A lot of people, myself included, love the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but one of the biggest criticisms these films receive is that they can have weak villains. This is true in some cases, but it’s also brought us some memorable evil characters.
Not many rules for this one, but we’re only going for the main villain of any given film – so no henchmen or side characters (sorry Crossbones!). Also, potential spoilers for every MCU film to date.
12 – Whiplash
This guy likes his bird, and that’s about it. He has very little screen time in Iron Man 2, and he’s beaten very easily in the final battle. It also doesn’t help that Mickey Rourke clearly didn’t care about the role.
11 – Malekith
The main antagonist of Thor: The Dark World, Malekith had a decent look, but lacked any development or real motivation, and he’s now pretty much a punchline. He gains evil points for killing Freya, Thor’s mother, but that’s about all he brought to the table.
10 – Ronan the Accuser
Good title, not a great villain. Actor Lee Pace has an imposing figure, which helps make Ronan intimidating, but once again, a lack of clear motivation other than ‘I want to rule the galaxy!’ take away from how memorable he is. He also gets beaten in a dance off, which is one of the best scenes in Guardians of the Galaxy, but it’s not how a bad guy should go out.
9 – The Mandarin
This one might as well be in inverted commas, and it definitely leads the race for the most disappointing villain. The trailers for Iron Man 3 promised Ben Kingsley as Tony Stark’s most famous foe, but what we got was Guy Pearce as a fire-breathing scientist. Like many on this list, a great actor doesn’t make a great character.
8 – Yellow Jacket
Ant-Man‘s Yellow Jacket suffers from many of the same detractors as some other villains on this list, but something working in his favour is that he has two great fights with Scott Lang. One inside a suitcase, and one on a toy train set. Plus, he murders lambs – pure evil.
7 – Alexander Pierce
You could argue that The Winter Soldier is the main bad guy in… The Winter Soldier, but due to him being more of a grey character, I’m counting Alexander Pierce. He doesn’t do anything too memorable, but a solid performance from Robert Redford and clear character motivation make him one of the better villains in the MCU.
6 – Red Skull
One of Captain America’s oldest villains, Red Skull was brought to life with a good, if slightly hammy performance from Huge Weaving in The First Avenger. He was certainly intimidating, and the fact that many fans are keen to have him come back just shows that Red Skull brought a lot to the table.
5 – Abomination
A lot of people might have put Abomination lower on this list, but this character has one big thing working in his favour – that fight in The Incredible Hulk. Still one of the best fights in any comic book adaptation, combined with a good performance from Tim Roth, make Abomination pretty memorable in my mind.
4 – Iron Monger
The character that started the trend of a good guy and bad guy having the same powers, Iron Monger was the first and is still one of the best antagonists we’ve seen so far in the MCU. Once again he was part of a great fight with Tony Stark, but it’s what Jeff Bridges did outside of the suit that made Obadiah Stane such a good character in the first Iron Man.
3 – Ultron
Not many characters can pull off being both funny and scary, but Ultron did it with ease. Ok, so his big plan didn’t completely make sense, but he has more memorable lines and action moments than pretty much anybody on this list.
2 – Baron Zemo
The most recent villain in the MCU is almost the best. He had a great plan, clear motivation, and was played well by Daniel Brühl, but more importantly than any of that, he succeeded in what he wanted to do. Civil War‘s villain was also one of the least faithful to his comic book counterpart, but it was done in such a way that nobody cared.
1 – Loki
Yes, it’s the obvious choice, but it’s that for as reason. The only villain to appear in two films, Thor and The Avengers (three if you count his semi-villainous role in Thor: The Dark World), he’s a firm fan favourite, with some people even wanting a solo Loki film. That’s something some heroes are still waiting for! Perhaps not as evil as some other characters on this list, Loki is still the stand out antagonist of the MCU
Who’s your favourite villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Who’s your least favourite? Leave any thoughts in the comments.
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