15 Supervillains That Look Better On The Big Screen (And 15 That Look Way Worse)

There is no denying that superhero movies have forever changed the cinematic landscape. Every year, there are several superhero blockbusters that are successfully able to build anticipation and dominate the box office when they are finally released. There are several different types of superheroes, but the movies would be kind of boring if they didn’t have supervillains to battle and threaten their cities.

Some studies even show that superheroes are more violent than supervillains, which makes sense when you see the destruction some superheroes achieve in movies. Many supervillains have become just as popular as superheroes, and some characters have even received their own solo movies, such as the case with Venom and Suicide Squad.

Most of these characters are pulled straight from the pages of comic books, but occasionally supervillains can be created specifically for a feature film. Whenever a character is adapted from a comic book for the big screen, people will always be curious to see how closely the character resembles the source material.

Sometimes filmmakers make drastic changes to a supervillain’s appearance, while other times the movie version will look exactly like the comic character. That being said, when a character’s look is changed, it can sometimes be for the better, but other times it turns out for the worse.

Here are the 15 Supervillains That Look Better On The Big Screen (And 15 That Look Way Worse).

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

30 Better: Ulysses Klaue

Marvel’s Black Panther arguably has some of the best villains of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only did the movie adapt Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan), but the film also brought back Ulysses Klaue (played by Andy Serkis).

In the comics, Klaue has a skin-tight red and purple suit and a cannon replacing his right arm. For the MCU, Marvel ditched his supervillain suit and instead just gave him regular clothes with a prosthetic arm that opens up into a powerful cannon. The look may not resemble the original costume, but that’s probably for the best. 

29 Worse: Bullseye

Before Netflix came out with their widely popular adaptation of Daredevil, fans were left with the sub-par Daredevil movie that came out in 2003. The film starred Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock and featured Colin Farrell as the villain Bullseye. Even though both actors have gone on to have successful careers, the movie was panned by critics, and Bullseye looked utterly ridiculous.

In the comics, Bullseye had a blue and white suit and his mask had a target drawn onto it. In Daredevil, Farrell appears in a long leather jacket, leather pants, a big belt buckle, with a target carved into his forehead. Let’s just say the costume designers didn’t hit the bullseye in Daredevil. 

28 Better: Vulture

Vulture is one of Spider-Man’s oldest foes. He first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #2 in 1963 and was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. The original design for the costume looks similar to an actual bird, with the suit giving Adrian Toomes flight capabilities. His costume has no doubt changed over the years, but Vulture had one of his best looks in 2017 when Marvel Studios released Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Michael Keaton takes on the role of the Vulture for the movie and creates a costume using the Chitauri technology that was left behind in the Battle of New York. It not only looked incredible, but it also had a good story behind it as well. 

27 Worse: Galactus

Galactus first appeared in Fantastic Four #48 in 1966. The character was a cosmic entity that consumed planets in order to stay alive. Galactus is usually drawn as a massive being with a rather iconic look. The character usually has a purple and blue suit with a giant helmet.

Galactus was adapted for the big screen in Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, but in no way did it come even close to resembling Galactus. Instead, the character appeared as a giant cloud that went around absorbing planets.

26 Better: Arnim Zola

Arnim Zola served as a Nazi biochemist in World War II, before transferring his mind into a robot so he could live forever. The supervillain began his journey in Captain America #208 in 1977. While the concept of the character is intriguing, the costume design just kind of looks silly.

Arnim Zola appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger in his human form, and then again in Captain America: Winter Soldier as his machine form. Thankfully, Marvel decided not to adapt the character’s costume and instead just had him appear on a monitor within a Hydra base. 

25 Worse: Ares

Ares is one supervillain that didn’t originate in a comic book, but rather in Greek mythology. Ares is the Greek God of War and was the main villain in Patty Jenkins Wonder Woman in 2017. Ares is one of the twelve Olympian gods and is the son of Hera and Zeus.

Even though Ares isn’t the worst looking villain on this list, he certainly looked worse on the big screen than in the pages of a comic book. The character is another CGI supervillain that honestly didn’t look that menacing, especially since fans could see his face through his helmet.

