DC Films’ Top 10 Villains of All Time (So Far)

DC Films’ Top 10 Villains of All Time (So
With Suicide Squad being something of a
celebration of DC Comics’ villains it’s time to celebrate the heads of the
class, the crème-de-la-crème, the best of the best of the best, sir!  With honors!
(Sorry, couldn’t
help myself.)
So, to gear
you up for Task Force X’s cinematic premiere, Watchtower proudly presents to
you: DC’s Top Ten Cinematic villains.  

 Now, I didn’t poll or consult anyone and my criteria are my own so you
might not agree.  But, I think by now you
all know that I don’t just throw these type of things out there and I don’t
take these things lightly so hear me out.

Number 10…

Faora (Man of Steel)
Ah, Faora…
We hardly had any time together but what time we did have was magical.  Played by the captivating and charismatic
Antje Traue, Faora was no mere henchwoman, she was the walking, talking
embodiment of ass kicking in Man of Steel and the only reason she isn’t higher
on the list is because she didn’t have more to do during the course of the
movie.  Not only did she hand Clark Kent his
first ass kicking, but she made short work of some of our Nation’s finest young men
and all with a side of philosophy, “A good death is its own reward.”

presence during the film cannot be overstated, every scene she’s in your eyes
track directly to her and by the end of watching the movie the first time I had
found myself hoping they would bring the character back somewhere down the
Number 9…

Ozymandias (Watchmen)
Thank you,
Geoff Johns!  Thank you for bringing
Watchmen into the DC Universe proper!  It
allows me to put Adrian Veidt on this list. 
Mathew Goode played this character fantastically in Zack Snyder’s 2009
film, it would have been easy for Veidt to be portrayed as a vile manipulator
that turned the world against his friend for control. 
Snyder and Goode chose to play Veidt as a man who felt he had no other options
and he was more than willing to destroy the reputation of his friend in the
public’s eye and his own friendships if it meant that humanity might find some
way to back away from extinction.
That’s what
makes him compelling, more importantly that’s what makes a good villain.  Because you did go too far Adrian, you did murder millions and pervert peace
and it should haunt you.  Evil in the
name of Peace is still evil.  (Also,
Snyder’s choice to dress Ozymandias in a Joel Schumaker style costume was not
lost on me. Awesome.)
And speaking
of Evil in the name of Peace…
Number 8…

Ra’s al Ghul
(Batman Begins)
Now, I am
personally of two minds when it comes to this. 
On the one hand, I love me some Liam Neeson and I honestly have never
watched a movie he’s in that I haven’t at the very least enjoyed his
performance.  Also, I am a total
Christopher Nolan fanboy and that started with Batman Begin, I really think it
is as close to perfect as a comic book movie has come.  Ever.
On the other
hand, I Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhate Ra’s al Ghul as a villain!  I hate everything about him, from his stupid
cape to his stupid wannabe Bond villain shtick to his idiotic daughter!  I can’t stand it when he shows up in the
comics cause it means six to eight issues of pretending he doesn’t belong
somewhere between Killer Moth and Crazy Quilt on the list of serious threats to
Batman.  Seriously, in a Rogues gallery
that includes some of the greatest villains in all of comics and one of the
greatest villains in all of popular fiction how do people put up with this
doofus showing up and wasting our time?
Still, Liam
Neeson did a damn fine job portraying Ra’s as what he is (and what he might
actually be compelling as) that being a terrorist.
Number 7…

The Joker (Batman ’89)
Here we go,
now before you grab a pitchfork let’s actually talk about this.  Have you actually watched the 1989 Burton
film recently or are you relying solely on nostalgia?  Answer honestly.  Now there’s no denying on presence alone,
Jack Nicholson’s Joker belongs on this list but that can only go so far.  He’d already won his Oscar and you could
argue that Nicholson’s best work was already behind him by the time he was cast
as the Clown Prince of Crime. Really, this performance is little more than Jack
Torrance in Clown Make-up and a bit more kid friendly.
Watching the
movie now, I am genuinely surprised Burton didn’t try to shoe-horn in a scene
where Joker used a fire axe.  When I want
to see Jack Nicholson as a villain, I’ll stick with The Shining.

Number 6…

Bane (The Dark Knight Rises)
That’s two,
you gotta give it to Tom Hardy.  He had a
big hill to climb, following an Oscar winning performance by the late Heath
Ledger and a wonderful performance from Liam Neeson.  He also had to wear that mask.
Is it a
little silly?  Yes.  Is it a bit too quotable? 

