10 Disney Movies Where The Villain Was More Interesting Than The Hero

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Summary

  • Disney’s villains challenge conventional archetypes, playing with the moral complexities of human nature.
  • Characters like Cruella de Vil and Maleficent have transcended their films, inspiring adaptations and spinoffs of their own.
  • Disney’s villains, with their multifaceted personalities, captivate audiences and leave a lasting legacy in cinematic history.

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Many Disney villains have left major impressions over the decades, with some even outshining the heroes in their respective films. These iconic villains demonstrate Disney’s ability to craft complex, memorable characters who challenge conventional archetypes. While Disney’s best heroes touch hearts and inspire audiences, its villains play with the moral complexities of human nature. Despite their menacing behavior, these sinister characters also exude undeniable coolness, with suave personas, unmatched charisma, and a healthy dose of humor — qualities sometimes lacking in the main characters.

Notably, characters like Cruella de Vil and Maleficent have transcended their films, inspiring adaptations and spinoffs of their own. The evolving landscape of Disney villains, with figures like Hades and Dr. Facilier, reflects a refreshing departure from purely evil depictions and an emphasis on character depth. Disney’s villains, with their multifaceted personalities, continue to captivate, leaving a lasting legacy behind them.

10 Shere Khan From The Jungle Book

His commanding presence leaves an impression

Shere Khan from the Jungle Book

Shere Khan, the fearsome tiger from The Jungle Book, brings a captivating depth to the movie, making him quite an interesting figure. His intense hatred for humans, especially the young boy Mowgli, serves as a compelling conflict in this classic tale. Adapted from Rudyard Kipling’s novel, The Jungle Book follows Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves, as he seeks his place in the animal kingdom. While The Jungle Book is cherished as one of the best children’s films, much of its appeal can be attributed to Shere Khan’s haunting presence and relentless pursuit. His commanding presence and silky voice leave a big impression, making him impossible to forget.

9 Cruella de Vil From 101 Dalmatians

Cruella’s unapologetic intent makes her the ultimate villain

Cruella de Vil is more than just a fashionable Halloween costume. Cruella’s outfits and distinctive style make her stand out as an iconic Disney villain. Her fashion-forward, menacing persona has even earned her a song. In the live-action remake, Emma Stone’s Cruella effortlessly steals the spotlight from the Baroness. She remains true to her wicked roots, securing her place as one of the most stylish and chilling female villains, which is arguably more interesting than the 101 dalmatians. While many villains have complex motivations, Cruella’s cruelty in pursuit of a spotted fur coat highlights her pure, unapologetic intent, making her the ultimate antagonist.

8 Scar From The Lion King

Scar’s dry humor and sass make him great

Scar from the Lion King surrounded by green flames

When comparing Disney villains, Scar is obviously quite evil, primarily due to his heinous acts toward his nephew Simba and the brutal murder of his own brother. His plot to overthrow Mufasa by orchestrating a stampede is chilling. Scar’s ambitions fuel his desire to be king, but it’s his dry humor and sassy mannerisms that make him an interesting figure to watch. These moments of dark comedy soften the blow when Scar carries out his despicable deeds. Andreas Dejan’s animation and Jeremy Irons’ outstanding voice work emphasize Scar’s wicked charisma.

7 Hades From Hercules

He’s more charismatic than the heroes

What sets Hades apart from the titular main character of Hercules isn’t the fact that he is ruler of the underworld. While he’s manipulative and scheming, it’s his personality that truly makes him distinct. Hades is witty, expressive, and relatable when he openly shows his emotions or makes sardonic comments, especially in his interactions with Megara. These human-like qualities make him more charismatic than Hercules. Disney has always done a great job adding a bit of charm to its villains, and Hades is proof of that.

6 Dr. Facilier From The Princess And The Frog

His dark magic and suave persuasion make him a scene-stealer

Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog

Dr. Facilier stands out as one of Disney’s most intriguing villains. A voodoo witch doctor seeking revenge, he relies on his supernatural friends from the “other side.” What makes him captivating is his suave persuasion, exploiting others’ greed to draw them into his schemes. While not physically powerful, his expertise in dark magic compensates for it. Dr. Facilier’s cunning, manipulative nature and mastery of witchcraft make him one of Disney’s most interesting antagonists — and one of the best characters from The Princess and the Frog.

5 Maleficent From Sleeping Beauty

She has an undeniable coolness

Maleficent surrounded by green smoke

Maleficent, the villain in Sleeping Beauty, exudes an undeniable coolness that supersedes Aurora’s by a long shot. From her pet crow and green aura to her vengeful grudge against the king, there’s a lot to love about her. She’s not just any malevolent fairy; she performs powerful spells and chooses to curse Princess Aurora on her 16th birthday, a calculated and sinister move. While the live-action remake Maleficent might not be suitable for kids, the reasoning behind her animosity is shown, making her actions all the more justified and her villainous character even cooler.

4 Queen of Hearts From Alice in Wonderland

Her temper makes her fearsome and fascinating

Alice in Wonderland Queen of Hearts

The Queen of Hearts may not be as frequently discussed as other Disney villains, but her entertaining and fearsome qualities should not be overlooked. She’s arguably one of Disney’s most ruthless villains, displaying a desire to behead anyone who crosses her. Her quick temper makes her genuinely fearsome, embodying the essence of a great villain. Additionally, her iconic red, black, and white dress stands out among Disney villains, adding to her memorable aesthetic and demeanor. She’s certainly one of the most interesting characters from Alice in Wonderland — sometimes more interesting than Alice herself.

3 Yzma From The Emperor’s New Groove

She defies norms and is hilarious

Yzma from The Emperor

Yzma is arguably the coolest character in The Emperor’s New Groove, as she defies societal norms with her unwavering confidence and unapologetic self-assuredness despite her age. Her determination to reclaim the throne, while morally questionable, is majorly inspirational. Yzma consistently steals the spotlight with her striking purple attire, quirky humor, and the assistance of her ditzy sidekick, Kronk. In an era of 2000s animated Disney movies, The Emperor’s New Groove stands out due to its fantastic and humorous characters, particularly Yzma. While her humor doesn’t mask her evil nature, it does make her a memorable villain.

2 Captain Hook From Peter Pan

Balances a suave demeanor and slapstick comedy

Captain Hook from Peter Pan fixing his hat

Captain Hook, the vengeful captain of the Jolly Roger in Peter Pan, emerges as a more intriguing character than Peter. While Peter Pan’s journey centers on the power of imagination and embarking on new adventures, Captain Hook stands out by skillfully balancing a pirate’s suave demeanor with impeccable slapstick comedy. He offers over-the-top expressions and perfectly terror-stricken screams. His interactions with the relentless crocodile showcase Disney’s finest comedic timing. Despite his elegant facade, Captain Hook is one of Disney’s most ruthless villains, showing little hesitation when it comes to causing harm. This contrast adds intrigue to the story, making Captain Hook a captivating character in this classic tale.

1 Ursula From The Little Mermaid

She’s a force to be reckoned with

Being inspired by real-life drag performer Divine automatically makes Ursula the coolest Disney villain. She’s a self-reliant sorceress and her deceptive contracts, masterful bargaining, and self-taught magic make her an adversary to be reckoned with. From her eerie shrimp consumption to the garden of broken souls in her lair, every aspect of the half-woman, half-octopus is both unsettling and captivating. Ursula’s dark energy and quirks make her a villain viewers love to hate.