ByHayden Mears, writer at
Hayden Mears

Since it launched in May 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (more often referred to as the MCU) has pulled a myriad of classic characters from the time torn pages of '60s comic books and introduced them to droves of people who know next to nothing about them. On top of that, Kevin Feige and his fearless team wove these characters into action-packed stories that overlapped and interacted with each other in a way that had never been attempted in film before.This monumental risk raised eyebrows and attracted warranted skepticism from all corners of the globe, but Marvel and Disney quickly silenced these naysayers with a simple strategy: they made great movies.

For every hero brought to the public's attention there emerges a villain to test that hero in ways one can only imagine. You have Loki, who shows up to cause cosmic debauchery and throw the universe into a state of chaos, prompting his brother, Thor, to step in and stop him at great emotional cost. You have the Mandarin, a villainous terrorist with.....unhealthy aspirations and a penchant for wanton destruction. You have Malekith the Accursed, a reality-bending Dark-Elf whose hobbies include tormenting Asgardians and blowing shit up with reckless abandon. In reality, though, the real standouts on the evil side of things are the secondary villains, those scoundrels who assist their bigger, badder, and more ambitious superiors but never truly receive the recognition they deserve.

So, in honor of these villainous side-kicks, I've compiled a short list of the best of them and what they've brought to the table during the brief time we've known them. MAJOR brownie points to whoever can guess my top pick!

3. Brock Rumlow (Crossbones)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier introduced more than a few baddies to the MCU, but Brock Rumlow (portrayed by Frank Grillo) takes the cake as the most exciting addition to an already packed cast of characters. Strong, fast, and unbelievably skilled in hand-to-hand combat, Rumlow has quickly become one of Cap's most formidable villains. To no one's surprise, he makes it out of the movie's explosive climax badly burned but breathing, alluding to his transformation into Crossbones and setting up a large number of possible plot lines for the filmmakers to pick from for future installments.

In many ways, Rumlow outshines Robert Redford's Alexander Pierce, who takes several bullets to the chest and will likely never be mentioned again in the MCU. He may have been the mastermind behind Hydra's takeover of S.H.I.E.L.D., but it is Rumlow who does the dirty work and lasts more than five seconds against Cap in combat (which is a miraculous feat all by itself).

We haven't seen the last of Crossbones, whose involvement in 2016's Captain America: Civil War has been confirmed by multiple sources. Hell, he might even be the guy who finishes the job and takes Cap out once and for all. Well, at least until Cap comes back a year later.

2. Nebula

Despite enjoying some fairly aggressive marketing for her character, Nebula received little screen time and, through no fault of her own, never truly lives up to her potential as the villain we know she can be.

Daughter to Thanos and crony to Ronan the Accuser, Nebula (played by Karen Gillen) hasn't had an easy time. She constantly lives in her adopted sister, Gamora's, shadow, and is even overlooked and undervalued by the, I mean aliens who rely on her to break some necks and cash some checks. Nebula plays an integral role in the Guardians of the Galaxy comic books, a role that director James Gunn promises will be touched on and expanded upon in his upcoming sequel to this past summer's smash hit, Guardians of the Galaxy.

The end of the aforementioned film sees Gamora leaping from Ronan's ruined ship and flying off in a stolen spacecraft, guaranteeing her return next time around. What role will she play now that Ronan has been reduced to spacedust? We'll have to wait until Guardians of the Galaxy 2 hits theaters in 2017 to find out.

1. Trevor Slattery

As far as morally challenged sidekicks go, none top the hilarity, idiocy, and infamy that Mandarin stand-in Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley) offers up in his brief but memorable role in 2013's Iron Man 3. The true nature of his role shocked and enraged many when the film blasted into theaters, but I proudly identify as one of the select few who found his role to be hilarious and endearing

The film depicts Slattery as a menacing terrorist with frightening access to anyone or anything in the world, when, by the time the credits role, we discover that he merely slipped into the role to hide the REAL mastermind behind the Mandarin, Aldrich Killian.

Slattery may not be the monster he so expertly pretends to be, but his tendency to drink himself into drunken oblivion endears him to the people who enjoy a slyly thrown curveball every now and then.

So, what do you think? Do you agree with my picks, or should I toss myself into a wormhole and spend the rest of my days getting picked apart by dozens of vengeful Chitauri? Sound off in the comments section!


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