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bbf2 08-04-2008 02:32 PM

An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains
With all this buzz about whether Ledger’s Joker is truly the greatest comic book super villain of all time, I decided to put together a list of the top 10 and worst 10 comic book supervillain interpretations/portrayals to ever grace the big screen.
However, when I sat down and counted, I realized there’s only a few more than 30 different villains who have even appeared onscreen– so I figured, why not just rank all of them?

So, I set out to rank all of the comic book super villains who have appeared on the big screen. That being said, I’m ranking MAJOR motion picture comic book SUPERVILLAINS.
What this means is –

1. The movie has to be from on a comic book about superheroes (so no villains from non-superhero comic book movies like Sin City, and no villains from non-comic book superhero movies like Hancock or Darkman.) Any villains created for the movie are excluded – like Howard Saint, or Nick Nolte from 2003 Hulk (even though he has Absorbing Man’s powers) Quite a few comic book superhero movies aren’t represented here because they just invented a new villain.
2. It has to be a major motion picture – no movies that are just extensions of TV shows (1966 Batman, Mask of the Phantasm), no direct to video or direct to TV movies (like all the crappy 80’s/90’s Marvel movies.)
3. Must be a SUPER villain – no antagonists that are corrupt politicians or military people. (Senator Kelly, William Stryker, General Thunderbolt Ross, etc.) In fact, they all have non-human monikers, except for Lex Luthor who obviously gets to be included anyway. Obviously I will also omit future supervillains who have yet to appear in their supervillain form (Samuel Sterns from The Incredible Hulk, Dr. Curt Connors from the Spidey movies.)
4. Since its what I’m familiar with, Marvel and DC only (Although since Hellboy uses a historical figure, and Hellboy 2 and The Mask invent new villains, this only excludes the Spawn villains – anyone with info on them feel free to add.)

Other exclusions: Cameos or very minor thugs who are minor in both the comics and the movie (Toad, Callisto, Deathstrike and Magneto’s other random henchmen from X-Men, Zzasz from Batman Begins, The Russian from the Punisher.) The only character who SHOULD be on here that isn’t due to my ignorance is Deacon Frost from Blade – sorry, but I know absolutely nothing about Blade comics. Add him in mentally wherever you want.

OK, with those rules set in place, I have counted that there are 30 different supervillains who have appeared in comic book superhero movies. (And The Joker and Two-Face get two different entries for their two very different portrayals, making 32 entries total.)
They will be graded based on accuracy to the comics, quality of the movie and of the acting, look, justice to the character, how they overall work as a cinematic villain, and the overall potential of the comic book villain. Sometimes they will be weak in some categories but work well in others. One of the biggest themes is “high risk, high reward”- the best comic characters claim the top and lowest spots. A crappy movie character based on a great comics character will rank lower than a crappy character based on a mediocre comics character because of all the wasted potential, and a great movie character based on a crappy comics character can only go so far. Obviously these are based off my own opinion but when my opinion is deviant I factor popular opinion in as well.

Oh, and to add to the suspense: Ledger's Joker is NOT number one (but he's close.) Nicholson's Joker isn't number one either.

Without further ado, here they are….. (and obviously, feel free to add your own opinion and comments)

32. Dr. Doom (The Fantastic Four, 2005, and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, 2007)
Played by: Julian McMahon
Well, right off the bat, here is my choice for the biggest comic book movie villain failure of all time. A controversial choice given the fact that the next few are from absolutely unwatchable movies and the F4 movies are somewhat entertaining in a generic sense. The average movie-goer who saw the Fantastic Four movies wouldn’t probably think he was too bad of a villain, and certainly would think he was a better character than all the Schumacher Batman villains. As horrible as those portrayals were, nothing compares to these F4 movies completely ruining what many consider the greatest comic book villain of all time. I don’t need to sell you on the potential of the Dr. Doom from the comics…but suffice to say, completely ripping off the origin of the Green Goblin from the Spider-Man movies and then having him go into space with the Four and then mutate into a metal freak electric powers was NOT the way to go. But even bastardizing his origin wouldn’t have been too bad if he remotely acted like Doom instead of just being a pissed off Dr. Christian Troy. It is an utter travesty that a character like Doom ended up in the hands of the makers of the F4 movies.

31. Bane (Batman and Robin)
Played by: Jeep Swenson
Yikes. Bane isn’t the only character on here dumbed down into a henchman (Sabretooth and Juggernaut show up soon) but he’s certainly the worst and most egregious. One of Batman’s deadliest and smartest villains, turned into a mute strongman for Poison Ivy. At least the movie tried to make Freeze and Ivy somewhat similar to their comics counterparts, and not freaking mutes. One could argue that Bane is a more important and deadlier villain than those two in the comics, and turning him into some mute thug is a travesty. A strong contender for the last slot, but as great as Bane is in the comics, he’s not at Doom’s level.

