When Phase 2 of Marvel Cinematic Universe was done with the 2015 film Ant-Man, fans had one huge complaint about the franchise. Marvel was not really able to make a great villain character that could outshine the heroes. Apart from Loki, that is. Most of the villains we have seen in the movies then were pretty one-note and forgettable like Iron Monger in Iron Man, Malekith in Thor: The Dark World or Ronan the Accuser in Guardians of the Galaxy. Good News for Marvel Fans! Avengers: Endgame to Re-Release in India With New Footage on July 5.
Marvel seemed to have heard the pleas of the fans, and in the movies that came out in Phase 3, we had seen some really memorable antagonists, who gave the Avengers a run for the money. Sure, some of the movies in this phase still sucked in the villain department - like Ant-Man & The Wasp, Captain Marvel etc. But overall, Phase 3 scored high with its antagonists, with Thanos becoming the most iconic villain in recent times.
With Spider-Man: Far From Home recently closing Phase 3 of the MCU, one thing that was praised about the film was, again, the antagonist. Keeping that in mind, let's look at the 10 best villains of the Marvel Cinematic Universe till now and ranking them from the least impressive to awesomely great!
Movie: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Ultron's problem comes with the fact that he was the antagonist in a very divisive Avengers film. Apart from that, he was a highly formidable and entertaining villain, benefitting greatly from James Spader's dangerously silky voice.
His Worst Moment: Killing Quicksilver
Movie: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol II
Though we could smell the reveal miles away, Ego still managed to put on a charming facade as Peter Quill's dad. Which makes his terrifying turn later as the living planet intriguing to watch.
His Worst Moment: Revealing that he has put the tumour in Quill's mom
#8 The Vulture
Movie: Spider-Man: Homecoming
Adrian Toomes is not exactly an egoistic world-conquering maniac like some of the other villains in the list. He is just a provider for his family, as well as his employees, who turn to illegal ways because his livelihood had been taken from him, But that doesn't stop his alter-ego The Vulture from being a menacing figure, who not only figures out Spider-Man's identity on his own, but also proves to be a dangerous foe for him.
His Worst Moment: Figuring Out Peter's Alter-Ego Identity and Threatening Him Without Making His Daughter Notice
Movie: Captain America: Civil War
Compared to the other villains, Zemo didn't have any gadgets or superpowers or even proper screentime. But what he had was a dogged determination, and a very convoluted plan to split the Avengers. Guess what? Without taking down any Avenger physically, he manages to break them apart. All in the name of revenge!
His Worst Moment: Triggering the bomb blast in the UN Assembly that kills Black Panther's father (and falsely implicating Bucky of the crime)
Movie: Thor: Ragnarok
How powerful Thor's half-sister is, we realise in her first scene itself when she easily shatters her brother's unbreakable hammer, Mjolnir. Hela is a seemingly undefeatable antagonist who revels in the display of her power, and could only be taken down during the Ragnarok. While Cate Blanchett was arresting in every scene she appeared, her character lacked any sort of nuance.
His Worst Moment: Killing the Warriors Three and Most of the Asgardian Army
#5 The Winter Soldier
Movie: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Yes, he was brainwashed, but that doesn't relieve Bucky the tag of being the antagonist in this thrilling Captain America: The Winter Soldier. From his intro scene where he makes Nick Fury's car crash to his final battle with his former friend Cap, The Winter Soldier proved to be a very intimidating figure, albeit not an unsympathetic one.
His Worst Moment: Shooting Nick Fury (though his worst was in Civil War, when a brainwashed Bucky is revealed to have killed Tony Stark's parents)
Movie: Spider-Man: Far From Home
Quentin Beck, played with a charm only Jake Gyllenhaal could manage, claims to be from an alternate Earth brought here due to the Snap. He is shown first as a 'superhero' fighting off the Elementals, and afterwards, he also becomes a mentor and a guide to Spider-Man who was ruing Tony Stark's death. It is only later that we find out that everything, including the Elementals, has been illusions created by him, just because Tony Stark pissed him once. His antagonistic turn, especially how he uses holograms to torture Spider-Man, is daunting and even when he is dying, he doesn't fail to use the opportunity to take down Peter. Spider-Man: Far From Home Movie Review: Tom Holland and Jake Gyllenhaal Team Up to Deliver a Thrilling, Surprise-Filled Superhero Rumble.
His Worst Moment: Implicating Peter Parker in the Elemental Crisis and Revealing His Identity to the World
Movie: Black Panther
Like Zemo, Killmonger had been wronged. He only wants his people to take down their oppressors. But the methods he uses are clearly not in the right, making Killmonger one of the fascinating antagonists in a superhero film.
His Worst Moment: Killing Zuri
Movie: Thor, The Avengers
Loki, played by a scene-stealing Tom Hiddleston, is the only Marvel villain to have the maximum appearances. He was the main antagonist in Thor and the film manages to show how duplicitous he can be. It is in The Avengers, that show how terrific an antagonist Loki can be, and how Tom Hiddleston can out-act everyone in a room. Save for Robert Downey Jr, maybe. He somewhat redeemed his act in Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok, evolving from a villain to an antihero. This is why when Thanos chokes him to death in the first act itself in Avengers: Infinity War, our hearts sank.
His Worst Moment: Killing Agent Coulson
Movie: Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: EndGame
The post credit scenes of The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, as well as the first Guardians of the Galaxy, hinted at him as being the Big Bad of the MCU. But it is only with Avengers: Infinity War that we figure out why Thanos is such a big deal. The Russo Bros smartly makes Infinity War all about him and his motivations, making Thanos a nuanced, but terrifying sociopath - who can portray himself as a caring father, only to kill his daughter in the next scene for what he thinks is the 'greater good. And who can forget that Thanos beat most of the Avengers and snapped half the universe out of existence? In EndGame, he might not have gotten room to show much depth, but still, the third act managed to depict him as a dangerous warrior who can't seem to be vanquished. Until a certain Tony Stark decided otherwise, as a very heavy cost.
His Worst Moment: Of Course, The Snap
Vote for Your Favourite Marvel Villain!
Agree with the Marvel villains we have included in the above list? You can beg to differ either with the ranking or our choice of antagonists in the comments section below. Also, do vote for your favourite villain in the poll section above.