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Knight Of Cerebus / Film

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    Films — Animated 
  • DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp: Though the movie does sort of play as an extended episode of the show, it's clear that Merlock poses a far darker and more serious threat to Scrooge and his nephews than any other enemy has in the past. In his past life, he resorted to causing both the sinking of Atlantis and the destruction of Pompeii, which makes him the only villain in the franchise with a body count. Unlike other examples of the trope, this doesn't stop Merlock from being a Chew Toy until the climax of the film (he gets physically abused several times, including getting swatted as a rat and stepped on as a roach).
  • The Rugrats Movie: The biggest and most deadly threat the babies ever encounter comes in the hungry and Dead Serious form of Scar Snout, the Wolf. He stalks the babies with the single-minded intention of eating them essentially. He'd do the Shark from Jaws proud.
  • Lord Shen from Kung Fu Panda 2. While the first film featured slapstick kung fu fighting, Bloodless Carnage, and a Big Bad more interested in a title than anything else, the sequel opens with Shen ordering a mass genocide, and then a few scenes later he rolls out his new invention, the cannon, and murders a legendary kung fu master.
  • While the villain of the first Cars film is an arrogant and obnoxious green racecar, the sequel's villains are an organization of evil, beaten-up cars led by a German microcar and a malfunctioning British SUV.
  • The Rescuers Down Under: As mean and dislikable as Madame Medusa was in the first film, Percival C. McLeach, a poacher who sadistically enjoys torturing and killing animals and is more than willing to drop an innocent boy into a river full of crocodiles, proved to be far worse.
  • Lots-o-Huggin' Bear from Toy Story 3, despite his name, strawberry scent, and Beary Friendly appearance, isn't what you would expect him to be. He's the leader of Sunnyside Daycare, a fun place by day...that is also a Crapsaccharine World by night. From the previous films, aside from the point of view of sentient toys, Sid was a violent brat, Scud was a dog and therefore amoral, Al was a Fat Bastard, and Stinky Pete was a Well-Intentioned Extremist. But Lotso is a downright sociopathic monster who brings an aura of sheer brutality and menace never before seen in the series, and it's the confrontation with him at the dumpster that paves the way for one of the series' darkest scenes when he leaves the toys to get burnt to death in the incinerator after Woody and Buzz risked their lives to save him. Even Bonnie's toys are aware of his atrocities.
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2 has Drago Bludivist. Unlike the Red Death, Drago is a human being that is fully aware of his actions, and manages to rapidly push the film into Darker and Edgier territory, even taking the Big Bad of the previous film into account. His introduction via flashback involves him burning down a hall full of Viking chiefs and killing them, with only Stoick surviving. Two major characters die, one on screen, as a result of his actions. Nothing about him is remotely funny, even his Large Ham tendencies, and the mere mention of his name causes the goofy, heartwarming side of things to stop more or less instantly.
  • The Dazzlings from My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks could be seen as such for the Equestria Girls series, despite their occasionally comical dialogues. The first movie's villain, Sunset Shimmer, spent most of the movie as an Alpha Bitch and was not able to do much more than picking on Twilight. She turned into a demon at the end, but lasted all of five minutes and accomplished almost nothing before being nailed by the Elements of Harmony. Come the second movie, we get this trio who immediately start out armed with insidious magical powers and only keep growing stronger throughout the movie. In addition, their leader Adagio is by far more competent and cunning than Sunset ever was in the first movie. Within hours, the Dazzlings manage to essentially turn the school on itself, feasting on the resulting hostilities. Within days, they manage to strain the Mane Six' friendship to a borderline breaking point despite the fact that they could not affect them directly with their Compelling Voice. When finally comes the time to confront them, they put up a far better fight than Sunset Shimmer had, too.
  • The final Aladdin film Aladdin and the King of Thieves gives us a Big Bad known as Sa'Luk. While he may not have any magic powers like Jafar, he's still almost as threatening! Sa'Luk is a ruthless, violent, and rather impatient brute with little if any tolerance for those he deems weak. He is big boisterous, has a knuckle duster with bronze claws on his fist for ripping his foes to shreds! He SURVIVES falling off a cliff into the sea and kills a shark with his bare hands and the film takes a much darker turn when he sets his plot in motion.
