The Marvel Cinematic Universe has seen some great villains. We've also seen some villains that haven't seem to do too much. Whenever it comes to listing multiple characters, everyone has their favorites.
Creating a list or ranking characters is never easy. We've made our attempt based on certain criteria. We're including all the movie and TV villains but looking at what they've accomplished so far in the live action medium and how long they've been active. Let's be honest, most Cinematic Universe villains end up dying pretty quickly. Some of these characters' comic book counterparts would obviously rank higher. At the end, you'll even be able to vote for the villain you think is the best (or should we say the worst?).
As you can imagine, there will be spoilers from the movies and TV shows.
Some might be saying who?Jiaying was an Inhuman that managed to live a long time after she was exposed to the Terrigenesis process. She eventually became a bit of a leader among a group of Inhumans and helped guide them and cope with their newfound abilities. She also helped create a sanctuary to keep them safe from the outside world.
She sounds pretty nice, right? Well, part of her maintaining her longevity was through the sacrifice of other Inhumans. She basically sucked their lifeforce to keep herself young or to heal from wounds. She was also responsible for starting a war between the Inhumans and S.H.I.E.L.D. Her final act resulted in unleashing Terrigen Crystals upon the world, when they were exposed to some fish that were caught and used for fish oil vitamins. This means we'll be seeing more Inhumans pop up, whether they want to embrace their heritage and possible harmful change. You know some will want to use their new abilities for evil. You could also say she is sort of responsible for some of the bad things her husband, Cal Zabo did.
This sparked a few questions when I tweeted and asked which villain people dug. Bucky Barnes is a good guy. He just ended up in a bad situation. Being brainwashed and used to commit evil acts might not necessarily be his fault. That doesn't mean the things he did can be overlooked.
As the Winter Soldier, Bucky had a long career and assassinated many high ranking and important people. There's also the psychological affect he had on Captain America. Once Cap found out his identity, he was determined to try to save him. This nearly cost him his life. The death of Captain America would have a big impact on the Avengers and others in the Cinematic Universe. Cap may have been going with his gut in knowing Bucky could be redeemed but it was still a big gamble.
I have to admit, Kingpin in Netflix's Daredevil is one of my favorite villains. There's no denying that Vincent D'Onofrio did an amazing job. The reason he doesn't rank higher is because his time in power didn't last too long. This was a man that could beat the living daylights out of a henchman and have that guy come back (after he got out of the hospital) and remain loyal to him.
He may have been a ruthless and vicious man that managed to convince the New York City he was a legitimate and caring businessman but what did he really control? Hell's Kitchen? If he manages to return in the next season, perhaps he'll rise up on the list.
Ronan is another character that you would expect to rank higher. As a member of the Kree race, he was a genocidal militarist that wanted to wipe out the Xandarians and killed countless others (including killing Drax's family with no recollection). He managed to locate the Orb (that contained one of the six Infinity Stones) which he was supposed to give to Thanos.
Because of the kind of guy he was, Ronan had no problem standing up to Thanos and refusing to deliver the Orb. With the power, he continued to cause major damage and death. It was his hunger for power that lead to his demise.
6. Red Skull
Red Skull proved to be another character that was difficult to rank. He may not have had the cosmic reach Ronan has but his legacy lasted decades after his death. Red Skull is responsible for creating HYDRA. Moving away from the Nazi ideals, his focus was more on the science aspect of things. A brilliant scientist himself, he had no problem injecting himself with a version of the Super Soldier Serum which gave him strength and agility but also resulted in his Red Skull look.
Continuing his quest for power, the Red Skull became aware of reports that the mystical Tesseract was rumored to be on Earth. Locating it, it added to his power but also lead to his death. His legacy of HYDRA continued after his death unbeknownst to the 'good guys.'
Thanos is a very patient individual. Readers of the comics he's appeared in know what he's fully capable of. In the Cinematic Universe, sadly he still hasn't done too much. He's clearly a being of immense power. He's been great at sitting back and getting others to do his bidding. He's simply looking at the big picture. It's his goal to obtain all the Infinity Stones. While they're becoming exposed to others, he's showing no signs of concern over the way they're bouncing around from person to person. He has his gauntlet and he's willing to sit back and wait until he gathers all six of them.
