Obadiah Stane (Iron Man) - Marvel Cinematic Universe villains get a bad rep, sometimes undeservedly so. I personally thought they started off with a fairly strong villain in Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane. A self-proclaimed "Iron Monger" with ambition and greed so great that he would commit treason against both his company and his country in order to achieve his ends, he was intimidating, ruthless, and despicable but still possessing Bridges' signature charm.
The Joker (The Dark Knight) - What needs to be said here? The tragically deceased Heath Ledger redefined the Joker for a generation and gave one of the best supervillain performances of all time. He was all at once terrifying, unnerving, funny, smart, and evil to his very core. Every tic and gesture of his served to make the character that much more memorable, and his lines are as iconic as his imagery. A truly chilling incarnation of the Clown Prince of Crime.
King Miraz (Prince Caspian) - A strong script and actor Sergio Castellito managed to turn the one dimensional storybook baddie from the Narnia book series into a compelling and believable but still deplorable villain. A man who longed for both a family and a nation to rule over, Miraz coveted the power to make his ambitions a reality. He was also greatly prejudiced against Narnian beings and sought to subjugate or exterminate them all once he was king. This guy was just a wonderful villain for an adaptation that surpassed it's source material in many regards.
Heather (Total Drama Island) - The ultimate Queen Bee stereotype except that she's a strategic, opportunistic, manipulative mastermind who plays the villain of this show's fictitious reality competition. While the show might have gone through a few hoops to keep Heather in the competition for as long as she was, the character herself made up for it by being a fun and engaging antagonist who could occasionally have you rooting for her rather than against her. She was a formidable foe who only got better when she became the anti-hero of "World Tour".
Cyrus (Pokemon: Platinum) - Team Galactic's emotionally repressed, mentally disturbed leader was already the best villain to be put in the Pokemon games to date, but the Platinum version secured his place as one of the best in the entire franchise. A cold, detached, self-centered psychopath who was nonetheless charismatic and courteous towards even his enemies, Cyrus' desire to become God of space/time so that he can destroy reality itself, purge all existence of living spirit, and then remake reality in his own image was unlike anything the franchise had seen before, as were the layers of his surprisingly complex character. Truly an epic Big Bad.
Chaos (Dissidia Final Fantasy) - The generic, one dimensional villain of the original Final Fantasy game was remade into a much darker, more complex villain who literally sits at the heart of the FF universe's creation. His voice, done in Japan by Norio Wakamoto and in English by Keith David, really help propel him to greatness as one of my favorite video game villains of all time. He represents the Alpha and the Omega of Final Fantasy, unlikely to be topped.
Charles Muntz (Up) - For a family film with a great degree of comedy and an equally great degree of sentimental emotion, Muntz brought a good dash of horror to the adventure. An old explorer who's stayed alive for years through sheer willpower and obsession with capturing an elusive rare bird that everyone denied the existence of, Muntz had gone so stark raving mad in his years of isolation and obsessive hunting that he became desensitized to morality, seeing enemies all around him and being more than willing to kill them off. While Carl Fredrickson learns that life itself is the adventure most worth experiencing, Muntz remained fixated in his glory days and on the reputation his achievements brought him, all the way to his well earned demise.
Dr. Facillier (The Princess & The Frog) - Disney hadn't been producing much great villains in their theatrical animated films since Long John Silver. Until this guy, that is. Frequently referred to as the Shadow Man, Facilier had the charm, the style, the song, the diabolical glee in his work, and the character to be an iconic Disney Villain in his own right. Keith David once again gave a splendidly wicked performance, fitting the superb character animation.
The Green Goblin (The Spectacular Spider-Man) - Despite being Spider-Man's greatest villain in the comics, Norman Osborn/the Green Goblin never got a showing in any other media that quite nailed him 'til this show's version. This Green Goblin was a malevolent, efficient, completely unhinged villain reflecting the true monstrosity within an already unpleasant man. Able to match Spidey not just in strength but in humor and wordplay as well, he livened up all episodes he featured in and left a haunting impact on the memories of many viewers.
Dr. Van Kleiss (Generator Rex) - If Kevin 11 of "Ben 10" grew up, absorbed a whole lot of Nanite energy that enhanced his intellect and abilities, gained the power to control Nanites this way, and developed a British accent, he'd be Van Kleiss. A greater arch foe than anything Man Of Action gave any of their other shows, Van Kleiss was so good at being so bad.
Vandal Savage (Young Justice) - While the Light was subject to questionable writing and wasted potential, it's leader, Vandal Savage, was still a standout villain. With a design that perfectly captures an intelligent, sophisticated but still ruthless neanderthal and the perfectly cast voice of the late Miguel Ferrer, Vandal never failed to bring intensity to the show.
Izaya Orihara (Dururara) - A character who styles himself as the ultimate troll and provocateur, and who views the whole world as though it were a great, big, beautiful toy box that's there for his amusement, Izaya only gets more entertaining, more scary, and more deliciously devious over time while also not being without likable and sympathetic qualities to him. And Johnny Yong Bosch as his dub voice helps to really sell his charming brand of villainy.
Alejandro Buermeto (Total Drama World Tour) - World Tour was one of the better TDI sequel seasons overall and while it had ups and downs, one constant ups was it's main villain. Alejandro was the most efficient villains in all of Total Drama, fooling all the other competitors with his charm and playing them against each other, playing any given situation to his best advantage, and keeping tabs on all threats to his victory. Heather proved to be the biggest thorn in his side and even then, he almost beat her in the final, getting thwarted only by the feelings for her that he couldn't fight. Definitely a fun villain who kept the show interesting all the way to the end.
Gideon Gordon Graves (Scott Pilgrim VS The World) - This guy is the ultimate in woman objectifying misogyny. When he gets involved with a girl, he's not looking for a girlfriend, he's looking for an ex-girlfriend, as exes make for more challenging and rewarding trophies for him to claim. Forming and leading the League of Evil Exes all for the purpose of taking his ex-girlfriend Ramona Flowers as his slave, Gideon was a smarmy, pretentious, and deranged asshole and Jason Schwartzman played it to perfection, stealing every moment he appeared in.
Master Xehanort (Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep) - Prior to Nomura reworking him into the albatross around the KH series' neck, Master Xehnaort felt like the natural culmination of everything we'd come to know about the series' Big Bad to that point. He was greater in characterization, presence, and menace than any incarnation of Xehanort we'd seen before, was still as deliciously evil and bombastically hammy as you'd expect, and was voiced superbly by the late, great Leonard Nimoy in the English release. A devilish old fiend with dark, destructive designs for all the worlds, this game's Xehanort remains a true master of Disney Villainy.
Lotso Huggin Bear (Toy Story 3) - Talk about an unexpectedly vile and dark antagonist, especially given his appearance and how he was marketed! Lotso was a cruel, hard-hearted plush bear who showed that he cared for nothing in life but placing himself on top of a corrupt system where he could subjugate and hurt other toys for his sick pleasure. His repertoire of shockingly evil deeds and his tragic backstory that informs the loveless monster he's become makes him a very credible villain, and Ned Beatty's vocal performance sold every bit of his malice. His final spoken line, "Where's your kid now, sheriff?" will not be forgotten by anyone any time soon.
Rumpelstiltskin (Shrek 4Ever After) - Dreamworks' answer to Lotso in that same year. While not quite as frighteningly despicable, Rumple is still the darkest, most sadistic and most contemptible villain of his respective film franchise. Presented as a power-hungry psychopath in a ratty, diminutive, troll-like body, Rumple tries to have Shrek's very existence erased from all time in order to secure a tyrannical rule over Far Far Away, and attempts ogre genocide purely out of spite. His comedic lines and gags being able to make us laugh while also making his villainy that much more unsettling, he was very much a worthy enemy for the series to go out on.
Mother Gothel (Tangled) - Continuing the trend of strong Disney villains, Gothel is a different from usual type of villain, more akin to Sykes or Frollo in how chillingly realistic she is. In this case, it's in the portrayal of an emotionally and psychologically abusive parent. She hits off all aspects of an abuser who treats her daughter (who's not really her child) as a possession that she has ownership of, and if she dares exercise her own agency, there will be dire consequences and Hell to pay. Despite this, Gothel has her own evil theatrical flourish too.
Lord Cob (Tales From Earthsea) - For a very mediocre film from Studio Ghibli (by Hayao Miyazaki's less competent son), it did have a standout villain in the evil druid, Lord Cob. With a sleek, effeminate but eerie design, an insidious personality and a creepy, whispery vocal performance by Wilem Dafoe, Cob left the biggest impact in a movie that might have been totally forgettable were it not for him, Tehrru, Sparrowhawk, and the atmospheric quality.
Tighten (Mega Mind) - A Jimmy Olsen counterpart turned evil supervillain, Hal Stewart/Tighten is also the ultimate epitome of a rejected yet entitled Nice Guy(TM). For someone who first appears as an overweight loser, this villain was surprisingly frightening in the lengths he'd go to make himself a big shot, to get the respect and reverence he believed he was owed by both his crush and the masses, with Jonah Hill's performance only fueling the terror.
Ghetsis Harmonia Gropius (Pokemon Black & White) - The fifth generation's Big Bad was a lot more simplistic than what came before, but made up for it in sheer effectiveness and evilness. Neither before or to date has the games seen a villain as unashamedly wicked and vile as Ghetsis, a man who'd exploit his world's governing system, take advantage of well meaning crusaders to further his selfish, megalomaniacal goal, use and abuse his own child in the most appalling of ways, and is willing to torture and even attempt murder on anyone and anything in his path. Seeking total world domination, Ghetsis was far more monstrous than any Pocket Monster.
Head/Reiji Miyabi (Star Driver) - De-facto leader of the Glittering Crux Brigade and full-fledged leader of it's Vanishing Age faction, Reiji is a man who's not aged physically or mentally over the years and desires to gain ultimate power, particularly the power of time travel so that he can go backwards in time and relive his glorious past forever, even if that means he has to destroy the world, kill all humankind, and erase the future in order to accomplish this. While he has his better qualities, Head is still the epitome of a pathologically self-absorbed maniac who thinks nothing of the feelings and life experiences of others and will stop at nothing to get his way. Another role that the great Akira Ishida really knocked out of the park with his performance.
Kyubey (Puella Magi Madoka Magica) - A disturbing twist on both the cute creature mascot of the Magical Girl genre and the villains of such works, Kyubey was a heartless, deceptive, downright nasty little weasel who hid the ugly truth of his nature beneath that fixed cutesy smile. Fully believing that his way was right and that he could perpetuate a cycle of grief and despair for the greater good, he's one of anime's most memorable antagonist in recent years.
Lord Shen (Kung Fu Panda 2) - The villains of the Kung Fu Panda movies are a surprisingly deep and menacing lot, but Lord Shen, villain of the second film, stands out the most in terms of perfect villainy. He earns the audience's hatred by being responsible for orphaning Po to begin with through the act of Panda genocide, even killing his mother. At the same time, we're made to feel for him due to his backstory, his emotional damage and obvious mental unwellness. With a wonderful design and a marvelous vocal performance by Gary Oldman, Shen is not only the best villain in these movies but one of the best villain in animated movie history!
The Lich (Adventure Time) - A show that, on the surface, seems so bright, cheery, zany and fun is the last place you would ever expect to encounter a villain like this, but here he is, the very personification of fear, death, darkness, and pure, unrelenting evil. His grotesque design, ominous presence, and voice by Ron Perlman are enough to let you know that he means business, and then he starts getting into your head. Then the nightmares begin. A dark force of the worst kind who refuses to stay down, the Lich is one of the greatest horrors in animation.
