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Top 10 Movie Villains of the 21st Century

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Nathan Sharp. Sometimes the villain is the best part of the movie. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 movie villains of the 21st century. WARNING: Spoiler Alert. For this list, we’re looking at significant villains featured in movies produced in the year 2000 or onwards, that made an impact with great acting, critical acclaim, and by garnering huge amounts of fan love. They must also have been portrayed by a human, so monsters like Godzilla are excluded. WARNING: Spoiler Alert. Special thanks to our user Russ Vint for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Nathan Sharp.

Top 10 Movie Villains of the 21st Century


Sometimes the villain is the best part of the movie. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 movie villains of the 21st century.

For this list, we’re looking at significant villains featured in movies produced in the year 2000 or onwards, that made an impact with great acting, critical acclaim, and by garnering huge amounts of fan love. They must also have been portrayed by a human, so monsters like Godzilla are excluded. Warning: some spoilers follow so SPOILER ALERT.

#10: Det. Alonzo Harris
“Training Day” (2001)

Denzel Washington won an Academy Award for his performance in this crime thriller as a corrupt cop – and it’s not hard to see why. Playing a detective in trouble with the Russian mafia, he also manipulates his recruit, officer Jake Hoyt, to help him settle the debt. Using controversial methods, Alonzo becomes a feared and famed officer due to the extent of his corruption. He knows no bounds, lacks empathy, and will do anything and set up anyone to get what he wants. In other words, he is one cop you do not want to mess with.

#9: Magneto
“X-Men” franchise (2000-)

This famous villain was created by legendary comic writer Stan Lee, and is played by legendary actor Ian McKellen in multiple films of the “X-Men” franchise. What more can you want? A powerful mutant, he has the ability to create strong magnetic fields, and his helmet prevents telepathic attacks from other mutants. Revealed to be a Holocaust survivor, Erik Lehnsherr is granted some sympathy, but his desire to eradicate all humans in favor of the “superior” mutant race is a scary thought, and one that makes audiences and mutants alike fear him and his immense power.

#8: Calvin J. Candie
“Django Unchained” (2012)

Give Leo the Oscar already! In this Quentin Tarantino western, he plays Calvin Candie, the owner of a plantation – appropriately called Candyland – at which he rules over slaves with an iron fist. An all-around bad person, Candie has no redeeming qualities: he’s incredibly racist, has a hot temper, and he treats people like toys. In general, he is a psychopath to the highest degree, with no sympathy towards anybody. Dinner with him does not seem like a very good time.

#7: Commodus
“Gladiator” (2000)

With his pale skin and dark eyes, Commodus is a guy you just wanna punch. The son of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, he murders his father in cold blood in order to gain the all-powerful throne and rule Rome the way he wants. Corrupt, twisted, and power-abusing, there is not much that Commodus would not do in order to flaunt his extravagance and power. He’s also a cheater in battle, and that just makes him so much worse.

#6: Loki
Marvel Cinematic Universe (2011-)

Another villain from the Marvel universe created by Stan Lee, Loki is Thor’s evil adoptive brother and is based on the same villain from real Norse mythology. With ambitions of obtaining the kingship of Asgard, and later Earth itself, Loki is an extremely strong adversary to even the best of superheroes. With a powerful scepter that can enslave people to do his bidding, and a huge army of aliens under his control, his invasion of Earth becomes equal parts hilarious and terrifying. It’s no wonder people also find him so cute.

#5: Lord Voldemort
“Harry Potter” franchise (2001-11)

You know you are evil when people can’t even say your name. After killing Harry’s parents and apparently dying himself, Voldemort returns to finish the job of killing the boy who lived so he can rule the wizarding world. Known as one of the most powerful wizards ever, Voldemort is physically terrifying, has a band of Death Eaters at his side, and has the ability to produce some very powerful and terrifying dark magic that all wizards fear.

#4: Bill ‘the Butcher’ Cutting
“Gangs of New York” (2002)

Leader of the Natives gang in the notorious Five Points district of New York, Bill the Butcher kills protagonist Amsterdam’s father, which later leads to a bloody war based on vengeance. Having one glass eye and a strong build, Bill is physically intimidating. But it’s the brutal torture, his intelligence, and his preference for bloody hand-to-hand combat that makes him truly fearsome. He’s also shown to have a softer, more sympathetic side, evident in the way he treats Amsterdam before he learns the truth, so he’s definitely a complex villain and one that is both loving and psychotic.

#3: Anton Chigurh
“No Country for Old Men” (2007)

Javier Bardem is no stranger to playing memorable villains, for example, playing Raoul Silva in “Skyfall,” who is arguably more memorable than another 21st Century Bond villain Le Chiffre in “Casino Royale.” But it’s his portrayal of Anton Chigurh that really gets our hearts pumping. Like a modern Terminator, Chigurh is emotionless and kills anything that gets in his way of retrieving a bag of stolen money. He is remorseless, and a man of few words, but those words are often philosophical or threatening. In short, he’s one smart, scary guy. The fact that he “wins” only makes him that much scarier.

#2: Hans Landa
“Inglourious Basterds” (2009)

This role catapulted Christoph Waltz to superstardom, winning him an Oscar and launching the German-Austrian actor’s career into mainstream Western films - and for good reason. Hans is an SS Colonel in World War II and is known as the Jew Hunter for his success in finding hiding Jews in Occupied France. A complex character, Hans can be infectiously charming one instant, only to turn around and murder an entire family literally minutes later. His charm masks his fierce, remorseless character, and his sharp intelligence only makes him that much more intimidating. Oh, and he speaks four languages. Damn.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Vincent
“Collateral” (2004)
- Captain Vidal
“Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006)
- Jigsaw
“Saw” franchise (2004-)
- President Snow
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (2013)
- Owen Davian
“Mission: Impossible III” (2006)

#1: The Joker
“The Dark Knight” (2008)

While Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” series has some very memorable villains, like Bane from “The Dark Knight Rises,” it’s the Joker that will be remembered as the quintessential Batman villain. In the 2nd installment, we watch as the Joker destabilizes Gotham’s status quo, and really, what’s not to love? He kills off major characters, tests Batman psychologically with his intelligence, proves to be adept at handling large weaponry, and has a killer freaky laugh. His makeshift clown makeup also adds a hint of darkness absent from other Joker incarnations. Really, he is the perfect villain.

Do you agree with our list? What memorable 21st century movie villain do you think is the best? For more villainous top ten lists published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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