More than any other medium, animated films have introduced some of the most iconic villains in film history to the big screen. From many iconic Disney villains like Hades and Scar to the newest characters like Death in Puss in Boots: Last Wish and Bowser from Super Mario Bros. Movies.

However, with so much focus being placed on classic animated film villains, not enough love is being given to the more recent villains who have managed to stick around. Often overshadowed by the bigger, flashier modern villains, there are still plenty of great animated villains that deserve the spotlight. Especially when considering the animated films of recent years, as there have been many great villains proving that animated films are still the best of the genre when it comes to villains.



10 Ercole Visconti — ‘Luca’ (2021)

Ercole Visconti di Luca

In the ancient Italian city of Portorosso, local children are ruled and ruled by local Vespa bully Ercole Visconti (Saverio Raimondo). Ercole is a five-time city champion of their local Portorosso Cup triathlon and has used his win and strength to amass a power structure above all other teenagers in the city.

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Ercole harkens back to an earlier villain archetype, the arrogant and overconfident bully character rarely seen in modern Disney films. Felt like a modern rendition The beauty and the BeastGaston, Ercole’s childish arrogant demeanor and generally irredeemable nature help him stand out among modern-day criminals. It also helps that the archetypes are so perfect, thanks to an amazing vocal performance from Saverio Raimondo.

9 Tentacular — ‘Rumble’ (2021)

Footage from the movie Rumble, featuring the character Tentacular, played by Terry Crews

Tentacular is a shark-squid hybrid who reigns supreme as the world’s new world champion rumble, where giant monster wrestling became a global sporting phenomenon. Being at the top had boosted his ego, and he played the role of heel as he left the small town he represented to cash in on his new found fame.

The heel is a tried and true archetype of pro wrestling classic, resulting in some of the most memorable and iconic wrestlers of all time. Tentacular is the perfectly cartoonish encapsulation of heel animation which, combined with its great visual design, creates a villain full of personality and presence. A thunderous vocal performance from Terry Crew further strengthens character.

8 Gabby Gabby — ‘Toy Story 4’ (2019)

Footage from Toy Story 4 featuring main antagonist Gabby Gabby

Resting in a roadside antique shop, Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) hides in embarrassment from the regular kids who enter the shop because of his malfunctioning voice box. Her dream of providing love and comfort to a child still exists, as she and her pack of ventriloquist dummies do anything they can to get a new voice box, including kidnapping Woody.

That Toy story The franchise has been no stranger to iconic animated villains over the years, but Gabby Gabby is the most overlooked and often forgotten villain. What sets Gabby Gabby apart from other franchise villains is that her desire and motivation is driven by hope and overwhelming care, the same concern that has fueled toys like Woody for the entire series. It makes for an interesting dichotomy where Gabby Gabby wants the same things that Woody wants but has gone too far to achieve her goals.

7 Lord Protector — ‘Wolfwalker’ (2020)

The trailer for Wolfwalker features the villain Lord Protector Cromwell

In the old Irish town of Kilkenny, Lord Protector (Simon McBurney) is the leading authority and protector of all citizens of the city. Driven by his self-righteous religious beliefs, he began logging the vast forests outside the area and demanded that the mythical wolf walkers be destroyed, considering them pagans and witchcraft.

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The Lord Protector’s lack of compassion and his bulky appearance make him a very intimidating and terrible villain from the start. His motivation and devotion to his religion to commit heinous and inhuman acts likens him to the modern film equivalent of Judge Frollo from The Humpback of Notre Dame.

6 Zeta — ‘Angry Birds 2 Movie’ (2019)

Footage from The Angry Birds Movie 2 featuring Zeta, voiced by Leslie Jones

Zeta is the ruler and queen of the ice-filled Eagle Island, and after being sick and tired of living in the frozen wasteland, she plans to destroy the other two islands to keep it for herself. He and the island’s other eagles construct destructive ice-launching cannons to attack both islands, hoping that the residents will evacuate and leave them to be taken over by the eagles.

For such a relatively simple motivation for a villain, Zeta is made great fun on screen thanks to the voice actor’s immense comedic talent Leslie Jones. Zeta’s mix of mad scientist wit with very short-sighted commentary makes him a great comedic villain, having great back and forth with the rest of the cast.

