A movie is only so good as its villain. The MCU hasn’t always had the best villains/supervillains. But there were some who completely blew our minds away.
Where comic book writers have pages upon pages to really develop their supervillains, filmmakers don’t have that luxury. When adapting a supervillain, a film has to showcase that villain’s motives, their powers and abilities, their backstories and their relationships with the superhero all in a two-hour film. It’s not easy and it doesn’t always work. When it does work, it’s great. You get memorable supervillains that can carry the comic book film or film saga and as an added benefit, the actor gets a career boost. When it doesn’t work, it’s terrible.
Here’s my opinion on the Marvel villains we’ve seen on screen. Let me know yours in the comments.
Hands down, the most badass villain we have seen in the MCU till date. He is the perfect villain we deserved, and he delivered. A complex character, with a god-like complex, yet the perfect amount of righteousness, you can't deny you even felt bad for the ugly purple head. He's the ultimate exterminator, and the biggest threat to hit the MCU, ever. As of now, the question is if ANYONE will be able to truly stop Thanos' reign of terror, which is the true mark of a master big bad. Most CGI villains are forgettable, but Brolin’s acting and personality always came through the purple pixels, truly making the Mad Titan one of the great movie villains, and on easily the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s best villain yet.
7 years, n this man is still the most loved villain ever! I mean, who could ever hate this guy. A lot of times, we've found ourselves rooting for him. There's a reason he's the only real recurring villain in the Marvel movies—he's just that magnetic on screen and has more than enough layers to keep you coming back for more. Hiddleston's dynamism makes Loki a fan-favourite.
If you didn't shed a tear when this character died on screen, you're not human. Much like Magneto in the X-Men films, he's usually always right except in his actions. Michael B Jordan's potrayal of the character is exceptional. Any scene he walked into, he owned, treating Wakanda like a murderous sandbox. Even in death, he went out like a true soldier, hitting poignant beats that spoke to his character as a black man like none before him. Even though he doesn’t technically show up until about halfway through the movie, his impact is deeply felt long after the credits roll.
4 The Vulture
When it comes to Marvel supervillains, Vulture isn’t among the most terrifying or iconic foes Spider-Man has had to face. But Keaton, this legendary actor, can do anything. You know why? Because he's Batman! CROSSOVER! No seriously, he played the role with the perfect balance of empathetic working class everyman mixed with terrifying criminal (that scene with Peter Parker going to the prom!) A villain with a motivation that makes sense, and a threat that doesn't seem empty or manageable, the Vulture was, as a shock to many, a great villain!
The ruthlessness of this character, and the sheer style with which Cate Blanchett has played this role is what makes this villain so good. Not only is she nearly all-powerful, but she’s got a clear motivation and a compelling backstory, making her one of the first in the universe to sidestep almost every iconic Marvel villain pitfall. She’s not buried under 10 pounds of makeup, she gets plenty of screen time to establish her relationship to Asgard and the dysfunctional family within it, and while a goddess of death is less relatable than say, a Loki, she’s actually able to go toe-to-toe with Thor's entire Asgardian army in downright brutal combat. Do I need to mention how crazy it was when she shattered Thor's beloved Mjolnir without breaking a sweat!
6 Helmut Zemo
Captain America: Civil War is a surprising film, and that extends to Daniel Bruhl’s villainous Helmut Zemo. The notion of revenge is not brand new, but the lengths to which Zemo goes to exact his revenge, and the way in which it’s enacted, are refreshingly complex and very much grounded in character and emotion. Having lost his family due to the events of Age of Ultron, he blames the Avengers, and frankly, it’s hard not to see where he’s coming from. His complicated plot to make the Avengers fight against one another actually holds up upon multiple viewings, which is more than can be said for most of these villains. He’s not onscreen a lot in Civil War, but when he is, he makes good use of his screen time. No superpowers, n yet he tore apart the Avengrers, the Earth's mightiest heroes, from the inside. Also, I love how incredibly well timed Civil War was, to break up the Earth's defenders right before the arrival of the big baddie, the biggest threat they have ever faced and will ever face, Thanos.