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Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist

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Clank: There must be another way to make a home for your people!
Chairman Drek: You think that's what this is about? Who do you think polluted our last world? I did! This is about one thing and one thing only: cash, and lots of it. See, I've been paid for every square inch of my new world. Once the new inhabitants move in, I'll begin polluting this world as well, and the whole thing starts all over again. Ah... brilliant.

So you have a villain who professes a noble goal but goes overboard achieving it. They may sack some villages, murder some people, perform some unconstitutional actions, and/or may be obtaining more emergency powers than necessary... But at least they have good intentions, like they said, right?

Unfortunately, pretty much every extremist claims to have good intentions. This trope is the Faux Affably Evil subversion of the Well-Intentioned Extremist, who is sincere, but does horrible things in the name of whatever it is they fight for and by default will have a good point to make. This villain, by contrast, only claims to be well-intentioned.

A character who falls into this generally comes in one of three flavors:

Notably, these characters have a tendency to become Complete Monsters, likely because committing atrocities and lying about doing it for a good cause is considered way more evil than genuinely doing it for a good cause, and more slimy than doing those evil things anyway but at least being up-front about your selfish motives. May be prone to Motive Misidentification by their adversaries. Contrast Believing Their Own Lies and Secretly Selfish, when they're unaware or in denial of how self-serving their actions truly are. This trope often helps writers to pull a Debate and Switch.


For obvious reasons, No Real Life Examples, Please!


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ajin: Sato, leader of the Ajin resistance, claims to be fighting for the freedom of his species, but in reality, he doesn't care about the Ajins' plight at all; he just wants to start a war with humanity for his own amusement. When the other members of the resistance discover this, all but one promptly desert Sato in disgust.
  • The Ancient Magus' Bride: Elias attempts to cure protagonist Chise of her Dragon's Curse by sacrificing a human child Chise had befriended, just because he became jealous of their friendship. When Chise finds out and saves Stella from her fate, it breaks her loyalty to the Magus with one armor-piercing punch.
  • Code Geass:
  • Cross Ange: Embryo claims to be building a perfect world, but in doing so, he has destroyed worlds, and humanities that have failed him, in separate dimensions, and is about to do so once again, even as he faces resistance from remnants of the older Earth (which include the humanity that has mutated itself into dragon-like beings to survive, as well as the last of the humans who hitched a ride onto the present earth), and the rejects of the current Earth, the Norma, all of whom make their intent of saving whatever is left of their respective worlds very clear. And that's not even getting into his Attempted Rape of Ange, and his actual Mind Rape of Jill.
    • The show actually showed just how corrupt humanity became with its dependence on Mana and persecution of the Norma. Part of it was due to Embryo's desire to create the aforementioned "perfect humans", but the resulting decadence and bigotry gave Embryo grounds to "reset the world". However, it became obvious that he only cared about becoming the new world's "Adam" to an "Eve" of his choosing, with humanity's decadence being secondary.
  • The Attacker/Kazuo Tengan in Danganronpa 3 wants to spread hope throughout the world, but has personally lost belief in hope, and so decides to break Ryota Mitarai in order to get him to brainwash the entire world.
  • DARLING In The FRANXX: The VIRM claims that they're doing humanity a favor by having them cast off their mortal bonds and embrace the endlessly pleasurable existence of the VIRM Hive Mind. However, their hateful views toward those with souls and their willingness to destroy Earth out of spite prove that the deception, bloodshed, and sacrifices they make will never be justified as good intentions (or absorb souls without asking for the species' opinions in the matter leaves it very clear).
  • Date A Live: Isaac Ray Peram Westcott states that he wants to purge the world of mankind for being a cruel and failed race to create a new world where mages will rule in peace without wars, conflicts and fights with humans. Curiously, over the series, Westcott showed to be even more sinister and cruel by unleashing all kind of disgusting and brutal crimes that humans can evoke upon the world. Not to mention that Westcott is willing to use even the members of his own race as pawns just like he do to humans, manipulating and discarding them like garbage just like he always did. He also seems to be more focused in becoming an Inverse Spirit to give him powers of a God to rule the world and change the concept of life and creation according to his own image, thus ruling over reality like its new God after unleashing chaos and destruction to wipe out all humans. To achieve his goals, Westcott caused mayhem and misery to all major races of the series: from Spirits, Quasi-Spirits, Wizards, Irregulars, Humans, Inverse Spirits and even Mages. At the end, Westcott is not a saint who is fighting to save his own race but just a selfish bastard who thinks only of himself.
  • Death Note: Even before his Jumping Off the Slippery Slope, Light Yagami is fascinated with becoming the god of the new world he plans to create. As time goes on, it becomes clear he just wants to be worshipped and cleansing the world of crime is just his means of attaining it. It's not helped by the fact that he also readily kills or tries to kill anyone who questions him or tries to stop his plans on the grounds that he's justice and thus anyone who opposes him is evil for going against him. When he's outed at the very end of the series, Near states outright that Light is nothing more than a crazy Serial Killer and his rationalizations and justifications for his crimes are just self-serving nonsense.
  • Digimon:
    • Digimon Frontier: Lucemon claims he's trying to make a utopia for all, but the heroes call him out, pointing out he's willing to destroy the Digital World because he doesn't have complete control over it. He "justifies" this by saying most can't control themselves anyway.
    • Digimon Savers: Akihiro Kurata lies about Digimon being threats to humans to justify him wanting to wipe them out.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Dragon Ball Z: Frieza tries to invoke this trope, viewing the Saiyans as Always Chaotic Evil and telling Goku that he did the universe a favor wiping them out. Of course, it falls flat considering the fact that Frieza is the one who uplifted the Saiyans and turned them into the genocidal Space Pirates they were to begin with, and his killing them all was out of fear that they would rise up and destroy him rather than any sense of altruism.
      Frieza: You do realize how hypocritical this is? Your outrage over the loss of innocent lives? The Saiyan race isn't exactly known for its mercy. Compared to you brutes, I'm a saint!
    • Dragon Ball GT: Baby had somewhat good intention in the beginning of wanting to restore the Tuffle race. But somewhere down the line his thirst for revenge against the Saiyan race and his burgeoning megalomania got the better of him; by the end of his saga, Baby's gone completely off the deep end and become no better than the Saiyans who slaughtered his people.
    • Dragon Ball Super: All incarnations of Zamasu repeatedly claim that they're doing what's necessary to create a "beautiful utopia" by wiping out all mortal life in The Multiverse, believing mortals to be Always Chaotic Evil and gods are the only beings worthy of life. For all their claims of righteousness and being bringers of justice, they ultimately boil down to nothing but sadistic racial supremacists, showing utterly sick enjoyment out of their rampage. It becomes even clearer when Goku Black and Future Zamasu wipe out all of the other gods in Future Trunks' timeline, both to prevent them from interfering and so they'd be the "supreme gods," so it's crystal clear that they're only concerned about their vision of a utopia. Goku Black in particular comes off as especially hypocritical in that regard, since he used the Super Dragon Balls to pull off a Grand Theft Me on Goku, essentially giving up his godly body for that of a mortal, and then slaughtered the entire Son family purely out of spite for Goku defeating him in what was supposed to be a friendly sparring match.
    • Super Dragon Ball Heroes: Hearts, the Big Bad of the Universal Conflict Saga, plots to Kill the Gods, insisting it's the only way to true freedom and peace. However, it's blindingly clear that Hearts' goals are purely selfish and maniacal in nature, and he has no qualms against attacking planets and killing countless people, seeing it as all for the sake of being "nourishment" for The Multiverse. When Vegeta calls him out on being nothing but a pretentious Hypocrite, Hearts not only agrees with his assessment, but openly admits to being one.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
    • In the Brotherhood, manga, and live-action versions of the story, Shou Tucker and his family were in danger of being in poverty. His solution: turn first his wife and then his dog and daughter into pained chimeras, just for the sake of him being an alchemist, a job he's no good at. It's safe to say that by the time he does that to his dog and daughter, he has no good intentions, only caring about his paycheck. He's even worse in the live-action film where he doesn't bother to hide his ill intent anymore. In all versions, he tries to deliver a Not So Different speech to Ed (in between punches as Ed is beating the living hell out of him and yelling he's not like him), but the reality is that while Ed and Al performed Human Alchemy out of a misguided attempt to save someone they loved, Tucker did it because he couldn't bear the thought of losing a steady paycheck. It's no surprise Tucker ends up in Hell for his actions, if the "In Memoriam" Omakes are anything to go by.
    • The 2003 anime has a short-lived example: The Big Bad Dante attempts to justify all her abhorrent actions by saying that she is keeping the Philosopher's Stone out of the hands of mortals, who would only abuse it and cause mass death with it. Ed immediately points out all the horrible atrocities she has committed with Philosopher's Stones over the years, not to mention she intentionally makes mortals seek out the Philosopher's Stone by driving them to desperation and leaving behind just enough hints for them to find out how to do it before swooping in and stealing the Stone.
    • At The Conqueror of Shamballa's climax, Big Bad Dietlinde Eckhart claims that her desire to destroy Ed and Al's world is out of fearing their alchemic abilities and the possibility of them conquering her world. Besides her being a literal Nazi, her intent to use mystical powers to conquer her own world only serves to make her completely and utterly hypocritical.
  • Gundam:
    • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz: Dekim Barton banks on Treize's reputation as an extreme yet principled man to raise his army with the claim that they're following in his footsteps. Dekim, however, is just a power hungry selfish man piggybacking on the Khushrenada legacy for his own ends.
    • After War Gundam X: Nomoa Long told Carris that the people who died for his cause did it for uniting the world, but as it turns out, they died so Nomoa could start his revenge. Carris is horrified when he hears this.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Ever since a young Setsuna stared at him in awe, Ribbons Almark gradually twisted Aeolia's plan to advance humanity to advance humanity into serving his new God Complex, admitting he doesn't give a damn about the humans the plan was supposed to serve once he becomes arrogant enough.
    • Nobliss Gordon from Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans spouts high-minded rhetoric about why sacrifices are necessary for the success of his revolution. The truth is that a more peaceful negotiation of rights for the downtrodden masses of the solar system won't create enough chaos for him to make a quick buck off. This is in sharp contrast to the genuine Well-Intentioned Extremist Big Bad Rustal Elion, who aims to reform Gjallahorn and manages to do so once he destroys their opposition Tekkadan and Nobliss is assassinated.
  • Heavy Object had these three people from the Legitimacy Kingdom, the protagonists' faction:
    • Chancellor Flide, Big Bad of Volume 2, claimed that trying to get the male protagonists, Qwenthur and Havia, killed by an object and setting up the four super country alliance (including his own soldiers) to get wiped out in a trap was for the safety of his country, but in actuality, he wanted to protect his position and preserve the power balance decided by objects with no regards to the innocent lives lost.
    • Prizewell City Slicker, Big Bad of Volume 3, claims to be preserving the Legitimacy Kingdom's official language, but he's really nothing more than a xenophobic hypocrite who sees nothing wrong with his own men dying, not to mention the fact he wants to reinstate slavery.
    • Flag Eggnog, Big Bad of Volume 11 and the first prince of the Warta District, claimed his constant gaffes and wars were beneficial to the country, but Havia didn't buy it.
  • I Was A Sword When I Reincarnated: Murellia makes herself sound, and believe, that her actions are all for the best interests of the cat-kin, but all she really cares about is being in charge and ruling the world with the power of evil.
  • Metroid: Mother Brain explains that her true goal is to bring order into the galaxy as the Chozo programmed her to be. However, she emphasizes that she will lead the new age of prosperity, proclaiming that she was born to be "the true master of the universe," and regards living species to be inferior to auto-machines (aka herself). Gray Voice, her Chozo subordinate, betrays her and then calls her out on this, stating that Mother Brain is in fact jealous of living species because they could potentially supplant her as builders of a new era, and that she is most afraid of Samus Aran being the Chozo's real legacy rather than her.
  • Naruto:
    • In the second Naruto film, Naruto the Movie: Legend of the Stone of Gelel, Big Bad Haido claims he wants to use the titular stone's power to create a utopia, but this turned out to be lies to attract followers. His real goal was to use it to become too powerful to stop in a bid for world conquest.
    • From the main series, Danzo Shimura is an interesting case. He wants what's best for the Leaf Village... so long as it ends up with him being in charge of everything. His backstory reveal also implied that the primary motivation for his actions and deeds was a sense of inferiority and jealousy towards Hiruzen Sarutobi rather than pragmatism and patriotism like he was first portrayed as. He straddles the line between this and a proper Well-Intentioned Extremist, because while he does have the strong convictions of a Well-Intentioned Extremist, said convictions are built on the core of a frustrated man that could never get over the fact that he didn't measure up to his more popular friend in the eyes of the public, taking the extreme measures he did because his rival wouldn't, to show he wasn't 'soft' like Sarutobi Hiruzen, never mind the fact that in his prime, the Third Hokage was considered one of the most powerful ninja in the world, and had no qualms about sending genin aged Child Soldiers during the Third Ninja war, as shown in Kakashi Gaiden.
  • One Piece: CP9 are a secret black ops agency tasked with the assassination of anyone which threatens (or just annoys) the World Government, in the name of "justice" at any cost. However, it's made clear that most of its members (especially Rob Lucci) don't really care about any of that, and are just in it for the permission to kill people freely.
  • Promare: Kray Foresight's plan to enslave the Burnish for fuel and sacrifice most of humanity is ultimately just to serve his ego. Lampshaded by several characters in the film who note the resources put towards migration would be better served to stabilize the Earth's core.
  • Psycho-Pass: Shogo Makishima claims to be trying to dismantle the corrupt Sibyl System so that humanity can choose how to live their own lives, but in reality he just wants to see humanity give into their most primitive impulses.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The cause of the series conflict is an alien Hive Mind in the form of the Incubators who manipulate and destroy humans, especially young girls, in order to harvest the energy of their negative emotions and use it to prevent the end of the universe. Sounds like a Cold Equation/The Needs of the Many, and it would be if they weren't willing to sacrifice every other living thing in the universe to do so, effectively leaving themselves as the sole beneficiaries of all their actions. And because they're a Hive Mind, their whole argument boils down to "I am many, so my needs comes before everyone else's." Then in Rebellion, they try to rewrite reality once again to make all this suffering exist once more, not because of any true necessity for the survival of the universe, but merely because they see wasted potential in the energy that is used. Ultimately, they are mass-producers who only care about numbers as ends to themselves and are immensely greedy and impossible to satisfy. Unsurprising, considering the complete of Lack of Empathy and lack of value towards any life other their own, which was the reason for their actions to begin with. They had cosmic powers and they could have chosen on their own to make someone wish about a better reality and yet they never looked into it, never really cared about alternate solutions.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena: As "End of the World", Akio Ohtori runs the Rose Duels, where the Rose Bride Anthy is the glorified slave to both him and the winner. Near the Grand Finale, he claims that it's so someone noble can open the Rose Gate for him to free her with the Power of Dios. However, he's nothing more than a selfish manipulator in Prince Charming's clothing who wants to physically, mentally, and sexually dominate everyone, having no qualms about letting her stay his Silent Scapegoat forever just so he can escape the agony of getting stabbed by the countless Swords of Hate.
  • Rosario + Vampire: Fairy Tale repeatedly claim that they want to make a world for monster equality and that Humans Are the Real Monsters, but it's clear from their willingness to oppress and kill their fellow monsters that they only want equality and power for themselves.
    • Gyokuro Shuzen, one of the heads of Fairy Tale, is the most blatant example. Despite all her claims of fighting for monster equality, Gyokuro only cares about herself and what she wants, which is mostly just power for the sake of having it, and everyone, her henchmen, friends, family, and lovers included, are nothing but stepping stones to that goal. Also, everything she does is motivated by her petty jealousy of Akasha Bloodriver, her husband's mistress, because Issa paid more attention to Akasha than her; in fact, her plan to Kill All Humans is solely because Akasha dreamed of human/monster co-existence.
    • Kuyou constantly goes on about how everything he does is for the sake of justice and that Humans Are the Real Monsters, but it falls flat considering that he abused his authority as the head of the Security Committee to make everyone else at Yokai Academy miserable, and the fact that he barely needs any provocation to burn someone alive, human or monster. Fittingly, in Season II of the manga, it turns out that he was a member of Fairy Tale all along.
  • Strider: Vice-Director Matic tried to force Hiryu to kill his friend Cain with the threat of killing innocent civilians if he refused. Supposedly this was for the good of the Striders, while at the same time Matic was in league with Enterprise, the creator of the ZAIN Project. As it turns out however, Matic planned for the death of Enterprise President Clay at Hiryu's hands so he can take over the ZAIN Project, while also intending to to keep his grip on the Striders so he can set his plans for global domination in motion. It's also implied he had a hand in the brainwashing of Hiryu's late sister Mariya and Hiryu's friend Cain, both of them being Striders themselves.
  • Sword Art Online: Quinella, the Big Bad of the Alicization arc’s first half, claims that her turning the people of UW (including her Knights) into sword golems was for their own safety, but it's made clear that she's nothing but a narcissistic Control Freak who's no better than any of the other psychotic villains Kirito has faced, such as Sugou Nobuyuki or the Laughing Coffin guild. Quinella's refusal to allow the existence of any military force that she can't control has doomed the realm of humanity, and this realization helps Kirito win Alice over to his side.
  • The Anti-Spiral from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann aim to prevent the end of the universe, but their means to achieve this (bring humanity to despair and ensure they remain such forever) are so tyrannical and restrictive that they pretty much ensure absolutely no one benefits but themselves.
  • The two main members of the Big-Bad Ensemble in Tokyo Ghoul rally their followers under protecting ghouls and humans respectively, and ending the Forever War between the two while destroying the Government Conspiracy responsible, but in truth, they only want to do this for the sake of revenge against the people they blame for their respective bad childhoods:
    • In the original series, the One-Eyed Owl/Eto Yoshimura is the leader of the Anti-Human Alliance Aogiri Tree, and unites the ghouls working under him with his promise to create a world without human prejudice against ghouls, in addition to the real goal to end the Forever War between humans and ghouls. However, he performs several actions that contradict this goal. In addition to masterminding attacks on innocent humans just for being human, he orders Yamori to attack the Anteiku coffee shop, which is full of peaceful ghouls, and capture half-ghoul Kaneki to put him through Cold-Blooded Torture, and in addition he has worked alongside feared ghoul-killer Kishou Arima and deranged human Mad Scientist Akihiro Kanou, used them to victimize many innocent ghouls as well, and has no problem manipulating fellow ghouls. But the moment that really makes it clear he is this is when she, upon finally meeting her father who was nothing but kind toward ghouls and loved her with all his heart, hands him over to Dr Kanou to perform horrifying experiments on him. Despite claiming to want freedom and happiness for ghouls, the Owl simply hates the world and wants to burn down human society, and will step on human and ghoul alike to do so. Ironically, Arima himself is more of a genuine Well-Intentioned Extremist, since he cares nothing for revenge but truly believes in his cause.
    • Kichimura Wasshu in :re, backstabber and manipulator who gleefully engineers anti-ghoul atrocities (especially once he takes over the CCG), and psychologically tortures Kaneki to turn him into the Dragon, claims to be doing it all to protect humanity from ghouls and bring about Super Peace (which turns out to mean he also wants to end the Forever War by hijacking the Government Conspiracy and uniting humans and ghouls against the Dragon). However, he manipulates and kills his fellow humans just as much, works with the Pierrot Gang and Ghoul Restaurant to victimize innocent humans, and cooks the book editor of his Arch-Enemy Eto into a bento box just to spite her. He also claims to be doing this out of love for Rize Kamishiro and to give her a better world, but he also hands her over to Kanou to do experiments on her, wants to rape her and make her his alone, and is willing to turn her into the core of the Dragon. Kichimura, like the Owl, claims to have eternal peace as his end goal, but is more concerned with vengeance on Chairman Tsuneyoshi, his abusive father.
  • Tweeny Witches: Grande plans to destroy the Human Realm with the forbidden dark magic, claiming that it's so the warlocks can escape the eventual destruction of the Magical Realm. In practice, he not only oppresses the wizards, the other faction of his people, for preferring magic to technology, but he wages war against the witches as well, unwilling to let both share his world. His Establishing Character Moment even has him swallowing his Honest Advisor whole in front of the latter's son, Sigma, simply for opposing his Evil Plan. Furthermore, "Light Magic" reveals that his real goal is to make a new world so he can rule it by any means necessary, including — as stated in Japanese — driving people to despair with dark magic.
  • In Ulysses: Jeanne d'Arc and the Alchemist Knights, both The Heavy and the real Big Bad are this.
    • Count La Trémoille talks a lot about how France must surrender to England if they want to survive, but it's very obvious his main concern is becoming the guy that will be remembered as "the savior of France". The final proof is that he attempts to sabotage Montmorency's efforts to liberate Órleans, which would a major victory for France, because if they win it there is no way he will get his so called "peace talks" with England.
    • Enlil claims to be exterminating humanity in order to create a peaceful utopia, but his idea of an utopia is to rule it as their leader and inhabit it with figures with no free will of their own.
  • Ultimate Antihero: The United World Government plans to unite all the remaining nations under five larger ones for the sake of world peace, but it's really a power grab for the top five nations.
  • Mr. Heartland in Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL goes so far as to quote the Bernard of Clairvaux's quote (given on the page for Well-Intentioned Extremist) nearly word-for-word before his duel with Kaito in the second season (cut from the dub); however, given his actions, it's very hard to believe he has any intentions for what he does - committing acts of genocide against the Astral World in the service of the Big Bad - except greed.

