Comic book characters that have been around for a while usually change over time – and villains are no exception. That means movie creators basing their works on existing characters have a lot of material to take inspiration from.
In the cases below creative decisions were made to keep these villains in line with the way they were depicted in the comics or completely transform their looks.
Here are 12 movie villains and how they compare to their comic-book counterparts.
Josh Brolin played Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War.”
In “Avengers: Infinity War,” we finally spend quality time with Josh Brolin as Thanos.
The character of Thanos was created in 1973 by Jim Starlin and Mike Friedrich – and of course, even mad titans can change their look a bit over the years.
On seeing Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War,” creator Jim Starlin wrote on Facebook, “There are a couple times my chest constricted from what I was seeing, making me want to cry. You’ll recognise those instances when you watch the film. Brolin is an incredible Thanos, moving and emoting just as I tried to portray him in the comics.”
In “Avengers: Infinity War,” we saw quite a bit of Thanos with his helmet off – but when he put it on, his level of menace is definitely on par with George Perez’s “Infinity Gauntlet” cover from 1991.
Stephen Dorff played Deacon Frost in “Blade.”
In the comics, Deacon Frost bears more resemblance to Donald Sutherland than Stephen Dorff – who played the character in “Blade.”
If you were a vampire just trying to go about your business, there would definitely be an advantage to blending in – which the comics version of Deacon Frost managed quite well on some occasions – red eyes notwithstanding.
Created in 1972 by Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan, and Tom Palmer, the white-haired older Frost bore little to no resemblance to Stephen Dorff – although of course, no one ever said a vampire couldn’t dye their hair.
Cate Blanchett played Hela in “Thor: Ragnarok.”
Hela rules Asgard’s Underworld in the comics – but rather than being the sister of Thor and Loki, as depicted in “Thor: Ragnarok,” she’s actually Loki’s daughter.
But if the details are slightly changed, the movie’s depiction of her contentious relationship with both Thor and Loki is the real deal. Created in 1964 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, chances are excellent that you wouldn’t want to get on the bad side of either version of Hela.
Lee Pace played Ronan the Accuser in “Guardians of the Galaxy” and the upcoming “Captain Marvel.”
Created in 1967 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Ronan the Accuser started out as just a servant of the Kree Empire, according to the Hollywood Reporter, but gained some complexity and differing character motivations over the years.
In the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie, we saw Ronan the Accuser eventually get destroyed by the Power Stone – but since “Captain Marvel” takes place in the ’90s, explaining his presence is easy, according to ScreenGeek.
Sam Rockwell played Justin Hammer in “Iron Man 2.”
In both the comics and the movie, the nefarious industrialist rival to Tony Stark known as Justin Hammer is very human – and thus, is susceptible to human ageing. Even as the kind of guy who supplies all the weapons to all the criminals in the Marvel universe – and gets paid handsomely for it – he still can’t fight the effects of time.
Created by David Michelinie, Bob Layton, and John Romita, Jr. in 1968, the comic version of Justin Hammer looked just like every boardroom villain in a suit out of every ’80s movie.
Karel Roden played Grigori Rasputin in the 2004 “Hellboy” film.
As the story goes, occultist Rasputin and some like-minded Nazis tried to call a demon to help them win during WWII. Instead, Hellboy showed up, got adopted by Professor Trevor Bruttenholm – and the rest was history.
“Hellboy” creator Mike Mignola also created this version of Rasputin – who first appeared in “Hellboy: Seed of Destruction.”
David Thewlis played the God of war Ares in “Wonder Woman.”
DC itself stressed that Ares is “a perpetual war machine,” – and in the movie, he slyly stokes the flames of war behind the scenes, paving the way for the movie’s big final battle between Wonder Woman and Ares.
Michael B. Jordan’s played Erik Kilmonger in “Black Panther.”
As comics writer Bryan Edward Hill told Vulture, Killmonger is a relatable and sympathetic antagonist – to a certain point. That’s what made him so intriguing as a villain in the “Black Panther” movie and also why he’s remained such an integral part of Wakanda in the comics.
Heath Ledger played The Joker in “The Dark Knight.”
The Joker’s very first appearance in Batman #1 racked up a four-person body count – and even saw the Joker impersonating the police chief to carry through on one murder, according to Comicbook.
Even if the look is slightly different in “The Dark Knight,” that same anarchic spirit is as clear as ever, as embodied in one of Heath Ledger’s defining performances.
Alfred Molina played Dr. Octopus in “Spider-Man 2.”
Sir Ian McKellen played Magneto in “X-Men.”
Created in 1963 in the very first issue of X-Men, Magneto wanted to liberate mutants from human oppression from the very beginning.
Over time, his backstory and motivations grew more relatable and grounded in his family’s history as Holocaust survivors – but the character’s convictions have remained largely the same, both in comics and on screen.
Tom Hiddleston played Loki in the Marvel films.
First appearing in 1962, you’d be completely justified in expecting a lot from the God of Mischief and Prince of Lies. We get a lot from him over the course of the movies, too – which fans continue to enjoy.
Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.