Friends of the super variety, we’ve collected every Fresh and Certified Fresh superhero movie with at least 20 reviews to assemble our guide to the 75 best superhero movies ever, ranked by Tomatometer!
It’s been a decades-long battle towards the top in pop culture for superhero movies, and we’re featuring here all the goods, the greats, and the masterpieces made along the way. Everything from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Iron Man, Avengers) to DCEU (Aquaman, Wonder Woman), animated fare (The Incredibles, Megamind) to live-action spoofs (The Toxic Avenger, Mystery Men), comedies (Deadpool) and the super serious (The Dark Knight), and then throwing in some originals made just for the big screen (The Rocketeer, Darkman, Unbreakable).
Great leaping buggaboos! This introduction is now over! Throw up the cape, slip on that cowl (but leave the whip at home, unless you’re looking for the erotic films list…), and hop into the Tomatomobile: We ride for to the 75 best superhero movies of all time!
This week’s biggest TV story involves a major superhero milestone, some Big Bang Theory nostalgia (yes, already), a post-Game of Thrones role for one of its biggest stars, and more.
(Photo by Warner Brothers Television/courtesy Everett Collection)
Major superhero news: The CW’s original Superman, Smallville star Tom Welling, is suiting up for the network’s epic Arrowverse crossover “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” While the prequel series famously didn’t show Welling’s Clark Kent donning his Superman cape until the final episode, we’ll find out what has happened to him in the almost-decade since Smallville ended.
“Tom is incredible. Bringing back his Clark is something we always wanted to do for Crisis,” Arrowverse executive producer Marc Guggenheim said on Twitter.
There’d be no crossover without Tom Welling. So Tom Welling is in the crossover. pic.twitter.com/9HqffyYUDh
— Stephen Amell (@StephenAmell) September 19, 2019
He’ll be joined by two more Supermen: Brandon Routh, who stars on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, will reprise his Superman Returns role in the crossover; Supergirl’s current Superman, Tyler Hoechlin, will reprise his role as well. Hey — there are infinite Earths, so theoretically that means infinite Supermans too.
The crossover begins with the Dec. 8 episode of Supergirl, continuing into a special Monday night airing of Batwoman and a regularly scheduled Tuesday night episode of The Flash on Dec. 10 before pausing for the winter hiatus. The story then concludes on Tuesday, Jan. 14 with Arrow and a “special episode” of Legends.
Peaky Blinders is back: The series returns to Netflix for its fifth season on Oct. 4. The streaming service released a full trailer for the upcoming season, which features Cillian Murphy’s Tommy Shelby, now serving in Parliament, dealing with the financial crash of 1929.
You can also watch the following new trailers:
The Big Bang Theory just ended, but two of its stars are already staging a reunion. According to Deadline, Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik will executive produce the new multi-camera sitcom Carla, which Fox ordered straight to series. Bialik will also star as the titular character, “a 39-year-old woman who struggles every day against society and her mother to prove that you CANNOT have everything you want — and still be happy. Which is why she spent the money her parents set aside for her wedding to open a Cat Café in Louisville, KY.” It’s based on the BBC sitcom Miranda, which ran for three seasons between 2009 and 2013.
Speaking of BBT, when HBO Max launches in the spring of 2020, it’ll contain a vast library of hit shows — including one of television’s biggest shows from the past decade. All 12 seasons of The Big Bang Theory will be available to stream on the service. It’ll still air in syndication on TBS through 2028.
Baywatch Red, to the rescue! To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the iconic TV series, the Pantone Color Institute partnered with the show’s producers to identify and standardize @baywatch Red, a dynamic and dramatic, red shade featured in the red swimsuits worn by the cast. pic.twitter.com/YOPmTwLIs7
— PANTONE (@pantone) September 16, 2019
It’s been 30 years since Baywatch debuted, and the one-time biggest show in the world is still synonymous with red swimsuits and slow-mo jogging. To celebrate the milestone anniversary, Pantone created the color Baywatch Red, based on the red uniforms of the titular lifeguards.
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GIRLFRIENDS X BLACKISH ~ @therealgolden47 @misspersiawhite @itsmejillmarie @blackishabc my giiiiirlfriends are guest starring on #blackish tuesday, october 8! we haven’t all been together on camera since 2006. these are women i grew up with and love deeply and it was easy tap back into the magic of our chemistry and how much we love each other. it was giggles on top of giggles on top of giggles. girlfriends ran for 8 years and was important to so many people. being able to merge the worlds of @blackishabc and girlfriends was surreal for me and so much fun.