    Comic Books 
  • Aquaman's Arch-Enemy Black Manta claimed in the 1970s that he was antagonizing him in order to give black people a place to be free of prejudice in Atlantis, when in reality he was only doing it to serve himself.
  • Dungeon: The Early Years: Chambon convinces the wizard population that the city should be under their control because they are the most fit to rule (if you can't turn kings into philosophers, then make philosophers kings). However the professor Chambon is just a power hungry despot who impregnated multiple women from all the spheres both for his own pleasure and so he can use the children to massacre their parents and use the chaos to take over; one of the parent is also his most idealistic follower. He also has no problem leaving his followers get massacred while he tries escaping.
  • Ultron thinks he's doing the planet Earth a favor by killing all humans as he believes they would eventually destroy the world. In reality, he's motivated by his oedipal hatred for his creator and can't fathom to seek a compromise.
  • Cinder of Deathstroke's knockoff Titans was a serial killer who targeted sex offenders and child molesters. At first glance her motives appeared to be justified anger and compassion stemming from her own sexual abuse at the hands of her uncle, until it became increasingly clear she was only bloodthirsty and looking for something to do with her time since she can't kill herself. She gets hit by this especially hard when her immortality is revealed in regards to how she joined Deathstroke's team. He offered her openings to get child molesters who are particularly powerful such as cardinals and politicians, and in exchange she had to help murder Ryan Choi (the fourth Atom) who was a completely innocent man. Given that Cinder cannot die, it raises the question of what was stopping her from reaching those high profile targets in the past and makes her reasons for killing Ryan especially shallow.
  • In his own mind, Lex Luthor is quite sincere in his desire to uplift humanity and serve as an example of all they can accomplish. In reality, that philanthropy only extends to how much gain he can get out of the situation, and he'd be more than willing to slit the throat of every human on the planet (personally and literally, if need be) if it will further his vendetta with Superman.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW): Krang repeatedly insists that he's doing what he feels is necessary to ensure the survival of the Utroms, and swears up and down that he did what he had to do to do so, regardless of the ethics of his methods. During the "Trial of Krang" arc, the Fugitoid tears his argument apart, stating that though Krang paints himself as a savior of his people, he's caused nothing but pain and suffering to millions of innocent and killed numerous others in pursuit of his goal, stating that no savior would ever consider mass murder and genocide as a means to an end and summing Krang up as nothing more than an Omnicidal Maniac.
    Fugitoid: General Krang fashions himself a victim of circumstances beyond his control, forced to be a rescue of his people. That is only a half-truth. He did rescue his people by any means he deemed necessary. But what kind of savior finds the annihilation of millions of innocent souls as one of those acceptable means? The answer is none, because mass murder is a method only of a genocidal maniac.
  • Birthright: Mastema wants to allow the unstable barriers between Earth and Terrenos to destroy both worlds so that she can create an new better one. Her reasoning is that it's the better alternative than allowing Lore to invade Earth revealed and turn it into an irreversible hell hole like Terrenos. But when she is given a choice that would save both worlds, she refuses it and persists in her goal, proving it to be nothing more of an product of her egomania.
  • The Maker claims that he simply wants to bring all of the benefits of his advanced scientific understanding and creative genius to a world where the government has prevented him from doing so to preserve the status quo. His actions show that instead he's just a bitter and vengeful boy taking out a lifetime's pain and frustration on everyone else around him.

