Top 10 Movie Villains With Dumb Motivations



Top 10 Movie Villains With Dumb Motivations

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Andrew Tejada
Talk about terrible excuses for being bad! For this list, we're looking at big screen antagonists with the silliest, pettiest, and most nonsensical motivations. Our list includes Professor Umbridge in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (2007), the Mandarin in “Iron Man 3” (2013), Venom in “Venom” (2018), Amanda Waller in “Suicide Squad” (2016), and more! Which movie villain do YOU think has the dumbest motivations? Let us know in the comments!

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Special thanks to our user popculturejunkie261@ for suggesting this idea!
Script written by Andrew Tejada

Top 10 Dumbest Villain Motivations In Movies

Talk about terrible excuses for being bad. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 dumbest villain motivations in movies.

For this list, we're looking at big screen antagonists with motivations that were silly, crazy, incredibly dangerous or unclear. Since the reasoning behind their villainous scheming may be tied to major plot points, beware of spoilers ahead.

#10: She Doesn't Like Kids, We Guess?

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (2007)

Setting aside her resemblance to a large pale toad, Professor Umbridge does very little to endear herself to anyone at Hogwarts, addressing pretty much everyone she thinks isn’t up to snuff in a very condescending manner. When we first meet the Hogwarts’ Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor, she’s unjustly cruel to Harry Potter and even causes him to scar his hand. She uses spells and potions on her students to get what she wants; but what exactly is it that she wants? The ambitious, but prejudiced woman seemingly treated all of her students like dirt because it so pleased her, and wielded her ever-increasing power to fill the void inside of her. But what we still can’t understand is why she had to be so mean about it all...

#9: The Mandarin Is Actually an Actor

“Iron Man 3” (2013)

When classic Iron Man nemesis ‘The Mandarin’ was slated as the villain for Tony Stark’s third solo installment, audiences were excited to see what menacing gravitas Ben Kingsley could bring to the role. However, a mid-movie twist revealed this decoy Mandarin as merely an actor hired by Aldrich Killian to take credit for various terror attacks. The narcissistic Trevor Slattery’s motivations were shown to be nothing more than fame, drugs and women, which seem a little thin considering minutes earlier we saw him take out someone on live TV. Marvel eventually backtracked, referencing the real Mandarin in the 2014 short “All Hail The King”, so here’s to hoping they do this villain justice in 2021’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”

#8: To Save Herself from the Threat She Created

“Suicide Squad” (2016)

Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy! This government official will do whatever it takes to get what she wants and that includes forming a team of supervillains to perform missions “in the name of national security.” However, when things don’t go according to plan after the mystical Enchantress escapes, Amanda Waller’s extraction ends up becoming Task Force X’s next mission. It doesn’t take superpowers to figure out that bringing together once-jailed metahumans could potentially backfire; and yet she’s ultimately the cause of what happens in “Suicide Squad” and then has to find a way to keep her screwup from coming to light - as well as herself alive.

#7: Creating an Addictive Product

“Catwoman” (2004)

After model Laurel Hedare is replaced as the face of her husband’s cosmetics company, she focuses all her energy on pushing an anti-aging cream called Beau-line. While the product could make people look more youthful, it also causes faces to disintegrate if not used on a constant basis. Of course, if applied regularly, the user’s skin becomes rock hard. Hedare recognizes that these side effects would effectively force repeat customers and ensure a constant cash flow. However, the number of lawsuits that she’d receive once people discovered the truth would erase her profits and surely get the product banned from stores. Hedare may be blinded by greed, but the FDA would see her in court.

#6: Becoming the Biggest News Company

“Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997)

Elliot Carver wants his media network to be #1 in the world. So, he agrees to orchestrate a war between China and England in exchange for a broadcast advantage in China. But if Carver has enough influence to manufacture a global conflict, couldn’t he create virtually any story? Or use the blackmail he has on the U.S. President? Carver surely could have achieved similar results by less catastrophic means. A Bond villain’s motivations haven’t been this insane and idiotic since Dr. Stromberg tried to trigger nuclear war and restart civilization in an underwater base. (**xref) And honestly, that sounds reasonable and well-thought out next to Carver’s conceited plan.

