Renegade Cinema Staff Picks: The Best Super Villains

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Best Super Villains

 

Best Super Villain

Bane / Warner Bros.

Bane

Caliber Winfield: Bane from The Dark Knight Rises – My issues with this film run deep, and the sole reason I come back to it, is the guy I consider to be the greatest villain in history: Bane. I didn’t care for the comics version so much, but what Nolan & Tom Hardy did with him for the film is incredible. From the look, which is some sort of industrial, post-apocalyptic mercenary, while not completely muscle-bound, what he has is thick & dense and you can tell he built it from life experience, not a gym. Although I will admit I wish he was as big as he was in Warrior. Beyond that, the way he speaks makes the movie. He doesn’t scream, nor does he make idol threats. The things he says, you know in your heart he truly believes, and he speaks in such a sophisticated & clam manner, that it makes it far more effective than simply yelling. Of course, Nolan had to ruin him by making him a lovelorn loser who’s stuck in the Friendzone.

 

Best Super Villain

Star Wars / Disney

The Jedi

Eric Norcross: I would have to say the Jedi, they are just about the most vile, evil group of people in the galaxy. All they do is spread their cray-cray religious fervor and those they cannot “force” their beliefs upon are struck down by their lightning swords. They won’t even give their counterparts, the Sith, the opportunity to openly participate in government functions so the poor chaps have to run without publicly disclosing their religion publicly. Your empire, their empire, my republic… perspective!

 

Best Super Villain

Mr. Gone / MTV

Mr. Gone

Ruby Le Rouge: From a movie, I’m blank, from a comic is easier. My favorite would be Mr. Gone from The Maxx. Horrific and humorous at the same time. Whether he’s a serial killer, a figment from your id/out back, or a long lost relative/animate rotting head in a bag telling you to do terrible things in an effort to know yourself, he’s 100% disturbing. “STOP IT! EVERYBODY KNOWS IZ’S DON’T HAVE EYEBALLS!!” 

Now a live action Maxx movie, that would be truly disturbing.

 

Best Super Villain

Lex Luthor / DC Comics

Lex Luthor

Derek Johns: For every great hero there must be a great villain and no one fits that description better than Lex Luthor. Superman has had many great and powerful enemies over the decades but none have been as memorable or iconic as Luthor. What he lacks in brawn he more than makes up for with brains. He is regurlarly a step ahead of Superman so that even though Superman always wins the battle, the war never really ends. He also proves himself to be such a master manipulator that he gets himself elected as President of the United States. I don’t think it”s a coincidence that a character this complex has been played by some truly great actors like Gene Hackman, Clancy Brown and Kevin Spacey.

Caleb Masters: In our picks for superheroes I was absolutely torn, but ultimately went with Superman because of his icon status and the the idealism he represents. When it comes to super villains there’s a lot to really love out there(Magneto just barely missed my top spot), but in my mind there is no villain that is as formidable, intelligent, layered, and iconic as Lex Luthor. In an ideal world without Superman or superheroes, Lex Luthor very well could have done the world some great good, but his own ego, desire for power, and endless pursuit of knowledge drive this man to become one of the most vile characters in all of comics. 

What makes him so fascinating is that deep down the character truly believes he doing the world a favor by ridding the world of Superman, and it’s this ambiguous edge that have given us a peek inside this man’s darkly cerebral mind. He has good intentions, but also has a god complex as he seeks to be man’s savior and is willing to make sure that nobody stands in his way. If I’m going to be honest I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Michael Rosenbaum and his sympathetic yet equally dark portrayal of the character on Smallville. His journey begins as a rich kid trying to change the world, but his ambition and lust for control lead him down the dark path of villainy in a way that most of us can not only understand, but can also root for. The dynamic between Clark and Lex on that show cements his character as deeply tragic as he clearly wants to make this world a better place, but only if its on his own terms. 

If Superman represents a savior that the world needs to survive, then Lex Luthor represents human nature and depravity that seeks to prove that humanity doesn’t need any help, but can thrive on its own without help from super beings. There are a lot of complex and intricate villains out there, but I don’t think any of them quite have the philosophical and cerebral implications that Lex does to comics which is why he is the very best we’ve ever read or seen.