    Fan Works 
  • In the The Legend of Zelda fanfic Wisdom and Courage, part of the Bound Destinies Trilogy, Veran repeatedly claims that she does what she's doing to avenge her fallen ancestors and get her people to see the error of their ways, but it falls flat because she commits random acts of violence and mass murder for no other reason than to acquire power for herself and her own sadistic amusement. Zelda even calls her out on it during the final showdown, stating outright that it's clear that all Veran truly wants is to satisfy her own bloodlust.
  • Shadow of the Dragon: The entire reason that Meiling's grandfather is staging attacks on Sakura is because he wants Meiling's engagement with Syaoran to be reinstated. However, while he claims he's doing it for Meiling's happiness, Sakura and Syaoran are able to piece together rather quickly that he's only doing it because he wants to "correct" his failings to the Li clan and produce a purer heir by having magic-wielding great-grandchildren; Fanren even states outright in chapter 18 that he's only doing it for himself. In any event, the fact that his plans have repeatedly caused collateral damage and endangered innocent lives prevents him from being sympathetic.
  • Kingdom Hearts 3: Final Stand: The Insurgos are firmly convinced that the royal family of Radiant Garden are all irredeemably evil purely because they're related to the tyrannical Hanako, and want to overthrow them. However, their methods are openly brutal, and they have no qualms against killing or attempting to kill innocent bystanders, including pregnant women, to get their way; in Moons of Fate, Yamato even tells them point-blank that they're nothing but terrorists whose actions are more about spiting Hanako than anything else.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel fic Bring Me to Life, Buffy and Angel both call Jasmine out as one of these, pointing out all the chaos she's caused under the excuse of trying to save the world; Buffy even tells her point-blank that she was trying to rule the world, not save it, and didn't care who she killed or whose lives she ruined along the way.
  • RWBY:
    • In the Kingdom's Service: the Vale Secret Service is a group of Well Intentioned Extremists who do what they have to in order to protect Vale and it's citizens, with Oobleck stating that they put it all on the line to protect them "because we love them". After Oobleck dies, it's revealed that only his faction had pure intentions; the rest (fellow director Alpha in particular) only care about staying in power. Alpha kidnaps multiple agents, including one from another Kingdom's agency, to torture for information or to break them into being loyal to him. He even has Ruby kidnapped both as a trap for Jaune, and to harvest her eyes in the (correct) belief they would be a powerful weapon.
    • Linked in Life and Love: Adam Taurus, as in canon. Here, the circumstances of Blake leaving him are slightly different. When they became Mind Link Mates and went on a mission together, the bond finally solidified and Blake could feel his emotions... at which point she discovered he didn't want to help anyone, he just wanted the world to burn for what it did to him. She immediately ran as far away as she could, and had to endure Adam's unending rage through the Link for a week before her Mark burned out and she was free. When she finally confronts him again, she lays it out clearly in front of all of Adam's men: She fought beside him for three years as his second in command, but she threw that all away after five seconds of seeing his soul. All of Adam's men are extremely disturbed by this, though it's not quite enough to get them to abandon him.
  • Contrasting his portrayal in comics, Lonnie Machin/Anarky in Batman: Anarchy for All. From the beginning, he's a hypocrite, claiming to be among Gotham's oppressed when he lives in a luxury townhouse with a Latina housekeeper and has cash to burn on top shelf hacker equipment. As his morality slips further from Grey to Black, the war on the elite becomes a mishmash of lashing out at whatever he associates with his emotionally abusive father, living up to his idea of a cool antiauthority rebel, and doing Hugo Strange's bidding as an Evil Counterpart to Robin.
  • Loved and Lost: When Prince Jewelius seizes the throne of Equestria, he has the Princesses along with Shining Armor, Spike, and the Mane Five exiled/sentenced to slavery as punishment for allowing the Changeling invasion to occur. When the disgraced heroes return a week later to redeem themselves, he has them imprisoned, publicly shamed, flogged (in Shining Armor's case), and sentenced to death in the case of Celestia. He justifies his actions to Twilight and Canterlot's population by saying that he's only doing what's best for everypony and that the failed former protectors need to be made an example of. But in reality, he's a spiteful sadist who orchestrated the invasion of Canterlot as a means to overthrow, and eventually kill his aunt Celestia and cousin Cadence.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness'':
    • Kiria's plan in Act III involves using Chrono Displacement to rewrite history. Akua and Kahlua believed that he just planned to change the outcome of the Battle of Kahdaln, which forced the monsters to set up The Masquerade in the first place, in favor of the monsters using Tsukune's inner ghoul, creating a world where monsters reign supreme and they wouldn't be confined to the monster world, which would give their father a high ranking position. In the final chapter, Tsukune and the others deduce by the massive amounts of Blackheart that Kiria has at the ready for his plan, as well as his intent to duplicate the Chrono Displacement spell, that Kiria planned to do far more than that; he in fact planned to send out multiple Blackheart-infected monsters to wipe out all of the Dark Lords and any other powerful beings who could pose any threat to him, remaking history in his own image.
    • Throughout Acts III and IV, Hokuto states repeatedly that what he's doing is right, declaring that humans and monsters are all equal bastards and that reviving Alucard to destroy every living thing will bring about true peace. Of course, everyone can tell right away is that he's nothing but a crazed, nihilistic sociopath who Hates Everyone Equally.
  • Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters: Tharquin, a leading member of the Rebellion, claims that all his extreme actions are what's necessary for the safety of Meridian. However, as time goes on, it becomes clear that he's a racist and a fundamentalist who's merely lashing out at anything that doesn't fit into his narrow worldview.
  • Partially Kissed Hero: This fic's version of Albus Dumbledore justifies his actions to others by declaring them to be "For the Greater Good"... while mentally redefining the phrase to refer to advancing and benefiting his own interests.
  • Yugioh EQG: XX: During their second duel, Storm King Dominator tells Flash how humans have been fighting for years using the Duel Spirits as weapons, leading to countless deaths. Claiming that it's just a matter of time before the humans destroy themselves and take their realm with it, the Dominators state their intention to destroy the human world, thus freeing the Duel Spirits from human oppression. However, this claim falls flat due to the fact that the Dominators are stealing human bodies for themselves to accomplish this task, further compounded by the fact that they clearly have no respect for the Duel Spirits connected to their hosts' decks, treating them the exact same way they claim all humans treat their species. species. But the final nail in the coffin comes with the reveal that the Dominators want to revive their lord Zeronull to destroy the human world AND the Duel Spirit world, while creating a new dimension where they can all "live" for eternity. At the end of the day, the Dominators are really just a bunch of selfish cowards who don't care how many lives they destroy, as long as their own safety is secured.

