10 Most Underrated DC Movie Villains

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Summary

  • Scarecrow in Batman Begins is a haunting and corrupted doctor who manipulates Batman and his enemies with fear toxins. Cillian Murphy’s performance makes him one of the best villains in The Dark Knight trilogy.
  • Black Mask in Birds of Prey, portrayed by Ewan McGregor, is an eccentric and unpredictable gangster who poses a threat to Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey. McGregor’s unique choices make the character captivating to watch.
  • While Batman & Robin is a disaster, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s portrayal of Mr. Freeze with horrible ice puns and a hilariously complicated plan is so bad that it’s good. His interpretation fits Joel Schumacher’s world, despite not resembling the comics.

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DC has many fantastic movie villains, but many are underappreciated compared to the rest. Yes, Heath Ledger’s Joker is iconic, and Terence Stamp delivers a memorable General Zod, but there are still many DC antagonists who deserve more love. There are many reasons why a villain could be underrated. Some villains are sidelined by the central villain, while others have the unfortunate fate of being in movies that underperformed either at the box office or with critics.

There are many eras of DC villains that have impacted viewers. Whether it’s Tim Burton’s Batman universe, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, or the DCEU, there are dozens of DC movie villains that have either stayed with audiences for years or have been forgotten in the sands of time. However, every era of DC films has antagonists that deserve more love.

Related: How To Watch DCEU Movies In Order (By Release Date & Chronologically)

10 Scarecrow in Batman Begins

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Cillian Murphy has been a go-to actor for Nolan, and before his starring role in Oppenheimer, the actor played psychologist Dr. Jonathan Crane, a.k.a. Scarecrow. One of the more haunting Batman villains, Scarecrow is a corrupt doctor who uses his fear toxins to manipulate Batman and his other enemies. His mask is excellent and frightening, even without his fear gas. While he is ultimately a henchman for Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins, Murphy’s performance makes the character one of the best villains in The Dark Knight trilogy.

9 Black Mask in Birds of Prey

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Black Mask is a Batman villain many wanted to see adapted for the silver screen. While the gangster didn’t go up against Batman, he’s still a worthy adversary for Harley Quinn and the rest of the Birds of Prey. Ewan McGregor goes all-out with his performance, and his wild card behavior makes him more threatening as he is truly unhinged and unpredictable. McGregor makes a lot of unique choices with his performance as Roman Sionis, but it takes a character who is normally toned down and turns him into an eccentric villain who is captivating to watch.

8 Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin

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Batman & Robin is largely a disaster of a movie. However, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the only actor who understood how much of a train wreck it was and played it up with his acting. His interpretation of Mr. Freeze is nothing like the comics, but it fits director Joel Schumacher’s world. While he is not a threatening villain, his horrible ice puns and hilariously complicated plan make it hard to dislike Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze, even if it is so bad that it’s good.

7 Carmine Falcone in The Batman

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Carmine Falcone is usually treated as a side villain, but director Matt Reeves decided to give the mob boss a more central role. Falcone has a connection to Catwoman and Batman that makes him a more compelling villain while also making the two characters question their own morality. His power comes through the power he wields over the crime world and the police, but also through what he is willing to do to keep that power. John Turturro delivers an excellent performance, giving Falcone a personality that is equally charismatic and terrifying.

6 Maxwell Lord in Wonder Woman 1984

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It’s hard to dislike Pedro Pascal in any project he’s in. Even though he plays an arrogant and selfish antagonist in Maxwell Lord, he still comes across as charming at times, even when he is losing his sanity. Lord is a desperate businessman who wants to impress everybody, especially his son. He gains the power to grant everyone’s wishes, which corrupts him, along with everyone who gets their wishes granted. Unfortunately, his character gets dealt some absurd dialogue throughout Wonder Woman 1984, but Pascal makes it work, committing to the over-the-top performance he has to deliver.

5 Starro in The Suicide Squad

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Starro seems like a joke villain for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, but Starro is legitimately threatening. He is a significant foe of the Justice League in the comics as he can control armies by attaching his star offspring onto their faces and controlling their minds. While a massive starfish looks goofy, he is still a worthy adversary for Task Force X. Gunn even manages to make the creature sympathetic, with his final words being, “I was happy just floating in space and staring at the stars.” In the same movie where Gunn makes audiences sympathize with a giant shark, he does the same thing with a giant starfish.

Related: Suicide Squad 3: Release Date, News, Cast, & Everything We Know

4 Steppenwolf in Zack Snyder’s Justice League

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Steppenwolf was an underwhelming aspect of the theatrical cut of Justice League. However, in Zack Snyder’s cut, Steppenwolf is a much better villain, as his character is given more depth and his motivations are fully explained. The god-like being is immensely powerful, but he isn’t just a power-hungry monster hellbent on world domination. He is a servant of Darkseid, and there is an element of desperation and fear that makes him more threatening. He knows what will happen if he fails Darkseid, but it’s crucial that the Justice League wins, otherwise it would mean total annihilation. Darkseid was the looming antagonist of Zack Snyder’s DCEU, but Steppenwolf was a frightening appetizer before the main course.

3 The Penguin in The Batman

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Matt Reeves decided to take a different direction with his version of The Penguin than Danny DeVito’s in Batman Returns. In The Batman, The Penguin is a rising leader of the criminal underworld who comes into conflict several times with Pattinson’s Batman. Colin Farrell is unrecognizable in the role, and he does an excellent job at giving the character a sense of humor while still adding some menace. While viewers didn’t see the character at the height of his powers, he could have a larger role in the Gotham criminal empire in The Batman: Part II and his upcoming Max series.

2 Black Manta in Aquaman

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While Patrick Wilson’s Orm is the central villain of Aquaman, Black Manta is a more intriguing character. Yes, his outfit is somewhat silly-looking, but it’s still powerful and gives Arthur Curry a run for his money. Underneath the suit is a character determined to get vengeance on Aquaman after he left his father for dead. His hatred for the King of Atlantis is understood, and he’s an interesting manifestation of Curry’s flawed past. Black Manta will be the main antagonist of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, so he will be even more intimidating than before.

1 Two-Face in The Dark Knight

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Ledger’s Joker steals the show in The Dark Knight. It’s the role everyone remembers, but Aaron Eckhart deserves more appreciation for his incredible performance as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. Dent is an honorable district attorney who is eventually corrupted by the actions of the Joker and his hatred toward dirty law enforcement. While he claims his actions are a call for justice, he leaves everything up to a 50/50 chance, making him just as chaotic and dangerous as the Joker. Dent’s downfall is tragic but also a reflection of the corrupt and morally just people who exist on both sides of the law. He’s one of the best DC villains in a film where he’s upstaged by the greatest DC villain.

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