Of all the reasons to love the Marvel Cinematic Universe, great villains are right up there. Of course, we love our heroes the most as we see them overcoming insane odds but the villains providing those problems deserve to be mentioned.
Some enemies aren’t one-time bad guys, some even have redemption arcs. Regardless, a deep backstory and powerful abilities make a great villain. Storytelling in the Marvel universe is incredible, with plenty of pre-determined characters available and tons of foreshadowing across all movies.
Right now, recognising the most memorable enemies is easy but trying to decide which villains are the best? That’s when it gets tough. To make it clear, this list will not rank them by their combat abilities. Some villains on this list will get destroyed by others who are ranked lower, instead I’m focusing on the impact they had on their respective protagonists!
Clearly, Dormammu is the most powerful villain we’ve encountered in the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Doctor Strange‘s entire origin story can be owed to this baddie, even though he wasn’t exactly the main plot point.
As we saw in the final battle, Dormammu has a wealth of weapons available to him in his own realm. Who knows how many times Doctor Strange died fighting him, leading us to believe Strange is one of the most experienced fighters in the MCU. Perhaps we’ll Dormammu him enter the universe we all know in the future!
Appearances: Doctor Strange
I personally refuse to believe he’s completely gone. Ultron must exist in some shape or form, I’m sure Marvel could find a way to bring him back.
Either way, Ultron’s long-lasting effects on the Avengers will never be forgotten. He showed the entire world their failure, leading to the Sokovia Accords and the plot behind Captain America: Civil War.
Enjoying some nice dialogue, Ultron was a joy to watch as his plans brought about some great action scenes. Ultron himself was a little bit under-powered in my opinion, a super-robot oh his size shouldn’t be stopped so easily. Overall though, he certainly was an awesome villain and deserves his place on this list!
Appearances: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Despite her ruthlessness, Ghost has a good heart on the inside. Most of her problems were caused by a desire to not be stuck in some kind of Quantum Limbo, which is understandable. Her ranking on this list comes from her appearance and overall character. Well received by the Marvel fanbase, Ghost will always be welcome on the big screen!
Appearances: Ant-Man and The Wasp
7. The Winter Soldier
Some consider Captain America’s Winter Soldier movie to be one of the best Marvel has produced. Previous films give our protagonist a fairly lackluster villain they can easily beat, with no real back-story or
Technically, he’s now a protagonist under the name of Bucky Barnes but in his mind-controlled state, the Winter Solder is a force to be reckoned with. His haunting Vibranium arm is a great counter-part to Steve Rogers‘ shield. The Winter Soldier giving us one of the best fight scenes of all time says everything about his place on this list!
Appearances: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
6. Ronan the Accuser
Managing to not only acquire an Infinity Stone but actually wield it. Ronan the Accuser is a Kree who seeks to destroy Xandar, due to their warring history. Such arrogance and bloodthirst led him to become of the most powerful warlords in the universe.
Bringing the Guardians of the Galaxy together deserves some plaudits, as does his intimidating demeanor and savage combat capabilities.
We know Ronan makes an appearance in the upcoming Captain Marvel movie. Marvel knows not to waste characters!
Arguably the second most powerful being on this list, Hela is an Asgardian of terrible power. Sister of Thor, she seeks to claim Asgard for herself and claim the rest of the surrounding galaxy. She nearly succeeded too, if not for Odin at first.
As we see in the beautifully shot Valkyrie fight, Hela can easily dispatch entire armies by herself and can overpower mighty warriors like Thor himself. Full of arrogance and ambition, Hela’s return was the turning point for Thor, leading him to become the man he is today.
Appearances: Thor: Ragnarok
2018’s Black Panther saw us learn a huge moral lesson, with Killmonger being the teacher. As a young boy, he found his father murdered and vowed to enact revenge. He’d spend much of his life becoming a merciless killing machine, donning the name Killmonger.
After destroying the rest of the Heart-Shaped Herb plants, Killmonger has ensured there will only be one Black Panther. Such a feat pales in comparison to the lesson he taught T’Challa, that opening Wakanda’s secrets to the rest of the world would not be such a bad thing.
Appearances: Black Panther
3. Helmut Zemo
To split up a group of incredible individuals, all tightly-nit and trustworthy of eachother, one must be a genius. Helmut Zemo was a capable fighter but he knew he couldn’t take on any Avengers in a fight, nor did he have the means to create a group of villains. Instead, he had the idea of tearing them up from the inside out – and it worked.
Zemo’s family was killed during the events that transpired in The Age of Ultron and he would then seek to destroy the Avengers. So much motivation and determination is deadly in the hands of a war-torn mastermind!
Appearances: Captain America: Civil War
Loki was the first true conflicted villain, the one bad guy to win everyone’s hearts. Sure, he wasn’t the strongest power-wise but he showed Marvel fans what a true villain can be. A proper back story, with character development and plot continuity are worth more than giving some random baddie a ton of abilities!
Losing the rightful ruler of Jotunheim in Infinity War was a cruel blow but it tells you everything about Loki for him to go down like that.
Infinity War was a masterpiece, mostly thanks to Thanos, who is seemingly the protagonist of the entire movie. Very rarely do the villains win, Thanos defeated almost the entire roster of superheroes built up over 10 years without breaking a sweat. Not only this, but he did so with passion and reason.
Nicknamed the Mad Titan, wielding all 6 Infinity Stones at once makes the number 1 spot on this list an easy choice!
Appearances: The Avengers: Infinity War