10 Smartest Superhero Movie Villains, According To Ranker


Although it was recently confirmed that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will include Adam Warlock, it’s unclear if the cosmic hero will take on a hero or villain role. However, the fact that his cocoon was revealed by Sovereign High Priestess Ayesha in the previous film might suggest that she will be the one to control him as the antagonist of the Guardians.

If so, it continues an MCU trend of clever villains orchestrating their plans in the background rather than always taking a direct role in things. Of course, the MCU isn’t the only source of clever superhero movie villains, and so moviegoers of private soldier everyone voted for who they thought was the smartest antagonist of all there was.

Note: Ranking lists are live and continue to accumulate votes, so some rankings may have changed after this posting.


ten Green Goblin (Spider-Man)

Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin in Spider-Man 2002

The Green Goblin is something of a mad scientist in the way that he purposely experiments on himself with supposedly body-enhancing chemicals that ultimately drive him into a murderous rage. Yet there is no doubt that the skills that made him world famous as well as a multi-millionaire in Sam Raimi Spider Man.

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What sets the Green Goblin apart is how he manages to use his wits to become Spider-man’s greatest threat, including determining the hero’s identity by seeing an injury and then immediately figuring out how he can use it against him. Even if his plans eventually backfire, his place as a popular movie’s renowned villain means he was still likely to be a strong choice.

9 Ultron (Avengers: Age of Ultron)

Ultron has always had an edge when it comes to the intelligence category thanks to being an all-knowing AI, as well as creating two already formidable minds in the form of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. However, thanks to the origins of the code they used in the Mind Stone of Loki’s Scepter, this awesome intelligence turns into evil intent very quickly.

Although his plan to wipe out all life on Earth makes him a tough antagonist to sympathize with, the way he quickly manages to create his Doomsday Trigger and overpower the Avengers is an impressive testament to his wits. Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t considered one of the best MCU movies, but its villain stood out for many fans on Ranker.

8 Doctor Doom (Fantastic Four)

Victor Von Doom played by Julian McMahon in Fantastic Four

One of the most iconic Marvel villains outside of the MCU, Doctor Doom was one of the best The Fantastic Four comic characters from the start. Although The Fantastic Four was a divisive film series, one of the best parts for many fans was seeing the schemes of one of Marvel’s smartest villains.

In addition to being the savvy CEO of Von Doom Industries in The Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom was smart enough to take a chance on Reed Richards and his research that resulted in their superpowers. He also identifies that his best way to bring the group down is to drive a wedge between Ben and Reed, and while the film didn’t impress viewers much, Doom was certainly capable of that.

seven Doctor Octopus (Spider-Man 2)

Doctor Octopus from Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2.

Portrayed by Alfred Molina in Spiderman 2 and even more recently in Spider-Man: No Coming Home, Doctor Octopus is a fan-favorite Marvel character and it’s easy to see why he garnered so many votes on Ranker. His ingenuity is evident in the giant robotic tentacles he has built himself, which are powered by an AI that eventually takes over.

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Before that, however, Otto provides a mentor for Peter Parker’s own scientific aspirations, and it’s easy to see why Peter admires him. As a supervillain, the only person who could truly stop Doctor Octopus was himself, and ultimately, his decision to override the tentacles with his mind and sacrifice himself to destroy them just demonstrates the strength of his intellect.

6 Magneto (X-Men)

Ian McKellan as Magneto in X-Men 2000 in an iconic helmet

Whether played by Sir Ian McKellen or Michael Fassbender, Magneto is a powerful presence in every movie he’s been in, starting with the first. x-men film. There aren’t many villains that could outsmart Professor X’s mind and the fact that Magneto is able to go along with the other man is already proven enough by his intelligence.

Along with using his powers and mask to make it nearly impossible for the X-Men to take him down, Magneto is also smart enough to take advantage of his charisma to make maximum use of his followers’ powers. Even when using his wits for the most sinister of purposes, Magneto is a compelling antagonist that fans love to watch.

5 Lex Luthor (Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice)

Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor in Batman Vs. Superman.

There’s only one villain capable of concocting an absurdly complex plan to pit the world’s greatest heroes against each other and of course, that’s Lex Luthor. While Jesse Eisenberg wasn’t Lex Luthor’s favorite iteration, there’s no doubt that he was one of the more serious and clever versions of the iconic villain.

In Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the Lex Luthor that audiences see is a resourceful young entrepreneur obsessed with bringing down Superman. Even when his plan fails at the last second, the fact that Luthor even thought of a backup plan helps him stand out from some of the more cartoonish portrayals of the villain that had come before him and established him as a villain. smarter in the eyes. of supporters.

4 Loki (Thor: The Dark World)

Although it’s considered a terrible sequel that surprisingly didn’t kill the franchise, Thor: The Dark World gave audiences a chance to see more of Thor’s enigmatic brother. Of course, Loki had already been established as an intelligent villain, even if he wasn’t always fully in control of his own plans.

Perhaps the best way Loki shows off his smarts in the MCU movies is through his incredible ability to get under the skin of everyone around him, friend or foe. He displays a knack for deception most villains could only dream of, even convincing Thor of his death in dark world. With his own Disney+ show, Loki cemented his place as one of the most important and complex villains.

3 Helmut Zemo (Captain America: Civil War)

Baron Zemo in Captain America: Civil War.

Helmut Zemo may not be the most popular antagonist in the MCU, but in some ways he manages to come across as one of the smartest. While most can’t help but monopolize the spotlight, Zemo mostly works in the shadows, putting his strategic mind to good use without ever putting himself in harm’s way.

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Of course, his most impressive feat is driving a wedge between the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War. While it’s easy to scoff at the plan as too convoluted, the fact that it succeeded shows that Zemo is never a man to be underestimated, especially when it comes to his intelligence, and many Ranker fans seemed to agree.

2 Ozymandias (Guardians)

Ozymandias in his lair in Watchmen 2009

It takes a lot to stand out as a clever villain against the might of the Marvel and DC Universes and the fact that Ozymandias holds such a high position is a testament to how fans rate the character’s brains. While any villain can create destruction, Ozymandias does something even more awesome.

At Zack Snyder’s watchmen, he orchestrates not only an enormous amount of destruction, but also a plot to pull the wool over the eyes of the whole world and convince them to unite against an innocent Doctor Manhattan. With his photographic memory, incredible inventions, and cocky personality, it’s easy to see how he made such a big impression on fans.

1 The Joker (The Dark Knight)

Heath Ledger's Joker standing in the middle of the street in The Dark Knight

There have been several incredible versions of the iconic villain, including the interpretation of Joaquin Phoenix who will appear again in joker 2, but Heath Ledger shows the villain at his best. In The black Knighthe manages to be the best match for Batman that Nolan’s films have produced.

Although his actions sometimes seem erratic and absurd, they require a lot of thought and planning. Even when captured seemingly against his will, it turns out to be part of his plot. Incredibly villainous but not dumb, the Joker’s intricate shenanigans won over Ranker moviegoers.

NEXT: 10 Supporting Characters From The Batman Movies Who Have The Main Character’s Energy

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