescence of the traditional monarchy, and decides to reform the Earth Kingdom into a republic with elected leaders.
- As Toph points out in "The Calling", Amon, Unalaq, and Zaheer had good ideas (equality, bringing spirits back, and freedom) but went too far with 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.