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Top 10 Comic Book Villain Roles by British Actors

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Marc Turner
These characters are bad to the bone. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 comic book villain roles by British actors. For this list we’re looking at the best performances by British actors playing villains taken from comic books. We’re judging the contenders not just on the quality of the actor’s performance but also on the popularity of their character. And we’re limiting each villain to one entry on the list. Special thanks to our user WordToTheWes for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Comic Book Villain Roles by British Actors


These characters are bad to the bone. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 comic book villain roles by British actors.

For this list we’re looking at the best performances by British actors playing villains taken from comic books. We’re judging the contenders not just on the quality of the actor’s performance but also on the popularity of their character. And we’re limiting each villain to one entry on the list.

#10: Tom Hardy as Bane
“The Dark Knight Rises” (2012)

Batman has battled his fair share of British villains, with Liam Neeson almost getting the better of him as Ra’s al Ghul in “Batman Begins”. But of all of the Caped Crusader’s enemies, few have been more formidable than Bane - the man who broke the bat. Despite Nolan’s take on the character being more grounded in “The Dark Knight Rises”, the villain nonetheless made a big impression. Tom Hardy gives a career-defining performance as the man with the creepy mask and the distorted voice, and his character’s sympathetic backstory makes him more than just another bad guy doing evil for evil’s sake.

9: Matthew Goode as Adrian Veidt [aka Ozymandias]
"Watchmen” (2009)

Ozymandias may have gotten his start as a superhero, but in “Watchmen” the hero-turned-businessman and public figure is revealed to have a god complex and an elaborate scheme to trigger a nuclear apocalypse. Whilst Ozymandias’s motives may be noble – to save the world from impending war – he reinforces his villainous credentials by killing a former friend and framing another for murder. In his first big-budget action film role, Goode gives an assured performance as the charismatic genius with muddled views on good and evil.

#8: Mark Strong as Frank D’Amico
“Kick-Ass” (2010)

Mark Strong is well-accustomed to playing villains on film, and the superhero black comedy “Kick-Ass” sees him putting all the experience to good use in a truly dastardly role. Playing the murderous crime lord Frank d’Amico, Strong delivers a straight-faced performance that fits hilariously well into the film’s comedic time. He struggles to bond with his nerdy son, Chris, and accidentally kills a party entertainer dressed as Kick-Ass - you know, typical villain problems. Strong also receives extra points for his character’s unforgettable death in the finale, when he finds himself on the wrong end of a bazooka.

#7: Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue [aka Klaw]
Marvel Cinematic Universe (2008-)

Serkis may be best known for playing Gollum in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings”, but he is more than just a motion-capture actor. In “Avengers: Age of Ultron” he has an admittedly small role as the mercurial arms dealer Ulysses Klaue, but he nonetheless steals the show thanks to his quirky accent and his distinctive brand of villainous humour. In “Black Panther”, he develops his character further, most notably in this interrogation scene where he seamlessly switches from funny to deadly. And did we mention the singing?

#6: Terence Stamp as General Zod
“Superman II” (1980)

In “Superman II”, Stamp did something extraordinary with his character: he made a man dressed in black PVC appear menacing. It’s not just that General Zod can fight Superman without taking a backwards step, Stamp also imbued the character with such a sense of casual ruthlessness that we really do think he is a worthy opponent for the Man of Steel. So often Superman’s enemies can feel a little flat, but not here. And, if that wasn’t enough, Zod also gave us one of the most quotable lines from any Superman film. A true classic.

#5: Karen Gillan as Nebula
Marvel Cinematic Universe (2008-)

Scottish actress Karen Gillan went the extra mile for her role as Nebula in the MCU – shaving her head, training in martial arts, and spending up to five hours a day in make-up. An outright baddie in the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” film, her relationship with her sister Gamora was explored further in the second instalment, resulting in an epic showdown that takes sibling rivalry to a whole new level. But Gillan is at her best when she’s exploring Nebula’s backstory, transforming her into a more complex and likeable character.

#4: Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock [aka Venom]
“Venom” (2018)

Whilst many have labelled Venom an anti-hero, we’re treating him as a straight-up villain for this list – particularly considering the character’s comic book origins. Hardy once promised to give fans the best Venom he could muster, and boy does he deliver, with his producer claiming the actor gave a “masterclass” on set each day. The film graphically shows the outward struggle between Eddie Brock and the symbiote, but it is Hardy’s portrayal of the inner struggle that really catches the eye. Jekyll and Hyde, eat your heart out.

#3: Alfred Molina as Otto Octavius [aka Doctor Octopus]
“Spider-Man 2” (2004)

Many of Spider-Man’s big screen villains have unfortunately been rather forgettable, but Dr. Octopus from “Spider-Man 2” bucks the trend. Molina once revealed he had more fun working on this film than any other big-screen feature, and that sense of enjoyment shines through in his award-winning performance. Following the death of Doc Ock’s wife, Molina injects a sense of pathos into the character that is often lacking in his comic book counterpart. His relationship with Peter Parker actually offers Octavius a chance at redemption rarely afforded to villains, and he capitalizes on it by sacrificing himself to avoid a disaster that would have claimed countless lives.

#2: Ian McKellen as Magneto
”X-Men” franchise (2000-)

Within the newer generation of X-Men, Michael Fassbender’s Magneto is easily amongst the most compelling characters. But even Fassbender can’t compete with the genius of Sir Ian McKellen, who plays Magneto to perfection – with an equal measure of ruthlessness to his enemies and compassion to his friends. Magneto has arguably the most sympathetic motivations of any superhero villain; he struggles to prevent what he sees as an otherwise inevitable mutant genocide, as informed by his own experience as a survivor of the Holocaust. His reconciliation with Professor X in “Days of Future Past” is probably the most poignant moment in any X-Men film.

#1: Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Marvel Cinematic Universe (2008-)

Some say that villains haven’t always been a strong point for the MCU, but the trickster god Loki is an exception to that rule. Hiddleston brings a welcome complexity to the conflicted son of Odin as he searches for understanding and acceptance. In fact, so impressive was Hiddleston in “Thor” that he went on to reprise his role in subsequent Avengers films. As well as conveying the pathos of his character, Hiddleston brings a deft comic touch to his scenes. Years after making his debut, Loki remains the most memorable onscreen MCU villain, and one of the best comic book movie baddies of all time.
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