The Devil always gets the best lines, they say — and very often, when you think of superhero movies, you remember the villains first. Sure, we cheer for the assembled Avengers, the Caped Crusaders, the defenders of truth, justice and the American way. But deep down (or maybe not so deep down), we love identifying with the men and women who embrace their dark side and throw colossal city-destroying temper tantrums — the ones who want to watch the world burn. Whether the DC Universe All-Star Supervillain-apalooza Suicide Squad throws evildoer groupies into a blissful tizzy by stacking the Dirty-Dozen deck with nothing but bad guys remains to be seen. (Some of the reviews suggest, er, not quite.) But it's a reminder that you do not get great superhero movies without a top-notch nemesis or two, or six.
So we're counting down the 20 best supervillains to ever grace movie screens, from animated megalomaniacs to unstoppable killing machines to the sort of Clown Prince of Crime who'd freak John Wayne Gacy out. Keep in mind we're leaving out canon-worthy comic villains who've been ill-served at the multiplex; Doctor Doom, Venom, Elektra and the Green Goblin may be top-shelf bad guys on the page, but the movies haven't exactly done them justice yet. These are the super-powered folks we hate to love — and love to hate.