Last year was an exciting year for comic fans because of the sheer diversity of the films and television series rolled out; everything from gritty noir films like Logan, to action packed first seasons like The Defenders, and the continuation of classic favorites like Gotham and Supergirl. With so many opportunities to tell unique stories, great heroes found themselves fighting equally great villains. Some of these evil doers were nasty through to the cores of their shriveled black hearts, and some were ambiguously complex with depth to their monstrous natures.
Great villains make great stories, because heroes are dumb. The villains of 2017 gave us conflicting emotions and other confusing feelings as well, because this crop of baddies was super studly and also super sassy. Sometimes it wasn’t even their good looks that made them appealing; something about their attitude, personality, or air of confidence made every time they came on screen a welcome reprieve from some do-gooder yacking. Whether your tastes are for the whimsical trickery of Loki, the cerebral menace of Maximus, the powerful might of Hela, or a newly shirtless Kylo Ren, CBR has round up the 15 most attractive villains of 2017 for your waiting eyeballs.
What’s tall, green, and has killer taste in headwear? It’s none other than Hela, evil daughter of Odin (Loki and a giantess in the comics), and played by the ravishing Cate Blanchett in Thor:Ragnarok. Hela is the Asgardian goddess of death, based on the actual goddess of Norse mythology, Hel. She is the ruler of Niflheim, and is a constant enemy of Thor’s.
Like Thor, she possesses superior strength, and like Thor with his magic hammer, she is more powerful when wearing her cloak. When his hammer is destroyed in the film, she is able to gain control of her armies once again and wreak havoc on Asgard. With her statuesque form, sculpted features, and piles of eyeliner, Hela looked like a glam rock goddess worthy of ruling the Nine Realms.
In Supergirl’s latest season, audiences are introduced to Kara’s latest villain, Reign. Harkening from the "Worldkiller" storyline of DC Comics, season 3’s Reign looks vastly different from the way fans have seen her before, and that’s not exactly a bad thing. The comic book version looked alien and otherworldly, which was appropriate since she was one of five biological weapons created by Zor-El.
This Reign is cleverly disguised as Samantha, CEO of L Corp, just a single mom trying to make her way in the world. A world she plans to conquer and assume control of once she figures out her destiny. She’s completely unaware of her Kryptonian heritage, but once she discovers it, she’s suiting up in skintight black leather and looking every bit the villainess.
13 BLACK SIREN
The Earth Two version of the Laurel Lance, aka Black Canary, that we all know and love, Black Siren was actually a victim of Harrison Wells' particle accelerator incident and was blessed (or maybe cursed?) with the amazing ability to scream at a very high frequency. This version of Laurel Lance became extremely bitter over the death of both her boyfriend and her father (pretty understandable), so she decided that she would join the dark side, as well as becoming a high-ranking official in Zoom's evil army, and eventually joining forces with Cayden James.
Played to villainous perfection by the same actress who played Earth One's Laurel (makes sense), Katie Cassidy, Black Siren is a character we see around for quite some time. The role fits Cassidy much better than that of Black Canary and she looks like she's having a lot more fun playing her as well.
12 KYLO REN
Though the ferver surrounding The Last Jedi may have subsided since its release, what still rages like the lava flows on Mustafar is the talk about a certain shirtless Sith Lord wannabe. No one expected light sider Rey to have such a strong connection with dark sider Kylo Ren, but somehow they were able to telepathically communicate hundreds of light years apart. Rey had the ability to see all of Kylo’s surroundings, and during one notable scene, the pale, presumably lanky Adam Driver boasted instead a rock solid bare chest and surprisingly broad shoulders.
Throwing hissy fits and getting into slappy fights with your First Order employees doesn’t exactly make you all that attractive, but damn if Kylo didn’t put in the work this time around and show not only was he a powerful wielder of the Force, he looked good doing it.
