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This is one method for avoiding doldrums from having a Boring Story. Scenes of Villainous Valor show the antagonists to be outmatched, forcing them to rely on daring, cunning, skill and determination to hold their own against the heroes, or at least go out with a little dignity. They sometimes even continue a hopeless battle for higher reasons than spite! This often results in a tense back-and-forth as the heroes' raw power is set against whatever the villains brought.
Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose, but the mark of Villainous Valor is that it sees the "bad guys" in this story that you wouldn't expect from them. In fact, if you were just tuning in, you might even be confused about who you're expected to root for. A fight between the Knight in Shining Armor and The Commander with his Spikeed armor will often leave you cheering for The Hero, but what if The Commander locks swords with the hero and gets between the hero and his master, to allow him time to escape? The scene changes completely. Even if the villains are still bad guys, you might even find yourself pulling for the underdog anyway.
The Villian is pitted against near impossible odds, yet finds ways to still outsmart his opponents being outmatched and only to come out victorious in all of his impossible tasks, despite everyone pointing out that the odds are against him.
They are genuinely courageous in a fight, and is a true Determined when it comes to pushing himself harder and further to achieve the standards he sets himself a valiant effort in battle against h refusing to admit defeat
They never gives up on their ambitions, or allows herself the luxury of true failure. Evil as they are, you have to respect that. They even fought the Hero face-to-face at one point in the story without hesitation or fear. This happend at the point when the Hero hasn't just defeated all her allies and most of their troops before the battle but also he had the help of a nine foot tall creature with claws and teeth who has no problems taking down even the strongest Goons with just one punch. It takes guts to fight something like that.
This often appears in shows where the villains are sympathetic or the heroes questionable but there are many exceptions to this type of dymanic.
Sometimes In the end the Villians seems more pathetic than praiseworthy though.