ByNathaniel Perrier Sharer, writer at
Nathaniel Perrier Sharer

Everybody loves villains. After my list of Top 10 Superhero portrayals, I was inspired to do the same for the villains. Since every villain has multiple sides to them, and is always interpreted differently, I decided to focus on the roles that, rather than were truest to the source, instead gave us believable, brilliant villains, and the relationships and challenges they presented to the hero. So without further delay, here are my top 10 Super-villain portrayals.

#10: Michael Clarke Duncan as The Kingpin

An interesting choice, certainly. While the original character was white, Duncan, standing 6'5" and enormously muscled, certainly filled the part out better than anyone else could. While Daredevil gets a lot of bad press, the movie has its few strong points, and Duncan is certainly one of them. Cool, intimidating, and oozing charm, Duncan looked incredible hurling Affleck across the room. I could never really believe Daredevil could defeat someone like him.

#9: Aaron Eckhart as Two-Face

His character arc based off "The Long Halloween", my personal favorite Batman novel, it's no surprise Aaron made it onto this list. Eckhart's performance showed us Harvey Dent, the brilliant, hopeful DA, and his spiral into madness at the loss of his love. His final moments, his desperate attempt to right the universe and make things "fair", are chilling, holding their own even against the likes of Ledger.

#8: Danny DeVito as The Penguin

It's true, I have a soft spot for Tim Burton's Batman movies. Surprising as it is that a villain like The Penguin could hold his own in the sequel to Nicholson's Joker, Devito did it. In Burton's dark, gothic Gotham City, Devito brought a genuinely chilling performance as the cruel psychopath Oswald Cobblepot. Honestly, did you think anyone could actually pull off chilling while riding in a giant yellow duck?

#7: Willem Dafoe as The Green Goblin

Willem Dafoe championed Peter Parker's most personal enemy, Norman Osbourne, aka The Green Goblin. Stoic and cold to manically insane, Dafoe brought a range of emotion to his character. In his last moments, his almost tearful monologue stirred, before his final attempt on Peter's life, locked him a spot on this list.

#6: Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus

I make it no secret that Spider-man 2 is still one of my favorite superhero movies. Like I've said, I prefer Maguire, but the real reason I love this movie is Molina. Brilliant and charming, to tortured, to corrupted, to redeemed, Molina hit all points home. He even managed, in a dark coat and sunglasses, to look cool, almost casual, riding up buildings and across trains on mechanical arms.

#5: Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor

Like Christoper Reeve, Gene Hackman defined the image of Lex Luthor. Hair or not, Hackman captured the egotistical megalomaniac brilliantly, a perfect fit opposite Reeve. Like Reeve, he helped define the way future movies, TV shows, and even comics presented Lex.

#4: Hugo Weaving as The Red Skull

A villain played by Hugo Weaving. That should be enough reason right there. If that's not enough for you, Weaving's villains have always been iconic. Be it Agent Smith, Megatron, or even an anti-hero like V, his dark, brilliant performances always hit it home. As the fanatical Hydra leader, Weaving gave us an almost gleefully, furiously, depraved fanatic. Power and domination above all else, his hatred for Cap and everything he stood for, as well as his obsessions with Gods, truly brought the red skull to life.

#3: Tom Hiddleston as Loki

Our favorite show-stealing God of Mischief. Charming, quick-witted, cold, furious, tortured...a whirlwind of emotion wrapped up in one man's portrayal. Tom Hiddleston blew minds in the first Thor, and it's no wonder they gave him extra scenes in The Dark World. The perfect villain to create the Avengers, we can never truly hate him, because Hiddleston manages to portray multiple emotions, be it anger with a hint of sadness, charm with a dash of viciousness, or more, Hiddleston has proven he can do it.

#2: Ian McKellen as Magneto

As with his counterpart Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen has proven he was meant to play this part. Fassbender is fantastic as the young Magneto, but McKellen champions our version of Magneto, the aged, disillusioned champion of Mutant Freedom. Acting across from his real-life close friend Patrick Stewart, McKellen's on-screen chemistry with Stewart is incredible to behold. Powerful and chilling, like Stewart, he brings a gravitas and a presence to the role that can't be matched.

#1: Heath Ledger as The Joker

This one was hard. It really was. Believe me, Nicholson would have been #2, but it just didn't feel right having the same villain on here twice. I love both of them. Each portrayed a different aspect of the Joker, The Clown and The Psychopath. In the end, I went with Ledger, for the unlikely pick, the hate he received for it, his extreme dedication to the role, and the incredible performance it spawned. In my mind, they're both incredible, but a list with two #1's wouldn't be a real list. Ledger's performance is the reason I went back to see TDK again, and again, and I have no doubt it will remain one of my favorite on-screen villains for a long time.

Honorable Mention: Dane Dehaan as Andrew Detmer

An honorable mention goes to Dane Dehaan in "Chronicle". His performance was chilling, but as that wasn't based on any comic, I didn't want to rank it compared to the others. Perhaps his Harry Osbourne will shine through and earn him a spot. As always, please give some feedback on what you thought about the list. Who do you think is #1? Do you prefer Nicholson of Ledger? Whatever it is, leave it in the comments below.

Top 10 Superhero portrayals:


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