The antithesis to Thor’s big hulking brawn, his brother Loki has a certain sly sophistication about him that includes his supreme intellect. Intelligence is the new sexy in Loki’s case, and that’s just what caught the attention of fans all around the world when he first took on the Avengers. Though he’s reformed himself since his days of being a total villain and now fights alongside his brother in Thor:Ragnarok, Loki is the God of Mischief and only has loyalty to himself.
Tall, pale, with shoulder-length dark hair and striking blue eyes, Loki has all of the abilities of his brother but in a much more refined package. Despite being known as a trickster, Tom Hiddleston imbues Loki with a dry wit and a caustic playfulness that is just as much alluring as it is dangerous.
10 LUCIFER MORNINGSTAR
The devil’s in the details as they say, and the details about Lucifer Morningstar are what make him so appealing. Unlike your average incarnation of Satan, the titular character on Fox’s Lucifer is a debonair night club owner in Los Angeles that helps an LAPD police detective solve her cases (he’s especially helpful in those of the supernatural variety).
The notion that the Lord of Hell could ever get “bored” with his life, abdicate his throne, and decide to reside in the “City of Angels” is both ironic and fresh. Not purely evil, Lucifer is a charming free spirit and a bit of a cad, able to make himself irresistible to everyone and capable of making them reveal their darkest desires. Making the Devil someone you would want to have a drink with ensures he is a far more surreptitious, but no less likable, villain.
9 RITA REPULSA
When news hit the Power Rangers were being rebooted in an all new movie, fans were excited. It was a chance to ditch the cheese platter that were the other movies (Dino Rangers, anyone?) and give it some real bite. As in the glory days of the color-coordinated crew, Rita Repulsa was the main villain, played by the lovely Elizabeth Banks.
Banks channeled all her grit and charisma into the role of a fallen heroine who had turned against her fellow rangers. Once a Green Ranger, she stole the powerful Zero Crystal in an attempt to have control over life and death. As a galactic sorceress in training, she has telekinesis, geokinesis, and all manner of superhuman abilities. Banks’s Repulsa is much more athletic and agile in the film, which makes her fights against the Rangers much more satisfying than relying on minions like in the television series.
8 COMMANDER ARUN FILITT
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets seemed like the sort of complex, grandiose science fiction epic that would offer lots of world building. Based on a French comic, it featured lots of familiar tropes, including biochemical weapons, ruthless military regimes, imperiled space princesses, and a couple of attractive young leads exploring a large galaxy.
While the film may not have dazzled the way everyone hoped, we did get one redeeming morsel; Clive Owen as Commander Arun Filitt. In a gaudy green and gold uniform reflective of Earth's more extravagant ceremonial military (looking at you Spain and France) garb, he plays a villain that is both stalwart and brave, as well as insidious and calculating. Like all leaders, his villainy lies in being forced to make the tough decisions and do what must be done, even if it is at a substantial cost of life.
Marvel fans got a taste of Julian McMahon’s ability to play a baddie in the woefully received The Fantastic Four back in 2004. His Victor Von Doom was charming and ruthless and, unlike the villain on which he was based, didn’t walk around with a mask covering his face until the third act. No doubt because McMahon has the sort of handsome face that makes you hate to hate him.
When he premiered on Runaways as Jonah, aka “Gross Flaky Guy” (as he was dubbed by Leslie), it came as a surprise to viewers, since his character had been lurking in the shadows of the plot since the first couple episodes when the Runaways witness their parents committing ritual sacrifice. Jonah is charming but less of a straight-forward villain, in that from his perspective, none of his actions are purely evil, and some are even occasionally good.
6 DONALD PIERCE
When gamechanger Logan came out, audiences didn’t know what to expect. Would it be as action packed as every other Wolverine flick? Would it be the end of Wolverine as we know it? The gritty noir answered many of these questions and posed a few more. Fans all agreed the stylish, character heavy story was more of a family drama in many ways than a typical superhero movie, and that was fine with them (it IS possible to burn out on so many capes).
