Log in

Heroes vs. Villains

23 Jul, 2009 By: Agent DVD

They represent what we wish most to be, and what we most fear. Heroes and villains have memorably shaped our favorite movies and TV shows over the years. Agent DVD’s editors sought to determine who among the pop-culture landscape of good and evil could be considered the most iconic of them all.

We began by whittling down a huge list of the greatest heroes and villains from movies and TV into eight for each side. Not that there aren’t more that aren’t worthy, but we only had so much room on the page.

The chosen few had to demonstrate a few unassailable qualities: not only do they demonstrate longevity, but they have a cool factor that makes them memorable.

The Heroes

James Bond
Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, et al. (MGM)
Secret agent extraordinaire. Licensed to kill. Has saved civilization on more than one occasion.
Played by Sean Connery

Capt. James T. Kirk
“Star Trek” (Paramount)
Legendary commander of the starship Enterprise and hero of the United Federation of Planets. 
Played by William Shatner

Superman I-IV (Warner)
The prototypical superhero. Protector of Metropolis. Man of Steel. Stands for truth and justice.
Played by Christopher Reeve

Batman Begins, The Dark Knight (Warner)
Mysterious Caped Crusader, watchful guardian of Gotham City and scourge of evildoers everywhere.
Played by Christian Bale

Indiana Jones
Raiders of the Lost Ark, et al. (Paramount)
This rugged adventurer found the Ark, found the Grail and made archeology cool.
Played by Harrison Ford

Han Solo
Star Wars, et al. (Fox)
Roguish captain of the Millennium Falcon and hero of the Rebellion. Some say he shot first.
Played by Harrison Ford

Buffy Summers
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (Fox)
The chosen one. Perhaps the greatest vampire slayer who ever lived.
Played by Sarah Michelle Gellar

Ellen Ripley
Alien, et al. (Fox)
A chance encounter on a far-off planet would forever entwine her destiny.
Played by Sigourney Weaver


The Villains

Darth Vader
Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, et al. (Fox)
More machine now than man, twisted and evil. The Dark Lord of the Sith brings fear to the galaxy.
Played by David Prowse, Voiced by James Earl Jones

Cobra Commander
“G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero” (Shout! Factory/Hasbro)
Ruler of Cobra, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world.
Voiced by Chris Latta

Dr. Evil
Austin Powers, et al. (Warner)
Beyond Blofeld, Dr. Evil represents the ultimate stereotype of the evil, cat-wielding genius.
Played by Mike Myers

Khan Noonien Singh
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Paramount)
Genetically engineered tyrant whose escape from Earth thrust him into the 23rd century.
Played by Ricardo Montalban

Lex Luthor
“Super Friends” (Warner)
Cold, calculating businessman and leader of the Legion of Doom.
Voiced by Stan Jones

The Joker
The Dark Knight (Warner)
The Clown Prince of Crime, an insane agent of chaos who favors anarchy over law and order.
Played by Heath Ledger

Freddy Krueger
A Nightmare on Elm Street, et al. (Warner)
An undead killer who strikes at his victims in their dreams.
Played by Robert Englund

Hannibal Lecter
Silence of the Lambs, et al. (MGM)
Cannibalistic, manipulative serial killer who takes great pride in outsmarting his adversaries.
Played by Anthony Hopkins

Round 1 — Heroes Bracket

James Bond vs. James T. Kirk
Two men named James. Both notorious with the ladies. Kirk is considered the greatest starship captain ever. Bond, the greatest secret agent. Kirk often relies on his superior crew. Bond usually works alone. In the end, though, Bond is just a tad more suave, whereas Kirk’s franchise did just fine without him.
Winner: James Bond

Batman vs. Superman
So many superheroes are memorable, but the two who best embody the heroic archetypes are these two mainstays of the DC Comics stable. Where Superman is the defender of law and peace, Batman is the champion of justice and order. As Superman is known for his physical strength, Batman exudes great mental prowess. But the man from Metropolis’ powers and lack of an effective rogues gallery tend to make him a bit boring compared to his Gotham City counterpart. Superman has managed a classic TV series and two good movies. Even the reboot seems in need of rebooting. On the other hand, Batmania has swept the nation at least three times (granted, the last time it was more like Jokermania), and the last movie is No. 2 on the all-time box office list.
Winner: Batman

Han Solo vs. Indiana Jones
Harrison Ford vs. Harrison Ford. Han Solo is the everyman that helped make Star Wars the greatest franchise of all time. Indiana Jones makes archeology seem cool. But the last Indiana Jones movie was pretty much a joke. On the other hand, Han is so beloved among the fans that the notion that he didn’t shoot Greedo first borders on blasphemy.

