Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is a wonderful and thoughtful exploration of life, death, loss, and identity. However, it’s still a delightful and vibrant animated movie featuring unforgettable and charming characters and more than a few villains. In fact, the film juggles three major antagonistic figures and does it expertly, using them to enhance its already complex plot.
Like Puss in Boots, several other movies have succeeded in featuring more than one antagonist. And while it’s no easy task, these pictures used their numerous villains in service of a compelling story without sacrificing the narrative or pacing.
1 ‘Puss In Boots: The Last Wish’ (2022)
The Shrek franchise came roaring — well, meowing back to life with Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. The film follows the titular character as he sets on a quest to find the Last Wish for the Wishing Star. However, he isn’t the only one trying to find the elusive and powerful item.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wishdoes what very few movies can: it expertly juggles not two but three antagonists. True, “Big” Jack Horner is the film’s only villain, but Goldilocks and the Wolf are also foils to Puss and his team, acting antagonistically toward him throughout the story, making The Last Wishone of the all-time best Dreamworks movies.
2 ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ (2021)
Comic book movies seldom take risks, but Spider-Man: No Way Home swung big. The film centers on Peter Parker as he deals with the unexpected consequences of a spell gone wrong. With the multiverse open, villains from other universes jump into Peter’s realm, wreaking all sorts of havoc.
No Way Home features the return of five villains from previous Spider-Man movies. It cheats a bit because it uses their previous characterizations rather than creating them from scratch, but it still does a good job balancing them throughout the story and utilizing them to further Peter’s story within the MCU. No Way Home is among the highest-rated MCU movies, and it’s easy to understand why: it’s a massive piece of fan service that remains compelling and exciting, largely because of the committed performances of its top-notch villains.
3 ‘Get Out’ (2017)
Jordan Peele‘s Oscar-winning horror thriller Get Out is nothing short of a modern masterpiece. The story centers on Chris, a young Black man, during a weekend visit to his white girlfriend Rose’s parents. However, things aren’t what they seem, leading him to uncover shocking secrets during his stay.
Get Out excels as a clever and biting commentary on race relationships and an expertly-crafted horror piece. It features multiple villains, from the duplicitous Rose to her dangerous family: her manipulative mother, Missy, deranged brother, Jeremy, and faux-charming father, Dean. The Armitages are among horror’s best villains, whose real-life parallels will ring uncomfortably true for millions of viewers.
4 ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008)
Christopher Nolan‘s 2008 hit The Dark Knight was a game-changer for the superhero genre. The movie follows Batman, Commissioner Gordon, and Harvey Dent, Gotham’s new DA, as they go against the Joker, a dangerous and anarchist criminal who wants to unleash chaos on the city.
Heath Ledger‘s Joker might be The Dark Knight’s centerpiece villain, but the film’s third act makes way for Aaron Eckhart‘s brilliant take on Dent, who becomes Two-Face out of trauma and grief. It also features a minor antagonist in the form of mob boss Salvatore Maroni. Nolan’s Batman films were always good at exploring the many rotten apples in Gotham City, but the two main villains in The Dark Knight create a near-perfect synergy that few other movies have.
5 ‘Kill Bill’, Vol. 1 & 2 (2003-2004)
The revenge genre gained two worthy entries with Quentin Tarantino‘s martial arts duology Kill Bill. The films, divided into Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 tell the story of the Bride, a woman betrayed by her former lover and his organization on her wedding day. Awakening after a five-year coma, she sets on a path of revenge against those who wronged her.
Both movies feature five main villains plus numerous minor but equally memorable antagonists who cross the Bride’s path. The actors behind the villains — Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, and the late David Carradine — do excellent work bringing Tarantino’s wicked words to life, making their characters as timeless as Uma Thurman‘s Bride. Props must also go to some of the films’ most unforgettable minor villains, particularly Chiaki Kuriyama as the deadly Gogo Yubari.
6 ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ (2014)
X-Men casts past and present united for 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, a stellar adaptation of one of the team’s all-time best comic book storylines. The plot follows Wolverine as he travels to the past to prevent the creation of the Sentinels, mutant-hunting robots who drive mutant-kind to near-extinction in a bleak future.
Days of Future Past features one of the X-Men’s best villains, Bolivar Trask, played by the one and only Peter Dinklage, who brings a sense of dignified gravitas to his performance. Michael Fassbender‘s antiheroic take on Magneto also returns, and the film finds time to feature a third villain, the dangerous and truly intimidating Sentinels. It’s no easy task to juggle three villains plus a massive cast of new and returning characters, but Days of Future Past makes it look easy.
7 ‘Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World’ (2010)
Michael Cera gives his Michael Cera-est performance in Edgar Wright‘s underrated 2010 masterpiece, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. An adaptation of the graphic novel series of the same name, the film follows the titular character as he fights his new girlfriend’s seven evil exes.
Featuring a cast of fan-favorite actors, including Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, Jason Schwartzman, and Mae Whitman, Scott Pilgrim is a surprising cult classic come to life. Each evil ex has time to shine, and while most have only one sequence, it’s enough to make an impression and establish them as worthy foes for the titular slacker. The film even finds time to feature some minor antagonists, including Brie Larson‘s Envy Adams,
8 ‘Batman Returns’ (1992)
Tim Burton‘s Gothic take on the superhero genre reached new heights with 1992’s Batman Returns, the sequel to 1989’s Batman. The story centers on Batman as he deals with three villains: two openly-freakish rogues from his gallery — Penguin and Catwoman — and the self-proclaimed prince of Gotham, wealthy businessman Max Shreck.
Batman Returns thrives because it dares to do what no other superhero flick tries, exploring issues of sexual liberation and identity by using its larger-than-life characters. Christopher Walken and Danny DeVito are exceptional as the manipulative Shreck and the grotesque Penguin, but it’s Michelle Pfeiffer‘s iconic and complex take on Catwoman that ultimately dominates the movie.