It’s often said that heroes are only as good as the villains they fight, but we know better. Sometimes, it’s the hero who takes the spotlight. Sometimes this is intentional, but other times it’s because the villains don’t do their jobs very well. This can result in some of the most unexciting moments in television and video games or some very hilarious moments. A villain not being downright evil can occasionally be a good thing.
The incompetent villain is something that is often explored in cartoons or children’s video games. It seems that these bad guys can’t ever seem to do their job well, whether it be taking down a certain hero or conquering some part of the world. These villains are often tied to moments of comedic relief rather than frustration (though it can be done poorly).
Then there are villains who have intentions and an overarching goal but are executed so poorly that they end up dying very early on by something stupid. It’s a very ridiculous turn of events and one that often leaves us shaking our heads.
There are plenty of reasons that can make a villain terrible at being bad, so we’ve picked out some of the highlights in this particular area. As stated before, just because a villain is on this list doesn’t mean that we don’t like them (sometimes it’s just the opposite). Nevertheless, these are the 15 villains who are terrible at being bad.
15. General Grievous- Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
You’ve probably read a few articles that state just how awesome General Grievous was, and that’s still very true. The only problem is all of the awesome things he did were never shown on screen. The majority of them were in the Expanded Universe, which is no longer canon according to Disney. That means a lot of his days as a Jedi hunter are now lost to different timelines and stories. It’s a pure shame because he did some really cool things.
Because of this, we only have Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith to rely on for his actions. Let me be the first to say that they were very underwhelming. Grievous started the movie coughing up a storm before having his guards deal with the Jedi. When we finally got to see him fight, he pulled out four lightsabers to duel Obi Wan Kenobi, but sadly went out like a punk. In the grand scheme of things, he could’ve been absent from the Star Wars films and the movies wouldn’t have turned out any different. He didn’t add anything to the Emperor’s plans.
14. Dr. Eggman- Sonic the Hedgehog
Every classic video game protagonist needs a villain to fight, and the fastest hedgehog around has the villainous Dr. “Eggman” Robotnik. This brilliant scientist seeks to take over the world by turning all of its inhabitants into badniks and collecting all seven of the Chaos Emeralds. He has been known to blow up moons, create powerful clones, and even accidentally create one of the strongest beings in the Sonic universe: Metal Sonic.
That being said, Dr. Eggman isn’t very good at his job. One of the greatest sayings of all time is “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.” Dr. Eggman apparently didn’t get the memo. He often uses the same strategies- build some evil robots to defeat Sonic while he gathers all the Chaos Emeralds. Because of this, much smarter villains have actually mocked and chastised Eggman for his lack of efficiency. It gets all the worse with his role in the Sonic Boom franchise, where he is even more useless than before. At least he gives some memorable boss fights.
13. Wreck-it Ralph- Wreck-it Ralph
One of the most confusing messages of the movie Wreck-it Ralph was how the writers wanted to make Ralph okay with being a villain but at the same time made him the hero of his own story. It’s all pretty weird, but at the end of the day, Ralph isn’t good at his job either. He begins the film in a pretty stable condition, where he attempts to fight Felix like clockwork. If that was all he did, he could be considered a pretty useless villain for many of the same reasons that Dr. Eggman is.
Then Ralph gets very tired with being treated like a villain and attempts to become a hero, which is contrary to his intended purpose. In the process of trying to be a good guy, he ends up screwing up the entire arcade world. It was all because he wanted a silly medal too. In the end of the film, Ralph goes back to his position as a video game antagonist, but does a lot of the same stuff. The only thing that changes is that he brought in the characters from Q-Bert for the bonus levels, which only makes his job that much harder. Not a great plan.
12. Deadshot- Suicide Squad
I’ll be honest, Suicide Squad is not a good movie. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t enjoy it (because that’s a subjective matter), I’m just saying that it wasn’t good. Part of the reason for this was how the film developed its cast of bad guys turned somewhat heroic. The film began by portraying each of these characters as some of the most despicable and monstrous villains in the DCEU, and seeing them forced to work together could prove to be interesting. However, they ended up having them bond in a way that seemed way too artificial and contrary to their personalities.
No character was caught up in this more than Will Smith’s Deadshot. While he definitely tried to save the movie, he was forced to do a lot of things that were so out of character that you really couldn’t call him a villain anymore. The stand out moment is when Amanda Waller tells him to shoot Harley Quinn and he’d be set free and be allowed to be with his daughter again. Based on his character, you’d think he would easily be able to do something like that. Nope. Deadshot simply spares her life and “misses”.
11. Apocalypse- X-Men Apocalypse
X-Men Apocalypse is easily the weakest film in the trilogy of the younger characters, and most of that reason comes from the villain himself. Understand that Apocalypse in the comics was a terrifying, monstrous mutant that could essentially do whatever he wanted with his powers in order to bring down anyone who stood in his way. It often took everything the X-Men had in order to defeat him.