During the week of Oct. 7, ABC will host mini-reunions of cast members from popular, long-running series during its primetime slate. On Monday, House star Robert Sean Leonard will play a patient on House creator David Shore’s latest series, The Good Doctor. Tuesday will see the Blues Brothers – or at least Blues Brothers 2000 – reunite when Dan Aykroyd guest stars alongside John Goodman on The Conners; a Wet Hot American Summer reunion between Michael Ian Black and Lake Bell on Bless This Mess; and the main cast of Girlfriends (Golden Brooks, Jill Marie Jones, and Persia White) join Tracee Ellis Ross on Black-ish. Wednesday brings a Cheers reunion when Kirstie Alley, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger, and George Wendt guest star on The Goldbergs as well as another look at real-life spouses Leighton Meester and Adam Brody on Single Parents. Thursday sees Charmed stars Alyssa Milano and Holly Marie Combs team up with Grey’s Anatomy producers (and former Charmed writers) Krista Vernoff and Andy Reaser, and Jerry Ferrara reunites with Think Like a Man costar Roman Malco on A Million Little Things. Friday will see Diedrich Bader’s Drew Carey Show costars Drew Carey, Ryan Stiles, and Kathy Kinney join him on American Housewife, and Ken Jeong’s return to his Crazy Rich Asians costar Constance Wu’s sitcom Fresh Off the Boat. Finally, on Sunday, The Rookie reunites Castle costars Seamus Dever and Jon Huertas with Nathan Fillion.
(Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO)
Game of Thrones‘ Sophie Turner and Corey Hawkins will play the only survivors of a plane crash on a snowy, remote mountaintop in the Quibi series Survive. The duo will battle their way out of the wilderness in the short-form series, which is currently in production and is based on the novel Survive by Alex Morel.
Kiefer Sutherland will star in Quibi’s new short-form series The Fugitive as legendary cop Det. Clay Bryce, who investigates a bombing in the Los Angeles subway that Boyd Holbrook’s Mike Ferro witnesses (and soon becomes the biggest suspect thanks to social media accusations). Ferro must find the real perpetrator before Bryce can apprehend him. Production begins mid-October in Los Angeles.
Marilyn Manson will recur as death metal singer Johan Wengren in the upcoming third season of American Gods. “Bringing his specific energy, wit and boundless enthusiasm for all-things-Neil Gaiman to the role of Johan, a Norse ‘berserker’ in service to Odin, his performance promises to be disturbing, original and uniquely entertaining,” showrunner Chic Eglee told Deadline.
Billie Lourd will guest star in the upcoming final season of Will & Grace as Fiona Adler, the daughter of Grace’s older sister and granddaughter of Bobbi Adler, who was played by Lourd’s real-life grandmother, Debbie Reynolds.
The Voice has hired Taylor Swift to mentor season 17’s contestants.
We promise that you’ll never find another Mega Mentor like her.
— The Voice (@NBCTheVoice) September 16, 2019
Season 3 of Showtime’s The Chi is welcoming a trio of familiar faces. La La Anthony (Power), Lil Rel Howery (Get Out), and Luke James (Little) will guest star in multiple episodes of the Chicago-set series, which is currently in production in Chicago and will debut in 2020. James will play Victor “Trig” Taylor, Jake’s (Michael V. Epps) estranged older brother who wants to reunite his fractured family, but takes an unconventional approach. Anthony will play Dominique “Dom” Morris, a savvy businesswoman with dreams of more lucrative opportunities. Howery will play Zeke Remnick, the owner of Sonny’s building who cares less about the community than the bottom line.
Constance Zimmer will recur opposite Emma Kenney in the upcoming 10th season of Shameless. John Mulaney will play Henry David Thoreau in the Apple TV+ comedy Dickinson, about the poet Emily Dickinson. Willa Holland is returning to Arrow for the series’ eighth and final season, according to TVLine. She’ll recur as her character Thea Queen, the younger sister of the titular character. Amy Brenneman will join Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow in FX’s pilot The Old Man. She’ll play Zoe, a divorcee who rents a room to Bridges’ titular character. Jay Baruchel is joining Denis Leary and Elizabeth Perkins in Fox’s holiday event series A Moody Christmas, based on an Australian show of the same name.
