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10 Worst Movie Villains of the 21st Century, Ranked

The 21st Century has produced many of the greatest films of all time, filled with some of the most compelling villains ever created in fiction. But thanks to Newton’s Third Law of Motion, every positive has an equal and just as negative to come with it, bringing some of the worst, laziest and terribly crafted villains of all time to theater screens everywhere. After all, a hero is only as good as his villain, given how much the two need to build on each other to accomplish their goals.




A good villain should be understandable, compelling, fear-inducing and a true threat to the protagonist’s goals and needs. Yet the worst movie foes are nothing but confusing, contradicting, non-threatening or downright boring to watch, sucking zero interest from the audience viewing them and potentially taking them out of the viewing experience as a whole. These are the worst villains from the 21st century, bitter disappointments that pretty much ruined their movies through their sheer inability to impress in any way.


10 Loki (Alan Cumming)

‘Son of the Mask’ (2005)

Loki attacking someone in Son of the Mask
Image via Warner Bros.


Most general audience members know Loki as one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most popular and well-written characters. But Loki also turns out to be the villain of Son of the Mask the sequel to the great comedy filmThe Mask — and is a huge factor in why the sequel failed so horribly. Aside from his absolutely ridiculous and terribly made design, Loki is a genuinely incompetent villain.

It’s no secret that making a sequel that is as good as or close to the quality of its predecessor is not easy, but such an underwhelming villain as this is inexcusable. Despite being one of the more powerful gods within the Greek mythos, Loki is portrayed as incredibly weak because of how much he struggles to obtain the Mask to appease his father, Odin. Actor Alan Cumming does his best but could not save this horrendous adaption of the Greek god, and While some could potentially argue that his incompetent nature was supposed to be comedic, it flat-out does not work.


Son of the Mask

Release Date
February 18, 2005

Director
Lawrence Guterman

Cast
Jamie Kennedy , Alan Cumming , Liam Falconer , Ryan Falconer , Traylor Howard , Steven Wright

Runtime
94

Writers
Lance Khazei

9 Lucien Crown, AKA Milo Morbius (Matt Smith)

‘Morbius’ (2022)

Milo looking to the distance in Morbius
Image via Sony Pictures Releasing

If someone has yet to hear about the memes and negative discourse surrounding Morbius, it would be safe to claim that they live under a rock. Morbius is hailed as one of the worst superhero films of all time and one of Sony’s greatest failures with the Spider-Man franchise. While they managed to lock down the wonderfully talented Matt Smith as their villain, Lucien Crown, he was simply not enough to save the atrocity he was part of.


The filmmakers behind Morbius drastically changed the origins and characteristics of the character for unnecessary reasons. The character is written horribly and is so boring that it feels impossible to get invested in him. The hilariously awkward suit-up sequence is the only interesting flash he gets, and it’s still genuinely painful to watch. Lucien is a terrible character in a terrible movie and a true waste of Smith’s talent.

Morbius Film Poster

Morbius

Release Date
April 1, 2022

Runtime
104 minutes

Writers
Matt Sazama , Burk Sharpless , Art Marcum , Matt Holloway , Roy Thomas , Gil Kane

8 Doctor Doom (Toby Kebbell)

‘Fantastic Four’ (2015)

Doctor Doom looking upwards in Fantastic Four (2015)
Image via 20th Century Studios


2015’s Fantastic Four is one of the most infamous superhero films of all time, receiving what seemed like nothing but negative reviews upon its release. As if a terrible script, motivations, rough editing and ridiculous character arcs weren’t bad enough, the film’s villain, one of the most popular Marvel figures of all time, was absurdly terrible.

The character’s design is downright nothing like the character’s original design. Not to say that a character needs to look identical to its original iteration, but when people look at this version, if they didn’t know the character was supposed to be Doctor Doom, they’d never figure it out. Not to mention, the acting was subpar; even the actor himself, Toby Kebbel, admitted that he did not perform well as the character. It’s not difficult to write Doctor Doom well, so it’s astounding the filmmakers managed to screw him up this much.


