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.