30. Mr. Freeze (Batman and Robin)
Played by: Arnold Schwarzenegger
“The ice man cometh!” What more need more be said that hasn’t already? Just six years after Paul Dini and Bruce Timm resurrect Victor Fries and turn him into one of Batman’s most compelling and tragic villains, Schumacher comes along to ruin it. One of the worst and most embarrassing performances of all time, the future Governor simply spits out bad pun after bad pun. The filmmakers try to incorporate his tragic history into the story, but it doesn’t work at all – Fries should be cold, distant and haunted by his condition and his wife’s illness, not constantly making stupid jokes. Schumacher has probably tainted this character forever – everyone associates Freeze with this movie and the bad ice puns now, and if Nolan decides to put him in the next movie, that’s all anyone will be talking about (whereas people kind of forgot about Tommy Lee Jones’s Two-Face when Nolan decided to adapt him). The only redeeming factor is that I actually think the costume looks kind of visually impressive.

bbf2 08-04-2008 02:52 PM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains
29. Two-Face (Batman Forever)
Played by: Tommy Lee Jones
The next couple villains are actually more embarrassing and harder to watch onscreen, but Schumacher’s Two-Face goes here because they ruined the potential of a fantastic comics villain. This is an utter misfire of colossal proportions, both on the part of Schumacher and Jones. Two-Face is a haunted, tragic, figure – he shouldn’t be acting like an over-the-top Joker ripoff. Jones spent the entire movie acting as campy as possible, chewing the scenery and trying to out-Joker Jim Carrey – it kind of made sense for the Riddler to be over the top and humorous, but having Two-Face join in was a horrible idea. Wouldn’t it work better, cinematically, to have one humorous and one serious, threatening villain? Plus, he looked absolutely horrible visually – the scarred side of his face looked like chewed up pink bubble gum, and don’t get me started on the leopard print. Also, casting Jones made no sense – Harvey Dent was supposed to be a handsome and successful DA, but Jones is most famous for his grumpy looking demeanor and his acne scars.

28. Poison Ivy (Batman and Robin)
Played by: Uma Thurman
This character is a complete embarrassment to watch, and Thurman is probably the worst actor in the movie. The actual cinematic character onscreen is equally as bad or worse than the previous four entries, but she goes ahead of them because the other four are incredible characters in the comic books and Poison Ivy doesn’t have much too potential to begin with. Still, there’s not much to be said that hasn’t been – from her ridiculous origins to her gorilla suit strip, Thurman tries to camp it up as much as possible and is a major contributor to Batman and Robin being considered one of the worst films of all time.

27. Galactus (Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer)
Played by: A cloud
I wasn’t sure whether to include FF2’s Galactus in this list at all since it’s not really a character in the movie. I mean, they take a full fledged character and turn him into….a space cloud. A cloud with all the same motivations, origin, role, and name of the Galactus from the comics, but a cloud nonetheless. Tying him into the F4’s origin was kind of neat, and I understand why they didn’t want a giant guy in purple….but they couldn’t make him resemble a human being AT ALL? Or even have a voice? A freaking cloud? Come on!

26 and 25. Blackheart and Mephisto (Ghost Rider, 2007)
Played by: Wes Bently, Peter Fonda
I’m a huge Marvel comics fan…and yet, I never would have seen this movie if I didn’t have to review it for the UCLA TV station. I grouped these two together, but Bently is worse in the film so Blackheart is 26. They’re both completely bland and lame, but they aren’t lower because the movie was so forgettable and no one cares about Ghost Rider’s villains. Both Bently and Fonda completely phone the roles in and look like they’re reading off of cue cards. I guess Blackheart and Mephisto’s motivations, origins, and actions are pretty much exactly the same as the (lame, one dimensional) comics characters, except they’re humans instead of giant monster demonds. There was a rumor that Blackheart was going to appear in giant demonic form in the movie, but alas, it was not to be. The movie sucked, these characters sucked, let’s move on.

24 and 23. Juggernaut and Sabretooth (X-Men, 2000, and X-Men III, 2006.)
Played by: Vinnie Jones, Tyler Mane
Another group that I batched together (I didn’t mean to have both pairs next to each other, but it worked out that way.) They appeared in different movies, but their role is the exact same: Major independent, and dangerous X-Men villains (who rarely interact with Magneto) who are relegated to Magneto’s brute strength henchmen in the movies. And yet, its not nearly as infuriating as Bane in B&R because they both show signs of their personalities (Juggy’s unstoppableness, Sabretooth’s feralness) despite being relegated to henchmen, and their roles kind of work in the film. It’s not really a flaw in the films that they were dumbed down, since they’re all ensemble films and that was the only way to make it work (Surely having Juggernaut be a mutant is a much better idea than explaining the Ruby of the Cytorak crap, and explaining their histories with Xavier and Wolverine, respectively, would be out of place and unnecessary.) Still, this makes their rankings as villain translations pretty low. Juggnernaut is slightly lower because of his stupid line from the YouTube video. I expect Liev Scheiber’s upcoming portrayal of Victor Creed to be miles better and explore the intricacies of the character.

