10 Movie Villains That Were Redeemed Way Too Easily


  • Filmmakers often try to include redemption arcs for villains, even when they don’t fit, in an attempt to add depth to the story.
  • Redemption arcs need to be earned, especially when the villain has committed terrible acts or tried to kill the hero.
  • Sudden and unearned redemption can weaken the story and feel out of place with the character’s previous actions.

Not every villain deserves to be redeemed so easily, but that doesn’t stop filmmakers trying to wedge in a redemption arc even when it doesn’t fit. The best stories with a hero and a villain require both characters to have a level of depth. A one-dimensional hero ruins a film entirely, but a one-dimensional villain can still result in a much weaker story. One way to try and expand the complexity and depth of a villain can be adding in motives for their actions, which can be shifted and altered when they learn that they have commonalities with a hero, or ultimately want something positive and may be approaching it in the wrong way.

This has become an increasingly popular trope in modern films, especially with expanding universes, as they attempt to retool villains for future stories. But these redemption arcs need to be earned, especially when the villain has committed a series of terrible atrocities or attempted to kill the hero and his peers on multiple occasions. Despite this, some movies simply have the bad guy turn around and decide to support the hero at the last minute.

10 Leatherface

Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)

texas chainsaw 3d leatherface

The 2013 sequel to the original film, Texas Chainsaw 3D, follows a young woman, named Heather, and her friends when she discovers that she is adopted, and is the heir to an inheritance from her biological grandmother. She travels with her boyfriend, and some friends, and encounters a killer known as Leatherface. Despite murdering everyone she knows, eventually, Leatherface learns that Heather is actually his cousin. As a result, the two pair up to stop a local obsessed with ending their bloodline, killing him and his friend. The sudden shift from the protagonist to a killer, and Leatherface’s new allegiance is sudden and unearned considering the rampage that leads up to it.

9 Bee

The Babysitter (2017)

Bella Thorne, Robbie Amell, Samara Weaving, Hana Mae Lee, Andrew Bachelor and Judah Lewis in a basement in The Babysitter

In another horror film, Bee is The Babysitter, a Satan-worshiping teen intent on sacrificing the boy she minds. When Cole discovers his babysitter’s evil plans, he sets traps to stop her and her friends from killing him. Towards the climax of the film, after Bee has relentlessly chased him through the night, she kills one of her gang and suggests she and Cole team up. It’s odd as, up to this point, she has had little consideration for the boy, and it feels more like a trick, but her redemption is confirmed in the sequel when she helps Cole and sacrifices herself, despite her desire to live forever.

Related: Every Samara Weaving Horror Movie, Ranked

8 Kylo Ren

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise Of Skywalker (2019)

Kylo Ren was a complex and engaging villain in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. His strained relationship with his parents and his connection to his grandfather resulted in a man struggling to carve out his own identity and desperately trying to become who he thought he should be. When he kills Snoke in The Last Jedi, it’s the perfect moment for his redemption, but the sequel went in a different direction.

Instead, Kylo Ren becomes an even greater foe in The Rise of Skywalker until the moment when he comes face to face with Emperor Palpatine. Up to this point, it was not shown that Palpatine was alive, and his return was messy, revealing he had been influencing Kylo the whole time. If that is the case, it doesn’t make much sense that Kylo suddenly breaks free of that influence. Fighting against a villain that he was unaware existed doesn’t add any real weight to this effort to redeem the character, like when he killed Snoke.

7 Scarlet Witch

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness (2022)

Scarlet Witch crying in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Suspending belief to the point that the heroic Wanda decides to go on a murderous vendetta across the multiverse because of the misfortunes she suffered throughout the Infinity Saga and WandaVision, her return from the dark side never made sense. In Multiverse of Madness, Wanda literally turns against other heroes, murdering them with no regard for any consequences, to bring her children from another reality into her possession. When she comes close to her goal and sees the fear she is causing her alternate-reality children, she suddenly changes her ways and saves her former ally.

