By Stephen Ippolito | May 21st, 2020
Throughout the MCU’s history, there have been some terrific villains to take on each Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Bad guys like Thanos, Loki, and Erik “Killmonger” Stevens have been some of the better-known foes to try and conquer the MCU. However, where there are good villains, there are always bad villains. That’s why I’ve decided to rank my top 5 worst villains in MCU history.
Before I begin, I just want to say that this list really should only be the top 3, because I think there’s a clear 3 that are far worse than the rest. But to keep up with my top 5 series, I managed to think of 2 more who either did not live up to expectations or just plain out sucked.
5. Ultron (Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2015)
When I saw Avengers: Age of Ultron for the first time, I was disappointed. I didn’t think it was a bad movie, it just brought nothing new to the table. I was also discouraged with the film’s villain Ultron, who in the comics is one of the Avengers’ oldest foes.
Before seeing the film, I was already disappointed that he had not been teased in any movies. To not have a story already seeded, just did not seem like a good move and felt like it would cramp in too much. His doomsday plan to drop a city onto the earth also was dumb. It felt like a 10-year-old wrote it. Sure it was original, but it just seemed stupid. Also, maybe I’m nitpicking, but why did he only give one of his robots a super-strong armored body that was cable of taking on Thor. On a positive note, one thing I did enjoy was James Spader providing the voice.
4. Yon-Rogg (Captain Marvel, 2019)
One of the most overrated films in the MCU, in my opinion, was Captain Marvel. I remember seeing it for the time in theaters and saying, “yeah, that was good, I guess.” But a year later and after seeing it multiple times, I can now say it was not as good as I initially thought. One of the things I was disappointed with was Jude Law’s Yon-Rogg character.
I was discouraged by the fact that he was pretty weak compared to Carl Danvers after she gained her full power. It made the final showdown less exciting and kind of boring. Sure, at first, he could take her, but once she was able to access her full power, it was no contest. I’m sure the sequel will provide a more suitable villain, but I just thought when you cast an actor like Jude Law, you don’t give him someone weak like Yon-Rogg.
3. Aldrich Killian (Iron Man 3, 2013)
The surprise reveal of who really is the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 is one of the all-time biggest disappointments in the history of the MCU. In it, fans through marketing were made to believe that Ben Kingsley would be playing a somewhat comic book accurate version of the Mandarin. However, once the film was released, it was revealed that Kingsley’s character was a decoy who had a drinking problem.
The real so-called Mandarin was being played by Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian, who was nothing like the comics’ version. Because of this, Marvel Studios received so much backlash that they made a short film (All Hail The King) after Iron Man 3‘s release saying the real Mandarin was still out there.
The only reason I did not make this number 1, was because I did somewhat like Killian as the villain. With his enhanced abilities, he was able to take on Stark and his suits. In fact, he destroyed a number of them before he was finally taken down by Pepper. I have to admit watching this climactic battle was pretty entertaining. However, despite this, the upsetting reveal was still too much and is why he’s number 3 on my list.
2. Ivan Vanko (Iron Man 2, 2010)
Iron Man 2, in my opinion, is the worst MCU movie. So it makes sense that it would have one of the worst villains. Leading up to the release, I actually had high hopes for Mickey Rourke’s portray as Ivan Vanko.
Rourke was coming off an Oscar nomination for his role in The Wrestler. He’s also a big physical guy who makes you feel like he’s a real threat to Tony Stark. However, it just didn’t turn out the way I thought it would. His character was predictable, kind of boring, and the way he was killed at the end felt like it was thought of at the last second. It was a real disappointment, to say the least.
Some of it was not on Rourke. I think the script and the fact that it was rushed into production was part to blame. Also, back in those days, while Marvel Studios was still owned by Disney, a lot of the shots were still being called by Marvel Entertainment Chairman Isaac Perlmutter. Anybody who knows of Perlmutter knows that he made a lot of controversial decisions.
1. Malekith (Thor: The Dark World, 2013)
In March, I wrote a piece in which I said Ivan Vanko was the worst bad guy in the history of MCU. Since then, however, after seeing Thor: The Dark World on TV again, I have alternated my stance and now think Malekith is the worst villain in the MCU.
Thor: The Dark World overall was not a good movie in the MCU. Leading up to and during production their were all sorts of problems. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it delivered my worst MCU foe.
Malekith was just so forgetful, in fact I had to look up his name for this piece because I forgot it. His master plan was so generic and brought nothing new to the franchise. Sure some of the fight scenes he and his soldiers were involved in were good, but overall he didn’t even feel like a real threat physically to the Thunder God. The actual bad guy who could stand up to Thor was Kurse. If it wasn’t for Loki and him working together, he probably would have killed him.
What’s a shame to is I actually liked the actor that played him, Christopher Eccleston. He was one of my favorites to play Doctor Who. But between all the drama behind the scenes and the studio not knowing yet how to make a good Thor film, it really should come as no surprise that it delivered my choice for worst villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.