22. Penguin (Batman Returns, 1992)
Played by: Danny DeVito
So as you can tell, I didn’t really like the original Batman movies. This is probably where my opinion deviates from a lot of peoples: I know a lot of people who actually love this movie and like this portrayal better, and I can see where they’re coming from, since the Penguin of the comics isn’t particularly interesting. But…I freaking hate this movie, because of this ridiculous Penguin. The Penguin is supposed to be a sophisticated upper class mob moss, and Burton actually took the reverse route one usually takes and turned a plausible and realistic comic villain into an over-the-top and ridiculous one. This character completely disgusted me, with his grey oversuit and nose biting and unnecessary weirdness. Roger Ebert put it best when he said “I felt sorry for the Penguin, but did not fear him, or find him funny.”

bbf2 08-04-2008 05:53 PM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains
21. Venom (Spider-Man 3, 2007.)
Played by: Topher Grace
Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to see Spidey battle Venom on the big screen, and in 2007 I finally got it. In Spidey 3, Venom’s origins were sufficiently similar to the comics. He looked pretty good and accurate onscreen. His fighting with Spidey was pretty good. So why the ranking? Because he was only onscreen for like five freaking minutes, and then died stupidly! Grace did okay with what he was given, but having this scrawny sitcom star playing an iconic villain was a pretty big insult in the first place. Raimi didn’t want to put Venom in his movie, but Avi Arad forced him, and it showed. The parts were Peter was possessed by the symbiote were ridiculous, and Brock’s plot felt shoehorned in. As a result, Venom fans got him onscreen for a few moments (with Grace’s voice, which sounded wrong coming out of him) before he died in a crappy CGI explosion. You know what they say about compromise: the end result is that nobody is happy.

20. The Riddler (Batman Forever, 1995.)
Played by: Jim Carrey
Another freaking Batman villain! After this one, however, the rest are actually pretty good, or great. Batman Forever probably could have been called “Batman fights Ace Ventura.” Schumacher just let Carrey say or do whatever ridiculous things he wanted, and the entire film is basically about Carrey doing his shtick. Whenever he’s onscreen, the other characters stop whatever they’re doing and watch him. I guess it kind of makes sense in some incarnations for the Riddler to be over-the-top, but this was way too much. At least, I guess he does look like the character, is kind of funny sometimes, and follows the clue-leaving thing pretty well. Still, I wanted a Batman movie, not a Jim Carrey vehicle.

19. Bullseye (Daredevil, 2003)
Played by: Colin Farrell
This is where the villains start getting okay. Farrell was pretty entertaining in this movie, and Bullseye is supposed to be an over the top psychotic, so it kind of made sense. This movie was okay in parts, but seriously suffered in the editing and pacing department – the director’s cut is much better. Anyway, Bullseye isn’t supposed to be Irish, but that’s easily overlookable – his skills, role, and personality all resemble the comics Bullseye to a T, and all in all makes for a pretty entertaining villain. What’s NOT overlookable is the fact that he has a big freaking bullseye tattooed on his head – what a stupid idea! Why would a hitman, who’s trying to remain anonymous and evade capture, give himself such a distinctive mark? Major style points off.

18. Green Goblin II/New Goblin/Harry Osborne (Spider-Man 1-3, 2002-2007.)
Played by: James Franco
I wasn’t really sure where to put Harry, or even what to call him. On one hand, they commit to having him become a villain for all three movies, and it’s wonderfully set up in the first two movies. I especially liked Willem Dafoe’s Norman haunting Harry in the mirrors, just like in the comics. But when Harry finally does become a villain, it’s pretty stupid – he just looks like an extreme snowboarder throwing pumpkin bombs. I can’t really blame them for trying something new since the Goblin suit from the first movie was so awful, but is that really the best they could do? Franco does a good job with what he’s given, especially in the first two and setting him up as a supporting character getting crazier. But there are some truly awful developments and scenes in the third film regarding his character (his snowboarder suit, the ridiculous amnesia, the stupid omelets scene with MJ, the pie being “so good,” and the deus ex machina butler) that ruin it.

17. Ra’s Al Ghul (Batman Begins, 2005)
Played by: Liam Neeson
What the heck? A fantastic film, a great character, and a great actor – how is this so low on the list? Well, I think Neeson’s character works pretty well in his role in the movie, but his villain rating compared to the Ra’s of the comics is pretty low. For starters, the character is a literal amalgamation of Ra’s Al Ghul and Henri Ducard, and basically is just Ducard if he worked for the League of Shadows. Neeson is a great actor, obviously, he looks like the comics version, he leads the League of Shadows and his motivation (destroy Gotham for the good of society) is just like the comic’s Ra’s, and is incorporated masterfully into the film. Despite that, this character is really just Ducard, if Ducard led the League – the personal touches of Ra’s (the relationship with Talia, calling Batman “Detective,” the immortality and Lazarus pits) aren’t there at all. And many viewers didn’t even realize he was Ra’s Al Ghul at all: one of the biggest flaws of this otherwise fantastic movie is that the “decoy/reveal” scene where Bruce realizes that Neeson is the real Ra’s is short and confusing. Some people who saw the film missed it, and some people to this day aren’t sure if he was the real Ra’s all along or if Ra’s Al Ghul is a position/title given to Neeson after Ken Watanabe died.

