The Good vs. The Bad is a simple concept. I take a particular film, franchise, or potentially any movie-related subject and break down the three best things about it (the good) and the three worst (the bad). Like I said, simple but hopefully fun.
With “Avengers: Endgame” fresh on everyone’s mind and still blistering the box office I thought it to be the perfect time to kick off the GvB series. Today I’m looking at the best and worst of the MCU villains. You could argue that Marvel has had a tough time giving us good worthwhile antagonists. But there are a couple of instances where they definitely got it right (I should mention that Winter Soldier would without question be among the best, but there’s a little too much gray area with him). So let’s get going.
He’s been around for a while now, but the mischievous Loki has never worn out his welcome. What makes Loki such a great villain is his utter unpredictability. One minute he sickens you with his sneaky, vile and self-serving acts. The next minute he’s standing side-by-side with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. It also helps that he was played to perfection by Tom Hiddleston. I love me some Loki.
I still get tickled at seeing Josh Brolin’s face among the heavy prosthetics and CGI. But there is no denying the impression Thanos has left on the MCU. Hints of Thanos have been tossed out for years but in “Infinity War” and “Endgame” he shows up in full force. He’s a fascinating character who I think is best described as a megalomaniacal idealist. He’s far from shallow and he is certainly unforgettable.
“Black Panther” can be praised for a number of things. High on that list would be Michael B. Jordan as Erik “Killmonger” Stevens. He’s not a galactic threat nor does he seek universal domination. His motivations are emotionally grounded and deeply personal which makes him all the more compelling. It also helps that Jordan gives such a strong performance.
1. Aldrich Killian
“Iron Man 3” had a number of issues but none were bigger than its villain. Things looked promising out of the gate with the casting of the always good Guy Pearce. But director Shane Black makes some bizarre choices in regards to his antagonist. He destroys a classic Marvel villain and exchanges him for a jacked-up, fire-breathing Killian. Such a disappointing misdirection resulting in an utterly ridiculous bad guy.
Here’s another case of a good actor giving a good performance but the material just isn’t there. The first “Ant-Man” was full of weird decisions that veered far away from the comics, but their version of Yellowjacket was probably the biggest. It looks really cool and Cory Stoll gives it his all, but you can only do so much with a villain who militarizes a suit of armor and offers to sell it to terrorists for what amounts to nothing more than daddy issues.
3. Ronan the Accuser
Ronan is a really cool Marvel baddie who was terribly shortchanged in 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”. In fact, it’s funny how many people can’t even remember the villain from that film. Actor Lee Pace is a good fit for the role (notice the trend) but he’s mostly just an aimless bad guy with a personal axe to ground. There is still hope for Ronan. This year’s hit “Captain Marvel” seems to indicate that the MCU isn’t quite done with him yet. Fingers crossed.