Fantastic Four 2015 Film Poster

Fantastic Four (2015)

Release Date
August 4, 2015

Director
Josh Trank

Runtime
100 Minutes

Writers
Jeremy Slater , Simon Kinberg , Josh Trank

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7 Balem Abrasax (Eddie Redmayne)

‘Jupiter Ascending’ (2015)

Balem listening to someone secretly in Jupiter Ascending
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

If someone were asked whether they had seen Jupiter Ascending, there would be a good chance they’d not remember the film had even come out. It performed terribly at the box office, barely getting close to its budget in gross ticket sales. While its terrible reviews most likely didn’t help, the disappointing villain was a huge turn-off for many as well.


Unfortunately, a lot of the problems with the character come from Eddie Redmayne. He seems to change up his acting choices too frequently, to the point that the character just feels all over the place most times, taking away from the scenes he is in. He is either too extreme or doesn’t fit the tone of the scene whatsoever. To make matters worse, the writing of the film is just overall weak, and Redmayne has nothing to do other than ham it up. In recent years, Jupiter Ascending has been re-evaluated, but Redmayne’s performance remains one of its weakest aspects.

Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending

Release Date
February 4, 2015

Runtime
125

6 Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan)

‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ (2014)

The Green Goblin with his mask off screaming in rage in The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Image via Sony Pictures Releasing


The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets a lot of hate for multiple issues. One of the worst factors about the film is how much they butchered one of Spider-Man’s greatest villains of all time, the Green Goblin. In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the Green Goblin is a mutated, gross-looking Harry Osborn who is sent down a dark path after realizing he has a potentially deadly disease. After tracking down some of the spider venom Oscorp kept secret and injecting himself, he mutates into the Green Goblin and kills Gwen Stacy as revenge for Spider-Man’s refusal to help him.

This iteration of Green Goblin is overall just horrible. He looks awful, and the story is so far removed from the Goblin’s journey that it’s borderline unrecognizable. Moreover, the character had no legitimate reason to be in the film and generally served no purpose other than killing Gwen Stacy, which Electro could have easily done. His appearance is pointless and ultimately drags the film’s screen time. The lack of development and chemistry between Dane DeHaan and Andrew Garfield didn’t help, making the Green Goblin’s appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 a waste of time.


the-amazing-spider-man-2-poster

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Release Date
April 16, 2014

Runtime
142

Writers
Alex Kurtzman , Roberto Orci , Jeff Pinkner , James Vanderbilt , Stan Lee , Steve Ditko

5 Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds)

‘Justice League’ (2017)

Steppenwolf smiling softly in Justice League
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

The original theatrical cut of Justice League that premiered in 2017 was a production mess that resulted in a certainly horrible film. Joss Whedon was hired to come in after Zack Snyder had to step away from the project, and it’s safe to say that his inclusion dug a massive grave for the film. Justice League was doomed from the start, and the changes made to Steppenwolf from Zack Snyder’s original vision, which can be seen in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, are proof enough.


Steppenwolf in the original Justice League is not even remotely memorable. The writing is generic and forgettable, offering nothing to make him at all compelling. Additionally, his design is so lackluster and boring due to studio interference, resulting in a bizarre and uncanny creature that is neither particularly intimidating nor even noteworthy. Steppenwolf is one of the most forgettable villains in superhero film history and a shameful adaptation of an otherwise good DC character.

Justice League poster

Justice League

Release Date
November 17, 2017

Director
Zack Snyder , Joss Whedon

Runtime
120 minutes

Writers
Jerry Siegel , Joe Shuster , Chris Terrio , Zack Snyder , Joss Whedon , Gardner Fox

4 Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg)

‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice’ (2016)

Lex Luthor smirking in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures


Many credit Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice as the beginning of the end for the DCEU. One of the biggest complaints among viewers is the villain of the film, Jesse Eisenberg‘s Lex Luthor. Although supposedly an intelligent, evil mastermind, Eisenberg’s Luthor was instead received as an erratic Mark Zuckerberg type that was hard to take seriously.

