Oh, come on. Sauron is like the archetypal evil overlord. He's got massive armies of monsters. He has a flaming eyeball. He has a helmet made of spikes, people, come on. And, he did... you know, he did all of those... things. And...
Sauron, seen here evilly defending his home from an invading army.
Hold on a minute there:
And what exactly? Please tell us, because throughout the entire 2000-hour run of the Jackson trilogy, we couldn't find a single reason why everyone demonized Sauron like he was a debt-collecting pedophile. Yes, he was building an army to advance on Middle Earth. But who was in that army? What were they fighting for?
This was a world where Orcs were used as target practice among elvish communities. The elves loved that [edited] "too much good stuff"
. Sauron put a stop to that by offering all the underprivileged creatures a place in his non-race-exclusive army (the only nonsegregated force in Middle Earth other than the Fellowship), with promises of their own country in the future. After what he did for the orcs and the goblins, Sauron was just some towering, mace-wielding folk hero.
"Let freedom ring! Also, let's eat some man-flesh."
Of course the humans and elves couldn't have that, because if orcs moved-in next door to them, their houses' property value would go down. After all, these creatures are dark and smelly and have weird voices. They must be murdered on sight.
We hear a lot about freedom, and the free peoples of Middle Earth standing up to Mordor. What do we mean by "free?" They're certainly not fighting for Democracy -- each kingdom is a monarchy where the people have no say over what the leader does as long as that leader possesses the right genes. And overwhelmingly it seems like what those leaders like to do is [edited] "play ring around the rosie" on the Orcs, and the countless other minorities who Sauron was able to recruit onto his side.
What you were seeing in these films was not an unprovoked act of aggression, undertaken just for the hell of it. You were seeing generations of pent-up frustration by oppressed minorities, harnessed by a leader they could get behind. What Sauron did was nothing more than try to cut out a piece of that Middle Earth dream for himself and his followers, and find land that doesn't require them to live under a continuously erupting volcano.
On the plus side, it isn't Oklahoma.
His methods were violent and there were excesses -- as you see in every revolution. But if Middle Earth doesn't take a moment to understand why Sauron was able to draw tens of thousands of disenfranchised individuals to his cause, then they're destined to fight the same war all over again, as soon as the next Sauron shows up.