Marvel has been creating incredible worlds of characters since the 1930s. Since then, they have been slowly weaving a web of vivid plots and stories that vary in tone, genre, and appeal. These characters are brought to life by acting legends such as Robert Downey Jr. Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, just to name a few.
There have been a lot of great Marvel villains in the past and present: Loki, Red Skull, Killmonger. They all have their unique distinctions and motives that make them stand out from each other. This list isn’t ranking characters based on their morality or motives because that is entirely subjective; it ranks each villain by how well they were portrayed in film and how impactful they were to the story.
We will talk about the Best Marvel villains, the Strongest Marvel villains, the Most Powerful Marvel villains, the Top Marvel villains, and finally, the Super Marvel villains. Here is an in-depth look at each villain, ranked from worst to best.
30. Whiplash – Iron Man 2
What should have been the first truly great villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe quickly became one of its most forgettable? Iron Man 2 was an overstuffed mess that tried to do too much in the span of a two-hour movie.
One of its biggest crimes was wasting Mickey Rourke on an unmemorable character with no personality, motive, or story. Iron Man 2 is the only film on this list that could have benefited from cutting things down to just a single act. We recommend you watch all Iron Man movies in order to make the most of these titles.
29. Emil Blonsky/Abomination – The Incredible Hulk
Marvel’s shared movie universe has yet to give us an actor who can convincingly go toe-to-toe with the Hulk and come out on top. While a solid actor in his own right, Tim Roth just didn’t have what it took to play Abomination in The Incredible Hulk.
He came off as unthreatening and unimpressive as the military man who becomes a monster. For some reason, Marvel also thought it was a good idea to give Blonsky an Eastern European accent and completely fail at making him believable as a convincing person with any kind of authority or intelligence. Watch the Hulk movies in order and don’t miss on anything!
28. Malekith – Thor: The Dark World
With a budget of $170 million, Thor: The Dark World is one of Marvel’s most expensive movies. Unfortunately, it also happens to be one of their worst. While the film wasn’t an unmitigated disaster like Iron Man 2 or The Incredible Hulk, what little potential this movie had was wasted on forgettable characters, a bland villain, and an even blander story.
Malekith the Accursed is a boring, one-note villain who would have been better off being cut from the film entirely. Christopher Eccleston chews through all this exposition in a way that makes Malekith come across as laughably pretentious to any audience member with a brain.
He’s basically a Muppet with an army that no one cares about, and the only thing keeping him from winning is his own incompetence and Thor’s nobility.
27. Dormammu – Doctor Strange
Despite being one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Strange was essentially a glorified cameo that left audiences wanting more.
The biggest potential waste is how Dormammu and Kaecilius were treated throughout the film. Marvel had a great opportunity to bring in the ruler of the Dark Dimension and explore his relationship with the Ancient One. It chose to waste that potential on a forgettable fight scene.
Dormammu is potentially one of Marvel’s most powerful villains, but he will never live up to his full potential unless someone like Stephen Strange challenges him in a way we haven’t seen before. If you are a fan of Superhero movies then you must check out these 50 best superhero movies of all time.
26. Darren Cross/Yellowjacket – Ant-Man
One of the biggest problems with Marvel’s shared universe is its villain problem. In a franchise that has been going on for 10 years, there have been one or two great villains who have made their respective movies better and added layers to the heroes they fight against.
On the other hand, there are a lot of useless, forgettable villains who make the film they’re in worse for seemingly no reason at all. Corey Stoll was one such villain in Ant-Man. He played Darren Cross/Yellowjacket with a whininess and narcissism that made him more of an annoyance than an actual threat to the titular hero.
25. Ronan – Guardians of the Galaxy
Much like Iron Man 2, Guardians of the Galaxy was another wasted opportunity for Marvel. The film had all the makings of being something special, but it wound up being an underwhelming mess that didn’t know what to do with itself or its characters.
While Lee Pace did a good job as Ronan the Accuser, he was a forgettable character with a boring motive and no real backstory to speak of. He did get one good moment during the finale, but that was just too little, too late.
