They say a hero is only as good as his enemies, so that makes the villain a very important part of a good story. While many stories dont feature specific villains to threaten the heroes, most have a lead antagonist. This person is usually a stark contrast to the hero, who stands for everything that they dont. I originally set out to write this article as the 50 greatest heroes of the 21st century. What Ive quickly discovered is that the culture of film no longer favours the hero. It seems that today more hype falls upon a villain than a hero nine times out of ten; if someone mentions Star Trek Into Darkness, do you think Benedict Cumberbatch or Chris Pine? With that in mind, I decided it would be more interesting to probe the film villains of the past thirteen years and compile the fifty who I feel have become the most memorable and iconic of this generation of film - the actors and actresses who have lived up to intense hype or astounded after low expectations. So, what makes a good bad guy? Firstly, they have to be a threat. This is the easiest box for writers to check because it isnt actually all that hard to create a dangerous villain. What comes next is that they have to have a compelling psyche. Why do they do what they do? What is their backstory? It seems that the film-going society of today is increasingly intrigued by the motives of a villain. We desire to know what it is that draws out our darkest demons. A villain has to be realistic in the universe they are presented in. A bad guy such as Loki would never fit into Nolans Batman trilogy, no matter how good a performance Tom Hiddleston turned in. Finally, they must be backed by a damn fine performance. It doesnt matter how compelling a villain is on paper, like any character, an antagonist must be portrayed by a fine actor if they are ever to come to life. Ive decided not to include any antagonist who was portrayed by the same actor in a film preceding the 21st century (as that is technically a continuation of a 20th century role). Antiheroes have also been discounted. So, now that you know my criteria, feel free to read through my list and argue with my choices in the comments section below. The order is mostly interchangeable, with the exception of the final five entries...and beware that SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW...
Matthew Murray is an 19 year old film student in New Zealand.
He is addicted to music, movies, gaming and television and spends his time feeding the obsession!
When he is not writing about these things, he is lining up for these things, talking to people about these things and sitting around dreaming about these things.