Loki (Marvel Cinematic Universe) - Does this one need any elaboration? This villain's depiction in film and Tom Hiddleston's superb portrayal of him took audiences everywhere by storm, and he is now among the most popular Marvel characters of all time!
Jill Roberts (Scream 4) - The fourth and last film in the Scream series brought us possibly the most disturbing Ghostface Killer by far, due largely in part by the fact that she's a character who was marketed as the new heroine! Jill doesn't aspire to truly be like her cousin Sydney in any way, she simply desires to have her fame and will do anything, no matter how horrific and homicidal, to get it. She's a complete and utter psychopath and has no shame about it, even proudly declaring that "sick is the new sane." She ends up gone, but certainly not forgotten.
Yuno Gasai (Future Diary) - The crazy pink-haired poster girl for the Yandere archetype, Yuno had a lot of things going for her even in a rather uneven anime. She's as much a co-protagonist for the series as she is a villain, and she's actually got a great deal more nuance and complexity than you'd expect to find in your typical single-minded Yandere. Her backstory, motivations, emotional and psychological state and how it drives her actions all serve to make her fascinating, and her many badass feats, interactions with others, and general craziness make her fun. She ultimately just wants to truly know and experience true love, a desire driving even her most deranged of actions, and ironically, viewers can't help but fall in love with her as a result.
Fumito Nanahara (Blood C-) - While his showing as a villain was far superior in the actual anime series than in the movie that followed and concluded his story, Fumito was still an excellently surprising and thoroughly twisted antagonist in a very unusual anime.
Hugo Strange (Batman: Arkham City) - The Batman Arkham game series actually has a whole host of wonderful depictions of the villains in Batman's Rouges' Gallery, and this is best exemplified by the second game's primary antagonist, Professor Hugo Strange. With an unsettling, composed madness to his cold personality, a plan to massacre the entire population of his specially made prison city, a perfect design and equally perfect voice by Corey Burton,, who voices him like Christopher Lee playing a horror film mad scientist, this is the character's best incarnation to date, who stood out in this game more than Ras Al Ghul and the Joker himself.
Team Rocket (Pokemon: Best Wishes) - At the start of the "Best Wishes" series, Giovanni had made himself over to look like a militant dictator and has set his sights on taking over the Unova region. Jessie, James, and Meowth came fresh out of being promoted and being put through some sort of re-socialization training. And they were awesome. No longer the one-dimensional comic relief tools they were in Hoenn and Sinnoh, Jessie and James were dressed in black versions of their signature uniforms, and the trio was now not only taking direct orders from the boss again (and later from elite scientist Dr. Zager), but were taking a serious, professional approach to their missions: acting cold, collected, self confident, devious, sinister, smooth, badass, lethal, and COMPETENT! For the first time since "Indigo League", they were truly awesome villains. Giovanni, Jessie, James, Meowth, Dr. Zager, Pierce, and even Matori gave us many memorable moments of villainy in the Unova saga that I shall forever remember with fondness.
AxeKnightmon (Digimon Xros Wars) - Brother of the evil Lord Bagra, AxeKnightmon lived in the shadow of his brother in both power and status, and this drove him to want to assert himself as a superior individual. And while he didn't quite succeed at that, he DID prove himself to be a better, smarter, and more entertaining villain than his brother. With a fantastic design, appropriate voice acting, intriguing gambits, and showings of both tremendous power and underhanded bastardry, AxeKnightmon ranks among the best evil Digimon the franchise has seen.
Sebastian Shaw (X-Men First Class) - You probably never would've guessed that Kevin Bacon would play a seriously evil and awesome bad guy, yet here we are! A former Nazi turned wealthy club owner, military exploiter and conspirator, and social darwinist, mutant supremacist par excellence, Shaw was a worthy villain to start off both Professor Xavier and the X-Men's, and Magneto and the Brotherhood's careers in the X-Men film franchise canon.
The Freak Of Crystal Cove (Scooby Doo Mystery Inc.) - His dark presence, appropriately freakish design, creepy wheezing voice, fiendish looks and movements, and importance to the overarching mystery plot of the show made the Freak Of Crystal Cove stand out among the costumed creeps faced by Scooby and the gang. But it was his true identity behind the mask that really left an impact. Though he seemed to come out of left field towards the end of the first season, it turned out that he'd been with us from the start, and the revelations about him that were made in the end sealed his place as one of the deepest and darkest villains in Scooby Doo history.
Professor Pericles (Scooby Doo Mystery Inc.) - Did I just say that the Freak was a deep and dark villain for Scooby Doo? This parrot, as the series' primary antagonist, blows him out of the water in that regard! With a dangerous intellect, a dark, malicious soul, and Udo Kier giving a brilliant, chilling vocal performance in the role, Pericles was unlike anything seen in this franchise before or since. Not only was he the perfect evil counterpart and adversary to Scooby, but he was hardcore dark and terrifying, only getting more and more so as the series progressed. Without spoiling much, his actions in the last three episodes of the show are just mindblowing in a "how the frack did they get away with doing this in a Scooby Doo show?" way.
Discord (My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic) - Wonderful villains was the last thing I was expecting from a new My Little Pony show, but with the premiere of the second season, we certainly got one in Discord. An ancient, ageless draquonis with a perfectly chaotic design and a zany, whimsical character that makes him like an evil version of the Genie from Disney's Aladdin (right down to the shape-shifting and sight gags), Discord really sold that he was the lord of chaos and had immense magical power in just his fingertip that was able to turn Equestria upside down in disorder and madness. His return and subsequent redemption arc later on was just as unexpected as the character himself, but he really made a claim to being one of the show's best characters, especially with John De Lancie always providing pitch perfect voice work for him.
Joffrey Baratheon (Game Of Thrones) - Ah, who could possibly ever forget the mad King Joffrey? The funny thing is that I read "A Game Of Thrones" back in 2004, so I knew and hated this character years before he hit the mainstream in 2011 and his ordering of Ned Stark's execution made a massive uproar that sealed both the character's and the series' place in modern pop culture. I abhorred the little shit then and I got to relive those feelings watching Jack Gleeson's phenomenally perfect performance on the show. He really made Joffrey as contemptible as he was pitiful, the sort of villain you enjoyed watching because you love to hate him so much. His death was thus one of the most cathartic yet also one of the saddest moments in the series. Joffrey finally got what he deserved, but the story lost something irreplaceable when he was taken out of it.
Gustavo Fring (Breaking Bad) - Giancarlo Esposito is a fantastic actor, and this would have to be his most iconic and memorable role. If someone had told me that I'd be finding a criminal whose main front business is a KFC-style fast food restaurant chain to be a truly intimidating badass villain, I wouldn't have believed them. Until I actually saw Gus in action. Yikes. Always menacing, charming, and unflappably cool and collected, Gus was more than a worthy adversary for Walter White for two whole seasons, and boy did he make the most of it.
Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold (Once Upon A Time) - Another menacing, charismatic magnificent bastard in a fine suit played by a fantastic actor. Known as "the Dark One', one of the most powerful sorcerers in all the realms of story, and the resident mafioso of Storybrooke, Maine, Rumpelstiltskin was the primary villain of the show for all six seasons. In both his impish Dark One fairy tale persona and his charming, dapper Mr. Gold persona, he was immensely entertaining to watch as he pulled scheme after scheme in his pursuit of power and gratification, and he was a marvelously complex character prior to hitting a proverbial wall after Season 4 and staying in a story and characterization rut long past his time to expire for the remainder of the show. But I like to remember Rumple as he was before - a well written, well acted, nuanced but truly insidious villain.
Regina/The Evil Queen (Once Upon A Time) - In the show's first season, we got one of the most fleshed out and complicated yet also scariest and most despicable incarnations of the classic fairy tale villain to ever be put to screen. Loathing and wanting to kill Snow White not out of envy but because she was the last living target in the way of her perceived happiness (and was subject of a childish grudge that the queen can't let go of), Regina was cruel, conniving, venomous and utterly ruthless as both the Evil Queen and as the absurdly powerful corrupt mayor of Storybrooke whom Snow White's grown-up daughter, Emma Swan, had to contend with, especially due to Regina having custody of Emma's own biological son! For all the contempt I had for Regina, I could also pity her, admire her at points, and feel compelled to watch her in all her unashamedly evil glory, owed greatly to Lana Parilla's strong performances. The writing and acting for this character would later go WAY south, particularly following Season 3, but I enjoyed her back when she was at the heights of her villainy and characterization, and left the intended impact on me.
Amon and Tarrlok (The Legend Of Korra) - The sequel series to "Avatar: The Last Airbender" had a lot to live up to in several categories, including villains. But that was one category it got right from the start, as proven with these bloodbender brothers. Amon, real name Noatak, was the leader of the Equalists and at the head of a non-bender revolution in Republic City in Book One, and he styled himself as the ultimate anti-Avatar - a master of no elements with the power to take away bending from others - and was menacing, fascinating, and very well handled as an antagonist for the entirety of the not-too-strong storyline that the series opened with. Tarrlok, as the secondary villain, was handled just as well and had much more of a character and arc going on for him than Amon, revealed to be his older brother by the end. But what cemented their memorability was how they died. It was a dark, tragic end to a dark, tragic tale that will stick with viewers forever.
Bane (The Dark Knight Rises) - After Ras Al Ghul and the Joker had played the Big Bad roles in the previous two films, Bane, the villain famous for breaking Batman, was a natural choice to round out the trilogy's villains. But given the character's usual weak handling and the fact that he was coming off after Heath Ledger's Joker, I was not expecting much out of him. But his very intimidating showing as a super strong and super intelligent villain along with Tom Hardy's larger-than-life, bombastic performance really won me over. Bane is the perfect mix of comic book baddie silliness and grounded terrorist evilness. this depiction of Bane has become iconic in modern pop culture for a reason. He was a villain worthy of being this Batman's final opponent.
Cora (Once Upon A Time) - You thought Regina was bad? Get a load of her mommy dearest, where she gets it from! A controlling, oppressive, manipulative and literally heartless woman with desires to create a legacy that could leave a mark on whatever world she sought to claim and a penchant for ripping out hearts (giving her the title "Queen of Hearts"), Cora was a sinister villain with much less of a soft side to her compared to Regina, Rumple, or Captain Hook. Barbara Hershey owned the role any time she was brought on to play it, and her philosophy of "love is weakness, only power endures" solidified what an impressively malevolent bitch she was.
President Snow (The Hunger Games) - I was never particularly wowed by the villain on Suzanne Collins' book trilogy, who came off as "Politician Voldemort". But the film adaptations, with their President Snow played by the always great Donald Sutherland, redefined the character for just about everyone. Depicted as a cold, methodical, fiendishly intelligent and exploitative, and dangerously corrupt and power-coveting man, Snow is a villain with character and presence in these films who grows less and less mentally stable, thus more and more of a threat, as the story progresses. His final moments shall linger in the minds of all who've watched these films.
Tywin Lannister (Game Of Thrones) - Similar to Jack Glesson as Joffrey, Charles Dance simply WAS Tywin Lannister. Channeling acting powerhouses like Patrick Stewart and Peter O'Toole while still making the role his own, the actor was always in top form as this character, making him as intimidating, captivating, powerful, and reprehensible as the character was described as being in the books, making you know immediately why he had the reputation he did. As was the case with Joffrey, the show was never quite the same once we lost this guy as a presence.
The Shredder (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) - The most recent incarnation of the Turtles' arch foe may possibly be my favored version due to just the presence he has. The combination of his design, voice (performed perfectly by Kevin Michael Richardson), animation, and intriguing character made him an awesome villain to watch and one of the most consistently great things on the show. While the Kraang was a threatening force, they were rather inept and lacking in menace. But with Shredder, things were always dangerous and personal.
