13 Movies That Got Held Back By A Terrible Villain

List Rules
Vote up the villains who keep these movies from reaching their full potential.

While you can have a great film without a great villain, it isn't easy to do. A lot of a movie's success comes down to the antagonist, and when the big bad proves to be a weak link, it becomes much harder to enjoy a flick. Like, are you afraid of Steppenwolf in Justice League or Enchantress in Suicide Squad? Does the reemergence of Emperor Palpatine get you going in Rise of Skywalker? Can you do anything but laugh at Eddie Redmayne's Balen Abrasax in Jupiter Ascending? What about the two-dimensional bullies Katniss has to dispatch in The Hunger Games?

Films like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World have their apologists, but nobody is going to bat for Electro or Malekith. So, vote up the movie villains you just can't stand and get a little catharsis in the process.


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    704 VOTES

    Steppenwolf In 'Justice League'

    The theatrical cut of Justice League is an extremely flawed film. Its tone is all over the place (thanks to it basically being two different films cut together), the action is lackluster compared to the DCEU movies that came before it, and, at the end of the day, it just isn't a lot of fun to watch. And while Zack Snyder's Justice League is a clear improvement on the original, it is also far from perfect (four hours, really?). And though he was tweaked for the 2021 update, Steppenwolf is an absolute "blah" of a villain no matter which cut of the film you watch.

    Not even the most dedicated of DC Comics fans is getting excited for a big-screen version of Steppenwolf. The guy doesn't have the cult following other villainous New Gods like Granny Goodness, Desaad, and Kalibak have. Turning him into a large CGI blob of nothing certainly didn't help. When it's all said and done, if we're talking about Mother Boxes, Boom Tubes, and Apokolips, people want to see Darkseid and no one else. While it was cool to see the God of Tyranny himself at the end of Zack Snyder's Justice League, it kind of just hammered home how much everybody wanted him to be the main bad guy in the first place.

    704 votes

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  • If you watch Eddie Redmayne in Jupiter Ascending, it's almost hard to believe he is a multiple-time Academy Award nominee for best actor. His performance is almost indescribable. Is it possible to both overact and underact at the same time? It kind of feels like he knows that both the movie he's in and his character in general are patently ridiculous. So, instead of playing Balem Abrasax straight, he plays him like an absolute madman. He's either whispering or shouting... there is no in-between.

    If you thought Newt Scamander was a weirdo throughout the Fantastic Beasts movies, check out Abrasax doing what he doesJupiter Ascending is already a hard movie to love, and when you're taken completely out of it every time Redmayne is on-screen, well, it becomes nearly impossible to enjoy. Redmayne himself has gone on record saying how ridiculous he is in this one.

    485 votes
  • In the grand scheme of Pierce Brosnan Bond movies, Die Another Day is about the same level of quality as the other non-GoldenEye entries. There's more than a little "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" to those movies. Yeah, here's a British man in his late 40s/early 50s running around the globe with silly gadgets. Yeah, women who are way younger than him find the man irresistible for some reason. Yeah, each villain is more ridiculous and mustache-twirly than the last. That being said, Gustav Graves just might be the most bonkers villain in the annals of the Bond franchise. After 60+ years, that really is saying something.

    Gustav Graves is an evil British entrepreneur who wishes to use a "sun gun" to cut through the Korean Demilitarized Zone and reunite North and South Korea under military rule. It sounds properly ridiculous for the campier side of Bond films, yeah? Well, it's about to get even campier, because Gustav Graves isn't an evil British entrepreneur but is actually North Korean Colonel Tan-Sun Moon who has had his DNA altered so he appears British. Oh yeah, it's super dumb. Gustav Graves (and Die Another Day in general) proved to be the "jump the shark" moment that caused an entire franchise reboot with Daniel Craig in the starring role. That worked out pretty well some of the time, so... thanks, Gustav Graves?

    409 votes

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  • There is a lot wrong with Suicide Squad. The 2016 comic book film is one of the most reviled pieces of superhero cinema, well, ever. It's up there with Catwoman and Daredevil among the superhero flicks everyone wishes never existed. The 2021 reboot/sequel basically acts like the original never happened at all. Production woes are responsible for a lot of the mess in Suicide Squad, but there was nothing any amount of added footage or editing changes could do to save Enchantress as an interesting villain.

    The only thing less interesting than the Suicide Squad itself is Enchantress. For a villain to work, you kind of have to know what they're about and get some scenes to give you context about their character. Enchantress might just be the most "nothing" a big-budget movie villain has ever been. She's evil because the movie needs her to be evil. She does things because the screenplay needs her to. She has no motivation, she has no personality, she has no... anything! She exists to stand there with a bunch of CGI happening around her until she has to fight the Suicide Squad and bite the dust. That's it.

    868 votes

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  • There was absolutely no reason to bring Palpatine back for The Rise of Skywalker. It's clear Lucasfilm and Disney were scrambling after the lackluster box-office performance of the Star Wars spin-off films, as well as a vocal minority of fans absolutely losing their minds about The Last Jedi - but bringing back Palpatine? Really? Your ace in the hole is bringing back a character that was killed off in 1983? Way to show you've completely run out of creative juices, you guys...

    Bringing back Darth Sidious simply doesn't work. There were absolutely no hints of him being behind everything in The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi, which makes his reappearance in the trilogy's final movie feel both desperate and last-minute. Considering how many rewrites the script apparently went through, it makes some kind of sense that Palpatine's involvement feels off. When reflecting on the Skywalker Saga as a whole, nothing says "sprawling sci-fi galaxy filled with stories" like having one guy be the villain for an entire space opera released over 40+ years. Yuck.

    951 votes

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  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2 suffers from the same "villain bloat" that Spider-Man 3 fell victim to years before. Glad to see Sony hadn't figured that one out by the time production on this sequel started. And while the Rhino and Green Goblin from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 clearly aren't perfect, they don't hold a candle to whatever is going on with Jamie Foxx's Electro.

    Before getting his superpowers, Foxx's Max Dillon feels like he exists in a different movie. He'd be more at home in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies than Marc Webb's gritty Amazing Spider-Man films. Complete with a nonsensical combover and a gap between his teeth that somehow gets fixed (?) by electric eels, this Max Dillon is a character ripped straight from the 1960s stories of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. After he gets his powers, he gets mad that Spider-Man doesn't remember his name even though he looks like an entirely different human being and becomes a villain. Okay. When they brought Foxx back for Spider-Man: No Way Home, they ditched the blue look and basically let Foxx act however he wanted. Because nobody liked his original Electro in the first place.

    776 votes

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