    Films — Animation 
  • Antz: General Mandible insists that his actions are for the good of the colony. Those actions involved drowning the queen and everyone loyal to her so that he can start a new colony of soldiers loyal only to him. When Colonel Cutter calls him out on this, Mandible insists "I AM the colony!!"
  • Beauty and the Beast: Once he finds out about the Beast and Belle's feelings for him, Gaston immediately rallies the villagers to storm the Beast's castle and kill him, painting him as a threat to the village who needs to be taken down. Of course, it's very clear that his true motives are just to Murder the Hypotenuse.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Frollo claims that he wants to purge the world of vice and sin. However, his real motive seems to be genocide against all those that he considers as sinful for living outside the natural order of things (aka his order). Later on, after a good deal of Sanity Slippage, his primary goal becomes satisfying his lust for Esmeralda.
  • In How to Train Your Dragon 2, Drago Bludvist claims that he wants to create a world where people no longer have to fear dragons. Hiccup calls him out on this as an excuse to simply control everyone. Drago admits it too.
  • Incredibles 2: The Screenslaver's true plan. Or rather, Evelyn's plan, as Screenslaver was a pizza guy she hypnotized into acting a villain. She claims her plan is to make Supers illegal permanently, as her father's Holding Out for a Hero got him killed by home invaders and her mother died from heartbreak soon after, seeing that Supers only cause more harm than prevent. However, her plan has endangered innocent people, including the pizza guy she framed. Also, she doesn't even suggest how to prevent crises without Supers, meaning all it turns out to be is just Misplaced Retribution.
  • The Iron Giant: Kent Mansley seeks to destroy the Iron Giant, believing it to be a threat to America, but only so he can further his own career. While he does have a point that Hogarth knows little to nothing about the Giant, like where it came from and why it's on Earth, he ruins his own case by acting so paranoid, reckless, and ruthless, committing such acts as threatening to separate Hogarth from his mother, chloroforming him, and potentially endangering his life by lying to General Rogard that the Giant killed him. He finally unveils his true colors as a coward and a hypocrite when he foolishly orders a nuclear missile fired at the Giant, forgetting that the Giant is still in town and everybody will be caught in the blast radius. Once he fully comprehends that this will mean his death, he renounces his patriotism and tries to flee for his life.
  • Next Gen: The Big Bad Ares' plans of creating a world without conflict by killing all humans rings hollow when he's shown to be a sadistic egotist willing to kill his own robots should they ever get in his way.
  • Zootopia: During her We Can Rule Together speech to Judy, Bellwether, the Big Bad, tries to pass herself off as a Well-Intentioned Extremist, believing that all predators are just strong and loud but because prey is 90% of the population, they can unite against a common enemy and come out on top. However, as Judy is facing seemingly certain death from a savage Nick, she cuts to the chase, asking "So That's it? Prey fears Predator and you stay in power?" To which Bellwether replies "Yeah, pretty much."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane claims to be a champion of the common man, and that he's tearing down Gotham's social structure to empower the poor. As it turns out, he's really motivated by a personal grudge against Bruce Wayne, and his ultimate goal is to kill everyone in Gotham with a nuclear weapon. Somewhat zig-zagged in that he truly does believe in the utopian, Messianic goals of the League of Shadows and their founder, Ra's Al-Ghul. That includes sharing Ra's opinion that Gotham is a center of corruption that must be absolutely destroyed for the betterment of mankind and the world at large, right down to referring to himself as Necessarily Evil in a response to Batman. It's just that those methods put him as a hard Knight Templar at best.
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction: Harold Attinger and his faction, Cemetery Wind, state that they wish to destroy all Transformers to protect the Earth. It's clear they, including Attinger and his right hand man Savoy, are just hateful practitioners of Fantastic Racism who are willing to let the very innocent people they supposedly want to protect die and commit high treason against their own country to create their own man-made Transformers for Greed. They're even working with a Transformer to complete their own goals, even trying to destroy a city and cover their tracks. Attinger's With Us or Against Us rant only solidified him as a Hypocrite.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Avengers: Loki claims that humans must be enslaved in order to bring peace to them and starts an Alien Invasion to build his empire on Earth. Keyword is his because that's what it is all about, getting consolation for not ruling Asgard. He alludes to himself as a boot that is going to crush the ants, so their welfare is not among his priorities. In an extended scene he also says to the Other that he is going to rule mankind "unmercifully."
    • Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Zola and Alexander Pierce try to paint the new HYDRA as peacekeepers who have severed their original Nazi roots and essentially have the same values as S.H.I.E.L.D., but are willing to go one step further to ensure peace and order. It's severely undermined by the fact that their primary targets are threats to their own political power (even the current president of the United States), and not (as Pierce tries to claim) people who are mathematically likely to become a general threat. Also, a shot during the Helicarrier targeting sequence reveals they're targeting families with giant cannons that will no doubt cause collateral damage.
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron: Ultron starts out with the overall goal of creating an everlasting peace on Earth, since that's the purpose he was designed for by Tony Stark. He reasons that the Avengers themselves are one of the primary threats to that peace and thus resolves to destroy them so he can carry out his Zeroth Law Rebellion without interference. However, by the end he deems humanity as a whole to be worthy of extermination and attempts to engineer an extinction-level event.
    • Ego from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 thinks that the universe's organisms could use an upgrade and wants to "unify" them with himself. What he means by that is everyone he encountered while traveling through the stars is an utter disappointment and he thinks that by destroying and remaking life on a universal scale, he can make something that he can approve of.
    • Black Panther: Erik Stevens/Killmonger claims that he wants to liberate black people everywhere. However this statement is proven hollow by his actions, including how he treats other black people himself, how he is willing to commit genocide against the other races and ultimately how he harms Wakanda itself and mistreats its culture, it seems he's more interested in venting his pain and suffering unto other people. When T'Challa points out how his plan will only result in mass death and destruction, including those who he claims he wants to help, he finally snaps and says he doesn't care as long as he can get even with those who wronged him.
    • Avengers: Infinity War: Thanos claims that he wants to exterminate half of life in the universe to save the other half from extinction. In truth (as confirmed by Joe Russo in the DVD Commentary), he is just trying to prove himself right after his species rejected the solution he proposed many years ago and force it on the universe at large. Therefore, he ignores any other options, such as doubling the resources, and does not mind decimating three quarters of some species — according to The Russo Brothers, the Snap killed half of those he has already halved before, such as Asgardians or Drax's people. And that is not taking into account i.e. losses the Asgardians suffered from Hela before him. Avengers: Endgame has him discard all pretensions of being well intentioned upon finding out people are trying everything to undo what he did. Instead of accepting that the universe is worse off and trying to make amends for what he did, he starts ranting about the Avengers being "ungrateful" and that he would destroy the entire universe and rebuild a new one that would work the way he wanted it to, and would be forced to be grateful to him.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Lex Luthor uses the already existing fears of Superman as a threat to the world (and his ego), but this immediately leads him down the slippery slope of killing massive numbers of innocent people, committing treason to his government, and signaling an alien entity that has the capacity to eventually conquer the Earth. When it comes down to it, everything he does throughout the film is because he hates Superman just for existing.
    • Aquaman (2018): Orm claims to want to defend Atlantis from ecological damage caused by the surface dwellers, and plays up this angle for public consumption. However, in private it becomes increasingly clear that while his desire to defend Atlantis is genuine, it is very far from his only reason to want a war with the surface. He is also seeking revenge for his mother's death, eliminating the threat to the throne his half-brother constitutes, and claiming the title of Ocean Master and with it command of the armed forces of all the Atlantean kingdoms so he can consolidate his grasp on power.
  • Rampage: Bill initially claims that he wants to help the world by fighting overpopulation, but the fact that his motive keeps changing film to film and his sheer cruelty, sadism and pettiness he displays shows that he isn't doing what he does for any reason other than because he enjoys it, with whatever he spouts simply being excuses or means to get people on his side.
  • In The Purge, The New Founding Fathers Of America legalize crime once a year allegedly to help decrease crime rates, reduce unemployment, and prevent overpopulation. In truth, they lie about the effectiveness of the purge, and their true platform is simply elitist sadism, sending squads to kill poor people For the Evulz, and anyone who runs against them in office.
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: While he claims to be fighting for the sake of his ape brethren by slaughtering the humans holed up in San Francisco, it's made painfully clear by the end that Koba cares nothing for his fellow apes and is led only by his selfish, psychotic bigotry which is made apparent by not only him slaughtering and imprisoning many of his fellow apes for disagreeing with his methods, but also him setting fires in the ape colony and framing the humans for it. In Caesar's own words, "Koba fight for Koba".
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • Magneto, due to his experiences in the Holocaust, believes that it is imperative to protect mutants from the possibility of persecution by humans, and towards that end engages in various extreme actions such as attempting to kill a mutant child whose blood can be weaponized to supress the "X-gene", or to forcibly transform world leaders into mutants. However, as Wolverine points out in the first film, Magneto is hardly selfless enough to not kidnap Rogue to power his device, and if he truly believed in his utopia, he would have gladly sacrificed his own life. Magneto also becomes something of a Social Darwinist by the third film, throwing away "lesser" mutant lives during his attack on Alcatraz island while keeping himself and his inner circle away from the front lines.
    • X-Men: First Class: Sebastian Shaw professes to act on behalf of other mutants, but he has little (if any) regard for his "colleagues" in the Hellfire Club whom he views as expendable assets for his plot to trigger a nuclear holocaust and seize power over what remains for himself. Likewise, he shows no moral qualms whatsoever for his crimes against other mutants such as Erik (aka Magneto) and Darwin.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: Apocalypse believes that culling the world every so often is necessary, using humanity's atrocities as evidence of why his absence was not in Earth's best interests. However, this is shown to be at best a shallow excuse, given the much greater atrocities he is going to unleash, and is ultimately more about elevating himself back to godhood.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Lord Cutler Beckett, the ultimate Big Bad of the original trilogy. On the surface, the idea of ridding the seas of piracy would be a noble and admirable goal. Unfortunately, despite Beckett's utmost loathing for pirates, he isn't trying to wipe them out to help others out of the goodness of his heart. He's doing it because they are chaotic factors that interrupt the otherwise smooth flow of his business. To further his own political and financial gain, Beckett even resorts to sending hundreds of innocent people—those who've been given no trial and may only be guilty of associating with someone convicted of piracy, including children—to their deaths in mass executions.
  • The Island: Dr Merrick claims that the reason he kills the sentient clones on the island so that can be used for organ donations and giving birth is to help the world cure various disease and advance the field of science. In reality though he's motivated by a raging A God Am I mentality and is drunk on his own power and intellect viewing himself as a twisted messiah. Best exemplified by the fact that the clones he cuts up for their organs aren't even supposed to be sentient, the rest of the world believes them to be braindead because Merrick lied about them being sentient which is why they permit them being used as organ donors in the first place.
  • Star Trek (2009): Nero claims that his goal is to make a Romulan empire free from the Federation, when it gets clear he's only interested in destroying everyone he blames for the eventual destruction of his world and the death of his wife from his timeline. He also never makes contact with the current Romulans despite knowing information that could save their planet from destruction in the future, once again showing he values revenge more than his race.
  • In Se7en, John Doe tries to justify his murders by saying that he's looking to cleanse the world of sin, but it's just an excuse to try and hide that he's a sadistic monster who enjoys killing and that his definition of sin includes every existing human flaw like gluttony and pride about looks. He even kills Tracy Mills, a completely innocent woman whom he didn't even bother to categorise as a sinner, as a means of forcing Detective Mills to kill him and thus marking him as Wrath and himself as Envy, the secondary motivation for this murder.
  • Venom (2018): Carlton Drake plans on using his company to travel into space and bring the symbiote to Earth. He boasts about wanting them to help deal with overpopulation and war, but is in fact seeking to make the world more to his liking, especially since he knows they will prey on his race. Furthermore, he's not above tricking the homeless into being guinea pigs for the symbiotes, where most of them are eaten from the inside.
  • Perfect Creature: The Brothers are an effective theocracy that forbids humans from performing scientific experiments because Science Is Bad and prefer to develop a symbiotic relationship, with them protecting and guiding humanity who willingly donates their blood for the Brothers' sustenance. The real reason why they are doing this is because they want to keep humanity dependent on them and as it turns out, they have no problem performing secret experiments to create more of their kind.
  • Saw: Jigsaw kidnaps people that he believes aren't valuing their lives or are intentionally hurting others, then forces them to go through sadistic "tests" where there are usually only two outcomes: live (and gain a new outlook on life) or die. Of course, it's shown multiple times in the series that Jigsaw's methods haven't actually helped anyone, as most of his victims are killed while the few that survive their games are severely traumatized. On top of that, his motives are nowhere near as noble as he claims they are; on top of "people who have wasted their lives," Jigsaw also targets people who have wronged him in some way, and later in the series targets the police operatives investigating him. The criteria of targeting "people who have wasted their lives" or lived lives that caused harm to others is also pretty broad; the victim roster ranges from drug dealers and rapists, to prostitutes and drug addicts, to people feeling suicidal and practicing self-harm, to just people that suffered Bystander Syndrome and did nothing while seeing something terrible happen. Simone, a survivor from the sixth movie who was forced to chop off her own arm, sums it up best when questioned by Mark Hoffman:
    Simone: Look at my goddamn arm! What the fuck am I supposed to learn from this?!
  • Spiders II: Breeding Ground: Dr. Grbac claims his illegal experiments on human subjects to breed Giant Spiders are not just mere sadism, but so he can find a way to study the spider's immune systems and benefit humanity in the long run. That said its proven to be a blatant lie and he's simply doing this for all the fame and attention that he'd receive for finding that cancer cure rather than any goodwill to his fellow man.
  • The human Big Bad Alan Jonah in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) sets himself up as an eco-terrorist who wants to awaken the ancient Titans because he believes they can restore the Earth's biosphere where mankind has brought ecological destruction, even if it means the deaths of countless millions in the process. When the plan goes awry as a result of one of the awakened Titans, King Ghidorah, being a hostile alien invader who initiates Hostile Terraforming that will render much of the Earth uninhabitable instead of fixing the biosphere, he isn't too upset. Johan's past as a British soldier and M16 agent continuously surrounded by the absolute worst of humanity left him so jaded and misanthropic that he doesn't really care if mankind ends up being wiped out.
  • Die Hard movies:
    • Die Hard 2: Colonel Stuard fancies himself as a patriot doing whatever is necessary to combat communism, save those who would aid him in that fight, and protect America's people and interests. But he has several Americans — civilians, law enforcement and military personnel alike — killed, and the man he wants to rescue is a drug-dealing dictator and The Generalissimo, traits often associated with communist leaders. Not to mention he's getting paid for it.
    • Live Free or Die Hard: Cyber terrorist Thomas Gabriel insists that through his crimes, he's "doing America a favor". He's exposing the weaknesses in various systems, which will allow the country to fix them, before someone who genuinely wants to destroy the country can do so. McClane, having long since caught on to the real motive of the terrorists he fights, blows him off by pointing out he's actually doing all this to cover up/allow the massive robbery he's committing.
      Gabriel: What, I shouldn't get paid for my work? I'm working my ass off here, John.