24. Taskmaster – Black Widow
One of the most interesting aspects of a superhero universe is its change over time. Unlike other heroes, Black Widow has been part of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe from day one and was even featured in Iron Man 2 before the formation of The Avengers.
Despite being a founding member of that team, she hasn’t had many chances to shine outside of team-up movies. For some reason, Marvel hasn’t given her a solo film even though she’s one of its most popular characters. Not in the US? you can still watch Guardians of Galaxy all parts online with the help of a VPN.
23. Kaecilius – Doctor Strange
Marvel has done a great job of creating memorable villains who make their respective movies better and shape the superheroes they fight against. While this is true of most Marvel villains, there are just as many that fall flat or fail to live up to expectations.
One such villain is Kaecilius from Doctor Strange. He’s one of the least interesting Marvel villains to date. He got very little screen time and had no real impact on either Stephen Strange or the story itself.
22. Alexander Pierce – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Perhaps one of the best Marvel movies, The Winter Soldier, is a masterpiece elevated by one of the best villains in the shared universe. Despite only being introduced in this movie, Robert Redford’s Alexander Pierce elevates everything around him with his calm demeanor and calculated mannerisms.
He knows exactly what he wants and how to get it, and the lengths he’s willing to go for his goals are brutal. The Winter Soldier was cold, calculating, and an imposing figure who seemed impossible to defeat.
21. Ghost – Ant-Man and the Wasp
In Marvel comics, Ghost is a skilled hacker who was originally a thief but grew tired of living by other people’s rules. In the films, he has been changed to an interesting but useless villain whose only real ability is teleportation and getting into hard-to-reach areas.
Ghost wasn’t a terrible character. In fact, Hannah John-Kamen’s portrayal of the character is one of the highlights of Ant-Man and the Wasp. However, he still didn’t have much to do with anything, and it would probably be a stretch to even call him a villain.
20. Laufey – Thor
Loki is one of the best villains in Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it’s a shame that he had to share the role with someone as forgettable as Laufey. This isn’t a knock-on actor Colm Feore, who did an excellent job portraying this frost giant from Jotunheim.
However, Laufey didn’t get much time on screen and was killed off for no real reason other than to show how powerful Loki’s newfound abilities were. In the end, he didn’t matter all that much except to establish Loki as a potential threat to Asgard. You can watch Thor movies in order to understand the story.
19. Dreykov – Black Widow
In Iron Man 2, Black Widow’s backstory was changed from the comics to make her a more tragic character still reeling from the death of her first love. While this didn’t bode well with fans of the first film, it wasn’t terrible in and of itself.
What made it so bad was Justin Hammer’s Russian ally, Dreykov. There was no real indication of his villainy until the final act when he tried to kill Black Widow and steal a bunch of money. He could have been interesting, but there just wasn’t enough for him to do or say to establish himself as being anything other than annoying.
18. Yon-Rogg – Captain Marvel
While Captain Marvel was an excellent addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a few flaws struck a chord with fans. Perhaps the most egregious of these was how quickly Yon-Rogg’s villainy came into focus.
He didn’t have much screen time and could have done with being properly established before being thrown into the mix with Carol Danvers, but that wasn’t the case. There were also hints that he had deep feelings for Mar-Vell, which could have made for an interesting dynamic if they had been developed beyond being partners in crime.
17. General Ross – The Incredible Hulk
From the moment he was introduced via a news broadcast, General Ross set himself to be one of the least compelling villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He had little screen time and didn’t really do much other than try to convince Bruce Banner to turn into the Hulk again, but his motivations were never really fleshed out satisfactorily.
He wasn’t interesting enough to carry the movie, and he didn’t leave much of an impression when he was killed at the end by Abomination. General Ross is among the medium Best Marvel Villains ever incorporated.
16. Ego – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Ego isn’t necessarily a bad character, but he was written so that it made him come across as more than a little off-putting. While Russell Crowe’s performance helped flesh out Ego and make him compelling, the character didn’t really fit well with audiences or their expectations for what a Marvel villain should be.
He was far too casual and friendly for a guy who’d come to wipe out an entire galaxy of people, and he did so while gushing about how special Peter Quill was because they were father and son. It was a lot to take in all at once, which is why this one isn’t higher on the list.
