5 Movie Villains, You Won’t Want to Face-Off

Every great sci-fi movie hero needs a good despicable villain to face off against, and there are hundreds of horrid baddies commanding armies of henchmen in the canon of this genre.

Of course, not all villains are created equal, so here is a look at the most repugnant and revered antagonists of science fiction cinema.

The Predator

When it comes to 80s action excess, it doesn’t get much better than Predator, a film that is arguably the finest work from star Arnold Schwarzenegger. From the hilarious dialogue to the blood, guts and gore, it has everything a fan of blockbuster movies could want.

While the human characters are important, the real lynchpin of the piece is the titular alien that stalks them through the dense jungle, picking them off one by one and displaying their grizzled corpses for the survivors to see and flinch from.

Awesome powers and tech mixed with animalistic behaviour and a crazy-looking face make the Predator a truly terrifying foe. Ignore the so-so sequels and spin-offs and instead stick to the original if you want an evening of thrilling fun, and check out amazing 90s action movies as well.

Thanos

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has dominated the box office for more than a decade at this point, and by the end of the first full cycle of movies, the main villain Thanos had become a household name.

What makes Thanos so vexing is that he thinks he’s in the right; he’s not destroying the universe for the sake of it, he wants to kill 50% of all living beings because of some misguided ideas about restoring balance. It’s a little like playing at a casino, as this intimidating space-emperor wants to spin the wheel of fate and see where it lands.

Ultimately Thanos is more like history’s greatest monsters than a fully-blown sci-fi villain, even if his near-invincibility at the end of Avengers: Endgame does make him a thoroughly supernatural opponent all over again.

Kylo Ren

Star Wars has always had a class-leading villain in the form of Darth Vader, but if anything he has become too much of an icon in the decades since he first appeared on screen, to the point that he’s one of the best-loved characters in the franchise.

Enter Kylo Ren, the moody, complex and thoroughly unlikeable bad guy who first appeared in 2015’s series reboot The Force Awakens. While he shares many of the same traits as Vader, there is no doubt that Ren is more unhinged and thus less in control of his potent command of the Force, which makes him even easier to despise.

Agent Smith

The Matrix was a revolutionary movie when it released at the end of the last century, and while Keanu Reeves is remembered for his starring role, the more compelling performance was arguably put in by Hugo Weaving as the villain of the piece.

Agent Smith is a dastardly screen presence from the very beginning, first establishing himself as a black-suited operative of some secretive state organization, then revealing himself to be a rogue computer program hell-bent on eradicating human life at any cost. Watching him gradually lose his composure throughout the film is a real treat, and remains one of the most interesting villainous character arts in sci-fi.

HAL 9000

The red-eyed artificial intelligence that is pulling all of the strings in Stanley Kubrick’s all-time classic 2001: A Space Odyssey becomes more impressive and terrifying by the year.

With smart tech entering every home and humanity relying on hardware and software more than ever before, it’s easy to see how calamitous events might occur if one rogue AI emerges. Even in isolation, HAL 9000 is a spine-tingling villain.