Top Ten Marvel Cinematic Universe Villains

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Posted by gmanfromheck (42524 posts) - - Show Bio

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.

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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.

10. Jiaying

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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.

9. Winter Soldier

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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.

8. Kingpin

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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.

7. Ronan

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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

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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.'

5. Thanos

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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

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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.

3. Ultron

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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.

2. Alexander Pierce

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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.

1. Loki

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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.

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#1 Edited by CitizenJP (782 posts) - - Show Bio


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#2 Posted by deactivated-5c9535a734784 (2578 posts) - - Show Bio

In before all the marvel hate.

On the subject Jiaying and Ward getting a mention is awesome. Both are awesome characters as well as Kingpin. Ultron being high up is awesome, after a second viewing he was defiantly a better villains than everyone complains about.

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#3 Edited by Outside_85 (23518 posts) - - Show Bio

Red Skull, for the lasting impression on the MCU, possibility of his return and... that he actually seemed to fit into the movie he belonged to. He was as silly as the man in the spangly outfit fighting him.

And by that I mean, if we bring up the example of Ronan; For most of GotG movie, he appeared to be a character in a completely different movie; bellowing with rage worthy of Shakespeare, while the Guardians themselves were spending most of the movie dancing around to 'Hooked on a Feeling" and "Come and get your love." Same is true of Loki in the solo Thor movies, only in backwards order.

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#4 Posted by Diannah (118 posts) - - Show Bio



I will allow Tony's placement of Loki ahead of Kingpin, but I still have to go with Kingpin as #1 in my list. Loki may be evil, and even fun to watch and hate, but Kingpin is the walking/talking definition of villain in my book. Here is my list:

1. Kingpin

2. Loki

3. Grant Ward

4. Ultron

5. Cal Zabo

6. Nebula

7. Ivan Vanko (Whiplash)

8. Obadiah Stane

9. Winter Soldier

10. Ronan

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#5 Posted by Jonez_ (11500 posts) - - Show Bio

Ultron above Kingpin?

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#6 Posted by CalvinRod (483 posts) - - Show Bio

Kingpin and Red Skull. And I think it is too early to put Thanos in a top five.

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#7 Posted by Wilbertus (535 posts) - - Show Bio

Where's Mandarin?

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#8 Posted by TDK_1997 (18919 posts) - - Show Bio

The only ones that deserve to actually be called villains and who are actually great as villains are Red Skull, Iron Monger and Bucky.

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#9 Posted by dondave (41760 posts) - - Show Bio

Obidiah Stane should have made have made the list over Jiaying. If we're looking at AoS villains John Garret would have been a better choice.

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#10 Posted by _Nox_ (9701 posts) - - Show Bio

Why the hell is Thanos #5? He hasn't done jack!

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#11 Posted by nappystr8 (1548 posts) - - Show Bio

I think Ultron has been the best villain so far. He has so much personality for a robot.

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#12 Posted by Titanbreaker (1307 posts) - - Show Bio

@_nox_ said:

Why the hell is Thanos #5? He hasn't done jack!

Exactly! He has sat in a chair in all appearances and has done nothing, Kingpin easily outclasses him as we have seen him fight, scheme, be emotional, learn his backstory and driving influences. He is a fleshed out character, Thanos is a plot device waiting in the wings.

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#13 Posted by CurrentThor2015 (687 posts) - - Show Bio

Kingpin & Jiaying are my favourites

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#14 Posted by westy206 (1073 posts) - - Show Bio

Abomination even before he got gamma'd up was a brilliant character.

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#15 Posted by Vascillator (360 posts) - - Show Bio

Yeah Id also rate Kingpin first, he is clearly the best and most fleshed out villain in the MCU. Id also rank Abombination higher, while his scenes after the transformation were short he was actually one of the few really intimidating MCU villains.

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#16 Posted by cloudzackvincent (1197 posts) - - Show Bio

Loki and Kingpin have been the best MCU villains by far

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#17 Edited by Stellar421 (875 posts) - - Show Bio

Lol, there aren't that many to begin with.

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#18 Posted by SlickyMike88 (276 posts) - - Show Bio

Kingpin would just smash a car door to their heads^^

Kingpin is the best MCU villain

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#19 Posted by deactivated-5c901e667a76c (36557 posts) - - Show Bio

Pierce. I'm surprised there's so few votes for him.

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#20 Edited by SpareHeadOne (7269 posts) - - Show Bio

I picked Grant Ward because I think his past is well explored and I think they did a great job of making me hate him.

Peirce I hated but he had no backstory.

Kingpin's past is also well explored but he is a straight down the line kinda guy which I admire, so I didnt hate him as much. In fact I kinda like him.

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#21 Posted by thekidfliessolo (126 posts) - - Show Bio

I wish Red Skull would have been used more. I am still holding out hope that he will return one day, as I believe the Tesseract just transported him somewhere else. Loki is by far my personal favorite with Kingpin a very close second. Ultron was ok, not great for me just ok. I am not sure Thanos should really be ranked at all. All we have seen him do is threaten Ronan. That is it. A smile, a threat, and putting on a glove doesn't really constitute a great villain. We are assuming his power right now. We haven't seen him in action.

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#22 Edited by Catty_Spider1 (224 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm amazed the Kingpin didn't win this. While Tom Hiddleston is brilliant in the role of Loki. The character is pretty 1 dimensional and is saved by his performance .

With Kingpin it's both writing and the actor making a highly complex character with a fantastic motivation, essentially the same as Murdock's, to save the city. Even Murdock excepts that. A great performance as well going from scary viciousness, beating someone to death with his bear hands, to genuine tenderness and love with his girlfriend and concern when she is poisoned. The actor should have got the award at the Emmys for this role.