Jasmine Guy will play a key recurring role in season 16 of Grey’s Anatomy, according to Deadline. The actress appeared in a late-season 15 episode as Gemma, a woman who experienced a freak accident and reunited with Dr. Webber, with whom “she shares a problematic history.” That storyline will play out in multiple episodes of the show’s new season.
Good Girls has found a new member of their criminal team: TVLine reports that Charlyne Yi will join the cast in the season 3 premiere as Lucy, a “quirky artist with ‘mildly impaired social skills’” whom the trio “manipulate to help them with their criminal enterprise.” And per Deadline, Orange Is the New Black’s Jackie Cruz will recur as Rhea, a dental hygienist and single mom who befriends one of the titular characters, to whom she may be more connected than either of them realize.
(Photo by Cartoon Network)
The Boondocks is returning to TV: When HBO Max launches next year, the complete series will be available on the new streaming service, which will also eventually be the home for two new seasons and a 50-minute special of the comic-turned-animated series. Creator Aaron McGruder is returning to helm the 24 new episodes, which is scheduled to launch in fall 2020.
The new series will revolve around “the adventures of self-proclaimed ‘Civil Rights Legend’ Robert ‘Granddad’ Freeman and his two rambunctious grandsons Huey and Riley. The family has recently moved to an idyllic community in suburban Maryland only to see it taken over by the tyrannical Uncle Ruckus and his bizarre neo-fascist regime. Life under Ruckus turns out to be an everyday struggle to survive.”
McGruder said in a statement, “There’s a unique opportunity to revisit the world of The Boondocks and do it over again for today. It’s crazy how different the times we live in are now — both politically and culturally — more than a decade past the original series and two decades past the original newspaper comic. There’s a lot to say and it should be fun.”
You’re the Worst creator Stephen Falk’s next project will see the writer/producer teaming up with Greg Berlanti for a Showtime drama called Spoonbenders, per THR. “Based on a 2017 novel by Daryl Gregory, Spoonbenders is a genre-busting saga that centers on The Amazing Telemachus Family, a traveling family magic act — which happened to be made up of people with actual magic powers — and the tragedy that finds them forced to reunite 25 years later, when old debts, long-running grudges the mob and the CIA all come looking for them.”
Showtime has ordered a pilot for the hourlong drama Yellowjackets, the story of talented high school girls soccer players who survive a plane crash in the Ontario wilderness, then descend into warring, cannibalistic clans. Karyn Kusama will executive produce and direct the pilot, which is set to film in Los Angeles this fall. The series was created by Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson.
To go by his words and deeds, Avengers: Infinity War’s Thanos (Josh Brolin) may be the most consummate and powerful foe the Marvel Cinematic Universe has yet unleashed. To hear him tell it, his attempt to give the universe balance by obtaining the Infinity Stones is a merciful and humane action. Perhaps more than any other Marvel villain, he is a hero in his own mind with goals he perceives as altruistic.
But will his Infinity War appearance make him one of the great film supervillains of all time? And what makes for greatness when it comes to villainy? Is it a grand plan executed with aplomb? An iconic look or an immediately quotable motto? Or is it a knack for banter with the hero? As more and more people see Infinity War, Thanos’s merits as one of the great villains will be debated, but let’s take a look at 20 of the big screen’s greatest superhero foes he will have to contend with to get that honor.
(Photo by 20th Century Fox)
The big screen’s first Joker was also television’s original Crown Prince of Crime. Romero memorably gave the character his psychotic laugh and off-kilter sense of humor. In the film, he also succeeds at being a cabin boy to a senile admiral. Armed with his repertoire and a “dehydration” gun, the Joker — along with the Penguin (Burgess Meredith), Catwoman (Lee Meriwether) and the Riddler (Frank Gorshin) — creates plenty of trouble for the Dynamic Duo.
Film Appearances: Batman: The Movie (1966), though he previously appeared in the Batman TV series.
North American Box Office: $1.7 million
Destruction Factor: Turns the “United World” Security Council to a fine powder.
Memorable Line: “I’m afraid they’ll find our humor very, very dry!”
Powers: Puns and gag weapons.
