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"Discovery requires experimentation."

"Johann Schmidt belongs in a bug house. He thinks he's a God and he's willing to blow up half the world to prove it, starting with the U.S.A."
Col. Chester Phillips, about Johann "Red Skull" Schmidt, Captain America: The First Avenger
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Given its source material, it should come as no surprise that among the numerous characters inhabiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe are several vile villains.

Novelizations and other literature can be found here.

All spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned!


Films, by release date
  • Captain America: The First Avenger: Johann Schmidt, aka the Red Skull, is a profound narcissist who believes himself a god that is no longer bound by humanity's rules. The head of HYDRA, a Nazi military organization, Schmidt has turned the group into his own personal cult. He's first introduced killing the guardian of the Tesseract and ordering the entire village where it was hidden wiped out for seemingly no reason. He goes on to betray Hitler and the Nazi party to pursue his own goals and murders the three men sent to check on the status of his research. Schmidt uses the Tesseract to make fantastic new weapons for HYDRA, and has POWs torturously experimented on in order to replicate Dr. Erskine's Super Serum. Despite their fanatical devotion to Schmidt, he continually shows no concern for the welfare of his men, having them chomp cyanide pills when captured to avoid giving out information on him, executing one merely for surviving an attack on a HYDRA base, and activating the self-destruct sequence at another HYDRA base when the Allied forces overrun it, not caring that hundreds of his troops will be killed in the blast. Schmidt's ultimate plan is to use his new weapons to wipe out half the planet, bombing nearly every major city including his own capital, just so he can rule over what's left.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy:
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    • Guardians of the Galaxy: Ronan the Accuser is a genocidal Kree terrorist and renegade wholly devoted to the destruction of the planet of Xandar. Disgusted by his people signing a peace treaty, Ronan is introduced to the audience by confronting a captive member of Xandar's Nova Corps and crushing the helpless man's skull with his Universal Weapon. Beginning the film as a henchman of the Mad Titan Thanos, Ronan seeks to gather an item for Thanos so that he will destroy Xandar for him. Under Thanos, Ronan has committed multiple murders, including the deaths of Drax the Destroyer's wife and children. He later pursues the film's motley band of heroes to the space prison The Kyln, and orders a full massacre of every prisoner to leave no witnesses. When he realizes the power of the Infinity Stone he has been sent to retrieve, Ronan double crosses Thanos and vows to kill him after he's finished with Xandar. Assaulting the planet, he even orders his own men to become suicide bombers by flying their ships into Xandar, injuring and killing numerous civilians. He later kills over 80,000 members of the Nova Corps in one fell swoop. After mocking Drax about finally remembering murdering his family, he declares Xandar "guilty" by his psychotic philosophy and attempts to purge it of all life. Brutal, violent, relentless and unforgiving, Ronan stands as an example of rage, fanaticism, unchecked hatred and utter cruelty, and really stands out in such a relatively light-hearted movie.
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    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Ego, Peter "Star-Lord" Quill's father, is an immortal Celestial, who once traveled the universe seeking companionship, but found that other life utterly disappointed him and lost any interest in them. Ego instead decided upon a plan of assimilating all creation into himself in what he termed "The Expansion". Lacking the power to do so on his own, he sired countless children, hoping they would inherit his Celestial powers, killing them out of disappointment when they didn't. Traveling to earth, Ego met Meredith Quill, whom he developed genuine feelings for. Unwilling to deviate from The Expansion, Ego gave her the brain tumor that killed her to ensure nothing held him back from his self-appointed purpose. After learning Peter might carry the Celestial gene, Ego tracked him down, playing the good father to him before revealing the true purpose of The Expansion, revealing his true nature when he believed Peter wouldn't care. When Peter turns on Ego, Ego enslaves him to his own power to use Peter as a battery for the next thousand years before kicking off The Expansion to consume every living thing in the universe, spitefully destroying Peter's Walkman which was a gift from Meredith and his last link to his mother. When Peter attempts to stop Ego, Ego tries to murder Peter's friends as well with no care.
  • Thor: Ragnarok: Hela, Goddess of Death and Thor's monstrous elder sister, helped Odin conquer the empire of Asgard, but when he tired of war and finally sought peace, she was sealed away when her bloodlust and cruelty grew too great. After murdering his guards, Hela was finally subdued and sealed but massacred the Valkyries until only one remained when they sought to prevent her escape. