So, before I list my favourites, here are 10 of my worst modern (post 2000) Marvel movie villains:
The Andrew Garfield-starring Spider-Man reboot may not have been the most original piece of storytelling out there, once again laying out the whole Spidey origin story so soon after Sam Raimi's trilogy. Having said that, it had its moments. One of the most disappointing things about it, however, was The Lizard. Not only did the filmmakers seemingly go out of their way to make the character look nothing like he does in the comics but he is given a clichéd doomsday machine plot to work with and he's still the least memorable Spider-Man villain from all the movies made up to this point. A solid performance by Rhys Ifans saves this one from being higher up on the list.
RONAN THE ACCUSER
Guardians Of The Galaxy was a great surprise: it was a fun adventure with a good bunch of likeable off-beat characters. It didn't take itself too seriously and, while it was a bit more out there than most of Marvel's output, it just worked. Unfortunately, we only got a short glimpse of Thanos who, of course, will dominate the Infinity War storyline in the next two Avengers movies and we were stuck with Ronan The Accuser played, somewhat strangely, by Lee Pace. On paper, this is a cool baddie with his intimidating appearance and that giant hammer. In the film, sadly, he comes off as more of a joke and you end up wishing a more threatening villain had faced our team of misfits.
ELECTRO & THE GREEN GOBLIN
To say The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was not well received would be an understatement. I personally enjoyed parts of it but even I have to admit that the villains were all over the place. I put those two together because they essentially suffer from the same problems: messy origin stories and a bizarre look. Based on the Ultimate Spider-Man comic-book series version of the character, the goal was clearly to turn Jamie Foxx into a creepy, very dangerous blue lightbulb and, although a lot of the visual effects used to show-off his powers are admittedly cool, he just looks ridiculous throughout and Foxx's cartoonish pre-transformation nerd portrayal is off-putting. Dane Dehan, on the other hand, does a good job as Harry Osborn but having him take over from his father despite Chris Cooper not having been given a movie to even play The Green Goblin makes his story confusing and forced. Plus he looks like a dirty Peter Pan.
MALEKITH THE OCCURSED
Thor: The Dark World
The sequel to Thor was uneven, for sure, but it definitely had its fun moments. Unfortunately, its main villain, the Dark Elf Malekith, was not the source of any of them. Ex-Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston, a usually very entertaining and talented actor, is splattered with make-up to the point where he is unrecognisable and given nothing character-wise to work with so Malekith ends up feeling like a wasted opportunity and looking like a depressed Power Rangers villain. He's so bland, in fact, that you could be forgiven for forgetting Loki was not the main foe in that movie. The latter was, by the way, far more enjoyable to watch.
The Wolverine went from sounding like the best movie when Darren Aronofsky was attached and we were promised a violent, darker R-rated Wolverine flick to being nothing more than an instantly forgettable and criminally pointless side story. There were a few dopey villains in that movie but the one most people mention as being particularly lame is the Silver Samurai who shows up at the end of the movie to partake in a wholly unconvincing fight during which a completely predictable twist is revealed. The look of this one isn't that bad, it's just such a poor use of a potentially badass villain that I couldn't not include him in this list.
Casting John Travolta in a Punisher movie sounded like a terrific idea, frankly: he's been known to play over-the-top villains before and having him take on Frank Castle as a crime boss could have easily been wildly entertaining. Unfortunately, Howard Saint is such a non-event in this movie it feels odd to have given an underwritten character like that to Travolta since there's basically nothing for him to work with here. The character does order the death of Castle's family so you should hate his guts from start to finish but he's just not significant enough to warrant that kind of reaction from the audience, let alone The Punisher himself.
THE SANDMAN, VENOM & HARRY OSBORN
Iron Man 3
The trailers for Iron Man 3 promised a darker, more epic and emotional movie with, at its heart, Ben Kingsley's powerful, intimidating take on iconic villain The Mandarin. The film itself, however, was much sillier than that and The Mandarin, as we all know, was nothing but a red herring as the character is soon exposed to be a joke: a cockney dude named Trevor with a stereotypical obsession with football. Now I'm all for holding something back when marketing a movie but if the surprise in store is a huge disappointment, why bother? The Mandarin is an important villain in the Iron Man universe but here he's simply a punchline with Guy Pearce and his dopey fire-handed team being the real baddies puppeteering poor old Trevor. Nowhere near the clever, funny, rewarding move the filmmakers thought it would be.
So that's my Top 10 Worst Modern Marvel Movie Villains, here are a few (dis)honourable mentions:
LEGION (Ghost Rider)
THE GREEN GOBLIN (Spider-Man)
SABRETOOTH (Wolverine: Origins)
DARK PHOENIX (X-Men: The Last Stand)
LOKI (The Avengers)
BLACKOUT & THE DEVIL (Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance)
SEBASTIAN SHAW (X-Men First Class)
Any ones I've missed out? Who do you think is the worst of the bunch? Let me know in the comments below!