Cosplay Cred: Few are ever willing to grow a Romero mustache for the perfect Joker ’66 look.
(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)
As a deep-cover spy, Neville Sinclair was the toast of Hollywood with the ability to bed any woman and earn the trust of any man. But his attempt to secure Howard Hughes’s (Terry O’Quinn) experimental rocket pack fills him with a particular mania that serves to be his undoing. Also: his sophisticated movie star image is the perfect counterpoint to the unkempt style of the Rocketeer (Billy Campbell).
Film Appearances: The Rocketeer (1991)
US Box Office: $46.7 million
Destruction Factor: Assists in the destruction of a dirigible, the rocket pack itself, and a portion of the “Hollywoodland” sign.
Memorable Line: “It wasn’t lies, Jenny. It vas acting.”
Powers: A strong resemblance to Errol Flynn and Timothy Dalton.
Cosplay Cred: Sadly, none.
(Photo by Warner Bros.)
The Phantasm is one of the most personal villains the animated Batman (Kevin Conroy) ever faced. In costume, the Phantasm speaks with the voice of Stacy Keach and strikes terror into Gotham’s organized crime families. But in reality, she is Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany), the only woman who could ever pull Bruce Wayne away from his life as a vigilante. Sadly, the dissolution of their relationship leads them both to don masks and face the City’s worst criminals.
Film Appearances: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
US Box Office: $5.6 million
Destruction Factor: Batman’s heart.
Memorable Line: “Your Angel of Death awaits.”
Powers: Combat training and smoke bombs.
Cosplay Cred: Rare, but it’s memorable when you spot a Phantasm cosplay in the wild.
Though he seems to be a mentor, Elijah Price is really the architect of all of David Dunn’s (Bruce Willis) problems. (Sorry: Spoiler.) Though he is the only person to recognize the presence of superpowers in the world, years of abuse and neglect — to say nothing of his brittle bones — lead him to one conclusion: be the supervillain the world needs to find the hero it requires.
Worldwide Box Office: $248.1 million
Destruction Factor: Derails a train to prove David is indestructible, among other acts of terrorism.
Memorable Line: “They called me Mr. Glass!”
Powers: A terrifying intellect.
Cosplay Cred: A surprisingly rare occurrence at comic cons.
(Photo by 20th Century Fox)
As both spy and confidant to Magneto (Ian McKellen), Mystique relies on her top martial arts skills and mutant ability to blend into any environment. But she is also the most visible example of Magneto’s crusade. Though she can choose to appear as anyone she wishes, Mystique’s natural blue serpentine appearance inspires fear in the world. The character was so memorable in the initial X-Men film series that the current cycle revolves around her, now played by Jennifer Lawrence.
Film Appearances: The X-Men franchise.
Worldwide Box Office: X-Men: $296.3 million, X2: X-Men United: $407.7 million, X-Men: The Last Stand: $459.3 million
Destruction Factor: Though she has been known to blow stuff up now and again, that isn’t really her style. Instead she sows confusion and wreaks havoc by manipulating her foes.
Memorable Line: “You know, people like you are the reason I was afraid to go to school as a child.”
Cosplay Cred: An extremely tough look to pull off at comic cons.
(Photo by Warner Bros.)
When Superman is overcome by the toxic effects of Gus Gorman’s (Richard Pryor) counterfeit Kryptonite, he turns into a self-centered jerk who would rather make time with a pretty lady than save a bunch of bus passengers on a disintegrating bridge. Reeve’s attempt to channel an all-id Superman does feel more “bad” than evil, but it provides a fun opportunity for Reeve to play against himself and presents the first on-screen exploration of an idea — “What if Superman were evil?” — that would become a major theme driving the narrative behind movies like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.
Film Appearances: Superman III (1983)
US Box Office: $60 million
Destruction Factor: Straightening the Leaning Tower of Pisa ruined the Italian economy.
Memorable Line: “You always wanted to fly, Kent!”
Powers: All the powers of a Superman, but he’d rather drink Johnny Walker Red.
Cosplay Cred: Not nearly as common as it should be.
The merger of Nicholson’s persona with the Joker is one of Batman’s great strengths, but the performance is more nuanced than many gave it credit for at the time. Once he falls into the Axis Chemicals acid and adopts his clown persona, Nicholson loses some of his iconic cool to dig into the louder, broader aspects of Gotham’s #1 villain (e.g. the Smilex commercial). A consummate foe for the Batman of the late 1980s.
