You know the feeling. You're watching a movie and the villain appears onscreen. Maybe they're explaining their evil plan or stalking an innocent teen, but you don't really care. You're not scared or intimidated - you're just annoyed. Villains can be obnoxious for a lot of reasons. Some of them are over the top for no reason, others are hamming it up when everyone else in the movie is playing it straight, and sometimes they just happen to be played by an actor you don't like.
Some of the most annoying horror movie characters have a tendency to be horrifying until they go and explain everything about themselves. It's a frustrating way to turn a character from a deeply creepy villain into someone the audience knows way too much about.
This all brings us to the question of which cinematic villain is the most obnoxious. Is it a try-hard Joker, a chatty criminal mastermind, or one of the many Darth Vader clones who have popped up onscreen over the years? That's for you to decide.
What Effect Was He Supposed To Have? Following on the heels of Heath Ledger's version of the Joker in The Dark Knight, this Joker was supposed to be gritty, grimy, and - dare we say - damaged. A mix of the criminal king of the underworld found in various incarnations of the Batman comics and the "anything goes" agent of chaos he's grown into during the 21st century, the Joker found in the DCEU - in this case, David Ayer's Suicide Squad - was meant to turn audiences on and freak them out at the same time.
What Effect Did He Actually Have? Other versions of the character may have gravitas, but this Joker definitely has... abs. Like, a whole eight-pack. While that's definitely impressive, it doesn't say anything about the character other than he has a membership at one of Gotham City's many evil gyms. In Suicide Squad, Joker is shoved to the front of the screen and presented as a self-made freak with an incredible mind for crime (who also texts for some reason), but he's consistently overshadowed by the rest of the cast. Is he bad? Definitely. He offers Harley Quinn up to one of his underworld associates without her consent. But is he the Clown Prince of Crime? Not really.Just obnoxious?
What Effect Was He Supposed To Have? Lex Luthor is Superman's greatest nemesis. When this character shows up in a Superman story, fans know they're in for anything from backroom deals meant to take down the Daily Planet to Kryptonite rings constructed to bring Supes to his knees. The young Lex Luthor of the Snyderverse is supposed to be hungry, rich, and angry. Casting Jesse Eisenberg to play that character brings with him the connotation of his role in The Social Network. Audiences couldn't help but assume he was going to carry out some truly heinous schemes.
What Effect Did He Actually Have? Woof. Eisenberg's take on Luthor was anything but the corporate evil of his Mark Zuckerberg cranked up to supervillain status. He's just whiny and neurotic, so it's hard to imagine Luthor could create much of a problem for Superman, let alone Perry White. The worst thing about this version of the character is that he's one-note. He charges through every scene being capital-E evil, but it's underwhelming. It's a drag to see Eisenberg's version of the character come off so ho-hum because he's such a good actor, but his Lex Luthor is just so blah it hurts. Maybe that was his evil plan after all?Just obnoxious?
Terl, 'Battlefield Earth'
What Effect Was He Supposed To Have? With his imposing height and beefy build, Terl is meant to be both physically imposing and creepy. All he wants is to get off Earth and return home, and he'll do whatever it takes to get his way - whether it's cracking skulls or forcing humans to carry out hard labor. The audience is supposed to be repulsed and terrified of this giant space monster who's desperate to escape his earthbound fate.
What Effect Did He Actually Have? It's safe to say that nothing in Battlefield Earth turned out the way it was meant to. John Travolta's take on this character plays like a parody of a villain rather than an actual villain. The audience is supposed to see Terl as this ruthless security officer who'll do whatever it takes to get ahead, but he comes off as petulant and infinitely frustrated. It's super fun to watch Travolta play this character as a straightforward mega-evil villain, but at the end of the day, watching Terl order people around comes off more like something from an outer space version of The Office.Just obnoxious?
- Photo: Columbia Pictures
What Effect Was He Supposed To Have? After becoming CEO of Oscorp following the sudden demise of his father, Harry is primed to be a monstrous version of the Green Goblin. He's got an ax to grind with Peter Parker, and all he wants to do is rip through New York City to fill the daddy-sized hole in his heart. The audience is supposed to think Peter's days are numbered; not only is Harry the perfect mental match for Peter, but he's also got a ton of armor and a bunch of venom running through his veins.
What Effect Did He Actually Have? There's no way around this: Harry is a total nerd. Obviously, Peter Parker is a nerd, too, but that's his whole appeal. Harry's nerdiness is deeply entrenched within his DNA. If he actually acted like the total goon he is, he might be cool. Instead, he's trying so hard to be tough that it's obvious just how uncool he is. Sure, he can beat up whoever he wants thanks to his Green Goblin armor, but even the prospect of being whomped by this guy isn't scary. What should have been an introduction to one of Spider-Man's most important villains turned out to be the introduction to a superpowered incel.Just obnoxious?