Marvel Cinematic Universe Villains Ranked
10. Norman Osborn/Green Goblin – Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
“I’ve watched you from deep behind Norman’s cowardly eyes, struggling to have everything you want while the world tries to make you choose. Gods don’t have to choose. We take.”
Brought over from another dimension by Doctor Strange’s miscast reality-altering spell, Norman Osborn was a brilliant military scientist driven to test his experimental enhanced strength serum on himself when his own company ousted him. Turned into the psychologically fractured and deadly Green Goblin, he seeks to take over this new world he finds himself in.
The best decision made in bringing the Goblin back is that the Power Rangers villain helmet is ditched early, allowing for Dafoe to showcase his full range of deranged facial expressions, grinning wider and wider as he is punched in the face by Spider-Man. He quickly proves himself one of the most formidable physical threats in the MCU but also decides to attack Peter Parker on an emotional front as well, taking those nearest and dearest from him and very nearly making him cross the line there is no turning back from.
Recommended for you: 10 Best Spider-Man: No Way Home Moments
9. Scarlet Witch – Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
“You break the rules and become a hero. I do it and I become the enemy. That doesn’t seem fair.”
A former Avenger turned grieving all-powerful mother who manipulates reality to her will using chaos magic, the Scarlet Witch Wanda Maximoff is one of (if not the) most powerful individuals we’ve seen in the MCU so far. She would have reduced Thanos to atoms in Avengers: Endgame if he hadn’t called in an airstrike to stop her after she returned from the blip, and she goes on to tear the seriously powerful Illuminati, including Professor X and Captain Marvel, to shreds while still wearing her pyjamas in Doctor Strange 2.
After her time putting the people of Westview under her spell to enact her happy fantasy ended, Wanda delved into a dark book of sorcery, the Darkhold, and it corrupted her and finally pushed her over the edge. In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the Scarlet Witch decides she is going to reach a dimension in which an alternative version of herself still has her beloved children no matter how many lives it costs across the multiverse.
You don’t need much to make her a seriously scary antagonist, but Elizabeth Olsen’s hurting, wrathful performance in combination with Sam Raimi’s employment of some classic horror imagery really works.
8. Gorr the God Butcher – Thor: Love and Thunder (2021)
“The only ones who gods care about is themselves. So, this is my vow: all gods will die.”
A member of a doomed alien race abandoned to drought and famine by their uncaring deities, Gorr becomes the bearer of the necrosword, an ancient and sentient god-killing weapon, and has a universe-spanning score to settle following the untimely death of his daughter.
Villains who actually have a point are always the most interesting, and Gorr is 100% right: gods in the MCU, with the exception of Thor and some of his Asgardian friends, are a nasty lot. Even Khonshu, who empowers Marc Spector to save the world in ‘Moon Knight’, essentially enslaves him to a life of dealing out justice.
It’s Gorr’s epiphany after meeting his god, who cruelly mocks his unwavering faith and belief in a good afterlife following years of him and his daughter suffering, that sets him on his dark path. Bale plays him as a terrifying fanatic with a twisted sense of humour inherited from his hated gods who will not stop until his quest is complete. His power while carrying the necrosword is such that he can comfortably fight three Asgardian heroes at once, melting into shadows and reappearing to land a killing blow at will.
7. Ego – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (2017)
“The Expansion… the reason for my very existence would be over. So, I did what I had to do. But… it broke my heart to put that tumour in her head.”
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review
Ego is a celestial god with a “small g” seeking to trigger “The Expansion” to turn thousands of planets into extensions of his consciousness, killing anything living on them in the process.
He’s the ultimate absentee dad driving around (well, flying through space) shagging anything that moves and leaving sons (chiefly Peter Quill) with expectations that will never be met.
The way he almost tempts Peter over to the dark side by being really cool and apparently finally willing to give him the time and attention he craves (the “playing catch” scene seals it) is malicious to the extreme. Turns out he just needs a second body with celestial DNA to kick off his galactic re-write. And, to cap it all, he killed Peter’s mum with cancer. What an a-hole!
Recommended for you: James Gunn Directed Movies Ranked
6. Loki – Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012)
“Enough! You are, all of you are beneath me! I am a god, you dull creature, and I will not be bullied by…”
Thor’s messed up adopted demi-god brother Loki is looking for a people to rule over.
Loki has come such a long way in his journey that he is now emphatically not a villain. But before he patched it up with Thor and fell in love, he engineered his brother’s banishment from Asgard, sat on its throne twice (once disguised as Odin) and invaded Earth at the head of an alien army.
That he was the reason for the Avengers to come together in the first place, and the fact that for years Tom Hiddleston’s performance as the wannabe tyrant/loveable scamp was the best in the MCU, is enough to earn him a pretty high place on this list.
He did need taking down a peg or two at his most monologue-y, which of course was duly met by Hulk ragdolling him in The Avengers.
Recommended for you: Loki – The Development of One of Marvel’s Greatest Villains
- Every Non-English Language Best Picture Nominee Ranked - March 8, 2023
- The Quiet Girl (2022) Review - March 6, 2023
- Best Animated Feature Oscar Winners Ranked - March 4, 2023