Some of the Pokémon villains are compelling and memorable, but others have been underwhelming. For every epic adversary like Mewtwo from Pokémon: The First Movie, there is a villain who completely falls short. The worst villains, however, go beyond forgettable and become downright annoying to watch. But which villain is the worst one of them all?
By breaking down the villains of the Pokémon films into categories, it becomes clear which villain is the absolute bottom of the barrel.
What Makes a Good Pokémon Movie Villain?
The best villains in the Pokémon movies tend to be either sympathetic antagonists or intimidating monsters. Villains like the Iron-Masked Marauder from Pokémon 4Ever, Grings Kodai from Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions and Alva from Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel are fairly intimidating villains who pose genuine threats to the protagonists in their selfish pursuits for power. Their direct actions cause things to go wrong and the whole plot is centered on stopping them.
The sympathetic villains, however, tend to resonate harder. Molly Hale from Pokémon 3: Spell of the Unown is a sad, lonely girl who happens to harness the Unown, who can rewrite reality to her whims, often outside her control. The viewer feels sympathy for this scared child getting what she wishes, but then sees the tragic effects of this on the outside world.
Arguably the best Pokémon movie villain, Mewtwo, fits both the sympathetic and monstrous categories. Mewtwo's life is heartbreaking, but he'll still deliberately cause the end of the world just to spite the world that rejected him. He's such a great villain that he even got a feature-length sequel, Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns, to complete his narrative.
These villains have three things in common: all pose a threat to the main characters, all have understandable motivations, and most important of all, they stand out.
When Angry Legendary Pokémon Attack
Many Pokémon movie villains are just raw, unfocused Legendary Pokémon who cause damage by fighting one another. Unlike the good cruel/monstrous villains, this chaos or violence isn't a means to an end, but rather the end itself. The legendary birds from Pokémon the Movie: 2000, Rayquaza from Destiny Deoxys, the fake Groudon from Jirachi Wishmaker, Palkia and Dialga from three separate Pokémon films -- all feel interchangeable on paper because they, in effect, pose the same problem: they're fighting and causing trouble. Often, some third party -- be it Lugia or Arceus -- need to interfere in order to help pacify the fighting Pokémon.
Arguably the worst example of this is Genesect from Genesect and the Legend Awakens. The horde of Genesect lose their home and just rampage around. There's very little to these Pokémon. There is no subtle element to their behavior. There aren't even legends associated with them that make them feel like more than a pest to the main characters.
Granted, there are good examples of Pokémon who cause raw destruction, but they need to be done right. The Unown from Spell the Unown aren't evil -- they just latch onto the dreams of a young girl and try to make them real. Deoxys from Destiny Deoxys just wants his friend back, but happens to have angered a Rayquaza in the process and puts the rest of the world in danger as a result.
Evil But Boring Pokémon Trainers
At least the angry Legendary Pokémon villains look cool. Many of the human villains in Pokémon films are simply boring, with basic and shallow motivations. Annie and Oakley from Pokémon Heroes are just Pokémon thieves. Phantom from Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea is just a dull pirate. Zero from Giratina & The Sky Warrior is just a boring mad scientist.
These characters act more like catalysts than real villains, often spurring on the disaster that quickly unravels beyond their control. Unlike more intimidating characters like The Iron Masked Marauder, the heroes are less scared of them and more scared of things just unraveling fast due to them. However, at the very least, these villains have motivations that make sense. Annie and Oakley want to steal cool stuff. Zero wants to possess the power of Giratina. What's worse than a boring villain? One that is boring and confusing.
The Worst of Them All Is Lawrence III from Pokémon: 2000
Lawrence III is the main antagonist of Pokémon the Movie: 2000. While Pokémon the Movie: 2000 is one of the better Pokémon films, Lawrence III is undeniably one of the worst villains in the franchise, with every possible negative quality and a lack of positive ones.
Lawrence III is a collector who just wants to collect the Three Legendary Birds and, in turn, Lugia. Why? There's no real reason given, beyond the fact he's a collector -- despite the fact he doesn't have any actual Pokémon in his collection. He has vast amounts of technology, despite lacking any reason why he should have all that money. His motivation makes no sense.
His interference with the Legendary Birds results in the Birds going berserk, which causes the conflicts of the film. He triggers an angry Legendary Pokémon attack as a result of his actions. He's essentially defeated halfway through Pokémon 2000, only to make an attempt at a comeback in the last act, only to be beaten in seconds by Lugia.
Lawrence III isn't threatening, isn't sympathetic and doesn't stand out, even in his own film. He is by far the worst Pokémon movie villain.