16. Green Goblin (Spider-Man, 2002)
Played by: Willem Dafoe
This is a villain I’m conflicted about. What it boils down to is: the portrayal of Norman Osborn was fantastic and perfect, and the portrayal of the Green Goblin sucked. When I was watching this movie in theaters in 2002, up until about 60% of the way into the movie I thought Dafoe was doing a fantastic job because he was playing Osborn seriously instead of hamming it up. His role as corrupt businessman and disappointed/verbally abusive father who makes Harry feel inferior to Peter was absolutely perfect, and Dafoe did a great job in those scenes. I’m not a fan of the “split personality” thing in the comics, but it worked here. But then….oh god, when he became the Goblin. The stupid Power Rangers suit, the stupid puns and one-liners….it was horrible. I was embarrassed that I dragged my friends to watch the movie. I know the Goblin is supposed to be over the top while dressed up, but this was just too lame embarrassing to watch, and the costume was just dreadful. When he turned back into Norman, the movie was good again – the Thanksgiving scene where he finds out Spidey’s identity and berates Harry is great. I also loved how Dafoe came back to haunt Harry in subsequent films. And the final fight scene is okay. But man, were most of the actual Goblin scenes awful.

odiin 08-04-2008 06:34 PM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains
Surprisingly decent and well thought out list. I'll look forward to the remainder of this.

bbf2 08-04-2008 07:33 PM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains
15. Sandman (Spider-Man 3, 2007.)
Played by: Thomas Haden Church
Hey, did you know that its okay to commit crimes if your daughter is sick? Well, that’s the motivation given to the Sandman in Spider-Man 3. It was necessary to create a new origin and motive for him, since the comics Sandman was a pretty one-dimensional character who was basically a thug who escaped prison and got magic sand powers. And he turns back and forth from hero to villain in the comics, so making him sympathetic villain works, too. In the green striped shirt and khakis, Church looks like the comics Marko to an uncanny degree. Sandman was a great choice visually, they really were original and creative with what his powers can do, and the CGI on him looks phenominal – especially the “birth of the Sandman” scene where he tries to compose himself after going in the reactor, which I thought was the best scene in the movie. Makes for some great fight scenes, and Church does a serviceable job. Despite that, turning him into a giant inarticulate sand monster at the end was kind of lame, making him related to Uncle Ben’s murder was a bad choice, and his resolution was idiotic. (Spider-Man forgives him, and he just….floats away? What?) Still, turning this mostly lame comic villain into a visual treat was the best part of an otherwise pretty crappy movie.

14. Pyro (X2, X-Men 3)
Played by: Aaron Stanford
I wasn’t sure whether to include him in the list since he was such a minor character in the comics, and has a minor role in the films. But I thought I had to give credit to this character, who is the only character on this list who actually substantially improves upon the comic book character. The Pyro of the comics was a dumb thug with a lame Australian accent that made it so you couldn’t take him seriously. Bryan Singer basically created a new character with the same name and powers, a much more compelling one at that. His turn to the dark side was only told in a few scenes in X2, but it was much better than Anakin Skywalker’s turn to the dark side in the last two Star Wars prequels. Plus, they really had fun with his powers and explored the limit of them, (blowing up cars as projectiles, etc.) even in the mediocre X3. Still, his status as minor character in an ensemble show means he can only be so high on the list.

13/12 (tie). Iron Monger and the Abomination (Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, 2008.)
Played by: Jeff Bridges, Tim Roth
Both of these villains pretty much have the same role, in movies released a month apart: Play second fiddle to the hero, set yourself up, and then appear in the climax as a bigger, evil version of the protagonist. The heroes are the real stars of these two films, and Bridges and Roth are told to stand out of the way until the end climax. Stane is a mentor and partner to Stark instead of a rival business owner, and Blonsky is British on loan to the US instead of KGB, but other than that both roles are quite accurate to the comics characters (which wasn’t necessary, since both characters are pretty minor, but nice.) Bridges establishes himself well before becoming evil, and Blonsky becoming a mini-Captain America with the use of the Super Soldier serum was lots of fun to watch. Both actors are good, both characters are good portrayals and serve their purpose, and there’s nothing wrong with them, but both are kind of forgettable and outshined by the hero. (which is fine for the film’s purposes, but brings them down in the villain rankings)

11. Lex Luthor (Superman I, II, IV, and Returns)
Played by: Gene Hackman, Kevin Spacey
Boy, this one is tough, and going to get me some trouble especially since some of the next few are pretty good but aren’t really the most amazing portrayals in the world. (I put Kevin Spacey’s “Returns” Luthor in here as well because he’s clearly supposed to be the same character in the same universe – but don’t worry, he doesn’t bring down the ranking, its based on Hackman, since Spacey is just imitating Hackman’s performance the whole time. I also won’t penalize him for Superman 4, which I’m sure he sucked in, but I didn’t see) Hackman is probably the best actor on this entire list – and this is right up there in terms of overall acting performances. He does a phenomenal job of what he is told to do. But…what he’s told to do is the problem. Luthor is the most famous supervillain in all of comics, and many would say he’s the biggest one. He’s the most important villain in the DC universe. The movie’s origin is fine, since comics Luthor has so many different ones. His evil plots are fine. But the problem is….he’s the comic relief. The most ruthless and important villain in the DC universe, the greatest supervillain of all time, Superman’s arch-nemesis….is relegated to the comic relief. More specifically, he spends most of the time playing straight man to his henchman Otis. I’ve always had a problem with this, and I had to keep him out of the top 10 because of it, even though the next few characters aren’t that fantastic. The only scene where he’s remotely threatening is when Luthor throws Superman into the pool with the kryptonite necklace on it – I wish there were more scenes like that, where he was a genuinely threatening villain instead of just participating in various wacky hijinks. That said, Hackman does a damn great job as the comic relief, and there are some fantastic comedic scenes.