24 Better: The Joker (Heath Ledger)

The Joker is one of the most popular -- and arguably the most iconic -- comic book supervillain ever. The character has been adapted a number of times for feature-length films, animated shorts, and television shows. While each Joker has had their own look, Heath Ledger’s Joker from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is one of the better times the character has graced the big screen.

The look for the Joker in The Dark Knight is actually rather simple, consisting of long green hair, some face paint, and a purple coat. By making the character look this way, it makes the Joker seem even more menacing since viewers are constantly reminded that the character is twisted, but still just an average human being.

23 Worse: Baron Zemo

Captain America: Civil War was basically another Avengers movie. The movie featured a ton of superheroes that battle against each other; hence the subtitle. That being said, Daniel Brühl does appear as the supervillain Baron Zemo. Zemo made his first appearance in the ‘60s and is often seen in a purple cloak that was permanently adhered to his body.

Zemo looks nothing like his comic version, which is part of the reason why he quickly became one of the most forgettable supervillains of the MCU. This is one instance where the supervillain certainly looked way worse on the big screen. 

22 Better: Mystique

Mystique may not be a supervillain 100% of the time, but she has done some evil things to warrant a spot on the list. Mystique is a shape-shifting mutant who can mimic the appearance and voice of any person. That being said, her character looks way better on the big screen than it does in the comic books.

In the comics, she has blue skin, red hair, and usually wears a long white dress. When the character was adapted for X-Men in 2000, actress Rebecca Romjin wasn’t just painted blue, but was given scales that went across her entire body. The same thing has happened with Jennifer Lawrence in the newer X-Men movies.

21 Worse: Lex Luthor

Superman has many iconic villains, but Lex Luthor is often considered his arch-enemy. The internet was set ablaze when Ben Affleck was announced as Bruce Wayne, and again when Jesse Eisenberg was cast as Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Luthor is often a business magnate and philanthropist who thrives in Metropolis.

Luthor’s most iconic feature is his bald head, but that didn’t get adapted for Batman v Superman, with Eisenberg instead having long brown hair. Granted, the character does go bald once he goes to prison, but by the end of the movie, it is too late. 

20 Better: Yellowjacket

Aside from the Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man is one of the riskier characters the Marvel Cinematic Universe has adapted. Paul Rudd ended up doing great in the role of Scott Lang, and his costume looked way better on the big screen than in the comics books.

The enemy in the movie, Yellowjacket (played by Corey Stoll), also has a much better-looking costume than he does in the comics, and even looks cooler than Ant-Man. The decision to give Yellowjacket a high-tech suit for the movie was a better choice than trying to adapt the characters iconic yellow garb. 

19 Worse: Catwoman

Catwoman is another supervillain who sometimes has heroic tendencies, but is still evil most of the time. Many actresses have played Catwoman over the years, and in 2004, Halle Berry put on the costume -- if you can even consider it a costume. Pitof’s Catwoman not only features the worst adaptation of the character, but it is also considered one of the worst superhero movies ever made.

Instead of Catwoman’s classic costume, Berry simply sports a cat mask with a leather crop top, gloves, and ripped pants. The costume looked more like something one would find in a Halloween shop than in a feature film, yet it unfortunately graced the screen in 2004. 

18 Better: Red Skull

Since Red Skull is often considered Captain America’s arch-enemy, he was the character chosen for Captain America: The First Avenger. Red Skull is a Nazi super-soldier who first appeared in 1941 in the comic book Captain America Comics #7.

The character was played by Hugo Weaving for the 2011 movie, and the makeup department made Red Skull look just like the comic book version. Turning someone’s head into a giant red skull could have gone very wrong, but the finished product in Captain America looks even better on the big screen than in the comics. 

17 Worse: Mandarin

After creating 20 movies for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios has adapted several iconic comic book villains. Iron Man’s arch-enemy, the Mandarin, was adapted for 2013’s Iron Man 3, but unfortunately, it was a massive let down for fans.

