After 20 films, 20 blockbusters, it’s clear that Marvel Studios has revolutionized Hollywood entertainment cinema. Although there is still talk of exhaustion in the genre of superheroes, and the quality of adaptations is underestimated, the fact is that the MCU connects with the public in a special way; is the highest grossing superhero franchise in history.
And the most curious thing is that it was built with characters that other studios did not want. This year, Marvel overcame the $ 1 billion barrier with two of its three premieres, ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Avengers: Infinity War’; the third, ‘Ant-Man and the Avispa’, is still on the bill and has more than 500 million dollars worldwide. On the occasion of the release on DVD and Blu-Ray of ‘Infinity War’, I want to talk about one of the most criticized aspects of the MCU: The Villains.
For a long time it was said that Marvel had a problem with the antagonists. They were not as interesting as the heroes and insisted on giving them the same powers; it became boring. Making a list like this, only three years ago, would be a ridiculous exercise because there was only one memorable villain: Loki, presented in ‘Thor’ (2011) and turned into the great rival of ‘The Avengers’ (2012).
However, at Marvel Studios they took note and were concerned about correcting that aspect, in the same way that they have been concerned to offer the greatest possible variety within the genre of superheroes, to keep the audience always entertained and surprised; always wanting more. Next I leave my ranking with the most fascinating villains of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sorted from the worst to the best …
7. Ultron (James Spader)
We saw him in: ‘Avengers: The Age of Ultron’ by Joss Whedon.
A priori, Ultron had everything to be the perfect villain. Intelligent, intimidating, his story has a crumb (arises from the worst of Tony Stark) and chose an excellent actor to give life. However, Whedon was not lucky with the script and Ultron goes from more to less, ending up as an ordinary villain. Even so, it has extraordinary moments, like the interruption of the party.
6. Ego (Kurt Russell)
We saw him in: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2’ by James Gunn.
One of the most amazing villains in superhero movies. It is not the first time that the father of the hero is his greatest threat (I take the opportunity to claim Ang Lee’s ‘Hulk’, among other reasons, for his father-son drama translated into the fantasy genre) but I do not remember any that are so deceptively charming and diabolically cruel. In the end it ends up reduced to the usual, but until then it seems a very interesting antagonist.
5. Zemo (Daniel Brühl)
We saw him in: ‘Captain America: Civil War’ by Anthony and Joe Russo.
The first and only human on the list without special technological powers or help. The villains in action shows are often divided between those who stand out for their physique or their intellect. The former allow intense fights to be offered while the latter are like chess masters whose strategy drives the heroes crazy. The unexpected and tragic enemy of ‘Civil War’ belongs to the second group and his (almost) perfect plan breaks the Avengers. I deserved more minutes.
4. Adrian Toomes, aka “The Buzzard” (Michael Keaton)
We saw him in: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ (2017) by Jon Watts.
Another human, and surely the closest villain of the MCU. A humble and resentful Tony Stark who wants his share of the pie. He is also a family man. And her daughter is precisely the appointment of Peter Parker in the dance; the relationship between the hero and the villain is complicated in a very interesting way from there. To round it off, it’s Keaton, Tim Burton’s memorable Batman; It generates a respect that cannot be bought. In the end it was not as dangerous as it seemed, but it was war.
3. Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan)
We saw him in: ‘Black Panther’ (2018) by Ryan Coogler.
Possibly the most tragic villain Marvel has presented to date. In another movie he could be the hero (in fact, the protagonist of ‘Aquaman’ has a very similar story) but his anger and his anger take him to the “dark side”. He has the intelligence and strength that can be expected from a great antagonist in a superhero film. Unfortunately, the script is not up to standard and takes a series of absurd decisions that, ultimately, lead to its inevitable defeat.
2. Loki (Tom Hiddleston)
We saw him in: ‘Thor’ (2011) by Kenneth Branagh, ‘The Avengers’ (‘The Avengers’, 2012) by J. Whedon, ‘Thor: The Dark World’ (‘Thor: The Dark World’, 2013) Alan Taylor, ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ (2017) by Taika Waititi and ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (2018) by the Russo brothers.
The first great villain of the MCU and, without doubt, the most fun of all. He is so charismatic that we have been able to see him in five films, and although he has evolved, he has always remained true to his essence. It has all the elements you want in an antagonist and is embodied by a great actor who understands the character and has a great time in his skin. Hopefully we’ll see him again, it’s a joy.
1. Thanos (Josh Brolin)
We saw him in: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (2018) by Anthony & Joe Russo.
The two most ambitious films of Marvel Studios, with which will close the successful stage that started 10 years ago with ‘Iron Man’ (2008), needed the ultimate villain and found him in Thanos. Failing to see ‘Avengers 4’, we have already known his history, his motivation, his power and, for the first time in the superhero genre, his triumph. Technically it is spectacular but what remains is the character, whom Brolin manages to give life to. That a being so evil ends up sitting down to watch the sunset and make you want to applaud him, is his greatest victory.