10. The Kingpin (Daredevil, 2003)
Played by: Michael Clark Duncan
I know it seems blasphemous to put a character who appeared in such a crappy movie in the top 10 and not Hackman’s classic portrayal, but Duncan’s Kingpin hits every note right. Daredevil kind of sucked because all the romance scenes were lame, the action scenes were too dark, and the editing and pacing were horrible. Duncan’s Kingpin, however, was an absolutely perfect adaptation of the comic character. There was a big controversy over the race changing thing, but who else could have played Wilson Fisk? Duncan was absolutely perfect casting. How many other actors out there are gigantic and intimidating, but not in a body builder way? And how many can actually act? Not to mention the voice is perfect. Other than the color, he WAS Wilson Fisk onscreen – the cigars, the origin, the intimidation factor. The only thing that sucked was, well, his lines were pretty stupid because the rest of the movie as a whole was pretty stupid. Also, the horrible editing gave him a lame sendoff – Daredevil finishes off Bullseye in the church, and then all the sudden he’s at Fisk Tower ready for the final showdown? And then Kingpin calls off all of his security for some stupid reason so he can have a final showdown with Daredevil? What? Lame. Great portrayal of a great character, but he’s in a crappy movie.

9. Scarecrow (Batman Begins, 2005, and The Dark Knight, 2008)
Played by: Cillian Murphy
Scarecrow is a classic member of Batman’s rogues gallery who can easily hold his own movie. (and there were several plans throughout the late 90’s and early 2000’s to give him a Batman movie, as the standalone or main villain) Unfortunately, he was given the misfortune of appearing in the only Batman movie that was truly about Batman. Despite a small role, he fits into the plot perfectly, and his fear toxin is the catalyst for the big climax even if Ra’s Al Ghul is the one using it. Murphy is perfectly creepy, and the mask is a great way to update the character. He even gets to one-up Batman in their first encounter by fear gassing him and setting him on fire. Incorporating him into Batman’s origin story was perfect (even though people make fun of the movie for every other word being “fear”) since Batman’s image was created in order to strike fear into the hearts of criminals. Everything about this Scarecrow is perfect, except for the lack of screen time…oh, and the crappy way he’s dismissed. Having the love interest mace him is pretty bad, but at least that only momentarily deters him and he’s the first Batman villain to truly be on the loose at the end of the movie. His appearance in the Dark Knight makes him the first actor to appear as the same villain in multiple Batman films…but, the way he is quickly dismissed is pretty lame. But Jonathan Crane was never really a fighter to begin with.

8. Mystique (X-Men I-III)
Played by: Rebecca Romijn Stamos
Now here’s a performance that really put a comic character on the map. The name Mystique might not be a household name, but everyone and their mom now know that there’s an evil blue shape shifter woman in X-Men. Despite the fact that she became a henchwoman for Magneto (when the two had never really interacted much in the comics) Mystique kept her dignity because it was clear that Magneto was close to viewing her as an equal…or at least, he would think twice before crossing her. She was sexy (even with blue scales,) mysterious, and formidable, and the movies explored the limits and most possible scenarios of her shape shifting abilities and made her the number 2 villain of the series. She was somewhat true to the comics, except she was naked instead of wearing a white gown, and without all the confusing maternal plot stuff. Of course, her sendoff in X-3 was horrible, (with the whole turning human, being abandoned by Magneto and then betraying him) and completely undermined everything about the relationship set forth in the first two movies…freaking Rattner.

bbf2 08-04-2008 08:33 PM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains
7. Catwoman (Batman Returns, 1992)
Played by: Michelle Pfeiffer
Once she steps into action, everything about this character is perfect. A sexy criminal who Batman finds intriguing, can fight him to a standstill or mesmerize him. Not really a bad person, she occasionally fights crime, and is a little off balance. Lots of cat themed puns and sexual innuendo, a little over the top, but that’s exactly how Catwoman is supposed to act. I don’t really like this movie, but have to admit they got Catwoman and Batman’s relationship pretty much perfectly. The “nine lives” stuff at the end is a little weird, but sort of makes sense in the context of the character, and she’s not really a cat burglar, but that’s all well and good. Personality wise, look wise, performance wise this is pretty much the perfect portrayal of Catwoman on the big screen. There’s just one major problem: Her origin. Creating a brand new origin for the film is perfectly fine, since Selina Kyle’s background keeps changing in the comics anyway. But the origin in this film is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen….they make her a freaking ZOMBIE! A ZOMBIE who is resurrected by cats after she dies! The scene where the cats come and revive Pfeiffer’s dead body is one of the stupidest things ever. And then they devote 10 minutes to showing her tearing up her apartment in a bizarre scene. The worst part is, the casual viewer now thinks that’s the real origin of Catwoman. Yikes. That being said, after the origin scene, everything is perfect.