Film Appearances: Batman (1989)
Worldwide Box Office: $411.3 million
Destruction Factor: Kills his boss, fries a business rival, and poisons Gotham City.
Memorable Line: “Ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?”
Powers: Knowledge of chemistry and a flair for the theatrical.
Cosplay Cred: A fairly rare sight as other takes on the Joker became more popular.
(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)
The ultimate sycophant, Syndrome (née Buddy Pine) was a precursor of the sort of fan culture that eats itself for some perceived lack of purity. His jealousy of the supers leads to a lot of strife for the Parr Family and an America burnt out on superheroes. Nonetheless, his actions also lead to a possible return of heroes, despite an attempt to even the playing field.
Film Appearances: The Incredibles (2004)
Tomatometer: 97% (Certified Fresh)
Worldwide Box Office: $633 million
Destruction Factor: His robots leave a path of destruction through the metro area the Parrs call home.
Memorable Line: “And when everyone’s super, no one will be.”
Powers: Zero point energy manipulation via technology.
Cosplay Cred: Virtually nonexistent, though memorably spotted on occasion.
(Photo by Marvel Studios)
As the personification of Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) id, Ultron’s attempts to secure the planet make clear Tony’s greatest failing: he cannot see the human cost in any of his endeavors. Powered by the Mind Stone, Ultron makes a final, ugly calculation in regards to humanity and sets out to destroy it. Also, since he’s based on Tony’s brain patterns, he quips. A lot.
Film Appearances: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Tomatometer: 75% (Certified Fresh)
Worldwide Box Office: $1.41 billion
Destruction Factor: Raises – and razes – the entire nation of Sokovia; the ramifications of which are still being felt throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Memorable Line: “When the dust settles, the only thing living in this world will be metal.”
Powers: All the powers of an Iron Man, multiplied by the ability to self-replicate infinitely.
Cosplay Cred: Extremely rare, though a few Ultrons appeared at cons after the film’s release.
(Photo by Warner Bros.)
While DC Comics’ favorite cat burglar skirts the line between villain and ne’er-do-well, Catwoman’s initial involvement in a plot to disgrace Batman (Michael Keaton) earns her a spot on the list. Pfeiffer’s performance defined the character for a long time – even if she was partly inspired by the TV Catwomen of the 1960s – as she fought Batman and her own turmoil. In the end, her Catwoman chose her own way and never appeared in a film again. Not that anyone has ever been able to forget her.
Film Appearances: Batman Returns (1992)
Tomatometer: 81% (Certified Fresh)
Worldwide Box Office: $266.8 million
Destruction Factor: She blows up Schreck’s Department Store in an early show of strength.
Memorable Line: “Meow.”
Powers: Nine lives and a filing system that is unstoppable.
Cosplay Cred: Though the film is over 25 years old, this Catwoman costume is still popular.
(Photo by Zade Rosenthal/Walt Disney Studios)
Yes, yes, he isn’t a villain by choice, as he’s very much a weapon of Hydra in the film, but Bucky Barnes is very effective at playing the part. His Soviet brainwashing is so effective that, when activated, almost no emotional appeal will work on him. Well, at least until his old friend Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America (Chris Evans), finally breaks through. And, really, Bucky’s relationship with Steve is part of what makes him so compelling.
Tomatometer: Captain America: The Winter Soldier: 89% (Certified Fresh), Captain America: Civil War: 91% (Certified Fresh)
Worldwide Box Office: Captain America: The Winter Soldier: $714.3 million, Captain America: Civil War: $1.15 billion
Destruction Factor: Assists in bringing down S.H.I.E.L.D. and its helicarrier fleet.
Memorable Line: “Who the hell is Bucky?”
Powers: Heightened strength and agility, a cybernetic vibranium arm.
Cosplay Cred: A beloved fixture of con-going cosplayers.
(Photo by Sony Pictures)
Despite a strong work ethic and good management skills, Adrian Toomes turned to crime when Tony Stark and government officials bulldozed over his contract to clean up Manhattan following the Battle of New York. Granted, the swiftness with which he became a black market weapons manufacturer suggests all he ever needed was a gentle shove to embrace villainy. But the opening scene of Spider-Man: Homecoming made him immediately understandable and compelling as a villain; and even sympathetic once his relationship to Spider-Man’s (Tom Holland) world is revealed.