15. Spider-Man: Far from Home – Mysterio
Tom Holland’s portrayal of Peter Parker/Spider-Man has been widely successful and often praised. Mysterio, on the other hand, was pitiful. He had a cool costume and some cool tricks up his sleeve (literally), but that’s all he really had going for him.
There was no build-up to his reveal, no real hints that he was someone other than a meta-human with special abilities. He wasn’t compelling and had little to offer in terms of interesting dialogue or confrontations with Spider-Man. His fight with the web crawler at the end of the film was boring and lacked any kind of tension or stakes. You can watch all Marvel movies in order to make the most of these movies.
14. Aldrich Killian – Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 and Marvel’s The Avengers both suffer from the same problem: the main villain isn’t compelling enough. Neither Iron Man nor Iron Patriot was interesting or scary enough to compete with Robert Downey Jr., and the Mandarin wasn’t much better.
Of course, this didn’t stop Marvel from hiring Sir Ben Kingsley to play the character, but that didn’t really work out well. The reveal that Kingsley was just a washed-up actor pretending to be the Mandarin was almost as bad as Killian revealing himself to be the true villain of Iron Man 3.
13. Ultron – Avengers: Age of Ultron
Tony Stark made a huge mistake when he created Ultron. The robot had the potential to be one of the greatest villains in Marvel Cinematic Universe history, but he just couldn’t compete with his creator.
Ultron didn’t have much dialogue, and what little there was seemed forced or labored. He could have been intimidating if they had given him more scenes where he proved his power, but instead, all the focus was on how cute he was. It just didn’t work out, and Ultron is one of the medium-best villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
12. Hela – Thor: Ragnarok
It wasn’t that Cate Blanchett’s performance as Hela was bad, but rather, her character didn’t make much sense. In Asgard, she was the sister of Thor and Loki, who supposedly murdered their father and took control of the realm. She had great abilities, including creating blades from thin air and a powerful throw that used her cape as a weapon.
There just wasn’t enough about the character to make her compelling. She wasn’t fleshed out enough, she didn’t have great dialogue, and she failed to really engage audiences in any meaningful way. Combined, all of these things made Hela one of the medium-compelling Marvel villains in recent memory. It is one of the most expensive Marvel movies of all time.
11. The Winter Soldier – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Winter Soldier wasn’t the most compelling villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by any stretch. He was like a less-interesting version of Bane, but without the charming personality or tragic backstory.
He had some pretty cool abilities, though, including cybernetic arm blades and super strength that let him crush Cap’s shield. It’s all well and good, but he lacks any kind of real charisma. That’s what keeps him from being one of the best villains in Marvel movies.
10. Helmut Zemo – Captain America: Civil War
The thing with Helmut Zemo is that he’s kind of what you would call a weak villain. He wasn’t particularly scary or intimidating, but he somehow managed to get the Avengers to fight each other.
He was good at manipulating people, including Hawkeye and Black Panther, ultimately causing their deaths. Though they are ultimately avenged, Zemo is still responsible for them, which means there’s a certain darkness to him even if it doesn’t seem that way at first. Helmut Zero is among the best villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
9. Justin Hammer – Iron Man 2
For several reasons, Iron Man 2 is the worst in Marvel’s Iron Man trilogy, but one of them isn’t because it lacked compelling bad guys. Of course, Justin Hammer doesn’t have it half as good as Ben Kingsley when he played the Mandarin in Iron Man 3.
However, his performance was still a cut above most villains in Marvel movies. He was a good choice because he has so much history with Tony Stark from the comics, which helped flesh out Iron Man 2 as a film.
8. Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger – Iron Man
Obadiah Stane was a powerful villain in Iron Man, but he’s just not as compelling as some of the other guys on this list. In fact, if you really look at it, he’s kind of a weak link in Marvel movies when it comes to villains.
He never actually manages to defeat Iron Man in their battles either, even though Tony is clearly in a weakened state. He always ends up losing at the end of the day, which really doesn’t help him come across as a credible threat. However, he’s still a pretty fun villain to watch, making him among the best in Marvel movies.
