There are villains we love to hate like Scar or Jafar. They are so deliciously evil it’s impossible to resist them. Cruella is another perfect example. But then there’s villains like Lotso. I don’t love to hate him. I simply despise him. He’s cruel and manipulative and even after the Toys save him from the incinerator , he still leaves them to die. Even worse, he seems like this perfectly nice and huggable bear who smells of strawberries! You see him and you want a Lots’o’Hugging Bear to cuddle with but then you realize he’s just a bully. I don’t like Lotso at all. Here’s why.
He’s relatable. And that’s scary.
There are really scary villains like Other Mother from Coraline, who are creepy and might make a guest-appearence in your nightmares after watching their movie. Lotso is a different kind of scary. He terrifies me because some part of me thinks he’s right. Lotso was hurt when he was replaced and, terrified of ever being hurt that way again, he became detached. He put up emotional walls around him and stop himself from caring. And that scares me because I’ve been hurt and I’ve been tempted to act that way. Lotso is what people become when they let fear control their actions. I’m sure you know someone who acts like Lotso or maybe you’ve even been Lotso at some point in your life.
He’s the complete opposite of Woody
Lotso works great as a villain in Toy Story 3 because he’s the complete opposite of Woody. The sheriff hasn’t been played with in years and yet he still has hope things will be as good as when Andy was 8 years old. He’s been hurt but he holds on to the past with absolute certainty things will be okay again. Lotso, on the other hand, pretends the past doesn’t exist and that he can’t be hurt. He’s terrified of caring because it could result in pain again. They’re complete opposites, so the movie benefits from this philosophical battle. Eventually, Pixar shows us none of them are right: Woody is just clinging to the past and needs to learn and let go and Lotso’s way of handling things isn’t healthy at all.
Holy moly guacamole, Michael Arndt is such a good screenwriter.
He’s powerful and evil and scary and creepy
Not only is Lotso scary and a perfect opponent for Woody, he’s smart and powerful too. He makes things really, really hard for our beloved Toys which makes the whole movie much more entertaining. You just know if our heroes take one bad step, Lotso will make them spend every night in the box with those “Lincoln Logs”. The scented bear takes advantage of the other toys by oppressing and manipulating them by offering power and endless playtime. He knows all toys are afraid of being forgotten so he uses that to build a reign of terror with him on the top.
So, to me, Lotso is one of the very best animated villains not only because he’s a real threat to the Toys and he makes things hard for them but because he represents something the Toys and us sometimes do. He is what we would all do if we gave in to fear. He’s also in a position to tempt the toys into being loved forever without risk of getting hurt. Plus, he’s the complete opposite of Woody so that adds endless layers to everything in the movie. So to summarize, Toy Story 3 is just the best movie ever, Michael Arndt is a genius, Pixar can do stuff no other movie studio can and Lotso is a fantastic villain.