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They wear their evil hearts on their sleeves

July 05, 2006|GREG BRAXTON

So dark the con of men -- and women -- who make up the Rogues of Summer. As usual, heroes are plentiful this season at the multiplex, using their powers for good in ways both boisterous (Tom Cruise in "Mission: Impossible III") and quiet (Brandon Routh in "Superman Returns"). But it's the bad boys (and at least one particularly bad diva) of the summer blockbusters who are getting the most reaction, prompting audiences to shriek with glee or shrink in their seats (and we're not just talking about Tom Hanks' hair in "The Da Vinci Code"). Here's a sampling of the summer's most noteworthy villains and how they are delighting audiences with their evil ways.

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-- GREG BRAXTON

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"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"

Villain: Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), ruler of the sea and captain of the Flying Dutchman.

Evil power: Conjures up the Kraken, a giant sea monster.

Distinguishing trait: A face only an octopus could love.

Most villainous act: See "evil power."

Villainous dialogue: "You owe me a soul!"

Likability: Not much to look at, but a worthy addition to the Disney Evildoers Hall of Fame.

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"The Devil Wears Prada"

Villain: Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), editor of Runway magazine.

Evil power: Reduces assistants, models, fashion designers to dust with a withering glare or a biting insult.

Distinguishing trait: Cruella De Vil hair.

Most villainous act: Tells her assistant, Andy (Anne Hathaway), that she will be fired if she doesn't get the unpublished manuscript of the next Harry Potter book to her twins within a few hours.

Villainous dialogue: Take your pick: "That's all" (delivered after figuratively biting her victim's head off) or silently pursed lips (delivered when she thinks a designer's line is a catastrophe).

Likability: Deliciously evil with a killer wardrobe -- and we mean that in a good way.

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"Superman Returns"

Villain: Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey), evil genius.

Evil power: Unceasing determination to take over the world and destroy the Man of Steel.

Distinguishing trait: Has several bad wig days with numerous tattered hairpieces.

Most villainous act: Stabs Superman with a jagged crystal of kryptonite.

Villainous dialogue: When captive reporter Lois Lane tells Luthor that millions may die if his evil plan is carried out, Luthor snaps back: "Billions! Once again the press underestimates me!"

Likability: Top notch -- nothing like a bad boy with a sense of humor.

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"An Inconvenient Truth"

Villain: Global warming.

Evil power: Wreaking havoc on nature and mankind with climate change.

Distinguishing trait: High temperatures, damaging atmospheric changes, making hurricanes and melting glaciers.

Most villainous act: Hurricane Katrina.

Villainous dialogue: No lines, but its actions speak louder than words. More than holds its own against foe Al Gore, the hero and centerpiece of the movie.

Likability: No redeeming value whatsoever.

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"X-Men: The Last Stand"

Villain: Eric Lensherr, a.k.a. Magneto (Ian McKellen), a mutant.

Evil power: Controls magnetism and moves objects large and small.

Distinguishing trait: An odd helmet and hatred of humans, a species he believes hates all mutants. Retains a grudging affection for old friend Professor Charles Xavier, leader of the X-Men.

Most villainous act: Tears apart the Golden Gate Bridge.

Villainous dialogue: "Charles always wanted to build bridges."

Likability: Evil served up with aristocratic style.

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"The Da Vinci Code"

Villain: Silas (Paul Bettany), a murderous monk.

Evil power: Willingness to kill in the name of God in order to get the Holy Grail.

Distinguishing trait: Did we mention he's an albino? Enjoys whipping himself.

Most villainous act: Shoots a curator after hours in the Louvre as well as a nun, among others.

Villainous dialogue: "You and your brethren possess what is rightfully not yours."

Likability: Heaven can definitely wait.

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