  • While Care Bears is arguably a trope codifier for Vile Villain, Saccharine Show, most of the villains of the series have elements to tone down their menace such as comical minions. Not so for the Spirit of the Book from The Care Bears Movie throws all of that away and the film becomes noticeably darker when she's involved, with acts like releasing an entity that repeatedly attacks the bears and attempts to turn the world into an anarchistic, chaotic hellhole rather than just making everyone uncaring jerks.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • The Emperor/Darth Sidious not only brought it full circle in Return of the Jedi and the first two entries of the prequel trilogy (as did Darth Maul and Count Dooku), but brought it Up to Eleven in the third entry, Revenge of the Sith. Though Vader is the one who does all the heavy lifting, Palpatine planned everything out by putting himself in office as Chancellor, inciting the Clone War to distract everyone, seducing Anakin Skywalker to become Vader and then ordering all the Jedi be wiped out and murdered.
    • Kylo Ren, General Hux and Supreme Leader Snoke all apply as well as the sequel trilogy only gets as dark as it does because of them and Kyle being way more complex and tortured (and killing his own father Han Solo) takes things to a place no one has seen before.
  • Dennis the Menace: Switchblade Sam is a dirty, dark and crooked thief who through the course of the movie steals money and jewelry from people's houses, steals a little girl's antique doll, steals a kid's apple right out of his hand and threatens kids with his knife in general. Even though he was made the Butt-Monkey at the end of the movie, he was so dark for an otherwise very whimsical comedy that Siskel & Ebert each cited him as the main reason why they weren't recommending the movie. One would think with the performance that Christopher Lloyd gave in this movie that he thought he was auditioning for Cape Fear!
  • Pirates of the Caribbean became significantly darker in its second film with the introduction of Lord Cutler Beckett.
  • James Bond
  • Frank D'Amico of Kick-Ass; is responsible for the serious shifts in tone throughout the movie. He is also responsible for the origin of Big Daddy and Hit Girl. If that's not enough he has Kick Ass and Big Daddy tortured live on TV and has Big Daddy burned alive, and killed.
    • His son Chris also is played more seriously in Kick-Ass 2 and D'Amico's brother Uncle Ralph D'Amico is far worse than either one.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is particularly dark, but things become extremely bleak once our heroes arrive at the titular temple and face Mola Ram, who may well be the most evil villain throughout the whole Indiana Jones franchise, which is quite the accomplishment in a franchise that features Nazis and Adolf Hitler himself. It's pretty telling that he's the only villain who dies by Indy's direct doing, instead of having a Karmic Death like the others.
  • While Die Hard 2 was a serious movie to begin with, Col. Stuart causes a planeful of people and children to crash and burn and he even manages to deliver a brutal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to McClane in the climax.
  • Thanos is easily considered to be the darkest and most threatening villain in the MCU to date. He has entire planets and nations who fear his power, both Loki and Ronan were visibly frightened by him, even telling the latter he would 'bathe the starways in his blood' of he failed him and not mention his considered the most powerful being in the universe and immortal by certain people. He is absolutely dread and hated by his daughter Gamora and Nebula who he would make fight each other everyday and when Gamora won, Thanos would take apart Nebula and replace her flesh and blood with machines to make her less 'weak'. By the time he became the Big Bad in Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos succeeds in his goal to kill half the universe, which includes half of the Avengers and most of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • 21 Jump Street films:
    • 22 Jump Street: While Mercedes is a Deadpan Snarker who makes a lot of jokes, her uncle The Ghost does not have many funny things to say and truly poses the movie's most legitimate threat to the heroes.
  • In Rambo IV, Major Tint is more brutal, sadistic, psychotic and noticeably disturbing than the previous Big Bads or previous kinds of villains all together. He's the complete 180 degree contrast to the first film's Big Bad Hero Antagonist Teasle if comparing Tint's large amount of Kick the Dog acts to Teasle's large amount of Pet the Dog acts.
    • To compare him to the previous villains, Teasle was a Knight Templar Hero Antagonist and his motives were mostly out of understandable Fantastic Racism of 'Nam vets due to them putting Korean War vets like Teasle in their shadow and that fact Rambo was a fugitive from justice needed to be caught unlike Tint's motives being merely For the Evulz, Dirty Communists Podovsky and Zaysen were over-the-top characters to not really be taken seriously with them just to be there for the audiences to cheer Rambo to kill them unlike Tint, who's The Stoic Soft-Spoken Sadist whose actions not only makes the audience to cheer Rambo kill him too, but also shock them due to the grisly details behind the acts and their atrocities are tame in comparison to Tint's, plus while Tint doesn't have The Dragon, the previous ones Galt, Yushin and Kourov were just thugs whose depravity are nothing in comparison to Tint's pedophilia and Tint's constant Kick the Dog acts.
