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Top 10 Film Antagonists According to Matt

Top 10 Film Antagonists According to Matt

#3. The Joker – The Dark Knight

Heath Ledger as The Joker

Heath Ledger as The Joker

The Joker has always been my favorite comic book villain. Mark Hamill has done a wonderful job creating The Joker for the Batman animated series and video games, but Heath Ledger had the most groundbreaking performance in 2008. He took a beloved character and turned him into something new, different, and even more sinister, all while keeping the same troupes and antics of the villain we’ve all come to love. I’ve heard many people say they don’t want to watch any of the “Batman” films or televisions shows. That’s fine, if that’s what you wish. But I demand everyone watch “The Dark Knight.” It’s a near-perfect film, and Heath Ledger’s Joker commands the screen. If there were a list of “Ultimate Bad Guys” in film history, this iteration of The Joker would be in the Top 5; no doubt about it.

#2. Darth Vader – The Star Wars Films

James Earl Jones as Darth Vader

James Earl Jones as Darth Vader

Here’s another “Ultimate Bad Guy.” First things first, if James Earl Jones never did the voice of Darth Vader, the cloaked villain would’ve never been the methodic and well-spoken villain we’ve all come to love. Vader is evil and does many terrible things throughout the original Star Wars trilogy, but it’s his character arc I enjoy the most. While he’s just a typical antagonist in “A New Hope,” Darth Vader slowly burns the empathy candle during “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” He goes from the main antagonist to a man who only wants to save his son. It’s one of the most rewarding character arcs in film history, and it all comes to a sorrowful and painful end. Darth Vader taught me that villains could be bad and good, allowing me to understand the definition of empathy. Yes, he will forever be the bad guy of “Star Wars,” but he’s also an amazing character.

#1. Ace Merrill – Stand By Me

Kiefer Sutherland as Ace Merrill

Kiefer Sutherland as Ace Merrill

This is Kiefer Sutherlands’ best performance. Yes, he’s made a name for himself in the entertainment industry after years of memorable roles, but nothing beats Ace Merrill. He may not be in “Stand By Me” a lot, but he’s the main antagonistic force that is always lurking in the background. He commands the screen during every scene he’s in, even when he’s being a soft-spoken jerk. The final scene between him, Gordy and Chris is still one of my favorite scenes. It’s a scene full of talent and tension that makes it hard for your heart not to jump, especially when Ace flips open his knife. That scene would’ve been nothing if someone else played Ace and if director Rob Reiner didn’t take the time to introduce the audience to this wonderful antagonist. Some may believe “Stand By Me” is boring and slow, but you cannot argue about Ace Merrill. He is a villain. He is an antagonist. He is what fills the film’s world with wickedness and cruelty.

Honorable Mentions

Col. William Lavington – The Patriot
Elijah Price – Unbreakable
Tommy Conlon – Warrior
The Mist – The Mist
Jack Torrance – The Shining
Frank Costello – The Departed
Alec Trevelyan – GoldenEye

Don’t forget to check out Matt’s Top 10 Protagonists!

Who are your favorite antagonists?

About The Author


Seeing "Stand By Me" at the age of 6 solidified Matt's ambition to be a part of the entertainment industry. After growing up in Northern Virginia, studying film at Old Dominion University and rising from intern to Stage Manager at a Dinner Theater, Matt found himself at a speed bump in his life and wanting to express himself in more of a substantial way than calling a cue or flying a line every night. This need for creative expression pushed him to take on the challenge of getting a Master's Degree, which sent him on a year-long endeavor that seemed to throw obstacles and setbacks from every direction. But now, Matt is a screenwriter with a Master's of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a passion for film, video games and professional wrestling, looking to keep the ambitious 6-year-old inside of him alive by entertaining the world through various forms of entertainment.

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