Superhero movies are very popular these days. Three of the most anticipated movies of 2012 are all based on comic books. While the majority of the focus is always on the heroes of those stories, for obvious reasons. I think the best heroes stories are because of the villains that push the heroes to the limit. The Batman is only as good as the Joker that he is facing. Villains are the true creators of what makes a hero story worthwhile. So here is my list for the best villain performances that we have seen in comic book movies so far.
Heath Ledger’s Joker is damn convincing. He seems like a mental patient out on vacation. The way he modulates between highs and lows is bizarre and intriguing to watch. He is simply funny and terrifying at the same time. He is the Joker from the comics come to life.
Tom Hiddleston brought Loki, the brother of Thor, to the forefront. A tortured character who is constantly questioning who he really is makes for an excellent foundation of a villain. Loki “goes bad” only because he feels betrayed by the people he so trusted. Even when you know that he is being a liar and a trickster you still feel for him and hope that this time he is being genuine.
Hugo Weaving plays a villain who even rivals his boss’s (Adolf Hitler) own megalomania. Red Skull is pure evil incarnate. Weaving does a great job in keeping his German accent mild enough to not overshadow the character while leaving it enough there to let you know his allegiance. He is the perfect contrast to Captain America’s boyscout image. This is the over the top bad guy done right!
Here is a case where the actor is able to overshadow the faults of the character. Whether you liked Spider-Man or not, the custom for Green Goblin was horrendous. It was a poor man’s Power Ranger suit and should have never made it on screen. However, Willem Dafoe was able to surpass that issue with his fantastic performance. Whether as Norman Osborn or the Green Goblin he shined. His over the top voice work somehow really worked. He seems truly sadistic, which fits well in the world of comic book characters. Baring a better custom his appearance in the movie is hard to beat, even by the hero.
Ra’s Al Ghul
Liam Nesson plays Ducard, a mysterious man who trains Bruce Wayne. Spoiler Alert: Ducard is actually Ra’s Al Ghul. Nesson does a great job with being a general badass and training the greatest badass in comics. His speech to Bruce Wayne about the death of his parents is stellar. He doesn’t sugar coat things for the spoiled rich kid. He shows him the real world. All this is happening while they sword fight on a frozen lake, gotta love it! Nesson seems very natural at passing down the knowledge of being a badass to the younger folks while remaining the headmaster of Badass University!
Who are your favorite villain portrayals from comic book movies?