By Jack Rico
The concept of “the villain” is the oldest concept in the universe. It begins with God and The Devil (ya can’t get any older than that). In movies, the villain is considered that character who tries to conquer the world and battles against the hero of the film who tries to stop his diabolical plan. If done well, these malevolent characters can become more memorable than the protagonists themselves (think Darth Vader) or may prove to be a huge failure. And it is exactly the latter why this list was created. With the rise of the superhero genre, more supervillains have made it onto the big screen with deplorable results and it becomes the central subject of my new list…
I give you the 5 worst supervillains in film history…
5. Violator: (Spawn, 1997)
Already a veteran actor when he got the role of Violator, the villain role in the film “Spawn” for New Line Cinema, Colombian comedian John Leguizamo was paid a substantial amount of money and spend four hours getting his makeup done a day – and for what? Leguizamo portrayed Violator as an irritating caricature with terrible jokes, including fart gags, zingy one-liners, all housed in a disjointed script. Was it that he was in total denial about how terrible the film and his character were? Compared to today’s villains, Violator seems outdated and just a big, fat, midget clown – pun intended.
4. Bane: (Batman and Robin, 1997)
After seeing what Tom Hardy did with Bane in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, how can anyone go back to the 1997 character and not laugh pitifully… for hours. The 1990’s were the nascent of the superhero films. Getting good actors was almost an impossible mission because comic book movies were considered a disreputable genre at the time and for some reason, actors were playing the heroes with too much histrionics, much like the animated version in the comics or TV. There wasn’t a more disappointing sight to behold than Batman and Robin’s Bane, the muscular fool who broke Batman’s back in the comics. In the hands of Joel Schumacher, Bane became a total disgrace. His grunting cavemen sounds, clumsy behavior and shameful costume were ridiculous and I am still recovering from the disappointment.
3. Green Goblin: (Spider-Man, 2002)
How is it that director Sam Raimi could nail the Spider-Man character with so much gusto, yet do and #epicfail with one of Spidey’s greatest archenemies? When technology started to improve at the turn of the 21st century, there was much promise in rebooting the superhero genre. Spider-Man kicked off a new, modern way of watching superhero movies, it gave it substance and pushed to the side the infantile animation tone… except the supervillain the Green Goblin. From the cartoony way Willem Dafoe voiced the character to huge letdown the costume was, the Goblin sucked a lot of credibility from from the moment he flew onto the screen. Where was the purple hat and costume. Why not a mask as opposed to the NASA helmet?
2. Nuclear Man: (Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, 1987)
When speaking of disgrace and infamy, rarely any other supervillain come to mind than Mark Pillow‘s Nuclear Man from Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. His role was to destroy Superman and ironically, he went on to destroy the franchise altogether. His performance was so bad, that it’s a known fact that he never worked in film again. His facial mannerisms, his voice, the cheap tan, the high school production suit… What else can I say?
1. Jigsaw: (Punisher: War Zone, 2008)
This was the first time in my life that I stood up and literally walked out of a movie. Things were not going very well with the film to begin with, but as soon as I saw Jigsaw, played by Dominic West, my insides decayed. Everything about the character was unbearable. The plastic looking Halloween costume and mask, the awful “New Yawk” accent drove me nuts and the overdone wise guy stereotype took me overboard. I had to walk out. To this day, Jigsaw, to me, is the worst supervillain in movie history.
Looking at the big picture, what is it that all these villains have in common? Each of the actors performed their characters based on the campy, overlyaffected performances of the cartoons or comics. Live action usually does not play well to that and these 5 actors left a legacy of lamentable memories. Today, supervillains such as Loki in “Thor,” are a pleasure to watch and hopefully Hollywood keeps it up.
What are your thoughts? Is there someone else you think should’ve made this list? Let us know in the comments below.