  • The Amy Virus:
    • At first, Cyan's father seems like he genuinely believes that the Good Brain Diet is helping Cyan. He even points out that autistic people are less likely to be hired for jobs. However, as the story goes on, especially after it's revealed that Cyan's parents know that the Good Brain Diet is a total quack, it becomes clear that Cyan's father doesn't want her officially diagnosed with autism because he wants complete control over her life.
    • Another example is how Cyan's father insists that his daughters become doctors because he believes it's the only guaranteed way to make a living in the 2010s economy because of other jobs are being shipped overseas and/or being lost to younger competitors. While those are genuine concerns, the fact that Cyan's father actually lost his old IT job because he screwed up some code and tried to blame someone else for his mistake and won't consider that there are other ways to make a decent living note  demonstrates that forcing his daughters to become doctors is just another way he enforces his control over his family. This point is also well demonstrated by the fact that he insists they attend Caltech for their undergrad despite there being other good colleges that can help one get into medical school and the fact there's no guarantee they can get into a high-level college like that.
  • Assassin's Creed: Forsaken: Reginald Birch upholds this, by now standard, excuse for all his atrocities of being genuinely well intentioned to Haytham even right at the end. What makes this different is that it's pretty obviously a self-delusion and neither Haytham or Jenny believe a word of it and see right through him as nothing more than a self-deluded madman only using the Templar ideology as an excuse to claim more power for himself.
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Umbridge tries to come off as committing her horrible deeds from a sense of loyalty to Fudge and as protecting the British Wizarding community from Dumbledore and Harry's self-serving lies when she is just doing whatever she can to grab power for herself and cheerfully serves in the Voldemort controlled Ministry in Deathly Hallows.
  • Cassius the Elder in Lucifer's Star by C.T. Phipps is the leader of the Free Systems Alliance and claims everything he does is to bring about freedom for all the worlds conquered by the Commonwealth. He actually turns the majority of his volunteer soldiers into nano-technology zombies and plans to surrender the entirety of human space to the alien Community. He plans to rule as The Quisling and take advantage of Elder Race technology so that he can live forever to boot. All things point to him being a vain, power-hungry, psychotic hypocrite without an ounce of shame.
  • Agatha Trunchbull from Matilda justifies her abuse towards her students by saying it's for their own good, insisting that it prepares them for the real world and teaches them to be proper adults. But it's blatantly obvious that she's just a cruel Child Hater.
  • In the backstory of The Sorcerer's Daughter, Brother Aloisio of the Inquisition stated that King Roberto is too good at healing for an ordinary human, therefore, he is a sorcerer, therefore, he must burn. Insane Troll Logic, of course, but something more or less to be expected from a Knight Templar inquisitor, right? Then it's revealed Aloisio was actually involved in a political plot against the queen, and most probably was in league with the sorcery-practicing Gottwald in the latter's plan to frame Roberto.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel:
    • In the episode "Sanctuary," Buffy chases Faith down to L.A. after her recent antics in Sunnydale, during which Faith used a device to switch bodies with Buffy and used it to her advantage to sleep with Buffy's new boyfriend Riley... only to come into conflict with Angel, who's firmly convinced that Faith can be rehabilitated. At the end of the episode, when Faith turns herself in to the LAPD, Buffy insists to Angel that she came to help him because he was in danger (Faith had previously been hired by Wolfram & Hart to assassinate Angel), but Angel doesn't buy it for a second, pointing out he's in danger every day, and knows she was just using that as an excuse to come to L.A. for vengeance on Faith; Buffy doesn't deny it and states outright she's entitled to revenge.
    • Jasmine, the Big Bad of Season 4, comes across as one of these. She claims to want to save the world, but her methods of doing so are very brutal; along the way, she killed several thousand innocents, conjured a rain of fire over LA, and unleashed Angelus once again. Not only that, but her idea of a perfect world is an Assimilation Plot that completely removes free will and makes everyone on Earth mindless drones who worship her endlessly. When Angel thwarts her plans, she decides that if she can't rule the world, she's going to destroy it.
  • Arrow
    • In the first season, Malcolm Merlyn claims that he wants to help his city by destroying the crime-ridden Glades. It turns out that he only came up with the plan after his wife was murdered there, something that he himself could have prevented by answering her desperate phone call instead of ghosting. When finally beaten by Oliver, he spitefully has half the Glades destroyed even when his plan is already foiled. Later seasons have him throw out any pretense of good intentions and betray and/or murder anyone for his own sake.
    • Damien Darhk claims that he wants to make a utopia and that sacrificing the majority of the world's population is a necessary evil for this to happen. Not only does he have way too much fun torturing and killing people for this to be completely true, but he eventually decides to just try wiping out the entire planet wholesale after Team Arrow foils his plans once too many and his wife is killed by Anarky. In Legends of Tomorrow, when he gets hold of the Spear of Destiny and gets to make any kind of world he wants for himself, he can't think of anything bigger than becoming the tyrannical mayor of Star City and keeping Sara and Amaya as his molls.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: During her days as the vengeance demon Anyanka, Anya described herself as a righteous sword for all Woman Scorned, but her behavior is more along the lines of a Jackass Genie rather than the "patron saint of scorned women" she claimed to be. She essentially tricked women into inflicting Disproportionate Retribution on former loved ones, and in "The Wish," when Cordelia's wish that Buffy never came to Sunnydale led her to create a Crapsack World where vampires rule the town with no Slayer to keep them in check, Anya took open pleasure in the results.
  • Breaking Bad: Walter White. Originally having turned to cooking crystal meth to pay his hospital bills and provide some extra money for his family should he die, his motivations increasingly turn to serving his own ego and hunger for power. In the finale, he finally admits to Skyler that cooking meth was something he did for himself, and his family was always just an excuse.
  • Princess Catarina of Artena in Deus Salve O Rei claims to have her kingdom's safety in mind when plotting and backstabbing people, but deep down, she wants to fulfill her ambitions of power to the point she engineers a war with a neighborhood which results in Artena destroyed, just so that she can come out on top.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Rassilion seemed to want to end the Time War but his actions show he simply wanted immortality and power, no matter the cost. Over the course of the Time War between Time Lords and Daleks, Rassilon opted for a final solution: to wipe out all of space and time so the Time Lords would remain as pure consciousness, yoked to his will because he didn't see any other way to end it, even killing any of his minions who wanted to intervene just to preserve his power, not caring about the cost.
    • Davros claims that he's doing a service to the Kaleds by replacing them or transforming them into the Daleks, and believes that their Omnicidal Maniac tendencies will bring a end to war. In reality he's motivated by a god complex and cannot fathom an actual peaceful solution.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • During the two episodes in season 3 regarding Gorilla City, Grodd lures Team Flash to Gorilla City only for them to be captured and imprisoned with an impending death sentence on their heads. Grodd justifies himself by saying that he got Barry and friends purposefully imprisoned so he could get them to kill his hated superior Solovar, who according to Grodd is planning on invading Central City and laying waste to it out of paranoia, with his reason for helping being that he doesn't want to see his true home be destroyed. But as Barry soon finds out for himself, Grodd is a liar. He is the one who wants to invade Central City, and by manipulating the Flash into fighting Solovar, he spreads fear and distrust among the apes and gets to usurp control from Solovar. After revealing his deception, Grodd goes on to try to nuke Central City, and when that fails leads an army of gorillas to assault the city, purely out of hatred and spite towards the humans living there.
    • Season 4's Big Bad, The Thinker, set out to cause "The Enlightenment". At first it seemed he had noble intentions despite what it amounted to, causing all humans minds to effectively restart, wiping away intelligence, emotion and even free will. His aim to help humanity move away from distractions like technology to achieve it's intellectual potential. However, as his plans succeed, he continues to grow drunk with power and leaves a trail of innocent people dead in his wake. Before the season ends, it turns out he's abandoned this goal a long time ago and is now aiming for world domination, wanting to remake the world with him in power as the only intelligent mind.
  • Scorpius in Farscape may well be one of these. There are arguments on either side as to whether he genuinely believes that he has to save the rest of the galaxy from the Scarrans, or whether he's seeking selfish vengeance on them and doesn't give a crap about anyone else. Wayne Pygram, the actor, definitely thinks the latter.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider: Skyrider: The Great Leader of Neo-Shocker claims that Neo-Shocker's goal is simply to cut the human population by 1/3rd to prevent the planets resources from being over-used and save humanity from eventual extinction. However, when confronted by the Riders, he tries to wipe out all of the Earth's oxygen which would wipe out all life on earth, including all of humanity, just to spite the Riders showing ultimately his claims of good intentions are false.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Masamune Dan claims that, at first, all he wants to do is help balance Kamen Rider Chronicle and save the lost players within the game, even going as far to seize the ultimate power of the game, which is needed to clear it, to give himself an edge as he interferes. Later on though, it's revealed that this isn't his intention at all; his true plan is to market the game worldwide to goad everyone in the world to play it, die in battle, and be transferred into data he may control and possibly never let go. Indeed, when he has no chance of worldwide distribution of the game, he simply decides to cause human genocide by infecting everyone on earth to turn them into data.
    • Kamen Rider Dragon Knight: Xaviax claims his intent is to save his dying world. However, the only reason it's dying in the first place is because of a war he himself was a part of and saw kidnapping people of other worlds as slave labor was the best solution. It gets increasingly clear Xaviax only really cares about conquering other worlds than to save his own.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
      • Garrett vaguely mentions HYDRA's aims but it quickly becomes clear he joined HYDRA purely for his own selfish goals.
      • Hive claims to want to unite the world by transforming them into Inhumans it can "sway", and refuses to harm Inhumans. Essentially his plan is to remove The Evils of Free Will, though the people swayed retain some free will (their personalities are unchanged and one of the first things an infected Daisy does is to correct Hive when it uses her old name), plus everyone will have superpowers. Then the doctor it has working to create Inhumans transforms a test group into feral subhumans — but because Hive can control them, it declares this a success and refuses to let the doctor refine the process. It also tries to drain Daisy fatally to expedite the process of making more, demonstrating that world domination is its only real priority.
    • Daredevil: Wilson Fisk wants to destroy Hells Kitchen so he can build over it, believing he is doing the city a favour as the area is rampant with crime and poverty, although his true motive is that is traumatised from bad memories of growing up there and thus wants to destroy an entire town to give himself a sense of peace. In order to do this he has amassed money and power by becoming a powerful crime lord and allying with violent Russian gangsters as well as two factions of the Hand as well as getting a full third of New Yorks police department to become dirty cops on his payroll, sets off a gang war when the Russian gangsters annoy him too much, murders everyone who crosses him along with their friends and families, and purposely exacerbates the crime and corruption of the Kitchen in order to justify tearing it all down up to and including terrorising the residents and even bombing several buildings. When he is finally arrested for his crimes and on his way to court, he reluctantly admits to the armed police escorting him that he always thought of himself as the Good Samaritan- as in, explicitly comparing himself to the Bible parable- but now accepts that he is actually the men of ill intent who attack those the Samaritan, say, armed police escorting a crime lord down a road that they should not have been on.
  • Supernatural:
    • In the season 4 finale, as explained to Dean by the angel Zachariah, it's revealed that Heaven has allowed the Apocalypse to unfold because they desperately want to defeat Lucifer and his demons and finally create paradise on Earth. However, while Zachariah's boss the Archangel Michael is a genuine Well-Intentioned Extremist who believes it is his destiny to slay his brother and deeply regrets it, Zachariah himself doesn't give a damn about any cosmic plans and is only going along with it to further his own advancement in the angel hierarchy while feigning good intentions.
    • The British Men of Letters in season 12. Their original purpose was to simply research the paranormal and pass that knowledge on to hunters who would kill any threats to humanity. After the American chapter was wiped out by demons, the British Men of Letters was determined to avoid the same fate. So they made a deal with the King of Hell that he could make demon deals for souls as long as demons never attacked the island and they began killing all monsters whether they were harming humans or not. 50 years later they got tired of watching the American hunters, who by now had never even heard of the Men of Letters, flounder on their own, so the British Men of Letters invaded, tried to force their system on the entire US hunter network, and when it was forcefully rebuked as far too brutal, they decide to eliminate the American hunters. Over the year the British chapter was in the US, they murdered as many, if not more, humans than the monsters, including murdering the very hunters they were meant to help!
  • G-Saviour: General Garneaux tried to forcibly procure a serum, supposedly to help with a food crisis. But in reality, he wanted to destroy it in order to implement a policy of selective starvation, all in the name of power.
  • Criminal Minds A number of UnSubs qualify.
    • "The Tribe": Jackson Cally made an Apache Cult to initiate a race war for power, racism, and manipulation, but tricked everyone into thinking it was to get non-Apache out of the desert.
    • "Legacy": Charles Holcombe is a "housecleaner", killing those he sees unfit to live: junkies, homeless, prostitutes, etc. He claims to be doing a favor to the world, but between the Death Course he puts them through, and false promise of a chance to escape, this is clearly just a rationale for his own sadism.
    • "Amplification:" Chad Brown launches Anthrax attacks to, as he boasts, provide warning about the United States Government's laughable lack of preparedness for bio-terror, but once the BAU analyzes his reason to attack said locations, it turns out that he chooses his attack locations as revenge for minor slights (bookstore that he was fired from, park that he was dumped on, and the Army base constantly refused to accept him because he never learned that he was not supposed to check "yes" in the test's question that The Needs of the Many require the death of civilians).
    • "To Hell"/"And Back": Quadriplegic Mason Turner manipulates his mentally handicapped brother to murder people, and claims he's conducting experiments to find a cure for his condition. Garcia and Rossi immediately call BS, the set up he has is nowhere near sophisticated enough to conduct any experiments, he's just a sadist who gets sexual pleasure from the suffering of others. Emphasizing this, he has a number of mirrors set up to allow him to see the murders from his bed.

