Where does Thanos rank among the top 10 best and baddest MCU villains?

Marvel Villains

The MCU has gained a huge cast of menacing villains over the last 11 years, but who's the biggest, baddest and best of them all?

The latest Marvel MCU movie, Avengers: Endgame is due out next month, but where does the Avengers' greatest threat rank among Marvel's all-time list of villains?

Avengers: Infinity War dir. Anthony and Joe Russo 2018

It's a well-known fact that Marvel's villains have been a bit hit and miss over the last 11 years of the MCU. However, in the last few years especially they've come out with some genuinely excellent, complex and menacing baddies that have posed an ever-larger threat to our favourite superheroes.

So without any further ado, here's our list of the top 10 meanest, conniving and most dangerous bad guys in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

10. Red Skull

Red Skull

This iconic Marvel villain first appeared in 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger and again in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War. As a Nazi soldier-turned Hyrda agent, Red Skull (real name Johann Schmidt) is the amalgamation of all things evil.

In his first appearance, Johann Schmidt becomes Red Skull after taking an earlier version of the super serum that gives Captain America his powers. Unlike Cap however, who becomes the shining light and face of the US military, Schmidt has the evil within him brought to the surface and amplified by the serum, hence the overly rosy cheeks. 

Red Skull is the first villain we see in the MCU to interact with an infinity stone, in the form of the Tesseract, later revealed to be the space stone. However, after trying to harness the power of the Tesseract, Red Skull is believed to be dead.

Red Skull Infinity War

That is until he appears as the guardian of the Soul stone in Avengers: Infinity War

Red Skull has been a major player in the MCU and as it's been revealed he's still out there, you have to wonder whether Cap's arch-enemy could return again in future. 

9. Ultron

Avengers: Ago of Ultron

Ultron is the second big threat to face the Avengers.

Voiced brilliantly by James Spader, Ultron is created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner and is their own version of Frankenstein's monster, if you like. The idea behind Ultron is to be the first line of defence against the threats that are now facing Earth. 

However, being the overly-intelligent A.I. he is, Ultron - having the naive and immature tendencies of a young child - goes completely beyond what he was programmed to do and sets out to destroy the human race in order to truly protect the planet.

Ultron provides a cool and unique twist on the typical robot villain as he behaves nothing like a robot. He's more of an extension of Tony Stark and for Iron Man himself, that makes Ultron one of the toughest bad guys he's faced.

8. The Winter Soldier

Winter Soldier

The Winter Soldier first appears in the second Captain America film. The mysterious metal-armed assassin is a relentless killing machine accompanied by a terrifying screech of music every time he appears on screen.

Little does Cap know at first, but the Winter Soldier is actually his childhood friend Bucky Barnes, believed to have died during World War II. Bucky became the Winter Soldier after years of brainwashing that left him with no knowledge of who he truly is until Captain America recognises him and the events of the film take on a whole new personal meaning.

The Winter Soldier returns again in Captain America: Civil War and is the flashpoint of a new conflict for the Avengers as it is revealed the Winter Soldier is responsible for the deaths of Tony Stark's parents. 

The Winter Soldier's relentless drive and highly trained combat ability make him a worthy foe for most of the Avengers and his personal connection to Captain America complicate his story into something more than your average hit-man.

7. Ego

Ego the living planet

Ego: the living planet appears in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and is the father of Star Lord himself, Peter Quill.

The family connection brings father and son together at first and it seems like Quill can finally have the bond with his father he's been without all his life.

However, shortly before the film's climax, we learn that Ego is planning a genocide that will wipe out all life across the galaxy but more importantly, is responsible for the death of Peter's mother.

Played excellently by Kurt Russel, the living planet has to rank among the top MCU villains for his sheer size, he is a living planet after all.

6. Helmut Zemo

Captain America Civil War Helmut Zemo

The Avengers - a group of extraordinary people who unite to defend Earth when they're needed most - seemed to have an unbreakable bond.

However, it comes as a bit of a surprise to learn that all it takes to tear the Avengers apart is one man, Helmut Zemo.

Zemo is a Sokovian colonel-turned-terrorist. Following the events of Age of Ultron, Zemo's home is left in ruins and his family is wiped out, leaving the former soldier on a revenge mission against the Avengers. 

With the help of the Sokovia accords, Zemo manages to amplify the growing rifts between our heroes and manages to set Captain America and Iron Man against each other.