6. Two-Face (The Dark Knight)
Played by: Aaron Eckhart

Well, you all saw this movie recently so you all know how good Eckhart’s performance is. The fact that he’s this high on the rankings despite only appearing in the villain persona for the last 15 minutes says a lot about the high quality film (and the general poorness of most of the other entries.) Despite Two-Face only appearing for the last few moments, he doesn’t feel shoehorned in like Venom in Spider-Man 3…in a way, the movie really is about Dent, moreso than it is about Batman or the Joker. Unlike Venom, the origin is the most important part of Two-Face. Everything about Eckhart’s performance is perfect, and the way the plot unravels makes you feel sorry for Dent as he fights the good fight, and terrified of what he becomes in the end. Once he becomes Two-Face, the portrayal is still great – his nihilistic views of everything being up to chance, the ominous coin flips, the ingenuity, and the make-up is spectacularly horrifying. This goes without saying, but this obviously puts the Schumacher version to shame: it explores all the tragic depths of this wonderful comic character, and is an integral part of creating one of the great superhero movies of all time. I wouldn’t change a thing about this portrayal or story – but in terms of villain rankings, he can’t go Top 5 because of the fact that he only appears in villain form for the last 15 minutes. (Oh, and he freaking died at the end.)

5. Dr. Octopus (Spider-Man 2, 2004)
Played by: Alfred Molina
Dr. Octopus is one of Spider-Man’s most feared villains. With Norman Osborn “dead” from 1978 until 1999, and Venom not appearing on the scene until 1989, he’s been Spider-Man’s most consistent enemy since his original appearance. (Well, Ock briefly died for two years during the Clone Saga, but let’s forget about all that) Spider-Man 2 brought this classic character to life in an unforgettable way – the fight scenes between Spidey and Ock were unbelievably awesome, and were like the best parts of the comic book brought to life. Casting Molina, a lesser known actor with regular guy appeal, instead of casting some of the brand name actors rumored for the job was a stroke of genius. Ock looked absolutely perfect, completely true to the comics, and the tentacles were a marvel of CGI, robotics and puppetry and were truly awe inspiring. Of course, there’s one deviation, and it’s a huge one: comic book Otto is ruthless, a villain to the core, and Molina’s Ock is basically a good guy corrupted by his tentacles. Some people have a problem with this, and I’ll admit seeing the pure evil and ruthless Octavius would be cool onscreen. But the problem with that is, Ock is the main villain of the movie, and thus needed a more compelling storyline and motivation than “My tentacles are fused to me now, time to wreak havoc!” It made for a wonderful story and a wonderful movie. Still, making one of Spidey’s only truly unredeemable villains into a good guy is going to bump him down a few in the villain rankings.

4. The Joker (Batman, 1989)
Played by: Jack Nicholson
Ask anyone who isn’t a comics fan (like, say, your dad) what the greatest comic book villain performance of all time is, and they’ll probably say Nicholson’s Joker. An iconic character who has stood the test of time and been one of the most resilient screen villains in motion picture history for almost 20 years. Making him the killer of Batman’s parents was kind of stupid, and unnecessary- they had already built up enough animosity at that point. But some people seemed to like it. Giving him a real name and a detailed origin story was kind of lame, but not a stretch – the Joker’s origins aren’t definite, (he wants his past to be multiple choice, after all) but there were many versions of the story where he was a petty criminal known as the Red Hood and falls into a vat of acid, so having him be a mobster wasn’t a huge stretch. Really, I’m not a fan of the Jack Napier origin they gave him in this movie…but its serviceable, and not horrifying stupid like the one Burton gave Catwoman, so I can live with it. The most important thing is, once he becomes the Joker, Nicholson gives an all-time performance here. Funny yet deranged, perfect adaptation in the looks department, some all-time classic one-liners. He’s over the top, but in a controlled way. It’s not fair that people are dismissing this great performance because of Ledger’s recent portrayal – this one is great in its own way. The only problem is that he’s more entertaining than scary, he’s more of an eccentric mob boss with established goals than a true deranged psycho, and the scene where he smashes stuff in the museum to Prince music is pretty lame. But still, this is an amazing performance – Nicholson takes over the movie, switches from point to point (amiable to threatening to hysterical, etc.) seamlessly in some scenes, and delivers a classic performance that rises above the just okay script.

WarBlade 08-04-2008 09:09 PM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains

Originally Posted by bbf2 (Post 15422752)
However, when I sat down and counted, I realized there’s only a few more than 30 different villains who have even appeared onscreen

You mis-counted. :applaud

bbf2 08-04-2008 09:15 PM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains

Originally Posted by WarBlade (Post 15425175)
You mis-counted. :applaud

I'm not sure what you mean. I said a few MORE than 30.


