They say a hero is only as good as his villain, but what makes a villain great?
The Marvel Cinematic Universe turned ten this year and the MCU has touted a wide variety of villains throughout its 20 films. In honor of Halloween, we thought it was a great time to highlight the baddies with a good old fashioned ranking!
Though not exactly menacing, Justin Hammer is great because there’s a part of us all that empathizes with him as the underdog constantly living in the shadow of others. His lack of brilliance and charm gives way to some great comedic situations, but also makes him relatable as a wannabe who just can’t catch a break. And c’mon… that drone presentation dance is gold.
K-dawg catches some flak with fans. Like Mordo, he’s sacrificed a great deal to serve a higher purpose only to find that he’s been lied to by the Ancient One, who uses evil for the greater good. He’s on a quest to do what he feels is right, and for him that means granting everyone the gift of immortality. Is it a great plan? Not really, but the idea of there always being fallout for hypocrisy makes for a cool moral quandary for Strange.
Like a classic villain, Johann Schmidt craves power and won’t let anyone stand in the way of that. This makes him fit in well with The First Avenger’s throwback blockbuster style and makes him a good foil for Steve. But the scariest thing about him is the fact that his almost purely evil authoritarianism isn’t too far off from what the world really faced in World War II. He’s a frightening reminder that sometimes real villains aren’t so subtle.
Jeff Bridges’ portrayal of Stane is part of what made Stark’s arc in Iron Man a special one. He was unique as a villain in that his reveal to Stark didn’t come until the end of the film and this served as a great plot twist for the audience. Like real life, the worst people can sometimes turn out to be those closest to you, and that’s a scary proposition.
Kilgrave is a character with the privilege of a slow reveal in the first season of Jessica Jones. Allowing the imagination to build him up as a terrifying psychopath only to later reveal him as surprisingly charismatic and jokey was genius. His apathy played very well off Jessica’s broody pragmatism and his completely amoral stance on his past and present atrocities made him all the more villainous.