Let’s just say it out loud: MCU has a villain problem. While several heroes are charismatic enough to interesting onscreen, the villains can often end up feeling a bit lacking. If we compare this to Batman films, the villains often outshine the Dark Knight due to more complex characterisations. Marvel villains have struggled to create any impact onscreen. Marvel has tried hiring well-known actors to play the role and then giving them nothing to do with.
This being said, there have been a few incredible performances by villains but the frequency of this happening is pretty low. The Marvel Universe has no shortage of great villains and it would be a treat to watch them onscreen. Today we will discuss 4 MCU villains who over-achieved onscreen (and 3 who disappointed audiences)
Overachieved: Winter Soldier
Before the release of Captain America: Winter Soldier, fans already knew that the true identity of the mysterious assassin named Winter Soldier. He was demonstrated to finish his job.
What made him a great villain was that he didn’t have to be bad. Cap knew that if he could get through to Bucky, he may bring him back to the right side.
Guardians of The Galaxy was a clear hit among fans which established an obscure team of Marvel heroes to A-listers. Suddenly, everyone knew who Yondu and Rocket Raccoon were.
However, despite some great performances the main villain of the film, Roman the Accuser failed to impress anyone. There was no emotion, nuance or humour in his character and it seemed completely one-note.
Michael B. Jordan’s portrayal of Killmonger was a refreshing change of pace from some of the power-hungry villains of the MCU. While many of his predecessors had intentions of holding power for their own sake, Killmonger just wanted to hold it for correcting the injustice all around the world.
He was complicated but many fans found him pretty relatable. His last lines as he looked out on the sun setting over Wakanda reflected his beliefs and showing it’s impossible to change someone’s mind.
Disappointed: Ulysses Klaue
While we get a spirited performance by Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue but he ended up being inconsequential to the plot, serving only as a purely bad guy to balance out Killmonger.
This version of Ulysses is different from the comic book origin but still managed to get a line in about his album being on SoundCloud to make a reference to it.
No villain has been as endearing as Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Played by Tom Hiddleston, he was the first of MCU villains to have his own personality, tragic backstory and motivation towards world-conquering beyond the need for power.
Hiddleston played the role to perfection with an actual sense of mischief. He has been light-hearted and even egotistical when needed.
Obadiah Stane became Iron Monger in the comics. He was the first ever villain in the MCU and despite a hammy performance by Jeff Bridges, this Iron Monger still comes out as rusty.
Stane spent most of the time trying to keep Stark industries on its feet, only revealing his evil intentions in the final third of the film.
From the first time we saw him in the post-credits scene of 2012’s The Avengers, we knew that he was trouble. He made another brief appearance in Guardians Vol 1 before making his proper debut in Infinity War. He showed the world that he was not just a villain.
Played by Josh Brolin, the character was shown unthinkable but his troubled past was the reason behind his actions.