The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a titan in the film world. Marvel has been able to throw loudmouth raccoons, heroes that can shrink down to a few inches, and a bizarre robotic combination of Superman, Martian Manhunter, and Jesus Christ. So far, there seems to be no stopping them, no matter what DC Comics tries to do or the monsters Universal conjures up. However, Marvel does have an issue. Very few of the antagonists in the series have truly sold their parts, and audiences are far more impressed with the heroes than their perspective villains.
Not only have the baddies transferred badly from page to screen, Marvel has a tendency to kill them off without mercy. Loki seems to be the only villain capable of sticking his fingers back into things, and though Thanos has been rearing his wrinkled purple head again and again, he hasn’t truly participated in the fight.
Plus, when you turn characters like Baron Zemo into… just a guy, you’re wasting valuable resources. It might not have been as bad as that Deadpool disaster in X-Men Origins, but still, Marvel is missing some chances.
Admittedly, Marvel doesn’t have villain gold the way DC does. Darkseid, Sinestro, Deathstroke, and of course the terrifying Joker can only be ruined by bad writing (Though clearly that is possible!). Guys like MODOK and Doc Ock are just a lot harder to take seriously. Still, there are a few villains that Marvel should be using that could really fix their issues. Here are my picks for the top 5 baddies that can fix Marvel’s villain problem.
I’ll start off with a few honorable mentions.
Honorable Mention: Red Skull
Yeah, I know, Red Skull has already shown up; that’s why he’s only an honorable mention. The thing is, he was well done! He was colorful and true to his comic character and wasn’t just a guy in a suit. Bringing people back from the dead is totally reasonable in a crazy world where ancient gods fight alongside really really mad guys. Plus, so far Marvel hasn’t had many resurrections, so they wouldn’t be feeding a trope. The most notable reappearance is Bucky, so bringing back another character from that era could be really awesome.
Honorable Mention: Grim Reaper
The Grim Reaper is a little-known Marvel villain with an aptitude for necromancy and massive scythe for a hand. I hesitate to add this character only because he is barely known and could easily be toned down to reality so much he suffers for it. However, the Grim Reaper could provide an interesting assassin or villain that one or more of Marvel’s heroes has to team up against. Remember Crossbones at the beginning of Civil War? The Grim Reaper could provide a similar scene, and a robotic metal scythe swinging around would make an epic fight scene against Cap and Bucky, for example. Plus, introducing this character would combine magic and technology, a perfect way to meld Dr. Strange into the lives of Iron Man and the Avengers. Bringing in necromancy could also bring back past villains for a retry (Red Skull!). He doesn’t have to be as colorful and weird as his comic book self, but a sleek black outfit, preferably with a cape, would look epic coupled with that sword arm.
Honorable Mention: Galactus
This is my last honorable mention character, I promise! Galactus is a giant world-eating dude who runs around the universe… eating worlds. Yeah, he’s weird, which is why he’s only honorable mention. It would be really bizarre to see him go against the Avengers or even Thor, especially if they keep his iconic purple helmet. However, what other super team do we know that absolutely loves weird? That’s right; the Guardians of the Galaxy. This is a PERFECT baddie for heroes who don’t take themselves too seriously, and a villain so humorously ridiculous and yet terrifyingly powerful would fit their groove just right.
With that out of the way, let’s get to my top five. Here are five bad guys that can make Marvel’s villain problem go away if done right.
Villain 5: Morbius
Spiderman is arguably one of the most popular super heroes of all time even outside of the film world. Most kids seem to know Spidey, Superman, and Batman before anyone else. That being said, the Webslinger suffers from a villain roster that is often too colorful and cartoonish for the big screen. Enter Morbius.
Dr. Michael Morbius was a scientist who accidentally turned himself into a vampire while attempting to cure a rare blood disease. Sounds weird, right? Yet at the same time, that backstory would work perfectly in the film world. Maybe it’s a little stereotypical for superheroes, but it’s also a lot darker, as is the villain it creates. Morbius is a living vampire who leads an army of his own vampires and just rains all kind of terror on the world. Seeing Spidey take on a mutant creation like this would be brilliant on the big screen and reach a darker tone than most of the Wallcrawlers weird bad guys. He would be a good enemy for the Avengers, too, mixing mythology and technology to create a massive army with goals that are fresh and unique among Marvel’s villains.
I will say, this could go badly. Put Morbius in a hooded sweatshirt and give him fangs and yeah, you have a villain, but he’s kinda lame. Instead, imagine instead the image of Thor silhouetted against a Dracula-esque castle, or Black Panther nimbly dodging the swipes of Morbius’s sweeping blade. Picture Dr. Strange forcing Morbius to face REAL magic, or Antman freaking out and quipping about Twilight as vampires chase him down an alley.
