Welcome back to the countdown of the best portrayals of comic book villains. Ready to crack the top 10? Before we get to today’s entries, lets take a quick look at who we’ve covered so far.
25. The Penguin – Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham)
24. The Joker – Cesar Romero (Batman – TV Series)
23. Deacon Frost – Stephen Dorff (Blade)
22. Saint of Killers – Graham McTavish (Preacher)
21. Doctor Octopus – Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
20. Vulture – Michael Keaton (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
19. Deathstroke – Manu Bennett (Arrow)
18. Green Goblin – Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man)
17. The Governor – David Morrissey (The Walking Dead)
16. Catwoman – Julie Newmar (Batman – TV Series)
15. Hela – Cate Blanchett (Thor: Ragnarok)
14. Captain Cold – Wentworth Miller (The Flash)
13. The Joker – Jack Nicholson (Batman)
12. Helmut Zemo – Daniel Brühl (Captain America: Civil War)
11. Magneto – Ian McKellen (X-Men)
On to today’s installment…
10. Cottonmouth – Mahershala Ali (Luke Cage)
Oozing with charisma, and far more nuanced than the typical MCU villain, Mahershala Ali’s take on Cornell Stokes (a.k.a. Cottonmouth) was superb. While I do love Mike Colter’s take on Luke Cage, I actually found Cottonmouth to be far more interesting than the titular hero. So compelling and engaging was his character, that his death halfway through the first season, throws the entire show out of whack leading to a disappointing back half. Showing him being forced into the life of organized crime despite his wishes to avoid it, yet fully embracing it once he’s in, he did a fantastic job making Cottonmouth come across as both vicious and slightly sympathetic.
9. Bane – Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises)
I know some dislike the voice Tom Hardy chose to use for Bane, but I personally thought it gave the character a memorability and helped in making his incredible dialogue standout even more. And make no mistake, his dialogue is just that: incredible. He easily has some of the best material in the entire series. Including the “darkness” monologue, which sums up a villains backstory better in just a few sentences than some get with entire scenes dedicated to it. Being the first of three villains from The Dark Knight trilogy being in the top 10, it speaks to just how amazingly well Christopher Nolan did in creating great villains.
8. Ra’s al Ghul – Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Number 2 in The Dark Knight trilogy big bads. The shock of learning that Liam Neeson’s character, originally claiming to be Henri Ducard (the man that helped train Bruce Wayne in the comics), was in fact the real Ra’s al Ghul, was a truly wonderful plot twist. While Bane may have had better dialogue, and the Joker got more focus, I really believe that there was more charisma in the interactions between Christian Bale’s Batman and Liam Neeson’s Ra’s al Ghul than any other villain in the franchise. With the connections to him in the events of The Dark Knight Rises, he in many ways was actually the primary villain of the trilogy.
7. Erik Killmonger – Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)
Easily one of the most complex villains in a comic book property. While his actions and his ultimate goal are evil, due to the life he was forced to live due to the horrible mistakes of his father and uncle, it’s understandable why ended up with such a distorted worldview. That’s something that is rarely seen in comic book movies or television series: a full understanding of why the villain believes what he does. Typically the villain’s reasons for evil-doing and their motivations are simple, shallow, and one-dimensional. None of those could be used to describe anything about Killmonger. His death scene is one of the most truly heartbreaking moments in the MCU.
6. Negan – Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead)
Over-the-top and in love with the sound of his own voice, yet charismatic and entirely engaging, Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s performance as Negan is a spot-on portrayal of its comic book counterpart. Even though the quality of the series as a whole has been in a bit of a downward spiral the last few seasons, it is in no way due to the show’s villain during that time. Negan has been one of the few bright spots and compelling things going on for a while. I can remember thinking that his casting seemed a bit out of left field as he hadn’t even been rumored to have been a choice, and was only cautiously optimistic about his potential…but man, was I wrong. Now, I can’t imagine anyone but him playing the part. It’s almost like he was made to play it.
Sadly, I have not been able to pump this list out as fast as I had hoped, but I’m still aiming to get it done tomorrow. Hope to see you then, when I finish off the countdown with the Top 5!