Jesse Eisenberg’s performance doesn’t fit the tone of the film in almost any capacity. At its worst, the actor’s Lex feels like he would fit better in the Adam West Batman universe. The performance is so far from the stoic and collected Lex Luthor everyone knows and loves that it doesn’t even feel like Lex at the end of the day. It makes him feel genuinely non-threatening and kills almost all conflict he is supposed to bring to his scenes, especially his climactic confrontation with Superman.


Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice poster

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Release Date
March 25, 2016

Director
Zack Snyder

Runtime
152 minutes

3 Terl (John Travolta)

‘Battlefield Earth’ (2000)

Terl, an alien warlord with long hair, stands at the command of his ship.
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Battlefield Earth is considered by many as one of the worst films of all time and has even been called unwatchable; its infamous 3% rating on Rotten Tomatoes should be a hint as to its dubious reputation. There could be hours worth of explanation of all the different factors that go into the film being genuinely dreadful, but one of the more pertinent reasons is the uninspired villain, Terl.


Played by John Travolta, Terl is a mix of exposition dumping and bad acting choices. As stated, the character had the treacherous job of typically explaining all of the exposition necessary for the film, making him feel less of a villain and more of a guide. Mixed with Travolta overreacting to the smallest things and making him speak in a super incomprehensible manner, Terl becomes a nuisance, and every scene he is involved in is unbearable to the tenth degree.

Battlefield Earth Film Poster

Battlefield Earth

Release Date
May 12, 2000

Director
Roger Christian

Runtime
118 minutes

2 Malekith (Christopher Eccleston)

‘Thor: The Dark World’ (2013)

Malekith holding a blade and looking intently in Thor: The Dark World
Image via Marvel Studios


Ask any general audience member, and they’ll surely remember characters such as Thanos, Loki, Ultron and Killmonger. On the other hand, even some Marvel fans might not know who Malekith is. Being the most forgettable and worst Marvel villain is no easy task, but Malekith passes this infamous test with flying colors.

Legendary Doctor Who actor Christopher Eccleston plays the character, but not even he can elevate the most mediocre material Marvel has ever put out. Audience members shouldn’t feel bad if they do not recognize Eccleston in the role, as he’s virtually invisible in the role, going as far as to change his voice. The character also gets very little screen time, meaning when he and Thor walk into their final battle, Malekith has practically zero development and is essentially a cardboard box for Thor to kick around. The only memorable thing about Malekith is how utterly forgettable he is.


Thor The Dark World poster

Thor: The Dark World

Release Date
November 8, 2013

Runtime
112 minutes

Writers
Christopher Markus , Stephen McFeely , Don Payne , Robert Rodat , Stan Lee , Christopher L. Yost

1 The Joker (Jaret Leto)

‘Suicide Squad’ (2016)

The Joker smiling in Suicide Squad (2016)
Image via DC Studios

What may be the worst superhero film ever made came in a nice bundle package with one of the worst superhero film villains of all time. Jared Leto’sJoker is known as one of the worst-played characters in superhero cinema as if the film wasn’t already suffering enough through its screen time.


Many fans have claimed that there is genuinely nothing to like about the Joker in Suicide Squad. Whether it be the laughably terrible design, intolerable acting from Jared Leto, or insufferable writing, this version is about as bad as it can get when it comes to villains. In addition to that, the rumors of Leto’s on-set behavior from his supposed method acting didn’t make audiences’ perception much better either, especially since said method acting did not pay off whatsoever.

Suicide Squad poster

Suicide Squad

Release Date
August 5, 2016

Runtime
123 minutes

NEXT: The 10 Most Underrated Movie Villains of the 2010s, Ranked

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