The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been a staple in superhero films for over a decade. With 30 movies released, the MCU has become known for its compelling characters and intricate storylines.
One of the MCU's most notable aspects is its villains' evolution. Recent films have evolved from those in which villains were flat and easily forgotten to those in which they play more significant roles.
In the early days of the MCU, villains often served as little more than a means to an end. They were usually portrayed as one-dimensional, with little backstory or motivation. This was particularly true in the first two phases of the MCU, where the villains were portrayed as evil for the sake of being evil.
For example, in the first Iron Man film, Jeff Bridges' character Obadiah Stane is portrayed as a ruthless businessman willing to do anything to get what he wants. Similarly, in Thor, the main villain, Loki, is portrayed as a power-hungry prince who wants to take over Asgard.
This lack of complexity and nuance in the villains drew criticism from many fans and critics who felt that the villains were not fleshed out enough and that their motivations were unclear. A few reviewers even went as far as to say that the MCU's villains were the film's biggest flaws.
The changing face of villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
However, in recent years, the MCU has made a conscious effort to improve the villains in their films. This can be seen in the more recent movies, where the villains have become much more complex and nuanced.
The evolution of the villains in the MCU can also be seen in the portrayal of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
However, as the MCU progressed, it was revealed that S.H.I.E.L.D. had been infiltrated by the terrorist group Hydra. This added a new layer of complexity to the organization and made things much more nuanced.
Another example of this evolution can be seen in the villainous Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. Thanos is a powerful alien warlord who seeks to collect all six infinity stones to wipe out half of all life in the universe.
Thanos is a villain motivated by a sense of duty rather than greed or power, and he believes that his actions will ultimately save the universe from destruction. This made him one of the most interesting and complex antagonists in the MCU.
Another notable example of the evolution of the villains in the MCU is Hela in Thor: Ragnarok and Killmonger in Black Panther. Both characters are prime examples of how the MCU has become more interested in developing complex and nuanced villains.
Hela, played by Cate Blanchett, is the goddess of death and the long-lost sister of Thor and Loki. She is the main villain in Thor: Ragnarok and is portrayed as powerful and ruthless. What sets Hela apart from previous villains in the MCU is her backstory and motivation.
Hela was once the most powerful Asgardian, but she was exiled and forgotten by her family. Her ultimate goal is to reclaim her rightful place as the ruler of Asgard and restore order to the Nine Realms. Hela's backstory and motivation make her a more compelling and interesting villain than the one-dimensional villains of the early films.
Similarly, Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan, is the main villain in Black Panther. Killmonger is a complex and nuanced villain motivated by a sense of duty. He is the son of an exiled Wakandan and wants to reclaim his rightful place as the ruler of Wakanda.
Killmonger is driven by a desire to empower marginalized people and take over Wakanda to spread its wealth and technology to the world. His motivation is very different from the typical villainous motivations such as power or greed, making him stand out as one of the most interesting villains in the MCU.
Hela and Killmonger are prime examples of how the MCU has evolved regarding its villains. These characters have complex and nuanced backstories, and their motivations are rooted in something more profound than just power or greed.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe's villains: A positive evolution
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has come a long way regarding villainous characters. The early films were criticized for lacking depth and complexity in their villains, but as the MCU has progressed, they have become much more interesting and compelling.
From the one-dimensional villains of the early films to the complex and nuanced villains of the more recent films, the evolution of the villains in the MCU has been a positive development.
The villains have become an integral part of the film and have added a new level of complexity to the overall story. The evolution of the villains in the MCU has also made it a more compelling and engaging universe overall.