Marvel's phase 4 received a mixed critical reception from fans. While some liked the content produced, others were outright furious and frustrated at Marvel's aimless direction during this phase.
Phase 4 has also produced a slew of villains ranging from familiar faces and new bloods to extremely evil personas to sympathetic figures. This listicle will look at all the 22 villains that were introduced in Phase 4 of Marvel.
Disclaimer: This list solely reflects the writer's personal views and opinions and contains spoilers for the MCU projects mentioned.
22 Marvel villains of Phase 4, Ranked from worst to best
22) Najma (Ms. Marvel)
Najma is the most poorly developed villain in Phase 4. Neither her story nor that of the Clandestines' seem to have much depth apart from the fact that they want to use Kamala Khan's (Ms. Marvel) bangles to return to their home, The Noor Dimension.
Her murder of Kamala Khan's great-grandmother Aisha for refusing to surrender the bangle and leaving earth with them, also has no depth to it.
She also does not hesitate to leave her own son, Kamran, to get caught by Damage Control when he disagrees with her, and later sacrifices herself to get energy from the Noor Dimension, ignoring Kamala's reminders about her son.
21) Todd Phelps/HulkKing (She-Hulk: Attorney at Law)
For the majority of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Todd is a weird but unassuming guy, who drops hints about his true nature in subtle ways.
It is only in the last episode that we see Todd for who he actually is: HulkKing, the leader of the Intelligencia, a group of toxic males attacking She-Hulk via hate tweets and other forms of harassment because they believe she is undeserving of her powers.
He then injects himself with She-Hulk's irradiated blood and becomes HulkKing, only for She-Hulk to break the fourth wall and change everything in the climax in a rather abrupt manner. Todd thus unfortunately falls into the basket of forgettable and underdeveloped villains of the MCU and Phase 4.
20) Karli Morgenthau (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier)
Karli is one of the most hated villains of Phase 4. Her and the Flag-Smasher's goals and motivations are clear on paper but terribly executed. The entire show tries to portray her and her team in a sympathetic light but fails to do so.
This is owing to how contradictory the show's approach is. When we are supposed to feel for them, they either kill an innocent, or rob a batch of super-soldier serums for nefarious purposes.
Sam Wilson (Captain America) trying to defend Karli and her team's actions in the end only makes the whole scenario even poorer and completely exposes the writing team's ineptness.
19) Verusa Bloodstone (Werewolf by Night)
Werewolf by Night is a narrative-centric piece and not character-driven, in addition to it being a short one-hour special. Thus, despite the special being amazing as a whole, the characters are only slightly developed or not developed at all. Verusa Bloodstone falls into the undeveloped category.
Harriet Sansom Harris tries her best with the material given to her and Verusa is shown brilliantly as an extremely manic person and staunch traditionalist, but there are no other traits to make her special or even memorable, turning her into yet another poor villain in Phase 4.
18) Dreykov (Black Widow)
Dreykov's gravity as a threat is not clear until the climax of Black Widow. Once introduced, he merely comes off as a highly cruel, heartless and deranged man who brainwashed his own daughter Antonia into becoming his personal assassin.
He was also revealed to have trafficked Natasha Romanoff, Yelena Belova, and other Black Widows, and turned them into killing machines, preventing them from attacking him via specialized pheromones, which did add some depth to his villainy.
Unfortunately, Dreykov does not do much with the screen time he is given apart from insulting Natasha and trying to escape his exploding airship, making him yet another poorly developed villain in Phase 4.
17) Taskmaster (Black Widow)
Taskmaster's reveal in the film disappointed many fans. This is another case of gender-bending by Marvel as part of their push for diversity in Phase 4. In the comics, he is a man named Tony Masters who, besides being able to mimic almost any hero's abilities, has a sense of intrigue that endears him to fans.
The Taskmaster in the film is Dreykov's brainwashed daughter, who cannot speak properly after she was almost killed in a bomb set off by Natasha in the past. While fans sympathized with the tragic nature of the character, they cannot help but feel deceived by Marvel. Hopefully the character can be developed in a much better way as she is confirmed to appear in Thunderbolts.
