All the Marvel Big Bads, Ranked By Badness

michael keaton as the vulture in spiderman homecoming

I totally get that you don’t want to read an introduction about how there’s a new (great) Marvel Cinematic Universe villain because of Spider-Man: Homecoming. You’re skipping this to get right to the list so you can get right to the comments section. No sweat. You’ve earned it.

If you’re still reading, there are two things to keep in mind regarding this particularly ranking of Marvel’s bad guys. One, I’m judging them all based on Personality and Plan Points. How magnetic are they? How stupid is their plan for world domination (or whatever else they’re seeking)?

Two, Thanos isn’t on it because he doesn’t count. He’s not a villain; he’s a Postmates customer with the munchies. I’m sure we’re all looking forward to Infinity War when he can legitimately join this list.

marvel villains ranked abomination

16. Abomination – The Incredible Hulk

Personality: 9/20

Plan: 1/20

Total: 10/40

You earn bonus points if you don’t have to Google the name of the guy who becomes Abomination. Tim Roth’s character might as well have been called “Third Act Fight Thing.” He’s desperate to get ‘roided out, then he does, and half the concrete in the city gets crushed. The plan is to punch stuff.

marvel villains ranked malekith

15. Malekith – Thor: The Dark World

Personality: 8/20

Plan: 5/20

Total: 13/40

No doubt this is at the bottom of the pile. Christopher Eccleston does his level best (and I’ll break my wrist if I have to type about how, at least, the actor they cast was stellar for just about every MCU bad guy), but this Dark Elf is flat as the Bifrost. His plan is also marked solely by the brute force hammering that comes with blind revenge.

marvel villains ranked whiplash

14. Whiplash – Iron Man 2

Personality: 6/20

Plan: 9/20

Total: 15/40

After The Wrestler, you could have bet easy money that Mickey Rourke was about to launch a second chapter that would keep him steadily working in commanding roles. You would have lost that money. His turn as Ivan Vanko is a mumbling mess, even though the character earns some credit for the tenacity of his vengeance. He not only outsmarts Justin Hammer, he makes a formidable opponent for Iron Man by outsourcing the fight to remote controlled suits – a move that Iron Man would copy for Iron Man 3. His plan is actually fairly shrewd: exploit the greed of one enemy of your enemy to get the tools necessary for your blood-deep hatred to take down its target.

marvel villains ranked ultron

13. Ultron – Avengers: Age of Ultron

Personality: 15/20

Plan: 2/20

Total: 17/40

It’s by sheer force of James Spader’s charisma that Ultron doesn’t appear at the very bottom of the scrap heap. It’s possible this character existed only to calm Elon Musk’s nerves about creating the nano-technology that eventually kills us all. Ultron is meant to be an unfathomably intelligent A.I. that wants to destroy all humans (because reasons), and he goes about it in the dumbest, most convoluted fashion possible because lifting an entire city is more cinematic than hanging out in a robo-bunker and launching all the world’s nukes while destroying all the money in the banks. Clearly the stupidest omnipotent robot since Eagle Eye.

marvel villains ranked darren cross

12. Darren Cross – Ant-Man

Personality: 10/20

Plan: 10/20

Total: 20/40

As far as corporate baddies go, Corey Stoll’s character makes a beeline for the middle. He’s essentially a retread of Obadiah Stane with a little Abomination roid rage thrown in for good measure. His plan also earns (and loses) points for its simplicity. He wants to build a thing and sell it. That’s literally the whole plan. Obviously it helps that the thing is a powerful weapon, and he’s amoral enough to sell it to the highest bidder, but as far as dastardly machinations go, it’s more checkers than chess.

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