Destroy Superman!…But first, I have fun.

Naturally, someone else’s comments about something once again triggered an idea. This time you can blame my cousin Robert for mentioning Superman IV, which has long been a target of family ridicule. There was even an annual “award” for it, claimed by the worst movie any of us had seen all year. I think that the fact that there have been movies since then even worse…really speaks volumes.

However, instead of another post about a movie, here’s a twist.

Nuclear Man
Confident, Confident, and Out of Luck. Raise your hand if you suck.
Most times, geeks, nerds, dorks and wine-drinking cheese-eaters from the New York Times or AFI love to have the discussion of “best villain” of all time. You see a lot of the usual suspects in those lists. Darth Vader, Khan Noonian Singh and Hans Gruber are perennial favorites. Every so often you’ll see a particularly thoughtful fan toss in Hannibal Lechter’s hat into the ring or Belloq from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Instead, I’d rather talk about the worst villains of all time. Or at least, the ones that I’ve seen.

  1. Nuclear Man – Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
    The gold standard of badly conceived and executed villains, and not just because his suit was gold and black. It was because he was part Superman DNA, part Lex Luthor DNA and all crap.

    The fact that they dubbed his voice with Gene Hackman’s actually made it worse. Although I suppose it saved the actor some embarrassment later in life since with a changed hairstyle, no one would be able to figure out who he was.

    My cousin Rob does the best impression of the line quoted in the title of this blog, that makes me laugh to this day. The fact that Christopher Reeve co-wrote this movie, and was therefore at least partially responsible for this terrible character, is something that I think we’re all happy to overlook.

  2. Agent Smith
    They followed me up with a dude named The Architect? Really?
    The Architect – Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions.
    Pretentious, pretentious, pretentious pablum. That’s all I can say about it. They had Agent Smith and screwed him up in the sequels, and then introduced this new super character that, honestly, by the time he started talking was just like the guy who just took your wallet kicking you in the nuts. You got my wallet, man, did you have to take my dignity? Did you?

  4. General Katana
    I hate this guy. Forever and ever, Amen.
    Gen. Katana – Highlander 2: The Quickening.
    The fact that this movie was directed by the same guy who delivered us the original Highlander is virtually unfathomable, or that the original writers had anything to do with it is unconscionable. That aside, the villain is pure dreck. It’s like they told Ironside, act just like Kurgan, only not as interesting, so that you can seem like his mentally diminished brother. Nice work, guys.

    I remember the scene when he…appears…on Earth and takes over a subway system and crashes it and that’s supposed to show us how cr-cr-craaaazy he is. Ugh. I also remember that I went to this movie at Olney 9 Cinemas with a girl named Jen as our first (and only) date. My parents were out of town, and the movie was so weak that I suggested we go back to my house to watch the original movie. She said, “Good idea.” So we went back to my house…

    …and watched the original movie. Then a hug and a kiss and I wished her a safe trip home. [Expletive] you, Highlander 2. I blame you for that, too.

  5. Toht from Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Admittedly, this is a difficult act to follow.
    General Vogel – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    I suppose he’s OK and all that, but such a disappointment after Toht. Toht carved up his burned palm for the sake of finding the Ark and smiled about it, and this total wuss screams as his tank falls off a cliff? He may have had dazzling blue eyes, but he really didn’t contribute too much else to the Last Crusade.

    Suck it up dude, you’re not worthy to hold Belloq’s toolbag.

  6. Col. Stuart – Die Hard 2: Die Harder
    This is another example of a sequel villain screwed from the concept stage because of the shoes he had to fill. It’s hard to really expound too much on this character because let’s face it, when your character’s introduction is naked tai chi in a hotel room there’s nowhere to go but sadness. When I was a kid, I thought that Die Hard 2 was great. Now, not so much. In fact, I can’t stand it. I even only owned it because I didn’t want to break up the 3 movie set when they released the super-expensive edition on DVD. Then, I refused to give it up just because it ticked off Joey so badly that I wouldn’t give it to him. The irony is that I’m not even sure I own it anymore. Oh well, there’s always Blu Ray.

