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A film is usually only as strong as its villain. Can you imagine James Bond facing off against Mr. Lazy, the only villain in the world who can’t get off the couch? Of course not! To make a great hero, they need a great nemesis, but there are some villains who manage to outshine their good counterpart. This is my list of the bad guys who made me leave the theatre laughing like a lunatic while I planned my next attempt at world domination. Please be aware that there are some extreme spoilers here. If you haven’t watched any of the films on this list, I would avoid reading any further.

Aggie (Jodelle Ferland) – ParaNorman

While not exactly the most evil villain, Aggie is probably the most exciting to watch. A combination of stop motion and computer graphics, Aggie was the real cause of all the problems in ParaNorman . It was a perfect blend of new and traditional technology, as well as fantastic sound design. Aggie looks and sounds like being inside a thunderstorm. With powers like that any villain should be unstoppable, but Aggie isn’t really out to hurt anybody. The fact that she’s just a lost and lonely ghost, and not the bad guy out to rule the world, is the one reason she takes the last spot on the list.

David (Michael Fassbender) – Prometheus

The emotionless robot at the heart of all the villainy in Prometheus , David gets an extra vote for being a great villain just by being a robot. That he’s played by Michael Fassbender, and is starring in a Ridley Scott film, is basically a geek fantasy. Fassbender had already played the role of Magneto in an X-Men film, and was now working in the Alien universe. He completely lacks emotion, allowing him to infect and destroy everything and everyone involved in his mission. That cool demeanour is one of the major reasons that David is such a fantastic villain.

Silva (Javier Bardem) – Skyfall

David was an emotionless and cold character because he was a robot, but Silva manages to be almost as emotionless, without the benefit of being artificial. Javier Bardem does an amazing job as the latest Bond villain, Silva. His only downfall is the fact that he’s not really lacking as much emotion as we’re originally led to believe. His hatred of M is what finally destroys him, as he’s more concerned with ending her life than he is with taking anything over. Silva is incredibly intelligent, quite funny, and pure evil. He’s also very disturbing to look at, as viewers find out in Skyfall . If only he could have controlled his rage, he may have finally beaten Bond.

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) The Avengers

Loki comes in a close second for one reason, he has an air of cowardice surrounding him. Despite being an Asgardian god, Loki spends much of his time squaring off against the weakest members of the Avengers. Face to face against Iron Man when he’s not in his suit, getting Hawkeye on his side, and even kidnapping Selvig, a powerless scientist, doesn’t exactly make him look good as a bad guy. He does eliminate agent Phil Coulson in a shocking moment, which boosts his credibility, but it’s his attitude that finally makes him a cool villain. It helps that Tom Hiddleston is  charismatic, as well as very funny, and some of the best scenes in the film revolve around Loki. Too bad they typically involve him getting tossed around.

Pitch (Jude Law) Rise of the Guardians

Pitch is easily the best villain of the year. Not only is he trying to destroy the happiness of children, he’s trying to take down every good character that kids have known. Santa, The Easter Bunny, The Sandman, The Tooth Fairy, and Jack Frost. Get rid of Cupid and pumpkins and he would have  conquered every holiday we love. Jude Law gives Pitch a voice that can chill you to the bone, and his dark nightmares are some of the best evil minions around. Of course he doesn’t end up winning, villains rarely do, but he puts up a visually stunning fight. He also doesn’t hold back. When it comes time to face off against the Guardians, Pitch gives it his all, and comes very close to actually winning. The heroes are entertaining in the film, but Pitch is a much more interesting character, just like every villain should be.

Toronto Film Scene’s “best of 2012” series continues throughout December.