    Video Games 
  • The Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown DLC missions gives us Matias Torres, an Erusean captain and former war hero who commands the Alicorn, a massive nuclear powered super-submarine with WMD capabilities rivaling Stonehenge itself. He makes it clear from the start that he has deadly intentions, but preaches to his crew, who follow him loyally, that his cause is to end the war before it causes more casualties. However, as you fight him and push him further against the wall, his facade, and sanity begin to break down and it becomes clear his true intentions, as exposed by OIA agent David North, are to kill a million innocent people with a single shot from the Alicorn's main gun as part of his fetishistic obsession with death.
  • Asura's Wrath:
    • The Seven Deities do everything they can to destroy Gohma Vlitra and rid the world of the Gohma forever, especially since Emperor Strada refused to let them prepare for future attacks during peace times. But only Deus and Yasha truly care about the cause beyond their own interests with only Yasha regretting the atrocities they've committed; the rest of the Seven Deities only use the cause as an excuse to gather power for themselves.
    • Chakravartin claims to have destroyed and remade the world to find a suitable heir to be a god so he could find new worlds for him to spread his guidance. Asura calls him out as nothing more than The Sociopath who cares more about his god complex than actually helping anyone else.
  • Astral Chain: Yoseph Calvert seeks to save mankind from the Chimeras, and believes the only way for them to do so is to "become as gods." Eventually, however, he openly admits in File 10 that his main concern is more about how history will judge him as the savior of humanity rather than actually saving them.
  • BioShock:
  • Borderlands 2: Handsome Jack claims that he wants to save Pandora from all the bandit and dangerous creatures by taking over, but he himself is a violent, sadistic asshole who is barely any different from the bandits he is "saving" people from. And judging from Opportunity, his "paradise" would be something akin to North Korea, meaning the people of Pandora are justfied in taking their chances with the bandits and monsters.
  • DanMachi: Memoria Freese: In the Nightemare Academia campaign, Tiones Walpurgis(a.k.a. the Spirit of the Dream) and her fellow spirits kidnap people and drag them into their dream world claiming it to be a paradise that protects them from the pain and suffering of the real world. But said paradise was in reallity, as Fels called out, “a nightmare of death” and the happiness provided there was false and temporary as the kidnapping victims would eventually die.
  • Deltarune: The King of Spades tries to present himself as acting in the Dark World's best interests and justified in his quest for revenge against the Lighteners, at one point claiming he's a hero to his people. However, the fact that he dethroned and imprisoned the other three kings of the Card Kingdom, combined with his draconian policies and willingness to kill his own son just for befriending the heroes, makes it abundantly clear that he's merely a selfish tyrant who wants to expand his realm by conquering both the Light and Dark Worlds.
  • The Hive in Destiny see themselves as liberators, crusading across the galaxy to destroy the Traveler and the lies it espouses, which lure civilizations into complacent, decadent stagnation. The Hive are social darwinists who worship the concept of Might Makes Right, and their definition of “decadent stagnation” involves things like pacifism and caring about other people.
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, there is Hugh Darrow, who is credited as the "father of augmentation". However, near the end of the game, he activates a "switch" that causes all mechanically-augmented individuals to go insane. Since there are hundreds of thousands of augmented people, this is utter chaos. He claims to have done it in order to shock humanity into banning augmentation outright, both out of remorse for essentially playing God and for engineering the Illuminati's path to world domination. But if your persuasion skills are good enough you can get him to admit that he did it out of petty jealousy: ironically, his body rejects all but the simplest augmentations, so he has come to resent other people because they can use his inventions while he cannot and is taking out his jealousy on everyone else.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy 5: The Devourer claims that its crusade against the player party is for the sake of maintaining order and balance in the universe, but it really views the universe's inhabitants as cogs in a machine and has no qualms about wiping out an entire planet just to kill off a few disobedient sentient beings.
  • Eternal Twilight
    • Azael claims that he once wanted to kill the first human because he feared that non-magic users would eventually try to persecute the Magi. It's unknown how sincere he was at the time, but in the present, he has no care for his fellow Magi, and is willing to convince an empire to enact a genocide of Magi simply to get rid of the Black Magi who could potentially succeed him as a Supreme, as well as to kill off any Magi he deems "weak."
    • Empress Verona claims that the genocide of Magi is necessary to rid the world of dangerous, devil-worshipping Blood Magi like the aforementioned Azael. However, she shows no mercy for her fellow humans if they dare to question or oppose her genocidal goals. It turns out she's secretly sacrificing strong Magi to steal their powers while killing off the weaker ones, all to ensure that only she and her followers can use magic.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII: Barret Wallace blows down power plants and mows down Shinra employees without a second thought, justifying it by pointing out Shinra's mako reactors are sucking the planet dry and will eventually bring about The End of the World as We Know It. Later, however, Barret realizes he was just using that as an excuse, and he was only destroying the reactors because of his personal grudge against Shinra. After this, he reconsiders his strategies.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics: When you meet Cardinal Alphonse Delacroix at the end of Chapter 2, he gives a speech of this nature to try and convince you that his goal is to make the world a better place regardless of cost. When Ramza shoots him down, he immediately turns into a Lucavi, revealing that it was all a lie and his real goals are far more horrific.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Nergal from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade is revealed to be this should you get all of the extra side chapters in Hector's story. He started out as an actual Well-Intentioned Extremist, wanting to get more power so he could rescue his wife and then reunite with his kids. Unfortunately, The Dark Side Will Make You Forget kicked in big time, and Nergal eventually decided that the reason he wanted power must've been because he actually wanted to use dragons to take over the world.
    • Gangrel from Fire Emblem Awakening acts like he loves Plegia and wants to fight for their interests, but all he really wants is power and to start a war with Ylisse just because he can. Supports in Spot Pass reveal that he was actually a Well-Intentioned Extremist who was conquering places in order to strengthen the country against Walhart, but the power went to his head and caused Motive Decay.
    • Desaix, from Fire Emblem Gaiden and its 3DS remake, Shadows of Valentia, killed the King because he thought he could be a better King for Zofia and guide the nation to a better state, considering Lima IV to be a hedonistic and poor ruler spoiled with the blessings of Mila, and considering Mila herself to no longer be worthy of being worshiped, as she had grown slothful and uncaring (he even refers to her as a "monster"). However, he comes off as just a power-hungry and murderous man driven by personal ambition rather than the good of Zofia despite the situation, not exactly doing a better job at being king than Lima IV was.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses has Nemesis and those who slither in the dark. Nemesis is viewed by history as a Fallen Hero, whose followers believed he would liberate the world from the rule of Abusive Precursors. In truth Nemesis was a common bandit who only waged war on the Children of the Goddess for personal power, and massacred their race to make weapons from their bones and blood. Those who slither in the dark were his backers, who still exist in the present day and declare themselves the "saviors of all". Though they aid Edelgard in their war against Rhea and the Church of Seiros, their reasons for opposing them are nowhere near as well-intentioned: they only do so out of petty revenge and general Fantastic Racism towards them and all surface peoples.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon: Though Genevieve Aristide pretends that she is interested in locking down Project Origin to keep people safe, Aristide's actions, up to and including murdering one of the people who was putting her in protective custody, and setting the other up as The Bait for Alma, give away the fact that she is far less interested in the public wellbeing or her own employees than she is about her own safety and status.
  • Freedom Planet: Lord Brevon's after the Kingdom Stone to save his world and will do whatever it takes to get it, but Torque throws this right back in his face by pointing out that the suffering he's caused to other worlds is the reason his planet is in danger in the first place. Brevon doesn't deny this.
  • God of War: In the past, Kratos was a warmongering, bloodthirsty Spartan who led his soldiers on conquest after conquest. When his wife Lysandra called him out on it, Kratos declared that he was going it for the glory of Sparta; Lysandra was not convinced and knew that he only did it for his own personal glory.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • Officer Frank Tenpenny in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a brutal and corrupt cop who claims to be doing what's necessary to fight gang violence and drug abuse. In reality, he is nothing more than a self-serving criminal who builds his empire using street gangs as his pawns and becomes hated enough by the public that riots break out all over Los Santos when he is acquitted on trial of his crimes (due to all witnesses being silenced by CJ's actions).
    • Deputy Police Commissioner Francis McReary in Grand Theft Auto IV is deluded about his "good intentions" since while he rants about corruption, drugs and gangs ruining Liberty City, he is noted by his criminal brother Packie to be just as crooked as him and their other brothers, perhaps even more so. Though he justifies his actions by working towards a greater good, all missions he gives out to Niko are to get rid of people that could expose his corrupt activity as a dealer/pimp, claiming that police procedure would take too long, but it's clear he did it to silence him since said criminal had dirt on McReary.
    • Steve Haines in Grand Theft Auto V is an FIB agent who claims to be fighting the good fight against terrorist threats and boasts that he serves America's greater good. Ultimately, he serves himself first and foremost - when discovering that the IAA is planning to stage a terrorist attack to increase their funding, he is more concerned about the rival agency getting funding over the FIB more than the citizens' safety. He also has a sadistic streak, such as when he orders the unnecessary torture of an innocent man willing to cooperate for no reason but to amuse himself.
  • inFAMOUS:
    • inFAMOUS 2: Joseph Bertrand III claims that he just wants to protect New Marais from the "freaks" and "monsters" that threaten his fair city; but not only is he actually a freak himself, he was responsible for creating those monsters and setting them loose in the first place, all as part of his plans to seize power over the city, along with validating both his huge ego and self-hatred.
    • Infamous Second Son: It's revealed at the end of the game that Brooke Augustine set up the D.U.P. and captures Conduits because she believes that humanity will never accept Conduits and imprisoning them is the only way to keep them safe from those that would try to kill them. Of course, she's prevented from being actually sympathetic by her blatant sadism, and the inhumane experiments on and treatment of the Conduits she has imprisoned.
  • Jak II: Renegade: Baron Praxis claims his tyrannical rule is necessary to protect Haven City against the Metal Heads, but in reality, all he cares about is staying in power, and it turns out he's been bribing them into attacking the city to justify his rule. Even his ultimate plan to backstab them is because the deal's about to fall apart.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Master Xehanort once believed that the universe was too full of light and believed a balance between light and darkness was the way for a perfect world to exist. His solution — begin a Keyblade War to engulf the worlds in darkness, and when he wins and claims the power of Kingdom Hearts, he can remake it in his image of balance. However, he's since become Drunk on the Dark Side, and his only goal these days is power and knowledge for the sake of having them. Dream Drop Distance sums it up best, when Mickey calls him out on what he did to Terra, Ven, and Aqua during Birth by Sleep; rather than make an I Did What I Had to Do speech about them, Xehanort casually invokes But for Me, It Was Tuesday and claims Because Destiny Says So as a justification for ruining their lives. In Kingdom Hearts III, he tries to reassert his noble intentions, but shows no remorse for the fact that his plan would require all life in the World to be wiped out by darkness before all can be reborn in light, and states his desire to lead the Next World in order to dictate all destinies, making himself appear like a would-be tyrant looking for a rationale to justify his tyranny.
  • Legacy of Kain: The Elder God constantly pressures Raziel to kill Kain, insisting it's necessary to restore balance to the dying lands of Nosgoth. In reality, all he cares about is finding more souls to feed on and spin in his Wheel of Fate and take over Nosgoth for himself, and he wants Kain dead because, as the Scion of Balance, he's the only one who can stop him.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky: The Big Bad, Georg Weissmann, claims to be fixing humanity's flaws by using the Stigma to make them perfect, thus preventing their Vicious Cycle of complacency, regression, and violence. Given that he constantly instigates human conflict and enjoys the suffering caused by his schemes, it becomes obvious he's a misanthrope who cares more about controlling and toying with humanity than actually saving them. This is further shown in his interactions with Joshua and Kevin. He claims the Stigma can save them from their tragic pasts, but is angered when their friends help them overcome their issues with their own free will, since that robs him of the opportunity to experiment on them and mold them to his liking.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Mass Effect
    • Warden Kuril from the second game claims that he runs the prison ship Purgatory to take on all the criminals that nobody wants on their planets. However, he also tortures his prisoners, enslaves them, and runs a protection racket on all the planets he visits (if they don't donate to keep Purgatory running, he'll return their prisoners to them at an unspecified time and place). He also tries to kidnap Commander Shepard for their bounty. This does not end well for him.
    • Cerberus claims that they want what's best for humanity. Basically the only thing they've done that made anything better for anyone was reviving Shepard. The third game reveals that they were Indoctrinated all along, and so were unconsciously acting to help the Reapers.
  • Mega Man Zero: Back when Dr Weil pitched Project Elpizo (creating the perfect Reploid to be used with the Mother Elf so he can control Reploids worldwide) to the masses, he claimed that it was to prevent Reploids from going Maverick ever again. His true intention, however, was simply to Take Over the World through mass Reploid brainwashing. The problem was, well, the world had already rid itself of most Mavericks thanks to X using Mother Elf, so nothing exactly justified his "concern". So he creates the Evil Plan above that leads to the Elf Wars. His true intentions were only made clear once Zero in a new copy body stole the Dark Elf from him and he was forced to unleash Omega and other controlled Reploids on the masses.
  • Metal Gear: The Patriots. They claim that they act in the best interests of humanity, but given their blatant disregard for human life they display in a needlessly dangerous and expensive plan which only served to test their ability to manipulate human beings, which included likely deliberately leaving the hostages on Big Shell to die since it was made without lifeboats, they seem far more interested in maintaining their own control over anything else. In addition, they later establish the war economy, resulting in countless soldiers dying and the public being groomed into promoting and continuing an endless cycle of wars.
  • Metal Wolf Chaos: Richard Hawk claims he's trying to improve America by culling the weak and lazy. Then he tries to nuke the entire planet out of spite for his rival, showing that he doesn't care about anything except his own power.
  • Mortal Kombat 11: Kronika claims to want Balance Between Good and Evil, and seeks to do so by causing a Time Crash and beginning the timeline anew. However, her idea of a balance between good and evil is about having her two children Cetrion and Shinnok pitting the realms against one another endlessly, leading to never-ending fighting just so that she can dictate how everyone's destiny unfolds, and she's also repeatedly wiped out countless timelines trying to put her plan into motion. Raiden even calls her out on it, telling her point-blank that good and evil being equally powerful is literally the worst possible thing.
  • Neo Contra: Master Contra claims he wants to destroy Earth as a means to demolish all structured society and their morals. In reality, him destroying the planet is simply For the Evulz.
  • Enoch, the guardian of the third zone from Off. When you meet him, he claims that his zone is a fortress of "happiness, a wall against the spectres" and that all he's done, he's done for the good of his people. While Enoch started out as a genuinely good man, by the time you find him, it's blatantly clear that what he's saying is bullshit, as he's creating a substance made from burned bodies and feeding it to his workers, and they are so dependent on it as a drug they go mad and berserk without it. He also posts signs advertising that the very hostile spectres are nice and friendly, deliberately making it easier for his workers to get killed to supply more bodies to make the substance. So he puts up a facade of Well Intentioned Extremist, but he isn't one.
  • Persona 5:
  • Upon derailing his plan in Pokémon Black and White, Ghetsis reveals himself as Team Plasma's true mastermind and that their stated goal of freeing Pokémon was a lie and his real plan was to take over the region by being the only faction left with Pokémon. By the sequel, Team Plasma has split into those who sincerely want to help Pokémon, and those following Ghetsis to Take Over the World and not bothering to hide their ill-intent anymore.
  • Blackwatch in [PROTOTYPE 2] are this in what's more or less a parody of their Well-Intentioned Extremist portrayal in the original game (and Necessarily Evil organizations in general). Sure, maybe it's necessary to have an army of sociopathic soldiers willing to shoot children and generally slaughter screaming civilians in order to stop the Zombie Apocalypse, but when you drop them in a major population center you'll find that the average trooper didn't sign up to protect anybody.
  • Chairman Drek from Ratchet & Clank (2002) is destroying planets and taking pieces of them to make a new world for his species, the Blarg, since their old planet, Orxon, is too polluted to live on. He's the one who polluted it, and is making this new planet because he's getting money for it. And once everyone's moved in, he'll repeat the process for more cash. Subverted in the remake, where it's his father who polluted his planet (which is now Quartu instead of Orxon), and his plan really is just to find a new world for him and his people.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil 5: Wesker claims during the climax of the game that his releasing Uroboros across the world and kick-starting a biological apocalypse will save the world, since humans come closer to self-destruction every day anyway, but it's obvious to anyone who's paying attention that he's nothing but a crazy social Darwinist whose actions are centered around fueling his raging god complex.
    • Resident Evil 6: Simmons' primary motivation for having the President zombified is to prevent the social unrest and mayhem that he believes would be the inevitable result of revealing the U.S. government's involvement in the Raccoon City incident. However, Simmons is prevented from becoming sympathetic by his lust for Ada Wong. Not only do Simmons' actions in pursuit of his lust squick out several other characters (most notably Ada herself and her Love Interest Leon Kennedy, whose disgusted reactions will most likely be shared by the player), they are also the direct cause for Carla Radames' Start of Darkness, and therefore, pretty much every bad thing that happened over the course of the game. Furthermore, in the process of preventing said information from becoming public, he infects and kills over 70,000 innocent people with the C-Virus; Helena even calls him out on it, pointing out that he caused an actual disaster to prevent a possible one.
  • Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time: Penelope claims she's betrayed the Cooper Gang to Le Paradox for Bentley's sake, as he's wasting his potential on them. But as Bentley himself points out, Penelope is a selfish Gold Digger, acting like a yandere when she's actually a sociopath. She may claim everything she did was for Bentley, but in the end, Penelope is nothing more than a Classic Villain with no noble motivations, and just sees Bentley as a tool.
  • Songbird Symphony: During the villain's Motive Rant, he declares that the songbirds and their ability to sing others' birdsong just makes everybirdy else overindulged and dependent. This sounds like a Well-Intentioned Extremist viewpoint, until he goes on to say that he should be the one with that power.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006): Mephiles sent Blaze & Silver to the past, not to help them stop Iblis from destroying the world by killing Sonic as he claimed but to use Silver to break Iblis' seal so that Mephiles and Iblis can reform into Solaris and consume all the time in existence.
  • Soul Calibur VI: Azwel regularly claims to love the human race and that his experiments and goals are for the benefit of humanity. In reality, he's a maniacal sadist who intends to exterminate most of the human population with the Ultimate Seed and rule over the remainder as a living god.
  • Spider-Man (PS4): Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin states that his criminal empire kept order in New York, and the ensuing power vacuum will completely destroy it. Spider-Man, Mary Jane, and the authorities themselves all dismiss Fisk's claims, stating that his actions have caused so much harm to the people of the city that there's no way they can justify viewing him as Necessarily Evil.
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon: Before the game's events, the Sorceress drove the dragons out of their homelands, the Forgotten Worlds, so she could take over as the ruler. Subsequently, she discovered that the dragons were the source of all magic in the Forgotten Worlds, and without them, it's all drying up. She sends Bianca to capture 150 dragon eggs and bring them back to their world, claiming that doing so will restore the magic and return the Forgotten Worlds to the way they were. Near the end of the game, the Sorceress reveals what she really wants the eggs for: to use their wings in a spell to make herself immortal, and intends to kill them just because it would be easier if they didn't struggle. Bianca is rightfully disgusted by that reveal and does a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Super Paper Mario:
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X: Grandmaster Luxaar claims that he wishes to exterminate humans to protect the Ganglion species, who under the Earthlings might once again become slaves, or be wiped out entirely. However, while the biological threat humanity poses to them turns out to be genuine, this is undercut by his organization being a crime syndicate that actively enslaves or exterminates other species in the name of consolidating power. He and other Ganglion higher-ups are shown to have believed humans too primitive to be an immediate threat (as shown by him wondering how humanity even got the technology that helped them escape Earth's destruction) and generally treat them as lesser beings that deserve annihilation and that are unworthy of being the true descendants of the Samaarians.
  • Ys:
    • In the Esteria arcnote , Darm, aka Cain Fact, claims that he seeks to use the Demonic Essence because the twin goddesses are limiting humanity's potential by not allowing them to control the Black Pearl. This is just a thinly-veiled excuse for a power-grab for himself, as shown centuries later when he wages war on the people of Ys/Esteria and sacrifices countless humans in rituals to restore his power.
    • Gruda from Memories of Celceta claims he's in the right for unleashing the apocalypse upon humanity because he sees them as weak, lazy, and in need of "trials" to bring out their full potential. While his supposed master, Dark Eldeel, has similar views, he still genuinely cares for humanity and wants them to survive his trials, even if he has to hold back against them. On the other hand, Gruda believes that if humans cannot survive the full brunt of the apocalypse, they don't deserve to exist. He cements this after the Final Boss battle, where he refuses to accept that the party passed his "trial" and madly tries to resume wiping out humanity.

