The Dark Knight Joker and 9 Other Perfect Movie Supervillains

The Dark Knight Joker and 9 Other Perfect Movie Supervillains

The Dark Knight was such a box office and pop culture blockbuster that more than a decade after its premiere, it’s still considered the pinnacle of superhero movies and what they should be. Much of the film’s praise was, of course, reserved for Heath Ledger’s legendary performance as the classic superhero, the Joker.




Ledger’s turn as the Clown Prince of Crime was far from perfect. Even today, Ledger’s Joker casts a shadow over other, equally talented actors who either took on The Joker or brought a super villain to life. These movie supervillains were perfect in every possible way, although Ledger is still seen by many as the best for a reason.



10 The Joker is still the gold standard for movie supervillains


Portrayed by

Heath Ledger

The first movie

The Dark Knight

Created by

Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson


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It is impossible to overstate how important the Joker was The Dark Knight, all superhero movies, and pop culture as a whole. Even before The Dark Knight, The Joker was often depicted as a monstrous nihilist in the comics. However, Ledger’s performance perfected the modern Joker archetype and set the new supervillain standard.


The Dark Knight The Joker was everything Batman was not. He was an amoral terrorist who sowed chaos for fun. Ledger’s Joker was the best incarnation of the villain in live action and one of the scariest villains ever seen in the action genre. Many actors will portray the Joker, but it will be a long time before anyone can surpass or even match Ledger.

9 Hela showed how fun supervillainy was

Hela stops Mjolnir in the middle of Thor: Ragnarok


Portrayed by

Cate Blanchett

The first movie

Thor: Ragnarok

Created by

Jack Kirby and Stan Lee


Hela was Thor: Ragnarok’s villain literally and figuratively. Aside from being Odin’s vengeful daughter whom he abandoned and erased from history, Hela was the strongest god Thor and Loki ever faced. She was so powerful that the only way to defeat her was to let Asgard fall. Most importantly, Hela was the most entertaining supervillain of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).


Hela was one of the few MCU supervillains that struck the perfect balance between being an actual threat and still being a fun foe. Cate Blanchett brought just the right amount of fun, darkness and terror to her performance as Hela. There’s a reason why Hela remains a favorite even if she only had one live-action appearance in the MCU.

8 The High Evolution was completely irreparable

The High Evolutionary gives the thumbs up to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.  3


Portrayed by

Chukwudi Iwuji

The first movie

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Created by

Jack Kirby and Stan Lee


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More often than not, supervillains are complex and human to some extent. The High Evolutionary bucked this trend by being one of the MCU’s most unrepentant monsters. He was not motivated by a past tragedy and had no redeeming qualities. All he had was a solipsistic god complex and seething contempt for the imperfect galaxy he lived in.


Thanks to Chukwudi Iwuji, The High Evolutionary rose from an unknown character to one of the most reprehensible movie villains ever. The High Evolutionary came out at a time when purely evil supervillains seemed like a rarity, and it was a much-needed change of pace for both the MCU and the wider superhero genre.

7 Peacemaker was the evil revelation of the 2020s


Portrayed by

John Cena

The first movie

Suicide Squad

Created by

Pat Boyette and Joe Gill


Forward Suicide Squad, Peacemaker was one of DC Comics’ most overlooked villains. But since John Cena portrayed him in the DC Extended Universe, Peacemaker became one of the greatest supervillains ever. Cena brought so much fun and humanity to Peacemaker that he stole the show Suicide Squad, and even got his own HBO show.


It’s impossible to separate the peacemaker from Cena. The most recent appearances of the Peacemaker beyond the DCEU were all based on Cena’s appearance and performance. Peacemaker was also the rare movie supervillain whose redemption arc doesn’t feel forced. The peacemaker may really want to change, but the process won’t be easy.

6 Harley Quinn carried every movie she appeared in


Portrayed by

Margot Robbie

The first movie

Suicide Squad

Created by

Paul Dini and Bruce Timm


Connected

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Since debuting in Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn has come a long way, constantly finding room to become her own person in DC Comics.


The DCEU had many flaws, but casting Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn was not one of them. Not only did Robbie perfectly embody Harley Quinn on screen, but she elevated every DCEU film she was in. Robbie’s casting as Harley was both one of the best creative choices in the DCEU and the entire superhero genre.


