There have been some great supervillains in recent years--think Thor's Loki, Daredevil's Wilson Fisk, or Spider-man: Homecoming's Vulture. Nevertheless, one of the biggest complaints about modern superhero movies is that the villains are rarely as interesting as the heroes. Their evil plans are often very similar (destroying the Earth is a favorite) and too many superhero showdowns rely more on dazzling CGI and not enough on characterisation for their bad guys.
But which are the very worst? Let's take a look at some truly terrible movie supervillains--from inept plots to laughable costumes, this lot really need to find new jobs....
Blackheart - Ghost Rider
Blackheart might not be the best known Marvel villain, but he's a good one. In Marvel's Ghost Rider comics, he's a scary demonic being who possesses incredible supernatural powers. In the first Ghost Rider movie, he's reduced to a moody dude with pasty skin and a Russian accent, whose powers seem to solely consist a "lethal touch." Yes, he touches people and they fall down dead. That's it.
Deadpool - X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Thankfully Ryan Reynolds got a second chance to play Deadpool, but his initial movie appearance was not good. In easily the worst film associated with the X-Men universe, the Merc with a Mouth doesn't actually HAVE a mouth--inexplicably, it's been sewn shut. He doesn't have the famous the costume either; he's simply a mute killing machine controlled by Colonel Stryker. Why even bother?
Mr Freeze - Batman and Robin
It's hard to choose the worst thing about Batman and Robin, but ultimately it has to be Mr Freeze. In the DC's comics, he's a great character, a lonely figure with a tragic backstory and lots of unexpected depth. But in Joel Schumacher's much-maligned Bat-flop he becomes a one-note joke machine played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has nothing to do except stride aimlessly around, delivering a string of terrible temperature-related puns.
Bane - Batman and Robin
As if Mr Freeze wasn't bad enough, Batman and Robin also subjected audiences to the first movie version of Bane. In DC's comic books, Bane is a terrifyingly huge, intellectually daunting criminal mastermind, but here we a had a ridiculous-looking WWE-wannabe, who simply grunts, hits, lumbers, and grunts some more. Thankfully Tom Hardy redeemed the character 15 years later in The Dark Knight Rises.
The Octopus - The Spirit
Frank Miller is one of the most influential writers in modern comic books, but sadly his talents didn't stretch to filmmaking. His only solo-directing credit to date is this woeful yarn, based on the 1940s comic strip. Samuel L Jackson's main bad guy is an excruciatingly "wacky" villain. He doesn't have any powers, he doesn't have a motive; all he has are some guns and fancy clothes.
Electro - The Amazing Spider-Man 2
No superhero has more iconic adversaries than Spider-Man, and it's always fascinating to see what filmmakers do with them onscreen. Sadly, for every Doctor Octopus or Vulture, we get an Electro. Jamie Foxx may have won an Oscar for Ray in 2004, but he's absolutely terrible in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. This awesome electricity-controlling bad guy is reduced to a needy, whiny idiot who is basically told what to do by Harry Osbourne. Electrawful.
Crossbones – Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War is one of the only superhero movies that doesn't really need a villain; the conflict and drama is between the heroes themselves. It does have Baron Zemo, who is a good, tragic bad guy, but really, what's the point of Crossbones? He was introduced in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and hopes were high that would play a big part of the next movie. Sadly this masked mercenary checks out of Civil War almost as quickly as he is introduced.
Dr Hector Hammond – Green Lantern
Green Lantern is so poor that its villain doesn't seem that much worse than anything else in it, but there's little denying that Dr Hector Hammond is a bad villain. From the terrible make-up to his high-pitched comedy screaming, it's impossible not to laugh at him every time he appears on screen.
Malekith the Accursed – Thor: The Dark World
Is there another bad guy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as terrible as Malekith the Accursed? This boring, miserable Elven idiot has a cool name, but beyond that is utterly devoid of anything you'd associated with a great supervillain--charisma, motivation, a cool costume. It's hard to remember who he is even as you're watching the movie, let alone afterwards.
Whiplash – Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2's troubled production is well known, and the fact that the movie started shooting without a finished script is perhaps one reason why Whiplash turned out to be such a useless adversary for Tony Stark. Boringly played by a check-cashing Mickey Rourke, Whiplash's nonsensical motivations and general uselessness in a fight add up to a bad villain in a bad movie.
Nuclear Man – Superman IV: The Quest For Peace
It's hard to think of a worse supervillain in a worse superhero movie. Christopher Reeves' woeful final outing as the Man of Steel was hindered by a hugely-reduced budget and a horrible script, but worst of all is the bad guy. Played by the long-forgotten Mark Pillow, Nuclear Man looked like a reject from an '80s hair metal video and had a voice lazily overdubbed by Gene Hackman. This lumbering goon is laughably hamstrung by the fact he needs the light of the sun to supply his powers. Solution: stay inside.