While the costume for the Mandarin wasn’t horrible, Marvel was accused of white-washing the role, since Mandarin is of Asian descent in the comic books. Between this and the horrible plot twist, the Mandarin is better left in the pages of comic books than on the big screen. 

16 Better: General Zod

General Zod’s first appearance came in April 1961 when the character appeared in Adventure Comics #283. Over the years, the supervillain has had many costume changes and been adapted twice for movies. The first came in 1980 with Terence Stamp playing the role, and then General Zod was adapted again in 2013 for Man of Steel.

Not only did Michael Shannon give an incredible performance as Zod in Man of Steel, but it is one of the best looking costumes fans have seen for the supervillain. The costume looks similar to some comic books, but it definitely looks better up on the big screen.

15 Worse: Apocalypse

X-Men: Apocalypse was the eighth movie in the main X-Men film series, and the first movie to adapt the villain Apocalypse for the big screen. The supervillain is considered one of the first ever mutants who goes by the alter ego En Sabah Nur. The character was portrayed by the talented Oscar Isaac, but the look of the character is better left in the comics.

The live-action version of Apocalypse strayed away from Apocalypse’s classic design, and fans were not happy. Concept art for X-Men: Apocalypse revealed a more comic accurate villain, but the finished product missed the mark. 

14 Better: Penguin

Gotham may currently be featuring a live-action version of Oswald Cobblepot, but the character has been adapted for movies a few times before. Burgess Meredith played the Penguin in the 1966 Batman film, and Danny DeVito played the character in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns in 1992.

Instead of just being a Gotham mobster who resembles a penguin, Burton turned Cobblepot into a half-human, half-penguin character. It was a bold choice to make, but the decision fits the dark tone of the movie and worked on the big screen. 

13 Worse: Doctor Doom

Even with a rich history in comic books, filmmakers still haven’t successfully adapted Fantastic Four for the big screen. The most recent attempt was in 2015, when 20th Century Fox tried to reboot the series with Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell.

Fox miserably failed, and also gave fans the worst looking version of the iconic villain Doctor Doom. Fox made the mistake of straying too far away from the source material and ended up creating a villain that some people compare to as a combination of the Terminator and a crash test dummy. 

12 Better: Kaecilius

The supervillain Kaecilius made his live-action debut in the 2016 movie Doctor Strange. The character was played by Mads Mikkelsen and looked way better than he did in the comic books. When the character appeared in Strange Tales #130 in 1965, Kaecilius had a purple and gold suit with a handlebar mustache.

Thankfully, Marvel didn’t include either of these two costume ideas and instead gave Kaecilius a unique look for Doctor Strange. Not only does his outfit look sleek, but the cracked and darkened edges of his eyes make Kaecilius look truly menacing. 

11 Worse: Doomsday

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice struggled for a couple of reasons. The movie had a stuffed plot that was partly due to the fact that it included too many characters. Batman v Superman was desperately trying to set up Justice League and threw fans a plot twist by including Doomsday at the end of the film.

Not only does Doomsday not look like the comic book version, but the CGI for the character makes him look incredibly fake. Fans were quick to criticize the movie for its cringe-worthy CGI, and many wish Doomsday would have been left in the comics. 

10 Better: Hela

Thor: Ragnarok was not only considered the best of the three Thor movies, but it also introduced a memorable supervillain that looked fantastic on the big screen. Ragnarok introduced Cate Blanchett as Hela -- the older sister of Thor. Between the elaborate head-piece, and her sleek looking suit, this is one of the finer examples of Marvel adapting a supervillain for a movie.

Hela may look similar in the comic books, but the movie version of the character easily beats out the source material. Unfortunately, Hela’s time in the MCU seemingly came to an end at the end of Thor: Ragnarok.

9 Worse: The Joker (Jared Leto)

While the Joker has been adapted several times for movies, his appearance in Suicide Squad was one of his worst looks. The internet heavily criticized Jared Leto’s look when it was initially revealed, and it’s not hard to see why. The character is covered in tattoos and has one across his forehead that reads “Damaged,” which seems a bit too over the top.

