The Marvel Cinematic Universe was criticised early on for having a “villain issue.” While the heroes were praised for their multi-movie arcs, critics bemoaned the franchise’s use of one-and-done antagonists who were not given enough time to develop as sympathetic or even fascinating characters.
That villain dilemma appears to be a thing of the past now that Phase Four is well underway.
1. He Who Remains
In the season finale of Loki’s solo series, a variation of Kang the Conqueror — possibly the MCU’s next major enemy – stole the show from him. The individual revealed to be the TVA’s mastermind was burdened with a mountain of exposition.
With his deliciously unusual line deliveries and strange body language, Jonathan Majors’ engaging performance at least made that exposition fascinating.
2. The Kingpin
In the Hawkeye finale, Vincent D’Onofrio reprised his role as Wilson Fisk, better known as Marvel crime lord “The Kingpin” from Netflix’s Daredevil series.
His encounter with Kate in the toy store was ideal for a boss fight. She’s physically outmatched, so she’ll have to rely on her wits (and trick arrows) to overcome the New York mafia leader.
3. Agatha Harkness
Before being unveiled as WandaVision’s main villain, Kathryn Hahn had a lot of fun playing numerous comedy characters. After the twist, Hahn enjoys playing the classic villainy of a flying ancient witch just as much.
4. Maya Lopez
Maya Lopez, played by Alaqua Cox, is such a captivating Hawkeye villain that she is getting her own spin-off series. Her understandable determination to avenge her father is what makes this villain so great.
Following the prologue, which details her relationship with her father, the spectator realises why she wants his killer dead – Clint Barton happens to be his killer.
5. Infinity Ultron
Ultron is a hybrid villain since he is fueled by the Infinity Stones. He combines the talents and strengths of two of the MCU’s most powerful villains. In the half-hour episodes of What If…?, there wasn’t enough time to properly flesh him out.
6. Karli Morgenthau
Karli Morgenthau, the commander of the Flag Smashers, was the film’s villain, and she was surprisingly multifaceted.
Erin Kellyman portrayed her as a sympathetic character with valid anti-nationalist sentiments. Karli is the protagonist of her own storey, and it’s simple to see why.
Ikaris, a character from Richard Madden’s Eternals, is introduced as not just a hero, but also the leader of the heroes. Then, near the end of the third act, he’s revealed to be the antagonist.
After Brightburn, The Boys, and Invincible, the “bad Superman” cliche is starting to wear thin, but Madden’s charms and the inevitable rug-pull make this an entertaining spin on the notion.
The capacity of Taskmaster to imitate the fighting methods of the top Avengers is a cool concept, but she’s a one-dimensional character in general.
Despite some fantastic action moments, the Taskmaster in the MCU is barely developed. Her personal grudge towards Nat is intriguing, but it’s not fully developed. Instead, as a gimmicky twist, her identity is brushed aside. Taskmaster is, in general, a generic villain with a generic motivation.
Ray Winstone’s Dreykov is introduced as the malevolent chief of the Red Room programme in Black Widow. He’s a famous example of a Marvel Cinematic Universe villain that hasn’t been fully explored.
There are a few trailer-friendly soundbites that indicate he’s nasty, but he’s a greater villain because of what he represents rather than his real characterization.
Wenwu, Shang-father, Chi’s is played by Tony Leung and has a sympathetic drive to resuscitate his wife. Wenwu follows the theme of horrible fathers being MCU villains, but he does so in a unique way.
Normally, the hero murders their father and then miraculously restores order, but Shang-Chi refuses to kill his father. In the climax, their climactic fight is about love, not hate.