A great villain once said; “Everybody loves the bad guy!”
Well, if that’s the case, then the bad guy isn’t doing it right. A truly great villain shouldn’t make you want to dress like them, perform impressions of them or cheer them on. A true villain should be completely and utterly deplorable. Enter, Commodus.
As portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, Gladiator’s Commodus is a conniving, cowardly, and cutthroat autocrat who would just as soon cop off with his own sister as he would commit patricide and regicide in order to become Emperor. His longing for power is matched only by his blood lust and he’s never more ecstatic than when the blood of his subjects is being spilt in the Coliseum.
When projecting the perception of bravery by challenging his nemesis, his snidey shanking of Russell Crowe’s Maximus truly shows the cut of his jib. The fact that he engineers this execution right before entering the arena for a ‘fair fight’ makes it all the more satisfying when he finally gets his throat slit at the hands of the vengeful gladiator.
In that climactic moment, one would assume that many a viewer punched the air in celebration. But perhaps not; what kind of person would take such delight in the death and destruction of another. Oh, wait a minute. Now say goodbye to the bad guy.
Who makes your bad guys gallery? Let us know in the comments below.