Since the world is celebrating romance today, I thought I would celebrate my lifelong romance with villains instead (I’m a brat like that). These are my top 10 Villains ranked according to their level of “evil,” in terms of how much destruction they wreak.
OBVIOUSLY… MASSIVE SPOILERS.
Honorable Mention: Kylo Ren, Star Wars
This boy turned his back on his parents and the Light Side of the Force to join the Dark Side, then went on to commit genocide against entire planets. That would knock him higher up the list, except for his indecisive attitude toward his own evil. Will he stay a villain? Kylo wants to be evil, but undermines himself through his continually unstable, erratic, intense emotions. At least his grandfather, Anakin, had a reason to join the Dark Side—misguided though it may have been, he wanted to save Padme. But Anakin didn’t murder his own father.
10. Missy, Doctor Who
The mistress of chaos herself, the female regeneration of the Master, the Doctor’s most notorious adversary, introduces a level of chaotic hilarity, insults, double-betrayals, petty bitterness, jealousy, and randomness into Capaldi’s run. From her “Evil” Mary Poppins to her final moments, she was pure fun to watch. And lest we forget she’s evil, she killed one of the most adorable recurring characters on the show — Petronella Osgood.
9. Hannibal Lecter
If this were a “most famous villains list,” Hannibal would be at the top – an intelligent cannibal and a mastermind at mental games. Out of all the villains on this list, the idea of having him free is the most terrifying. He could eat your liver with some fava beans and Chianti. Politely. Remember, he eats the rude first. So mind your manners. And the knives. Anthony Hopkins made the role infamous, but Madds also turns in a terrifying stint in the television series Hannibal… which is not for the faint of heart.
8. Loki, The Avengers Franchise
Sarcastic, full of himself, emo, manipulative, and a little sadistic, what is not to love about the whiny, self-absorbed, L’Oreal Paris Hair “Best Thing About the Avengers Movies” Villain? If you want melodrama, look no further. If you want an insult, he has them in spades. I am still laughing about him mocking Captain America. But do not underestimate him — if a million people have to die in his quest for power, so be it.
7. Michael Corleone, The Godfather
Far more ruthless, opportunistic, and violent than his father, one could justify many of Michael’s actions as “necessary” given his family business (kill or be killed) but he also had his poor, stupid older brother killed for betraying him. He keeps the family “on top” through nefarious deals, intimidation, and revenge tactics, and runs a criminal organization that profits off casinos, political maneuvering, and prostitution.
6. The Joker, The Dark Knight
Some say the worst evil gains and accomplishes nothing except destruction. In the film’s own words, “Some people just like to watch the world burn.” The Joker’s chaotic insanity makes Batman’s life miserable, and he gleefully sets a mountain of cash on fire to prove he gains nothing from his schemes except pure enjoyment… but despite his actions, he does not have an enormous collateral damage body count. Except Rachel. (Did anyone care that she died? No? Moving on then.)
5. Colonel Tavington, The Patriot
This sadistic bastard unleashes hell on the family and friends of patriots in a desperate attempt to get his hands on the “ghost,” Benjamin Martin. He shoots Benjamin’s son in cold blood during an arrest, burns his daughter-in-law alive in a church full of innocent townspeople, targets Benjamin’s unarmed, defenseless children in an attempt to get at him, and then kills his eldest son – all out of sheer sociopathic meanness.
4. Scar, The Lion King
He manipulated and murdered his brother in cold blood to steal his throne, then psychologically traumatized his nephew into taking the blame before he ordered his death. His mismanagement of the Pride Lands turns it into a barren wasteland and devastates the animal population, but he does not care as long as he sits on Pride Rock. Scar is a magnificent, arrogant, manipulative, drop-dead gorgeous hellcat.
3. Petyr Baelish / Littlefinger, Game of Thrones
Petyr only personally throws his annoying wife out the moon door (who can blame him?) – but he also orchestrated all the events that caused Ned Stark’s death and the resulting war, with the specific desire of his own advancement. If “chaos is ladder,” he intends to climb it all the way to the Iron Throne – manipulating, betraying, and using people along the way. Petyr is indirectly responsible for almost every major death in the series, since if he had not set these events in motion, most of them would not have happened.
2. Cardinal Richelieu, The Musketeers
Richelieu is behind every nasty, nefarious thing in France, from attempting to assassinate the queen to wanting to blow up the Court of Miracles to framing innocent people for his crimes. He never apologizes for it, either, because he has rational (albeit immoral) reasons for everything he does. If the spoiled rotten king wants a brand new armada, well, he’s got to provide it, and if that means burning a bothersome duchess as a witch, that’s a price he’s willing to pay.
1. Claude Frollo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Frollo may be the most evil Disney villain. He spends years grooming Quasimodo into a fearful boy full of self-loathing, preying on his weaknesses and kindnesses through two decades of emotional abuse. He intends to use his power to commit genocide on a “lesser race” (the Romani). And he burns half of Paris to get his hands on a woman who refuses to sleep with him with the intent of giving her a choice between his bed and burning to death on pyre. And Disney put this in a kid’s movie!!
If I had ranked them according to personal favorites, Scar and Petyr would come first.
So there you have it, some of my favorite villains. Did any of yours not make the list?