Film Appearances: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Tomatometer: 92% (Certified Fresh)
Worldwide Box Office: $880.1 million
Destruction Factor: Rips a ferry in half, crashes a Stark Industries jet, and blasts Logan Marshall-Green out of the MCU.
Memorable Line: “The rich, the powerful, like Stark, they don’t care about us! The world’s changed boys. Time we change too!”
Powers: A flying rig based on crashed Chitauri tech.
Cosplay Cred: Surprisingly rare costume in spite of a great adaptation of the comic book Vulture’s look.
Excusing some of the camp value to Hackman’s Luthor – particularly in the sequel – he exudes the key quality of Superman’s archfoe: egotism. Luthor, a real estate swindler in these films, only decides to fight Superman because his ego dictates it. Consequently, Superman cannot really appeal to his emotions; none are present as he plans to remake the West Coast in his image.
Tomatometer: Superman: 93%, Superman II: 87%
Worldwide Box Office: Superman: $300 million, Superman II: $156.9 million
Destruction Factor: Nearly sank California into the Pacific.
Memorable Line: “There’s a strong streak of good in you, Superman. But then, nobody’s perfect… almost nobody.”
Powers: He is the greatest criminal mind of his time. He also owns a hefty Kryptonite necklace that he uses to weaken Superman.
Cosplay Cred: Between Hackman’s refusal to go bald and the appalling 1970s fashions, he is a truly rare cosplay sight.
(Photo by Marvel Studios)
Currently, the Avengers’ greatest foe is not a flamboyant god or a maniacal robot, but a sad, quiet man with a detailed plan and working knowledge of governmental procedures. Zemo destabilizes the world for a very personal and, ultimately, small goal: hurt the Avengers the way they hurt him. He also succeeds, leaving Captain America a fugitive and Tony Stark so isolated that he has to pal around with a spider-themed teenager hero.
Film Appearances: Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Tomatometer: 91% (Certified Fresh)
Worldwide Box Office: $1.15 billion
Destruction Factor: With some smoke, a few explosions, and a very inconvenient truth, he brings down the Avengers. He also murders a few people along the way.
Memorable Line: “An empire toppled by its enemies can rise again, but one which crumbles from within? That’s dead… forever.”
Cosplay Cred: Despite his comic book counterpart’s incredible fashion sense, the Marvel Cinematic Universe version inspires few to dress up.
(Photo by Columbia Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)
One of the most sympathetic villains on the list, Molina’s Doc Ock was as much a victim of his passions as he was a willing accomplice in a plan to destroy Spider-Man. The cruelty that emerges in him came from his cybernetic implants; a crucial detail that becomes clear when he finally reasserts control and realizes he was trying to kill his friend Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire). Also, the warmth with which he welcomes Peter — a guy in desperate need of a positive male role model — makes his turn all the more tragic.
Film Appearances: Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Tomatometer: 93% (Certified Fresh)
Worldwide Box Office: $783.8 million
Destruction Factor: His lab is completely destroyed during an experiment. He also leaves his mark on New York skyscrapers and the subway lines.
Memorable Line: “I will not die a monster.”
Powers: Super-tough robotic appendages.
Cosplay Cred: Popular in the wake of the film’s release, but has since faded.
(Photo by Warner Bros.)
Thanks to Stamp, Zod is as much a staple in Superman’s rogues gallery as Lex Luthor. Seemingly reserved, Zod can lash out without hesitation. Despite the air of refinement Stamp gives the character, he is just another petty dictator — a point underscored when he takes control of the White House (and, by implication, the world) only to suffer from conqueror’s boredom. Superman’s return late in the film comes as a relief to Zod, as debasing the son of Jor-El gives him something to do.
Worldwide Box Office: Superman: $300 million, Superman II: $156.9 million
Destruction Factor: He and his cohorts reshape Mount Rushmore and pummel the West Wing. They also make insurance premiums rise in Metropolis again.
Memorable Line: “Come to me, son of Jor-El! Kneel before Zod!”
Powers: All the powers of a Superman plus advanced military training.
Cosplay Cred: Zod’s look is just a little too disco for most cosplayers.
