2012 was a pretty great year for movies, especially blockbusters - in fact, it's scary how many of the year's biggest films met or even far exceeded expectations - and therefore it's natural to assume that the year also brought us some pretty great characters, both heroes and villains. Heroes are great n' all, but a film cannot succeed without a strong villain to generate tension within the piece and actually make the hero's struggle mean something; plus, aren't the baddies usually just a lot more interesting and fun to watch on-screen? Whether it's creepy lawmen, wicked Queens, alien creatures, time travellers or homo-erotic spies, 2012 really had it all as far as effective villains go; they were all sufficiently full of menace, and in some cases, also had motivations that were surprisingly relatable or ambiguous, which makes it all that more interesting. Here are the 10 best movie villains of 2012.
10. Charlie Rakes - Lawless
Lawless may not have quite lived up to our lofty expectations that it was going to be one of the best films of the year, but it did present one deliciously demented villain by way of Guy Pearce's corrupt Special Deputy Charlie Rakes, who not only seeks to take a cut of all bootlegging going on in the county, but gets violent when the film's gang of brothers don't play ball. Essentially defining the phrase "reptilian", Pearce imbues Rakes with a creepy snarl that makes him seem all the more sleazy, and what's more, decided to shave his eyebrows just to give the character a more unsettling, somewhat off-kilter look. It's all the more satisfying as a result, then, when during the film's excellent climactic shootout that he ends up not only getting shot, but stabbed by the brothers as well.
Frequently sleep-deprived film addict and video game obsessive who spends more time than is healthy in darkened London screening rooms. Follow his twitter on @ShaunMunroFilm or e-mail him at shaneo632 [at] gmail.com.