7. Red Skull – Captain America: The First Avenger
Red Skull is a pretty silly supervillain. However, he’s also one of the best bad guys you’ll find in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He isn’t scary or particularly intimidating, but he has some neat abilities, like controlling people with his mind and making weapons out of thin air. Red Skull is among the Most Powerful Marvel Villains in these series.
Those are abilities that most Marvel villains would kill for, which is why he’s been able to stick around so long. Red Skull isn’t the scariest guy in Marvel movies by a longshot, but he gets the job done in a passable way. He’s among the top-tier Marvel bad guys when it comes to film.
6. The Mandarin/Trevor Slattery – Iron Man 3
There’s no question that The Mandarin is one of the best Marvel villains in movies. He’s actually a bit of an inspiration for other MCU villains, including Loki and Zemo. Being able to gain control over people’s minds is pretty powerful, especially when he uses it against Iron Man himself. His ten rings are pretty terrifying because he could theoretically destroy the world if given enough time and resources.
Of course, like all villains in Marvel movies, things eventually fall apart for The Mandarin. However, he still makes a pretty amazing villain while he’s around. He’s easily one of the best Marvel villains in movies up to this point.
5. Adrian Toomes – Spider-Man: Homecoming
Adrian Toomes is another great villain because he doesn’t necessarily think of himself as a bad guy. He wants to provide for his family and feel like he matters in the world, which would definitely resonate with audiences. That’s what makes him so scary because it’s hard not to sympathize with him.
Moreover, he has a pretty cool evil plan that gets ruined by Spider-Man and Iron Man. He’s definitely one of the best villains in Marvel movies because he understands human nature and can manipulate it better than anyone else.
4. Wenwu – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Wenwu is a relatively new Marvel villain in the grand scheme of things, but he’s already proven himself to be very compelling. He’s definitely an interesting character because he has a good reason to hate Iron Fist and wants him dead for it. However, some aspects of his personality make him extremely unpredictable, making him a cruel guy.
He’s definitely one of the most interesting antagonists in Marvel movies because he has both brains and brawn. That, plus his great motivation for doing what he does, makes him easily one of the best villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
3. Killmonger – Black Panther
Erik Killmonger is a great supervillain in Black Panther for many different reasons. For one, he has a pretty good backstory for why he does what he does. He also knows how to work that into his evil plan because it’s not too difficult to get people to sympathize with him if you take the right approach.
He’s one of the best Marvel villains because he understands people’s emotions well enough to think outside the box. He also knows how to manipulate things to get what he wants, a trait shared by great Marvel villains like Loki and Magneto. He is among the top Marvel villains ever featured in the Marvel movies.
2. Loki – Thor and The Avengers
Loki is easily one of the best Marvel villains in movies. He’s been around for a long time and has become more compelling as comic book movies evolved over the years. His motivations are also very clear because he wants Asgard to come back and rule Earth, but it goes deeper than that. Loki has gone through a lot of change over the years, so he has a lot of depth.
Most Marvel movies have him not be inherently evil at first and then become a supervillain later on. That’s also something that just makes him really interesting because it’s hard to predict what will happen next with Loki in the mix.
1. Thanos – Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame
Thanos has been teased for a long time, so anticipation was high when he finally showed up in Avengers: Infinity War. When audiences finally saw him for the first time, it really lived up to the hype because he’s such an interesting character with real motivations. He genuinely believes that his mission is necessary for saving half of all life in the universe.
If Thanos is this good when he’s only had two movies, then it’s exciting to think about what might happen in other upcoming movies (if any). He’s definitely one of the Super Marvel Villains to happen to Marvel movies because he will impact them for years after his debut film comes out, which isn’t something that can be said for everybody.
The above are the Marvel villains ranked from worst to best. As you can see from the list, some of the villains lived up to the expectations of their hype. They are truly what make marvel movies great. However, others didn’t do as good of a job, making them some of the worst Marvel villains in existence.
So, this ranking might affect how you watch these movies, but it is best to keep an open mind. Overall, Marvel villains are tops and always will be.