The Best Movie Villains of the 21st Century — IndieWire Critics Survey

IndieWire | 3/4/2019 | Staff
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This week’s question: Who — or what — is the best movie villain of the 21st century?

“Black Panther”

Villain - Century - Killmonger - Black - Panther

I think the best villain I’ve seen this century has been Killmonger from “Black Panther.” I hesitated giving this answer since it seems cliche, especially for me simply because “Black Panther” is one of my favorite films. But I truly feel the Killmonger brought so many different facets to what a villain could be.

To be honest, my title of Best Villain is a tie between Heath Ledger’s Joker and Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger because both are demented philosophers who hit on actual, thought-provoking nuggets of truth. They challenge the heroes of their respective universes and, indeed, make the heroes better people by providing them with more clarity about the types of heroes they want to be. But Killmonger gets the edge since he speaks to some tacit issues within the Black diaspora, issues that hadn’t been discussed in a superhero film, much less a “regular” film, in the way they were tackled in “Black Panther.”

Character - Call - Colonization - Relationship - Black

It was very refreshing to see a character call out how colonization ruined the relationship of the diasporic Black tribe to the point where Africans still on the continent and Black Americans distrust each other. Indeed, the true villain of “Black Panther” is colonialism, if we’re speaking in a historical sense. But as far as the film goes, Killmonger gives me everything I need as a foil to T’Challa.

“Green Room”

Jokes - Viewers - Room - Oscar-winning - Green

With all the jokes recently about unsuspecting viewers catching up with “Green Room” instead of the Oscar-winning “Green Book,” I’ve been thinking about Jeremy Saulnier’s near-perfect punk rock horror movie even more than usual (which is A LOT). His film’s antagonists are skinheads who trap the clueless band-mate heroes of the story in the titular room after they’ve witnessed a...
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