16) Titania (She-Hulk: Attorney at Law)
Titania was a poorly developed villain in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and Phase 4 as a whole, to the point where she was unnecessary for the show. She was nothing more than a caricature of a vain and materialistic woman who simply pouts when she does not get her way.
She is also like the main protagonist, reflective of the writer's self-insert style and thus falls into the same villain problem Marvel has. The only thing keeping her this high on the list is Jameela Jamil's acting prowess.
15) Ammit (Moon Knight)
Ammit ranks at number 15 on this list only due to her well-designed appearance, and because her presence looms large via her avatar Arthur Harrow.
However, once she appears, she falls into the same jar of predictable, underdeveloped villains. While her desire to cleanse humanity of their sins seems noble on the surface, she does nothing to make it credible.
14) Kingpin (Hawkeye)
Kingpin would be in the top 10 or 3 if Netflix's Daredevil was taken into account, but since this ranking is solely based on mainline MCU appearances, he stands at no. 14 in the list.
His reduced screentime, Kate Bishop managing to defeat him quite easily and Echo seemingly disposing of him easily lends credence to how poorly he was introduced in Phase 4. Hopefully, he will get better in Echo, Daredevil: Born Again, and possibly Spider-Man 4.
13) Eleanor Bishop (Hawkeye)
Eleanor is this high on the list thanks to Vera Farmiga's versatility.
She balances a seemingly caring and nurturing side as a mother with a ruthless disposition. Willing to do anything to keep her daughter safe and family debts paid, she even hires Yelena Belova to kill Clint Barton because of how much of a threat he posed to her and Kingpin's plans.
12) Arthur Harrow (Moon Knight)
Arthur Harrow ranks this high thanks to Ethan Hawke's brilliant portrayal, but this low because the real-world version of Harrow is not given much focus compared to the fake Harrow in Marc Spector's fractured mind. If the writing was better, he would have been one of the greatest villains of Phase 4.
Adding to this lack of focus is how his mettle as a fighter is not shown during the climax as he is defeated somewhat off-screen by Marc's third-alter, Jake Lockley, who also kills him in the post-credits scene.
11) Infinity Ultron (What If...?)
Infinity Ultron was an improvement over Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron and his fight scenes are visually spectacular, which is why he ranks this high on the list.
Unfortunately, much like many villains of Phase 4 he is somewhat forgettable as he is a generic villain who is overpowered and offers nothing memorable that fans can hold on to.
10) Gorr the God-Butcher (Thor: Love and Thunder)
Had the script and direction for Thor: Love and Thunder been better, Gorr would be a top MCU and Phase 4 villain. Unfortunately his credibility as a threat and by extension, Christian Bale's extraordinary talent is taken away by an overdosed humor that undercuts his tragic essence and menacing nature.
Also the severity of his threat is more or less eliminated as he is not shown killing any god apart from his deity Rapu.
His ending was however, very emotional, especially when he made Thor promise to look after his daughter, Love, with his dying breath.
9) Agatha Harkness (WandaVision)
Agatha Harkness was at her best in WandaVision, while she was under the guise of Agnes, Wanda and Vision's next-door neighbor in the fake reality. Kathryn Hahn's impeccable performance as the seemingly friendly and quirky neighbor is so brilliant, unsettling, and convincing that you would not suspect her true nature - not even after Billy and Tommy's dog Sparky dies, until it is revealed that she killed it.
The charm and mystique, however, all goes away once her motivations are revealed and she becomes yet another generic villain in Phase 4 who just wants Wanda's powers for selfish reasons. Because of this, many fans are baffled by her getting her own series. Hopefully that show will do a better job of fleshing her out.
8) He Who Remains (Loki - Season 1)
He Who Remains would be much higher had he been given more screen time, but Jonathan Majors nonetheless delivers a solid performance - so solid that he seems like a completely different character than the ruthless Kang. His seemingly jovial nature is so unsettling that fans cannot help but feel a sense of eerieness every minute he is on the screen.
