Man of Steel comes out in about two weeks, and we here at LTBM are continuing our comic/superhero theme in our bi-weekly group lists. About a month ago we all weighed in on which superhero we would be if we could be super. Well, with every good superhero comes an opposingly evil arch-nemesis. That one villain that knows just the right combination of deception and deviousness to put our beloved heroes in a tight spot. Sometimes these guys have no superpowers at all and you wonder how they are even allowed to exist! Other times, you wonder how they manage to lose so often with their incredible abilities. While you would probably never imagine who you would be if you could be evil, maybe there is that one bad guy that you just love to hate! We have no shortage of opinions here, so here is our list of our favorite villains!
Back in the early 90’s the world was introduced Bane. Be made his “break”-out role in the “Knight-Saga” story line.
Bane has been portrayed in a few different ways, however the Knight-Saga portrays him as he is intended. Bane is a military genius with a super-steroid that increases his strength as needed. In the Knight-Saga he plays all villains as pawns as he sets up his final battle against the Bat. His movement for “check” is by wearing Batman down emotionally and physically and “check-mate” when he goes hand to hand and breaks the Bat’s back. He is the perfect combination of brains and brawn.
John: The Joker
Being a huge fan of Batman, I can’t think of a more perfect villain to choose as my favorite. The Joker has been around since the beginning and he’s often times referred to as Batman’s biggest adversary – definitely his arch-nemesis. When it comes to cinematic renditions, I can’t choose a favorite between Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger. They each played Joker differently, but both equally as well, in my opinion. The Joker is a highly intelligent criminal mastermind who is clearly off his rocker. Without Joker, Batman wouldn’t be who he is. One of my favorite Joker quotes: “Tell me, my friend, have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?”
Eric: Lex Luthor
He is the self-proclaimed greatest criminal mastermind of all time. Luthor always impressed me as a kid. He is the archenemy of Superman, but he possesses no superpowers of any kind. Luthor is completely human and yet he can take on the great Superman. He uses only his intelligence and imagination to try to destroy his obsession, Superman. While he accepts that he is a criminal mastermind, in most portrayals of Luthor, he truly thinks in his own mind that he is doing what is right for the world; he is just completely blinded by his own ego, selfishness, and obsession with Superman.
Elliott: Ra’s al Ghul
He started out as Bruce Wayne’s mentor and friend, but became his greatest adversary. His ultimate goal is for the world to be in perfect balance and if that requires people to die, then so be it. Liam Neeson does an excellent job of portraying his character and providing Batman a formidable enemy, even after his death. As Ra’s stated, “We sacked Rome, loaded trade ships with plague rats, burned London to the ground”, all to bring balance.
It doesn’t take Freudian theory to recognize that a childhood rooted in Nazi death-camps and rage-induced superpowers will not turn out well. Magneto has power over all things metal and uses this power to push his agenda. I really liked the dialogue shown between he and Prof. Xavier in X-Men: First Class as it related to Magneto’s main motivation: Pushing forward the next stage of human evolution, at any cost. It may seem silly as applied to mutant powers, but this is the logical ends to the evolutionary, materialistic and self-centered worldview that so persistently holds control over so many today. Survival of the fittest may well be the governing influence over nature in general, but holding to that at the expense of all kindness, care for the weak and moral standards toward your fellow-man is a one-way ticket to, well, a plastic bubble!
Derek: The Joker
The Joker is SUCH a good villain that he is warranted two spots on our list! I love comedy (and lunacy), and so the Joker is a perfect match for me. No matter which movie, TV show, cartoon, or comic it is, the Joker always shines as the ultimate nemesis for Batman. I first encountered a very comical, less sinister, but just as evil Joker in the 60s TV series played by Cesar Romero. I loved it when The Riddler, The Penguin, and Louie Lilac showed up in the series, but I was never more pleased than when Joker was featured. With Jack Nicholson, he was still funny, but much more creepy. But the top prize goes to Heath Ledger who turned Joker into a dark, criminally insane madman. But this madman had a method to his madness, which made him all the more dangerous. His back story made you have compassion for him … which lasted about 12 seconds. And what makes him so “good” as a villain? Well, first, he is a clown, which is automatically creepy. Rather than Bozo the Clown we think John Wayne Gacy. Secondly, Joker has nothing to lose. He is willing to go all the way to bring chaos into the world. He is pure evil. Thirdly, much like Satan, he has a sort of uneasy attraction to him. He is funny, which is endearing. He can give you the sob story version of his life, and make you feel like bringing him inside and giving him a warm meal. And lastly, he represents the worst part of our nature, that part that we all pretend doesn’t exist. That part that desires vengeance, revolution for revolution’s sake, ultimate revenge here and now. It is the part that desires freedom, but defines freedom as being able to do what one wants without repercussions. The Joker can indeed look beautiful if he wants, but don’t let that fool you: he is a fallen angel, hell-bent on wreaking havoc. And that’s why he makes such a “good” (i.e. terrifyingly realistic) villain. If not for the intervention from God we’d all be running around shoving pencils through people’s heads. Harvey Dent is exhibit A of how close we are to crossing that threshold.
Well, there you have it! As you can see, we are pretty over-loaded with Batman villains! General Zod will be seen on the big-screen soon, Venom showed us his fangs a few years ago in Spider-man 3, you’ve got Doomsday, Galacticus, Thanos… the list goes on! Who would you choose as your favorite villain?