Top 10 Most Badass Movie Villains

Top 10 Most Badass Movie Villains

By Luke Physioc

I like bad guys.  Even the heroes l like are generally anti-heroes.  My two favorite comic books when I was a kid were Batman and The Punisher.  I liked them mainly because they were regular guys with no special powers aside from motivation from personal loss (and Bruce Wayne had a bit of a trust fund).  But I also liked them because they were sometimes as messed up as the bad guys they were fighting and they sometimes allowed their personal rage to overpower their heroic tendencies and would get a little carried away when doling out justice.

When it comes to cartoons, it just came down to who was cooler.  Am I going to root for He-Man whose day job is being boring Prince Adam of Eternia who wears pink pants, or am I going to root for the guy who has blue skin and a skull for a head?  Duh, I am going for Skeletor!  The Ninja Turtles had Shredder who had his own personal army to hand out ass kickings while he didn’t even have to get his hands dirty, he just hung out with a brain who chilled in a giant robot wrestler suit!  C’mon people – smarter, not harder!  Speaking of personal armies – look at GI Joe!  GI Joe was a group of ragtag soldiers who just threw on whatever felt good and somehow managed to defeat Cobra on a daily basis.  Cobra had the Joes smoked when it came to numbers, training and organization.  Plus, Cobra had three leaders – Destro, Cobra Commander and Serpentor!  Who even led the Joes?  Duke sort of did, but he also just seemed to be a temp.  It just didn’t make sense.

Villains also have more fun and they dream big while never quitting.  They’re always maniacally laughing while trying to take over the world no matter how many times their personal resources are shot by some slick haired do-gooder.   You have to appreciate a guy who sets a goal and shoots for the stars.  So without further ado, I am going to list my top ten favorite movie villains.

10.  Jaws from Jaws.  I am fairly certain that Jaws made my mother stop swimming back in 1975.  She’ll claim that it kept her out of the water for a few months, but I have no recollection of my mother ever getting into any body of water and I was born in 1980.  Jaws was one of the first mainstream realistic slashers.  He was the boogeyman under the bed.  When you got in the water, you were in his domain and he would take you out not because he wanted to eat you, but because he could.  Plus sharks are pretty badass.  They don’t even need bones, they’re so over bones.  When they die, what is all that is left behind?  Their jaws.  It’s like leaving a signature forever letting the world know that your sole purpose was to kill and ruin.  Yay sharks!

9.  Agent Smith from The Matrix.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s one of the most useless trilogies (the first one stands alone so well) and Keanu took acting lessons from a block of wood.  Forget all that, it all comes down to Agent Smith.  In the first movie they had other agents and then they realized it would just be better to have multiple Agent Smiths.  This dude first starts peeing on people’s parades when he drops a robot bug into Neo’s bellybutton and then he makes his mouth seal shut by just saying so.  People across the world are afraid of bugs and robots and this jerk just combined both and one upped Star Trek II’s  Kahn’s ear cockroach by putting it in a guy’s bellybutton.  Your bellybutton is a knot, your ear has a hole, there is no argument here.  He also has the magical ability to fight without breathing or sweating all while looking dapper in a nice tailored suit.

8.  The birds from The Birds.  Holy crap.  They’re just birds but man, do they give you the willies.  Right from the get go, you know something is rotten in Denmark because when Melanie Daniels buys those lovebirds a seagull just goes by and zaps her on the head.  He could have been a regular seagull and pooped on her, but no, he had some real rage going on and had to draw blood.  Not long after that, another gull wants to take Melanie out so bad that he kamikazes himself into her front door.  That’s some real commitment right there.  After that, all hell breaks loose and the birds just wreck everything.  They’re either attacking people or just hanging out on wires letting you know that they’re going to mess you up.  There is a scene towards the end of the movie where they find a guy with his eyes pecked out and it was a pretty traumatizing scene because birds did it and they never really seem to have a reason to be such dicks.  I love birds.  I used to have a sweet little parrot named Jake, but I don’t like birds en masse, and it’s because of this film.  Not long ago I saw a little kid get mowed down by some geese because he had a sandwich.  The kid took off running and his dad picked him up and the geese were so mad that one of them stole his shoe.  I changed my mind, screw birds.

7.  General Zod from Superman II.  I was more hurt when I learned that Superman wasn’t real than when I heard Santa Claus was a fraud, so you can imagine how much I hate Zod.  First of all who is this guy a general of?  Did he just take that title?  Then what does he do?  He goes to the moon and wastes a couple astronauts, because, y’know, they clearly were bugging him.  Then after that Zod, goes to earth and pretty much kills people, burns stuff up and makes people kneel before him.  I mean, I get it, I’d be pretty bummed if I got stuck in a mirror with two other jerks and sent spinning into space, but this douche really puts it into overdrive.  Thank you, Zod, for bumming children out all over the world.

