And the list continues. Last week, we analysed the lower third of the list, so the standard was quite low. At least, they managed to get onto the list and most of their faults could be put down to the movie, rather than the actual portrayal of the character. Here, we should be expecting the villains to pick up a bit. The ones that were fantastic to watch, but simply failed to reach the top 8.
17 – TALIA – THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
Opinion is pretty spilt on Talia Al Ghul. Personally I thought she was excellent. The moment the twist is revealed and we realise that she has been controlling the whole thing, the movie turns on its head. I wasn’t even expecting a twist from this movie. I know that some people say that it was obvious that Talia was the villain, seeing as Bane isn’t the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul, but Talia was. However, personally I thought Nolan was just tweaking the canon slightly to make the story more rounded. I loved the twist and couldn’t help nodding in appreciation at Nolan’s brilliance.
But also Marion Cotillard should get credit for Talia’s success. She plays the character well, really getting the most out of her lines. We really felt the hate seethe through her lines, as she is finally able to unleash this anger the character has been holding onto for years. Another thing I liked was her clothes. Before she is revealed as the twist bad guy, it looked like simple clothing. However, when she becomes Talia, the robes kind of suit her character. I can’t really explain it, but you are kind of kicking yourself that you didn’t predict she was Talia in those clothes. She just looks the part.
16 – DEATHSTRIKE – X2
X-Men 2 kind of kicked itself in the foot, by killing off the good villains: Sabretooth and Toad. The other two bad guys became allies for the main part of the film, meaning that the writers had to come up with a new henchman (or woman), to stand alongside Stryker. I have no recollection of Deathstrike in the comics, but here, in X2, she is awesome.
She is pretty much the female Wolverine, but turned up a notch. She has ten metal claws and faster healing. Plus, she is nimble and can do martial arts (well, duh, she is a female villain in an action movie), making her the perfect opponent. The fight with Wolverine is the best part of the movie and I only wish she was in it more.
15 – CALLISTO – X-MEN: THE LAST STAND
Again, X-Men were running out of villains at this point in the franchise. They made the devastating mistake of getting rid of Mystique, but Callisto does well to replace her. She is cool, handles herself well and you cannot wait to see her character in action. Sadly, she is given a supporting role and is killed off much to quick. As much as I liked her, Mystique really should have been in this film instead of her.
14 – BULLSEYE – DAREDEVIL
Here, the director pretty much got Colin Farrell on set and told him to go ‘crazy Irish’. Farrell did not disappoint.
I know people hate this film, but you cannot hate Bullseye. He is the main reason to go and see it. His character is funny, awesome and every time Daredevil or Elektra faces off against him, you are scared for their characters. I loved the look they went for too, thankfully ditching the skin-tight suit that made his character kind of ridiculous in the comic books.
Again, it is the movie that lets Bullseye down, otherwise I am sure that he would have made it much higher on the list. I hope if a reboot is made, Colin Farrell reprises the role. He is fantastic as Bullseye.
13 – PENGUIN – BATMAN RETURNS
The Penguin, played by Danny De Vito, is pretty much the symbol of Tim Burton’s vision of Batman. Grotesque, gothic, misunderstood: the character pretty much walks from a Gothic text and into the world of Batman. The Penguin is a difficult Batman villain to get right, so I think Burton’s touch is needed here. Needless to say, he is done well and is a welcome addition to the Batman rogue gallery. If only Burton carried on with the franchise, then we wouldn’t have been subjected to the horrors of Jim Carrey or Arnold Schwarzenegger.
12 – SCARECROW – BATMAN BEGINS
Batman boasts some great villains, but who better than Scarecrow to kick off Nolan’s trilogy. The character really symbolised the terrifying prospects of wandering alone in Gotham. The mask was fantastic and Cillian Murphy is a great casting choice. He always seems so calm, yet you expect an insane breakdown at any moment.
Sadly, Scarecrow wasn’t used right for me. Batman Begins is such a big film, needing to fit in an origin story and several villains: we just didn’t have time for the Scarecrow. The film needed a villain to link Falcone to Ra’s Al Ghul and it almost seemed that Nolan reached into the rogue gallery list and pulled out the first bad guy that came into reach. He could have been used much better, especially in ‘The Dark Knight’, when he is demoted to little more than a drug dealer on the streets of Gotham.
11 – TOAD – X-MEN
I have a soft spot for the Toad in the first X-Men movie. He adds a bit of humour to the four bad guys we are given. While Magneto and Mystique are serious and terrifying, the Toad brings in the lighter side to the movie (so does Sabretooth, but only because his character is useless). Not only does he bring an amusing quality to the film, he also has a pretty good fight against the X-Men. He takes on three of them at once and does fairly well.
Sadly the Toad has too many good characters to contend against and in a film with a wide range of mutants, like the X-Men, he is lost amongst the crowds. Also, people have complained that his death, while awesome, was completely avoidable. After easily beating up the three X-Men, he forgets his cool and just lets Storm zap him. Part of me likes to think the character survived, but it has been such a long gap in between his appearance and the modern films that I doubt we will, or should, see a return from the Toad.
10 – THE JOKER – BATMAN
While Heath Ledger gave the performance of a lifetime in ‘The Dark Knight’, people forget that Jack Nicholson hardly ruined the role. In fact, his performance is one of the main reasons to watch the very first Batman movie. He combines the Gothic and humour so well, that it wouldn’t surprise me if Nicholson actually was the Joker on his time off.
Whereas Ledger reinvented the Joker to suit his style of acting, Nicholson just walked into the character from the comics and it was a perfect fit. The purple suit, white make-up, goofy smile: it doesn’t look out of place on Nicholson as it would on several other actors I can think of. Just to round things up, get a Prince soundtrack to destroy an art gallery to and you have yourself one classic villain.
9 – RED SKULL – CAPTAIN AMERICA
While Captain America was a substandard Marvel movie, I did enjoy Hugo Weaving’s ruthless performance of the Red Skull. I know little about this villain, but when the skin finally came off and we saw the actual ‘red skull’ underneath, it was a fantastic movie moment. The main reason I could give to watch that movie would be to see this bad guy in action.
It’s just something about Germans (let’s try and write this next paragraph without being racist). Like Kevin Bacon’s Shaw from last week, the soft German accent just compliments the calm, collected villain. The Red Skull seems like the closest we ever get to a Marvel version of a Bond or Die Hard villain. Also, when you throw in a Nazi background, the tension is instantly taken up a notch. Hugo Weaving definitely deserves this place; it is only a shame that he is one place off the top eight.
Who are the top eight? Well, you are just going to have to wait till next Wednesday to find out…