(Photo by © Marvel and © Walt Disney Pictures)
The secret shame of Wakanda, Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (Michael B. Jordan) presents a legitimate concern to King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and his subjects, even if his methods are woefully misguided: Should Wakanda reveal itself to the outside world and help those who live with the legacy of the African slave trade? The character’s heady subtext is backed by Jordan’s gifted abilities as a performer.
Film Appearances: Black Panther (2018)
Tomatometer: 96% (Certified Fresh)
Worldwide Box Office (To Date): $1.34 billion
Destruction Factor: Destroys all but one of the heart-shaped herbs, which is far more devastating than any property damage he caused in the film.
Memorable Line: “Nah, just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from ships. ‘Cause they knew death was better than bondage.”
Powers: Thanks to the heart-shaped herb, all the powers of Black Panther; Navy SEAL training.
Cosplay Cred: Few could wait for a comic convention to dress in Killmonger’s now-iconic London look. Cosplayers dressed in his subsequent battle suit, which looks suspiciously like Vegeta’s from Dragonball Z, shortly after.
(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)
Erik Magnus Lehnsherr is one of the most compelling antagonists in comics and film for one simple reason: he’s pretty much right. His methods may be unquestionably cruel to conventional humans, but he recognizes two sapient species cannot share the planet. Violence, subjugation, and pain are inevitable. And when his point of view is given McKellen’s voice, it becomes incredibly persuasive. The more optimistic philosophy of the X-Men looks naïve and childish in comparison.
Film Appearances: The X-Men Franchise
Worldwide Box Office: X-Men: $296.3 million, X2: X-Men United: $407.7 million, X-Men: The Last Stand: $459.4 million, X-Men: Days of Future Past: $747.9 million
Destruction Factor: He moves the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz, turns Senator Kelly (Bruce Davison) into a water creature, and renders a sick burn unto Rogue (Anna Paquin) about the white stripe in her hair.
Memorable Line: “Let’s just say God works too slowly.”
Powers: The ability to manipulate all metal.
Cosplay Cred: His initial low-key look is rarely imitated these days.
(Photo by Zade Rosenthal/Walt Disney Studios)
The power of persuasion is also a major weapon in the arsenal of the God of Lies. Loki is charismatic, witty, exciting, and a sharp dresser. He’s that bad boy who looks redeemable even as he opens a wormhole to let the Chitauri invade Earth. But then he has a good explanation for his bad choices: he was raised by the god who kidnapped him from his real family. And he means to do good, so shouldn’t that be enough? It’s no wonder Loki returns to the MCU time and again; his brand of villainy looks like it can be reasoned with. Even if he betrays Thor again, again, and again.
Tomatometer: Thor: 77%, The Avengers: 92%, Thor: The Dark World: 66%, Thor: Ragnarok: 92%
Worldwide Box Office: Thor: $449.3 million, The Avengers: 1.52 million, Thor: The Dark World: $644.6 million, Thor: Ragnarok: $853.5 million
Destruction Factor: He seizes the throne of Asgard and almost murders Thor, then later precipitates the Battle of New York, which alerts the world to the presence of superpowered beings.
Memorable Line: “You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.”
Powers: God-level abilities and a snake-oil salesman’s tongue.
Cosplay Cred: A perennial favorite, though his formal tux from Avengers was more popular in the wake of the film’s release.
(Photo by )
In an age when origins are required, Ledger’s Joker arrived on the scene without a name, place of birth, or a particular ambition. As Alfred (Michael Caine) put it, he just wants to see the world burn, and he even tells Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) as much late in the film. His complete lack of backstory and motivation makes him the most unpredictable, dangerous supervillain on this list, and the purity of his cruelty makes him the most fascinating.
Film Appearances: The Dark Knight (2008)
Worldwide Box Office: $1 billion
Destruction Factor: Took out most of Gotham’s entrenched mafia, destroyed Harvey Dent, and made the Batman Gotham’s Number One criminal.
Memorable Line: “Why so serious?”
Cosplay Cred: Thanks to the alterations to the classic Joker look, Ledger’s Joker costume remains popular at cons and at Halloween.
San Diego Comic-Con 2017 may be over, but it delivered some fine trailers, teasers, and sneak peeks for us to chew on. Here are some of the delectable things we saw during the annual convention, which ran from July 20-23.
MOVIES | TV
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