    • On a minor note, he's the only Big Bad not to speak a word of English and the only to be an Unknown Rival to him unlike others before him. He's also the only villain to not head-on fight Rambo himself and just flee for his life.
  • Return to Oz was already a dark film, but when the Nome King finally made his appearance, the film gets even darker as the Nome King raised the stakes for Dorothy and her friends and even ( briefly) managed to capture most of Dorothy's friends in his deadly game. Mombi was pretty bad herself, especially with the infamous "head scene," but she doesn't quite match the Nome King in terms of evilness.
  • The titular Evil Dead in Evil Dead (2013) is definitely more serious then the demon in the previous ones.
  • Due to this entry being Darker and Edgier, Mick from Sudden Impact is a more depraved and sadistic threat then the previous Big Bads and the later one in the next film.
  • In comparison to previous dinosaur antagonists, the Indominus Rex from Jurassic World is the most threatening, homicidal, intelligent, depraved, and frightening. She also had managed to kill Hammond expy Simon Masrani, who only wants to delight the visitors much like Hammond and dies trying to stop this dino from going on a rampage, which shows how much a dangerous threat she is that not even the park owner can stop her and dies trying to.
    • In turn, Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom brings us the absolute worst of the human antagonists: the greedy Eli Mills who plots to capture all the remaining species of dinosaurs and no matter how dangerous sell them off to the highest bidders AKA international terrorists and criminals.
  • Boris from Men in Black 3 is FAR WORSE than Edgar and Serleena, who were both pretty nasty, since he's Agent J's father's murderer and Agent K's in the modified '69.
    • Serleena and Boris are more or less equal in evilness, since both engage in on-and off-screen multiple planetary genocide.
  • Immortan Joe from Mad Max: Fury Road is easily the darkest of the Mad Max villains. While the villains in the first two were just motorcycle gangs and the villain of the third was trying to run a town with order, here, he is a downright sadistic dictator who rules over the Citadel and farms people for their blood and milk, even owning a group of sex slaves and will stop at nothing to get them back when they escape from his clutches.
  • In spite of his surface-thin goofy demeanor, Lex Luthor from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice manages to be worse than Zod. Blowing up the Senate hearing firmly establishes him as this.
  • The Jungle Book (2016) version of Shere Khan is far more serious than his animated counterpart. His initial act of threating to kill Mowgli at the water truce and a few minutes later, his murder of Akela most certainly establishes him as this. Taken Up to Eleven when he threatens to kill Raksha's pups and when he beats everyone down in the final battle with ease.
  • So far every villain in the Star Trek reboot movies have been this.
  • Eric Byer from The Bourne Legacy is the one who created all the technical on the programs and despite some occasional moments of humanity, demonstrates a cold, calculated detachment when he has operatives and anyone whose involvement threatens to publically expose any of their work, killed in manners varying from setting up a suicide, drugging a scientist so he commits a mass shooting, sending assassins meds that poison them and sending an assassin whose been chemically enhanced to have no empathy.
    • CIA Director Robert Dewey from Jason Bourne turns up the seriousness of the film, and while the Asset does most of the heavy lifting, he is operating under Dewey's command. The fact that Dewey is responsible for the events of the series also turns up the seriousness. He also goes even further than Conklin, Abbott, or Vosen in terms of ruthlessness, such as killing off agents as he goes along.
    • The Asset himself is a far more villainous than other henchmen Bourne took down in previous films; he cold-bloodedly murders multiple civilians and even CIA officers who stand in his way to do Dewey's dirty work.
  • Out of all the Rocky antagonists, Ivan Drago definitely has the darkest and longest-lasting effects namely, both Apollo's death and Rocky's career-ending injury.
  • This trope is actually Inverted in Power Rangers (2017). Once the Kaiju Goldar appears, the movie's tone goes from a somber teenage angst flick to the cheesy, over-the-top action that Power Rangers is known for. That said, Rita Repulsa in this version is still significantly darker and far, far less Laughably Evil than her TV counterpart with the numerous killings she commits leading up to the climax.