King Candy/Turbo (Wreck-It Ralph) - The short, silly looking, Ed Wynn impersonating monarch of the bright, fun world of Sugar Rush ended up actually being the crazed, narcissistic racer Turbo, whose game-jumping antics had gone down in infamy within the arcade world this movie is set in, and who is Wreck-It Ralph's opposite in many ways, and also the best cinematic Disney villain in years. What a twist, right? I mean, I certainly didn't see it coming!
Cedric The Sorcerer (Sofia The First) - While on the subject of great Disney villains, this guy was both a delight and a surprise in this Disney Junior show. Despite being a fey, bumbling, mostly harmless dweeb of a villain in a show aimed at mostly young kids, Cedric was not only fun to watch (especially due to how Jess Harnell voices him and phrases such as "Merlin's Mushroom!" and "Take over the kiiiingdooom!") but he got an unexpected amount of character development, backstory, motivations, and relationships with others, including a genuinely touching friendship with Princess Sofia, whose amulet he was always set on stealing. By the time the jig was up and he embarked on a redemption arc, Cedric was the show's deepest character by far.
Pitch Black (Rise Of The Guardians) - Dreamworks villains can be a varied lot, but Pitch Black, master of nightmares and the "boogeyman" who's scared children for centuries, is one of the best the studio has ever given us. With a creepy design that resembles the evil Angelus from "Buffy The Vampire Slayer", and a malevolent yet oddly soothing voice performed by Jude Law, he's a darker and viler villain than you'd ever think to see Jack Frost, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman contending with, but that made him a very fun villain.
Smaug (The Hobbit) - Do much words need to be said here other than the CG model for this dragon was breathtaking, Benedict Cumbarbach provided a perfect, nightmarish voice for the character, and that he was the best part of both latter "The Hobbit" films?
Jim Moriarty (Sherlock) - One of the most unconventional takes on Sherlock Holme's famed arch nemesis, but also one of the best for that very reason. Played to campy yet chillingly psychopathic perfection by Andrew Scott, Jim is a smarmy, theatrical, flamboyant and flamingly gay criminal mastermind with an genius intellect as big as his ego and wide as his sadistic streak, and probably the closest to a live action take on Professor Ratigan as we'll ever get, which is not a bad thing in the slightest. Depicting Moriarty as such a borderline cartoon character so easily could've not worked, but when put next to the nightmarish things he orchestrates and his sheer depravity, it makes him truly terrifying. He was a formidable foe and never a bore to have around.
Jamie Moriarty (Elementary) - Speaking of unconventional takes on Moriarty, this one arguably takes that further than Jim did. For the first time, Sherlock's greatest adversary is a woman, crossed with the Irene Adler character and played by the excellent Natalie Dormer at that. The story arc in the show's first season featuring her as the evil mastermind remains the best it's done and ensured that this incarnation of Moriarty leaves a lasting impact.
Shadar (Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch) - Known as the Dark Djinn or Jet Black Mage, Shadar is the main antagonist of this Studio Ghibli design video game who serves as the executor to the White Witch and her council. Everywhere he goes, Shadar leaves fear, misery, and broken hearts in his wake. Being like the Darth Vader in this story, complete with a surprising backstory revelation, Shadar was a menacing and memorable video game villain.
Queen Casseopeia (Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch) - The titular White Witch of the game, Casseopeia served as the true antagonist behind Shadar and all his actions throughout the story before finally stepping up to the plate in the game's final stages. As nightmarish and unsettling as she is tragic and pitiable, she leaves a shiver down the players' spine.
Dr. Colress (Pokemon: Best Wishes) - Ghetsis didn't really deliver with his anime incarnation, but this was more than made up with by the strong portrayal of his appointed boss for Team Plasma, the eccentric and morally bankrupt scientist, Colress. The post-League arc of the Unova saga gave him a lager presence and more active role than he had in his source material games, with the mind control technology he created being the key part of Team Plasma's plans, and displayed his amorality and madness to extent that made him a scene stealer whenever he was present, showing him as one of the series' all time greatest antagonists.
Gideon Gleeful (Gravity Falls) - Btter known by his stage name of "Lil' Gideon", he claims to be a child psychic who wants to use his gift to help make the town of Gravity Falls into a better, nicer, friendlier community. With his southern accent, cheerful demeanor, and appealing charisma, he's much like a religious leader, but at a very young age. Thus just about everyone in town loves Gideon, always going to his live events and giving him their trust and adoration in response to his generosity. But behind the scenes, the real Gideon is a selfish, greedy, maniacal, power-hungry little sociopath who wants nothing less than absolute control over all the town's secrets. A large part of what makes this villain work is the voice acting by Thurop Van Orman. He hits all the right notes in making the character sound funny, batshit insane, and thoroughly nasty.
Bill Cipher (Gravity Falls) - The chief antagonist of the series, Bill is a inter-dimensional space demon with the power to enter people's minds, invade their thoughts and dreams, and even take possession of their bodies from within, and all it takes for him to work his magic is for a deal to be struck and sealed with a handshake. The brilliance of Bill's character is that he's got such a ridiculous looking appearance, engages in silly antics and behavior, has a fast-talking, joke-cracking salesman type personality, and is just absolutely hilarious, yet also fascinating to watch and speculate about, and surprisingly enough, completely, utterly terrifying and genuinely intimidating as a villain. It's a bizarre mix of comedic and nightmarish but he achieves just the right balance and totally sells you on just what a threat he truly is. This evil triangular freak of nature surpasses even Gideon in what a fun, memorable, and formidable foe he is and stands as one of the best Devil figures to be found in animation. To the very end he'll be watching you in your nightmares.
The Mandarin (Iron Man 3) - The long anticipated big screen debut of Iron Man's most iconic nemesis was not at all what anyone was expecting, but while many have expressed disappointment and hatred towards the twist put on the Mandarin here, I thought it was brilliant. The Mandarin not being any one single character but rather a mantle for an ambitious and psychopathic businessman to appropriate and do his work through an alcoholic British actor was a novel concept that worked wonderfully for this medium and led to some very memorable moments. Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian in particular was a scary villain and used very effectively in his role.
Junko Enoshima (Dangan Ronpa) - One of the greatest villains made for the visual novel medium, also getting adapted into animation, Junko is a teenage model and beauty queen who just happens to be completely out of her mind and malicious at her very core, with a fetish for both inflicting and feeling despair that drives her every action. Working from behind the AI-powered Monokuma teddy bear, Junko serves as the mastermind behind all the murders and all that goes wrong in the game's setting, and as it turns out, she's been broadcasting the whole sick high school murder game to the outside world in an effort to kill all hope for good, leaving only despair to reign supreme. Both a sadist and masochist who's like a gender-bent take on the Joker in how vile yet also how charming and hilarious she can be, Junko's presence is ironically not at all despair-worthy.
Lord Beerus (Dragon Ball Super) - The first new antagonist to appear in the Dragon Ball franchise in years, Lord Beerus the Destroyer, a god of destruction with a design clearly influenced by Anubis and other animalistic Egyptian deities, is not only among the most powerful characters to exist in this series' universe but among the most unique and funniest as well. Continuously suffering from mood swings, craving the finest foods, judging entire worlds and peoples based on how they cater to his wants and pleasures, he manages to strike an interesting balance between being a quirky, humorous character and a dangerous, terrifying foe. Moreover, he is the first opponent in ages whom Son Goku could not defeat and still hasn't beaten. While he's more known for being a friend and occasional ally to the Z fighters now, his turn as a Big Bad was super engaging.
Varrick (The Legend Of Korra) - While not exactly a villain in the traditional sense, Varrick played an antagonistic role at least twice in this series' run and he was as captivating and entertaining at being bad as he is when he's being not so bad. Owing much of that to John Michael Higgins' incredible vocal performance in the role, Varrick could shift from being silly and amiable to being diabolical and even threatening pretty seamlessly without ever losing his distinct voice and character. He also went through a great character arc in Book 4, finding his own balance between ethics and business, and also bettering himself for his assistant/lover, Zhu Li Moon, with the series even ending at their wedding, fitting for one of the best characters to grace the Avatarverse.
Vaatu (The Legend Of Korra) - Book Two's main villain, Chief Unalaq, was a pretty notorious letdown as both a villain and as a character. While the greater force of evil at work in that arc, Vaatu, wasn't much in terms of character, he was easily the superior villain. The ancient spirit of chaos, carnage, destruction and darkness, Vaatu's nature manifests itself as a malignant character who lives for nothing more than wrecking shit and raising Hell on Earth. With a deep, booming voice provided by Johnathan Adams and some seriously scary effects, both in visuals and in sounds, Vaatu sold himself as the Avatar's ultimate adversary and this world's own Satan.
Peter Pan (Once Upon A Time) - Back in it's heyday, this show kept upping the ante in terms of it's villains, and it reached the ultimate in evil with the most unlikely of characters to fulfill that role - Peter Pan. The idea of Pan as a dark, demonic, horrifying and evil villain needed to be sold well, and the casting of the young but brilliant Robbie Kay in the role more than ensured that it was. As the ruler of Neverland, leader of the Lost Boys, and a darker entity than even the Dark One himself, Pan was at once charismatic, despicable, and nightmarish, bringing all the darker undertones of his source material to the forefront as he planned to kill his own blood relative in order to absorb all of Neverland's magic and gain eternal life. It took nearly all that our band of fairy tale heroes had to finally vanquish him, closing out a most unforgettable chapter in the show's history.
Jafar (Once Upon A Time) - While on the subject of perfectly done villains from this series, it's take on Jafar, my all time favorite Disney villain, was certainly one of them. Serving as the main villain of the 13 episode Once Upon A Time In Wonderland spin-off, Jafar, played masterfully by Naveen Andrews, was like his animated counterpart except stripped of any sort of cartoonish caricature quality, exposing an incredibly dark, cruel, heartless, barbaric, rage-filled and fearsome villain who would stop at nothing to get what he wanted, which is why he craved unlimited power to do whatever he pleased with, if only he was to bypass the laws of magic. Jafar would later appear in the main show's sixth season, now played equally perfectly by Oded Fehr, and while his role was nowhere near as substantial, he was given a fitting closure before the season's end.
Prince Hans (Frozen) - One of the most notorious examples of a "twist villain" to come out of a Disney movie, Hans was honestly one of the better ones they've given us. Appearing to be a typical Prince Charming type of character for two-thirds of the movie, Hans masks his true self and intentions the whole time and something just feels off about him at many key points before the big reveal. Said reveal also gave us the immortal, meme-worthy line of "if only there was someone out there who loved you." Hans epitomizes a sociopathic, predatory male who plays it smart when seducing women, being the perfect guy for them and lulling them into a state of happiness before revealing his true colors at the point it suits him to do so. He doesn't have that much of a presence in the movie, but he's still one of Disney's scariest and most realistic villains.
Nui Harime (Kill La Kill) - The mystery about who killed Ryuko Matoi's father and took the other scissor blade was a big theme for the first half of this anime...then it was revealed to be this crazy frilly girl with one eye, twin tails and a huge hair bow who we'd never once seen before until that point. An introduction like that set the standard for the sort of audacious trolling that Nui would partake in, also exposing us to her medium awareness and uncanny abilities. She's unsettling and surreal while also being hilarious and zany as a classic cartoon. She's infuriating and contemptible while also being oddly endearing. She's a walking contradiction who does everything out of a demented sort of passion and malice, and I enjoyed her immensely for all of that.