 

Best Super Villain

The Joker / DC Comics

The Joker

Jesse Blume: The best and most engaging villains are the complex ones, where you can see the various shades of humanity behind them. Perhaps you can sympathize with them, maybe even admire some aspects of their flawed characters. Others have no redeeming values whatsoever, and they make you aware of the horrible people walking around in the real world, not just on the printed page or TV screen. There are thugs, broken men, would-be conquerors, madmen, and monsters. There’s only one who stands head and shoulders above the rest, a monument to the worst aspects of humanity and the living personification of bleakness and inhumanity. 

THE JOKER.

It doesn’t matter which version. It doesn’t matter who portrays him. In terms of evil, the Joker stands supreme. He may not be a firebreathing dragon, or some alien overlord who’s threatens to enslave humanity. No, the Joker is something far more sinister. He commits the most terrible crimes with no remorse. Sometimes his actions build towards some master plan, but sometimes for nothing more than his own amusement. Even Batman himself, possibly the most stoic and unshakable man in the DC universe, is terrified of his nemesis. In Scott Snyder’s recent “Death of the Family,” storyline, we got to hear what the Dark Knight tells himself when he must face his arch-nemesis. One phrase says it all. “Look into his eyes, and tell yourself he’s just a man.” 

There is another phrase that shows how different the Clown Prince of Crime is from the other classes of criminals. “When normal people want to scare each other, they tell ghost stories. When supervillains want to scare each other, they tell Joker stories.” 

He is the thing that keeps us up at night. The candy cane knife in your stomach. The void in our souls. And worst of all? He claims to have been made by the events of a single bad day. Maybe each and everyone of us could become our own Joker.

Bethany Lewis: I am also going to choose the Joker. Not only is he truly twisted and demented, but he’s deceivingly intelligent and revels in the simplicity of violence. He’s also one of the few characters who seems to have a firm grip on reality, a sixth sense for the real world outside of the comics, and takes delight in poking at the fourth wall. The irony is, of course, that in the comics, that’s a big part of what makes him insane. He also has a love of showmanship, big production crime numbers, and a wickedly twisted sense of humor that makes him disturbingly close to endearing. We love to see him perform and we simultaneously feel delight and horror in the great fun he has in committing atrocities. He’s a great villain because sometimes we kind of want him to win.

 

Best Super Villain

The Riddler / DC Comics

The Riddler

LJAY: No matter if it’s comics, movies, video games or Saturday morning cartoons my favorite villain has to be the Riddler. I don’t care if he is played by Frank Gorshin, John Astin or Jim Carry. The riddler tops all. What villain can drive you insane while trying to defeat him? Edward of course. One fault that I always had with the batman arkham games is that you never could truly fight the riddler. He was alway regulated to side quests and accumulating question marks. When with that the riddler is still the greatest who else has a theme song created by method man of the Wu Tang Clan?…THE RIDDLERRRRRR! of course

 

Best Super Villain

Magneto / Marvel Comics

Magneto

Shawn S. Lealos: There needs to be some Marvel love here. I like Magneto because he is the perfect ideal of a true villain – someone who really believes in his heart that he is right. He isn’t some petty thief or a serial killer. He isn’t some megalomaniac that wants to rule the world (although he does want control). He is a man who witnessed the Holocaust first hand from inside a concentration camp. He knows that humans hate and will destroy anything that they fear. He knows that Mutants will always be persecuted against. While Professor X prefers to try to teach peace through working for the greater good, Magneto knows that there are still people who will damn them no matter what, just because they are Mutants. He is a villain only because he knows that they have to strike first, knowing the humans will eventually strike if given the time. He is a good man who knows the evil that rests within others.

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About the Author

John "D-Rock" Dotson
is a film critic and film-maker from Dallas, Texas. He attended Midwestern State University where he received a Bachelor's in Business Administration in the field of Marketing. He's a huge lover of all things cinema... except The Last Airbender. Follow him on Twitter @DRockDot
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