    And though Live Free or Die Hard was worse than Die Hard 2, I liked Timothy Olyphant’s character, so he didn’t make the list.
    Anyway, Col. Stuart is a pretty weak character, especially when compared to Hans Gruber. Yuck. There’s a reason they had to bring back the Gruber family name for Die Hard With a Vengeance: because we all wanted to rinse Col. Stuart from our collective minds.

So those are obviously my top 5. What are yours? Did I name someone whom you like? If so, there’s pretty much no chance we’ll ever see eye to eye on movies.


11 thoughts on “Destroy Superman!…But first, I have fun.

  1. 1. I think Rob should create a “Superman IV Award” Facebook page. It could be a new project for him.

    2. I disagree about Live Free or Die Hard being worse than Die Hard II. I happen to like both movies despite their obvious faults. Yes, the “dead Asian hooker bitch” in LFDH was a hard pill to swallow. I know the media likes to display women as being “strong,” but good lord. I wish they had explained her (and the dudes who could swing from the rafters like wild apes) by saying cybernetics was in play. Yes, it would have still been a little hokey for a Die Hard film, but at least then we would have had an explanation for all that crap.

    I enjoyed John McClain’s character in all of those movies.

    1. If “dead Asian hooker b**ch” had been the main villain, she likely would have made this list. As it is, craptacular lackeys escaped my wrath.

      1. Personally, I think they should have brought back Clarence Gilyard Jr. as Theo for the main villain in Live Free or Die Hard. It would have made the movie that much better.

  2. “Ppplllleeeeaaassseeee can I destroy Superman?”
    “How bout now?”
    “How bout now?”
    “I said no!”
    “… and now?”
    “Oh, alright; do what you want.”
    “Nah, I’m good.”

    What, was Nuclear Man 6 years old?

    1. Scarier thought: in the deleted scenes, there was a *first* Nuclear Man whom Superman defeated. The remains of this Nuclear Man were incorporated into the next one, who, in the final version of the film, was the *only* Nuclear Man we ever met. I am morbidly curious to watch those scenes, but remember the sad, sad results of watching the “expanded/improved” version of Highlander 2.

  3. I was just reminding Rob of Superman IV awards the other day after catching a few minutes of ‘Congo’ on HBO. I had erased that movie from my mind, but a flood of Superman fourness came flooding back after watching a few scenes. That entire movie was the villain to me. I’m not sure who the main villian was supposed to be in the film. Laura Linney’s boss or Tim’s character, which was Oscar worthy for awfulness.

  4. “Equilibrium”. Easily one of the most ridiculous films I have seen. Christian Bale stars as the “hero” how takes down a fascist regime in the future that inhibits the population’s emotions with drugs.

    The villain is of course the typical over-the-top dictator who had faceless hoards to stand between him and the hero (hoards who, by the way, were clothed in weird black leather uniforms wearing full-head, face-concealing motorcycle helmets). The final scene has Bale using machine guns to wipe out “soldiers” who were trained by Star Wars stormtroopers, and can’t hit the side of a Bale, a pointless slicing in twain of one of the villain’s lieutenants with a katana, and a final fight that has handguns used in place of swords in a martial arts “WTF” kind of fight.

    Basically, any time the only way to communicate a bad guy is with over-the-top, in-your-face obviousness is used, this qualifies as a bad movie villain to me.

    For even more crap sci-fi fun with totally unbelievable characters (but a decent soundtrack), check out “Robot Wars”. The villainous duo in that is played by the pair from Okinawa who were Mr. Miagi’s nemeses from “Karate Kid II”.

    1. Yeah, I saw Equilibrium and found it to be a good concept very, very poorly executed. But I gave it concept points. I don’t remember the final fight too well, but I think thagt’s because by that point I had stopped caring.

      There was an even worse one in the same milieu, with Milla Jovovich. I think it was called Ultraviolet (?).

      1. Well, c’mon.. Anything with Milla Jovovich is bound to be a tad less than Oscar worthy, but that’s not why you go to see her movies in the first place….

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