Best Movie Villains of the Past 10 Years

Every good movie protagonist needs a great villain to define them. The best bad guys are the ones who not only define the heroes but also steal the show with their charisma while making the audience hate them at the same time. Over the past couple of years many villains who fit this role have made their way onto the silver screen, and here are they are.

Saruman the White (Lord of the Rings): While Sauron may have been the big red eye all of Middle Earth sought to destroy it was his closest ally who did all his dirty work. Betraying his alliances with Gandalf and the various Elves and men; the wizard built an army of Uruk-hai in order to fulfill his end of the alliance, because for him regular Orcs aren’t evil enough. He destroyed the Fellowship then corrupted the mind of King Theoden to weaken the land of Rohan just in time for his attempted genocide. Naturally it is at the peak of his overconfidence that his fall at the hands of the Ents comes.

Gollum (Lord of the Rings): A morally conflicted character brought to life by the incredible acting abilities of Andy Serkis. Throughout the course of the trilogy we see as he grows from a shadow following our heroes to the traitorous confidant to the suffering Frodo. And he did it all just to be closer to his Precious.

Bill the Butcher (Gangs of New York): If you’re a brutal crime lord during a brutal time in history, you really have to be evil to gain attention, and the Butcher definitely is. With a show stealing performance by Daniel Day Lewis, the man rule the Five Point’s of New York with an iron fist and he has no problem killing whoever gets in his way.

Captain Barbossa (Pirate of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl): Before the franchise devolved into a series of pointless money-grubbing sequels POTC began as a fun and action packed high seas adventure. To contrast the eccentric drunkard Captain Jack was the deadly, driven, and world weary Captain Barbossa. The conniving pirate  (is there any other kind?) betrayed Jack and stole his beloved ship, all the while trying to rid himself of the horrible curse his greed brought on him.

Doctor Octopus (Spiderman 2): The first Spiderman gave us a foe who were a silly green leotard and talked to himself in an over the top fashion; but the sequel changed all the that, with a sympathetic man who gave into his worst desires, Doctor Octopus. Created from a freak science accident like Peter Parker, but lacking Spidey’s dead uncle/moral compass, the good doctor became ego driven in his quest to become great.

Jigsaw (Saw): The horror genre has a tradition of giving us memorable onscreen villains, and this brilliant serial killer is a great addition. A mysterious engineer who became disillusioned with the world and set up an intricate web of traps for unsuspecting victims to make them learn the value of life or die trying.

The Scarecrow (Batman Begins): When rebooting the Batman franchise for a new generation, Christopher Nolan picked one of the best members of the Dark Knight’s rogues gallery, the Scarecrow. Played in a break through performance by Cillian Murphy, Dr. Jonathan Crane/the Scarecrow was a man who wielded the fears of others as a weapon and gained a certain glee about it.

The Joker (The Dark Knight): Audiences have seen Batman’s mortal enemy brought to life numerous times before, but never like this. In one of the most memorable acting performances of all time, Heath Ledger eschews the gimmicky nature of the Clown Prince of Crime and instead focused on playing a mentally and physically scarred sociopathic anarchist. Every moment he was onscreen, the Joker was the center of attention as the kind of evil you might run into in real life.

The Operative (Serenity): There’s the kind of bad guy who leaves a trail of bodies in his wake, then there’s the kind of bad guy who will do the same thing about it but thinking he’s a noble citizen for doing so. In Joss Whedon’s beloved science fiction masterpiece, Serenitya rag tag crew of heroes must contend with a man who is frighteningly calm about killing whoever he has to in order to accomplish his goal.

Kevin (Sin City): In this gritty adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novels, it is lovable wide eyed actor, Elijah Wood who portrays the scariest baddie. Not only does he prey on women in true serial killer fashion but eats them and keeps their heads as trophies. The scariest part is that he has the connections to get away with it.

Silas (The Da Vinci Code): The only thing providing entertainment in this snoozefest was Paul Bettany as the pale religious zealot, Silas. A pale man raised by a religious sect to kill in their name, he is the worst kind of villain, one who believes he is right.

Captain Vidal (Pan’s Labyrinth): When working for a brutal dictator like Francisco Franco is not the worst thing you do in a movie you are truly a villain to be reckoned with. Throughout the movie, Vidal bashes faces in with bottle and shoots people at point blank without remorse; but the worst thing he does is attempting to destroy the imagination of a child.

Anton Chigurh (No Country For Old Men): Chigurh is not so much a man but an unstoppable force of nature. Whether he kills for money or out of boredom, stopping this cold resourceful killer is a task that proves too difficult for those involved.

Hans Landa (Inglorious Basterds): Being a Nazi is bad enough, but being a Nazi so evil that the other Nazis hold you in high regard is something completely different. Priding himself on his ability to find a potential enemy, Landa’s charm hides a sinister dark side.

Bernie Rose (Drive): Bernie obviously does not enjoy killing, but he has no problem doing it for the sake of business. Bernie begins as a nice guy looking to a help a friend break into the racing business but as the movie progresses he is forced to sacrifice that dream and kill those he once wanted to work with.