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Villains are always one of the absolute best parts of any movie. They can be some of the more creative characters because they are, by their nature, not limited by anything. They can say or do whatever they like.
There were plenty of memorable villains on the big screen this year. Here are our 10 favorite movie villains from 2015.
10. Ultron - Avengers: Age of UltronFor as much as the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done that’s new and different, one place where they have been lacking is the villains. Everybody loves Loki, but after that, it’s a bit of a mess. Ultron isn’t the next breakthrough villain that we’ve been waiting for, but he makes the list nonetheless on the strength of James Spader’s voice acting performance. Spader fills Ultron with a life that few others would have been capable of. Ultron is diabolical, but he’s also snarky. While the A.I. is not capable of smirking, you can still it see it on his face, because you know that’s the look on Spader’s face when he says the lines.
9. Richmond Valentine - Kingsman: The Secret ServiceSamuel L. Jackson is great at playing the bad guy. He’s done it many, many times in his career. He added a fun performance to that list at the beginning of the year with Kingsman: The Secret Service. Richmond Valentine’s plot was as ridiculous as anything in a Pierce Brosnan Bond movie, but in a place where that insanity felt right at home. While the "Steve Jobs as supervillain" thing is likely going to get old fast, Jackson can still do pretty much whatever he wants and still be entertaining. He also gave us one of the more memorable villain deaths of the year. (No spoilers!)
8. Deckard Shaw- Furious 7The team behind the Fast & Furious franchise had been trying to get Jason Statham into the movies for awhile now. After finally seeing him there, it’s no wonder. Statham inhabits the role of Deckard Shaw like he’s been there forever. The fact that we’ll likely see him again is little surprise. We want to see him get a rematch with The Rock.
7. The Creature - It FollowsIt Follows was one of the more creative horror movies of the last few years. By honing in on dream logic, and one of the most iconic aspects of our nightmares that nearly everybody has experienced before, writer and director David Robert Mitchell has created a movie monster that we’ve all been afraid of. From there, it takes very little to hit us all right in the fright center of the brain. It walks slowly, but it's going to get us all, eventually.
6. "Whitey" Bulger - Black MassWhen Johnny Depp is at his best, there are few, if any, that are better. He’s at his best in Black Mass. His portrayal of real life Boston mobster James " Whitey" Bulger may not have been a perfect reproduction of the truth, but it was a perfect performance of a man who is both terrifying and brilliant. You can see behind Depp’s eyes that he playing a character who’s working five moves ahead of everybody else. And that’s what makes him so scary.
5. Rick Carver - 99 HomesWhile every other entry on this list is a character who’s larger than life, Michael Shannon’s Rick Carver wins his spot on this list for being the most realistic villain of the movies this year. Rick Carver isn’t a real man, but the things he does are all too real. He has no problem with kicking a man out of his house one day, and hiring him to do the same to others the next. Rick Carver does what’s best for Rick Carver. He does nothing "wrong," he just does what’s best for himself. Carver is by far the biggest pure asshole of 2015. The fact that Michael Shannon is so damn good at it just makes him all the more terrible.
4. Lady Tremaine - CinderellaWhile the name of the tale may be Cinderella the key role in the story is that of the Wicked Stepmother. She’s the one that sets the tone and Cate Blanchett does a phenomenal job of doing just that. Lady Tremaine is so terrible that her awfulness drips off the screen, yet you can’t help but revel in it all with her. Blanchett looks to be having so much fun, it’s like she’s gotten away with something. She’s so evil that we feel guilty enjoying it.
3. Mars - The MartianThe red planet is a dick. That’s the only thing that makes sense. Why else would so many things befall Matt Damon’s Mark Watney from one moment to the next. This villain has no face and it cannot be defeated. This is why it’s so insidious. Every time Watney gains the upper hand on his situation, Mars comes in and swats him back down again. Eventually, nearly the entire human race is fighting against Mars. That’s how big this monster is.
2. Kylo Ren - Star Wars: The Force AwakensAmongst the numerous challenges that The Force Awakens had before it this year was the creation of a villain as evil and dangerous as Darth Vader. While it’s unfair to make a true comparison this soon, J.J. Abrams and Adam Driver have created a villain worthy of the Star Wars universe. Kylo Ren is the embodiment of the Dark Side of the Force. He’s angry, he’s afraid, and he’s violent. These traits, combined with the fact that he commits one of the most heinous crimes in the history of cinema, puts him near the top of the list.
1. Immortan Joe - Mad Max: Fury RoadOn first glance, Immortan Joe may not look like the most evil villain of the year, but that’s why he’s so vicious. He doesn’t have to do anything to be evil. He’s already done everything that he’s needed to do before the movie starts. Now he owns everything and everybody he can see. He controls the water which means he controls everybody. We don’t need to see what he does to the women he has locked away, our imaginations do the job just fine, thank you. His war boys follow him without question. We’re sure somebody asked a question once. Once.
Who was the best villain of 2015?