Exactly one year ago on this day, I wrote my first article on Moviepilot about the MCU's villains and grading them on how good (or bad) they were. I had a blast writing those articles and ever since then I've been addicted to Moviepilot.
I thought it would be fitting to do that again, but ranking them from my least to most favorite. Let me state that this is solely my opinion. I love all the Marvel movies and although some of their villains may be weak, I still enjoy them for being a foil to our hero. I applaud to all the actors who played their roles as I really did enjoy their performance, some more than others. However, I may like some more than others but I am also looking at what they added to the story as well. These are only villains from the movies so no Wilson Fisk.
So let's get started:
13. The Mandarin
Yes, I consider the mandarin to be a villain. For a specific reason. Remember when the news for Iron Man 3 came out and it was confirmed that we were getting the Mandarin as a main villain and we were hyped. Then we discovered he was to be played by Oscar winner Ben Kingsley and we were more excited. The trailers showed us a mysterious villain who's agenda was unknown and we were only more intrigued. When we saw the movie, we were all pleased to see the Mandarin on the big screen, for the first half of the movie. We all know what happened, but admittidly, what we saw of the Mandarin before the big reveal was fun to watch, but due to the twist, it has to placed last.
12. Malekith the Accursed
To me, Thor's movies have been the weakest in the MCU. I still enjoy them, but his time on Earth really bugs me. Thor should be exploring ALL the nine realms in film, not just in Asgard and Earth.
Though I find The Dark World to be better than the first, Malekith wasn't that great. He was fun to watch on screen, but they never really explained why he was evil. In the introduction, you seem him wage war against Asgard all so he can put the world in darkness. Why? Malekith lacks reason. For any villain to work you have to ask, why is he doing this? You have no idea why Malekith is doing what he' s doing and that's why he's low on this list.
11. Aldrich Killian
Here starts a line of the other Iron Man villains. I'll be brief, I really didn't like Aldrich Killian. He held a grudge for 15 years against Tony Stark and used the Mandarin as propaganda for what? I'll be honest I don't remember. I just found him bland and generic. However I did like that he was the founder of AIM and the Extremis soldiers were really cool, but other than that, he was pretty dull. I only hope AIM is still operating somehow in the MCU because they are a big part of the comics.
10. Obadiah Stane/ Iron Monger
As wonderful an actor Jeff Bridges is, I did feel his portrayal of Obadiah Stane was a little weak.
I found Stane to be a wonderful and likable character in the first Iron Man film. Through the first half of the film you see him act as a partner to Tony, almost his confidant. He was a well established character but just a underdeveloped villain. We don't really get to understand his motives as to why he wanted Stark killed or why he really wanted an Iron Man suit. Instead we just an angry man who wants to beat Tony. Now there are rumors that Obadiah Stane was part of HYDRA and if he is that actually makes sense, but that's only a rumor so I have to stick to what I saw.
9. Ivan Vanko/ Whiplash
I know Iron Man 2 is the most disliked of the Iron Man trilogy, but it's actually my favorite. It's also another shocker but I thought that Whiplash is the best Iron Man villain we've seen on screen.
When it comes to an Iron Man movie, we only really care about Tony Stark so the villains aren't all that developed. Admittedly Ivan Vanko was not that well developed but he did one thing that the other villains didn't: break Tony. He made Tony fall into an abyss and he Vanko knew Tony was dying from the very thing that was keeping him alive. He doesn't just hate Tony but he hates the name Stark. The very name that ruined his family and left him with nothing. We get to see the opposite of Tony in this film. A poor man with nothing but the knowledge of the science from Stark Industries. He doesn't have all the parties or the glamour, he has the bitter anger deep within his heart.
That's what I saw in the film and I actually enjoyed it. Mickey Rourke wasn't too happy with the role but I will be the first to admit that I liked it.
8. Emil Blonsky/Abomination
The Incredible Hulk is the lowest earning film of the MCU, but that doesn't make a bad film. I actually had fun watching the film and really enjoyed the performances of Edward Norton & Tim Roth.
Tim Roth played Emil Blonsky really well and I actually liked what I saw. Emil Blonsky has been offered the rank of Major several times but declines because he'd rather be a Captain and continue fighting. He just likes to fight and when he saw the Hulk he saw beauty in it. It was like a test of strength for him and he wanted to beat the Hulk to prove himself. Once he had a small dose of the same serum the Hulk had, he became faster and stronger, but it wasn't enough. for him, it was a drug and he needed more to become more powerful and in time defeat the Hulk.
Little is know about what happened to Blonsky. He's one of the view MCU villains who hasn't died so we can only hope to see more of him in the future.
7. Darren Cross/ Yellowjacket
First off, let me say that I think the Yellowjacket design is the coolest design of any MCU villain. It's amazing visually, has cool weapons, and it just looks sexy. One of these days I will cosplay as him.
