Today I continue running down the greatest villains of all time. These are some of the meanest, craziest, and scariest people you’ll run into in all of fiction. But some of them are also the funniest, coolest, and most interesting.
25. Darkseid – DC Comics
The epitome of the intergalactic supervillain, Darkseid is the ruler of Apokalips – a flame-strewn planet filled with flying demons. But what he really wants is to destroy Earth and its heroes, especially Superman. No other being in the DC Universe is as powerful. Not only can he crush you, he can vaporize you and sentence you to a lifetime of time travelling suffering, just ask Batman. Like Thanos, Apocalypse, and countless other all-powerful evildoers, Darkseid is a major threat whenever he shows up. But he’s a much more intimidating and fascinating villain.
24. Wile E. Coyote – Looney Tunes
Easily the villain who fails the most on this list, Wile E. Coyote’s entire existence is a string of repeated attempts to capture that delicious Roadrunner. Of course, they never succeed and typically end in him A) Blowing up, B) Falling off a cliff, or C) Being crushed by a boulder. Of course, it’s his tenacity despite being doomed that makes him so great. No villain on this list is as elastic in body and soul as Coyote. Truly, this is a one-sided rivalry for the ages.
23. Revolver Ocelot – Metal Gear Solid
Leave it to Hideo Kojima to turn a cool looking character with very little to him into a vital cornerstone of the entire Metal Gear Solid videogame series. Of course, this being an MGS game, Revolver Ocelot’s story is insanely convoluted. Being a mix of old spaghetti western imagery and modern day mercenary, Ocelot is an awesome looking villain and his obsession with using only old revolvers makes him a standout. Add scheming, over-the-top dialogue, and a rich history, and he stands out among the wildly colorful pack of villains in this series.
22. Mr. Burns – The Simpsons
No villain has been so evil yet so frail at the same time. C. Montgomery Burns is as greedy as they come, but he’s quite pathetic when it comes to his physical capabilities. This is, after all, the man who lost a tug-o-war with a baby that ended in him being accidentally shot. But what makes him such a great villain is how hysterical he is, with a mix of physical comedy and outdated references make him one of The Simpson’s funniest characters.
21. Hannibal Lecter – The Silence of the Lambs
While Hannibal is known for what he physically does to his victims, his true weapon is his mind. Even from behind prison cell glass, he can manipulate and frighten anyone near him. This is the man who caused a fellow prisoner to commit suicide after talking to him for a couple hours. What makes him truly frightening is that he seems to be consistently stalking those around him like prey. Because he is. And like any hungry animal, he wants to eat you.
20. Gollum – The Lord of the Rings
In both books and film, Gollum is crosses back and forth between being pitiful and terrifying, depending on which side of his personality is at the forefront. He’s really just a victim, but his obsession and willingness to do whatever is needed to get the One Ring back makes him a villain. By being paired up with Frodo and Sam, he gives the heroes a chance to show mercy, becomes an increasing threat, and is proof of what will happen to Frodo if he ever gives in to temptation.
19. Two-Face – DC Comics
Harvey Dent’s fall from grace makes him one of Batman’s most dynamic villains. Once a shining knight in Gotham, this District Attorney succumbed to insanity after being horribly scarred. While Harvey showed signs of instability beforehand, it’s a vicious attack (which alters from story to story) that turned him into Two-Face. But even afterward, he still struggles with his own duality. It’s this inner turmoil and his dependance on his coin for decision making that makes him a dangerous, violent, and unpredictable rogue that Batman refuses to give up on.
18. Gaston – Beauty and the Beast
As the villain of Beauty and the Beast, Gaston is the perfect opposite of The Beast. This vane brute is all looks and no heart (or brain). What Gaston wants, Gaston thinks he’ll get. Whether that’s Belle’s hand in marriage or The Beast’s head on his wall, he won’t let anyone stop him. As he changes from boorish suitor to evil enemy, Gaston becomes one of the most threatening villains in all of Disney’s animated films.