Ragyo Kiryuin (Kill La Kill) - The main villain of this anime and president of the Kiryuin Conglomerate fashion company, Ragyo is a nasty piece of work whose grandiose sense of importance has led to her conspiring to bring about the end of humankind by the Life Fibers she worships, and she's also one of THE worst mothers in fictional history, seeing her own children as she sees everyone else - as objects for her own use and pleasure, to be subject to her total domination of them. Not only is Ragyo loathsome, but her actions are, in stark contrast to the rest of the show, dead seriously, which when contrasted to her campy fashionista demeanor only makes her that much more disturbing. Even her death is disturbing - this was one messed up bitch!
Esdeath (Akame Ga Kill) - From one messed up bitch to another, we have a solid villain to come out of a not so solid series. Supreme commander of the imperial forces that enforce and perpetuate the corruption of Prime Minister Honest's rule, Esdeath is a woman who seems charming, inspirational, and even noble at points, but she is in truth an ice-cold sociopath who delights in bloodshed and exploiting her power for evil just for the hell of it. She was as responsible for as much corruption as Honest, was a more personal enemy for Akame and Tatsumi than Honest, and was just a far more compelling, formidable and all around better villain than Honest!
Rick Sanchez (Rick And Morty) - Not your typical villain. In fact, he's one of the main protagonists! But he's also not a good man by any stretch and the closest thing to a main villain that the show has. A cynical, disgruntled, self-absorbed nihilist who is also one of the most brilliant scientific minds and among the most powerful beings in all time and space, Rick has zero qualms with making those around him miserable in pursuit of self accomplishment and further discoveries because he believes nothing in existence truly matters, and his own family is who suffer the most. Mean-spirited yet very funny, Rick is truly one with no fucks to give about anything.
Frank Underwood (House Of Cards) - One of the most complexly written villains in television history, played by a brilliant villain actor who turned out to be a true villain in real life, and very politically relevant today, Frank was truly an unforgettable bastard.
Walder Frey (Game Of Thrones) - The last truly great bad guy to come out of this series in my opinion (Cersei, Littlefinger, the Boltons and the Night King had potential but flubbed it). Patriarch of House Frey and a man with many wives and many children bore by them, Walder first appeared in the ninth episode of the first season but didn't seem like all that much. Boy did he return with a vengeance in the ninth episode of the third season, "The Rains Of Castamere", where he initiated the infamous Red Wedding out of spite towards Robb Stark for going back on a previous family agreement and greed for a higher status, clearly relishing the results. As horrible as they come, Walder was the epitome of a dirty old man, and David Bradley just nailed it.
Walter White (Breaking Bad) - Certainly one of the most compelling examples of a villain protagonist in recent memory, Walter White begins as a downtrodden high school chemistry teacher who's told he has a terminal cancer, and while looking for a way to earn enough money to provide his family with for after he's gone, finds he's really good at cooking meth. Walter exploits this as he becomes the drug kingpin known as Heisenberg, going deeper into the criminal underworld and embracing the very worst parts of himself, becoming one of the most evil, repulsive, and disturbing of individuals. His crimes were committed less out of care for his family but out of a desire to prove himself and assert his greatness at something, to indulge his darker impulses and make him "feel alive." Walt ends up just narrowly beating his cancer and going out on his own terms, but he ends his life alone, his drug empire crumbled, his family damaged and estranged from him, all his allies having left him, and all he's left with to show of his life's work are multiple blue meth containers. A tragic figure with a perfect five season spanning story, all brought home by a truly phenomenal performance by Bryan Cranston, Walt is easily one of television's greatest villains.
Lord Business (The LEGO Movie) - For the bulk of the movie, this one owes his greatness to being voiced by Will Ferell, giving an entertainingly hammy vocal performance as the obsessive-compulsive leader of the Octan corporation seeking to harness the full power of the "Kragle" (Krazy Glue) to freeze the LEGO Multiverse in place to suit his vision of sensibility and order. But the twist at the end about the basis for this character and what his desires truly represent is what propels him to another level, making him truly stand out as a good villain.
Grand Moff Tarkin (Star Wars) - The original Star Wars Big Bad hadn't been very relevant in years, but boy has Disney's canon re-haul changed that. In the "Rebels" TV series, "Rogue One", and even his own focus novel, Tarkin has shown us all once more why he's among the most despicable individuals in this galaxy far, far away and a force to be reckoned with.
Darth Vader (Star Wars) - And Tarkin's not the only classic Star Wars villain to be restored to his former glory! Darth Vader became something of a joke to many after the prequel trilogy failed to deliver on his origin story and created a meme out of his reaction to the loss of his beloved wife. But with appearances in "Rebels", "Rogue One', new books, his own comic title, even in the updated Star Tours ride at Disney World, Vader's status as an icon of evil, a symbol of fear, and a tragic hero turned monster has been reclaimed in full force and it has been glorious!
The Winter Solider (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) - He's not truly a villain, as poor Bucky Barnes was brainwashed and weaponized by HYDRA for years to carry out some of their deadliest, bloodiest jobs. Still, Sebastian Stan's performance, the personal connection he shares with Steve Rogers, and just his eerie presence earns him a place on this listing.
Magneto (X-Men: Days Of Futures Past) - Magneto is always a top notch villain in these movies, but his role in Days Of Futures Past and Michael Fasbender's intense performance has to be a contender for the best of Magneto ever put to screen. The pathos of his character as well as the contemptible hypocrisy, extremism, and fanatical desire to dominate were all on full display here, making him compelling and dangerous exactly as Magneto should be.
Koba (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes) - To contrast with Magneto is this damn dirty ape who claims to be fighting to free and empower his fellow apes but is really out to eliminate all humans and even other apes who oppose him, and empower himself to satisfy his all-consuming hatred and entitled sense of supremacy. Koba was a fearsome presence in the first film, but his villainous role in the second film allowed him to ascend to the ranks of all time great villains in cinema. You may feel for him at first, but by the time he's locking humans and apes in cages and has even murdered a young ape for refusing to be a cold-blooded killer like him, you're left with nothing but loathing for this wretched beast and cheer when he's dropped to his karmic demise.
Zaheer (The Legend Of Korra) - If the bloodbender brothers from Book One were merged into one excellent antagonist, they'd be Zaheer, the leading member of the Red Lotus Society and Big Bad of Book Three. Having an imposing presence and threat level like Amon but a more fleshed out, nuanced characterization like Tarrlok, Zaheer is, on a technical level, the series's strongest and best handled villain. He also proves to be the most powerful and the most personal enemy for Korra, with his actions leaving her traumatized all throughout the final Book. His ideaology and motivations are intriguing, Henry Rollins killed it as his voice, and c'mon, who could not love an evil Airbender who commits on-screen murder by bending the air out of someone's lungs?
Kuvira (The Legend Of Korra) - While Zaheer might've been Korra's best villain, Kuvira of Book Four was the best possible final adversary for Korra to face, as she's a dark reflection of Korra's own self, embodying what she could've become on a different path. Like Korra, she's a well-built young woman with lots of emotional baggage who seeks to find or make her place in life, only she goes about it by exploiting political power to her advantage, terrorizing others in order to make them compliant with her demands, and turning the Earth Kingdom into an imperialistic regime that seeks to end the United Republic and dominate all nations in the world. With her rise so eerily resembling those of charismatic dictators in real life, Kuvira is a very scary character. And she's voiced by the daughter of the late, great Robin Williams. Who knew she could pull that off?
The Snow Queen (Once Upon A Time) - While this show's Big Bads started (much like the show itself) diminishing in quality after Pan and Jafar, there were two notable exceptions, the first of those being Ingrid, better known as the Snow Queen. Adapting much from the original Hans Christen Anderson tale's titular character but making her a tragic and disturbed character rather than a neutral figure, and tying her to Disney's Frozen characters Elsa and Anna, Ingrid's truly best strength comes from Elizabeth Mitchell in the role, whose performance added a lot of depth and pathos to the character. You feared her, yet at the same time pitied her and felt for her.
Princess Ivy (Sofia The First) - Ever wondered what an evil Disney Princess would look like? Princess Ivy more than delivers. She has a whimsical attitude and a strong will, likes to twirl around, has her own animal companions (black and white moths), and even her own "I Want" Song about yearning for a kingdom of her own...a kingdom she intends to conquer and enslave, as she'd failed to do so with her own kingdom when she'd tried to assassinate her own sister to claim the throne. Yikes! Her flippant sociopathy and the high stakes to Enchancia she raised sold Ivy as the first serious threat on the show, though she softened up in a later reappearance.
Laura Barnes (Unfriended) - As the Skype Ghost, Laura is technically the main antagonist of the film, but given how our "protagonists" are both unlikable and gradually revealed to be truly horrible people, you can't help but root for her as she not only trolls them all but screws with their minds and ultimately ends their lives, all with a twisted sense of humor.
Drago Bludvist (How To Train Your Dragon 2) - While he's not at all compelling or distinctive as a character, being more "force of destruction" than actual human being, Drago gets a place here simply for the impact his actions left on the story and characters of this movie. Or more accurately, what he caused to happen. One of the most devastating character deaths in recent memory, especially for an animated film. Hopefully he gets a better showing in HTTYD 3.
Archibald P. Snatcher (The Boxtrolls) - Not that the previous two Studio Laika film villains weren't incredible in their own right, but there was something about Snatcher that was more interesting and more unsettling than them in that there's nothing supernatural about him. He comes from nowhere out of the ordinary, he has no powers, his goals are petty and self-interested...he's purely human and also pure evil. This is a guy who will go to any lengths within his reach in order to get what he wants, and an outwardly oafish, crossdressing, comical villain who just happens to resort to threats, torture, slave labor, mass fraud, fear mongering, attempted genocide and even attempted child murder, he seems like a deconstruction of your classic cartoon bad guy. Major points to Ben Kingsley for his vocal performance too. And the manner in which he dies...yeesh!
The Beast (Over The Garden Wall) - One word: nightmare.
Lord Tirek (My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic) - We all wanted it to happen and then in the fourth season of this show, it did. Tirek, the original MLP villain, finally made his return to the franchise in a new incarnation, and while this one wasn't quite as dark and scary as the original, he more than compensated by being a much larger, more powerful threat. A Satanic figure seeking the power to destroy all natural life in Equestria and reign over it as a supreme magical overload, Tirek stole magic from ponies in what could be called G-rated assault and violation. Even better, he got Discord to team up with him, so the best villains on the show were working together for what remains the best two-parter and season finale that this show has given us.
The Dazzlings (Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks) - After Discord, these three sirens turned stage divas are the best FiM-exclusive villains that have been introduced. While they come off as blatant copies of Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee from Avatar: The Last Airbender, they're stylish, charming, and (literally) colorful enough to establish their own identity, and they also ended up being some of funnest to watch and most nearly successful villains in MLP history. I was certainly put under their spell and would love to be so again if only they were to reappear...
Constantine (Muppet's Most Wanted) - Chris Cooper's Tex Richman was nothing special for a Muppets movie villain, despite the rest of the movie being so great. This guy's kind of the reverse - the rest of the movie's just average but Kermit the Frog's European evil lookalike has reached iconic status. With his thick accent, poor impersonation skills, fun dynamic with Dominic Badguy and an insanely catchy song, Constantine stood out for good reason.
Lord Dominator (Wander Over Yonder) - A wonderfully subversive take on the Vader-esque galactic conqueror archetype, and one of the standout stars of this all too short lived Disney series. Her villain song, "I'm The Bad Guy", alone gained her many fans.