The movie version suffers from several problems, one of them being that he wasn’t anywhere his comic book incarnation. The biggest problem he had in the film was that he often didn’t use his powers to their full potential. What I mean by that is there were many times where he could kill people with a simple look, but he doesn’t use any of those powers when he fights the X-Men in the climax. As a result, he ends up being terrible at being a villain. Had he just decided to bury everyone in the dirt, he could’ve easily done that. Instead he chose to fight without using these powers and gave the team the easy opportunity to destroy him, as well as the opportunity for Magneto to become good again. Yawn.
10. King Dedede- Kirby’s Dream Land
The world of Dream Land is a very interesting and cutesy world starring our favorite pink puffball, Kirby. This little guy can do some impressive things, and in his early days, they led to a climactic battle with the gluttonous penguin, King Dedede. Dedede over the years became more of an antagonist to Kirby, but once Kirby’s Return To Dreamland came out, that was no longer the case. King Dedede became a playable character who desired to help Kirby, which isn’t a bad thing, but it really makes you wonder if proper villains can exist in the world of Dream Land.
Numerous times, we’ve seen Kirby and King Dedede actually join forces to beat a much stronger villain, and they seem to have a much better relationship as a result. Kirby Triple Deluxe showcased the duo coming together at the finale of the game to defeat Queen Sectonia. King Dedede began his career as the big bad for Kirby, similar to Mario’s Bowser and The Legend of Zelda’s Ganon. As it stands right now, he seems more like a partner to help Kirby out, and we’re really confused about the whole thing.
9. Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz- Phineas and Ferb
Phineas and Ferb was one of the greatest modern cartoons of all time, coming out in a period where animation seemed to be largely dying out. Part of what made the show so successful was the side plot that would take place in each episode starring Agent Perry the Platypus and Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz. Right from the first episode, it was clear that Doofenshmirtz wasn’t very good at being a villain. He would often think small in his goals, and his dreaded “inators” didn’t really do very bad things. The one time he actually succeeded in creating a city-wide disaster, he ended up helping out Phineas and Ferb to contain it.
I will say that this is by no means a bad thing, because Doofenshmirtz is one of the most hilarious villains of all time. His incompetence makes him identifiable as well as funny. His tendency to break the 4th wall and point out really bizarre aspects of logic lead to some very entertaining moments. There’s never a dull moment on screen when Doofenshmirtz is around, and we’re very sad that the show is done and we won’t be seeing Doof for a really long time.
8. Magolor- Kirby’s Return to Dreamland
Kirby’s Return to Dreamland, in many ways, was a return to form for the Kirby series as a whole. Not only was the Dreamland setting brought back in full, but the gameplay was also very much the same. Along with that came a villain that was very similar to Marx from Kirby Super Star. This little alien’s name was Magolor, and he tricked Kirby and his pals into repairing his damaged ship so that he could get a crown of ultimate power.
The fight that ensues then is one of the most epic fights in the Kirby franchise. Magolor becomes a much stronger version of himself and uses all kinds of space-bending attacks to try and take down Kirby once and for all. Then he turns into some kind of demonic hellspawn to really test the player’s skills. It’s all great and epic until you play Kirby’s Dream Collection. This game features challenge stages where you can playfully race Magolor. The character appears at the beginning of the Challenge Mode and states that he did attack Kirby in the past, but they’ve since then made up and became good friends. Just like that. As a fan of Magolor and Kirby’s Return to Dreamland, this really upset me.
7. Neftin Prog- Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus
Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus didn’t have a lot going for it, because Insomniac wasn’t trying to top their nearly perfect Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time. Instead, this short but fun game was meant to be an epilogue of sorts that capped off everything the series had done in the Future Trilogy. This game sees Ratchet and Clank in a prison where a supervillain duo, Vendra and Neftin Prog, escape from their incarceration and go to cause all sorts of chaos around the galaxy.
The game becomes kind of horrifying at times, and you look forward to the inevitable final battle for the remainder of the game. However they ended up releasing a much stronger evil in the process. Neftin Prog then teamed up with Ratchet in order to take this new evil down, and what makes him a much worse villain is that at the very end of it all, he scoops up his sister and turns her and himself in to go back to prison simply because Ratchet asked him to. Wow.
6. Plankton- Spongebob Squarepants
When you think of the Krusty Krab, you also have to think of its lifelong rival: the Chum Bucket. Mr. Krabs and Plankton, the respective owners of each of these restaurants, had once been childhood friends before a dispute caused them to inevitably part ways. Mr. Krabs became a successful business owner, and Plankton made really poor tasting food. Because their establishments are across the road from each other, Plankton always has to watch his rival’s success. Eventually he became fed up with the situation and decided to steal the formula for Mr. Krabs’ food in order to become successful himself. This led him to some insane and wacky schemes in order to try and get the drop on old Krabs and walk out with the formula. Unfortunately for him, he’s been very ineffective at the job. He often times didn’t think a particular plan through and utterly fails as a result. He usually ends each episode either getting stepped on or thrown back to the Chum Bucket. He’s tried all kinds of things, even enslaving King Neptune himself, but nothing was ever good enough for him to come out on top.
