EXTREME SPOILERS AHEAD FOR AVENGERS, DARK KNIGHT RISES, AND SKYFALL.
Possible SPOILERS for any other films referenced.
We’ve finally reached 2012, a year full of great villains! Perhaps the best year for antagonists in this modern age!
All of 2012’s “Terrible 3” fit the mold I discussed in previous posts of “A Better Class of Criminal” (Part II, Part III). All 3 deserve to be on the list of 100 greatest villains ever; any other year, each would be the highlight due to less steep competition from the other 2.
Loki (Tom Hiddleson), THE AVENGERS
Loki is the weakest of the 2012 “Terrible 3,” yet he is still fan-diddily-tastic and miles above most antagonists on the silver screen (technically, billions of miles above, since he is from Asgard…).
Let’s tick the boxes off for the traits we’ve already covered ad nauseum…
1) Loki has a mastermind of a plan. The demi-God is always on step ahead of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Avengers, and even his own brother, Thor. More specific, like great villains past (think the Joker), his plan involves being captured in order to destroy the Avengers from the inside. In his case, he wants a shot at the monster S.H.I.E.L.D. brought on their own Hellicarrier, Bruce Banner aka the Hulk.
Even past his capture and escape, Loki is a step ahead of Captain America and team, setting up at Stark Tower before even Tony Stark realizes it.
2) Loki loves his work. He smiles so often, with such evil and glee, even when things look there worst for him. My personal favorite is the smile Loki pops off while “removing” a man’s eyeball before he first encounters Captain America in Germany.
He smiles when he arrives on our planet, as Thor threatens him, as he watches Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America clash, as he passes Banner’s lab in cuffs, as he threatens Black Widow, and even when Tony Stark taunts him in the third act. Loki’s having so much fun he can’t contain himself.
As a result, so do we! A lot of credit has to go to the actor, Tom Hiddleson, on this one. As written, Loki could be played more seriously, but Hiddleson nails Loki’s playfulness.
3) Speech! Speech! – Loki may not have a unique voice like his predecessor, The Joker, or his successor, Bane, but he can still deliver quite the evil speech.
To the people of Germany:
“Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It’s the unspoken truth of humanity, that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.”
To Black Widow:
“I won’t touch Barton. Not until I make him kill you! Slowly, intimately, in every way he knows you fear! And then he’ll wake just long enough to see his good work, and when he screams, I’ll split his skull! This is my bargain, you mewling quim!”
“Enough! You are, all of you are beneath me! I am a god, you dull creature, and I shall not be bullied by…”
4) Loki is unique. Sure, we’ve seen many super-villains over the years, but Loki is a God/Alien. He considers himself a fallen king, driven mad by the power of the Tesseract and envy of Thor. He sees the human race as ants, something very few to no villains mentioned previously feel. After all, even those like Norman Osbourne aka the Green Goblin, who sees himself as above regular people, was human himself before experimentation.
5) Loki makes it personal. He attacks the Avengers “where they live” (according to Tony Stark), killing friend of the team Agent Phil Coulson.
Bane (Tom Hardy) , THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
I argue that Bane is an even stronger Nolan Batman baddie than Joker… and most people call me a fool.
Joker may have tested Batman’s one rule… and corrupted Gotham’s White Knight, Harvey Dent… but BANE BROKE THE BAT! And held Gotham hostage for months, keeping the entire US government at bay.
My favorite scene in Nolan’s entire DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY is Bane and Batman’s initial fight in the sewers. Not only is the action perfectly brutal, leading to the destruction of Batman – the final moment true to the exact panel from the comic – but every line Bane utters during the fight is gold; instantly classic. Both the writing, and the all important delivery by the extraordinary Tom Hardy make the scene the best of the comic-book-movie crop:
“Not as serious as [your mistake], I fear…
Peace has cost you your strength. Victory has defeated you!
Theatricality and deception. Powerful agents to the uninitiated. But we are initiated, aren’t we Bruce? Members of the League of Shadows. And you betrayed us!…
You fight like a younger man with nothing held back. Admirable, but mistaken.
Oh, you think the darkness is your ally. But you merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man. By then it was nothing to me but blinding!
I will show you where I have made my home whilst preparing to bring justice to Gotham… Then I will break you.
Your precious armory, gratefully accepted. We will need it.
Ah yes, I was wondering what would break first… your spirit… or your body?!?!”
CLICK “READ MORE” BELOW FOR MORE BANE GOODNESS! NOW WITH SILVA FROM SKYFALL!