Many films portray the struggle between the forces of good and evil and while we’re always inherently rooting for the hero, it’s the villain who truly makes or breaks a blockbuster. From true forces of destruction to cold and calculating killers, each movie bad guy is unique and sends chills down the audience’s spine in different ways.
Here are just some of our picks for the best movie villains of the 21st century.
Loki – The Avengers
The 2012 Marvel mash-up was a monumental success at the box office, ranking 3rd in the highest grossing movies of all time honours roll. But while the cast of familiar superhero characters was enough to draw crowds in, it was Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of the mischievous and self-righteous Loki that stole the show. The Asgardian God presents a calm and collected front, hiding a barrage of wrath and madness that throws viewers off guard with his sheer unpredictable destruction.
Agent Smith – The Matrix
Love it or hate it, the Matrix series produced one of the most iconic cinematic villains of modern time. Agent Smith’s maniacal and vicious appearance is just one feature that made Hugo Weaving’s character remain lodged in our collective memories. Smith also comes with a deadly cascade of super human powers, with speed and strength that makes him genuinely appear unstoppable in his quest to destroy all life.
Voldermort – Harry Potter
Ralph Fiennes didn’t have an easy task on his hands when it came to bringing “he who must not be named” to life on the silver screen. With an image of pure evil already embedded in the minds of millions of young fans, Fiennes had to become a nightmarish manifestation, without reducing the notorious leader of the Death Eaters into cartoonish territory. His impressive performance across six films achieved just that, leaving young and old viewers alike gripping the edge of their seats in terror.
Anton Chigurh – No Country for Old Men
With no past and an absence of emotion, Cormac McCarthy’s dark villain is one of the most chilling to shed blood across movie cinemas in recent years. Javier Bardem masterfully embodies No Country for Old Men’s boogeyman Anton Chigurh, with a devastating bolt gun, a detached stare and little underneath. His Oscar-winning performance is the making of this cult classic and evidence that a great actor can evoke fear without having to mutter a word.
The Joker – Batman
Christopher Nolan’s gritty Batman trilogy was a major hit, claiming countless awards, winning over hoards of new fans and even giving rise to themed merchandise and lending its name to one of the interactive slot titles at butlers bingo.
But there is one element of the series that stands head and shoulders above the rest: Heath Ledger’s Joker. This force of nature blows into Gotham and emits chaos in every direction. His unhinged charisma and unpredictable nature makes him one of the most intriguingly damaged characters of cinematic history, and the role that the late, great Ledger will always be remembered for.
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