Villainy has many forms, and villains keep coming up with new ways to invade our popular culture. Film baddies especially have a way of standing out -- with takes on real life menaces, as well as tailor-made baddies getting written for the big screen every year. But out of all of the antagonists with ill intentions this year, there are 10 that we've picked out as the most memorable. These worst-of-the-worst contenders would wish you a happy 2018, if they weren't busy trying to wreak havoc. So consider the following list a backhanded greeting for a pleasant new year.
10. Emily's Coma-inducing Disease (The Big Sick)
Let's start with an actual menace, courtesy of Kumail Nanjiani's The Big Sick. Throughout the film, we see the true story of how Kumail had to deal with his then recently ex-girlfriend, Emily, being hospitalized for a good portion of the film. Now on the more serious side, the complications that she suffered thanks to Still's Disease forced the doctors to put Emily in a medically-induced coma, as well as made her life difficult to live when she was first having problems. But in the less serious realm, this whole illness caused Kumail such heartache that he lost out on a spot at the Montreal Comedy Festival, thanks to bombing a stand-up routine with a heartfelt speech. Sure, it all worked out in the end, but it's a definite villain in a mostly charming movie.
9. The Mirando Sisters (Okja)
Coming up with a supposedly environmentally friendly, as well as high yield, meat substitute is a pretty big achievement. But in the case of Okja, it comes at the hands of two wildly different sisters with similar aims. On one hand, Lucy Mirando wants to be loved by the world, and masks her quest to make the super pig the next big foodstuff as a promotional blitz that really glosses over the nasty bits. But on the other hand, Nancy Mirando isn't afraid to take out anything that stands in her way, nor is she against animal cruelty in the slightest. Both women make the life of a little girl who loves one special specimen a living hell, and it's all because of one, almighty purpose: money.
8. Kylo Ren (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
When we last saw Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, his dark powers were still developing. Not to mention, the man also known as Ben Solo was still developing his personality, especially when it came to how he dealt with his opposite number in The Force, Rey. While the Kylo we saw in Star Wars: The Last Jedi was still impulsive, and easy to let personal grudges get the better of his pride, he was also a more self-assured man. He kills Supreme Leader Snoke, takes control of the First Order, and does it while legitimately trying to befriend Rey, in an attempt to sway her to the Dark Side. He may not have succeeded, but he's definitely improved his bad guy skills to a certain degree.
7. Ernesto de la Cruz (Coco)
When Coco was making the rounds during its promotional stages, we would have never guessed that the dashing singer and hero to Mexico, Ernesto de la Cruz, was actually a scheming, murderous bad guy. As it turns out, the man we thought we'd come to know and love from the trailers not only killed his friend and bandmate over a song, but was committed to killing young Miguel in order to preserve his mansion of fond memories in the afterlife. It wasn't bad enough he inadvertently sent Miguel's family on a crusade against music, as the plan to actually murder a kid pretty much takes the cake.
6. David (Alien: Covenant)
It wasn't bad enough that Alien: Covenant's David worked against his Weyland Corporation crew in Prometheus, courtesy of some select genetic engineering. No, he had to step up his game and set his sights on mankind entirely. Something that's best seen in this past summer's Alien franchise creature feature, as we get to see the synthetic lifeform carrying out scientific experiments yet again. This is especially evil after seeing Elizabeth Shaw, another Prometheus player, restore David's life as a walking / talking presence again. His villainy knows no boundaries, and you can see it in the film's ending, as he totally tricks the Covenant crew into letting him ultimately take control of their destinies. Well played, David.
5. Ego (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
Here comes another surprising / sneaky villain that many did not see coming. For a good portion of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's publicity campaign, the golden Sovereign race looked like they'd be a big antagonist in James Gunn's wildly successful follow-up. And then, Ego started to spill his plan of seeding the universe with plants to wipe out all life, with the aid of specially powered children he could use like batteries to power his system. That's pretty evil enough, and puts this bearded father figure pretty high up on the list. But what has him this high is the fact that he purposely killed Quill's mom with a brain tumor, just so he'd follow through on his mission. If that's not cold-hearted scum, then we don't know what is.
4. Pennywise (IT)
Fear is one of the greatest motivators for heroes and villains alike, and nobody knows fear quite like Pennywise the dancing clown from Stephen King's IT. Using those triggers to terrorize the town of Derry, this ancient evil not only tricks children into becoming his supper, but he also manipulates the town bully into killing his father, and ultimately trying to kill The Loser's Club. But the methods that Pennywise uses are the key to his evaluation as an evil presence, as he targets the most intimate fears that each of his victims possesses, and uses it against them to confuse and defeat them. While he's currently vanquished, IT: Chapter Two will see pieces that were put into play during this first film making some big moves, all in the name of those childhood fears they walked away with in the summer of 1985.
3. The Armitage Family (Get Out)
Jordan Peele's Get Out was not only a runaway sensation at the box office in the earlier part of 2017, it also gave a new voice to a favorite villain in pop culture: the evolved racist. The entire Armitage family greets all of its guests of color with smiles and platitudes on how they would have voted for Obama a third time. But underneath the surface, right in the basement, is their true thoughts on the African American community. The truth is, they love them so much, they want to be them... literally. A heady mix of sci-fi terror and extreme cultural appropriation, the Armitages show their true colors if you wait around long enough. Though by the time you can figure things out for yourself, it may already be too late.
2. Colonel J. Wesley McCullough (War for the Planet of the Apes)
In war, it's not enough to hate your opponent. You have to outsmart them, break their spirits, and ruin their strategy. Colonel J. Wesley McCullough from War for the Planet of the Apes is the most effective villain in his franchise, as he does all three of those things when fighting against Caesar's ape legions. While he's more of a blunt instrument than some on this list, the Colonel understands that the legacy of humanity is in his hands, and he's not afraid of some dead apes to secure that legacy. But all the while, he doesn't devolve into obsession or histrionics; rather he treats it like a job, or a mission. He may not have won, but if fate hadn't broken the way it did, we might have seen even Caesar bow to his powerful military adversary.
1. Adrian Toomes / Vulture (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Adrian Toomes is the villain of 2017, full stop. The Spider-Man: Homecoming baddie is the best antagonist of the year for one very simple reason: he's the smartest of the lot. Selling super powered tech on the black market is something any common thug can do. But with Toomes and his team's brilliance in re-engineering the toys that heroes and villains alike leave strewn on the battlefield, they're able to create some powerful weapons that draw top dollar. Not to mention, this Vulture is so ambitious that he sells these weapons at just enough of a frequency to cash in, but not so much that he attracts the attention of The Avengers. At least, for a good eight years he was able to do that anyway. But the fact still remains that Adrian Toomes was doing it all for his family. So on top of being a smart and successful bad guy, his ambition was to provide a better life for his family, by any means necessary. He is the perfect three dimensional villain, and he can pick up his crown at the reception desk, because he's certainly earned it.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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