Who doesn’t love a good binge watching session of some old classic Disney movies? We certainly do. The wave of nostalgia is great as we watch the prince rescue the princess, the bad guy get defeated, and the whole cast burst into song. Ah, the memories! Everyone is dressed beautifully and their hair always looks perfect, even if they’ve just come out of battle or have been running through the woods. And don’t get me started on the songs that are pure joy. We find ourselves humming them for weeks afterwards.
But what about the bad guys? Have you ever stopped to really think about the Disney villains? How bad are they really? Are they bad because Disney tells us they’re bad or are they really that evil? Turns out, not all of them are all that bad. In fact, some are just really misunderstood. Don’t believe me? Check out the 15 Disney villains below who really deserve a second chance.
Maleficent’s whole thing boils down to the fact that she just wanted to be included. Sure, her skin is green and she has horns, but that doesn’t make her unworthy of love, does it? She’s still a person. And if the king and queen were going to throw a party to introduce their daughter to the kingdom and invite everyone, they could’ve thrown an invitation Maleficent’s way. Honestly, we could’ve avoided all of the drama if they had just included her. One lousy invite and your daughter could’ve lived in the castle her entire life, instead of in the woods with some fairies, and the whole spinning wheel thing wouldn’t be a problem. They would have actually watched Aurora grow up! And just think of the gift Maleficent would’ve brought for Aurora’s birth! Girlfriend was a powerful sorceress so you better believe she would’ve shown up with something great.
14. Captain Hook
We kind of sympathize with Captain Hook. He actually has a good reason to be going after Peter Pan. First of all, Peter Pan is a bit of a weirdo. He kidnaps children and brings them back to Neverland where he enslaves them under some guise of staying young forever. #Creepy. Why do you want to surround yourself with young boys, Peter? Plus he’s clearly working Tinker Bell, Wendy, and Tiger Lily all at the same time. That’s reason enough to be against him. But then he fed Captain Hook’s hand to a crocodile leaving Hook hand-less and with a crippling case of PTSD. Of course Hook wants his revenge! This Peter guy is one shady dude who seriously wronged him. Can we be mad at Hook for that? We should actually be cheering him on. He’s got a lot of determination. And he’s managed to come back from his injury to still successfully lead a band of pirates.
13. Evil Stepmother
Okay, there is no denying that the Evil Stepmother was horrible to Cinderella. There’s really no way to justify how she treated her stepdaughter or those around her. But let’s take a walk in a Stepmom’s shoes. She has not had an easy life. She was widowed twice and was left to raise three girls all by herself. Evil Stepmother is a survivor! She managed to get herself and her daughters out of a bad situation when her first husband died and she’ll do it again after her second husband’s death. Only this time, Stepmom knows she won’t be able to find herself a new husband. So she does everything she can to help her daughters find suitable matches. Everything this woman does is for her girls. Sounds like a pretty devoted and caring mother to me. You know, besides treating Cinderella like a modern day slave.
Ursula is another Disney villain who was simply misunderstood. She got banished from King Triton’s kingdom and is just trying to advance in the world. And why did she get banished in the first place? Was Triton intimidated by her bold makeup choices? Or perhaps her strong cleavage game? She also offered Ariel a chance at her dream, something Ariel’s father, Triton, was not even entertaining. And Ursula gave Ariel a fully detailed contract to read and sign that outlined their deal. Is it Ursula’s fault that Ariel didn’t read it fully and understand what she was giving up? Of course not! It was right there on paper, Little Mermaid. You should’ve known better. So Ursula wasn’t really a villain. She was just a shrewd business woman who saw the possibility of her own personal growth. She should be admired, not punished. Ariel, on the other hand, should be the one we’re pointing our fingers at.
If Gaston is truly a villain, than vanity must be a worse crime than I thought it is. All he did wrong was stare in the mirror a bit too long. He was smitten by Belle. And sure, he’ll say it’s because she’s the most beautiful woman in town but he must’ve noticed that she was also smart and a little quirky. If he just wanted a pretty bimbo, he had his pick. But he wanted something more. And then, when he hears that Belle has been terrorized by a beast, he heads out to save her. In fact, he leaves on a mission to save the whole town. Wasn’t Belle’s own father asking someone to go and take care of the creature? Sure, it took Gaston half the movie to get the message but he eventually went out there and did what was asked of him. He’s just a poor simple man who loves himself too much and will do anything to get the girl.
10. Sharpay & Ryan
Before you say it, yes High School Musical absolutely counts as a Disney movie. And seeing as it’s 10 years old, I would say it’s one of their classics at this point. But Sharpay and Ryan Evans are clearly not really the villains. They are dedicated to their craft. They both live and breathe theatre. Every year at school, they take the leads in the musical. They work tirelessly to perfect their craft. They are always rehearsing and learning new skills. Ryan was even good enough to become a Julliard scholarship-winning choreographer! So of course they’re going to be a little concerned when a mathlete and a basketball player, who have never done theatre before, snag the leads out from under them. Sharpay and Evan have worked for years to get to where they are. The leads in the musical should not go to two randoms with no experience. We’d be pissed too, wouldn’t we?
Ugh, another classic case of not being included. It seems we could’ve avoided a lot of these terrible situations in Disney movies if someone had just shown the “villain” a little love and acceptance. So poor Hades is banished to the Underworld and given the worst job in taking care of the souls of the dead. But he does it! While all the other Gods are up on Mount Olympus partying and drinking, Hades is hard at work taking care of dead souls. Of course that is going to give him lots of time to stew and plot his revenge. And when it comes to Meg, Hades was actually being pretty merciful. Meg wanted to trade her soul in order to save her boyfriend and Hades was game for a trade. He’s just good at his business, that’s all.