17. Ice King – Adventure Time
Tom Kenny’s Ice King is just one of the many examples of why Adventure Time is amazing. Like the rest of the show, he’s a total oddball – a half-crazy king with freezing powers that is obsessed with kidnapping princesses in order to marry them. While he may be constantly battling Finn and Jake, he’s actually pretty pathetic. However, audience perception of Ice King changes when we find out his tragic history. Ice King was originally Simon Petrikov, a sweet man who protected a young Marceline from the nuclear devastation of The Mushroom War. The only way to do so was through the power of a magical crown he found, but it slowly drove him mad, forcing him to abandon those he loved and forget the good man he used to be.
16. Starscream – Transformers
Cowering, snivelling, and so very traitorous, Starscream is just as much of a threat to his leader Megatron as he is to his enemies, the Autobots. Starscream is more than happy to slag an Autobot in battle, but he won’t hesitate to turn tail and run if it means saving his own life. Although he’s second-in-command of the Decepticons, he really wants to bump Megatron off the throne and become number one. No one is safe around Starscream.
15. Khan Noonien Sing – Star Trek
No, not the Benedict Cumberbatch version. I’m talking about the real Khan! Ricardo Montalban’s Khan is a time-displaced super solider with a predisposition for deception and conquering. What starts out as a solid TV episode eventually lays the seed for the greatest Star Trek movie of all time, with Khan seeking out total revenge on Captain Kirk, no matter what sacrifice he must make. What makes him great is that the audience can somewhat understand why he’s so obsessed with taking revenge. Kirk, unknowingly, destroyed his life. Now, he wants to settle the score and causes the most tragic death in all of Star Trek history.
14. Doctor Octopus – Marvel Comics
Doctor Octopus is a genius scientist with four extremely dangerous metal tentacles that can keep even Spider-Man at bay. A mix of dangerous power and brains makes him a real threat on many levels. But, unlike his other villains, Doc Ock has done something no one has been able to – truly and completely defeat Spider-Man. With his body dying from years of being badly beaten, Octopus managed to switch minds with Peter, allowing his enemy to die in his stead while living on in his super-powered body as The Superior Spider-Man. In either form, Otto Octavius is a dangerous foe.
13. Prince John – Robin Hood
Specifically, this version is from Disney’s animated Robin Hood. Prince John is easily the most likeable villain on the entire list. Sure, he raises the taxes and tries to hang anyone who opposes him, but Prince John is just trying to live up to his mother’s expectations. Whatever he may try to do to Robin Hood, the hero will always be able to outsmart him at any given moment. In the end, Prince John is just one giant grown up baby – sucking his thumb, calling for mommy, and getting mad at his only friend. Peter Ustinov’s voice work makes John pathetic, scary, and funny at the same time.
12. John Doe – Se7en
So little is known about the man called John Doe. Where did he come from? What drove him to become obsesses with the Seven Deadly Sins? No one will ever know, and that makes him a better character. The only insight is gained from his crimes, rambling journals, and dungeon-like apartment. While we wonder about the man, it is his presence that electrifies Seven, with Kevin Spacey only showing up as the character in the film’s third act. Even though he turns himself in, what our heroes do not realize is that Doe has easily outsmarted them and is only using them in the greater scheme of his plan.
11. Mr. Freeze
Because of his horrible accident and the loss of his wife, Victor Fries has turned his back on his own humanity. As Mr. Freeze, he seeks to restore his cryogenically-frozen, terminally ill wife, Nora, through any means necessary. While he insists that all emotions inside of him have died, there still lies a broken heart beneath that icy exterior, which is explored in one of the greatest Batman stories of all time – “Heart of Ice.” Freeze is a formidable opponent for Batman. His robotic suit that keeps him alive through freezing temperatures gives him superhuman strength and his freezing gun can kill a person within moments. While others still hope to save Freeze from his own ways, he has given up all hope for himself.