Winner: Han Solo

Buffy Summers vs. Ellen Ripley
This one isn’t even close (though Joss Whedon wrote for both characters, having created Buffy and written Alien: Resurrection). Buffy is just the ultimate female hero — smart, sexy and strong — and the driving force behind one of the greatest sci-fi/fantasy shows ever made. Ripley kicks ass, no doubt, but is remembered more as a strong female character in a field dominated by men. Of the four “Alien” movies in which she appeared, two were downright awful.
Winner: Buffy Summers

Round 1 — Villains Bracket

Darth Vader vs. Cobra Commander
Darth Vader is the face of Star Wars, so to speak. Cobra Commander gives G.I. Joe a run for its money, even if his hare-brained schemes usually fail miserably. And if notes about the new G.I. Joe movie are any indication, the live-action version of Cobra Commander is just a rip-off of Darth Vader. You do the math.
Winner: Darth Vader

Dr. Evil vs. Khan Noonien Singh
Khan is the most memorable of all the “Star Trek” villains, despite only two appearances. One could question why Dr. Evil is on the list, since he is just a parody of James Bond villains. But he is such a perfect parody that he has supplanted them as a prototypical supervillain. Now, when most people think of Blofeld, Dr. Evil comes to mind. But, since Dr. Evil is such an obnoxious boob, and Khan is a genetic superman who once ruled a quarter of the planet Earth, and took Capt. Kirk to the brink, it’s hard not to pick him.
Winner: Khan

Lex Luthor vs. The Joker
Just as Batman and Superman represent comic book heroes, Lex and The Joker are their villainous counterparts. Cold, calculating Luthor is basically a Bond villain, and a perfect foil for Superman. The Joker seems to have no method to his madness, advancing an agenda of chaos, in start contrast to Batman’s quest for order. Luthor heads a list of Superman villains who just aren’t that memorable, whereas the Joker stands out among a fantastic rogues gallery. And the last guy to play the Joker won an Oscar.
Winner: The Joker

Freddy Krueger vs. Hannibal Lecter
Considering his personality and the link between actor and role, Freddy is the easily the most iconic horror character. Hannibal Lecter, on the other hand, took the top spot on AFI’s all-time baddies list. Their criteria are different from ours, but that result is telling.
Winner: Hannibal Lecter

Round 2 — Heroes Bracket

Batman vs. James Bond
These are basically the same character, except one (Bond) is sanctioned by a government. They are both top-notch investigators, both have a great array of gadgets, but can rely on their wits if need be. And both have been played by a revolving door of actors. But in the end, Batman’s hardware and background make him just a bit cooler.
Winner: Batman

Han Solo vs. Buffy Summers
Han would likely underestimate Buffy, which would be his first mistake. He’d probably turn on the charm, hoping to convince her to put on a modeling show of Leia’s old metal bikinis (much to the delight of many a fanboy). As if Buffy would go for that. Buffy died for her cause, twice, and empowered women everywhere.
Winner: Buffy Summers

Round 2 — Villains Bracket

Darth Vader vs. Khan Noonien Singh
Khan stole the Genesis device, which can create planets. Vader would likely be unimpressed, touting the superiority of the Force (or a Death Star). And the awesomeness of Vader’s costume seals the deal.
Winner: Darth Vader

The Joker vs. Hannibal Lecter
Lecter likes to get into his victims’ heads. Good luck doing that to The Joker.
Winner: The Joker

Round 3 — Heroes Bracket

Batman vs. Buffy
The cape against the stake. Buffy may be a great champion, but her show is more of a cult hit than a mainstream phenomenon. Everyone knows what Batman stands for.
Winner: Batman

Round 3 — Villains Bracket

Darth Vader vs. The Joker

True, it’s unlikely The Joker would have a change of heart and switch sides during the climactic battle, as Darth Vader did. And Vader’s younger self, Anakin Skywalker, was somewhat of a whiney little bitch (at least we know from where Luke gets it). That doesn’t mean The Joker wasn’t a whiner in his younger days (and some comic books would suggest he was), but we just haven’t seen it. Both these guys are forces of cinematic nature. But no one’s comparing former vice presidents to The Joker.
Winner: Darth Vader

Round 4 — Batman vs. Darth Vader


Add Comment