I'm gonna have to agree with Heath Ledger's Joker. Most movie villains have a reason for their villainy, but Ledger's Joker was completely and totally anarchic. There was no rhyme or reason to his madness. He was simply pure, unadulterated mayhem.
The Joker - specifically from the Dark Knight. Heath Ledger's take on the Joker is what i believe encapsulates a true villain. More concerned with sending messages and thoroughly capable of controlling the actions of the hero.
Wesley - I especially like the reason behind your choice. Heroes and villains are often motivated by a similar passion or sense of disillusionment but happen to channel it in different ways. This, along with what you've pointed out, are why antagonists are so fascinating.
I couldn't possibly choose just one. The few I've mentioned previously are up there, and Heath Ledger's Joker is absolutely one of the all time best in my eyes.
I will tell you that my favorite villain in fiction (encompassing all mediums) is almost undoubtedly Ozymandias in the graphic novel of Watchmen (who's not rendered nearly as well in the movie version). His motives are almost honorable, but his actions are absolutely heinous.
That's easy...Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth...She drives the whole play and is the epitome of a woman you never, ever want to meet...or maybe Leobin in the Battlestar seasons. You can't help but like him no matter how many times he's bad.
the JOKER and not just heath ledger in the dark knight either (even though that is my favorite joker and i LOVE that movie). the joker is the greatest because he doesn't want to eliminate the hero (batman obviously) but he wants to control the hero... don't really have time to really give all the reasons why (but i might come back later and explain) but maybe if you read the comic books too you would understand.
Not only is there a need to control, but an acute awareness that without a hero, the villain cannot exist, and vice versa. Heath Ledger's Joker sums it up pretty nicely when he tells Batman, "You complete me."
I have to go with Robert DeNiro and Val Kilmer in Heat. Not only do they play the villains brilliantly, they are also able to portray their "bad boy" characters and make the audience feel compassionate for them simultaneously!
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