Now some people weren't a big fan of this villain and he wasn't great, but I still liked what I saw. I really like Corey Stoll as an actor and his performance was good. Like Loki, he just wants to prove to Hank Pym, who's like his father, that he's a genius just like him. He just wants to have the thumbs up for once, from Hank Pym. So in a way, you get to see this angry, bitter child trying to prove himself. I've acted that way before, now obviously I'm not insane and evil, but I see Darren Cross's reasons for doing what he does.
The one thing they didn't explain very well is the that Hope said that the Pym particles were messing with his head, which I wasn't sure it was. However, when he is electrocuted, I can believe that he's gone crazy. One line of dialogue I really enjoyed watching was when Cassie Lang, saw Cross in his Yellowjacket suit all menacing and she asked, "Are you a monster?" He looks at her confused and in a despairing tone replied, "Do you think of me as a monster?" So although he wasn't the most developed character, he was one of the most fun to watch. Specifically in the fight scenes.
6. Ronan the Accuser
People loved Guardians of the Galaxy, but people have a hard time loving Ronan. I actually enjoyed Lee Pace's performance. Throughout the whole film, you just see this crazed, warrior, who is a fundamentalist to his belief and people, the Kree.
For a thousand years, the Kree and the Xandarians have been at war and then a peace treaty is signed which is supposed to make everything better. Obviously that won't abide for many Kree, who are a strong willed people that posses much pride, like Ronan. Ronan decides to unleash his own world on Xandar and uses the help of Thanos to do so. When he is given the Power Stone, Ronan has the audacity to go against the strongest being in the galaxy. What other villain can you say did that? Certainly not Loki.
You get to see a menacing, crazed fanatic in the film because that's what the film needed to show us. The Kree are a dangerous race and Ronan was their top enforcer. Lee Pace was told to do menacing and that's what he did.
5. Red Skull
Aside from the Avengers, Captain America: The First Avenger is my favorite solo film of Phase one. I love the time period and it's my favorite origin story. However, who is Captain America without his evil counterpart, the Red Skull, played wonderfully by Hugo Weaving.
With the Red Skull you see a man who has his own agenda. He joins the Nazi's only to further his own gain of control. HYDRA was created on the belief that man was not capable enough to have it's own freedom. Red Skull knew exactly what he needed to do. He was at war and he knows the risk and causalities, but he is willing to go through great lengths to achieve what he wants. I think Hugo Weaving is a great actor and deserves all the credit for making Red Skull an amazing villain.
4. Bucky Barnes/ Winter Soldier
Technically, he's only a henchman and a weapon to be wielded but damn did Sebastian Stan do a great job. Not only was the character ripped from the pages of the comic book, but we get to see the emotion of the character as well.
We a brainwashed friend of Cap who's only objective is to kill the target he is given. He is given the alias Winter Soldier and remains to be one of the most deadly assassins. He doesn't care how, but he will complete his mission one way or another. He almost let Cap die, but memories were returning to him. If none of those memories returned to him, Cap would've perished in the water. So although he is only weapon, he proves to be worthy opponent for our hero, making in the top five. His existence proves that HYDRA is as powerful as we think they are.
3. Alexander Pierce
One of the things that makes a great villain, is when the villain thinks he's doing the right thing.Robert Redford surprised all of us with his brilliant portrayal of undercover HYDRA agent Alexander Pierce.
Pierce strongly believes that the ultimate threat to man is man itself. In order to protect it he decides to eliminate every possible threat for mankind, despite being a completely innocent person. Pierce regrets nothing. He shows no remorse, because he is willing to do anything for a better, established world. He ultimately thinks he's the good guy in the film. "To build a better world, sometimes means tearing the old one down."
Sorry guy's he's not my number one. Loki is without a doubt the most developed villain of the MCU and that's why people like him the most. It's his charm that makes people gravitate towards him, he's everyone's favorite because we've seen him in three movies. If we were to only see him in the first Thor film, than people really wouldn't care that much about him.
I'm not taking anything away from Loki. He's a great fun villain and I hope to see more of him. But one of my favorite villains of all time in Marvel is...
Ever since I read comics, Ultron has always been my favorite Avengers villain. Cold, menacing, calculating, and deadly were the traits that made him sinister. Now, thanks to James Spader's brilliant performance, we get a maniacal, emotional villain.
In the comics Ultron was never known for having emotions, but in the film we see a deep understanding of Ultron. Like HYDRA, in a way, he see's humanity as flawed beings and are doomed. So to create a better world he decides to kill everyone on Earth and decides to create a being in his own perfect 'VISION.' He's almost like a child, he has a short temper and you see that when he cuts off someones arm out of anger and then he just laughs about it.
With only one movie, I feel that we saw a well developed villain who's not only menacing, but is also funny. I really wish and hope we see more of Ultron, after all we don't fully know what happens to him when Vision blasts him. So to sum it all up, I loved Ultron and he's my favorite.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check out my other articles. Tell me who's your favorite villain of the MCU. Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter @MannyCastell