In a world populated by colorful and outsized heroes, it stands to reason that they’ll be going up against some pretty evil baddies. The MCU has more than its fair share of villains, with a rogue’s gallery spanning the course of 22 films. Here, we’re narrowing down the cream of this malevolent crop and taking a look at the worst baddies around.
Note: for this article, we’ll solely be looking at villains that have been portrayed in the MCU.
10 most evil Marvel villains
10. Kaecilius- “Doctor Strange”
It’s hard to call a guy like Kaecilius “evil;” he certainly doesn’t think of himself as a bad guy. After the tragic deaths of his wife and son, Kaecilius becomes convinced that he can use the mystic arts to return his loved ones to him. As a result, he betrays The Masters of the Mystic Arts and The Ancient One, attempting to bring a vastly destructive cosmic being known as Dormammu to Earth.
Though his motivations are understandable, his methods are what land him on our list. He’s not above ruthlessly executing anybody standing in the way of his goals, and gives almost no thought to collateral damage.
If not for the intervention of Doctor Strange, Kaecilius would have razed entire cities and potentially destroyed the world in the pursuit of his plans.
9. Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger- “Iron Man”
The Dude does not abide with this guy.
As the MCU’s first villain, Obadiah Stane certainly left a mark. A former mentor to Tony Stark after his father’s death, Stane was secretly working behind Tony’s back to take control of Stark Industries.
On the surface, Stane appears to support Stark’s goal of shifting the company away from the arms industry. Behind the scenes, Stane has no qualms about selling Stark Industries arms to terrorists and other criminals. He then turns a profit by playing both sides in a conflict.
Driven almost entirely by greed and self-interest, he plays off of Tony’s trust to pursue his own goals. After his betrayal is revealed, Stane becomes Iron Monger and nearly kills Stark in the ensuing battle. Fortunately, Tony eventually gains the upper-hand and vaporizes Stane.
8. Malekith- “Thor: The Dark World”
It’s hard to mistake Malekith as anything but a villain. Seriously: his name is Malekith the Accursed, he’s the ruthless leader of the Dark Elves, and his goal is to plunge the universe into eternal darkness. Not exactly the most cheerful guy in the universe, is he? Along with a handful of innocent Asgardians, Malekith’s troops also claim the life of Frigga, Thor’s mother.
As the leader of the Dark Elves, Malekith’s cruelty inspired god-like reverence in his followers, but his army was eventually defeated by Thor’s grandfather. Apparently, he didn’t learn his lesson and came back thousands of years later to try again. His cold cruelty and tenacity earned him a spot on our list.
7. Ronan the Accuser- “Guardians of the Galaxy”
Ronan’s not a great guy.
He’s a racist and a zealot hell-bent on wiping out the Xandarians. He got so far that the only way he could be defeated was a dance battle:
He eventually teams up with Thanos himself to try to destroy the planet Xandar. Unfortunately, Ronan’s own nature got the better of him. He made the mistake of betraying Thanos to try to take the Power Stone for himself. If the Guardians of the Galaxy hadn’t ended up defeating him first, Thanos certainly would have.
6. Alexander Pierce- “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
Pierce is the villain that nobody sees coming. Played by consummate good-guy Robert Redford, Alexander Pierce is the level-headed and almost fatherly leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. Behind that carefully constructed facade, however, Pierce is the secret leader of the neo-Nazi organization HYDRA.
His goal is to use computer algorithms and predictive software to summarily execute any latent societal threats using a fleet of unmanned helicarriers. He’s also partially responsible for subjecting Bucky Barnes to years of mental torture and turning him into the mindless killing machine known as the Winter Soldier.
5. Ego- “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”
Unfortunately for Peter Quill, his lifelong quest to track down his dad doesn’t turn out the way he hoped. His father turns out to be Ego, a powerful celestial being who takes the form of an actual planet.
At first, he seems to be a pretty cool guy. However, he eventually reveals to Quill that he hopes to wipe out all life in the universe and replace it with an extension of his own consciousness.
He also tells Quill that he wasn’t his only child, and actually killed all the others because they didn’t serve their purpose in his plan. Oh, and he also gave Quill’s mom the brain cancer that eventually killed her. Yeah, not a great dude.
4. Ultron- “Avengers: Age of Ultron”
Ultron was created with good intentions at heart. Tony Stark built him to be an AI network with the goal of creating global peace, eventually making the Avengers unnecessary. Unfortunately, Ultron took that goal a little too seriously and concluded that the only way to achieve that objective was to eliminate the human race.
It’s the classic story of artificial intelligence outpacing its creators. Think HAL 9000, but on steroids. Ultron’s stated goal is to literally commit wholesale genocide and wipe the planet clean of human life. If that’s not abjectly evil, what is? Though defeated, his actions caused a ripple effect that changed the Marvel Universe and eventually led to the events of “Captain America: Civil War.”
3. Hela- “Thor: Ragnarok”
Hela is the big, bad older sister of Thor and Loki. She makes her grand entrance by crushing Mjolnir like it’s nothing and booting her two baby brothers across the universe. She then proceeds to roll up on Asgard to assume her spot on the throne.
She’s got a totally badass outfit complete with a sick antler headdress and she has to the power to literally create giant knives out of thin air. She’s also got a massive undead Dire Wolf as a pet, an army of zombie warriors, and almost singlehandedly wipes out Asgard’s entire army. We’d be impressed if she wasn’t this evil.
2. Red Skull- “Captain America: The First Avenger”
It’s hard to get more evil than a literal Nazi, but Red Skull takes that one step further. He actually betrays the Nazis because they aren’t evil enough for his tastes.
He’s too evil for the Nazis. Let that sink in.
Instead, he starts his own fascist organization known as HYDRA with the goal of dominating the world. Red Skull believed that humans couldn’t be trusted with freedom, and that the only way to ensure a prosperous and peaceful society was through absolute totalitarian control.
He nearly got his way, too. If not for Captain America’s last-minute sacrifice play, his fleet of technologically advanced bombers would have wiped the United States off the map.
1. Thanos- “Avengers: Infinity War“/ “Avengers: Endgame”
Here he is: the king of all baddies, the Mad Titan himself, the dreaded Thanos. This giant purple people killer doesn’t want to conquer the universe or become the rule of the galaxy. No, Thanos wants to wipe out half of all life. What’s worse than that? He succeeds:
In his view, the universe can’t sustain its own rapidly expanding population. So, unless Thanos steps in to restore balance, all life will eventually be snuffed out. He views his actions as a necessary evil, but in a way, wiping out only half of all life is crueler than wholesale extinction.
As we see in “Endgame,” the survivors are left alive to deal with their grief and guilt, which changes them in plenty of traumatic ways. What lands Thanos in the number one spot is that he’s the only villain that actually succeeds in his plan. He can talk the talk and walk the walk, and that makes him the worst of them all.
So, there’s our definitive list of the worst the MCU has to offer. Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments, and check back with Softonic for the latest Marvel news.