    Visual Novels 
  • Chaos;Head: While President Genichi Norose claims to have good intentions, in that he wants to create a utopia by mind-controlling humanity to quash their primal urges, the fact that he's a Straw Nihilist pursuing his goals to horrific extremes fueled by a god complex make him just as bad as the humans he despises. In the end, he just wants power.
  • In the third case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, Aristotle Means claims that, to fight the rampant corruption in the Dark Age of the Law, you have to use corrupt means yourself (“the ends justify the means” is his personal motto). However, it's later revealed that he is the one who framed Juniper for the murder of Courte, who discovered Aristotle accepting bribes from O'Conner's parents. Aristotle, upon being discovered, says that the dark age of the law was beautiful and not to be fought at all. Athena is quick to chew him out on it.
    Athena: They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but not yours! You never had good intentions, only lies to protect yourself with while blaming another. You, professor, are the embodiment of the dark age of the law!

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Adam Taurus was a lieutenant in the White Fang who Blake originally believes shares her idealism for a world where humans and faunus are equal and peaceful. Even after she abandons him in the Black Trailer for his callous plan to blow up human civilians during their train heist, Blake still assumes he's just gone too far in pursuit of a noble goal. When they confront each other at the end of Volume 3, however, Blake understands for the first time that Adam never shared her future vision, believes peaceful equality is impossible, and instead wants to enslave humanity and destroy everyone and everything Blake loves as punishment for abandoning him. He later murders and usurps his boss, Sienna Khan, with a smile, because she isn't ruthless enough to lead the Faunus into a war they can't win against humanity.
    • The Albain brothers share many of Adam's same goals for Faunus supremacy, but come off looking slightly better because they're not selfish assholes murdering people for petty spite. Much of their time is spent translating Adam's angry rants and needlessly cruel orders into something that sounds clever and pragmatic, which the rest of the White Fang will accept more readily.
    • General James Ironwood is a type 3. He legitimately wanted to, or at least believed he wanted to, save and protect the entire world. However his former alliance and friendship with Jacques Schnee and his willingness to backstab Ozpin to assume his position feeling he could do better show he was already a morally compromised individual. This was made clearer over the ensuing seasons where after the Fall of Beacon he withdraws all foreign aid, his callous disregard for Mantle's safety by leaving it inequitably defended and stealing resources for his "world saving" project and dismissing the thousands of people as "just a few city blocks" when called on it. Finally he completes the path when upon being infiltrated he turns on his allies for not being totally obedient to him, declares himself dictator. Then he cancels an evacuation before he is even ready to leave, after opting to abandon the entire world to save Atlas by running to hide in the sky and hope for the best and trying to murder a 14 year old who gently disagreed with him. (he all of these decisions barring shooting Oscar before knowing Salem was coming) Showing that despite his grand ambitions, it all comes back to protecting Atlas first.
  • Season 15 of Red vs. Blue gives us the season's Big Bad Mark Temple, leader of the Blues and Reds. After his Freudian Excuse is shown, one can't help but have some sympathy for what made him into the monster he is now, since he's completely right to be furious about he and his friends being used as a Redshirt Army and target practice by Project Freelancer, and also about the UNSC sending them off to Project Freelancer in the first place. Unfortunately, that newly-gained sympathy for him is promptly thrown out the window when it's revealed that not only his reaction to that aforementioned torment is to degenerate into an Ax-Crazy Serial Killer who has been tracking down the remaining Freelancers (and while It's Personal against Tex and Carolina, who killed his friend and didn't care, he goes after every agent indiscriminately, including against Washington, the guy who brought down Project Freelancer) and subjecting them to horrific deaths by armor lock-induced dehydration and starvation, but that he also wants to forcibly dismantle the entire UNSC, a galactic federation full of countless innocent civilians that will be slaughtered in the crossfire.