Grant Ward (Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D) - Ward started off as one of the show's main protagonist characters but was unfortunately one of the least interesting. The reveal that he was a sleeper agent for HYDRA who went bad for the remainder of the season was a surprise but didn't really make him any more engaging than he was before. Somewhere in Season 2, this changed - Ward suddenly got more developed as a villain, climbing to new heights and getting more in-depth exploration of his personality facets all while staying an unrepentant sociopath. Brett Dalton's acting also improved tremendously, making it easier to buy this guy as a dangerous enemy of S.H.I.E.L.D. By the time he got his final "closure", it was actually kind of sad to see him go.
Ultron (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) - The rogue AI set on eradicating humanity, destroying the Avengers, and claiming Earth for himself was a prime choice for the next big villain for the Avengers to face in their second cinematic outing. Getting James Spader to provide the voice for Ultron only made him that much more imposing. The one roadblock was his personality, which is typically your generic evil robot, but by modifying his origin so that Tony Stark is now his "father" instead of Hank Pym, Joss Whedon was able to depict Ultron as a livelier character who throws Tony's own smartass humor back in his face and manages a fine balance between creepy and funny all while staying a definite threat. Ultron's actions also ended up having dire consequences for the Avengers and the rest of the MCU going forward, ensuring that he went down in evil infamy. And he also totally perverted "I've Got No Strings" from Disney's Pinocchio. That demands respect!
Emperor Zarkon (Voltron: Legendary Defender) - A frightening and badass reinvention of an old cheesy villain from an old cheesy show made from an obscure anime. This version of Zarkon started off with what he saw as pure intentions before going mad from abuse of Quintissence and succumbing to his most savage instincts, becoming the horrible tyrant and galactic conqueror that he is in the show proper. His design is intimidating and a great visual of how much more machine than alien he is now, and the voice acting by Neil Kaplan is bone-chilling- he sounds like he's channeling Kevin Michael Richardson channeling Keith David. Even his own apparent death wasn't enough to keep him down before he was ended for good in "Season 5."
Demon God Demigra (Dragon Ball Xenoverse) - While not short on decent villains, all of the Dragon Ball villains after Cell just lacked a certain wicked flair and presence that the past villains had. Even Beerus you could tell wasn't really THAT bad a guy, as scary powerful as he may be. The Big Bad of Dragon Ball Xenoverse, Demigra, was the first DB villain in years to buck the trend. With an immediately captivating design, a snide but regal sounding voice and pompous attitude, psychotic theatrics and a power that manifests itself in a creepy way, this was the sort of truly bad ass villain I'd been waiting to see in this franchise for a long while. His plans were meticulously executed, his goal to destroy all time and space in the multiverse so that he could do-over history and remake everything to make it all revolve around him was horrific, and he was even surprisingly difficult to fight. Towa and Mira are good villains too, but Demigra still reigns supreme.
Freeza (Dragon Ball Super) - In addition to creating great new DB villains, Akira Toriyama decided to revive a classic one and bring him back to his former evil glory. After years of having diminished as a threat whenever he popped back up in the franchise, Freeza was brought back to life in the movie "Resurrection F" and for the first time in his life, underwent training in order to increase his power and achieve an additional transformation, "Golden Freeza." While he put up a great, flashy fight, his refusal to train further and better control his new form's strength plus an increase in power from Vegeta ensured his defeat, but even then he still very nearly (and for a moment, did) destroyed the Earth in his psychotic rage. And then he came back again for the Tournament of Power saga in "Dragon Ball Super", having finally mastered his Golden form but in an ironic twist of fate, he got recruited to fight alongside the good guys to ensure Universe 7's, and by extension his own, survival. He's still not to be trusted and I fear more evil from him in the future.
Ludo (Star VS The Forces Of Evil) - Positioned initially as the main antagonist of the show, Ludo was more of a joke character and a nuisance than a true villain, always mobilizing his monster army to attack Star in order to steal her wand, never having any true plans. This was rather shockingly changed in the second season, where after learning how to survive, plan, and fend for himself out in the wilderness, Ludo found his own wand created from a corrupted crystal shard and Toffee's severed hand. While still a puppet in Toffee's scheme, Ludo became a legitimately dangerous and even menacing figure, able to nearly best and kill Star, steal her spell book along with Glossaryk, and lead swarms of rats he'd bullied into servitude to invade and conquer the Butterfly Kingdom, making him king of Mewni. He also became a more interesting character, with his family, background, and personal motivations coming to light. Whether he be played seriously or comedically, Alan Tudyk is immensely entertaining in this role, making him a great part of the show.
Toffee of Septarsis (Star VS The Forces Of Evil) - This is the dude who, upon his introduction, changed the course of the show and my perception of what it was going to be. A lizard-like monster in a slick business suit and voiced by Michael C. Hall, Toffee came in halfway through Season 1 to serve as an "evil efficiency expert" for main villain Ludo but clearly had his own agenda that he was working towards behind Ludo's back. In the season finale, he'd ousted Ludo from his castle and took charge of his monsters, luring Star to him just so he could force her to cast a spell that would break her wand, setting off a much greater, more intricate plan with the end goal of draining Mewni dry of all it's magic and leaving the Butterfly Kingdom in shambles while he would regain his severed finger and with it, his full strength. Becoming an entity made of corrupted magic and doing his evil work through Ludo's wand in Season 2, Toffee came dangerously close to success before he met his demise, and the show's not reached the same heights ever since then.
Lysandre (Pokemon XYZ) - Team Flare's boss Lysandre was a far less impressive villain that he probably ought to have been in the mediocre games he debuted in. Fortunately he got two shots at redemption - in the Pokemon Adventures manga and the XYZ season of the anime, and in both he was made into a far more compelling and threatening villain. While great villains is par the course for the manga, the anime version is particularly impressive given it's track record for not having solid Big Bads not named Giovanni. But Lysandre, as the main antagonist of the main story arc of the XY series, was handled exceptionally well and portrayed mostly brilliantly, with his plan to destroy the world and begin it over as a world only for "the chosen" being so epic and grand in scale that it took up the climax of the entire Kalos saga, and like in every medium of Gen 6 that he features in, he died as a result of his actions, and it was a freaking epic death scene too!
Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin (Daredevil) - I didn't think an actor could be as perfect a fit for Fisk as the late Michael Clarke Duncan was, but Vincent D'Nofrio proved me wrong there. He's sort of like the Heath Ledger to Duncan's Jack Nicholson - he plays a very different take on the character but is equally perfect at conveying his essence. This version of Fisk is much more socially awkward and borderline autistic, with qualities that much him seem more human and sympathetic, but he also has a lot of pent-up rage that could rise up due to any provocation, is in charge of much of the city's crime, does horrible things for no justifiable reason, and only becomes more hardened and evil by the end of the first season. In a sense, the first season was as much the Kingpin's origin story as it was Daredevil's, and boy did strong writing and acting make it a great ride.
Kevin "Killgrave" Thompson (Jessica Jones) - Kingpin set a strong precedent for the villains in Netflix MCU shows, and Kilgrave continued the trend. Played to chilling perfection by David Tennant, Kilgrave has got to be one of the creepiest, most twisted, and most vile villains in the MCU, acting as an avatar for the most spoiled, predatory, power-hungry and entitled of men that others, especially women, might have the displeasure of dealing with in their lives. He does with supernatural hypnotic powers what other men might do with just their state of privilege and the resources at their disposal, with his mind rape serving as means to the end of literal rape. Like Ward, he has a tragic backstory and a few nuanced qualities to him, but all of it cannot and does not hide the evil, repulsive, manipulative, abusive, sociopathic monster he truly is. Written wonderfully and portrayed horrifyingly from start to finish, Kilgrave is one of the best villains Marvel has given us.
Slappy The Dummy (Goosebumps) - Slappy was always the most iconic villain in the Goosebumps series and a personal favorite of mine, and I'd long felt his adaptations to TV, while passable, never quite did him full justice. Jack Black is among the last people I'd think of who could give us a perfect Slappy, yet he did. The design of the dummy accurately resembles his book counterpart, and the raspy, Mark Hamill-esque voice that Black provided was a perfect fit. The version of Slappy seen in this movie also isn't just an evil troublemaker for the heck of it - you can actually kind of understand his daddy issues towards his creator, R.L Stine, and why he'd value freedom for himself and the other book monsters. He's certainly a fun villain, as he should be.
Freddy Fazbear (Five Nights At Freddy's) - Remember that nursery rhyme-esque tune that the ghost girls with the jump rope sing in "A Nightmare On Elm Street?" That now fits this Freddy a lot more than it ever fit Kruger, and this Freddy, along with his animatronic pals that come to life at night along with him, were the source of much terror in this surprise hit horror game. Freddy in particular is a terrifying presence, with his creepy music box theme tune and ability to bypass closed doors to give you the scariest jump scare in the game. Personally, I can pass on William Afton and the mythology of the sequels. Freddy was all we ever really needed.
Nathan and the Ads (South Park) - Nathan was a recurring character who popped up in South Park before, always cast in antagonistic roles. Season 19 was his biggest showing yet, as he aligned himself with the sentient computer Ads that had been conspiring to warp the town into a natural environment for them via mass gentrification and manipulation of College SJWS' PC movement all throughout the season and were also set on destroying humanity. Nathan, disabled though he may be, was smart enough to know this, so he sold out and became an agent for the Ads so that he could ultimately run the town himself. Yeah, this happened, and it was great.
President Coin (The Hunger Games) - The leader of District 13's rebellion against the Capitol, played with great conviction by Julianne Moore, at first came off as a strict and sometimes unpleasant but overall well-meaning person only for her true nature to come to the forefront in "Mockingjay Part 2", revealing her to be a self-interested, power-hungry sociopath little better than President Snow in her methods and intentions for Panem's future. She's literally the other side of the same coin to Snow, as her name suggests, and the terrorist bombing of the capitol that she arranged and takes many lives, including that of Katniss' sister Primrose, is the probably the most devastating moment in the story, making her later death by Katniss' bow that much more deserved.
Kylo Ren (Star Wars: The New Trilogy) - Say what you will about the faults that can be found in "The Force Awakens" and it's follow-ups, but one of the best things it gave us was the character of Kylo Ren, the main antagonist of this new Star Wars saga. At first glance, he's a lazy Darth Vader ripoff who's just there to fill a role, but when he lets loose his rage and starts smashing his lightsaber against some equipment in a sudden temper tantrum, Kylo starts to differ from Vader in noticeable ways. Then we find out that he's the son of Han and Leia Solo who is thus the next in the Skywalker bloodline, and that his emulation of Vader, his deceased grandfather, is being done on purpose. With the reveals of his face, true name, and the extent of his psychopathic personality, Kylo Ren becomes a very compelling character, and with Adam Driver's acting and the way he's evolved over the films, he's become one of the best villains in the entire Star Wars canon.
Hades (Once Upon A Time) - The other great Big Bad on this show past it's heyday. The Greek god of the Underworld being made into a villainous character is nothing new and unique, and while the showrunners leaned a bit too heavily on the Disney version of Hades at points (particularly with a really bad blue flame hair CG effect), they still managed to shape this Hades into his own character. Portrayed as a mob boss figure who runs the Underworld between Heaven and Hell like a business because keeping things there in a state of decay and misery all while preventing souls from moving on is his only substitute for feeling any joy down there, Hades is by far the most powerful and most intimidating of the show's villains. Greg Germann's performance did a lot to make him memorable, always shifting between flippant, humorous sass and sinister, whispery menace at the drop of a hat. He's kind of a Mayor Wilkins-esque villain in some ways and was a lot of fun to watch, stealing the show in all of his scenes. Now if only they'd just given him a better story...
