Your Top Three: Superhero-Movie Villains

Your Top Three: Superhero-Movie Villains

Nov 08, 2013

Your Top Three is a series where we choose a topic and you give us your top three picks.

Is Tom Hiddleston's Loki the best villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? That's the topic for debate today on Twitter now that Thor: The Dark World is in theaters. Maybe it's because he's been a major figure in three movies, now, including the first Thor and The Avengers, that he seems to be the mightiest. And he probably is, though I think Marvel could stand to do much better. He's never seemed evil enough to me. Especially now that he plays seemingly for good in the latest movie. 

Loki might not have a lot of competition in the Avengers franchise (though I do really love Hugo Weaving's Herzogian Red Skull), so how about the rest of the Marvel movies? There's Ian McKellen's Magneto in the X-Men movies (for now, I'd say Michael Fassbender's version doesn't count) and also Alfred Molina's Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2. Does J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson count? (I recall Marvel's trading cards labeling him a villain.) 

And as for DC, of course you have the unforgettable performances by Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor in the Superman movies and Jack Nicholson as the Joker in Batman. I enjoy the former so much I can almost even stand most of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Almost. Also, I might be alone in this, but I always liked Louis Jourdan's Dr. Anton Arcane in Swamp Thing

Let me remind everyone, as I did in Wednesday's poll, that you can look to nonadapted works, too. So how about Jason Lee's Syndrome in The Incredibles? Samuel L. Jackson's Mr. Glass in Unbreakable? Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Royal Pain (with help from Patrick Warburton) in Sky High? Some other adapted works not from Marvel or DC to also consider: John Leguizamo's Clown in Spawn (the only good part of the movie), Max Von Sydow's Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon and Lena Headey's Ma-Ma in Dredd

Here are my top three superhero movie villains:

1. Heath Ledger as Joker in The Dark Knight - I have to go with the masses here. I love Nicholson's take for the Batman movie he's in, but it doesn't seem that hard. I never thought I could see a Joker who I believe could exist in a real world, and then Ledger's Oscar-winning performance took me by surprise. I know there are more prominent scenes with him in the movie, but this sequence is my favorite illustration of how amazing he is in every frame he has the pleasure of appearing in:

2. Terence Stamp as General Zod in Superman II - I love how serious Stamp is throughout this movie, which is otherwise pretty silly. Yet he never feels out of place, either. It's like he's Margaret Dumont in a Marx Brothers movie. Perfectly antidotal with his pale, stone-faced determination. 

3. Jeffrey Jones as the Dark Overlord of the Universe in Howard the Duck - Almost all superhero movie villains disappoint me in some way, but there are no expectations at all when I watch this, possibly my most beloved guilty pleasure of all time. And regardless of what you think of the Marvel Comics adaptation as a whole, you just can't not enjoy Jones' scenes at the Captain Sushi Diner. Hilarious. And just as silly as I want my comic book characters most of the time. The actual Dark Overlord monster, though? Not so great. 


Your Picks (the top three being Heath Ledger's Joker, Tom Hiddleston's Loki and Alfred Molina's Doc Ock):















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