The main villain of the movie was a cybernetically enhanced robo gunslinger named Donald Pierce, the leader of the Reavers (fellow cyborgs) and hired to bring in the young girl Logan protected. With a charming Southern drawl and a snazzy leather duster, Pierce wasn’t the colorful character of the comics, but was insanely fun to watch (and look at).
What villain is deadly enough to draw the attention of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist? A villain played by the one and only Sigourney Weaver, Queen of Fandoms, of course. While recently Weaver has been seen cavorting with the Navi in Avatar, she really gets to strut her stuff as a baddie. Sophisticated, highly intelligent, and dangerous, Alexandra is as powerful a force in New York City as Wilson Fisk.
Alexandra is as cold as ice, and Weaver is unflappable in her delivery. Working with a full deck and the full backing of the house, she never shows her hand, but always has something up her sleeve. Alexandra sees the Defenders as an encroachment on her business dealings that will only better her city, so not unlike Wilson Fisk, she is ruthless but also complex, and doesn’t see herself as a villain at all.
At one point a member of the Inhumans, and now a powerful antagonist of them, Maximus is the villain in the television show of the same name, and first appeared in the Fantastic Four comics. A genius and a great inventor, his mutant powers came by way of exposure to the powerful Terrigen Mist while still in his mother’s womb. He can completely override and erase a human’s mind.
In Inhumans, Maximus is made human by exposure to the Terrigen Mist, making him envious of his brother, Black Bolt. He is played with maniacal glee and deranged whimsy by Iwan Rheon, who audiences have come to associate with being mentally unhinged when he played the diabolical Ramsay Bolton on Game of Thrones. Clad in all black with a leather jacket and an unnerving gaze, Maximus is as desirable as he is deadly.
3 POPPY ADAMS
When thinking of pure evil, a villain whose named after a flower doesn’t exactly strike terror in your loins. But Julianne Moore is no budding buttercup as Poppy Adams in Kingsman: The Golden Circle, a global entrepreneur who thinks on a big scale. All she wants to do is legitimize and legalize the drug trade so that her business can make the most money, yet the Kingsmen have to get in the way.
Played as though June Cleaver were a Bond villain, Moore is a picture perfect vision of ‘50s bucolic positivity, even going so far as to have a retro wardrobe and knack for decor. She’s a bubbly, yet cool headed sociopath that could snap at any moment, and the anticipation of those little moments is a joy to watch.
2 JEROME VALESKA
Ever since Cameron Monaghan appeared in Gotham, fans wondered if he would be the one to breathe life into The Joker’s origins. His aesthetic, demeanor, and depraved actions all point in that direction, but he’s very much his own villain. A carnival working at the time of the Flying Graysons (Robin’s family, for those keeping score at home), he killed his own mother for sleeping around, drinking too much, and being a “nag”.
Monaghan takes what could be an over-the-top performance but gives it just the right amount of restraint. He’s excited when certain people die and inappropriately gleeful about homicidal killing sprees, but he’s also not turning around and making people smell his water-shooting flower buttonhole. He is theatrical without being melodramatic, and makes sure by the nature of his dynamic performance that the audience is having just as much fun as he is.
In the shiny Arrow/Supergirl/Flash/Legends of Tomorrow crossover “Crisis on Earth-X”, Supergirl becomes Overgirl, Nazi-powered and gloriously evil. In order to defeat the super beings from Earth 10 that are bleeding into Earth 1, it will take the combined might of all the stars from all the current Marvel superhero shows to stop them, so it’s Supergirl vs Evil Supergirl.
On Earth 10, Nazis rule the world, which means that Supergirl uses her powers for authoritarian fascism. Instead of two S’s, think two lightning bolts on her chest (no, seriously). Since the DC series 52, Nazis won WWII thanks to Superman landing in Czechoslovakia instead of the US and being raised by Adolf Hitler, so elements of the comics are present in the four part television event. Overgirl is played with evil relish by Melissa Benoist, who gets to behave much differently than she does as Supergirl.