10 Best (And Worst) Comic Book Movie Villains

10 Best (And Worst) Comic Book Movie Villains

A few people have posted lists like this limiting themselves to the villains of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But why stop there, when we have a whole world of comic book movie villains to draw from? Here are ten of my favorite -- and least favorite -- villains from comic book movies.


A few days ago, fellow users DrDoom and GliderMan posted a couple of great articles listing their favorite villains of the Marvel Films. You can read them here and here.


But I thought to myself, why limit ourselves to just Marvel villains? So here are ten of the greatest — and ten of the not-so-greatest — villains from all sorts of comic book movies, from superheroes to crime dramas to Japanese manga.

Disclaimer: these choices simply reflect MY opinion. I'm not trying to state them as if this list is fact or anything like that ... 'cause it's not.




10.) The Winter Soldier
(Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

Played By: Sebastian Stan


I might be biased here, since I’m a big admirer of Ed Brubaker’s Captain America run. Out of all the villains from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Winter Soldier is my favorite. Yeah, you could argue he’s not 100% a bad guy since he’s brainwashed, but in my eyes, he’s a villain.


9.) General Zod
(Superman II)

Played By: Terence Stamp


Maybe I’m looking at this villain through rose colored glasses, since his motivation boils down to, “DIE AS YOU DESERVE TO!” He’s honestly got about as much depth as a petri dish. But still, Terence Stamp is so fun to watch in this role. It’s hard for me to overlook him.


8.) Kevin
(Sin City)

Played By: Elijah Wood


Who’d have thought Frodo Baggins could be so creepy? Frank Miller’s Sin City is chock full of disturbing, violent shit, but razor-nailed, cannibalistic Kevin is a definite standout for me.



doc ock

7.) Doc Ock
(Spider-Man 2)

Played By: Alfred Molina


In the comics, Doc Ock is just an evil megalomaniac — so it’s kind of interesting that they chose to make Otto Octavius a sympathetic character in Spider-Man 2. It worked, though. Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock was a huge highlight of the film, and I think has set a standard for all Spidey villains to follow.


6.) Magneto

Played By: Ian McKellen


This casting (along with Patrick Stewart as Professor X) was just straight up awesome. The most interesting thing about Magneto in these movies is that, well, you kind of get where he’s coming from.


I had trouble picking between Fassbender and McKellen, since they’re both pretty badass as Magneto. I had to go with Ian McKellen though … because it’s Ian McKellen.


5.) Adrien Veidt

Played By: Matthew Goode


Is he a villain? Is he a hero? Is he a good person who has done some terrible things, or is he a horrible person with some redeeming qualities? That’s kind of up to you to decide … and that’s why he’s such an amazing character.



4.) The Joker

Played By: Jack Nicholson


This one’s such a classic that I doubt it needs much explanation. It’d be a crime not to include Nicholson’s Joker somewhere on this list.


carl fogarty

3.) Carl Fogarty
(A History of Violence)

Played By: Ed Harris


William Hurt may have ended up being the big bad of this film, but Ed Harris’ performance as one-eyed mafia hitman Carl Fogarty was the thing that really stuck with me. I think that’s pretty impressive, given the character’s minimal screen-time.



2.) Tetsuo Shima

Voiced By: Nozomu Sasaki


This one might seem like an odd choice, but I really wanted to include at least one animated feature on this list. Throughout Akira, we watch Tetsuo develop from being meek and powerless to being a raging psychopath. It’s not just his godlike psionic powers that make him terrifying, but his utter lack of morality.


Fun fact: Tetsuo’s hairstyle inspired the appearance of DragonBall Z character Vegeta.



1.) The Joker
(The Dark Knight)

Played By: Heath Ledger


No surprises here, I guess. I know I already included Nicholson’s Joker above, but I honestly believe Heath Ledger’s performance helped redefine the character for modern audiences. Gone are the joy buzzers and chattering teeth, replaced with a knife and a grisly Glasgow smile. 

Honorable Mention: 

Harlen Maguire
(Road to Perdition)

Played By: Jude Law




batman & robin

1.) Every Villain
(Batman & Robin)

Played By: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman, Jeep Swenson


These three are so horrid that I actually find them endearing. Between Arnie’s ice puns, Thurman dancing around in a gorilla suit, and BAAAAANE, these three helped make Batman & Robin one of those movies that’s so bad, it might actually be good.


nuclear man

2.) Nuclear Man
(Superman IV: The Quest for Peace)

Played By: Mark Pillow


I’ll just let this video speak for me…


Laurel Hedare

3.) Laurel Hedare

Played By: Sharon Stone


I had to look up this lady’s name, because to me she was just “Sharon Stone.” All I really remember is that she uses some kind of skin cream that … um … gives her super skin? Right…


4.) The Octopus
(The Spirit)

Played By: Samuel L. Jackson


One look at this guy says it all. He’s just a ludicrous cartoon through and through. How Frank Miller managed to convince Sam Jackson that this would be a worthwhile role is beyond me. It almost makes me want to demand you revoke that “Bad Mother[frick]er” wallet, Sam. Almost…


quentin turnbull

5.) Quentin Turnbull
(Jonah Hex)

Played By: John Malkovich


Like Sharon Stone, I didn’t even remember this character’s name until I looked it up. I think his ultimate plan involved using some kind of cannon to blow up Washington … for some reason. Oh, and apparently the massive death machine was created by Eli Whitney, because why not.

hector hammond

6.) Hector Hammond
(Green Lantern)

Played By: Peter Sarsgaard


Hector Hammond was undoubtedly the worst part of Green Lantern for me. The character was ridiculous enough with the giant nutsack growing off of his head — and when he started screaming like a two-year-old, I honestly wanted to laugh. What a shame, because Sarsgaard is actually a decent actor.


rico dredd

7.) Rico Dredd
(Judge Dredd)

Played By: Armand Assante


One thing I’ve always wondered: if Rico Dredd and Joe Dredd were cloned from identical DNA, then why on Earth don’t they look identical? Ultimately though, that’s a minor quibble compared to Armand Assante’s over-the-top scenery chewing.



8.) Blackheart
(Ghost Rider)

Played By: Wes Bentley

Did he do ANYTHING threatening in this entire movie? I honestly don't think he did. 



9.) Bullseye

Played By: Colin Farrell


Apparently the idea behind this iteration of Bullseye was to make him “Sid Vicious meets Alex from A Clockwork Orange. Sounds great on paper, right? Well, obviously something got lost in the translation to the screen, because between the snakeskin jacket, the piercings, and Farrel’s hammy performance, this character was a bit of a dud.



10.) Venom
(Spider-Man 3)

Played By: Topher Grace


This one wasn’t so much “terrible” as it was “disappointing.” Like many fans, I was ecstatic to hear Venom would be popping up in Spider-Man 3 … but once I saw how horrid they portrayed him, I wished they never even tried. Venom (at least the Eddie Brock version) is a pretty complex character, and they didn’t give him nearly enough screentime in order to develop him properly.

Honorable Mention: 

The Riddler
(Batman Forever)

Played By: Jim Carrey



Well there you have it. Do you agree? Disagree? Think of anyone I may have left out? Whatever your thoughts, comment below and let me know. Thanks for reading!


Take care, people.

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