Among audiences of The Legend of Tarzan, which was freshly released on July 1, you'd expect most eyes to be on lead actor Alexander Skarsgård's insanely ripped body swinging from tree to tree. As even his co-star Margot Robbie pointed out:
"Every girl on set was swooning, I think, when they saw him."
Although brilliant, Skarsgård's and Robbie's performances weren't the only good ones. In what has now clearly been established as his specialty, Christoph Waltz brought us another cold-hearted, blood-shedding villain in the person of Capt. Leon Rom. So if you compare Rom to Waltz's other famously evil characters, how should we rank this villainous role? Here's a completely subjective take on four of Waltz's most malicious parts, from less good to best.
4. Spectre, 2015
Not that any of Waltz's latest roles would really allow you to criticize his work as an actor, but his character Blofeld, who was very ominously portrayed as the ultimate baddie who controlled it all, seemed too villainy just for the sake of being villainy. As such, it doesn't really match the subtlety of the other roles on this list. He also stated that he would only return if Daniel Craig did, so there's that.
3. The Legend of Tarzan, 2016
As far as villainous characters go, you can't go wrong with a colonial era Western captain, ready to use violence to get what he wants. With his beige linen outfit, Waltz does a great Capt. Rom, and the movie doesn't waste any time establishing him as the worst baddie in the place. Still, the overall structure of the movie doesn't serve his performance as well as it could have.
2. Big Eyes, 2014
Tim Burton's Big Eyes distinguishes itself in this list in that it's not as obviously a good vs bad story. Waltz's Walter Keane, a painter's husband who claims the paintings as his own in a scheme mixing greediness and his own failed artistic dreams, is not so much a villain as he is an evil person, but his heartless ambition makes him all the more terrifying. While the movie itself arguably has its flaws, the story of Keane was a fascinating descent into madness that Waltz did great justice to.
1. Inglorious Basterds, 2009
The incontestable winner of the list is the SS colonel Hans Landa in Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds, a fictional retelling of World War II. A few seconds of the famous "Bingo" scene are enough to show you the extent of Waltz's evil genius, as he mixes the perfect amount of genuine smile and dead-eyed stare to make your blood curl.