It’s a strange concept to think of a movie monster isn’t the villain when they’ve been hyped up as some evil, unrelenting force that’s out to kill whatever’s in front of them, isn’t it? Well, the absolute fact is that to a deer or other game animal, humans might be the ultimate evil as well. What matters here is the perspective and the nature of the creature that we’re talking about. Monsters such as vampires, psycho killers, and various other creatures that have a good idea of what they’re doing and don’t care since they live to inflict misery are easy to identify as the villain. But then there are monsters that get vilified due to appearance, the obvious downside that they do kill anyone in front of them, and the fact that they’re hyped up as a villain without question. The unfortunate fact is that we’re conditioned to see these creatures as pure evil since they do kill without hesitation and in some cases without provocation. But think about the hunting analogy again, and then think of how much or how little sense it makes to try and defend that analogy and then turn around and blame another creature for doing what comes naturally. Like it or not, the Predator belongs to a species of hunters, while the creatures that are often mentioned with them, the xenomorphs, are bred to be hunted. Putting that it into perspective kind of changes the ballgame in a big way.
Needless to say, there would be a lot of people that might want to argue with this, that the removal of a person’s spinal column and the taking of their head as a trophy would be cause to call someone evil. Have you ever walked into the house of an avid hunter though? There are typically heads on the wall, photos of their kill, and unless they’re strictly a trophy hunter, which is even worse than a regular hunter, they’ll use the animal for consumption and possibly use its other parts as they can. Predators do pretty much the same, though whether or not they eat human beings has been guessed at for a while. When it comes to who they target though, one thing is clear: they don’t target those that don’t have a weapon. There have been a couple of exceptions in the history of the predator movies, but more often than not, they tend to let those that pose no challenge or threat to them simply walk away. In Predator 2 one woman was spared since the predator found out she was pregnant, which is an oddity but still reason to let her be. In every other movie, predators have gone after those that pose the biggest challenge, or that are armed and therefore considered a threat. Plus, in their culture, fighting the most challenging opponent is seen as a rite of passage, so as brutal as it appears, they’re following a natural, cultural practice that some might not understand. Predators aren’t typically out to kill people for absolutely no reason, otherwise, the body counts in every movie would have been insanely high, and downtown Los Angeles in Predator 2 would have seen the streets running red with blood.
By contrast, the xenomorphs that the predators breed for hunting are a bioengineered race that knows only two things: to feed and to further their own species. Those are their two basic functions, though of course, the movies have shown them to be blood-crazed creatures that kill for little to no reason. Xenomorphs are pretty simple creatures though, they see something they perceive as a threat or a possible incubator, and they eliminate it. Rarely have they ever left anyone alive without taking them to their queen to be impregnated by a face-hugger, but they’re a good example of how a creature follows their nature, no matter how violent it might appear. The one argument that would work is that they are an invasive and very aggressive species that don’t get along well with others, but unlike a psychotic killer they’re not out to eradicate others for pleasure, they’re attempting to survive and thrive. Monsters in the movies tend to get a very bad reputation since the definition of evil is used in a very loose manner. While some of them deserve it, a lot of the monsters that tend to earn this moniker are human or close to it, which is a sad bit of commentary for our species but is still fairly truthful. Monsters in the movies tend to play on our fears and insecurities in a big way by ascribing a set of emotions and beliefs to creatures that might otherwise be following the simple dictates of nature and little else.
True, a monster killing a human being is hard to justify as a good thing unless that human being is despicable enough to deserve it, but at the end of the day, some monsters are acting on natural instincts, not a true desire for evil.