It seems as though every single movie bearing Marvel’s name either hits it out of the park, or majorly strikes out. What sets a bad Marvel movie apart from a good one is the villain. For the list, we decided to focus on bad performances as well as disappointment as well as who blew us away with superior character design, and acting.
Mephisto – “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance”
By no means was the first “Ghost Rider” movie a good film, but Peter Fonda’s casting as Mephisto was a hidden gem in an otherwise awful movie. When “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” was announced, we were not expecting a great movie, but we were expecting something better than what we got. However, when a no name actor was cast as Mephisto over Peter Fonda, all hope was lost. Rather than having a threatening presence on screen, this Mephisto is a laughing stock with a googley eye that gets more laughs than screams.
Howard Saint – “The Punisher”
“The Punisher” was a movie that flew under the radar for most Marvel fans. It came out the same year as “Spider-Man 2,” so it was overwhelmed by the hype for that film. However, anyone who saw that movie immediately loved it for it’s dark story, action, spectacular hero, and John Travolta’s performance as Howard Saint. Travolta really has not had a good movie in the last 15 years since he is an extremely narrow-cast actor. However, Howard Saint is a narcissistic ego maniac who is constantly paranoid about his social and business life. Basically, Travolta played himself. Saint is brutal toward his enemies, and is shows no remorse for what he does, and Travolta embodied that perfectly.
Electro – “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”
Rhino did not make this list simply because he was only in about 10 minutes of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” However, Marvel’s version of Dr. Manhattan is more than deserving of the Number 9 spot. Starting off as a nerd with poor social skills, Electro actually gains a bit of sympathy in the beginning. However, it’s his transformation into a blue embodiment of energy (and plagiarism) that bores the audience. When you see Electro attack the citizens of New York, you can’t help but ask why he is so angry, and why he wants to kill everyone. When you realize it’s literally because Spider-Man forgot his name, that’s when the nerd rage takes over. However, what might be the biggest reason why Electro sucked was because this was such a waste of Jamie Foxx’s talents.
Alexander Pierce – “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
Oh Cap 2, how you blew us all away. When you look at the character of Alexander Pierce as a whole, there really isn’t anything unique about him. He is a stereotypical villain who earns the trust of everyone, but betrays them all in the end. What makes him good? Two words; Robert Redford. Redford blows the audience away with his incredible performance as Pierce, the secret leader of Hydra. Redford’s demeanor in the movie shows that of a man who is always in control, and never admits defeat. There is never a look of shock on his face because he always seems to know what is coming.
Bullseye – “Daredevil”
You are not going to see Michael Clark Duncan’s portrayal of Kingpin on this list either. Although Kingpin was not a good character in “Daredevil,” Duncan was near perfect casting. The problem with Kingpin was the writing around him, and for what the writing offered, he did the best he could. Then there’s Colin Farrell’s Bullseye. Rather than being the cool and collected sharpshooter from the comics, Bullseye acts like a crackhead who throws garbage from a dumpster at people. Seriously, rather than guns, Bullseye prefers things such as paperclips to kill people. Farrell bounces around the screen like a junkie looking for his next fix making his performance laughably awful.
Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger – “Iron Man”
You can definitely expect to see other villains from the Iron Man franchise on the other end of this list. Say what you will about the movies that followed, but the original “Iron Man” blew fans away with its awesome characters, story, and special effects. One of those awesome characters was Jeff Bridge’s portrayal as Obadiah Stane. Stane was Tony Stark’s mentor who uses Stark’s genius ingenuity in the weapons to make money, and push Stark away. When Stane is in front of a crowd of people representing Stark industries, he is a calm, collected business man. However, when he is trying to kill Stark or Pepper Pots, he is a cynical tyrant who uses his cunning and brute force to demolish those in his way.
Blackout – “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance”
For those that do not know, Blackout is a blood thirsty vampire, and one of the greatest villains in the Ghost Rider franchise. Blackout is not some dude who gets the power to decay things with his hands. “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” was awful for a multitude of reasons, but tarnishing who could have been an otherwise incredible villain was a giant insult to all those who love the Ghost Rider franchise.
Mystique – “X-Men,” X-Men 2: X-Men United,” “X-Men: The Last Stand”
Although Jennifer Lawrence gave a memorable performance in the film’s that followed, it was a lesser known actress named Rebecca Romijn that first made us love to hate this incredible baddy. Mystique shares her tragic childhood of people who mocked her because of the way she looked, and that it was other mutants who truly excepted her making her a villain that earned sympathy before hatred. Although her powers only consist of shapeshifting, her kung-fu has proven more than a match for the likes of Wolverine. When she loses her powers defending Magneto in “X-Men: The Last Stand,” it strikes tears in the eyes of fans as she is abandoned by the one person who ever excepted her for who she was.
Deadpool – “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”
Deadpool should not even be on this list since he is an anti-hero, not a villain. However, the writers of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” for some reason thought that making the merc with a mouth the main villain in their already terrible film was a good idea. Aside from a cool opening scene where he blocks bullets with his katanas, Deadpool spends the remainder of the film with his mouth sewn shut as he fights with powers he does not have in the comics, and gets his ass handed to him by Wolverine and Sabertooth of all people. Ryan Reynolds, if you screw him up again, you will have an army of nerds at your front door.
Green Goblin – “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” did a lot of things wrong (See Number 9 Worst). However, Dane DeHaan’s portrayal of Harry Osbourne was near perfect casting. Osbourne spends the film searching for the cure for a disease that claimed his father’s life, and that will eventually claim his. His quest eventually leads him to drive away his friends and ultimately his own sanity. Rather than having another mask, DeHaan is instead deformed with some pretty impressive effects to become the terrifying Goblin, giving him an incredible look. However, what really made him memorable was the incredible finale in the clocktower.
