Super Villains, the deadly antagonist. I love super villains, I especially love a great super villain that is portrayed perfectly on film. With the large amount of superhero movies being produced, with every superhero, there is always a super villain devised to be their nemesis or adversary. Whether they measure up to the hero or not is not up to the actual villain, but to the one(s) writing the story, and how competent they want the villain to be. Now there have been some really good ones, Loki, Obadiah Stane, The Joker. Now as much as it is about the superhero, because ultimately it is, it is as important if not more important, to get the villain right. There have been hits and misses, and some were basic villains that are carbon copies of each other. Here are some qualities that should be incorporated into a super villain to ensure a great superhero movie.
Make them likable, in their evil ways.
A villain is not made to just be evil, well they shouldn't be, they should also be made to entertain the viewers as well. Their personality and their behavior can really make him memorable or forgettable depending on the execution. One example of a lifeless unlikable villain... villains, was in Iron Man 2, Whiplash and Justin Hammer. Geez, these guys weren't a winning combo at all.
Whiplash had a great intro with the opening action sequence, but what was great about him, died throughout the rest of the movie. He mostly sat around and asked about his bird. There are plenty birds in the audience comrade. It didn't help when they had Justin Hammer dancing around and having a goofy sense of humor being the bad guy and all. Terrible!
I love Sam Rockwell, but they needed to step up their antagonists and they simply didn't do it in this film. Loki has the personality that worked and is very likable. He is definitely a fan favorite. His ability to not take things seriously when it was required to take things seriously were played perfectly. He played games with the heroes and made them look quite foolish which was fun to watch. If you are not going to have them really fleshed out, make them funnier and smarter than anyone else on screen.
Make them a physical threat.
I like my bad guys big and bad. I love them more when they can kick some serious tail. As of right now, the only standouts that come to mind are Bane and the Winter Soldier. Bane ripped through anyone in his path, including Batman. He just manhandled him, broke him. The Winter Soldier was a killing machine, he put the Black Widow through hell and gave Cap best fight we have seen in the MCU. We need more like that in upcoming movies. I am hoping that Ultron gives us the biggest physical threat yet.
Have the villain take the life of someone close to the superhero.
Yes, make it personal, make it heartbreaking. Super Villain street cred gets amped up a notch when they take away a superhero's loved one(s). The rivalries are built on wins and losses, win a hero wins, the villains' rage fuels, never truly crushing them. But when the villain wins, they win big. Arrow's Slade (Deathstroke) was the best example of this... and The Joker. They both had goals and followed through with most of them, even eliminating loved ones of their rival superheroes. It is a hallowing feeling, a feeling that they won't soon forget.
Give them no restraint.
Finally, one of my favorite qualities, don't restrain the villain, set them free. I watched Thor: The Dark World and Guardians of the Galaxy and I was thinking how both villains could have been much much better. (Spoilers, be warned).
Malekith had a great opportunity to raise the villain bar when he turned Asgard into ruins and killed Thor's mother in the process. But he was a one tone super villain with limitational moments. When Malekith took the ether from Jane Foster, why didn't he rip it out of her body ending her life? Thor burned his face, if that was me, I would have tore her apart. I blame story writing for that, trying to preserve the romance of the movie. Egg on face, you made him weak. Ronan...man, I could only imagine if they removed a large chunk of his preaching and replaced it with, "I hit you with my hammer, YOU DIE!!!" He had a ton of potential, but they dialed it down quite a bit making the heroes the real stars. When a villain allows Starlord to break dance as a distraction, you deserve to die. Great scene, but Ronan got an F for flunky and was just a fill in until Thanos gets the Infinite Gauntlet.
Superheroes are only as great as the villains, so if you give us the best villain, you will give us the best bang for our buck. Bad guys need love too, give them the necessary evil that is deserved.