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#23 Edited by Teerack (10703 posts) - - Show Bio

Jiaying really shouldn't be on this list.

I thought Justin Hammer was a cool villain but you didn't even list him lol.

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#24 Edited by Jacthripper (15017 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd definitely put Obadiah Stane over Jiaying. Jeff Bridges did a very good job portraying him.

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#25 Posted by the_stegman (40391 posts) - - Show Bio

Loki for me.

And why is Thanos even here?

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#26 Posted by longbowhunter (9425 posts) - - Show Bio

@xwraith: He wasn't very flashy, but definitely the most threatening.

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#27 Posted by Candle_Jack (649 posts) - - Show Bio

Malekith deserved better. I hope he returns in Ragnarok.

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#28 Posted by Owie (7247 posts) - - Show Bio

This list mostly has me thinking that Marvel's movies don't have many good villains. Except Loki.

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#29 Posted by Folly (227 posts) - - Show Bio

Thanos has not done anything but sit in his chair the whole time. All the others under him are much more fleshed out characters.

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#30 Posted by CurrentThor2015 (687 posts) - - Show Bio

@owie: No Loki is the worst, just there to appeal to tumblr fangirls.

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#31 Posted by nervmeister (468 posts) - - Show Bio

Where's Mandarin?

Hiding offscreen like always.

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#32 Posted by Iragexcudder (9464 posts) - - Show Bio

How are people voting Kingpin over Loki

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#33 Posted by NightFang3 (12364 posts) - - Show Bio

It's tie between Loki and Kingpin.

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#34 Posted by RevivalMH (225 posts) - - Show Bio

It has to be Kingpin for me. He is easily the most fleshed out villain with a true motive behind him. He's the villain that you can't help but like even in spite of the truly heinous acts he has committed.

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#35 Posted by kfabz-23 (6135 posts) - - Show Bio

The fact that Thanos, Ultron & Ronan are on the list is sad.

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#36 Posted by zombietag (1699 posts) - - Show Bio

i want to care about SHIELD so much, but i just don't. the first season was soooooo awful i couldn't get through it :(

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#37 Posted by RabumAlal (5410 posts) - - Show Bio

Darren Cross was very good. My favorite villain.

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#38 Edited by amazing_webhead (9979 posts) - - Show Bio

Loki? seriously? ugh, see this is why the (otherwise flawless) LEGO Marvel game basically said "fuck you" to all us Doctor Doom fans. Loki's becoming like the new Batman!

@thespoiler your thoughts?

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#39 Edited by deactivated-579fe0ae58107 (1321 posts) - - Show Bio

I guess I'm going to have to start watching Daredevil on Netflix...


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#40 Posted by cobsohn (73 posts) - - Show Bio

No love for John Garrett (Bill Paxton)? He's my number 1

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#41 Posted by Incursion (1510 posts) - - Show Bio

Pretty good list I would swap the positions of some, but a good list still

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#42 Posted by butters911 (615 posts) - - Show Bio

I really liked Jiaying and Hyde personally. Agents of Shield was amazing in season 2.

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#43 Edited by superhoodie (614 posts) - - Show Bio

I still think that Madame Gao was a better villain than the Kingpin. It's not that he's a bad villain, but she was more badass.

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#44 Posted by ThePieter (1047 posts) - - Show Bio

Kingpin is easily the best.

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#45 Edited by RavenVice01 (4584 posts) - - Show Bio

Jiaying and grant ward shouldn't even register on this ranking. Red skull isn't dead. The guy was transported to another world. Quite possibly Asgard. The other rankings r decent but I think Loki will be knocked off his perch after thor ragnarok and maximus from inhumans will be the new favorite.

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#46 Edited by nervmeister (468 posts) - - Show Bio

Alexander Pierce gets to be on the list, and not Arnim Zola? He reassembled HYDRA and had them operate right underneath SHIELD'S nose since the end of WWII for christ sakes.

Also, I wouldn't mind Darren Cross from Ant Man getting an "honorable mention" just for being so damn cruel it borders on parody (eg. slaughtering baby lambs by the truckload; killing, then flushing a man down the toilet just for voicing dissent; etc)

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#47 Posted by yellowjacket8019 (1 posts) - - Show Bio

Where's my boy Darren Cross? His impact creating Cross particles will be huge. He should be on here instead of Jiyang or Ward..

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#48 Posted by SynCig (1105 posts) - - Show Bio

Kingpin and Loki are at the top. Then a big gap to Ward and Bucky. Then an even bigger gap to the rest. It's been beaten to death but I think it's true that Marvel hasn't done that well with villains. Kingpin and Loki are both great characters with amazing actors to give them even more weight. Ward is a good character who really came into his own in the second season of Agents of SHIELD while Bucky really brought a lot of emotional depth to The Winter Soldier. The rest of Marvel's villains tend to be a lot more one note. Jaiying wasn't really one note but her villain reveal and death happened so quickly that it is hard for me to rank her all that high. Anyway, opinions are opinions but I'm honestly flabbergasted that Kingpin could be below the boring and one dimensional Ronin. Guardians of the Galaxy was amazing but it had nothing to do with Ronin.

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#49 Posted by MAZAHS117 (13405 posts) - - Show Bio


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#50 Posted by Thatlyn Yoaeg'ill'rymmin (4285 posts) - - Show Bio

In before all the marvel hate.

On the subject Jiaying and Ward getting a mention is awesome. Both are awesome characters as well as Kingpin.

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