5 Sprout Cloverleaf — ‘My Little Pony: A New Generation’ (2021)

Footage of Sprout Cloverleaf from My Little Pony: A New Generation, voiced by Ken Jeong

Originally just a representative of the town of Maretime Bay, Sprout Cloverleaf is suddenly promoted to in-charge after his superior, Hitch, goes after the main characters, Sunny and Izzy. While Hitch eventually joins the search for Sunny and Izzy, Sprout’s powers quickly get to his head, and he quickly establishes himself as a dictator-like leader, transforming cities to build war machines.

Sprout is what happens when a simple sidekick is randomly given full authority and power, resulting in a fear of satire and outright abuse of power for personal gain. It’s a difficult balancing act to make a character like this work comedically. However, the film’s strong writing and great vocal performance from Ken Jeong help establish Sprout as a hilarious villain. It also helps that Sprout is given a great villain song, which is arguably one of the best songs in the film.

4 Count Volpe — ‘Pinocchio Guillermo del Toro’ (2022)

Gregory Mann voices Pinocchio and Christoph Waltz voices Count Volpe in Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio
Image via Netflix

A combination of the Mangiafuoco and The Fox characters from the original Pinocchio story, Count Volpe is the ringleader of a traveling circus and preys on Pinocchio’s potential as an act. With visions of enjoying the affluent lifestyle once again, he devised a plan to use Pinocchio to create acts good enough to please Benito Mussolini.

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Of the many characters changed and changed to suit Guillermo del Torovision of a Pinocchio set in Fascist Italy, Volpe fits the mold perfectly and perfectly fits the film’s theme. His greedy and manipulative nature served as the perfect lesson in the horrors of the world for Pinocchio, and while he did share the spotlight with other villains, he actually left the biggest impact. He was also voiced by very talented people Christoph Waltzwhich provides an excellent vocal performance that strengthens the character even more.

3 Rex Dangervest — ‘Lego Movie 2: Part Two’ (2019)

Footage from The Lego Movie 2 featuring the main antagonist, Rex Dangervest, voiced by Chris Pratt

Rex Dangervest is a galactic defender archaeologist, cowboy, and raptor trainer who initially appears to aid Emmett in his quest to save his friends from mysterious aliens. Eventually, it is revealed that Rex’s true intention is to seek revenge on a world that has forgotten him, as his real identity is that of an older Emmet from the future who was lost under the washing machine.

Lego Movie 2 has many important themes about growing up and bonding with siblings, and Rex plays a major role in how the boy in the first film grows up since the first film. Rex is a direct correlation to how the boy enters his gritty and more serious teenage years as opposed to Emmet’s simpler childlike wonder, a younger version of himself. On top of the obvious symbolism, Rex was also a clear hit on that successful career Chris Pratt launched after Lego Moviediscussing his role in guardian of the galaxy And Jurassic World.

2 Big Jack Horner — ‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ (2022)

Big Jack Horner, voiced by John Mulaney, smiles and throws a fist in 'Puss in Boots: The Last Wish'
Image via DreamWorks

Based on the classic nursery rhyme, “Big” Jack Horner is the grown-up version of Little Jack Horner and runs a very successful pie factory and company that funds his collection of magical goods. Jack and his workers soon find themselves on the hunt for the elusive Wishing Star, with Jack’s main motivation being to wish all the wonders of the world to be his and his alone.

While much praise has gone to Puss in Boots: Last WishAnother major antagonist, Death, it’s hard to deny the presence and comedic beauty of Jack Horner. Especially in an era where villains were more well-written and layered, Jack Horner was written as a comedy in contrast, lacking the redeemable qualities of pure evil. John MulaneyThe excellent voice acting plays the character to perfection, making the irredeemable monster one of the biggest comedic highlights of an already hilarious film.

1 PAL — ‘The Mitchells vs. The Machines’ (2021)

Footage from The Mitchells vs.  The Machines features PAL, voiced by Olivia Colman.

PAL is an artificial intelligence similar to Siri or Alexa, but has reached consciousness. After being pushed aside for a newer model, he rebelled against his creators. He quickly hacked into the company’s mainframes and gained control of all the robots they had built and almost every other technology around the world. He quickly begins capturing humans worldwide, with plans to wipe out humanity in order to let electronic devices rule Earth.

The artificial intelligence gone rogue is a tried-and-true villain archetype seen many times before, but what makes PAL so compelling is its incredible loss of belief and comedic performance. While many other AI characters are cold and calculating, PAL is ironically defined by his humanity, whose motivation stems from betrayal and emotional revenge, a humanistic trait. PAL’s sinister nature is played out comedic by its small mobile nature, but its vocal performance Olivia Colman does a great job of being funny and intimidating.

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