While not on the same level of evil as some of Disney’s many villains, Hades has the honor of being the most memorable. With a thrilling plan to rule over Mount Olympus, an amazing voice actor lending his talents and an equally amazing script that gives actual voice to a character, Hades is the god you love and hate.
Hades, god of the underworld and the brother of Zeus, learns from the Fates of a planetary alignment which will release the Titans. This gives Hades the idea to use this opportunity to use the Titans to overtake Zeus and allow Hades control of Mount Olympus, as long as Zeus’ son Hercules does not interfere. The birth of Hercules is a joyful event for everyone, except Hades.
I mean, realize what Hades wants to do to baby Hercules. By sapping his godly powers, he’s a human. But he doesn’t even stop there, he orders Pain and Panic to turn into snakes and kill Hercules, his nephew, all to conquer Mount Olympus. And this was all done in the first 15 minutes of the movie!
After failing, the wheels of his plan were already in motion, and he adjusted on the fly. With control of many mythic creatures Hades doesn’t depend on brute strength like his brother Zeus, but must rely on wits, planning, and aura that comes with being god of the underworld. Despite the cool appearance, he is extremely hot-headed (HEYO) and can snap at any moment.
Hades is a superb negotiator and can get his way in almost any situation. With Megara, he saved the life of her lover in return for her soul and later used the lure of freedom in order to find Hercules’ weakness, which luckily for him, turned out to be Meg herself. With Hercules, he managed to trade his super-human strength for 24-hours in return for Meg’s well-being, all but allowing him to take the throne of Olympus. But despite his masterful negotiating, Meg is injured, Hercules gains his powers, and the Fates prediction comes true, as Hercules overcomes Hades and throws Hades into the River Styx for eternity.
James Woods’ performance of Hades’ was superb. His blend of comic relief and fiery temper left an impression with the writers so much, that they changed his script to the one we know today. Hades symbolizes the villains we love to hate so much, that I find myself comparing other villains to his performance and wondering where they went wrong. For me, Hades gets “two-thumbs way, way up”.