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The Godfather parts I and II tell the story of the Corleone family and Michael Corleone's decent into darkness. The story continues in part III, but many faithful Godfather fans pretend the movie doesn't exist. I decided to avoid it altogether, just so that my memories of these great movies aren't tarnished. The Corleone family has become the most powerful mafia organization in the country under the direction of Michael's Father, Don Vito Corleone, aka The Godfather. This powerful man raised all three of his sons to be businessmen like him, but Michael had other plans. Turning down the life of organized crime, he joins the army and fights in World War II. He returns home a decorated hero, and then circumstances become more complicated. After an attempt on the Godfather's life, Michael begins spiraling into a kind of madness. There are several reasons he makes the list. For one thing, he's just really cool. He's a man who commands respect from all and gives his enemies nothing but death. Also, the movies do an incredible job of showing his character in his constant transformation as a person. Part II especially shows just how far he falls and how very different from his father he actually is. Michael Corleone is not a man you want to cross.
(couldn't find a picture so I used George Lucas) I know what you must be think. Okay, he just went from the Godfather to Star Wars. Weird. Even weirder perhaps that in choosing a bad guy from the Star Wars universe I didn't pick Darth Vader or the Emperor. Both are great villains, but Jason really has something special. Most people have no interest in the series beyond the movies, but there are some really great novels out there continuing the Star Wars saga. One of the best of these is a series of nine novels written by three authors called the Legacy of the Force. Set almost forty years after the events of the movies, Legacy of the Force focuses on the aging original characters and their adult children. Jacen Solo is the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia. Jacen and his twin sister Jaina are veteran members of Luke Skywalker's jedi order who have fought in wars and survived horrible ordeals in the past.Though it all Jacen has remain a hero and a firm believer in good and the light side of the force. That is, until the tragic death of his younger brother, Anakin and Jacen capture and extensive torture at the hands of the enemy. Jacen is heavily shaken, and wanders the galaxy learning strange uses of the force. He returns seemingly fine, but much colder and more serious than his old self. Eventually, Jacen has a revelation that the only chance the galaxy has for peace is for him to control it with a just and iron fist. Thus Jacen becomes a sith lord. He makes the list for being a character who you like at first, and then by the end of that first book in the series you utterly hate his guts. Not only is he obsessed with total control over everyone around him, but he is so utterly arrogant that nearly every recorded thought he has repulses me. You just really want to see him put in his place, but he is seemingly invincible. It all adds up to the moment when Jacen and Luke finally square off one of the most satisfying moments in any book I have read to date.
Most movies, TV shows, books, plays, video games, etc. have a character who's just plain bad. They lie, cheat, steal, and even murder to get their way. A well-made bad guy can make a story stand out above others. Here's my personal favorite bad guys I've seen. They're not necessarily antagonists in the story, just really bad people. Feel free to make suggestions; the list can always be expanded!