Why Thanos is the MCU’s best villain (and 5 alternatives)

MCU fans don’t love every villain in the comic book franchise, but Thanos stands out as one of the most popular. However, it has stiff competition.

Since its inception, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been accused of having a “villain problem.” While most of his heroes, from Tony Stark to Steve Rogers to Natasha Romanoff, are fascinating and developed characters with richly drawn story arcs and complex personalities, his villains have mostly fallen short. There are certainly a lot more forgettable villains in the MCU than there are memorable ones.

RELATED: 5 MCU Movies That Stick To The Marvel Formula (& 5 That Deviate From It)

But the last two Avengers The movies proved with their surprisingly nuanced portrayal of Thanos that Marvel has the ability to deliver on-screen villains who are among the best of all time. The Mad Titan may be the MCU’s biggest villain, but he has stiff competition.

10 Thanos is the best: Infinity War humanized him

The Russo brothers tackled the burden of introducing Doctor Strange and the Guardians of the Galaxy to Earth’s mightiest heroes in Avengers: Infinity War telling the stories of the heroes through the eyes of the villain. Thanos is essentially the protagonist of Infinity war, as the film follows his attempts to “save” the universe with a genocide of billions of people.

Sacrificing Gamora on Vormir humanized Thanos. He’s still overtly villainous, but Josh Brolin beautifully portrayed the character’s emotional conflict in the Soul Stone scene.

9 Alternative: the vulture

In the tradition of Sam Raimi Spiderman villains, the Vulture has a personal connection to Peter Parker in Homecoming. In a shocking plot twist that brought the house down at every screening, Adrian Toomes is revealed to be the father of Peter’s love interest, Liz.

One of the best scenes in the movie sees Adrian driving Peter and Liz to the homecoming dance, and Liz unknowingly gives her father all the clues he needs to find out that Peter is Spider-Man.

8 Thanos is the best – his goals and motivations are clear

It should be taken for granted that the villain’s goals and motivations are clear because that’s scriptwriting 101, but many MCU movies have failed to explain why their villains want what they want (or even what they want).

Within the first few minutes of Infinity warIt is clear that Thanos is collecting the Infinity Stones in order to wipe out half of all life in the universe and allow the surviving half to thrive. He truly believes that what he is doing will save the world.

7 Alternative: The Winter Soldier

Captain America The Winter Soldier - Steve Rogers fights Bucky Barnes

The best villains are those with an emotional bond with the hero. Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father, Annie Wilkes is Paul Sheldon’s biggest fan, etc. Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Hydra’s titular brainwashed assassin is Cap’s best friend, Bucky, who he thought was dead.

RELATED: Captain America: 10 Reasons Winter Soldier Is Cap’s Best Solo Movie

The conflict in The Winter Soldier it is more complex than simply beating the bad guys. Steve knows that Bucky is a good person and that he can overcome Bucky’s brainwashing and bring back the war hero he grew up with.

6 Thanos is the best – his debut lived up to the build

Thanks to the MCU’s model of storytelling, many of his movies’ villains have been teased in a post-credits scene years before they made their debut. Thanos had played supporting roles in the Avengers Y Guardians of the Galaxy and scoffed at her quest to collect the Infinity Stones in Ultron agemid-credit sequence before playing a major role in Infinity war.

It would have seemed impossible for Thanos to live up to the cumulative six years, but Infinity war he succeeded. The character was instantly as iconic as he needed to be.

5 Alternative: Loki

Loki as the main villain of The Avengers.

Loki was first introduced as his brother’s adversary in the first Thor movie, but Tom Hiddleston didn’t really start having fun with the role until he took on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in 2012. the Avengers.

In the years since the first Avengers movie, the trickster god has been redeemed in the eyes of his brother, thanks to heroic feats in Ragnarok Y Infinity war.

4 Thanos is the best – his success created the most iconic depressing ending since the empire strikes back

Thanos snaps his fingers in Avengers Infinity War

Along the Infinity war, Thanos was framed as another deranged megalomaniac with another ridiculous evil plan to “fix” the problems they see in the world. The Avengers were expected to defeat him at the last minute as they always do, and then suffered their first defeat.

Earth’s mightiest heroes are left wallowing in the cosmic-sized consequences of their failure. The movie has a happy ending for Mad Titan, but from the heroes’ perspective, it’s a devastating loss. This depressing ending brought comparisons to The Empire Strikes Back.

3 Alternative: Hela

Marvel Hela

Taika Waititi delivered not one, not two, but three memorable villains in Thor: Ragnarok. Jeff Goldblum brought hilarious, dry wit to Grandmaster and Surtur was as visually stunning as comic book readers expected.

RELATED: Why Thor: Ragnarok Is The MCU’s Funniest Movie (And Why Guardians Is A Close Second)

But the movie’s biggest villain is Hela, Thor’s long-lost sister who arrives to take over Asgard and reveal Odin’s blood-soaked story. Cate Blanchett played the role with the delightful theatricality and villainy of a character like Cruella de Vil or the Wicked Witch of the West.

two Thanos is the best: Josh Brolin played the role with unexpected pathos

Thanos injured in Avengers Endgame

On paper, the role of Thanos sounds too silly to be taken seriously. He is a bald, purple-skinned alien who wants to collect six magic stones in order to reshape the entire universe.

Josh Brolin had a lot to do with this character, but he brought so much unexpected pathos to the Mad Titan that audiences were able to overlook his outlandish appearance and see him as a real person.

1 Alternative: Killmonger

Like Heath Ledger’s Joker, Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger Black Panther he is a villain whose ideas make perfect sense, but whose actions are morally questionable.

Killmonger wants to use Wakanda’s resources to help oppressed minorities around the world, which the audience can join in, but his plan to use violence as a means to an end is where T’Challa draws the line.

NEXT: MCU: 5 Ways Kang Will Be A Worthy Successor To Thanos (And 5 Alternatives)

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