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Modern Marvel movies have gotten a lot of things right over the years including telling more out-there superhero stories in an approachable way, pulling off the craziest crossovers and bringing to the screen some iconic characters in style, heroes and villains alike. But there were also missteps and we also got some less-than-stellar efforts with less-than-stellar villains facing some of our favourite heroes.

So, before I list my favourites, here are 10 of my worst modern (post 2000) Marvel movie villains:

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Andrew Garfield-starring Spider-Man reboot may not have been the most original piece of storytelling out there, once again laying out the whole Spidey origin story so soon after Sam Raimi's trilogy. Having said that, it had its moments. One of the most disappointing things about it, however, was The Lizard. Not only did the filmmakers seemingly go out of their way to make the character look nothing like he does in the comics but he is given a clich├ęd doomsday machine plot to work with and he's still the least memorable Spider-Man villain from all the movies made up to this point. A solid performance by Rhys Ifans saves this one from being higher up on the list.

Guardians Of The Galaxy

Guardians Of The Galaxy was a great surprise: it was a fun adventure with a good bunch of likeable off-beat characters. It didn't take itself too seriously and, while it was a bit more out there than most of Marvel's output, it just worked. Unfortunately, we only got a short glimpse of Thanos who, of course, will dominate the Infinity War storyline in the next two Avengers movies and we were stuck with Ronan The Accuser played, somewhat strangely, by Lee Pace. On paper, this is a cool baddie with his intimidating appearance and that giant hammer. In the film, sadly, he comes off as more of a joke and you end up wishing a more threatening villain had faced our team of misfits.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

To say The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was not well received would be an understatement. I personally enjoyed parts of it but even I have to admit that the villains were all over the place. I put those two together because they essentially suffer from the same problems: messy origin stories and a bizarre look. Based on the Ultimate Spider-Man comic-book series version of the character, the goal was clearly to turn Jamie Foxx into a creepy, very dangerous blue lightbulb and, although a lot of the visual effects used to show-off his powers are admittedly cool, he just looks ridiculous throughout and Foxx's cartoonish pre-transformation nerd portrayal is off-putting. Dane Dehan, on the other hand, does a good job as Harry Osborn but having him take over from his father despite Chris Cooper not having been given a movie to even play The Green Goblin makes his story confusing and forced. Plus he looks like a dirty Peter Pan.

Thor: The Dark World

The sequel to Thor was uneven, for sure, but it definitely had its fun moments. Unfortunately, its main villain, the Dark Elf Malekith, was not the source of any of them. Ex-Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston, a usually very entertaining and talented actor, is splattered with make-up to the point where he is unrecognisable and given nothing character-wise to work with so Malekith ends up feeling like a wasted opportunity and looking like a depressed Power Rangers villain. He's so bland, in fact, that you could be forgiven for forgetting Loki was not the main foe in that movie. The latter was, by the way, far more enjoyable to watch.

The Wolverine

The Wolverine went from sounding like the best movie when Darren Aronofsky was attached and we were promised a violent, darker R-rated Wolverine flick to being nothing more than an instantly forgettable and criminally pointless side story. There were a few dopey villains in that movie but the one most people mention as being particularly lame is the Silver Samurai who shows up at the end of the movie to partake in a wholly unconvincing fight during which a completely predictable twist is revealed. The look of this one isn't that bad, it's just such a poor use of a potentially badass villain that I couldn't not include him in this list.

The Punisher (2004)

Casting John Travolta in a Punisher movie sounded like a terrific idea, frankly: he's been known to play over-the-top villains before and having him take on Frank Castle as a crime boss could have easily been wildly entertaining. Unfortunately, Howard Saint is such a non-event in this movie it feels odd to have given an underwritten character like that to Travolta since there's basically nothing for him to work with here. The character does order the death of Castle's family so you should hate his guts from start to finish but he's just not significant enough to warrant that kind of reaction from the audience, let alone The Punisher himself.

Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3 is often panned for having bitten off more than it could chew by having too many villains and while this is an easy way to dismiss the movie, it's also unfair. Comic-book films have managed to handle three villains skilfully in the past (Batman Returns comes to mind), it's just that studio interference helped give birth to a bitter tone throughout that film, thereby fatally affecting it. The Venom subplot is clearly shoehorned-in and makes no sense, The Sandman is simply godawful from start to finish and Harry Osborn is turned into a hilarious joke complete with an amnesia subplot, an omelette-making sequence and an absurd stint as The Green Goblin.

X-Men: The Last Stand

I almost included Dark Phoenix in this list seeing as the character literally just stands around for 90% of that film but Vinnie Jones' The Juggernaut was so significantly embarrassing I simply had to give him centre stage. Whoever thought casting Jones as that character would be a good idea must not have been in the right state of mind. Either that or we were being trolled the entire time. In the comics and the cartoons, The Juggernaut is a real threat. In The Last Stand, however, he looks like a cosplay effort gone wrong, he's not intimidating in the least and Vinnie Jones' one-liners are eye-rollingly bad. Add to that the fact he's taken out in the dumbest way possible and you've got yourself one of the many disappointing moves that particular sequel made.

Fantastic Four (2015)

If you thought Doctor Doom's portrayal was bad in the 2005 Fantastic Four movie, wait till you get a load of this guy. This Doom appears to have been one of the many afterthoughts the Fantastic Four reboot was guilty of as he shows up and is discarded very soon after only to resurface near the end of the film for a messy climax. His appearance is explained away with an unconvincing mention and his motivations are all over the place. It's as if three different people wrote their own version of the Doctor Doom plot and they all somehow made it into the movie. This Doctor Doom is a miserable creation which fails to capture any interesting aspect of that character.

Iron Man 3

The trailers for Iron Man 3 promised a darker, more epic and emotional movie with, at its heart, Ben Kingsley's powerful, intimidating take on iconic villain The Mandarin. The film itself, however, was much sillier than that and The Mandarin, as we all know, was nothing but a red herring as the character is soon exposed to be a joke: a cockney dude named Trevor with a stereotypical obsession with football. Now I'm all for holding something back when marketing a movie but if the surprise in store is a huge disappointment, why bother? The Mandarin is an important villain in the Iron Man universe but here he's simply a punchline with Guy Pearce and his dopey fire-handed team being the real baddies puppeteering poor old Trevor. Nowhere near the clever, funny, rewarding move the filmmakers thought it would be.

So that's my Top 10 Worst Modern Marvel Movie Villains, here are a few (dis)honourable mentions:

LEGION (Ghost Rider)
SABRETOOTH (Wolverine: Origins)
DARK PHOENIX (X-Men: The Last Stand)
LOKI (The Avengers)
BLACKOUT & THE DEVIL (Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance)
SEBASTIAN SHAW (X-Men First Class)
AJAX (Deadpool)

Any ones I've missed out? Who do you think is the worst of the bunch? Let me know in the comments below!


    I'm pretty pleased any time I see evidence that not everyone loves Loki. Heh.

    1. Ha, I didn't mind him in the Thor movies but he just didn't work for me in The Avengers and now I'm kinda done with that character. I liked how they dealt with him in The Dark World, a dignified send off, but then they go and bring him back at the end...


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