6.  Michael Myers in the Halloween series.  Michael Myers was probably my favorite from the ‘80s slasher films.  What’s his motive?  I am not super sure to be honest, but boy, does he sure hate his family.  He had the scary mask (Trivia!  The original mask was a Captain James T. Kirk mask painted white, which is even more scary if you think about Mike having Shatner’s voice.), the size, the coveralls, but most of all, he was really, really creative with how he took people out.  He wasn’t on Freddy’s level in terms of creativity, but Freddy cheated because anything is possible in dreams and Freddy made too many jokes to be that scary.  Lots of times Mike would take people out with some knife-fu, but sometimes he would change it up a bit and boil them in a bath or drain their blood with an IV.  Mike also understands that Jason Voorhees’ stupid ability to just walk places and beat his victims there doesn’t make sense.  In Halloween 5, Mike realizes that he’s moving a little slow and steals a car to chase his victims down.  Remember, smarter, not harder.  He’s also impossible to kill, he gets shot, like, a billion times, blown up, set on fire and it doesn’t faze him…. He just really, really hates his family.

5.  John Doe from Se7en.  Whoooooooooooooo.  This guy is a creep and a half.  Sure his crimes are pretty gnarly, but the craziest part about this dude is his weirdo apartment and then of course his portrayal by Kevin Spacey.  Here is a guy who is so completely disgusted with humanity that he decides to start handling business.  If you’re honest with yourself, you sort of see where his complete disdain comes from, especially when it comes to him picking his marks.  He picks the people that you probably despise and curse under your breath when no one is paying attention.  You only see John Doe at the very end of this film but the scene when he walks into the police station with blood all over his shirt and his fingertips cut off and he’s just yelling “Detective!” is probably one of the most chilling scenes in a movie.  You just got the face to your terror and its blankness and its normalness is so completely realistic that it really is scary.

4.  Gabriel in The Prophecy.  It wouldn’t feel right if I somehow didn’t include Christopher Walken in this list.  Walken plays the archangel Gabriel who is on a mission to find an evil soul.   Pfffft, an evil soul.  Have you seen what Gabriel does to people in this movie?  He doesn’t let poor Adam Goldberg die when he kills himself, and more or less makes him his bitch since his soul is in limbo, then he goes and finds a dead angel and burns it.  He burns angels.  I don’t care if you’re religious or not, angel corpse burners are strictly bad news.  He then plans to overthrow Heaven and make a new heaven.  Once again, dudes who desire to start coups in heaven are no-good beings, celestial or not.  Put all this together and add in the panache that Walken plays Gabriel with and you got a pretty decent villain.  Not only that, how is Gabe finally defeated?  It takes Lucifer, the devil himself, eating his heart to finally win.  That’s a bad dude right there.

Christoph Waltz will stand in for Nazis here.

3.  Nazis in anything.  I hate Nazis.  Look at all the crap these guys have caused in movies.  If it weren’t for Nazis, Hannibal Lecter wouldn’t have become a cannibal.  They couldn’t just kill his whole family, they had to make him eat his sister.  Wow.  Also, the X-Men also wouldn’t have had a job if the Nazis hadn’t taken away Magneto’s mother and then hit him with a rifle butt.  Of course the worst Nazis in movies were the ones in the Indiana Jones films.  They had to go and try and mess around with God’s stuff and then they’d have to square off with the world’s toughest archaeologist.   You know how you can tell Nazis suck?  You cheer when they die!  Oh man, look at all the crazy ways they die, too. In Raiders Of The Lost Ark they get melted by God, then in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade one of them turns 900 years old in under a minute, and we cheer!  Why are Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and The Kingdom Crystal Skull not remembered as fondly?  Well, because we didn’t have any Nazi deaths to cheer for.  Most recently, we got to see Hitler and Josef Goebbels get smoked in the face with machine guns from point blank in Inglourious Basterds and what did we do?  We cheered our heads off!  Everyone hates Nazis!

2.  Darth Vader in Star Wars.  Oh, this is too easy.  Big, tall, imposing guy?  Check.  Dressed all in black?  Check.  James Earl Jones mega bass voice?  Check.  Nazi helmet?  Check.  Red laser sword?  Check.  Ability to steal things and choke those who vex you with your mind?  Check.  Owner of a robot planet that wastes other planets and has the badass moniker of “Death Star”? Check.  Yeah, Vader has it in the bag.

1.  Hans Gruber in Die Hard.  I don’t care what anyone says, Hans Gruber is probably the best villain mastermind, ever.  This guy planned an excellent heist, took on the LAPD and FBI, and remained calm the entire time.  He played his heist like a chess game!  He anticipated the FBI shutting off power and used it to get into the vault.  He ad-libbed with an American accent with McClane without skipping a beat.  He thought to have the glass shot out because he knew McClane was barefoot and he killed the company’s CEO just to make a point.  I love that he plays up his demands by requesting the release of a bunch of terrorists to hide the fact that when it comes down to it, he’s just a thief.  Unfortunately, he had to die and we had to get Die Hard With A Vengeance and we had to deal with his stupid brother Simon Gruber and his ridiculous voice.  How could I not say the world’s best action movie didn’t have the world’s best villain? It would be impossible.

Luke Physioc is an artist specializing in tattoo, music and skateboard art, as well as a music reviewer. To view Luke’s art or read his album reviews, visit  http://www.lukephysioc.com ”Tattoo Art, Skateboard Art & Band Art by Luke Physioc”

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

2 Responses to Top 10 Most Badass Movie Villains

  1. Victor De Leon says:

    That was an awesome list! Great post!

    • Nick says:

      Thank you, I will pass along your compliment to my friend Luke who crafted the list himself. Personally I would have put one of the Three Storms from Big Trouble in Little China in there, but no list is perfect.

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