Sorry, Snow White. Nothing personal, Thor. Of course we still love you, the Batman. We always will. It’s just that when it comes to summer movies, we love a glowering villain as much as we love a virtuous hero. Maybe a little more. Maybe … a lot more.
Luckily for us (and you!), this summer’s films are jam-packed with some of the most malevolent evil characters imaginable, ready to face off against the hottest heroes and heroines from May to August. Tom Hiddleston reprises his Thor role as power-hungry extraterrestrial Loki in this week’s The Avengers, while Flight of the Concords’ Jemaine Clement breaks Will Smith‘s stride as an easy-riding alien by the name of Boris in Men in Black III. Closer to home (and to your childhood nightmares), Queen Charlize Theron goes after Kristen Stewart‘s heart (not in the romantic way) in Snow White and the Huntsman, while Eva Green does the same to Johnny Depp (in both the romantic and evil way?) as smitten witch Angelique Bouchard in Dark Shadows.
Of course, not every memorable villain has to be from another planet or or the fairy-tale realm. Some of them can be regular ol’ criminal masterminds, like Salma Hayek‘s drug kingpin Elena in Savages, Faran Tahir‘s Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Bryan Cranston‘s Vilos Cohaagen in the Total Recall remake and Edward Norton‘s Byer in The Bourne Legacy. We are especially psyched to see Tom Hardy‘s Bane grapple the Caped Crusader in The Dark Knight Rises while Rhys Ifans takes on Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man. Because what’s an epic battle scene with out an epic villain? A 15-second slap fight?
Not that every villain has to be locked in life-or-death combat, mind you. Some of them are just maniacally vain. Sacha Baron Cohen‘s General Aladeen in The Dictator, anyone? Catherine Zeta-Jones‘ high-strung Patricia Whitmore will also be inflicting all the damage she can against the demon that is rock in Rock of Ages, while Adam Sandler only accidentally ruins his son Andy Samberg‘s wedding/marriage/life. That being said, if you somehow get your only child to throw up on his fiance’s wedding dress … yeah, you’re the bad guy.
Finally, we have to give props to those villains who don’t even come in a humanoid package. We are dying to see what the surprisingly awesome-looking Battleship aliens look like under their masks (Weird eyes? Check! Four-fingered hand? Check!), and we’re all ready to take our hats off to the Piranhas 3DD piranhas. Not only are they blood-thirsty, they are also responsible for Ving Rhames‘ character having machine gun legs. What aren’t villains good for? Which big bad has your ticket-buying hands shaking with anticipation this summer? Check out our gallery of villainy, and cast your vote. Just remember: When it comes to picking a favorite archnemesis, there is no wrong choice.