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A group of people in a movie theater. They all look shocked.



From the misguided to the ruthless, movie villains can be just as interesting and complex as our heroes. Now, 20 plus years into the new millennium, Hollywood has given us some of the coolest, compelling, and complex villains to grace the silver screen. So, let’s throw away our white hats and root for the bad guy as we check out the three best movie villains of the 21st century – so far.

Voldemort (The Harry Potter Series 2001-2011)

He who will not be named, aka Tom Riddle, aka Voldemort, while not always the main antagonist of the Harry Potter films, is always there. This dark shadow of our hero, Harry Potter. Dark, demented, and willing to break all the laws of nature and humanity in order to live forever, Valdemort's complete disregard for anything or anyone (seriously, dude tried to kill a baby) makes him one of the scariest villains of the 21st century.

Thanos (Avengers: Infinity War & Endgame 2018 & 2019)

In Infinity War, he erased half of all existence with a snap of his fingers. And that’s not even what makes him a great villain. No, what makes Thanos truly frightening is his unwavering belief that he’s doing the right thing. Unlike Voldemort, Thanos doesn’t want to live forever. He’s not seeking glory, money, or power. Instead, he thinks by eradicating half of all life, he’s saving the universe. A villain willing to die for his beliefs makes for a fascinating antagonist. And for anyone wondering why Thanos didn’t just make the universe bigger, obviously the man wasn’t all that stable. I mean, his nickname is The Mad Titan.

The Joker (The Dark Knight 2008)

Universally considered one of the greatest performances in comic book movie history, the late Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight has become the stuff of legend. From legitimately scaring his co-stars to improvising scenes on the fly, Heath took what was on the page and elevated it to the stratosphere. His unique version of the clown prince of crime was perfectly summarized in the film by Batman's trusty butler Alfred. "Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn." Now that's a villain.

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