Probably the most underrated part of Green Lantern was Peter Sarsgaard's solid performance as Hector Hammond. The pathetic nature of the character is portrayed really well by the actor who gives the villain a growing edge as he is consistently ignored by his father and eventually turns into a macrocephalic monster. Sarsgaard takes the character seriously, even after his freakish transformation, and you do care about Hammond since he didn't start out as a bad guy so seeing him turn into an evil super-villain is surprisingly tragic.
Here's a villain that easily could have made it into the Top 10 Worst list in that he's both so over-the-top it's distracting but, on the other hand, he's wildly entertaining. Jim Carrey was never going to give us a subtle, creepy Riddler and, indeed, he's about as quiet and sinister as Ace Ventura in Batman Forever. That said, if the goal was to update Frank Gorshin's take on the character then mission accomplished: Carrey's Riddler is every bit as goofy and... green as he always was but with a darker edge. Edward Nygma's unhealthy obsession with Bruce Wayne is an interesting character trait and those riddles are a lot of fun. Like him or not, Jim Carrey's Riddler was one enjoyably wacky villain.
While not exactly Bizarro, this evil Superman is basically Superman III's own toned-down take on the iconic super-villain. Seeing Christopher Reeve play a villainous version of Superman is very entertaining and that fight sequence is easily the best part of what is otherwise a pretty bad movie. It's a shame the film didn't go all out with the Bizarro theme but Reeve makes it work and it makes sense that Superman's biggest threat would be himself.
The Dark Knight Rises
For all its shortcomings, The Dark Knight Rises made the most of a villain you would not have expected to be half as memorable as he was in this movie. Before he is revealed to be nothing more than a loyal henchman and is disposed of in an anti-climactic way off camera, Bane is pretty awesome throughout. Tom Hardy makes him a convincing physical threat and his encounters with Batman are appropriately tense and bleak. Bane's bizarre voice may be distracting at first but, once you get used to it, it gives the character an extra eerie vibe as you start wondering where he comes from and who he is under that intimidating facial apparatus. A surprisingly effective villain.
RA'S AL GHUL
While not the flashiest of all the Batman villains, Ra's Al Ghul nevertheless poses a real threat to Gotham City in the comics and in Batman Begins. His story is not only fascinating seeing as he helps create Batman but then he burns Wayne Manor to the ground and plans to destroy Gotham after using Scarecrow's technology to fill the streets with drugged-up Arkham inmates. Liam Neeson proves to be a very good choice to play Ra's and he pulls off the quiet, wise personality of the character perfectly as well as the more megalomaniac terrorist aspects. This is one of the most convincing, three-dimensional villains in any Batman movie.
The Dark Knight
Going into The Dark Knight, we all knew The Joker would be in it and that Harvey Dent would play a role in that story but who knew that we would be given the best movie Two-Face to date? Aaron Eckhart is excellent as both Dent and his split alter-ego: he's believably Gotham's "White Knight", a genuinely decent guy, but he's also devastatingly broken and soulless when he becomes Two-Face. The tragedy of this transition is appropriately heartbreaking and by the time you see Two-Face threaten to kill Jim Gordon's young son, you can really tell that Harvey Dent is well and truly gone. So good he should have probably been given his own movie.
Superman II/Man Of Steel
If it hadn't been for Zod, then Superman II and Man Of Steel would have definitely been a complete waste. Terence Stamp is enjoyably cruel and vain as Zod but he gives the character a welcome innocence when he first lands on Earth and learns about his new powers (and Planet Houston) which makes him even more entertaining. Michael Shannon's take on Zod is much more one-note in that he's mostly just angry all the time but the fact he becomes just as powerful as Superman makes for some worthy conflicts. The great thing about Zod is he's both a physical threat but he's also got the intelligence to back it up.
THE PENGUIN & CATWOMAN
It's unlikely that anyone will ever surpass both Danny DeVito's portrayal of The Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer's take on Catwoman from Batman Returns. DeVito is both a monster and a tragic figure so as evil as he gets, by the end you still feel bad for him somehow. He is extremely cruel and disgusting, though, and whether he's biting someone's nose off, planning to kill every first born in Gotham, playing with severed hands or spitting out black blood, he's always repulsive so the fact he runs for Mayor and almost wins makes him all the more frightening. Selina Kyle, meanwhile, is shown as meek and well-meaning at first but is driven to madness after her boss tries to murder her. She's a brutal baddie but she's also a likeable anti-hero who kicks a lot of butt and looks fab doing it.
Superman Returns/Superman: The Movie
Lex Luthor's plans may have been much too wacky for their own good thusfar, but Kevin Spacey's darker take on the character in Superman Returns is the closest we've come to seeing a definitive version of the iconic megalomaniac. He's not too concerned about sinking Metropolis and part of America while he plots his new real estate scheme plus he very nearly kills Superman by filling an entire island with Kryptonite. In the original Superman movie, Gene Hackman is much more light-hearted as Lex Luthor but he's still very entertaining and gives plenty for Superman to worry about. This is a bitter, cruel guy who will stop at nothing to get his way and the fact he's only a human being always makes him a fascinating threat when taking on the most powerful being on Earth.
Batman/The Dark Knight
Whether you prefer Jack Nicholson's take on the character or Heath Ledger's, there's no denying that both are brilliant as Batman's arch-enemy The Joker. Even before his transformation, Jack Napier is pretty darn evil in the first Batman movie seeing as he's Bruce Wayne's parents' killer and all. Not content with taking over the whole mob by killing his competition in increasingly disturbing ways, he trashes a museum (to the kickass sounds of Prince), disfigures and murders his girlfriend, attempts to force Vicki Vale to replace her, poisons beauty products and attempts to kill everyone in Gotham City after showing off its inhabitants' greed. In The Dark Knight, he is a self-proclaimed agent of chaos who turns good men into monsters, blows-up major Gotham landmarks, makes creepy hostage snuff films, kills Bruce Wayne's girlfriend and somehow proves his point in the end. I mean... how much more evil can a villain get?! The Joker is frankly hard to beat when it comes to bad guys.
Honourable mentions include Ozymandias in The Watchmen, Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor from Batman V Superman and Christopher Walken's shrewd businessman Max Schreck in Batman Returns.
Who are YOUR favourites? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for checking out my list!