With the Phase 1 villains ranked (which you can check out here), I’m moving on swiftly on. Phase 2 surprised us all with the introduction of Guardians of the Galaxy, saw the team getting back together with a few new additions in Avengers: Age of Ultron and provided us with perhaps my favourite MCU film of all, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But this list is about the villains! So here’s my ranking of the MCU villains who tried to take down our heroes in Phase 2:
6. Malekith – Thor: The Dark World
I think it’s widely accepted that Malekith is the worst villain in all of the MCU. Amazingly he is the core villain of the film and he seems almost unessential. The character does not have any memorable moment in the film and is entirely devoid of any emotion, the polar opposite of Thor’s last villain, Loki. The best thing about this film is that I can see the final fight location from my office window.
5. Aldrich Killian – Iron Man 3
Aldrich is not a great super-villain in a superhero film, his powers are not exciting at all. However Aldrich’s strengths lie in his intelligence. A man who has the smarts to terrorize the world but not be the face of that terrorism. And his character was provided a backstory linked to Tony Stark which helped develop his motives. But in a franchise that has a billionaire fighting in a hi-tech suit of armor, it perhaps wasn’t the best approach for a villain.
4. Ronan the Accuser – Guardians of the Galaxy
Anybody with the gall to threaten Thanos should be pretty badass, but I don’t think Guardians delivered on Ronan. A physically imposing character that has the dark voice and look to back it up but he never seemed to get the time needed to make him memorable. His history is never explored despite having an interesting motive for being the zealot he is which could have added layers to the character. But perhaps we’ll find out more about him in Captain Marvel.
3. Darren Cross (Yellowjacket) – Ant-Man
“Goodbye Frank.” The scene in the toilet that sees Cross shoot a man into a tiny blob and flush that blob down the toilet is still one of the darkest scenes in any MCU film. The final fight between Ant-Man and Yellowjacket was the exact opposite of what we had grown to expect from Marvel and I think that benefited Yellowjacket and offered the character the chance to be unique in a universe that has so many larger than life characters.
2. Ultron – Avengers: Age of Ultron
When you stop and think about it, Ultron is a pretty terrifying character. He is comics answer to “what if robots try to take over the world.” But what makes Ultron so great isn’t his look or his power, but his dialogue delivered by the excellent James Spader. A legitimate threat was needed in order to bring the Avengers together again and trying to wipe out humanity was an obvious idea. And lets not forget, it’s because of Ultron that we were led into the colossal Captain America: Civil War. So, thank you Ultron?
1. Bucky Barnes (The Winter Soldier) – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Bucky was the perfect villain for Captain America’s 2nd outing because he really isn’t a villain at all. The relationship between Bucky and Cap makes it almost impossible to not be invested in the villain. It is still exhilarating when he stops Cap’s shield as it is hurtling towards him and the pair give us some of the best fight scenes in this cinematic universe. As The Winter Soldier he was almost unstoppable in his confrontations against not only Captain America, but Falcon, Black Widow and briefly Nick Fury too.
The Winter Soldier is easily the best villain of Phase 2 and is potentially my favourite villain of all and it’s clear that this Captain America entry is so great because it has such a fantastic villain at it’s core whilst every other villain in Phase 2 struggled to really make a memorable impact. But how would you rank the Phase 2 villains? Let me know!