Ranking all of the Marvel movie villains from worst to best

We're going to assume you've all seen "Captain America: Civil War" by now...

Despite still being quite early into its release, Captain America: Civil War has already made over $730 million at the box office, so we're guessing that if you've clicked on this link, it's because you've already seen the movie. 

The issue with Marvel movies, despite being generally much better than what the DC movies have accomplished so far, is that their villains don't match up to their very interesting heroes. Whereas DC have their Rogues Gallery - just look at the upcoming Suicide Squad to see the killer bad guys and gals - Marvel is yet to nail down the antagonists in the same way.

So with Civil War now in our rearview mirror, we're looking back over the primary villains of the Marvel movies to date. But just the main baddies, and some of the more interesting sidekicks, so anyone wondering where Dr. Samuel Sterns or Jasper Sitwell are, they're not here.


As seen in: Avengers Assemble, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Played by: Josh Brolin

Why #17: This is supposed to be the big baddie of the entire Marvel Universe, but so far all he's done is sit in his big chair and watch from afar as his plans constantly fail. Sure, he could end up topping the list once he appears in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity Wars movies, but until then, he just seems like a lazy good-for-nothing!


As seen in: Thor: The Dark World

Played by: Christopher Eccleston

Why #16: He wants to use some magical red stuff to destroy the universe because... something to do with that's how the universe began? It's not very clear, but then a lot of The Dark World wasn't very clear, and Eccleston doesn't have much to do here other than look creepy and be annoyed at things existing.


As seen in: Thor

Played by: Colm Feore

Why #15: Thor sure does have some of the worst baddies (for the most part). In this, it's the King of the Frost Giants who wants get revenge on the Thor's kingdom because... they lost a battle to them before? It's not very clear, but then anything that wasn't to do with Loki just wasn't given much screentime to play with, anyways.


As seen in: Iron Man 2

Played by: Mickey Rourke

Why #14: The thing about Ivan Vanko is that it feels like he's wandered in from a completely different movie. He's all dreadlocks and ponytails and parrots and tattoos and zero body protection and it doesn't make a lick of sense. He does look cool, though.


As seen in: Captain America: Civil War

Played by: Daniel Bruhl

Why #13: Plus points (1) He survives to the end of the movie, and (2) His plan actually worked. Minus points (1) His plan has more holes in it than common sense - Why not just release the video on YouTube? - and (2) The Avengers were already splitting up before he even got involved, so what even was the point of him being there?


As seen in: Ant-Man

Played by: Corey Stoll

Why #12: His motivations appear to be little more than "Michael Douglas wasn't as nice to me as I would have liked!", but Stoll still manages to be quite creepy in that initially dodgy looking costume. He's another example of The Heroes Dark Reflection (see: the next three entries on this list), but the problem is that he's not actual Ant-Man's antagonist; he's there to fight a 60 year old man. Not cool.


As seen in: Iron Man 3

Played by: Guy Pearce

Why #11: Killian is what happens when you pick on a nerd and then they grow up rich and hot and they still hold a grudge. The exception being that Killian can also breath fire now, which can be a problem for the bully. Pearce plays the part to perfection, right up until the third act twist, when he turns into a cut-and-paste bland villain.


As seen in: The Incredible Hulk

Played by: Tim Roth

Why #10: One of the few shining lights of optimism in the second standalone Hulk movie was Roth's over-the-hill but still very much vicious soldier, who undergoes whatever it takes in order to stay at the top of his game, which is how the uglier, bonier version of Hulk arrives to destroy large parts of New York. But by then, his masterplan is to punch things until their dead. Effective, but a bit simplistic, in all honesty.


As seen in: Iron Man 2

Played by: Sam Rockwell

Why #9: A reminder of what Tony Stark used to be like, and could have continued to be like, Hammer is a rival defence contractor without the moral code to question whether or not he should be hiring psychopaths in order to get ahead. Admittedly, Rockwell's fake-tanned palms and quirkily energized performance is why this character is up as high as he is.


As seen in: Iron Man 3

Played by: Ben Kingsley

Why #8: "You'll neverrrrrrrrr see me coming...." Kingsley performed The Mandarin as the ultimate version of America's fears of Middle East terrorists, powerfully intelligent and with the resources to back it up. Again, as with Aldrich Killian, the third act twist will either make or break your feelings about the character, but either way, you have to admit it was kind of ballsy.


As seen in: Guardians Of The Galaxy

Played by: Lee Pace

Why #7: As someone who is so blind with anger and a hunger for revenge that there is literally nothing else to their character, Ronan could have been very, very one-dimensional. However, thanks to Pace's OTT, menacing performance, and the fact that he was the only one to stand up to Thanos so far (he broke his lackie's neck in front of him), it means we would've liked him to make it back for a future sequel. Ah well.


As seen in: Iron Man

Played by: Jeff Bridges

Why #6: Before the Iron Man movies essentially turned all of the villains into variations of Man-in-Iron-Man-Suit, Stane was the first one to do, and he did it properly, by taking Stark's design and expanding upon it. Literally. Plus, the reasons behind Stane going bad seem perfectly legit, provided you're likely to go a bit psychopathic to begin with...



As seen in: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War

Played by: Sebastian Stan

Why #5: Nice guy Bucky Barnes was Cap's bezzie mate before he was kidnapped by Hydra, brainwashed and turned into a cold-hearted killer. By the time Civil War kicks into high gear, the threat that Barnes - now barely eeked on to the good guys' side - could turn on them if someone uses the correct string of words, is what keeps the movie, and it's audience, on it's heels.


As seen in: Guardians Of The Galaxy

Played by: Karen Gillen

Why #4: Finally! A female! While there have been a few other bad-ladies (Maya Hensen in Iron Man 3 comes to mind), they were mostly forgettable. Nebula, however, is far from that. Totally kick-ass, with that scary robotic voice and a hatred for everyone she deems weaker than her (which is just about everyone, anyways), Nebula will clearly be a bigger problem still once Vol. 2 arrives next year.


As seen in: Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Played by: James Spader

Why #3: Cleanse the world of humanity and start from scratch is pretty much as big a bad guy plan as bad guy plans can get, and it helps that Ultron is voiced with unhinged seduction by Spader, who can match Tony Stark in a pithy one-liner-off, while also being able to go fist to fist with The Hulk and Thor.


As seen in: Captain America: The First Avenger

Played by: Hugo Weaving

Why #2: As the founder of Hydra, he needed to be something special. Thankfully, Weaving can play a memorable villain in his sleep (The Matrix, Transformers), and as both Johann Schmidt and the unmasked Red Skull, he's easily the best "purely evil" villain in the Marvel movies to date. So much so, that even now, all these years later, we're still hoping they'll figure out a way to reverse the fact that they killed him off so dramatically.


As seen in: Thor, Avengers Assemble, Thor: The Dark World

Played by: Tom Hiddleston

Why #1: Given that his character's rise and fall from grace is almost Shakespearian in nature, with Hiddleston playing the character with such pathos, yet with more than a little tongue-in-cheek, and his megalomaniac nature resulting in the deaths of so many people in Manhattan, and yet we still kinda root for him when he appears next, Loki is still Marvel's shining glory in the alums of cinematic villainy.