Let's face it: if you were to put 100 Marvel fans into a single room and ask them to name one thing that is lacking in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, probably 100 percent of them would say the villains. Not to say there haven't been any good villains to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Red Skull, General Thunderbolt Ross, Zemo and, of course, Loki. But, unfortunately, then you have Mandarin, Malekith, Ultron, Whiplash, Abomination and so many more that just failed to leave an impression with Marvel fans. However, it would seem that the Marvel villains that everyone is raving about these days are Wilson Fisk and Kilgrave from the Daredevil and Jessica Jones Netflix shows.
But why is that really? Even now with the upcoming release of Luke Cage on September 30th, people are already wondering what the villain, Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes, is going to be like. Is he going to be better than Kilgrave or Wilson Fisk? Is he going to be the one to break the streak of good Netflix villains? Even on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., people were not very invested with the character of Grant Ward back in Season 1, but as soon as they transformed him into a villain, people were suddenly interested and wondering what his next move would be. So why are Marvel TV's villains so much more preferred among Marvel fans than the movie villains?
Well, Maybe The Answer Is Obvious
The Marvel television series can devote more time to flesh out their characters' motives and personalities. With a movie, we usually only get about two hours at the most to fully flesh out a new villain (unless you're Loki, then you get four movies) but with the TV shows, we usually get 13+ hours with our new heroes and villains and that's just more time to get attached to new characters.
Most of the Marvel movie villains were mostly one and done villains that were dead by the end of the movie. People usually agree that Red Skull is one of the better MCU villains, but they just used him for one movie and we haven't seen him since. We don't even know if he's dead or not. Same with Ultron, Ronan, Alexander Pierce, and Mandarin — they were all dead by the end of their movie.
So What Could Be The Solution?
Well, remember when Zemo from Captain America: Civil War did not die at the end of his movie? That opens up the possibilities that we can see him again in future films. Same with Red Skull; it's very possible that he died at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, but it's also possible that he was transported to another world or time period. You can say that about Yellowjacket from Ant-Man too; it's totally possible that he was just shrunk down to the Quantum Realm. They even built up the return of Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin in the short, "All Hail the King," the trailer for which is below:
One of the reasons the fans love Loki so much is because we've seen so much of him over the years. Not only was he main villain of the first (and best) Thor film, but he was also the villain of the first Avengers movie, and I don't need to tell you how big that film was. He was easily the best part of the Thor sequel and we're going to see him in (probably his final MCU appearance) in Thor: Ragnarok. If Loki has taught us anything, we want to see more of the villains in different movies. Not just one-and-done villains who can easily be forgotten.
Bring back Red Skull, Abomination, Yellowjacket, Mandarin or Justin Hammer. Don't just kill off the future villains from Spider-Man: Homecoming, Black Panther or Captain Marvel, keep your villains around and then maybe they can leave a lasting impression on us rather than be forgettable one-and-done characters.