In the modern age of cinema, there are so many established tropes to work into films that they all seem to take relatively predictable paths. One of the most obvious is that there’s always a hero, and always a villain. Except, as we explored in our list of villains who actually had a good point, these characters’ moral compasses can be decidedly skewed. On the other side of that coin, there’s also heroes that simply aren’t as virtuous as they may seem.
This goes for protagonists across practically all genres. Whether they’re bona fide superheroes or just your run-of-the-mill everyman (or -woman), heroes are often as flawed as everyone else. This goes for even the most well-meaning heroes, because even the cream of the crop can fall victim to their own subjectivity.
While they all seemingly believe they’re doing the right thing – and it’s this conviction that makes them seem so heroic – the heroes on this list could easily be interpreted as villains, from a certain point of view. A shift of perspective makes all the difference when considering exactly what constitutes a hero, but for each of the characters on this list, there’s a solid argument for why they’re actually villains.
Superman is perhaps the quintessential hero, so it’s impossible that he could actually be a villain, right? Well, no.
Hailing from the alien planet of Krypton, Superman finds that Earth’s yellow sun gives him powers beyond those of mere mortals. He uses these powers to protect the innocent and stop criminals (both of which are decidedly heroic actions, admittedly). However, despite his morals, Superman isn’t necessarily the hero he appears to be.
At times, his perception has been shown to be flawed, and he’s all but unstoppable. As many of his adversaries often point out, he’s impossible to police or control, which means that his judgement is absolute. What’s more, he can end lives with a flick of the finger or an intense look at the back of someone’s head, making him perhaps the most powerful weapon on Earth.
Superman may not act in a villainous manner, but he’s certainly problematic for many on Earth, as its population is essentially at his mercy at all times. Thankfully, he’s not evil, but the immeasurable power he holds over all humans is bone-chilling, regardless.