The Joker’s mouth is also filled with grills, which was yet another questionable choice for the supervillain. Even after the movie was released, fans still hated the character, but it wasn’t just because of his ridiculous look. 

8 Better: Crossbones

Actor Frank Grillo first appeared as the character Brock Rumlow in Captain America: Winter Soldier, but later appeared as the supervillain Crossbones in Captain America: Civil War. The character’s appearance was short-lived, but his costume looked better on the big screen than it did in the comics.

In early appearances of the character, Crossbones simply wears a tank top with two bones, and a mask with a skull on it. The character almost resembles a wrestler in the comics, so giving the character armor in Civil War made much more tactical sense. 

7 Worse: Dormammu

While Kaecilius was the main supervillain in Doctor Strange, Dormammu also makes an appearance. The character appears at the end of the movie when Stephen Strange comes to bargain with Dormammu. Dormammu has a horrifying design in the comic books, which unfortunately, was not adapted for Doctor Strange.

Instead, Dormammu mainly appears as a giant floating head. Granted, fans see his chest and his arm in one shot, but the character mainly blends in with the other parts of space. Needless to say, the end result of the cosmic villain doesn’t look great. 

6 Better: Loki

One supervillain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe fans seem to love is Loki. In Norse mythology, Loki is a trickster who can shapeshift. In the MCU, Loki is played by Tom Hiddleston and has these same traits.

The character is widely considered one of the better villains of the franchise and has been featured in several of the movies. Loki’s costume in the film looks similar to that of the comics, but the big screen’s version is a lot sleeker than the version in the comic books. 

5 Worse: Hector Hammond

There were not a lot of high points in DC’s Green Lantern, and the villain was actually one of the worst parts. Peter Sarsgaard played Hector Hammond in the 2011 movie and while his performance wasn’t half bad, the look of his character was horrible. That being said, the character’s design in the comic books isn’t much better.

Hammond is known for having a genius-level intellect, which his comic-creators established by drawing him with a massive head. Hammond isn’t the type of supervillain that filmmakers can easily adapt to the big screen, and filmmakers found that out the hard way in 2011. 

4 Better: Two-Face

There have been many Batman movies since the character’s creation in 1939. That being said, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is considered one of the best Batman films and one of the best superhero movies ever made. While the Joker is the main villain of the film, Two-Face also becomes an antagonist as the movie progresses.

The Dark Knight trilogy is known for being a darker and more serious take on Batman, and that is just what happened with Two-Face. Harvey Dent’s face becomes horribly burned during the events of the film, which not only looks incredibly realistic, but even better than the comic book versions. 

3 Worse: Malekith

For many people, Thor: The Dark World is one of the weaker entries of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Likewise, Malekith is also seen as one of the worst supervillains. In the movie, the character is seen as a Dark Elf that bares little resemblance to his iconic look in the comic books.

This is one instance where the big screen version of a supervillain couldn’t beat the classic look of a character. The film tried to make Malekith look like the comic book version by having Thor zap half of his face with lightning, but that doesn’t help his look for the rest of the movie.

2 Better: Thanos

Over the last 10 years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been leading up to the events in Avengers: Infinity War. Thanos had been teased in the early stages of the franchise, and fans were finally going to see the character in full glory on the big screen.

Thanos’ look had changed a few times throughout the movies, but the special effects department nailed his final look for Infinity War. If a film is going to feature a CGI villain, it’s important that he looks realistic. Thankfully, Thanos looks even better than the comic book version on the big screen. 

1 Worse: Steppenwolf

While the Marvel Cinematic Universe nailed their big baddie’s look in Avengers: Infinity War, the DC Extended Universe still has some work to do. With Joss Whedon stepping in to help finish Justice League, many people had problems with the way the movie flowed. Another big complaint people had was the fact that the film featured another cringe-worthy CGI villain.

Steppenwolf had a much more humanized look in the comic books, which Justice League did not adapt. Unfortunately, the filmmakers missed the mark with Steppenwolf in Justice League, resulting in yet another character that should have been left in the pages of comic books. 


Are there any other supervillains that looked better or worse on the big screen? Let us know in the comments!

More in Lists