So after 8 years of MCU continuity, the argument that the Marvel movie villains do not live up to their potential has never been more relevant. This has me thinking, which villains in the MCU could have been great but ultimately did not live up to their potential?
Now let me start by saying that I do not mind Iron Man number three
. It is to me, the 2nd best Iron Man movie but Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin twist was not my favourite moment in the MCU. I was looking forward to seeing the character ever since watching the first Iron Man in 2008. Director Jon Favreau left a 10 rings easter egg in the final cut of Iron Man, 2008.
Out of all the people hoping that the Mandarin would show up at some point. I was one of them. The trailer for Iron Man 3 looked great and Ben Kingsley sounded like a menacing and motivated villain. Eventually the twist came that Kingsley was in fact playing an actor called Trevor Slattery, who was acting as the Mandarin and was in actual fact a complete buffoon, I was more disappointed than a T Rex in a vegetarian restaurant. After the 2nd viewing I was more at peace with it and accepted the movie for what it was but there was so much potential that to me, was squandered. We had Ben Kingsly (see Sexy Beast)
who could have been the greatest villain ever in a comic book movie. For anyone that is familiar with the Marvel One shot’s you know that the Mandarin is still out there so there is hope that we could one day see him get the treatment he deserves.
was great as Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger
and the interesting thing is that it isn’t clear what happened to him at the end of the movie. Mr Skull appeared to get killed by holding the Tesseract. There is a theory however that he was transported to another place and is in fact not dead and after re-watching the movie, it looks to me like he was actually transported. Weaving is contractually obliged to return should Lord Feige demand but the actor has made it publicly known that he does not want to return and I for one hope that he doesn’t if he’s not interested. I love the first Captain America and he was great in it but there is plenty of other talent who could wear a Red Skull. Lance Henrikson? A little unfair to include Red Skull in this list as I did enjoy Weaving's performance. The let down part for me came after the movie when I learned that we probably would never see Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull again.
Justin Hammer. Sam Rockwell
is great in Iron Man 2, his scenes are my favourite in a movie that to me was overall, underwhelming but I would like to have seen more from the character than a bumbling opportunist. Rockwell plays the jealous and sleazy semi-rival to Stark in a flamboyant way that shouldn't work on screen. It does though and for me Iron Man 2
is a much better film than it would have been if not for Sam Rockwell's performance. Ultimately I feel let down that Justin Hammer has not featured in the franchise since 2010. So where is Justin Hammer? Marvel released a One Shot in.... showing Hammer incarcerated with Trevor Slattery so we know he is around. Rockwell has commented either way so it remains to be seen if he will return. If we don't see Hammer again in the MCU it would be a waste I feel but then we always have Iron Man 2.
It is a well-known trope of comic book movies, that the villain has to have similar powers to the hero he is fighting. None are more obvious that this but I guess unless you have two men in a little suit fighting then there would not be much of a fight. I like the movie but for me, the character of Darren Cross
was too one dimensional and when boiled down to a singular description all I can think if adding is that he was a mad scientist. It would have been great to see a villain with an intellect equal to Hank Pym and what transpired was that he went and started turning people into small blobs.
Similarly but to a less extent than Iron Man 3, the villain of the Avengers sequel was sold as a dark and menacing character in the trailers. James Spader’s unforgettable voice really breathed life into the CGI robot but I didn’t understand why they had to make him a bit goofy? I would have enjoyed this movie a lot more if the tone was more consistent with the trailer. It seemed to jump from dark to fluffy in the blink of an eye and for me, a big reason the villain was a let down was that he just was not menacing enough. Sure, he chopped a guys arm off but Ulton’s dialogue transformed the act from dramatic to a bit silly.
Without thinking too much about it, this is my list. There are others sure but I grow tired of writing. Perhaps I will follow up this article when we get to the end of Phase 3. For now, let me know who you would add and why. I am interested to know everyone else’s thoughts.