Superheros may get all the glory, but it’s the supervillain that makes the movie. And it takes a lot to stick out in today’s age of supervillains – a simple gimmick and plans to take over the world aren’t enough anymore.
Our world has been ravaged by supers on screen, and even the normal citizens are rallying against them as they fight amongst each other.
It’s harder than ever to tell heroes from villains, but these bad guys gave us chills over the years. It’s not just their ambitions but the manner in which they accomplish it that gets to us.
Here are the top 10 supervillains ever to appear in movies.
Movies: Batman & Robin, The Dark Knight Rises
Actors: Tom Hardy, Robert “Jeep” Swenson
Best Quote: You don’t fear death… You welcome it. Your punishment must be more severe.
Bane is a genius, and it’s not made easier by the fact that’s he’s extremely strong. The man breaks Batman down, mind, body, and soul, and he creates a gang of followers in the process. He proves himself capable of bringing the entire city of Gotham to its knees, even if he’s relegated to minion work for much of his career.
Movies: The Avengers, Thor, Thor: Ragnarok, Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Endgame, Avengers: Infinity War
Actors: Tom Hiddleston
Best Quote: If it’s all the same to you, I’ll have that drink now.
Forever the prankster, Loki does occasionally do the right thing. More often than not, however, it’s for his own personal ends. He uses his tricks to put the entire world in danger, and he really believes in his godliness. If only he looked less like a ballerina, he’d be more intimidating.
8. Erik Killmonger
Movies: Black Panther
Actors: Michael B. Jordan
Best Quote: I’ve waited my whole life for this. The world’s going to start over. I’MA BURN IT ALL!
He’s only been in one movie so far, but Erik Killmonger has depth and is easily connected to the modern black power movement. He takes over Wakanda at one point to prepare it for war against the rest of the world. Like Magneto and other supervillains, he’s tired of hiding and just wants to experience the glory he deserves.
Actors: Matthew Goode
Best Quote: What in my life, does not deserve celebrating?
Like Magneto, Ozymandias is an anti-villain who’s only doing what he feels is right. In fact, he’s celebrated through most of his life as a hero, whether super or not. What he’s hiding, however, is a weapon of mass destruction he’s planning to use to start a world war, until he’s stopped by his old teammates.
Movies: My Super Ex Girlfriend
Actors: Uma Thurman
Best Quote: I thought you were just a jerk, but I didn’t think you were this despicable! Teaming up with BARRY! You broke my heart! Now, I’m going to break your EVERYTHING!
G-Girl is actually a superhero in their world, but she’s a super-powered ex-girlfriend to Matt. This is every man’s worst nightmare come true, as someone with Superman’s strength has the level of control of a Real Housewife of Wheverthefuck. This villain gets massive points for representing a real-life threat we’ve all faced.
5. Green Goblin
Movies: Spider-Man, Spider-Man 3, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Actors: Willem Dafoe, James Franco, Chris Cooper, Dane DeHaan, Jorma Taccone
Best Quote: Why don’t you just give up?
The Green Goblin isn’t just one man – he’s actually the father/son duo of Norman and Harry Osborn. And he knows so much about Spider-Man’s personal and professional life that he knows where to meticulously aim his punches. He even kills the love of Peter Parker’s life – Gwen Stacy. Not many supervillains get confirmed kills.
4. The Joker
Movies: Batman (1966, 1989), The Dark Knight, Suicide Squad, Joker, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Batman: Under the Red Hood, Batman: Assault on Arkham, The Lego Batman Movie
Actors: Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, Jared Leto, Joaquin Phoenix, Zach Galifianakis
Best Quote: Smile, because it confuses people. Smile, because it’s easier than explaining what is killing you inside.
The Joker’s dementia replaces any need for a superpower. He’s unpredictable yet genius in his approach to villainy, and he puts Batman (and everyone else he can get a hold of in Gotham or the DC Universe as a whole) in a lot of impossible situations. It’s no wonder he’s the first supervillain to get his own movie.
3. General Zod
Movies: Superman II, Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League: Gods and Monsters
Actors: Terence Stamp, Michael Shannon, Callum Blue, Colin Salmon, Mark Gibbon, Bruce Thomas, Simon Templeman, Jason J. Lewis
Best Quote: Tell me, you have Jor-El’s consciousness. But can you experience his pain? I will harvest the codec from your son’s corpse, and rebuild Krypton atop his bones.
If ever there were a man to take at his word, it’s Zod. He’s a military-bred general with all of Superman’s powers and none of his restraint, pity, or other humanizing qualities. In fact, he hates humans and wants Krypton to rule at all costs. The fight scenes in Man of Steel are worth the price of admission alone.
Movies: X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: First Class, The Wolverine, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse, Dark Phoenix
Actors: Ian McKellen, Michael Fassbender, Bill Milner, Brett Morris
Best Quote: I’ve been at the mercy of men just following orders. Never again.
Magneto is such a brilliant character in all media. He’s technically a hero in many aspects, and if the X-Men films had Game of Thrones storytelling, he’d be even more magnificent. Magneto is one of many solid reasons to read X-Men comics, and it’s hard to argue his logic of protecting is own mutant race from the threat of human extinction.
Movies: Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Avengers
Actors: Josh Brolin
Best Quote: You’re strong. But I could snap my fingers, and you’d all cease to exist.
Thanos is that rare supervillain who actually accomplishes his goal. And that goal was quite lofty – with a snap of his fingers, he destroys half of all life in existence. He even kills off most of the Marvel Netflix series. Not only that, but he wreaks havoc on the entirety of the Avengers team after stalking them over the course of a decade worth of movies. Thanos is the most evil man we’ve seen so far.