Have you ever seen a movie where you loved the antagonist more than the rest of the characters? Or justified their actions because there is an underlying reason behind their actions? Villains are not always necessarily evil; sometimes, they’re just misunderstood souls. Not always, but here’s our pick of our favourite villains:
Tom Hiddleston as Loki (Thor)
A cunning Norse god, and Thor‘s archnemesis and adopted brother, Loki is best known for presumably always causing trouble. Giving off major angsty vibes, especially against Thor, Hiddleston argued that Loki is a very complex character. “Angry and lost and broken and witty” is how Hiddleston himself describes his character in an interview. Hiddleston and Loki have become so intertwined that we can’t even imagine anyone else playing Loki.
Heath Ledger as Joker (The Dark Knight)
Only Heath Ledger could perfectly play the character of the Joker – the chaotic maniac. Unafraid, even of death, Ledger’s Joker purposed turmoil to purge society by exposing its hypocrisy. A methodical madman, this Joker’s bloody deeds do not evoke sympathy. A leader unlike Phoenix’s Joker, Ledger seeks to set everything aflame.
Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly (Devil Wears Prada)
Focused on her work and in a powerful position, Miranda Priestly comes off as a cold, and sometimes difficult, boss. Not concerned about being likable, Meryl Streep was focused on figuring out what drove her character, sacrifices that most successful women have to make. Even if she created panic among those who worked for her in those hilarious first scenes, Priestly doesn’t let anything get to her. And the movie finally helped prove that Streep is box office-worthy too. In fact, Streep initially refused the role because the pay was too low, but the script inspired her to ask for more.
Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier (Captain America)
Reprogrammed to be a killing machine – Winter Soldier – by Hydra, Bucky Barnes’ original appearance didn’t grab much attention. Although he was most scrutinised for assassinating the Starks (Howard and Maria), he atoned by helping the Avengers defeat Thanos. Stan actually remarked that it took him at least three years as playing this character to get noticed in The Winter Soldier, who was only a side character until then.
Charlize Theron as Queen Ravenna (The Snow White and Huntsman)
With a painful past, this unapologetic queen does everything she possibly can to retain power. Seeking vengeance in her own unique ways, Ravenna becomes practically invincible until Snow White unknowingly traps her soul. Despite her hatred for weakness, Theron shows us glimpses of a vulnerable queen. Calling her something of a “lost cause”, Theron revealed that she thought that this cold queen was beyond redemption.
Michael Fassbender as Magneto (X-Men)
Fassbender made his appearance as the new, younger Magneto in the X-Men movies, bringing to the audience the origin story of this character. Initially portrayed as a one-dimensional anti-hero, Fassbender’s Magneto eventually turns evil, until the very end where he reconciles with Charles. Relying on the comics for his action poses, Fassbender’s Magneto is more powerful and undergoes character development throughout the movies, bringing in the actor’s unique personality and spirit.
Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter (Hannibal)
‘A good man trapped inside an insane mind’ is how Hopkins remembers his infamous character. You would think that acting as a cannibal wouldn’t be easy, but Hopkins disagrees. Apparently, Hopkins knew precisely what he envisioned his character to look and talk like as soon as he read the script. With his restrained voice, only this actor could make a cannibal seem scarier.
Cate Blanchett as Hela (Thor – Ragnarok)
Blanchett, who played this killer goddess, stated that she was drawn to the role because Hela was one of the first female Marvel villains. And in many matters, she is far more evil than Loki. A deep-seated reason for her goals sets her apart from most Marvel villains. Blanchett’s character is absorbed in bringing Death to a seemingly immortal world of gods, that she gains strength by creating chaos.
Robert Patrick as T-1000 (Terminator)
Patrick got the role of T-1000 after menacingly staring at the camera, and frightening director, James Cameron. And those intense eyes follow you throughout the movie as well. Believe it or not, those crazy shots of Patrick chasing others down is his actual running pace, and hasn’t been sped up for the movie. Arguably, one of the best Terminator villains, Patrick still carries the T-1000 baggage with him wherever he goes.
Lee Byung-Hun as Storm Shadow (G. I. Joe)
Acting in both Hollywood and Korean films, Byung-Hun has played a number of famous roles in American films. The actor has gained prominence and has since gotten more screen time, especially in the G.I.Joe movies, where his casting as Storm Shadow is impressive. His later films in the film series even explore Shadow’s humanistic side. Training by himself and with Snake Eyes, Byung-Hun’s had to master and sync his fight choreography.
Ruby Rose as Ares (John Wick)
Blowing us away with the fight sequences is Ruby Rose’s Ares. Expressing her feelings in an interview about how she related to someone going on a killing rage because of a puppy, Rose revealed that it was quite “fun” to play an assassin. On par with John Wick’s fighting skills, this mute henchwoman steals the show, constantly throwing everyone under the bus.
Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji (Padmaavat)
Although apprehensive about the role at first, Singh found the part to be challenging and fulfilling at the same time. Singh talked about how he added his own layers to the character, making Khilji more unpredictable. This was after he isolated himself from others to get into the role, finding that he could not relate to Khilji’s greed and manipulative behaviour.
Fahadh Faasil as Shammi (Kumbalangi Nights)
Shammi isn’t the stereotypical villain, agreed. He deceives all those around him, and Faasil effortlessly turns into the creepy and menacing ‘psycho’ character. Faasil’s (or rather Shammi’s) eyes brood with his ill-intentions. Faasil also talked about his character in an interview stating that while Shammi doesn’t have a lot of negative thoughts, he looks at the world differently and so does not get along with others, making him an antagonist but that’s beyond his psychotic behaviour.
Arvind Swamy as Siddharth Abhimanyu (Thani Oruvan)
Always wanting to play the role of an unapologetic villain, after listening to director Mohan Raja about the central essence of the antihero, Swamy could not let go of this opportunity. Making a framework for his role, he tried to make his character different from the conventionally dramatic villains – a manipulative rather than an expressive role.
Kabir Duhan Singh as Chota Nayak (Jil)
A villain-centred movie, Singh was ecstatic to know that he had got the role of the bad guy, especially since he always dreamt of a big debut. A stylish, smartly-dressed villain, Singh blew away his fans right from his entrance in the movie and set the standards for future villains in the Telugu film industry.