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The 10 Best Film & TV Villains of 2022

The best of the worst, these were the villains of 2022…

Photo Credit: wxbarnes/ youtube.com godvfx/youtube.com

2022 gave us some iconic villains in the realm of film and TV, so join me as I explore what I consider to be some of the best. Spoilers ahead!

Steve (Played By Sebastian Stan) – Fresh

Looking Fresh, pal! Photo Credit: Hulu/youtube.com

The king of red flags himself, Steve worked his way into our hearts and then viscously ate his way out, quite literally. Posing as a charming and kind man looking for love, Steve lures young women into his holiday home, where he imprisons them and chops them up, ready to serve them up as food for his cannibalistic delivery service. The film even poses as a romance for its first act, meaning Stan’s performance had to be strong enough to lure the audience in, and it really does.

Whilst Hollywood has no shortage of serial killer characters at the moment, Stan brings something a bit extra to Steve. He balances effortless charm with a dark and scary misogynistic violence, seeing women as food and nothing more. When he meets his match in his latest victim Noa, however, we see under the curtains that he is nothing more than an insecure freak desperate for attention.

Best Moment: The kitchen dance scene; I had Animotion’s Obsession on repeat for a whole month after watching this. Stan really gave it his unhinged all.

Oh, it’s hideous! Photo Credit: Black Aether/ youtube.com

Alli (Played by Siiri Solalinna, Jonna Aaltonen and Hertta Karen) – Hatching

Me and my friend Cai (a filmmaker whose wonderful interview on this site can be found here) went into this Finnish horror film blind, and left wishing we had been blind, to be honest. The film follows a young girl called Tinja who looks after an egg she finds in the forest, that hatches into a horrifying bird/human hybrid, named Alli. Over the course of the film, Alli viscously acts out on Tinja’s inner feelings due to a telepathic link, mauling or killing anyone who Tinja is annoyed or upset with, whilst slowly mutating into a grotesque version of the poor girl.

Whilst Alli isn’t inherently evil, at least not by the standards of some of the other characters on this list, Alli’s destructive and disturbing actions left me utterly horrified and more than earn her this spot.

Best Moment: The scene where she stalks Tinja’s friend down a dark road. Utterly terrifying.

This time the witch is doing the hunting. Photo Credit: godvfx/youtube.com

The Scarlet Witch (Played By Elizabeth Olsen) – Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Whilst the hugely anticipated Doctor Strange sequel was divisive, to say the least, it has been almost universally accepted that Elizabeth Olsen stole the show as a camp, corrupted, and cruel Scarlet Witch. On a mission to murder and steal the powers of superpowered teen America Chavez, Wanda hopes to utilize her powers to find a dimension where she can settle down with her “kids” (who aren’t even her own children, just figments she created using magic) and live a peaceful life.

To achieve that peace, Wanda is willing to destroy anyone who gets in her way, including the hilariously short-lived and arrogant team of superheroes, The Illuminati. The film subverts audience expectations by presenting not the downfall of Wanda, but one who has already fully embraced her dark side in order to achieve what she wants, and Olsen ruthlessly slays her way through the film’s messy script to deliver one of the most effective villain performances the MCU has seen to date.

Best Moment: Watching her brutally slay the Illuminati was both anticlimactic and hilarious at the same time.

What has he become? Photo Credit: 4K HDR Media/ youtube.com

Darth Vader (Played by Hayden Christensen and James Earl Jones) – Obi-Wan Kenobi

Okay, this one is cheating a bit, as Darth Vader is already a well-established villain, and this show did little more than capitalize on that, as opposed to developing the character in meaningful ways. However, it’s Darth Vader, voiced by (an admittedly AI-enhanced) James Earl Jones, and played by Hayden freaking Christensen: it’s a Star Wars fan’s DREAM!

Whilst Vader isn’t actually given too much to do throughout the show, the final confrontation between him and his mentor-turned-rival Obi-Wan is more than enough to earn him a place on this list. Obsessed with enacting revenge on his former master, Vader is little more than a pathetic man-child granted the power to bully and abuse anyone who gets in his way, so seeing Obi-Wan humble him by downright decimating him in the show’s finale was satisfying to say the least.

However, the true star waS not this poorly-lit duel (seriously, what were they thinking), but the heart-wrenching conversation that follows. Seeing Vader’s mask broken and exposing the man underneath adds a delightfully dark and painful human layer as these two men, who were once the closest of friends, are forced to confront what they have both become: Obi-Wan, a better and stronger man for confronting his past, and Vader, bitter and broken, doomed to a lonely life of endless hatred, brought on by himself.

Best Moment: Seeing him and Obi-Wan talk, eye to eye, and hearing Vader address what he has become at such an early point in his Imperial career.

Not Thor anymore Photo Credit: Netflix Film/ youtube.com

Steve Abnesti (Played By Chris Hemsworth) – Spiderhead

Let me get this out of the way: Spiderhead is not a good film. In fact, Chris’s downright unhinged performance as this overly-energetic psychotic psychologist is sort of the only thing that stood out to me (or that I remember). Steve (yes this is the second Steve on the list played by a Marvel actor, what a weird coincidence) runs an experimental prison that offers patients relaxing and kind treatment in return for allowing themselves to be test subjects for experimental drugs.