6 Bowler Hat Guy

Meet The Robinsons (2007)

Bowler Hat Guy - Meet The Robinsons

When Lewis is brought into the future by a young boy named Wilbur Robinson to help him track down the nefarious Bowler Hat Guy in Meet the Robinsons, the truth about Lewis’ role in the future and his relationship with the BHG is slowly revealed. It turns out that BHG was none other than Lewis’ disgruntled roommate, Goob, whom he lived with in the orphanage. When Goob’s identity is revealed, the Robinsons offer to take him in and have him join the family, but even as an unwitting and tragic villain, his quick turnaround to being good and helping Lewis and Wilbur feels too easy.

Related: Meet The Robinsons: 10 Hidden Details About The Characters

5 Mama

Mama (2013)

Mama 2013 movie

The 2013 nightmare-inducing horror movie, Mama, features the devilish spirit of a mother who haunts and horrifies the young couple by whom her two girls were taken in. The climax of the film sees Mama return to take her children back. However, Mama is satisfied when just one of her two daughters chooses to go with her, and the other stays with the couple. She leaves them and makes no further effort to terrorize the family, but her motive the whole time is getting her kids back, and she is willing to do terrible things for that end. Why she just gives up at the end and leaves on a positive note makes no sense.

4 Magneto

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

Michael Fassbender as Magneto and Evan Peters as Quicksilver in X-Men: Apocalypse

Magneto and Xavier have always had a tense relationship in X-Men, but when Magneto decides to join his old friends in X-Men: Apocalypse, it doesn’t feel right. Erik teamed up with the incredibly powerful En Sabah Nur to get revenge on the world that doesn’t accept him and his kind. While Erik certainly had things pulling him back to help his friends and oppose En Sabah Nur, his redemption didn’t come until after he caused global chaos and destruction by shifting Earth’s magnetic field. Immediately after this devastation and destruction, Erik suddenly switches sides to stop En Sabah Nur.

3 Cruella De Vil

Cruella (2021)

In an effort to redeem the character and give her an origin story, Cruella focuses on the hardships she faced as a child losing her parents and growing up on the streets of London. The entire film frames Cruella as the dark protagonist, but the evil streak that existed in previous iterations became dull and less important considering her ability to grow and overcome hardships. This shift from a dark and twisted character to one who is struggling to find her place and solve the horrible mystery of her mother’s death is interesting, but the character feels entirely different from previous versions.

2 Snape

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

Snape was always at odds with Harry during the Harry Potter films. He frequently removed points for minor misbehavior, sent him to detention, and rarely gave the boy who lived the benefit of the doubt. As it turns out, he was also a death eater and a close confidant of Voldemort who was only able to escape imprisonment because he was endorsed as being reformed by Dumbledore. Eventually, he sacrifices himself to protect Harry, revealing that Snape had a close relationship with Harry’s mother, Lily.

It’s understandable that sacrificing his life and revealing that Dumbledore had instructed him to kill him as part of a plan helps to redeem his character. The issue lies with how easily Snape was turned from a cruel and cold man into a figure that Harry felt deserved enough respect and admiration to name one of his children after him. Harry paid tribute to the great men in his life through the names of his children. Harry pays tribute by naming one of his sons after Snape, but it feels forced.

Related: Severus Snape Complete Life Timeline: Tragic Origin, School, Voldemort & Harry Potter

1 Deckard Shaw

Fast & Furious 7 (2015)

Deckard Shaw Fast and furious death of han

Deckard Shaw appears in a few films in the F&F franchise, but he plays a major antagonist in Fast & Furious 7. The former military agent who became a mercenary had a big problem with Dom Toretto and his gang when they fought his brother Owen, and he accidentally ended up in a coma. Shaw killed a long-term member of Toretto’s crew, Han, in response and spent some time trying to hunt down Dom. This feud is heated and results in terrible casualties, but when the pair find out they have a common enemy, they put their differences aside, and Dom even invites Shaw to have dinner with the family.

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