Blackheart – “Ghost Rider”
Being the worst villain from the Ghost Rider movies, it’s Blackheart from “Ghost Rider” that really bites the big one. In the comics, Blackheart is a pitch black demon with tremendous power. In a special anniversary issue, it took Ghost Rider, Wolverine, and Punisher to eventually take him down. How did the movie’s portray Blackheart? They cast the kid who loved paper bags from “American Beauty.”
Green Goblin – “Spider-Man”
When the first Spider-Man movie was announced, people asked themselves who would be the villain, and who would play him. Among the ideas were Lizard, Shocker, and Vulture, but Green Goblin was the final choice. Willem Dafoe was cast has the notorious Goblin in what became one of his greatest performances. Unlike the Amazing Spider-Man movies, the original trilogy tried to feel more like a comic book than a movie. Dafoe walked that line beautiful with his classic one-liners, poise, and spot-on voice acting as the Goblin. It’s no wonder that his ghost carried on in the following two films.
Galactus – “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer”
The original Fantastic Four movie was awful, and nobody wanted a sequel. What did Marvel do? They made an even shittier movie. In the trailers, the movie looked like it might be a step above with the inclusion of the Silver Surfer, and hopefully the inclusion of Galactus. Toward the end of the film, it was finally announced that Galactus was the true main villain. While fans were hoping to see the giant scarlet and violet planet-eating behemoth, we instead got a f****** cloud. Imagine if you went to see a Batman movie, and instead of the Joker being a psychopathic clown, he instead has a couch. That was the giant middle finger that all Galactus fans got when a cloud stood where one of the mightiest Marvel villains should have been.
Magneto – “X-Men,” X-Men 2: X-Men United,” “X-Men: The Last Stand”
Ian McKellen has proved time and time again that he is one of the best actors of our time. His portrayal as Magneto in the X-Men films is no exception. Whether he is breaking out of prison with a few bits of metal, or leading an army of mutants in a war against the humans, Magneto commands the screen during all of his scenes.
Venom – “Spider-Man 3”
What can be said about Venom from “Spider-Man 3” that has not been said already? Eric Foreman was cast as him. He is only in 20 minutes of the movie. He looks nothing like how he does in the comics. He was a giant middle finger to all Spider-Man fans. The only thing that really has not been said already is that his awful portrayal nearly single-handedly ruined this movie. Everyone laughs at this film, but when you take away all things Venom, it is not that bad of a film. It still has its flaws, but it does have one character who is entertaining throughout the entire film; Sandman. Thomas Hayden Church is the far too often overlooked Sandman who gives a tremendous performance that is overshadowed by the terrible performance of Topher Grace. If you don’t believe me, watch the scene where he first becomes the Sandman, and tell me it’s not incredible. Speaking ill of Venom in “Spider-Man 3” is beating a dead horse, but what makes him so bad is that he gave us nowhere near what we wanted to see.
Winter Soldier – “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
When I first heard that Winter Soldier was going to be the villain in the Captain America sequel, I got extremely excited. Bucky Barnes is who many argue will eventually become Captain America, and perhaps this sequel was a precursor to that inevitability. When I first saw the movie, I was flabbergasted by Sebastian Stan’s incredible portrayal as Winter Soldier. Stan spent months beforehand researching the KGB, and practicing moves with a knife before taking the stage. Some actors portray a villain, but Stan became the Winter Soldier. What we can only hope for is that he continues to be just as good in his future films.
Doctor Doom – “Fantastic Four,” Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer”
As I said before, both Fantastic Four movies were terrible. What made them so bad? Well, the bastardization of Victor Von Doom is a good start. Rather than being a mage from Latveria who fights with magic, Doom became a businessman who fights with electricity. Imagine if you went to see a Thor movie, and instead of electricity, he shot water at everyone. It was complete disregard to the source material, and a slap in the face to everyone who loves Doom. What’s even worse is that the new Fantastic Four movie appears to be following the same suit.
Loki – “Thor,” “The Avengers,” “Thor: The Dark World“
Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is everything that makes a good villain. He is faithful to the comics. He is likable along with detestable. He has a strong presence. He poses a major threat to all that stand in his way. Most fans agree that Loki is the best part of every movie in which he appears.
Mandarin – “Iron Man 3”
If there is any villain that insults the fans, the character, and the comics, it is Mandarin from “Iron Man 3.” When I first heard that Ben Kingsley was playing Mandarin, my heart stopped because I got so excited. The writers of the Marvel movies have been waiting to use Kingsley as a villain since the Spider-Man movies. Mandarin seemed like a perfect fit for him. In the trailers, he appeared to be a sadistic monster with the desire to crush Tony Stark, and destroy the world. I almost walked out of the theater when the great Mandarin walked out of the bathroom while making a toilet humor joke. It was such a huge insult to fans. Nobody could believe that the writers would ruin such a great villain from the comics, and tease us with a great villain in the trailers. The Mandarin was everything that makes an awful villain.
Doctor Octopus – “Spider-Man 2”
“Spider-Man 2” was one of the best movies that came from Marvel. What made it memorable was Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock. Focusing on developing his character throughout the movie, Doc Ock gets a tragic backstory, an incredible shot rebirth scene, and a suiting finale. The fight scene on the train is still impressive even by today’s standards. The special effects of his claws were awesome. The threatening presence he had made fans shuttered in their seats. Doc Ock was the best villain from all the Marvel movies.