3. General Zod (Superman I, II)
Played by: Terence Stamp

Kneel before Zod! Another one of cinema’s classic villains. Stamp revolutionized the role of movie comic book villain by playing Zod completely straight and as a serious and deadly threat, after decades of the villain just being there to chew scenery and ham it up as much as possible as comic relief. (like Hackman’s Luthor opposite him in the same movies, or all the 1966 Batman villains.) There’s a little bit of camp and humor from the aliens with all the “Planet Houston” stuff, but for the most part, Zod means business. The battle scenes between Zod’s crew and Superman look dated now, but they were was amazing back in the day. Superman I is a great movie, mostly because of the origin story. While Hackman’s Luthor was funny and entertaining, the movie lacked the presence of a true, threatening villain. Superman II (while it has its own flaws – stange editing because of the whole Richard Donner firing business) fulfills that void by introducing Zod as a serious threat. He’s every bit Superman’s equal in the power department, except he has two other Kryptonians to do his bidding. He’s completely soulless and intimidating….oh, and did I mention that he actually succeeds in taking over the world for a little while? “Kneel Before Zod” has become a classic line in American pop culture. Zod in the comics before 1980 pretty much had the same story as the movie one, but the movie fleshed out the character and his origins a little bit more. Since then, his movie origins have been canonized into the comics, and most portrayals of the character take from Stamp’s. This portrayal made General Zod the only Superman villain the average person could name other than Luthor, and helped seal his status as one of Superman’s foremost enemies.

2. The Joker (The Dark Knight, 2008)
Played by: Heath Ledger

What can I say about this role that you haven’t already read 1000 times in the last week? It’s perfect. The (lack of) origin, the terror, the fact that he does so many awesome things, the fact that he can be absolutely hilarious and yet absolutely terrifying in a realistic way the next moment. Having him recount his origins, falsely, was a stroke of genius. For all his awesome antics, hilarious lines, horrifyingly realistic scenes, I think the best part of the character is his speeches about his world view. You’re horrified by what he says and thinks, but at the same time mesmerized, and you can’t help but to see his point in certain ways. My favorite two scenes in the film are the ones where he talks to Batman in the interrogation room and when he talks to Two-Face in the hospital. In the first scene, Batman starts out by attacking him, but then he stops and starts to become slowly seduced by all the interesting things the Joker is saying, about how they’re two peas in a pod and different from the rest of the world….before he comes to his senses and continues to beat the Joker up. You can tell that he beats him extra hard, because he agreed with what he said to a certain degree, and he’s trying to disassociate himself from that. Absolutely brilliant moment. And then in the Dent scene, you start to believe him about the whole “I’m just a dog chasing cars who does stuff randomly, everyone else is a schemer…” (and Dent certainly does.) Only after the movie is over did I realize…hey, wait a minute, the Joker came up with several very elaborate schemes and plans! And then I thought to myself…was he just lying to Dent, or is he so insane that he actually doesn’t realize (or thinks himself immune to the fact) that he makes more elaborate plans than the people he’s accusing? Wonderful dialogue, fantastic script, fantastic performance that gets better the more I think about it.

So, why not number 1? Well, it easily could have been. In most early drafts of this list, I had it as number one. But the truth is….while this portrayal went above and beyond all expectations… it’s not that hard to create a great Joker. He’s a very interesting character, one of the greatest villains of all time…but while what he says is deep, he himself is not that deep of a character. You don’t need to explain anything that he does, the whole point of the character is that he does whatever he wants, randomly, all the time, so the screenwriters can have him do anything they want without any explanation. You don’t need him to show emotions, because he doesn’t have any true emotions, and you don’t need to show other sides of his character. Look at it this way: EVERY SINGLE major adaptation of the character (Romero, Nicholson, Hamill in animation, Ledger) has been WIDELY praised and considered fantastic. Hell, there are a lot of fan made movies who are widely praised for creating great Jokers. And yet, all of them are completely different, do different things, have different motivations. I’ve read that actors consider it very easy to play a sociopath, and showing emotions and feelings is what is truly difficult. That’s why my number one villain is number one, despite being in films that aren't nearly as good as Dark Knight.

1. Magneto (X-Men 1-III)
Played by: Ian McKellen

Magneto is one of the most complicated villains in all of comics (and I don’t mean because of all the reconning and all the clone/alternate timeline/alternate dimension crap that the X-comics tend to get involved in.) A tragic character with plausible motivations and origins, awe-inspiring powers, the capacity to commit horrible deeds yet retain several heroic qualities. Charles Xavier’s greatest enemy, and yet his best friend and the only one who understands him. Partially based on Malcolm X, a spokesman for a huge fragment of mutant kind, tactical genius, one of the most feared and respected men in the Marvel universe, and in most people’s opinion one of the greatest comic book characters of all time. Adapting him into movie form would truly be a daunting task, but Ian McKellen and Brian Singer were up for it, and did it with flying colors. Magneto and Professor X are easily the greatest parts of the two films, and the two characters done the most justice. Their relationship is portrayed wonderfully, such as when they play chess together – you can really see that these two are best friends at heart despite all the fighting and killing stuff. Magneto’s relationship as a sometime ally, sometime villain is on display to perfection in the films, and McKellen’s performance is fantastic and elevates the other actors on the screen. His relationship with the other characters is fantastic too – his snide dismissal of Logan as an animal as he toys with Logan’s metal body, his somewhat flirtatious respect for Mystique, his temptation of Pyro to the dark side. Other than the dumb moment where he abandons Mystique, Magneto is one of the few characters who even comes off very well in the mostly terrible X-Men 3. In fact, X3 actually adds to the depth of the character, by showing the great flashback where he partners with Charles, showing him being absolutely agonized while he watches Charles die, and then when he snaps at Pyro for speaking ill of him. He also continues to show off his incredible power when he moves the Golden Gate bridge. (Other than Magneto and Beast, I still hate that freaking movie) Of course, the only major difference between this Magneto and the comics one is that this Magneto is a senior citizen – but that makes sense, because he needed to be a Holocaust survivor, and the reason he’s not an old man in the comics despite being a survivor is because of some nonsensical early storyline in which he turned into a baby and then re-aged to be 30 something (seriously.) I’m not sure if I like the idea of his own spinoff movie, but the first three X-movies should be commended for taking such a drastic and hard to adapt character, and portraying him wonderfully on screen. They had the biggest challenge of any character adaptation, and they were up to it. Magneto has so many different layers, and is such a hard villain to pull off, and that’s why I put him above Ledger’s Joker. X-Men 3 sucks, and the first two movies can’t hold a candle to Dark Knight, but I still think this is the best villain portrayal of all time because it stayed faithful to a classic, complicated character over the course of three different films.