This just means he hasn't quite earned a spot towards the top of the list. He has set off a bad chain of events but that's about it. It's only now, after Loki and Rona have let him down, that he's decided to start taking matters into his own hands. Things about to get real.
4. Grant Ward
What?!? We're ranking the former Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. higher than Thanos? That's right. Again, for now. Ward is one of the few Marvel villains that has managed to survive once his original plans have fallen apart. He too has a big plan he's now set in motion.
Grant wasn't necessarily an evil person. The physical and mental abuse he suffered within his family left him wide open to become a sleeper agent for HYDRA, within S.H.I.E.L.D. He became a high ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, reaching Level 7, and even when the truth about him was revealed, he managed to overcome the typical bad guy obstacles and survive. His knowledge and abilities even made it so Coulson had no choice but to seek out his assistance. Now he's taken it upon himself to declare himself the new leader of HYDRA. We'll definitely be keeping an eye on him to see if he continues his evil ways and what this new HYDRA will accomplish.
Ultron started out as an artificial intelligence created by Tony Stark as part of a peacekeeping program. Ultron soon came to the conclusion that humans were the real problem. Ultron believed it was humans that were the real threat to peace on Earth. So what better way to ensure peace than to completely wipe out mankind?
Ultron's power base quickly rose with a huge robotic army at his command. By enlisting Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, they managed to cause a rift in the Avengers and caused Hulk to go on a rampage in a city. If that wasn't enough, Ultron also caused a city to actually rise up in the air. The entire population was at risk and the Avengers barely managed to save them. It was Ultron's plan to drop the city upon the Earth to replicate the affect of a meteor smashing into the Earth which caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.
As ambitious and deadly as his plan was, he was ultimately defeated. While it seems he's completely gone, based on his track record in the comic, we can't help but wonder if we truly have seen the last of him.
Alexander Pierce is the master of subterfuge. Similar to Grant Ward but on a completely larger scale, he managed to bamboozle the entire world as a high ranking agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the World Security Council when he was actually a HYDRA leader. This is a guy that was in charge of many things at S.H.I.E.L.D. and is even responsible for appointing Nick Fury as the Director. In trying to make the world a better place, in his opinion, he started Project Insight which used the computer mind of Arnim Zola, the Red Skull's chief scientist. Pierce had no problem with the idea of killing 20 million people that were considered threats based on Zola's algorithm in order to save 7 billion. When Fury became a threat, he had no problem sending the Winter Soldier after his long time friend.
It was clear there wasn't anything Pierce wouldn't do in order to achieve his plans at basically ruling the world. He believed he knew what was best and anyone that didn't agree was disposable. Being able to orchestrate and operate the intricacies of the dual nature of S.H.I.E.L.D. without the wrong people finding out is incredibly impressive. Once it all came out, his duplicity changed everything the world knew about S.H.I.E.L.D. He almost got away with it too if it wasn't for the meddling Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon.
Is there anyone else that could possibly top this list? Loki is the God of Lies. He's also the God of Mischief. He manages to fool pretty much everyone. Just from our exposure to him in the Cinematic Universe, we've seen how easily he manipulates others, including his adopted brother, Thor. In a typical grab for power, he orchestrated events to get Thor banished to Earth and deemed unworthy of his birthright as the next leader of Asgard. He gained possession of the Tesseract and allied himself with the Chitauri, causing major destruction upon New York City. Despite his defeat, he still managed to take advantage of the Dark Elves attacking to fake his death in order to actually claim the throne of Asgard. We still don't exactly know what he did with Odin.
Loki is evil and also charming. It's a dangerous combination. Even after everything he's done, Thor still wants to believe there is good in him. What has he been up to since he took the throne? We'll have to wait and see.
Now it's your turn. You've seen our list. Vote below for who you think is the best villain in the Cinematic Universe. We suggest you try not to just vote for your favorite but, hey, it's your vote.
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Let us know what you thought of our list. You can also list your top ten in the comments below.