MCU Infinity Saga: Top 5 Best-Written Villains

June 29, 2020 at 1:51 am (Reviews, Top Ten, TV/movie review, With a list)

The MCU has a bad reputation for forgettable villains, and it’s often justified. While attempting to explain every plot twist to my six year-old, I realised that every movie has several villains. Of course a lot of them aren’t well-developed.

But a bunch of them are brilliant. Here are my top picks, based purely on the quality of the writing (and acting), and the depth of emotion they inspire.

5. Thanos.

Not because his plan makes sense, or because he’s so powerful (powerful schmowerful, as so often happens). He gets on the list because his treatment of his daughters is so twisted and so painful that I truly hate his guts.

And he actually thinks he loves them, too. Sure, he grieves Gamora. People often grieve useful or beautiful or expensive objects, especially when they’re spent a lot of time getting them just the way they want them. That’s not love.

4. Ghost

I’d be angry too, if other people’s incompetence led to constant pain for me—particularly if I also had only days to live. As a disabled person with chronic pain in an ableist world, Ghost is just too relatable. Which, for a murderer, is a mighty achievement. It doesn’t hurt that Hanna John-Kamen is one of the most beautiful people on the planet. I hope we see more of her in future movies.

3. Grandmaster

He is so adorable and hilarious and charming you forget he’s a slaver (sorry, I meant to say, “employer of prisoners with jobs”) and a villain. Every second he’s on screen is a delight. It doesn’t hurt that everyone in the room with him is clearly having a blast—Jeff Goldblum most of all.

2. Loki

But you knew he’d be on the list, didn’t you? Joy, mischief, pain, humour, and redemption in one very pretty package.

Honorable Mentions:

Klaue (played by Andy Serkis) because of his manic glee.

Hela (Cate Blanchett), for dark joy, shocking power, and for exposing Odin’s awful treatment of her—and his war-mongering/colonialising ways. She has good reason to be angry.

Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), except that they’re much more interesting as they’re becoming good. As villains, they’re dull (the Winter Soldier is basically a blank slate, which is the point).

1. Erik Killmonger

Killmonger is fundamentally right, both in his personal anger towards the hero (because of the actions of T’Challa’s father and uncle), and in his wider anger about Wakanda’s isolationism when African people around the world are crying out for justice. It is all too close to home for anyone living in the real world right now. He also plays beautifully with stereotypes, deliberately dressing in a way that makes white Americans see him as a thug. And his death breaks our hearts. Put all those elements together, and you have an unforgettable villain.

Do you agree with the list?

Did I forget someone I shouldn’t have?

Sound off in the comics! Let the nerd wars commence.

2 Comments

  1. Marvel-ous Day 5: Part 4 | crazy talk said,

    […] mine. I’ll probably release one or two a day for a week or so. (The first, top villains, is here.) Everything from ‘best characters for cosplaying’ to ‘best […]

  2. Summary of a Saga | crazy talk said,

    […] Top 5 Best-Written Villains […]

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