The Marvel Cinematic Universe has introduced the general public to the incredible heroes of the Marvel Universe. However, on many occasions, the MCU villains have not been treated as well in the movies. This makes sense up to a point – movies are about heroes, after all – but it does serious damage to some of the best villains in fiction.
Some of the villains are pretty amazing and a lot of it is the actors who play them. Not only do the actors portray the characters gracefully, their performances elevate the entire film. On the other hand, some of the interpretations fall short, condemning the villain to obscurity.
10. Nailed his role: Daniel Bruhl’s Zemo is a charming and magnetic villain
To get started, Captain America: Civil War didn’t really need a villain, but luckily, Daniel Bruhl has done great. His portrayal of Zemo has managed to convey the character’s motivations and made memorable a role that could have been overshadowed by him. storm and stress of the movie.
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His return in Him Falcon and the Soldier Winter was amazing, taking advantage of the work he had already done with the character and taking it to the next level. Even people who weren’t fans of Zemo’s role in CA:CW fell in love with the character, all thanks to Bruhl’s wonderful performance.
9 fell short: Corey Stoll’s Yellowjacket wasn’t comparable to Ant-Man’s other character
Corey Stoll was going to have a hard time regardless: the characters of Paul Rudd and Michael Peña were so incredibly charming that whatever he did was going to be overshadowed. It also didn’t help that Ant-Man was the height of the clichés of the MCU source movies, recycling tropes like having a bland villain.
Sometimes a good performance can overcome weak writing, but Stoll was not up to the challenge. His Yellowjacket never seemed like more than a stereotypical baddie and it wasn’t memorable at all. He was overshadowed and the character was misspelled, and both factors doomed him.
8 nailed his role: Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is an icon
See Tom Hiddleston’s Loki at Thor And then seeing him in any subsequent movie he’s involved in is a revelation. The character has grown a lot and, although there are those who believe that the villain has exceeded his lifetime, that growth combined with the wonderful interpretation of Hiddleston has made Loki one of the most popular characters in the MCU.
Hiddleston was able to combine Loki’s humor, malice, and heart in a way that a lesser actor would not have been able to. Loki has become an icon of the MCU and that’s because Hiddleston’s performance captured Loki perfectly.
7 It fell short: Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian is the least memorable part of Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 he has a lot of problems, and Guy Pearce’s character, Aldrich Killian, doesn’t help alleviate any of them. Pearce is usually a pretty good actor, but he didn’t get a lot of work on Killian and it shows. One of the problems is that Killian is basically like every villain in the Iron Man movies – someone who believes Tony Stark has ruined his life and wants revenge.
Clichéd plots like this are one of many mistakes made by the MCU and Pearce’s performance did nothing to improve it. Rather than trying to make the character somehow memorable, he portrayed him exactly as he was on the page and there was nothing special there to begin with.
6 nailed his role: Josh Brolin’s Thanos is awesome
Thanos had been teased since Avengers 2012 and Josh Brolin certainly delivered. His Thanos was a key piece of Avengers : Infinity War, basically the main character of the film, and his performance helped cement his place as one of the best films in the MCU. It’s even more impressive when one realizes how difficult mocap performance can be for someone who has never done it before.
Thanos became a fan favorite overnight and much of it was due to Brolin’s performance. He perfectly captured everything about the character, setting the bar much higher for everyone playing an MCU villain after him.
5 It fell short: Lee Pace’s Accusing Ronan couldn’t compete with how great everyone else was in Guardians of the Galaxy
Lee Pace was always going to have a hard time playing Ronan the Accuser. In a movie full of characters with big personalities, his one-note character wasn’t going to give the actor much to do and this was obvious from his performance. Pace played it as bland as the character was written.
In any other MCU movie, Pace’s performance would not have seemed so mediocre, but the other performances of Guardians of the Galaxythey were much better. It was easy to see how mediocre Pace’s role was.
4 nailed his role: Michael Keaton’s Vulture was almost as compelling as Tom Holland’s Spiderman
Spider-Man: Homecoming had an uphill battle -Tom Holland was great as Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War , but the bad smell of Amazing Spider-Man 2 it was still fresh. Spider-man : hom ecoming could have easily failed but it didn’t, partly because of Holland but also because of Michael Keaton’s Vulture.
Keaton’s Vulture was a working-class man trying to make a living for himself, his family, his workers, and their families. Keaton presented this side of the character wonderfully, while still making the Vulture look dangerous. He was compelling and Keaton’s portrayal made him one of the MCU’s best villains.
3 It fell short: Christopher Eccleston’s performance as Malekith didn’t do the character justice
Thor: The World Dark was not a good movie for many reasons and Malekith was one of them. The villain was forgettable and bland and Christopher Eccleston’s performance did nothing to set the character apart. It’s hard to really say why – it might be that he wasn’t used to performing with prosthetics or from the script, but in any case, it wasn’t a great performance.
It’s hard to even say if a better performance would have done the character justice – as written, there was nothing interesting about Malekith, but it may have helped. Eccleston is usually a wonderful actor, but his role here fell very short.
2 Nailed His Role: Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger Stole The Show
The late and great Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther was incredible, but he was overshadowed in his film by Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger. It’s rare for an MCU villain to be better than the hero, but Jordan was able to pull it off, really selling who Killmonger was and why he did what he did. Jordan’s performance elevated the character where another actor could not have.
Jordan’s Killmonger was so good that almost everyone agrees that killing him at the end of the movie was a huge waste of an incredible character and actor. Jordan made everyone agree with Killmonger and while he may have gone a bit far with his actions, he was actually more relatable than Boseman’s T’Challa.
1 He fell short: James Spader was limited to playing James Spader when he played Ultron
Avengers: Age Of Ultron is easily the worst movie of the Avengers . There are several reasons for this and James Spader’s Ultron did the film no favors. In part it was due to the way the character was written – Ultron was written more as a funny human villain than a terrifying genocidal machine – but in part it was the performance of James Spader.
The problem is that Spader played the character like he does anyone else. It was a strange choice and it did a lot to turn Ultron from being a fearsome villain to basically a metal Loki, a funny and somewhat charming villain that was hard to take seriously.
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Marvel: 5 villainous MCU actors who got their roles right (& 5 who fell short)