Since comic book movies started being produced, countless villains from the pages of Marvel, DC, and, indeed, other publications have been depicted in live action on the big screen.
Quite often, they can look fantastic. Take Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus, Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull and even Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze, for example (remember, we’re talking aesthetics here, not acting performance or character portrayal) – all of whom looked great.
However, quite often, they can end up looking ridiculous (it is, of course, quite a difficult task to pull the elaborate-looking characters from comic books and make them look good enough to be taken seriously in live action) and that’s what this article is going to be about. Here are our picks for the ten most ridiculous looking villains in comic book movie history.
The Russian (The Punisher)
What do you get when you cross Waldo (of Where’s Waldo? fame), Bugs Bunny and Billy Idol? Well, you get The Russian from 2004’s The Punisher, of course!
Played by WWE Hall of Fame superstar Kevin Nash, this version of The Russian was a big, brutish, behemoth of a character, who was exceptionally dumb. While he dwarfed Thomas Jane’s Frank Castle in size and strength, he was inevitably defeated when Castle threw boiling oil in his face and subsequently threw him down a staircase.
He was very different in appearance from the more menacing comic book version of the character and, frankly, looked more like a henchman from a children’s movie than a violent R-rated comic book adaptation.
And now we move on to a villain from the most recent comic book movie on this list.
Doomsday (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice)
Doomsday is one of the most iconic supervillains in DC comic book history and fans of Superman’s stories have wanted to see him in a movie for years, so when he was initially rumoured to appear in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, they were understandably excited at the prospect.
However, the first trailer in which he appeared proved to be somewhat disappointing – he looked like one of Michael Bay’s god-awful Ninja Turtles!
In the final version of the movie, the CGI had been improved somewhat, but he still looked nothing like the Doomsday that fans know from the comics – and, to make matters worse, he was killed within a few minutes of first appearing on screen!
And now we move on to another DC villain, who appeared on screen a couple of decades before Doomsday.
The Riddler (Batman Forever)
Now, for this particular entry, you should be reminded that this list has nothing to do with the quality of the actor’s performance – because Jim Carrey was one of the best things about 1995’s otherwise very poor Batman Forever – and everything to do with the way he looked.
In the world of comic book movies, there’s a definite danger of making characters look too “comic-esque” and, in the case of Carrey’s Riddler, that definitely happened.
He ended up looking absolutely ridiculous, in his one-piece bodysuit covered in question marks, his tiny little pointless eye mask and with his neon pink hair. Still, we should reiterate that Carrey’s performance was extremely entertaining, and he deserves credit for that. It’s not as if he can be blamed for his stupid costume.
And now we move on to a character who was unrecognizable as the comic book character he played in every single way.
Deadpool (X-Men Origins: Wolverine)
Recently, of course, we’ve had the Deadpool movie, which made amends for this particular version but, in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, we were given a version of the character that was wrong in every respect – including the way he looked.
Ryan Reynolds starred as the character on both occasions (with Scott Adkins sharing the role in the first outing), but for everything that was right about the recent depiction, there was so much more wrong with the first.
He looked like Baraka from the Mortal Kombat series of video games (infamously spawning the nickname “Barakapool“) and had his mouth sewn shut. Gone was the red and black uniform, in came elastic top pants. It just wasn’t Deadpool and he simply looked awful.
And now we move on to a trio of iconic villains who, in hindsight, actually look really silly.
General Zod, Ursa & Non (Superman II)
Kryptonians General Zod, Ursa and Non – played so memorably by Terence Stamp, Sarah Douglas and Jack O’Halloran – were the villains in 1980’s Superman II, having first appeared on screen in 1978’s Superman movie.
There’s absolutely no denying that they’re some of the most iconic villains in cinema history – let alone comic book movie history – but the simple fact is that, retrospectively, they looked absolutely stupid!