Morland Holmes (Elementary) - As early as the first season, the father of Sherlock Holmes, with whom he had an estranged relationship, was built up big time, so when the third season ended on the note that he was finally going to show up, we were all expecting someone who'd live up to the hype and match up with how horrible Sherlock described him as. John Noble more than delivered - his portrayal of Morland was cold, detached, almost mechanical, but with a certain melancholic quality to him and an underlining ruthlessness. He commanded the viewer's attention any time he was on screen, and was fascinating to watch as he jerked us around on whether or not we wanted to like, respect, and trust him, while the whole time, we sort of feared him. When it was found out that all the troubles in his personal life came about because he was prime candidate for leadership of Moriarty's large criminal organization due to simply being the man that he is, it made all too much sense, as did his decision that followed this reveal, sealing his place as a true villain.
Shere Khan (The Jungle Book) - A wonderful reinvention of one of Disney's classic villains, combining the strongest character aspects of both Disney's original version and the original character from the book, and brought to life by impressive CGI and pitch perfect voice acting by Idris Elba. This Shere Khan more than lived up to his fearsome reputation.
Helmut Zemo (Captain America: Civil War) - One of the more discreet, unassuming Marvel movie villains, but also among the most interesting and successful. Zemo was not your typical supervillain out to defeat the Avengers through some straightforward method - he realized that in order to destroy the team and thus avenge the personal losses that he blamed them for, he needed to get them to destroy themselves. Exploiting the rift between heroes that came about due to the Sokovia Accords and utilizing Bucky's past actions as the Winter Soldier to his advantage, Zemo ended up succeeding where many before him failed - he put the Avengers out of commission by ensuring the team split apart. That is quite the magnificent villainous achievement.
Amy Hughes (Dead Of Summer) - Pretty much the only aspect of Adam Horowitz and Eddie Kitsis' disastrous flop series worth remembering was it's villain, revealed to be the seemingly good girl who'd began the series as the closest thing it had to a main protagonist and was played by an actress who'd previously played Anna of Arendelle on Once Upon A Time. That Amy fooled everyone with such a convincing act while in truth being a callous, sadistic, sociopathic murderer that even literal demons feared made her stand out as a character, pretty similar to Jill Roberts in a lot of ways. She was definitely the one thing that this show unarguably got right.
Jasper (Steven Universe) - At first glance, Jasper was an intimidating but fairly generic brutish villain who came along with Peridot just to give the Crystal Gems a physical challenge to overcome in the first season finale. When she made her big comeback in Season 3, she became a more ominous and reprehensible yet also more pitiful and more interesting character. A hardened warrior Gem with a low self image who desperately wants to feel like she's worth something no matter what the personal cost and knows only war, violence, hatred, and rage, Jasper was among the Crystal Gems' cruelest enemies while also being a tragic figure, with great voice acting by Kimberly Brooks giving the character all the menacing and pitiful qualities she needed.
Malachite (Steven Universe) - The unholy fusion of two of the most messed up Gems on the show, Jasper and Lapis Lazuli, into this singular, large, completely insane abomination. Representing the worst possible relationship that two individuals could ever find themselves in, Malachite was probably the most terrifying non-Diamond villain the show ever had.
Luan Loud (The Loud House) - OK, Luan normally isn't a villain by any stretch of the imagination - she's one of the main characters in the Loud family after all, and is a friendly, even if annoying, person. But that changes every 1st of April, April Fools' Day, on which Luan's love for pranks, creativity in putting them together, and glee in pulling them off turns her into a vicious, thoughtless, sadistic, downright evil mastermind of particularly cruel, potentially dangerous pranks that she turns against anyone, including her own family. She's surprisingly very effective as an antagonist, and the April Fools' episodes are some of the series' most entertaining because of it.
Ganondorf (Hyrule Warriors Legends) - Ganon has been one of the greatest Nintendo villains for years, but the Zelda-based combat game, Hyrule Warriors, gave us what may well be the most definitive version of his character to date. Wielding awesome powers, raw charisma, a sharp evil mind, and ambitions that he'd stop at nothing to fulfill, Ganondorf in this game repeatedly showed himself as more dangerous an enemy than even the game's designated main antagonist, and his presence at any point he showed up made him an unforgettable force of evil.
The Moon King (Kubo and the Two Strings) - This underrated animated masterpiece from Studio Laika spends a lot of it's running time building up it's main antagonist, the Moon King, but without actually showing him to us, as he mostly does his work through his creepy witchy daughters. At the climax of the film, he finally appears before Kubo and shows himself to be one of the eeriest, most alien and most horrifying villains in animation history. With his ghostly appearance, sinister voice, and the cold, inhuman logic he argues, this guy was honestly just as scary as his regular self as he is when he transforms into a large, serpent-like beast!
Leviathan (Digimon Universe: Appmon) - A malicious AI seeking the subjugation of all digital lifeforms and the destruction of the human world, very similar to XANA from Code Lyoko in many ways, Leviathan was a darker, more chill-inducing villain than one would expect to come out of a Digimon series more lighter and kid-friendly than ones seen in the past. By the time we learn the truth about the mysterious Yujinn, the part he plays in Leviathans' grand designs, and what Leviathan has done to him in order to keep him as it's tool, this thing has officially reached D-Reaper levels of nightmarish and fucked up. And by the big finale where it takes on the physical form of a flying, six headed monstrosity, Leviathan becomes one of the most horrifying enemies in the franchise's history. Acting as the main antagonistic force to be stopped from start to finish in this series' story, Leviathan was a cooler villain than anything that the Tri series had to offer.
Jean Michel Roger (Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V) - The second season of this Yu-Gi-Oh! spin-off wasn't as refreshingly fun and engaging as it's first season but not as godawful a poorly written trainwreck as the following third season. But for a middling quality season, it's one definite strength was the villainous Jean Michel Roger, corrupt director of security in the Synchro Dimension. Seeking to betray the academy and take over his home dimension for himself, and partaking in a number of vile, atrocious acts in order to achieve his ends, Roger was a madman whose arrogance, greed, selfishness and cruelty knew no bounds. He even attempts to condemn all life in his entire dimension to Hell under the rationale that a world that cannot be enslaved by him has no worth existing - that is some hardcore evilness right there! Roger ended up a far better villain than any that followed him, and being voiced by Darren Dunstan in the English dub was icing on the cake.
Zamasu (Dragon Ball Super) - If Demigra was the best Satan figure to grace the Dragon Ball franchise, then Zamasu is it's best representation of Lucifer, and like Demigra, he is one of the best DB villains in years. An apprentice kaishin with an irrational hatred of all mortal beings for their sinful behaviors and failures to live up to his ideals of justice, Zamasu let his pride and warped sense of duty to make the universe just and orderly consume him, leading him to betray his master Gowasu and attempt his "Zero Mortals Plan" to purge all existence of mortals so that gods have sole ownership of the universe, though he's not above opposing and even killing other gods who are opposed to his ambitions. With one version of Zamasu from one timeline becoming the imposing Goku Black and working with another Zamasu from another timeline to make his twisted dream a reality, the two of them even fusing together and becoming an entity of pure hatred and malice that threatened to tear all timelines and realities in the entire multiverse asunder, this fallen deity was Dragon Ball's most disturbing villain by far. And when his saga was dubbed into English, Funimation actually got freaking James Marsters to be his voice. How is that for godly perfection?
Guzma (Pokemon: Sun And Moon) - Hard as they might try, the members of Team Skull always come off as more funny than threatening. The team's boss, Guzma, is sort of a curve ball thrown your way in that while yes he's also kinda funny, he also manages to be intimidating and a genuine threat in battle despite being primarily a Bug type trainer. We delve more into the layers of sadness behind him and his team when braving their home base in Po Town, and Guzma ends up being a more complex and even somewhat relatable character than expected. And as it turns out, he's not even the games' main villain despite being the Alola regions' resident team boss. He's simply a glorified helping hand to the character I'm going to talk about next...
Lusamine (Pokemon: Sun And Moon) - For the first time in a Pokemon game, the Big Bad was both not the boss of the resident evil team and was a woman! Lusamine is the president of the Aether Foundation, a company dedicated to Pokemon conservation that serves as the true villainous group of Gen 7 in many ways. But Lusamine isn't interested in her own company's mission statement by the time of the game's story, as she's become enamored with the mysterious Ultra Beasts from Ultra Space, namely the jellyfish-like Nihilego whose toxins have drugged her state of mind, and she would do anything and sacrifice anyone in order to create a way to go join them in their world, to live out her psychotic fantasy even at the cost to Alola. And as it turns out, she's the mother of the players' frequent companion Lillie and rival Gladion, and she treated her kids in a very controlling and abusive way, viewing them akin to possessions and accessories she can "love" for her own pleasure and discard whenever they cease to be "worthy" of her, and she treats Pokemon and other people in a similar way. Self-absorbed and completely out of her mind, Lusamine works on a level similar to the horror in "The Babadook", with the supernatural element of her story only being an enhancer for something all too common in real life and horrifying in it's mundaneness.
Lennart Bedrager (South Park) - While the show's 20th season ended up a mess, one of it's strongest and most memorable aspects was it's main villain, who worked even better as a serialized antagonist than the previous attempts, even the Ads from the previous season. Wealthy head of a business in Denmark and supposedly descended from Danish troll hunters, Bedrager seemed to mean well in creating the TrollTrace feature that would expose the identities of anonymous internet trolls around the world, but he turned out to actually be a master troll himself who wanted to use the mass chaos he'd create in order to plunge the world into World War III just because it'd be "hilarious", and he wasn't even fucking Danish either! While silly in the absurdity of his plans and methods, Bedrager was also darker than most villains to appear on this show, and whenever he was present, he made everything about that whole dumb plot feel much more intense.
Dr. Brenner (Stranger Things) - Let's face it - the first season of this breakout hit Netflix series was stronger than the second, and a big part of that was the presence of this villain. Known as "Papa" by Eleven and "the bad man" by the kid protagonists, not much is known about Dr. Brenner other than that he's been involved in some shady experiments and research on the Upside-Down that's being funded by government corruption, and that he's totally evil, with his predatory manipulation and psychological abuse of a child and willingness to harm anyone who stands in the way of his secret projects making him a villain who is as loathsome as he is formidable.
Ardyn Izunia (Final Fantasy XV) - It's a damn shame that Final Fantasy Versus XIII, which became Final Fantasy XV, did not come together as well as it should've. It's one stroke of brilliance was casting previously secondary antagonist Ardyn Izunia in the role of the game's true Big Bad. He is in essence a modern day Kefka - he's pretty unassuming at first, works under the evil emperor who was set up as the main villain, gets the funniest one-liners in the game, and gradually reveals the depths of his deranged, all-consuming hatred and evilness until he ends up raising the stakes and ultimately becoming the final boss who needs to be vanquished even from the afterlife! Ardyn somehow manages to be absolutely loathsome and heinous as a villain yet also so charming and likable as a character, with his voice acting really helping to make him intriguing too. And personally, I think he did us all a favor when he killed off Lunafreya. Stella Nox Fleuret for life!
Shuriki (Sofia The First & Elena Of Avalor) - Seemingly your run-of-the-mill evil sorceress, Shuriki distinguished herself big time by not only being successful in taking over the kingdom of Avalor and ruling as it's queen for several years, but also murdering it's king and queen, Princess Elena's parents, with an Avada Kadavra-like spell, right before Elena's eyes. We're shown this on-screen, and in what was supposed to be a Sofia The First special too! Immediately, this set Shuriki up as one of the darkest Disney Junior show villains, and seeing her running a dictator regime that outlaws celebration and music, stealing natural magic and life force from the kingdom in order to keep herself beautiful, imprisoning the visiting royal family of Enchancia and attempting to murder Elena once again only seal the deal. Jane Fonda does an awesome job with Shuriki's voice, and with her still alive and plotting, we can expect bigger, darker things to come.
