Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Top 10: Movie Villains

This is a difficult subject to get into, but I figured I would do my best to honor Heath Ledger's terrific performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight film.

I had to do some carving - so I didn't include serial killer-types like Jason Vorhees, Freddy Krueger, Mike Myers or Ghostface - although each and every one of them were terrific villains.

Also, for the bottom two on this list - I went with possibilities instead of actual screen time, but I will explain that in a minute.

Here are my Top 10: Movie Villains (in reverse order as always):

10) Darth Maul - Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Reasoning: I thought that the idea of Darth Maul was amazing. Ray Park also did a great job at creating the character - he just looked vicious from the first time you get to see him. He is highly skilled, quick and strong with The Force. I was disappointed with the quick demise of Darth Maul, as his character was one of the best in the Star Wars universe - killing him off in one episode was a serious mistake.

9) Venom - Spiderman 3
Reasoning: Again, this character could have done so much more. Apparently, Venom was an afterthought in the movie, and put in for fan approval. But, the way he was used could have been so much better in my opinion. I actually thought Topher Grace was great in the role - but it was too minor for such a great character. Hopefully, we haven't seen the last of Venom.

8) Wicked Witch of the West - The Wizard of Oz
Reasoning: Is the Wicked Witch of the West truly a villain? Apparently she was always as ruthless and sinister before Dorothy arrived in Oz, at least according to the Munchkins. But, her hatred towards Dorothy might have been merited - she did drop a house on her sister's head. But still - her vengeance towards the four yellow-brick road followers was truly wicked.

7) Magneto - X-Men Trilogy
Reasoning: The mutants in the X-Men universe were clearly given a choice - either use their powers for the good, or for evil. Magneto was originally an ally of Dr. Xavier, but the prejudice towards mutants from the humans forced his hand - and he became the face of evil throughout the X-Men Trilogy.

6) Dr. Octopus - Spiderman 2
Reasoning: Talk about a guy who takes his work seriously. After killing his wife and his mechanical arms are fused into his body, Dr. Otto Octavius becomes Dr. Octopus and will stop at nothing to finish his experiment. In order to complete his experiment, he needs tritium, which Harry Osborne possesses - to obtain it he must kill Spiderman.

5) Hannibal Lecter - Silence of the Lambs
Reasoning: Despite not really being the villain in the film - that belongs to Jame Gumb 'Buffalo Bill' - but it was Lecter who was the most frightening, even behind that glass cage he was housed in. Despite helping Clarice Starling track down the infamous Buffalo Bill, Lecter always appeared to have a hidden agenda. And it was his mind games that made him a true force.

4) Khan - Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Reasoning: Khan's story is one of revenge. Kirk had exiled Khan to the planet Ceti Alpha V in the episode 'Space Seed' of the original Star Trek television series. Back for his revenge in the second of the Star Trek films, Khan commandeers the USS Reliant and goes into all-out war against Kirk and the Enterprise in search of 'Project Genesis' - a quick process of transforming a planet into a livable one.

3) Lord Voldemort - Harry Potter Franchise
Reasoning: He Who Must Not Be Named, has been the enemy of Harry Potter from birth. Killing Harry's parents, and scarring him with a lightning bolt scar on his fore-head, Voldemort was 'killed', but is slowly returning to finish what he started. I have not read the books, so I only know what I have seen - but it appears Harry is the only hope to send Voldemort back where he belongs.

2) The Joker - The Dark Knight
Reasoning: The Joker has been around for ages, but in all forms (despite some animation) he still didn't seem all too terrifying. But, enter Heath Ledger, and The Joker was transformed into a true mass-murdering psychopath. His only real reason for committing these crimes was to prove that anyone could turn evil in the right situation.

1) Darth Vader - Star Wars Original Trilogy
Reasoning: In my mind no one is as villainous as Darth Vader. Despite taking orders from Emperor Palpatine, he was the true bad ass who carried them all out. He was masterful with a light saber, had one of the best understandings of The Force - and despite being bulky, was surprisingly nimble. But it wasn't just his fighting skills - he also had a knack for getting under your skin with his brain.

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