What the hell are they wearing?! They look like the kind of all-in-one playsuits you would expect to see a cheesy Danish pop group wearing while they perform in the Eurovision Song Contest – hardly the kind of garb that makes superheroes shake in their boots!
And now we move on to the only character in this list to not come from a movie based on Marvel or DC properties.
Clown / Violator (Spawn)
Violator – also known as Clown in the movie version – was, unbelievably, played by a totally unrecognisable John Leguizamo in 1997’s rather dismal and overbearing Spawn movie, which was based on the Image character of the same name.
Although the depiction was quite faithful in terms of aesthetics to the comic book version of the character, the fact is that it just looked stupid in live action – kind of like something Rita Repulsa would make in the early Power Rangers episodes.
The horrible bald head, fat face and body, leather jacket and little badge with a smiley face on it just looked a mess as an ensemble. Aside from being a little bit creepy in a “dirty old man” type way, there was nothing remotely intimidating about the character’s appearance. Poor.
And now we move on to a minor villain who, nevertheless, looked absolutely ridiculous.
Vera (Superman III)
1983’s Superman III saw a major downturn in the quality of the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. One of the reasons for that was the comedic and camp tone that the movie had (Richard Pryor had a major role in it, for heaven’s sake), but another was the quality of the villains.
Robert Vaughn’s Ross Webster was a poor man’s Lex Luthor, who had a supercomputer built, in to which his sister Vera was pulled. This resulted in her turning into an evil cyborg – an evil cyborg that looked absolutely ridiculous, nonetheless.
Vera kept her black hair and her white clothing, but her skin was covered in metal plating that simply made her look like a cheap children’s toy. She looked even worse than General Zod and his cronies from the previous movie – and that’s really saying something!
And now we move on to a truly silly looking villain from a little-known comic book movie.
Anton Arcane (Swamp Thing)
Not many people are even aware that 1982’s Swamp Thing movie exists, but it does and it’s actually not that bad. Wes Craven directed it in an attempt to prove that he could handle stunts and bigger-name actors than those he usually worked with (not that there were many A-listers in this movie, mind you) and he didn’t do too bad a job.
That being said, the special effects were hideous and this particular villain was awful. He was Dr. Anton Arcane – played by Louis Jourdan – and he used the same formula that transformed Dr. Alec Holland – played by Ray Wise – into Swamp Thing, in a bid to become immortal.
The resulting monstrosity was a cross between a merman and a werewolf – but one you’d put together from a cheap fancy dress store. Seriously, look at the state of him!
And now we move on to some characters from the oldest movie by far on this list!
The Mole Men (Superman and the Mole Men)
It seems a little bit harsh to use characters from a movie that was made so long ago, as special effects were nothing like what they are today, but the Mole Men from 1951’s Superman and the Mole Men were just too ridiculous looking to not include on this list.
Played by actors with dwarfism, the Mole Men all wore what seemed to be half of an inside out soccer ball on their heads! As a result, they basically ended up looking like bald Oompa-Loompas!
While they weren’t inherently evil, they did end up as the antagonists of the movie, prompting George Reeves’ Superman to save the day – the problem is, they just didn’t look intimidating at all. Totally ridiculous!
And now we move on to the most ridiculous looking villain in comic book movie history.
Galactus (Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer)
Galactus; in the comic books, he’s a gigantic humanoid with more powers than you could possibly explain in a single list entry. Planet-eater. A universal and cosmic threat. While he might be difficult to perfectly adapt in a live action movie, you’d think that a movie studio would at least either give it a proper go or use an entirely different character instead.
Not Fox. In 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, they decided to interpret Galactus as a giant cloud. Granted, he was still presented as a global threat, but look at him! He’s a CLOUD!
It’s safe to say there’s never been a “villain” quite as aesthetically ridiculous as this version of Galactus. Let me reiterate that he was a CLOUD. How completely non-menacing!
And that’s that, folks! Hope you enjoyed this list!
What do you think? Were these the worst looking supervillains in comic book movie history? Can you think of any worse? Have your say below!