Orson Krennic (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) - Positioned as the main antagonist in the first Star Wars spin-off film, Krennic needed to have something about him to make him stand out among other Imperial officers, which is likely why Ben Mendelsohn was cast. His slimy, sour, embittered performance, always underlined with anger that would get worse the more something or someone pissed him off, really gave something to the Death Star developer, and made him as fun to watch as he is fun to hate. He's a solid villain, both in the film and in expanded canon.
Grand Admiral Thrawn (Star Wars Rebels) - The infamous Grand Admiral of the Empire's best fleets was the most natural choice for the first character from the old discarded Expanded Universe to be re-worked back into canon, yet it was still a delightful surprise to see him appear as the main antagonist of this show's second half. His tactical brilliance, patience, appreciation for the arts of other cultures and the study of their history through it, his most noble qualities, his most wicked qualities..all of it was retrained in the character. The package is completed by the perfect voice for Thrawn, performed by Lars Mikkelsen, and an eerie, powerful theme music.
Maul (Star Wars Rebels) - Maul has been for years a Star Wars villain who just about everyone likes yet everyone could agree was given the shaft in the Prequel Trilogy, having been introduced and seemingly killed off in Episode I. Without a doubt one of the best things done in the Clone Wars series was retcon Maul's death so that he returned, his role expanded, and his character developed into a compelling and intriguing villain who was aligned with neither the Sith nor the Jedi, but only out for himself and his own thirst for vengeance on those who'd wronged him, also hoping to consolidate the power needed to conquer and rule the galaxy himself. He came back in Rebels, older and even crazier than before, and was a blast to watch due to great writing, fantastic animation on him, and Sam Witwer's top notch voice acting. We even got to see his final face-off with his sworn enemy, Obi Wan Kenobi, and now he's dead for real. I'm gonna miss him.
Count Olaf (A Series Of Unfortunate Events) - This is the second live action outing for this character, and I'd say this one is far better and more faithful to the source material than Jim Carey's take was. Neil Patrick Harris just loses himself in this role and in that spot-on makeup he wears, adding a faux-affable, suave charm to the character not present in the original stories but it serves as a perfect reflection of how Olaf views himself when contrasted to the total scumbag he truly is and the atrocious things we see him do. An excellent villain you love to hate.
Kevin Wendell Crumb/the Horde (Split) - Just...wow. All these years I'd assumed that M. Night Shyamalan could never conceive of a villain better than Mr. Glass from Unbreakable. But not only was the villain and central character of this horror/psychological thriller film fascinating in how he was portrayed in writing, but James Mcavoy in the role is what really breathed life into the character. Even when he's doing horrific things, you find that your eyes just cannot be taken off of this guy. With every shift to one of his 23 personalities (24 when counting "the Beast"), another interesting facet of the sort of being Kevin truly is gets revealed, and he becomes that much more intriguing and enjoyable as a result. He's frightening, pitiful, funny, repulsive, likable, beyond understanding and interesting to delve into all at once, and it is mesmerizing. And the best part is that the film leaves us with a promise that it's not the last we have seen of "the Horde."
Rose Armitage (Get Out) - A true surprise villain in the best sense of the term. Rose first appears to be the nice, sweet, charming, even if sometimes foul-tempered love interest of this film's main character, Chris Washington. Even when we begin to realize that her family is doing some truly terrible, messed up thinks to the bodies and minds of black people in their community, we want to believe Rose isn't in on it. But we find out that not only is she in on it, but she's always the one playing the biggest part of profiling victims and luring them into her family's clutches. The true Rose is a stone-cold sociopath disconnected from sentiment and emotion, caring so little for human life that even the deaths of her own family members doesn't phase her! Yikes!
Donald Pierce (Logan) - Yes his name is Donald, he's blonde, and he tries to keep some mutant refugee kids from crossing a border, but he's not anything like THAT Donald, I can assure you! While not too closely resembling the Donald Pierce of the comics either, actor Boyd Holbrook played him with scenery-chewing nastiness and gave him a fearsome presence that brought a tense feeling to all of his scenes, and he was a memorable antagonist for it.
Gaston (Beauty And The Beast) - A fairly deviant adaptation of this well known Disney villain but one that I think really worked. Unlike the dumb macho hunter and town superstar of the original animated classic, this Gaston is every bit as conceited, entitled, and obsessed while being slightly more reserved and elegant, and he gets his reverence from having been an army captain in a war a few years back. This is also what gives Gaston his frightening edge, as he's depicted as a sociopath who doesn't want to leave his glory days behind him, and is eager to find something, anything living, to kill, as he killed his enemies back in the war. So when he's out for the Beast's blood towards the end, he doesn't just want him out of his way - he really wants him dead. An unsettling take on an already unsettling villains that Luke Evans played (and sang) to perfection.
Victor and Carla Delgado (Elena Of Avalor) - This father-daughter duo were probably the first truly interesting villains to appear in Avalor and are currently serving as the main henchmen to Shuriki. Victor's a childhood friend of Chancellor Esteban who is even more underhanded and self-interested than he is, serving as his foil even though the two of them stopped interacting after Victor and Carla's debut episode for some reason. His daughter Carla is a teenage girl with a mean streak and a desire to assert herself as better than her peers similar to her father's, though she hides it beneath a nice, upbeat facade. The two of them aspire to become malvagos, weilders of powerful dark magic, and rule Avalor alongside Shuriki to at least fully gain the masses' respect - they even rap about it! I just love these two and am eager to see more of them.
Deathstroke The Terminator (DC Projects) - Slade Wilson is truly one of the DC Comics universe's coolest and most interesting villains when written right, and many projects in recent years that he's appeared in have proven this. As the Big Bad in the second season of Arrow, played buy Manu Bennett, who made some great return appearances afterwards. As the most prominent villain in the DTV adaptation of Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, where as an apology for his poor showing in Son Of Batman, he's characterized perfectly and voiced just as perfectly by the late Miguel Ferrer in his final role. Even as a crowd pleasing post-credits cameo in Justice League, played by Joe Manganiello. And of course, as the villain protagonist of his own comic title in the DC Rebirth lineup written by Christopher Priest, where he's more compelling and badass than the character's been in comics for years. All fantastic takes on a fantastically despicable villain.
Rita Repulsa (Power Rangers 2017) - Was anyone expecting Rita Repulsa to be reinvented as an ex-Green Ranger turned gold stealing serial killer turned all-powerful witch seeking to bring about the total destruction of Earth, and for that to be a very credible villain? I sure didn't but it happened in the Power Rangers reboot movie, and like the movie itself, it turned out better than I was ever expecting it to be. Elizabeth Banks hammed it up spectacularly in the role and gave us some very funny moments, yet none of it detracted from the character's menace. It's a shame she's likely a one-and-done deal - I certainly had fun watching her when she was around.
The Great Diamond Authority (Steven Universe) - We don't know much about this triad of tyranny, especially not it's still unseen and unmentioned leader, White Diamond. But what we do know of them, particularly Yellow and Blue, gives a perfect complex blending of ironic tragedy and stark horror. Not my favorite new toon villains, but definitely great ones.
Aquamarine (Steven Universe) - You would not be able to tell from her petite pixie-like appearance and cute, youthful sounding British voice, but this aquatic Gem far exceeds even Jasper in cruelty and intimidation factor. A military scout leader and lackey for the Great Diamond Authority, Aquamarine goes beyond performing her tasks based on orders, taking sadistic pleasure in hurting her enemies and gleefully admitting that she knows no feelings of mercy and compassion, enforcing the same approach to emotions in her abused underling, a Topaz fusion. In only a few appearances, she's made a name for herself as the most vile Steven Universe villain.
Aku (Samurai Jack) - A classic Cartoon Network baddie made his long awaited comeback for the 10 episode final season of Samurai Jack. With this set of episodes being aired on Adult Swim, we were allowed a glimpse at the darker aspects of Aku's reign and some of his vilest deeds, but the character retained his off-beat sense of humor. Greg Baldwin took a while to really settle into the role, as no one could truly replace the late, great Mako, but the writing serviced him here by having Aku go through depression and a sort of mid-life crisis. By the end of the season, Greg's take on Aku knocked it out of the park, emulating Mako's original near perfectly. And Aku got the end his existence by showing once more why he's a master of evil - even with his own death, he got to hurt his arch enemy Jack one last time in a major way. Kudos, Aku - that is just A+ villainy.
Ego The Living Planet (Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2) - When Kurt Russel first showed up on the scene as Peter Quill's father, an age-old celestial whose spirit lies within a vibrant paradise of a planet, he seemed charming, funny, kind, generous, even sympathetic and relatable in his feelings of loneliness and desire to bond with the child he'd had with a woman he'd loved. But as it turns out, his name's not "Ego" for no reason. Ego's true reason for interest in his son is because he's inherited his celestial power and is the key to Ego's "Expansion" plan - to completely eradicate and assimilate all life in the universe, so that everything becomes Ego. He'd literally planted the seeds for this plan for centuries, and far more horrific and scary than his goals is the betrayal of trust that comes with his reveal as a villain, as we find out just how insincere his "love" for Quill's mother and all of his children truly is, and how much he values himself and his own sense of superiority over all of creation in existence. He's one of those rare villains to actually scare me in my first viewing of the film in theaters, and he did to the song "Brandy" what Ultron did to "I've Got No Strings", making him one of the best and most despicably evil villains of the MCU.
Adrian Toomes/The Vulture (Spider-Man: Homecoming) - Michael Keaton in this role makes him far from the typical depiction of this villain, but at the same time he really adds a believable human quality to the character. Toomes in this film actually has some solid motivation to turn to theft and arms' dealing, and he excused a cynical and embittered yet oddly charismatic personality. And then there's a huge plot twist that throws everything about his character into a whole new context and creates legit dramatic tension between him and Spider-Man, with that "talk in his car" scene being one the MCU's scariest moments. All in all, a great updated supervillain.
The Colonel (War For The Planet Of The Apes) - Woody Harrelston plays an emotionally repressed psychopath out to exterminate all enemy apes and all humans who've been infected by the simian flu, having even put down his own son when he fell prey to the virus. While not quite on Koba's level, the Colonel was still a very personal foe for Caesar after having killed his family earlier in the film, and was a powerful presence whenever he was on screen.
Prince Lotor (Voltron: Legendary Defender) - One of the most iconic villains of the original Voltron series, the rebooted incarnation of Lotor was long anticipated by fans. But I don't think anyone could have predicted the route this show would go with for him and just how awesome and compelling a villain he'd be. Whereas his father Zarkon made no secret of his brutality, Lotor prefers to take kinder, smarter, and more diplomatic approaches to adversity in order to lower guards and fool his enemies into thinking he's a better person than his father when in truth he's just as ambitious, power-hungry, and deranged. Establishing himself as the Voltron Paladins' most formidable adversary to date, then later allying himself with them out of perceived common interest and a desire to compromise and bring peace to the galaxy, and voiced masterfully by AJ Locascio, Prince Lotor in this series is a master strategist and underhanded, even frightening snake in the grass who knows how to play the long con, which makes him one of modern animation's most compelling villains. Not bad for a character who used to be a flat, unintimidating 80's cartoon villain, eh?
Scar (The Lion Guard) - Any fan of Disney movies or people who've seen The Lion King knows this guy, and he's returned in the Disney Junior spin-off series as an evil Hell-spirit who rises from a volcano and has big plans to mobilize all animals in the Outlands as his new personal army to invade and conquer the Pride Lands, re-taking the throne for himself, and he's voiced by David Oyelowo here, who does just as great as, if not better than in some places, Jeremy Irons. He's as fun a villain on TV as he was in a theatrical film - can't wait to see what he do!
