Movie villainy came in all varieties in 2013, from the instantly iconic (Loki in Thor: The Dark World) and the classic (General Zod in Man of Steel) to the reptilian (Smaug in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug). But they all shared one thing in common: Existing to make everyone in the movie’s life a living hell, all under the guise that they truly believed that what they were doing was right and justified.
So, here are our characters that are the most delicious at being devilish… The Top 10 Movie Villains of 2013. And just a warning… in case you haven’t seen any of these films yet, some of these villains' reveals are spoilers, so read with care!
10. Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3
Guy Pearce is one of our favorite actors and the Australian showed he is so good at being bad in Iron Man 3. He is the puppet master behind the puppet that is Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin. His beef with Tony Stark is personal, and nothing is better in an evildoer than a man (or woman) who does what he does because they perceived they were scorned. Iron Man 3 was the best Iron Man movie in many ways because it had the most well-rounded villain.
9. Abduwali Muse in Captain Phillips
Sometimes movie villains have to do what they do simply because of their spot in the totem pole of life. Muse (Barkhad Abdi) is the commander of the group of pirates that takes over Tom Hanks’ Captain Phillips’ ship and launches an international incident that would show in this true tale that some of the best heroes on screen or in real life are our Navy SEALs.
Muse does what he does because he has had his screws tightened by a Somali warlord. There is also the fact that extreme poverty has limited his options for making a life for himself besides taking to the high seas wreaking terror.
8. Owen Shaw in Fast and Furious 6
Luke Evans was fantastic in the role of Owen Shaw, and he had to be. The villain in Fast and Furious 6 had to be a singular entity that would unite Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) with the street racing crew led by Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, that he had been previously driven to put in jail. How badly did Hobbs want to bring down Shaw? Our anti-heroes get full pardons if they’re successful in apprehending and stopping Shaw for Hobbs!
7. Holly Jones in Prisoners
We would not want to meet Melissa Leo’s Holly Jones in a dark alley anytime soon. She is evil personified in that her urges to cause chaos are geared squarely at the youngest of victims -- children. And the fact that Jones does what she does in Prisoners without one shred of remorse makes her all the more frightening. She also will stop at nothing to ensure she does not get caught, including using torture and murder.
6. John Harrison/Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness
Whether or not he was Khan or not was not the debate by the time Benedict Cumberbatch had been seen in Star Trek Into Darkness. There is something about the UK actor that he was able to simultaneously portray someone who could be trusted to help in the larger cause (like working alongside Captain Kirk) and then on a dime turn and orchestrate a disastrous scenario that would wipe out the Enterprise and Star Fleet as a whole.
Cumberbatch played his John Harrison/Khan with an even hand and a sense of calm that it seemed as if he wouldn’t even break a sweat -- even when he was running through the futuristic streets of San Francisco, eluding Spock and a surefire beating. That sereneness made his villainy all the more vivacious.
5. Kang Yeonsak in Olympus Has Fallen
The award for the best Bond-type villain of the year goes to actor Rick Yune for his portrayal of Kang Keonsak in Olympus Has Fallen. The character made a perfect foil for Aaron Eckhart’s POTUS and Gerard Butler’s secret service agent. Just when Hollywood was trying to find a new geographical locale for its villains, director Antoine Fuqua scored a believable and realistic ripped from the headlines one in the North Korean man seeking to make the U.S. pay for the crippling sanctions that were starving his homeland.
4. President Snow in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Donald Sutherland is clearly having a ball portraying the man behind the oppression in The Hunger Games series. In Catching Fire he is so desperate to quell a rebellion that has been spawned by Katniss’ Hunger Games victory that he launches a Quarter Quell. He brings some of Panem’s greatest heroes into the ring for an all-star Hunger Games that will surely result in the death of Katniss -- the thorn in his white rose-loving side.
3. General Zod in Man of Steel
As we said before, a villain with a clear sense of purpose not only gives the audience a built-in quandary as to how to pull for our hero against the villain. but it also sharpens his or her resolve to achieve their mission of perceived justice at the expense of innocent casualties along the way.
That was none more the case in 2013 than with Michael Shannon as General Zod in Man of Steel. Believing that the true son of Krypton, Superman, belonged not on Earth but as part of an effort to salvage what is left of his race, made him oh so dangerous. Shannon was downright explosive as Superman’s antagonist and gave Zack Snyder the ammunition to reboot the Man of Steel saga in the best of ways.
2. Edwin Epps in 12 Years a Slave
We adore Michael Fassbender, but there was something so chilling about his turn as Edwin Epps in 12 Years a Slave that will make it forever difficult to see him any other way than lower than the lowest of pond scum. Sure, he wasn’t the person responsible for putting the free man played by Chiwetel Ejiofor in the bonds of slavery, but Epps certainly made his timeframe of the titular period of slavery feel like hell would be a step up.
1. Loki in Thor: The Dark World
Sure, Loki worked with Thor in Thor: The Dark World to erase a common foe. But, was he ever really doing it for the right reasons? As those who have seen the sequel to Thor know, the playing the good guy was all a sham in a larger scale plan to ascend to what he felt was his rightful place on the throne of Asgard.
Tom Hiddleston and his alter ego are making their third appearance on our Top 10 Villains list for his third turn as the live-to-cause-mayhem Loki. That is because Marvel scored the lottery when they cast the UK actor in the role and in the process crafted one of cinema's great villains of all time.
Honorable mentions: Smaug in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Steve Gray in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Trent in The Way Way Back, Luther Voz in Machete Kills, Kruger in Elysium, The Mother(expletive) in Kick Ass 2, Charlie Stoker in Stoker and Crystal in Only God Forgives