SPIDERMAN117 08-04-2008 09:18 PM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains
Prettty Good list...Some of the better lists ive seen in a while

WarBlade 08-04-2008 09:37 PM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains

Originally Posted by bbf2 (Post 15425211)
I'm not sure what you mean. I said a few MORE than 30.

Keep counting and don't stop at 60. :oldrazz:

bbf2 08-04-2008 09:42 PM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains

Originally Posted by WarBlade (Post 15425338)
Keep counting and don't stop at 60. :oldrazz:

Like I said, I eliminated henchmen (except the few I wanted to talk about,) military/politican antagonists, non-DC/Marvel characters, characters invented for the movie, and a few others that I didn't know enough to talk about.

The Joker 08-04-2008 09:47 PM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains
Pretty solid list :up:

Heath's Joker, Molina's Doc Ock, and McKellan's Magneto are the best of the best, IMO.

Dr Strange 08-05-2008 05:36 PM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains
That is an awesome list and i agree with most of your points especially your views on Catwoman (my problems with the character were identical to yours), i also loved what you had to say about the screen adaptations of the Joker, (maybe minus Romero here) Hamills, Nicholsons and Ledger's are all different and memorable adaptations of the character and all deserve high recognition for the the way they have portrayed it.

Venom75 08-10-2008 03:59 PM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains
Wow. That is a very impressive list! Well thought out and interesting character studies.
Personally,I would've moved Venom up a bit(then again he's my favorite villain),but what do you expect when he only recieved 5 minutes of screen time? Your top 5 are all wonderful,though.
Great job!!

DarKush 08-10-2008 09:37 PM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains
Solid list. Hopefully if you check out the Blade films/comics I would like to see where you would rank Deacon Frost. He's one of my all time favorite genre film villians.

I don't know much about him from the comics, but on film he was a perfect foil for Blade, who I didn't know much about before the first film either.

Hellion 12-21-2012 12:47 PM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains
Love this list and agree with most points.

-wow-didn't realize the last posts were 2008.

#'s 1 & 2 are spot on.

TheGuy 12-21-2012 11:07 PM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains
Not ranked:

Joker(Ledger & Nicholson)
Doc Ock

Fassbender's Magneto isn't a villain yet. Pfeiffer's Catwoman was more of a villain than Hathaway's who was more of an antihero.

Edguy 12-22-2012 11:09 AM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains
Does no-one else have a problem with Pfeiffer's ridiculous costume?

The Joker 12-22-2012 02:19 PM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains

Originally Posted by Edguy (Post 24892069)
Does no-one else have a problem with Pfeiffer's ridiculous costume?

It's in a movie where there's a marching penguin army with rockets on their backs. If you can accept that in this movie universe then Catwoman's costume should be a drop in the ocean.

bbf2 12-22-2012 02:54 PM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains

Originally Posted by comics (Post 24890873)
Not ranked:

Joker(Ledger & Nicholson)
Doc Ock

Fassbender's Magneto isn't a villain yet. Pfeiffer's Catwoman was more of a villain than Hathaway's who was more of an antihero.

Huh? All of the characters you listed were ranked except for Bane and Loki, who weren't on it because the list was written in 2008 before either of them had been in movies yet.

Edguy 12-22-2012 11:11 PM

Re: An In-Depth Ranking of all the Comic Book Movie Super Villains

Originally Posted by The Joker (Post 24892531)
It's in a movie where there's a marching penguin army with rockets on their backs. If you can accept that in this movie universe then Catwoman's costume should be a drop in the ocean.

Well, yeah, but I sort of got the vibe, from this thread and other places, that the costume design wasn't among the bad things at all.. Also kind of judging the characters out of context of their films.

Once she steps into action, everything about this character is perfect ... look wise, performance wise this is pretty much the perfect portrayal of Catwoman on the big screen ... That being said, after the origin scene, everything is perfect.

That is an awesome list and i agree with most of your points especially your views on Catwoman (my problems with the character were identical to yours)
I mean, that stitched S&M suit was just ridiculous.

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