Flintheart Glomgold (DuckTales) - This rebooted incarnation of Scrooge McDuck's evil counterpart and second richest duck in the world is drastically different from both the original comic book character and the version seen in the original series. He's seemingly a US-born fake Scot rather than an Afrikaner, he's a lot chubbier, he's a lot more narcissistic, and his callous sociopathy, disregard for life, and willingness to kill his enemies is far more pronounced. But they get away with that last one by playing Glomgold up as a boorish, bombastic, hammy supervillain, albeit something of a bungler whose murder attempts are treated more like a nuisance than a threat, but that doesn't undermine his capabilities and make him not dangerous in his own right. So far he's been tremendous fun to watch and is most definitely a villain I look forward to seeing much more of.
Norman Osborn (Marvel's Spider-Man) - We all know who Norman Osborn is, and his newest incarnation to hit TV has been a damn good villain. The design looks great, Josh Keaton proved to be surprisingly ideal casting given the performance he turned in (not many voice actors can lay claim to being a perfect Peter Parker AND a perfect Norman Osborn!), and his character was brilliantly written, being as cold, cruel, ruthless, manipulative, underhanded, and dedicated to upholding his family’s legacy as you’d expect. But he has a certain complexity and some humanizing qualities to him that makes him sometimes jerk you around to admiring him, almost liking him and being worried for him in the climactic episodes of the season, hoping he’ll come out okay….and then he puts another knife in your back and makes you wonder what you ever saw in the bastard. The most incredible part? He went the whole season arc without ever becoming the Green Goblin. He didn’t need to become the Goblin - he was such an awesome villain as himself already!
Monika (Doki Doki Literature Club) - This game being a stealth horror game, the club leader herself takes the whole set-up of a dating sim or a "harem" game and turns it on it's head, as it turns out she's become self-aware about being an in-game NPC who's been given no route in which the player can date her, so she keeps on sabotaging the game's program in order to literally eliminate the possible love interest girls throughout your playthrough, leading to many surreal, nightmarish moments of glitches, mind rape, psychological damage and existential horror. Eventually all that is left in the game is "just Monika" in that single school club room, with even your player character deleted, and the moment where Monika addresses the player by their true name will go down as one of the most terrifying experiences in gaming history. Monika's kind of like Yuno Gasai in that she only wants to know and experience true love and validate herself as a real existence, and despite all the messed up things she does, you end up loving her in the end. Just Monika, always!
Walter O'Dim (The Dark Tower) - Walter, AKA Randall Flagg, the Walkin' Dude, the Man In Black, the Imp of Satan, among several other names, has long been the most ever-present villain in Stephen King's universe. Despite this movie being...not very good at all, Matthew Mcconnoaughey played a very fun interpretation of the character who almost made it worth it. His performance just oozed pure, unmitigated, unrestrained evilness, he took refuge in dickishness, and his scenery chewing villainy always livened up the film whenever it was at risk of getting too dull.
Pennywise the Dancing Clown (IT) - From one well portrayed Stephen King villain to another, this one from a movie that was actually good! While physically, Bill Skarsgard was not as accurate to the character as Tim Curry was in the 1990 TV mini-series, what he did have going for him was portraying Pennywise in a way that made him genuinely terrifying. He plays the demonic alien menace in it's signature clown form as a true monster who's got a very loose grasp on how to talk like a human, as it puts on a voice that sounds like what you might hear from a child-friendly Muppet character but with barely disguised beast-like quality underlining his every word. This Pennywise scared the crap out of me, but also made me laugh at some points due to the sheer absurdity of his antics and mannerisms, as any good monster clown should. He also made me despise him and make me relish seeing his ass getting owned in the end. As the living incarnation of fear who's ironically a ginormous coward itself, It left it's mark as a great cinematic horror villain.
Uncle Gumbald (Adventure Time) - It seems like this guy has been subtly built towards on the show for a while now and I don't know how intentional or not any of that build-up was. But all the same, he's the true form of Punchy the punch bowl (don't even ask) and was created by Bonibelle Bubllegum years ago to be her uncle, only for him to try to dispose of her because he craved more power and control that he felt he was being restricted from having. His tyrannical sociopathy explains where Bubblegum gets it from and her experience with him puts a lot of things about how she turned out into perspective. Now that he's returned, he's making plans to form his own super nation and declare war on his niece's Candy Kingdom, and it seems he'll do whatever it takes to take the throne, even if it means plunging Ooo into a second apocalypse to do it.
The Storm King (My Little Pony: The Movie) - For the theatrical release of a movie for this series, they were clearly aiming to give the story a super bad, super deadly and despotic villain almost on the level of Tirek, and they're even quite similar in design. Where the Storm King differs from Tirek is his personality, as he's a lot more comedic and quirky, talking like a smarmy, sleazy, ill-tempered corporate executive, making him a very Hades-esque kind of villain. He was a lot of fun to watch and hilarious without it totally diminishing his threat level, and fitting for a big screen baddie, he ended up meeting a clear, spectacularly brutal demise by the end of the movie.
Varian (Tangled: The Series) - Easily among THE most unexpected and compelling Disney villains in years, as this was not a character who was introduced to us as a villain at the start of the series. His turn to darkness wasn't even telegraphed, yet the build-up for it existed in very glaring and, in retrospect, obvious red flags. At first Varian was this lively, awkward, just a little bit crazy and obsessive kid with a passion for alchemy and scientific invention, and issues with his often distrusting and disapproving father. But when said father ended up encased in crystal due to the result of one of Varian's own experiments on the mysterious pointed rocks, and Rapunzel was too busy concerning herself with a bigger, more immediate crisis to the kingdom to come to his aid, Varian felt alone and betrayed. and vowed to do whatever it took to both free his father and take vengeance upon the kingdom that had failed them both. Ending a solemn reprisal of his earlier song with "they...will...pay." made many jaws drop, mine included. By the season finale, the previously kind, dorky Varian had transformed into a crazed, hate-filled, maniacal super villain who proved a formidable opponent for Rapunzel and a dangerous menace to all of Corona. Honestly, he's an even better villain than Gothel, and while I do feel for him, I also find it best that he be locked up.
Necrozma (Pokemon: Ultra Sun And Ultra Moon) - Guzma and Lusamine, while still great antagonists, got their villainy a bit neutered in this revised edition of the Gen 7 games by being in the shadow of the mysterious dark force from the heart of Ultra Space known as Necrozma, with their actions in this version even being done with the intent of stopping Necrozma from becoming a threat to Aloa. So when it came time for Necrozma to be unleashed, it had it's work cut out for it, but it actually did quite well as the climactic villain of the story. Thrashing the shit out of Guzma and Lusamine, forcibly merging Nebby into itself, opening up Ultra Wormholes that unleashed Ultra Beasts all over Alola, and stealing Alola's light for itself so that a world ending darkness fell over the island region, Necrozma was a sad but frightening foe that more than lived up to all the dread, and it had one last surprise in store for us - it's true original form of "the Blinding One", Ultra Necrozma, an all-powerful draconian beast of light with a kick ass epic battle theme.
Obake (Big Hero 6: The Series) - Yokai in the movie was fairly imposing as an antagonist but ultimately wasn't interesting or villainous enough of a character. The spin-off animated series made up for that big time with the Big Hero 6 team's new archenemy, the enigmatic super genius known only as Obake. He observes and controls much of San Fransokyo's crime much like Professor Moriarty - even having Jim Moriarty himself, Andrew Scott, voicing him - and seems to have dangerous plans in store for the entire city, as well as an interest in Hiro Hamada in particular, like Slade from Teen Titans. He's definitely an enjoyable villain that I anticipate more of.
La Sombra (Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie) - This was a villain who was speculated about and anticipated for years following the abrupt ending of Nickelodeon's Hey Arnold, and now that the movie serving as the true grand finale of the series was finally made, we got to see the dread river pirate live up to his expectation and reputation. Scheming, greedy, ruthless, voiced perfectly by Alfred Molina and bringing a sense of dread and predatory danger whenever he's a presence while also possessing a sense of humor about himself, La Sombra was by far the most personally involving and competent antagonist in the series' history. This is a dude who's not willing to give up fighting for his prize even while he's dying of poison! That's damn hardcore for a Nicktoon!
Ernesto de la Cruz (Coco) - You know the message often sent by Disney movies about how you should always pursue your dreams, never give up on them, and do all that you can to make them come true? Ernesto de la Cruz, known and adored by many fans as basically the Mexican Elvis Presley in this movie, takes this lesson to a very twisted place, as he puts it, "to seize your moment!" He turns out to be someone who would do anything - literally anything - to make himself a famous, beloved, renowned musician, even murder his best friend/partner, steal his song compositions and guitar, and lie to the world about "his" musical genius, all while assuring that the true artist gets forgotten even by his own family. As far as twist villains go, Ernesto is pretty well developed in the screen time he gets, with the scariest part about him being that if he has nothing to gain or lose from association with you, he'll be a friendly, jovial, all around seemingly decent guy...but he just happens to be a total sociopath with no moral restrictions and no conscience. Fortunately, he's given a spectacular comeuppance in what's one of the most crowd pleasing moments of the film.
Hela (Thor: Ragnarok) - It's Thor and Loki's crazy sister! OK, with an out of left field introduction like that, this villain should not work. But her visual design and the theatrical, unabashedly evil performance by Cate Blanchett makes her engaging to watch, and her depiction as a thoroughly malevolent goddess of death who yearns to bring pain, sorrow, and total destruction of life to many realms just for the thrill of it darkened the tone of all of her scenes, which was welcome in a film that was otherwise drowning in wacky bathos comedy. The final battle for her in Asgard was one of the MCU's finest spectacles, with her death by Ragnarok being poetic justice.
DJ (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) - The new Star Wars trilogy isn't too plentiful on strong villains aside from Kylo Ren. That said, Benecio Del Toro's shady outlaw character from the second installment walks the fine line between a true neutral and a unique sort of villain - one who acts only for himself and condemns others through his inaction. Espousing a nihilistic world view in which "good guys" and "bad guys" are only labels given to factions and peoples who cause nothing but trouble for the galaxy, so it's best for one to "live free, and don't join" ("Don't Join" being the character's namesake as well as his core philosophy.) The best part about him aside from Del Toro's entertaining performance, inconsistent stutter and all, is how he skewers the "scoundrel with a heart of gold" SW trope, showing that sometimes a scoundrel is truly just a scoundrel.
Donald Trump and Barrack Obama (Real Life) - OK, I do not like talking about awful people who I can label villains of real life, as most of them are just pure shit and don't deserve to make "Best" lists of any kind, but the last President the US had (elected in 2008) and the current one (elected in 2016) shook up the political, societal, and cultural climate of the US so much and have been so influential in their crooked evildoing that I felt I had to mention them last here. Obama was truly a corrupt, warped visionary and possible high-functioning sociopath concealing his true face beneath a kind smile and a charismatic facade, fooling so many on his side into thinking he's a great guy who had a scandal-free presidency. And in his arrogance, he set the stage for the rise of Donald J. Trump, a narcissistic, megalomaniacal, immature and much lower functioning sociopath who has been an undisguised, plain-dealing villain in big business and entertainment to the public eye for years before finally throwing his hat into the Presidential race...and ultimately winning. Very few things I have seen or probably ever will see in my lifetime can compare to the political hurricane and living disaster zone that is Trump, and with this big bully in the Oval Office, our nation's worst aspects, in society, culture, and politics, have gotten more and more exposed, and it's fast become a much different, more divided, more unstable place to live in, which is kind of exciting....but also terrifying.