5. Team Rocket- Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow
Many trainers first journeys into the world of Pokemon was in the Kanto region in Pokemon Red, Blue, or Yellow. The Kanto region was well known at the time for being terrorized by the gang known as Team Rocket. These poachers would attempt to steal whatever Pokemon they could find because they believed that all Pokemon existed for the use and glory of Team Rocket. They had taken over massive businesses, killed any Pokemon that got in their way, and even took over a Pokemon graveyard.
Near the end of the game, the player comes across the Viridian Gym, but it’s revealed that the Gym Leader is actually the Team Rocket boss, Giovanni. The battle is epic and pushes the player to their limits, but like any good confrontation, the trainer comes out on top. After being defeated, Giovanni simply gives him the badge and decides to instantly disband Team Rocket. From that point on, Team Rocket was even less effective. They appeared in the Johto region to try and contact their old leader, but they were much worse at doing their jobs in that area of the world. Don’t even get me started about how bad they are in the anime.
4. Master Hand- Super Smash Bros.
When Nintendo all-stars get together, it’s probably for a pretty good reason. Then you realize that it was all because of this strange giant hand. Apparently, this Master Hand created the universe of Super Smash Bros. and loves to collect trophies. It’s often assumed that it is the hand of the childhood who owns all of the figures that come to life in the game or something. That said, Master Hand is pretty terrible at being a villain. The biggest reason being that it is constantly being defeated by each and every fighter in every single Super Smash Bros. game. In order to get all of the trophies, you have to beat Master Hand with every character.
Then there was Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Master Hand served as the primary antagonist who was trying to get all of the heroes turned into trophies until the powerful Tabuu showed up. Master Hand then sided with the Smash Bros. characters until he was taken down by Tabuu. It’s a pretty sad life when you’re an all-powerful detached hand and you can’t even defeat a boss with the help of other amazing characters.
3. Heat Wave- DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
Heat Wave was first introduced in the Arrowverse alongside Captain Cold as villains on The Flash. Heat Wave’s gimmick was that he had a gun that allowed him to shoot fire at unsuspecting heroes, including the Scarlet Speedster himself. He and Cold were both known as expert thieves because they “hated work and loved stuff.” That all began to change when DC’s Legends of Tomorrow came into play.
The time master Rip Hunter came to the present day in order to recruit Heat Wave and Captain Cold to his special team. At first they horribly denied before they realized that they could find some amazing artifacts to steal throughout history. As time went on, Captain Cold died, leaving Heat Wave as the only villain on the team. However, Heat Wave has slowly become more noble in his intentions, even having a statue erected in his honor for assisting George Washington. Heat Wave has danced along the sides of good and evil, but now it seems like he’s finally chosen his side once and for all. Granted, he still keeps his rough demeanor and we love him for his decisions, but on the terms of being a villain, he’s pretty bad at it.
2. Dennis Nedry- Jurassic Park
I love Jurassic Park. My only problem is that it took me a few watches in order to actually understand what the villain, Dennis Nedry, was all about. As he was doing bad things, I was constantly asking why as well as what his end goal was. He seemed fishy, but the film didn’t explain well enough what he was all about for me to actually make the connection. Other than that, the film is fantastic.
Eventually, I began to piece together that Nedry had a pretty poor pay and had a poor living situation. There was a company that wanted him to smuggle dino embryos, to which he would he handsomely compensated, and he aptly accepted the offer. Unfortunately for the rest of the cast, this inadvertently caused the terrifying events of the film to take place. However, what makes Dennis so ineffective and useless as a villain is that he never succeeds in his goal, and he gets attacked and devoured by a dinosaur that he had no clue about. If someone works at Jurassic Park, you would think they would know enough about the different types of dinosaurs to protect themselves.
1. GIR- Invader Zim
Topping off our list of villains who suck at being bad is GIR, the defective robot that The Tallest gave Zim on his mission to conquer the Earth. As stated at the introduction, GIR being a bad villain is not a bad thing- quite the opposite actually. GIR often serves as the comedic driving force of the entire show, Invader Zim, and has garnered such a cult following that he continues to be represented through various pieces of merchandise, even after the show has been cancelled for several years.
GIR is very stupid and incompetent, but that’s part of what makes him so excellent. He is often unpredictable but undoubtedly loves things like dancing, tacos, and angry monkeys. Some of the best lines in the show come from this little robot, despite the fact that he often forgets what their mission on Earth truly is. Zim once even programmed GIR to be intelligent, but GIR became so effective that he nearly killed Zim. On that note, you could argue that Zim deserves to be on this list, but GIR undeniably takes the cake and has thus earned his spot here.