The fight that ensues leaves half the Avengers on the run at the end of Civil War.

The rift created can still be felt at the start of Infinity War as the Avengers are still divided by the time Thanos's attack begins.

There are rumours that Zemo could still make a return in the MCU and that Civil War was only an introduction to the character. 

5. Hela

Hela Thor Ragnarok

Thor's sister and the goddess of death, Hela makes the best and most bad-ass introduction when her first act on screen in Thor: Ragnarok is to destroy Mjolnir, Thor's beloved hammer.

Portrayed by the ever-incredible Cate Blanchett, Hela wastes no time in reclaiming Asgard after the death of Odin sets her free from imprisonment. 

The raw strength she possesses makes her more than a match for her brother and relieves Thor of one of his eyes during the pair's climactic confrontation that sees Asgard destroyed.

Yet again, the familial relationship between the villain and main hero makes for a truly epic and meaningful confrontation that sees Thor fully embrace his true potential as the god of thunder.

4. Vulture

Spider Man Homecoming Vulture Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton is the perfect man for villainous roles. That's no more evident than his portrayal of Adrian Toomes, Spider-Man: Homecoming's Vulture.

He makes for a pretty standard villain throughout the film in truth, until one moment turns the whole complexion of the film on its head. 

As the title of the film suggests, the final moments of the film are centred around Peter Parker's high school homecoming dance. As it just so happens, Peter's date for the dance, Liz, just happens to be the daughter of Toomes and leads to one of the most dastardly and chilling speeches from a villain in the MCU when Toomes confronts Peter about being Spider-Man.

Keaton's portrayal of Toomes, much like Blanchett's Hela, elevates the Spider-Man bad guy into something far more threatening for our main hero.

3. Killmonger

Black Panther - T'Challa And Killmonger

2018's surprise hit was Black Panther. The movie became Marvel's first best picture nomination at the Oscars and part of that has to go down to the film's enigmatic villain, Erik 'Killmonger' Stevens, portrayed by Michael B. Jordan.

Killmonger spends most of the film creating havoc for newly crowned King of Wakanda, T'Challa. However, it isn't until we learn that Killmonger is the cousin of T'Challa that we gain a deeper understanding of the villain's motivations.

Killmonger manages to overthrow T'Challa and takes on the mantles of Black Panther and King of Wakanda. He has very different ideas of how to rule Wakanda and feels fully justified in his actions that would see Wakanda use its vibranium technology to create a new Wakandan empire

2. Loki

Loki

Loki began life in the MCU as the main villain in both the first Thor and Avengers movies. Since then he's taken on a more neutral role, still up to no good but not to the same Earth-invading scale seen in 2012's Avengers.

Loki has made regular appearances in the MCU even after putting his most villainous days behind him. Most recently Loki has appeared in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok and 2018's Avengers: Infinity War. 

One quality that Loki always possessed was likeability. Even at his worst, you couldn't help but have a soft spot for the god of mischief. 

That has to be one of the key reasons for Loki's high placing on this list. No matter the terrible deeds he's been responsible for, you can't help but admire Tom Hiddleston's character.

1. Thanos  

Avengers Thanos

Of course, the #1 pick was going to be Thanos. 

The great Titan has been teased to appear since day one of the MCU. After Loki's failed invasion of Earth in 2012's Avengers, it's only been a matter of time until Thanos came to finish the job.

2018's Avengers: Infinity War was the first time we properly see Thanos in the CGI-flesh as he travels the galaxy in search of the all-powerful infinity stones. 

Josh Brolin's performance as Thanos is, like the character himself, truly epic. His booming voice comes off as threatening in its own right, never mind the sheer size of the great, big, purple being.

The fact that Thanos has to be one of only a handful of movie villains to actually succeed in their evil plan cannot go without mention. Watching the events of his finger-snap has to be one of the most harrowing moments put to film. 

Avengers: Infinity War Spider-Man's 'death'

It's also important to note that Thanos feels what he's doing is totally justified, much like Black Panther's Killmonger. His plan to wipe out half of all life in the universe is what he believes to be the best way to avoid extinction. From a certain point of view, what he says makes sense, which is what makes his villainous motivations so tangible.

It'll be thrilling to see what becomes of Thanos in Avengers: Endgame this April.

And there we have it, do you agree with our list?

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