8. Mother Gothel
Okay, so stealing Rapunzel and raising her as your own child is pretty evil. That’s called kidnapping, honey. But Mother Gothel wasn’t all bad. Just like Gaston, and most of modern society, she was obsessed with good looks and youth. Basically, she was listening too hard when that skin cream commercial came on TV. But other than that, she was a pretty good mom. She kept Rapunzel safe. Her methods were a little extreme, sure, but they worked! Rapunzel was a smart, beautiful, and accomplished young woman. She could cook, bake, paint, clean, and read with the best of them. It’s not like Mother Gothel threw her in a cell and just stopped by every couple of days to brush Rapunzel’s hair. She was a real mother to Rapunzel who raised her to become a young lady. How can we possibly call her a villain?
Another example where a little love would’ve gone a long way. Syndrome, the “villain” from The Incredibles was just a kid who got let down by their hero. Growing up, Syndrome was the biggest Mr. Incredible fan in the world. All he wanted to do was meet his idol and help him fight crime. And when he finally did get to meet him – he was told to go home because he didn’t have powers. Talk about discrimination! Why can’t regular guys help fight crime too? Syndrome was heartbroken. So he set out to invent tools that would help humans without powers be superheroes too. Is that such a crime? Clearly he was brilliant and this all started from a really good place. He just got a little misguided along the way. But I blame Mr. Incredible for that.
Sid was Andy’s next door neighbor from Toy Story and made out to be the big bad villain of the movie. Except, he wasn’t a villain at all. Sid was just a little kid who maybe had some anger issues, but can we really blame him? It’s obvious he had a hard childhood. He was neglected. Sid was out playing at the pizza place with no adult supervision. And more than that, how was Sid supposed to know that toys were alive and sentient beings? He had no idea! All he wanted to do was perform an experiment for NASA and show off his scientific genius in making his own rocket ship. The kid is actually really smart. It’s not his fault that toys are alive and maybe don’t enjoy being blasted off into space with some matches stuck to their backs. How was he supposed to know?
When you look at The Lion King, it’s obvious that Scar was pure evil. No one is debating that he was a villain. The guy manipulated his family, killed his own brother, and tried to kill his own nephew. Sure, things probably would’ve turned around for Scar with some more love and acceptance, but in this case, Mufasa actually did invite Scar to Simba’s party. Scar just didn’t want to come. So maybe he was evil down to his core. But you know who wasn’t? The hyenas. They always get lumped in with Scar as the villains of this movie but they’re really not. They were banished from the Pride Rock and were hungry, so they clung to the only lion who would give them the time of day. When they got to live on Pride Rock, they were so excited to have enough food that they didn’t know how to control themselves. Is it their fault that no one has ever taught them how to ration? No, no it’s not.
All right, Hans was a pretty bad guy in Frozen. Pretending to be in love with poor little Anna was a pretty low move. And then trying to murder both, Anna and Elsa? That’s a no go, buddy. But let’s think of what he had to deal with. This guy had 13 brothers. 13! Can you imagine growing up with 13 brothers? And the youngest of 13 at that! He clearly had a rough childhood growing up. He had absolutely no hope of inheriting the thrown for his own country. And before he went all psycho on Anna, he was actually doing a pretty great job running Arrendale and helping out the people. So yes, a bit cruel and calculating but also a smart guy with a lot of ambition. He just let his ambition run away from him.
3. The Pirates
The pirates in The Pirates of The Caribbean are deeply misunderstood. In fact, we’re not even sure if they really are the villains. We’ve got Jack Sparrow and Will Turner, both pirates but both obviously good guys. And then there’s Barbossa, a pirate, who seems to be bad in the first movie but comes back later as a good guy. We have non-pirates who are bad and pirates who are good. So what are viewers supposed to think? C’mon Disney! We need a clearly defined bad guy. And what about the poor pirates who were sailing under Barbossa? They didn’t want to strand Jack on an island. It wasn’t their idea to go after the gold. And they probably didn’t want to spend the next few years tracking it all down. So we can understand why they were a little hostile when they finally thought they had found the last piece of gold.
2. The Sanderson Sisters
Another example of how damaging society’s expectations of women can be: all the Sanderson sisters of Hocus Pocus wanted to do was be youthful, beautiful, and live forever. Is that so much to ask? Sure, the sacrificing of a child probably isn’t the greatest. But at least they do it with a lot of flair! And they’ve been through a lot. They were hung by the neck only to wake up years later and have to figure out their way through a strange new world. Through it all, they always stayed loyal to each other and they even made time for a magical performance of “I Put A Spell On You.” What more could we ask for? They’re powerful witches after all. You shouldn’t be snooping around their house or playing with their magical objects if you don’t want to end up in a cage or drinking a lethal potion.
1. Dr Facilier
The Princess and The Frog’s main villain, Dr Facilier, was actually a pretty cool dude. First of all, he brought some proper New Orleans charm and mystique with his voodoo powers and Lenny Kravitz-esque style. Where do I get my hands on a jacket like that? Besides his attire, the man was just looking to improve his business and make a good buck. He’s clearly very skilled when it comes to his dark magic. And the prince and his foolish handler fell for it. Both of them were greedy and stupid, so Dr. Facilier was really just teaching them a lesson. And if it wasn’t for his lesson, Naveen never would’ve matured and Fiona never would’ve fallen in love with him. So really, Dr Facilier saved the day! We should be thanking him. Without him we wouldn’t have a movie.