Villain 4: Mephisto
Now any fight against this baddie would have to be led by Dr. Strange. Mephisto is a demon king from another fiery dimension. He calls this dimension hell and models himself after the traditional image of Satan, though he admits he is not really THAT Lucifer. Now that we have Dr. Strange and the idea of bizarre dimensions, he would be a great addition to Marvel’s villain roster.
What you’ve gotta understand too is that introducing Mephisto would allow Marvel to tap into a whole realm (literally) of new villains and bad guys. His minions and bodyguards are numerous and nasty, and it would be perfect to lead the Avengers towards an epic final battle. Imagine seeing one or two or Mephisto’s otherworldly officers messing with the Avengers, working with other villains and providing technology the world shouldn’t have. Can’t you just see Thor trapped in what is almost literally hell, or Cap wrestling with the idea of sin and evil in a whole new way? This is a powerful and terrifying villain who could really mess with people’s heads and provide an extensive storyline if they used him right.
Villain 3: Hobgoblin
So yeah, this is another Spidey villain, but let’s face it, he needs all the help he can get. Green Goblin is to Spidey as the Joker is to Batman. He’s the quintessential Spiderman bad guy, and even if Venom has been stealing the spotlight a bit more as of late, Goblin was for a long time the big bad boss. However, he has been done and overdone. He has been depicted as a guy in a robotic mask, a giant hulk-monster, and even a hairy were-goblin… thing. Plus, having Osborne suddenly become the Goblin just isn’t a surprise any more. We KNOW his name.
Imagine if you will a world where Goblin is in the past. This is totally probable, since Spidey has already been around for a while. Roderick Kingsley, a fashion designer and millionaire in New York City, has been inadvertently hurt by Spiderman’s escapades. Maybe he partook in some illicit activities, but I think they’d be better off playing with Peter’s mind a little bit by making this something that was just a side effect of Spidey’s work in New York.
Anyways, inspired by the legend of Green Goblin, Kingsley gets his hands on the Goblin serum, injects himself, and you have the Hobgoblin. He’s basically a creepier and less clown-like version of the original Goblin. If Green Goblin is Joker on a death glider, Hobgoblin is Scarecrow on a death glider. Whether or not you even use the mutant venom stuff, Hobgoblin is a new take on an old villain and would provide classic Spiderman action without the bore of being the same Goblin we’re all so used to.
Villain 2: Taskmaster
Thanks to a SHIELD mission gone wrong, Tony Masters has a unique ability. He can mimic the movements and fighting style of anyone he goes up against, meaning that even if he gets beat the first time, he’ll come back with new skills and new ways to fight. He can predict an enemy’s attack before they even commit to it, making him a dangerous enemy to any opponent he comes up against.
Now this is a villain that could make real problems for the Avengers. Because most of the heroes of Marvel are now teaming up with one another, they need bad guys the are especially intense and dangerous, powerful enough that even against two or three super heroes they’ll still hold their ground. Taskmaster is perfect. He’d be much better against physical fighters like Cap, Falcon, Black Panther, Spidey… but the thing is, he can take on any of them and still put up a fight. He can predict the trajectory of Cap’s shield, or dodge Hawkeye’s arrows before they’re fired, or move just out of reach when Bucky takes a metal-fisted swipe at him.
His backstory can fit anyone, too. That SHIELD mission puts him in Hawkeye and Black Widow’s path, since he has a history with their same organization. That mission also brought him against a couple of evil German scientists. Hail Hydra? AND, he often comes up against Spidey. He fits anywhere. Plus, look at him! If they keep his appearance and classic outfit, even if it is modernized and updated to fit the big screen, Taskmaster is a colorful, unique villain that would be epic to see in any Marvel film.
Villain 1: Dr. Doom
Ok, I’ll come clean; even though I have SOME good reasons to include Victor Von Doom, I’m also totally biased. He’s by far my favorite Marvel villain. I love the way he rules his own entire country from his castle with technology AND sorcery, working in the background to sew evil across the world, and yet he’s no wimp in a fight either.
For those of you who don’t know, Victor Von Doom is the ruler of Latvaria and a genius magician mastermind criminal technology whiz villain king. Now, the biggest problem with including this villain is that he is technically a Fantastic Four villain, but that’s exactly why I really wish Marvel could take him over. I mean seriously, look what they’ve done so far.
Yikes.. They basically scraped away his coolness and kept the color scheme.
Marvel could use this bad guy as a really awesome villain who could go against anyone. I know i’ve been playing with the theme of combining magic and technology a lot, but it makes sense. Black Panther’s lore is filled with a mix of sorcery and science, and when Iron Man and Dr. Strange finally meet, they’re going to have to learn how to combine their powers. Dr. Doom can take on as many heroes as come at him, and his genius far surpasses the power of Hulk, the intelligence of Vision, the magic of Scarlet Witch, and even the absurdity of a raccoon with a rocket launcher. A Dr. Doom, done right, would be terrifying and awesome.
Would you have changed any of these villains? Anyone I missed? Let me know what you think!