5 Villains in Movies Who Turned into Heroes

At the box office, the antagonist can turn out to be the best.

Harley Quinn

LOS ANGELES: You die a hero or live long enough to see yourself a villain.” This iconic quote from Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) in The Dark Knight  (2008) describes how villainous characters can at the same time be a hero in their life choices. 


That image can also be seen in films like The Lord of the Rings , X-Men, and The Dark Knight  itself. The villain figure at the box office  proves that sometimes bad people can really turn out to be the best people. Call it Terminator, Godzilla, Loki, Johnny Lawrence Harley Quinn, Jaws, The Raptors, Magneto, Venom, Captain Barbosa, Dr Evil, Darth Vader, and others.

Here are some of the villain characters who became heroes in a number of popular hits as reported by the Looper page , Wednesday (8/9):


1. Terminator

Terminator 6 Main

Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger embodied one of the most violent villains in  1984’s The Terminator . Schwarzenegger provided his own brutal portrayal of the Terminator. Even the scene of Schwarzenegger’s T-800 shooting everyone dead at the police station is among the most iconic scenes in film history.

But in  1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day , he becomes a  heroic cyborg tasked with protecting John Connor (Edward Furlong), the child he tried to kill in the previous film. Although the trailer broke the twist  for many viewers, the idea that a Terminator who killed humans could be reprogrammed to become a hero to humanity was an idea that inspired and influenced all of Schwarzenegger’s later depictions of the Terminator.


2. Godzilla

Godzilla 2
Godzilla, 2014. ©Warner Bross. Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Godzilla may be the King of Monsters, but he has also been the savior of mankind for nearly seventy years. Godzilla returns in several films to fight other giant monsters to protect humanity. 

3. Loki

Loki, Marvel

While some of the early Marvel Cinematic Universe films were criticized for featuring lackluster supervillains, that’s not the case with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) who first appeared in  2011’s Thor and most recently appeared in the Disney+ series. Loki betrays his brother, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Frost Giants, to secure his place as king of the gods.

Loki made several attempts at power in The Avengers  (2012) and Thor: The Dark World  (2013), which saw him get rid of Odin and take the throne of Asgard. However, in Thor: Ragnarök  (2017), Loki shows that he still cares about his family when he teams up with Thor to fight their sister Hela (Cate Blanchett).


4. Harley Quinn

New Margot Robbie Harley Quinn Image For Oscars
New Margot Robbie Harley Quinn Image For Oscars © Comicbooknews

Originally created for Batman: The Animated Series  Doctor Harleen Quinzel is a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum who falls under the influence of the Joker and becomes Harley Quinn. 

In The Suicide Squad  (2021), Harley again played by Margot Robbie has not only returned to work with Task Force X, but has forged genuine friendships with several members, most notably Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman). Harley shows that he is willing to put his life on the line. 


5. Johnny Lawrence 

Johnny Lawrence Cobra Kai

For audiences in the 1980s, The Karate Kid  (1984) was a fairly straightforward story. New kid Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) is bullied by karate expert Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and dojo classmate Cobra Kai. To fight back, Daniel learns a more defensive form of karate from Mr. sensei. Miyagi (Pat Morita), defeats Johnny in a karate tournament by kicking him in the face using a special “Crane” technique.

Then Johnny is told to be a karate sensei for a new generation of bullied kids. He even (sometimes) manages to reach a level of understanding with Daniel LaRusso, who at one point worked with him to bring down Johnny’s corrupt ex-sensei, John Kreese (Martin Kove).


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    Written by Sapna Verma

    Linguist-translator by education. I have been working in the field of advertising journalism for over 10 years.

    For over 7 years in journalism. Half of them are as editor. My weakness is doing mini-investigations on new topics.

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