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John

The best movie villains of the 21st century so far?

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Thought this would make for a fun discussion, so here goes.

 

What are some movie antagonists from this century that you believe will be remembered as some of cinema's most memorable, iconic villains years from now?

 

Here's my top three.

 

Anton Chigurh: No Country for Old Men (2007)

Daniel Plainview: There Will Be Blood (2007)

Gollum: The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003)

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To some extent... Voldemort and Thanos are sure going to be remembered by some hundreds of millions of people who will live well into 2080s and then by hundreds of millions of their offspring well into 2110s.

 

As far as really worthy and memorable villains go, however—Joker and Palpatine.

 

 

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13 hours ago, Fabulin said:

As far as really worthy and memorable villains go, however—Joker and Palpatine.

 

6 hours ago, crocodile said:

So is this the thread where everyone avoids mentioning Heath Ledger's The Joker? ;)

 

Karol

 

???

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Now I think that Disney-industrial complex and other corporations make the most memorable villains.

 

As time passes though, these monstrosities will have renaissances yet again, and whatever shame now follows their names, will be shifted to and associated with directors of the period instead

44 minutes ago, El Jefe said:

Zach Snyder.

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I'm very fond of Kylo Ren and Davy Jones, I must say. But Anton Chigurh and Ledger's Joker were probably the ones that left me the biggest impact.

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20 hours ago, Alexcremers said:

Not a villain. 

 

Nah, pretty sure he qualifies.

 

19 hours ago, crocodile said:

So is this the thread where everyone avoids mentioning Heath Ledger's The Joker? ;)

 

Bit of a mixed bag for me. Ledger's performance is terrific and justly praised, but I feel the character isn't written particularly well and his motivations are nebulous at best.

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2 hours ago, Romão said:

Davy Jones

 

Good call! I'm not a fan of the movies, but I'll give credit where credit is due.

 

1 hour ago, John said:

Bit of a mixed bag for me. Ledger's performance is terrific and justly praised, but I feel the character isn't written particularly well and his motivations are nebulous at best.

 

I can agree with this, although I think his motivations were very clearly defined, including the classic line about the world burning. In fact, for a dude who loved chaos so much, he loved to discuss just how chaos-inducing his plans and actions were so many steps of the way.

 

Gotta admit, @John, I'm having a real hard time coming up with any that haven't been mentioned, especially compared to the decades prior your criteria..I could pop those out of my head by the handful. I wonder if it's because theatricality and "loudness" in presentation is considered to be too camp, or simpleminded nowadays. Everything has to be more grounded, more nuanced, more "true to life".

 

 

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11 hours ago, Alexcremers said:

Nah, there are no heroes and villains in There Will Be Blood. It's not that kind of a movie.

 

He absolutely is a villain. He's the ultimate backstabber. No reasonable person would ever want to meet this man. He would offer me gold, give me coal, then destroy my world just to get the coal back. He's a character who feels everyone is against him, whether they know it or not, and therefore must become his servants or be annihilated.

 

11 hours ago, Stefancos said:

Wasn't that the point of Ledger's Joker though?

 

Not really. I mean, the Joker supposedly does have an end goal, but it's very contrived and convoluted, and some pretty damn big plot conveniences really make you suspend your disbelief. There are many points in the film that make you question how the Joker is "ahead of the curve" so much and so frequently, that he has the most calculated, pin-point accuracy of what and where everything is, how it will unfold, and what his next move will be. And Nolan just slaps on the titles "agent of chaos" and "messenger of fate" to cover up the fact that the character is poorly written.

 

Compare him to a character like Chigurh, who, despite his similar lack of backstory, has a clearly definable goal (retrieving the drug money/killing anyone involved) and his own set of moral values/guidelines. It's the difference between believability and unbelievability.

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Chirrut Chigurh is overrated. Dude walks around and kills people. Could as well be Jason Voorhes. Or Harvey Dent. Or whatever else that walks and destroys the surroundings.

What makes Joker a great villain is not his bombs or schemes, but the fact that in contrast to silent, terminatorish characters, who could as well be rolling rocks or angry bears, he is chatty, smart and sane, which makes it applicable to think of punishments for his deeds. And yet he cannot be punished at all... And he cannot be even stopped, because his philosophical "discovery" spreads all over the place. Frustrating, because he appears to be more powerful than his physical body.

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18 minutes ago, Fabulin said:

Chirrut Chigurh is overrated. Dude walks around and kills people. Could as well be Jason Voorhes. Or Harvey Dent. Or whatever else that walks and destroys the surroundings.

What makes Joker a great villain is not his bombs or schemes, but the fact that in contrast to silent, terminatorish characters, who could as well be rolling rocks or angry bears, he is chatty, smart and sane, which makes it applicable to think of punishments for his deeds. And yet he cannot be punished at all... And he cannot be even stopped, because his philosophical "discovery" spreads all over the place. Frustrating, because he appears to be more powerful than his physical body.

 

But The Joker isn't scary, not as Nicholson or Ledger. He's not in my top 10 and he never will be.

 

OTOH, Anton Chigurh is scary, because, no matter how smart you are, whatever you do, wherever you are, he'll find you. He's a living nightmare.

 

 

BTW, I don't understand why a chatty villain is better than a silent one. There's plenty of great villains who barely talk.

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