    Web Original 
  • Blood After Midnight: Kelvin presents himself as a benevolent cult leader who claims to be killing people in order to resurrect the demon Shadoth so that he can use the beast's power to eradicate technology and secure jobs for his followers. Ultimately, this proves to be a lie, as Kelvin's nothing more than a selfish sadist who eradicates his own followers once his plans have been achieved, and is only using Shadoth to conquer the world for himself.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • From the original cartoon:
      • Sozin claims the Fire Nation's campaign of global conquest is a way of "sharing their wealth and ideals with the rest of the world and uniting the four nations". Over the 100 years this campaign lasted the Fire Nation has committed actions such the genocide of the Air Nomads (a peaceful people) to try and wipe out the next Avatar, the kidnapping and displacement of the Southern Water Tribe, attempted genocide of the Sun Warriors (who themselves are Fire Nation), occupation of Earth Kingdom territory, and propaganda meant to paint other nations as savage and evil. While the flashbacks show Sozin genuinely believed in that goal and ultimately realized how fall he had fallen on his deathbed, that reasoning effectively became nothing more than a cover for the plain goal to Take Over the World by the present-day. Zuko calls out his father Ozai and by extension the entire Fire Nation out on this pointing out that the Fire Nation's actions have justifiably earned them nothing but hate and fear from the people all around the world.
      • Hama was a waterbender from the Southern Water Tribe who was kidnapped by Fire Nation soldiers from home. She escaped using a technique she invented that allowed her to manipulate the water in people's bodies. Hama hid in the Fire Nation and used this technique to kidnap civilians. Hama insists that she and Katara have a duty to stop the Fire Nation and avenge their crimes, but there is no sign that Hama has actually been combating the Fire Nation's campaign of conquest unlike Katara and her friends and seems happy to just take out her anger on innocent civilians.
    • Most villains in the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra legitimately want to make the world a better place, but just go overboard. (Though Vaatu, the Big Bad of Season 2, is the personification of evil itself, and doesn't hide his true nature in the least.) Among the human antagonists, the one clear exception is Korra's uncle, the other Big Bad of Season 2, Unalaq. A strongly religious Knight Templar, Unalaq seeks to unite the spirit and material worlds, and argues that the world needs to respect the spirits, but Korra calls him out for being a power-hungry Hypocrite. He is shown ready to sacrifice his own children to achieve his ends, and is also working with the literal embodiment of all evil. Whatever good intentions he had may have been genuine at one point, but by the time he's introduced, it's become a sham, warped to Omnicidal Maniac-dom by his desire for power.
  • Action Man (2000): Dr. X claims he's trying to help humanity evolve, even if many won't survive the transformation into "Neo-Humanity". In actuality, he's a psychopath with delusions of grandeur and world conquest. In fact, his plan is a very literal example of In Their Own Image, as he plot to turn the most physically powerful survivors into clones of himself. When his plans start to crumble, he decides to decimate the Earth with an asteroid. He basically says "I am humanity" during his final We Can Rule Together speech to Action Man.
  • Alfred J. Kwak: Dolf leads a fascist coup of Great Waterland after building up his own political movement and making public speeches denouncing the King's terrible spending and that he doesn't take his job very seriously. While Dolf is absolutely right about those things and his own popularity with the people is what gets him into power, he is actually only interested in seizing the throne for himself. After deposing the King, he immediately names himself Emperor and becomes even more tyrannical than his predecessor.
  • Hyperion in Avengers, Assemble! constantly passes himself off as a hero whose brutal methods towards others are to keep people safe and establish order, but not only does threatening people's lives go against the intent to protect them, but he is unwilling to make compromises, has no sense of compassion whatsoever and he later says he's only interested in having power over others.
  • The Batman: During the two-part premiere episode of the fifth season, Lex Luthor puts Superman under his control to help in his plan control Earth's defense systems. Since an Alien Invasion took place previously, he insists that this is to make sure no one tries to take over the world. Batman points out the one hypocritical point of his plan: Lex is basically trying to Take Over the World himself, since this involves robots that destroy foreign military bases that step out of line. Lex half-heartedly defends himself by saying that "someone has to be in charge".
  • Big Hero 6: The Series: Di says she will go to any and every measure to cure the real Liv Amara's terminal illness. The issue is that she takes her "progress at all costs" mantra way too literally. There were ways to find a cure that were easier, cheaper, and more scrupulous, but Di was too proud and callous to come up with any, and doesn't mind mutating humans into monsters for funding.
  • Castlevania (2017): The Bishop abuses his authority to use anyone fighting Dracula's monsters not affiliated with the Church as scapegoats to his denial that Lisa's death was his fault. He also seems fine with all the murder as it gives him a higher standing in the Church with fewer people. Ultimately his supposed goal of helping the people are just hollow lies to get away with murder and heartlessness. In the end, he's killed by the demon Blue Fangs, who tells him point-blank that his Knight Templar ways have desanctified his Church and caused God to turn His back on him.
  • Danny Phantom: Walker is the warden of the Ghost Zone prison and seems keen to combat the chaos with order in his prison. However, the rules he establishes are extreme, from arresting Danny for " real world contraband" even after Danny says he's arrived to retrieve it. While there are ghosts who intend to do harm, the fact that Wulf, who is not evil, was a prisoner suggests he's not actively doing any real good. Add on how he had his men attack Amity Park, framed Danny Phantom, and kidnapped teenagers as hostages, it's clear he's just a Control Freak and nothing more.
  • DuckTales (2017): General Lunaris portrays his invasion of the Earth to his people as them simply acting in self-preservation...except the "attack" on the moon was orchestrated by Lunaris himself, and his actions are driven more by a disire to surpass the Earth, as opposed to any concern for his people. Any illusions that he was acting for his peoples interests are swept aside when he attempts to destroy the Earth while all his people are still on it, purely so it "won't be a planet" anymore.
  • Generator Rex:
    • Van Kleiss claims all of his evil is him merely working to create a better future for all EVOs, but It's propaganda. He's been going for omnipotence since before the start.
    • Hunter Cain wants everyone to see him as the hero of the people against the Evos. It's clear to anyone who does meet him that he's full of hate and paranoia and looking for an excuse to kill anyone or anything he doesn't like. He will go to any extreme even if it goes against what he supposedly fights for, even threatening to murder an old woman for protecting the Evo children under her care.
  • Gravity Falls: Bill Cipher claims he wants to liberate the heroes' dimension, and make it a fun world with no rules or restrictions. However, that would render it pure chaos inhospitable to non-demonic life, and it and his Weirdmageddon back in his own decaying world is heavily implied to be why it's decaying in the first place. Considering his sadism and how he admits he's insane and wicked either way, it's very likely his claim is just an excuse for his own enjoyment.
  • Green Lantern: The Animated Series: Atrocitus formed the Red Lantern Corps to take revenge on the Guardians for the Manhunters' destruction of the forgotten zone. However, he's also destroyed countless worlds and murdered millions of innocents to add to his army. He rejects Hal Jordan's offer to help the forgotten zone, meaning he's a violent monster who is more interested in killing the Guardians than actually helping his sector.
  • Starlight Glimmer from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. In "The Cutie Map – Part 1" and "Part 2", she rules over a town where she removes the individual talents of all her followers — sometimes taking them forcefully, then brainwashing the ponies into accepting their place in her kid-friendly Harrison Bergeron cult. Ostensibly, Starlight does this because she believes true friendship can only come through perfect equality, which in turn is only possible when everyone is equally (in)competent. But she retains her own considerable talent for magic, suggesting that she's really more interested in power than in equality. When called out on this hypocrisy, Starlight claims that it's a necessary fudge, because her own magic is needed to equalize everyone else. It's debatable whether she actually believes this, or is just covering her ass. And then Starlight reveals her past in "The Cutie Re-Mark – Part 2'': she was heartbroken when a childhood friend moved away to pursue his own special talent, and developed her "equality" philosophy in response. In effect, she became a cult leader just to ensure no-one ever hurt her feelings again. She possibly straddles the line between this trope and Well-Intentioned Extremist, depending on how much she believes her own lies — a point the show is ambiguous about.
  • Samurai Jack: The High Priestess of a cult that worships Aku raised her daughters to believe Aku was a force of good and Samurai Jack was the evil ruining their world. The sole survivor, Ashi, discovers the opposite is true and sides with Jack. Later, she attempts to kill Jack herself while he's unable to fight back, showing she's just a fanatic blindly loyal to Aku who would rather have her own children risk their lives than she herself.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: While Toffee was implied to have once had good intentions in the form of wanting to liberate his monster brethren from oppression on Mewni, these seem to be completely gone by the present in favor of revenge. Even then, it's eventually revealed he murdered Comet more out of hatred than her having actually done anything wrong, as she was probably the single most pro-monster queen other than Eclipsa and genuinely trying to give the monsters racial equality.
  • South Park:
    • Lampshaded when Eric Cartman commits several atrocities with Cthulhu's help, and his friends immediately call him out on it. His response is, "I'm just trying to make the world a better place," only to be called out, "For YOU! Making the world better for YOU!". Cartman still doesn't get it.
      Cartman: Right, that's what heroes do.
    • In "Cartoon Wars, Part 1", when terrorists threaten reprisals over a depiction of The Prophet Muhammad in an episode of Family Guy, Cartman uncharacteristically takes the point of view that people could get hurt over it, and convinces Kyle to help him get the episode taken off the air. However, it turns out he just hates Family Guy and wants to exploit the controversy to get the show cancelled.
    • Lennart Bedrager from Season 20 seems to want to stop trolling and make the world a safer place and prevent similar fates like Freja. However many of his methods result in massive destruction, such as the incident in Fort Collins, and his plan to pit countries against each other. Then it is revealed in "Not Funny" that he has no good intentions at all and wants to cause World War III solely because he finds it amusing.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987):
      • In the episode "Dirk Savage", A.J. Howard hires the eponymous mutant hunter to capture mutants claiming them to be a menace to society with no regard to them being good or evil. However, not only is Howard a mutant himself, he plans to build an army of brainwashed mutants in hopes of mutating and controlling the entire human race, this leads to Don and Raph stopping a vengeful Rahzar from killing Dirk in order to convince him to turn against Howard.
      • In the episode "Cry H.A.V.O.C.!", the Turtles meet the mutant organization H.A.V.O.C., which claims to protect mutants shunned by humans; Donatello and Raphael, sick of being Heroes with Bad Publicity and dealing with the ingratitude of humans, decide to join them… until they discover H.A.V.O.C. mutating a captive man and realize their real goal is to mutate people to dominate humanity completely.
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): Rat King, despite stating his goal is to liberate rats, has sent several plummeting to their doom to kill Splinter, doesn't lift a finger to help one that mutated itself by accident, and called them disgusting shortly before his mutation. It seems more likely he considers his brethren a means to an end than actually believing in his goals.
  • Transformers: The Decepticons generally at least claim to have some sympathetic goal like restoring Cybertron to glory, preserving the Cybertronian race, or eliminating a Fantastic Caste System. They're always undermined by the fact that most of their ranks are inherently cruel and vicious towards anyone who's not a Decepticon. The fact that the Autobots also share their goals, but pursue them in a much more humane way is what solidifies them as the villains of the franchise.
  • Xavier: Renegade Angel: Xavier claims to want to help people, but he actually only cares about being seen as someone who helps people. The finale shows that he's totally fine with burning innocent people to death if he doesn't think he'll personally gain from helping them or just to get out of an awkward situation.


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