A good (or even a great) movie villain should ideally be stronger than the hero, making their mere presence all the more frightening. That being said, they don’t always have to start that way. In fact, the best villains often start out weak.
If it’s not done to make audiences sympathize with a tragic villain, it’s meant to show just how determined even the most vile villains can be. Either way, these movie villains are some of the worst enemies their respective heroes have faced.
ten Dredd – Ma-Ma took control of the peach trees herself
Ma-Ma isn’t strong in the physical sense, but her frightening and ruthless reputation speaks for itself. Previously, Madeline Madrigal of Dredd was a beaten prostitute before killing her abusive pimp. Subsequently, Ma-Ma not only took over operations from her late boss, but the entire criminal world of Peach Trees as well.
In less than a year, the Ma-Ma clan took over the 200 floors of the housing estates after wiping out the three gangs that resided there. Ma-Ma’s influence and her grip on the underworld was so absolute that not only did all the other criminals bow to her, the judges left Peach Trees alone in fear.
9 The Dark Knight Rises – Bane barely survived the pit and became the Judgment of Gotham
The big twist of The Dark Knight Trilogy The grand finale was that Bane had never escaped The Pit, meaning he wasn’t the leader of the League Of Shadows like Batman believed. In truth, Bane remained where he was when he helped Talia al-Ghul escape. Bane survived, but remained in such a weakened condition that he needed to be injected continuously under anesthesia.
In gratitude for saving his daughter, Ra’s al-Ghul recruited Bane, but realized too late that he had trained a monster. Ra’s exiles Bane in response, but he would reappear years later stronger and more menacing than ever. At time The dark knight rises, Bane arguably surpassed Batman in both mind and body.
8 Spider-Man – Norman Osborn turned into Spider-Man’s deadliest foe
One thing all three of Spider-Man’s cinematic incarnations share is that his villains were weak dummies who then turned into supervillains. However, the most famous and the most formidable is without a doubt the Green Goblin. Previously, the goblin was Norman: the kind, though troubled, CEO of his own company who has been given an unfair hand in life.
By testing an experimental Super Soldier Serum on himself in a moment of desperation, Norman not only improved physically, but unleashed his darker side in an unsuspecting world. In fact, the Goblin’s reign of terror was so terrifying that it violated realities, as seen in his official debut with the MCU in Spider-Man: No Path Home.
seven The Friday The 13th Series – Jason Voorhees died young before his resurrection
Jason is best known as a masked force of nature with nothing but murder and his mother on his mind, but it wasn’t always like that. In fact, Jason would need three movies to become the legendary slasher he is today. In the very first Friday 13, Jason had only been a memory in Pamela Voorhees’ mind ever since he had died as a child.
Previously, Jason was bullied by other children who drowned him in the waters of Camp Crystal Lake. A now adult Jason returned inexplicably, donning an impossible force he used to slaughter campers. Worse yet, Jason arguably grew stronger each time he returned from death, making it impossible to actually kill him.
6 The Star Wars saga – Darth Vader started his life as an innocent child
Darth Vader is by far the most recognized and feared villain in all of pop culture, but he hasn’t always been a Sith Lord. As revealed in the division Star wars Prequel Trilogy, Darth Vader was once the wide-eyed boy known as Anakin Skywalker. Born on Tatooine, Anakin was an otherwise normal child who happened to be incredibly Force-sensitive.
Due to the raw power that lay dormant within him, Anakin was seen as the prophesied one who would bring peace to the galaxies, only for the opposite to be true. Through a series of bad luck, the pride of the Jedi, and the manipulations of Palpatine, Anakin was corrupted and used his powers to become the Empire’s most terrifying executor, Darth Vader.
5 Looper – The Rainmaker Was A Boy’s Unmissable Fate
In Looper, Joe’s eldest has gone back in time to assassinate the dreaded Mafia boss known as The Rainmaker. Although never shown, The Rainmaker single-handedly reportedly wiped out five major criminal organizations, their families, and the time-traveling hitman system.
The person who would become The Rainmaker is currently a young boy named Cid. Although he had latent telekinetic powers, Cid was still a child with a whole life ahead of him. Cid only targeted the Loopers and their loved ones as an adult after Old Joe killed his mother, who was a future Young Joe avoided by taking her own life.
4 The Matrix Trilogy – Agent Smith brought the system to its knees
To be fair, the agents who work for The Matrix are already standing still on their own. However, even the Most Improved Agents were nothing to Neo when he embraced his destiny as The One. Agent Smith learned this the hard way when he underestimated Neo and passed away almost instantly in their final showdown.
However, that was not the end for Agent Smith. After his first death, Agent Smith returned as a self-contained, nihilistic virus, free from the code and controls of the Matrix. Not only was Agent Smith able to stop the domination of the machines, he was so strong that the only way Neo could defeat him was to let Smith kill him.
3 Fight Club – Tyler Durden Was Nobody’s Power Fantasy Made Real
Before meeting Tyler, the anonymous narrator of Fight club was an ordinary employee who envied Tyler for being everything he wasn’t: charismatic, handsome, and dominant. But as one of the most legendary plot twists of all time revealed, the narrator didn’t need to fantasize about being his rival because the two were one.
Every now and then Tyler would take control of the narrator’s being and lay the groundwork for Project Mayhem’s terrorist plans. By the final act, the narrator was literally trying to keep himself from plunging the company into chaos, only for him to reconsider at the last second.
2 The Nightmare On Elm Street Series – Freddy Krueger Became A Literal Monster In The Dream World
In life, Freddy was a child predator who was acquitted through a technicality. Aside from primarily targeting helpless children, Freddy was a gangly serial killer who was easily burned alive by an angry mob. In death, however, Freddy was a literal nightmare that was nearly impossible to kill.
When Freddy returned from the grave, he became a dream god who killed his victims in their nightmares. The series finale New nightmare went further, revealing that Freddy was actually just a fictional idea an ancient evil possessed in its attempt to step into the real world and terrorize humanity.
1 Silent Hill – Alessa Gillespie Has Become The Devil Incarnate
For many years, the inhabitants of silent Hill were trapped in a purgatory nightmare, forced to fight for their survival against monstrosities beyond their comprehension. It was all done by Alessa, a once innocent young girl whom the local Puritan cult “cleansed” and whose price she is now paying.
Because she was psychic and had no father, Alessa was accused of being a witch and burned at the stake. Alessa’s anger manifested in Dark Alessa, a demonic version of herself who dragged Silent Hill into endless darkness. While Alessa’s motives are understandable and even righteous, she was still the closest thing to evil made flesh.
NEXT: 10 Strong TV Characters Who Started Weak
10 action movies that aren’t afraid to be emotional
About the Author