The Initial phases of Marvel had a “villains’ problem” as most of them turned out to be one and done villains. But that doesn’t mean that all those villains weren’t unique or smart enough to go up against the heroes. There were plenty of exceptional and intellectual villains that showed up in Phase 1. While most of us already know about those villains, let me present them to you in a different way. Here are 10 MCU Phase 1 villains, ranked according to their intelligence from worst to best:
#10 – Justin Hammer
I don’t understand how Justin Hammer was able to make profits out of his company because he was literally the stupidest villain of Phase 1. He surely liked to think that he was smart enough to outdo Tony Stark and Stark Industries, but his brainpower was as average as his weapons. He literally hired a murderous baddie to provide him with Iron Man armors, and he literally left him with no oversight whatsoever. Even with all of his resources, all he was able to afford was a ticket to jail!
#9 – The Abomination
Emil Blonsky was a living, breathing weapon! There’s a fine line between brave and foolish. Blonsky thought that he was the former, but we have to say that he was certainly the latter of the two categories. Taking on the Hulk is brave, but walking up to him unarmed and provoking him is outright foolish. Honestly, I can’t decide whether Blonsky was as senseless as Justin Hammer. But because he was able to turn into Abomination, the point goes to him.
#8 – Raza
Raza comes ahead of the previous two villains because he was successful in apprehending Tony Stark. Although, he did make a mistake that was similar to Justin Hammer. He provided Tony with the resources to create the first Iron Man armor. And, he left him with little to no oversight whatsoever. As a result of that, all he got was an exploding missile from Tony’s new armor, instead of the Jericho! Still, he was even smart enough to reassemble the broken Iron Man armor. But again, he trusted the wrong person, which in turn got him and his men killed.
#7 – Laufey
Laufey was capable enough to lead the Frost Giants of Jotunheim. He was strong enough to go up against Asgardian warriors. But sadly, he also ended up trusting the wrong person. Loki is the God of Mischief, and Laufey played right into his hands. He should have known better than to trust Loki. Unfortunately for him, he paid for his mistake with his own life.
#6 – General Ross
General Ross was not an “evil” villain in The Incredible Hulk. But, he was an antagonist regardless. He wanted to recreate Captain America’s Super Soldier Serum, and was even able to come up with promising results. But he made a mistake by giving the serum to Blonsky, who ended up disobeying his direct orders several times. Blonsky grew erratic and found his way to turn into the Abomination. Fortunately, Ross did not intervene when the Hulk stopped the monstrosity that Blonsky had become.
#5 – Obadiah Stane
Stane may not be as intelligent as Tony, but he certainly had the brains to run a business. His ways weren’t ethical at all, but a fair argument could be made that they were indeed effective. Stane was a major factor in the growth of Stark Industries. He handled Raza like he was nothing. After acquiring the design for Tony’s first Iron Man armor, he came up with a bigger suit very quickly. He was really a smart and sturdy villain to start things off with.
#4 – Red Skull
Johann Schmidt maybe a maniacal murderer, but he was extremely clever and resourceful. His research led him to the Tesseract. He even acquired an Earthly version of the Book of Yggdrasil, which contained a lot of Asgardian knowledge. There’s a chance that Red Skull even knew a bit about the Infinity Stones. Recently, it was even revealed that Baron von Strucker experimented upon the Sokovians with the scepter due to the Red Skull’s research. Schmidt surely was among the brainy villains of Phase 1.
#3 – Loki
The God of Mischief was arguably the smartest among all villains. He is someone who would have done insanely well in Game of Thrones. The way he manipulated everyone in the first Thor movie was quite amazing! Over time, he outsmarted Thor, Odin, Laufey, Kurse, and many others. But we’ve put him on the 3rd spot because his ways mostly led to his defeat. First it came at the hands of Thor, then the Avengers, and then ultimately, Thanos.
#2 – Ivan Vanko
The Russian baddie built his inferior arc reactor with inadequate supplies. His tech almost proved to be superior to Iron Man. Look at what he did with the resources he got from Justin Hammer. He came up with several killer drones and encrypted Rhodey’s suit in Russian. And, he also came up with his Whiplash Armor that was actually superior to both Tony and Rhodey’s suits. It’s just that Natasha was able to hack into Rhodey’s suit due to her own Russian background. Otherwise, Vanko’s plan was flawless. He would have won!
#1 – Arnim Zola
You cannot deny the fact that Zola was the smartest of all Phase 1 villains. Firstly, his Tesseract powered weapons were unmatched. He also experimented upon Bucky with the Tesseract’s gamma radiation, and turned him into a super soldier. He was the one to help Hydra grow within S.H.I.E.L.D.. His algorithm led to project Insight. And, he even made sure that his brain survives after his own demise. So, Zola was really the brainiest of all Phase 1 villains.
Source: Screen Rant