Robbie brought to life Harley’s hidden depths, comedic timing and physicality. Robbie stole the show every time she was on screen so much so that her version of Harley didn’t need the Joker for her arcs and stories to work. The DCEU’s Harley was definitely more of an anti-hero than a full-on monster, but she’s still arguably one of its best villains.

5 Catwoman was more than a femme fatale

Catwoman seduces Batman in Batman Returns


Portrayed by

Michelle Pfeiffer

The first movie

Batman Returns

Created by

Bill Finger and Bob Kane


Catwoman and The Penguin were the main reasons why Batman Returns it endured as a fan favorite and even as a Christmas movie. Michelle Pfeiffer and Danny DeVito’s performances as Catwoman and The Penguin, respectively, were so perfect that it’s hard to top the other. But at the end of the day, Catwoman was just better.


Batman Returns’ Selina Kyle’s reimagining of Catwoman turned her from a typical femme fatale into a tragic foil and love interest for Batman and Bruce Wayne. Pfieffer perfectly captured Selina’s vulnerability and her power fantasy as Catwoman. Of the female super-villains seen in superhero movies, Catwoman is the one to beat.

4 Norman Osborn and the Green Goblin were two sides of the same supervillain

Green Goblin rides his glider on Spider-Man


Portrayed by

Willem Dafoe

The first movie

Spider Man

Created by

Steve Ditko and Stan Lee


Connected

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Norman Osborn battled Spider-Man for years as the Green Goblin, though the character has continued to grow into one of Marvel’s greatest supervillains.


The Green Goblin became one of (if not) the best supervillains of the pre-MCU days of the superhero genre because he was both a tortured man and an evil monster. Willem Dafoe gave Norman a sense of humanity that he rarely displayed in the comics, but enjoyed the Green Goblin’s love of cruelty and hatred of goodness.


In addition to making Norman a genuinely sympathetic yet troubled character, Dafoe perfectly brought the Goblin’s menace to life. Dafoe portrayed many villains and monsters in his career, but his time as the Goblin was immortalized for good reason. Even after other actors faced Norman and the Goblin, the public only accepted Dafoe in the role.

3 Loki became the MCU’s most tragic supervillain

Loki wearing his TVA suit and a wistful smile as he prepares to make his final sacrifice in the Disney+ series


Portrayed by

Tom Hiddleston

The first movie

Thor

Created by

Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Larry Lieber


It can be said that Loki is the most genuine and developed character of the MCU. Although today he is better known as an anti-hero, Loki began his tenure in the MCU as a spoiled and entitled villain. Loki could have been just an annoyance, but Tom Hiddleston gave him so much charisma and pathos that he became a fan favorite.


In addition to having one of the best casting choices in the entire superhero genre, Loki also had one of the best character arcs a supervillain could have. With each passing film, Loki slowly matured and became a hero in his own, mischievous right. By the time his Disney+ run ended, Loki had solidified his place as the MCU’s best written villain.

2 Killmonger was an unforgettable iconoclast

Killmonger is brought into the throne room in Black Panther.


Portrayed by

Michael B. Jordan

The first movie

Black Panther

Created by

Rich Buckler and Don McGregor


Black Panther he wouldn’t be as loved and important as Erik Killmonger is today. In every way imaginable, Killmonger was the dark and evil opposite of T’Challa. If T’Challa saw the best in others, especially the world beyond Wakanda’s borders, Killmonger wanted to burn everything down to avenge the hatred and racism he and many others suffered.


Killmonger was the rare type of villain who really had a point, and none other than Michael B. Jordan could bring him to life. Killmonger’s righteous rage didn’t justify his bloodshed, but it’s a testament to his charisma and Jordan’s performance that he’s highly regarded as one of the most morally complex and politically relevant movie supervillains ever made.

1 Magneto was a villain with tragic pain


Portrayed by

  • Old Magneto: Sir Ian McKellen
  • New Magneto: Michael Fassbender

The first movie

The X-Man

Created by

Jack Kirby and Stan Lee


Connected

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Magneto is arguably one of the most important supervillains ever created. In addition to being one of Marvel Comics’ first true super-villains, Magneto’s past as a Holocaust survivor and present as an extremist Mutant made him one of pop culture’s most complex antagonists. Thankfully, Magneto’s legacy was preserved in live-action.


Sir Ian McKellen perfectly embodied the tragedy and extremism of Magneto, to the point where he has become inseparable from the classic super villain. Magneto’s fight for Mutant supremacy in the movies resonated so well with audiences that, in light of history and current events, debates about whether or not Magneto was right still rage today.

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