The unsettling nature also produces a feeling of unpredictability, leaving fans on guard. His indirect but successful approach into goading Sylvie into killing him led to the Sacred Timeline getting destroyed and the multiverse being created, showing how much of an impact he made in the final episode and Phase 4, 5 and 6 as a whole without lifting a finger.
7) Ravonna Renslayer (Loki - Season 1)
Gugu Mbatha-Raw delivers a rather solid performance as Ravonna Renslayer. She splendidly captures the character's role as a staunch follower of rules and someone with a stiff personality.
Her no-nonsense attitude also adds flavor to the character, contrasting her well with characters like Loki and Mobius. Her merciless but apparent pruning of the latter two also adds more to the character, making her a slightly more memorable villain in Phase 4 compared to the characters lower on the list.
6) Electro (Spider-Man: No Way Home)
Even without taking into account The Amazing Spider-Man 2, one cannot deny how much of a solid performance Jamie Foxx gives as the character. His sarcastic sense of humor meshes well with his rather threatening, power-hungry, and callous persona.
His touching scene with Peter-Three after he is defeated is also heartwarming and humorous, especially when he laments on the latter not being black, as he had thought.
5) Ikaris (Eternals)
Despite the many flaws of Eternals, Ikaris is an extremely well-written character. In fact. he is the only well-written one out of all of them and one of the only interesting new characters besides Kingo in Phase 4.
His immense dedication and loyalty to Arishem makes him rather ruthless in an interesting way. A key example of this is how, with only meager hesitation, he has Ajak killed and goes against his allies and friends without a second thought, just to ensure the Emergence as per Arishem's will.
However, his inner conflict in the film's final moments also adds to how well he is written as a character, when he ultimately chooses to help his friends stop the emergence but sacrifices himself out of shame at having disobeyed Arishem.
4) Namor (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever)
Namor is a standout character in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as well as Phase 4, thanks to Tenoch Huerta delivering a menacing portrayal and lending a personality that was lacking in Namor's comic-book depiction. Huerta, via his wide-range of emotions, captures Namor's anger, ruthlessness and vengeful behavior pitch perfectly. Namor's action scenes are also visually stunning and one of the highlights of Wakanda Forever.
He also factors well into Shuri's character arc in the film, thanks to Ryan Coogler's deftness in his script and direction.
3) Green Goblin (Spider-Man: No Way Home)
No one is more of a standout in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Phase 4 than Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin. Dafoe easily slips back into the role he last played twenty years ago in 2002's Spider-Man, with the same maniacal charm, but with a few more tricks up his sleeve.
He perfectly captures both the tortured Norman Osborn and the terrifying Goblin with much ease. He also poses a great personal threat to Tom Holland's Peter Parker and succeeds in breaking him in a way Mysterio could not in Spider-Man: Far From Home, by killing his only living relative in Aunt May.
2) Wenwu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings)
Many fans claim Tony Leung's Wenwu / Mandarin is one of Phase 4's best villains, and with good reason. Leung, via his immense talent balances both Wenwu's charming side and his menacing and ruthless outlook.
On top of all that, Wenwu's story of trying to reunite himself and his children reveals a tragic essence that audiences connect to.
1) Scarlet Witch (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness)
The best villain of Phase 4 is none other than Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch. Wanda's trajectory has always been interesting given how she lands on the dark and sad side of things.
She essays a frightening portrayal in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and in many ways, steals the show from Doctor Strange in his own movie. She mercilessly kills sorcerers in Kamar-Taj and butchers the Illuminati (except Baron Mordo) with limited effort.
Despite the fact that she is so frightening, viewers can't help but feel sympathetic towards her, as she just wants to be with her children, who are real to her, despite the many times she is told otherwise.
What is your ranking? Who is your favorite villain from Phase 4? Let us know in the comments down below.