#5: Protecting an Unknown Dimension

“Fantastic Four” (2015)

In 2015, the disappointing “Fantastic 4” reboot reached its lowest point when Dr. Doom re-appeared. Victor von Doom gets trapped in an extremely green dimension for a year where he gains mysterious superpowers. After scientists bring him back to earth, he’s told that they want to explore the world he lived in. Doom reacts by ending the lives of everyone in the room and vowing to destroy the earth. Maybe Doom’s year-long isolation drove him crazy enough to think this was the only way to defend his new green home. Or maybe he just really felt like destroying earth. Honestly, in a film with so many issues, Doom’s lack of clear or reasonable motivations isn’t worth dwelling on.

#4: Selling Sci-Fi Real Estate

“Superman Returns” (2006)

Live action Lex Luthors sure love their real estate schemes. In 1978’s “Superman”, Luthor almost set off a massive earthquake in California to turn land he bought in western America into his own property. But his plot is far worse in “Superman Returns”. Luthor discovers an alien crystal that can grow larger in water. He tries to make a crystalline continent off America’s coast that would expand, causing billions of casualties and creating expensive property. Luthor’s plan has the added bonus of spiting Superman, but there surely must’ve been more practical and profitable ways to use these crystals. There’s simply no way to justify taking billions of lives for profit.

#3: Robbing Big Targets

“Home Alone” franchise (1990-)

A successful thief should be unpredictable and keep a low profile. Harry and Marv fail miserably at both in the “Home Alone” film series. In the original, they want to rob Kevin McCallister’s house because it looks profitable. Despite encountering resistance from Kevin, they keep going back...which gets them caught by police. After escaping jail, they attempt to rob a popular toy store in New York City for a quick payday. However, they tip Kevin off, allowing the kid to catch them again. The duo has successfully robbed easier targets before. But instead of being notorious and successful, they become infamous for getting tripped up by traps and overambition.

#2: Trading Dinosaurs for Dollars

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” (2018)

The morally bankrupt Eli Mills decides to auction off dinosaurs as tools of war. There. We said it. And sure enough, it sounds silly. After selling creatures he took from the original island, he shows off the new Indoraptor hybrid prototype. Although the dino’s creator, Dr. Wu, cautions against it leaving the auction, Mills sells the dinosaur anyway. Mills’ terrible decision comes three years after Wu’s Indominus Rex hybrid went on a rampage. If the reckless scientist is telling you to keep a dinosaur inside, you should take his advice. Furthermore, Mills had already made millions from selling other dinosaurs that night. His irresponsible greed made his T-Rex death a fitting dose of karma.

Before we tear our top pick apart, here are some dishonorable mentions.

Misdirected Revenge

“Star Trek: Nemesis” (2002)

Building a Freeway

“Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988)

Wanting a World of Darkness

“Thor: The Dark World” (2013)

Selling Water at Grossly Inflated Prices

“Quantum of Solace” (2008)

After Freezing Humanity, Poison Ivy Wants Her & Mr. Freeze to be the Only 2 Left While Her Mutant Plants Overrun Earth

“Batman & Robin” (1997)

#1: Importing Alien Parasites to ‘Save’ Humanity

“Venom” (2018)

Venom is supposed to be one of Spider-Man’s greatest foes. But Eddie Brock was his own worst enemy in “Spider-Man 3” when he submits a photoshopped picture of Spider-Man to the Daily Bugle that gets him fired and leads to his seeking revenge on Peter Parker. However, it’s not the titular character of the 2018 solo Venom film we’re talking here. but genius inventor Carlton Drake and symbiote leader Riot, who bonds with the Life Foundation CEO. Though Drake and Riot share the desire to bring the symbiotes to Earth, it’s only Drake who hopes that higher life-forms will be created when the extraterrestrials find human hosts. Riot, on the other hand, is only looking for another place to keep them alive - in other words, more sources of food, and that can be Earth or other planets.
A lot of these characters' motives aren't stupid compared to other movie villains but their actions are. Stupid motives and stupid actions are not the same thing.