Posing as kind and empathetic, Steve is really a cold-hearted businessman, who sees the people he emotionally and physically destroys with his drugs as nothing more than guinea pigs, and Hemsworth’s hyperactive performance is the only thing that keeps this Netflix dud afloat.

Best Moment: Any scene where Hemsworth embraces his maniacal side is a joy to watch.

Do the roar! Photo Credit: Blu-ray 4K HDR/ youtube.com

Predator (Played By Dane DiLiegro) – Prey

In the year of our lord 2022, after 35 years, we were finally blessed with a truly good Predator sequel, one that lived up to (and, in my humble opinion, exceeded) the original in so many ways. Of course, you can’t have a good Predator film if they don’t get the monster right, and my goodness do they get it right. Sporting different weapons and a more grotesque design, this iteration of the Yautja warrior offers up a grand rival for Comanche protagonist Naru, who must outwit the beast in a desperate battle for survival in the wood.

Slowly working its way up the food chain, the Predator holds an ominous presence throughout the film, establishing itself in the wilderness as the top dog, and challenging any man or beast who dares threaten that title.

Best Moment: Witnessing the glorious blend of CG and practical effects as the beast roars its cry of war.

The Boy Without Love Photo Credit: TrailerSpot/ youtube.com

Namor (Played By Tenoch Huerta) – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Whilst Black Panther 2’s narrative left something to be desired, one area it most certainly did not disappoint in is its antagonist, ruler of the underwater kingdom Talokan and vessel of the serpent god himself, Namor. Namor and protagonist Shuri are presented as a wonderful antithesis of each other, both doing what they must to protect their kingdoms, to the point where if Namor was the protagonist, his actions could quite easily be framed as those of a flawed hero.

A truly badass warrior, watching Namor zip around the skies of the battlefield with his winged feet, taking out Wakanda’s weapons of war like they were nothing, was a true spectacle to behold, and his origin story which displays his hatred of humanity due to their colonizing ways was one of the most beautifully tragic moments in the film.

Best Moment: His origin story. The Boy Without Love still gives me chills.

Somehow, Miles has returned. Photo Credit: TrailerSpot/ Youtube.com

Colonel Miles Quaritch (Played By Stephen Lang) – Avatar: The Way of Water

Miles Quaritch isn’t a particularly deep villain. He’s a bad man, willing to kill and destroy in the name of human colonialization, who died, and is now reborn faster, stronger, and a lot bluer in a Navi body. The reason he is on this list is simply due to the sheer cinematic excitement that stems from witnessing his relentless quest to destroy protagonist Jake Sully, leaving a trail of death and destruction in his wake.

The pure thrill that came from witnessing him and Jake duke it out on a sinking ship is simply unmatched, and it was only boosted by the film’s gorgeous VFX (I wanted to try and write about Avatar without mentioning CGI but it’s a bit impossible isn’t it). He is determined, cruel, and a simple yet effective antagonist for the film.

Best Moment: That knife fight aboard the sinking ship; it was so freaking badass.

“I can do whatever the fuck I want!” Photo Credit: wxbarnes/ youtube.com

Homelander (Played By Antony Starr) – The Boys

It’s almost guaranteed that any year a new season of Amazon’s subversive superhero masterpiece The Boys comes out, Homelander is gonna be headlining “best villain” articles, and it’s for good reason too. The unhinged Superman knockoff is at his most terrifying here, losing all remaining vestiges of his insanity as he gradually grows into a boiling pot of unstoppable violence.

Starr’s masterful performance is as perfect as ever, full of an insane amount of minor details, down to tics that display how he truly feels about something said to him, no matter the front he may put on. Seriously, I’m not gonna say too much about him because what is there left to say apart from he’s brilliant, and if you haven’t already, it’s worth watching The Boys just for him.

Best Moment: The mirror scene; he was channeling his inner Green Goblin.

The Great Deceiver Photo Credit: Cilyra / youtube.com

Halbrand (Played By Charlie Vickers) – The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power

For our final entry on this list, we have some gorgeously genius subversion on our hands. Halbrand seemed like the Aragorn equivalent for the woefully underrated Rings Of Power – a scruffy, outcast warrior on the run from his royal lineage. However, the truth was a lot darker, and something that rather caught me off guard considering he was my favorite character in the show: Halbrand is actually the dark lord himself, Sauron.

The show utilized the audience’s trust and love for the character that stemmed from his Aragorn archetype, and threw it in their faces, revealing he is really the new (and rather sexy) form of evil incarnate. Charming and manipulative, yet scary and angry once his identity is revealed, Vickers oozes perfection in his performance as the Great Deceiver himself, and will hopefully continue to add more layers as the show goes on.

Best Moment: His final confrontation with Galadriel. Even the Great Deceiver himself can’t break the fair lady of Lothlorien.

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