Possibly but
I defy you to say you didn’t sit up straight or tense up in this moment:

because Bane was terrifying.
Number 5…

General Zod
(Superman II)
Hey!  Remember all that stuff about nostalgia I
asked you about Jack Nicholson’s Joker? 
Let’s revisit it for Terence Stamp’s performance as Zod.  Are you so high on it because it was great or
are you high on Nostalgia?  Now, I won’t
argue against nostalgia, even when I think it’s done more harm than good in
comic fandom, particularly DC Fandom. 
Now, that’s
not to say it’s bad.  His performance
beat out a TON of other (Spoilers, Jim Carrey, Tommy Lee Jones and Kevin Spacey
all fell by the wayside.) but like the ’89 Batman, there’s a ton of nostalgia
wrapped up into the Christopher Reeve films, especially Superman II.
Still, Stamp
played it so straight faced and so serious that even as things go campy around
him he keeps things just grounded enough to crack the top 5.
Number 4…

General Zod
(Man of Steel)
From Zod to…
Well, Zod.  I loved Michael Shannon as
Zod.  I think he takes the character in a
fantastic direction without relying on the modern villain trope of “Being
misunderstood” (looking at you, Loki) Zod is simple.  He was created to defend the Kryptonian
civilization at all cost.  If that means
killing the Council of Krypton? Fine.  Committing
a coup? No problem.  Killing his lifelong
friend? Sign him up.  Even genocide
doesn’t faze this man and when it comes time to go out, well he’s going to
force Kal-El to kill him to prove that his will is stronger than Zod’s.
That’s a
villain you don’t see enough of anymore.
Now before
we get into the top 3, I thought it might be time to take a look at some
characters who I thought of putting on this list but in the end decided they
weren’t actually villains.

The Comedian
Edward Blake
is possibly the most important character in Watchmen.  Much like Eddard Stark triggered the War of
the Five Kings in A Song of Ice and Fire (Which was based partially on the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand triggering World War One) Blake’s death
triggered the events of Watchmen when Rorschach begins digging into his death
and uncovered Ozymandias’ plot.
Sure he dies
in the first scene, but much like Superman in Batman v Superman his presence is felt in every moment that
follows.  Unlike Superman, Eddie is a
nihilistic rapist and murderer that just so happened to fight crime.  Like the Punisher with a flair for gallows
humor.  Sure he’s a bastard but is he a
villain?  I’m just not sure.

Selina Kyle
(The Dark Knight Rises)
What can I
say?  Any excuse I have to include
Catwoman, I’m going to take it.  She is a
liar, a thief and practically the prototypical femme fatale but she’s not a
villain.  Nor is she a hero or
anti-hero.  Selina is always at her best
when she defies labeling.
Hathaway did a hell of a job portraying her, you can talk about Michelle
Pfeiffer in latex all you like, but this is Selina Kyle just the way I like

Batman (Batman v Superman)
“Hey!  What the hell!  Batman isn’t a villain!?”  Did I not just say that these characters
aren’t villains?  I’m saying that Batman
in BvS deserves to be in the conversation, if for no other reason that if you
think of this as a sequel to Man of Steel then Batman is definitely an
antagonist.  However, he also represents
a segment of the audience that took issue with the previous films.
He has gone
so far down the rabbit hole after the Black Zero Event and later the Capital
Hill bombing that like Ozymandias in Watchmen and Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins
he considers throwing everything he’s built up in his life away to murder
Superman.  Where he differs from those
two is what eventually keeps him off the list, he turns away from that defining
moment and instead joins forces with Clark to stop Lex Luthor.
Which brings
us back to our list.
Number 3…

Lex Luthor (Batman v Superman)
Jesse Eisenberg’s
Lex Luthor is another breath of fresh air for a genre that seems to have become
obsessed with making the villain somehow sympathetic (Loki is pretty much a
teddy bear) stupid (Ronan was defeated by a dance-off) or cliché (Hector
Hammond.)  Lex Luthor isn’t sympathetic,
he’s a sociopath.  Considering he tricked
the world’s most powerful man and the “World’s Greatest Detective-”

-into trying
to kill each other all while tricking the US Government to give him dominion
over alien technology he sure as hell isn’t stupid.  “But Jason, isn’t he just the cliché evil
business man?”  Perhaps on the surface,
but in his heart of hearts, Lex is a good old fashioned megalomaniac and the
business empire is just a means to an end.
But we’re
not done with Lex yet.
Number 2…

Lex Luthor (Superman)
right, Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor.  “The
Greatest Criminal Mind of Our Time.” 
Sure he’s a bit one-note, but that note is World Domination and sure he’s
got an obsession with land grabs (if you count Superman Returns) but much like Reeve and Donnor, Hackman has set
the bar for so many of the villains on the list and even if he strays into camp
I cannot deny Lex Luthor is one of the best.
Just not THE Best.
Number 1…

The Joker (The Dark Knight)
Was there
ever really any doubt?  Christopher Nolan
and Heath Ledger teamed up to put their spin on one of the most famous villains
in fiction and it was a cultural phenomenon. 
Think about every Halloween party or convention in not only 2008 but
2009 too.  Were there at least three
Ledger Jokers?  Yes there were.
Much like Ra’s
al Ghul was reimagined as a terrorist Ledger’s Joker was stripped down to his
anarchist core and then they added a mastery in group psychology and he
manipulates his way to a horrible victory as he taints Batman, Jim Gordon and
Harvey Dent forever.  He even mocks the
concept of sympathetic villains and villainous origins by making up the story
behind his scars every time he tells someone.
After that,
there’s no real place for Mr. J but the tippy top.
So there you
have it.  DC’s Top 10 Villains according
to me.  Be sure to send your complaints
to @WatchtowerBabel.  Or better yet, see
Suicide Squad next week and we’ll try to figure out who cracks this list and
where they might land.  Until them come
back tomorrow for more Suicide Squad Hype.

Just another guy on the internet.

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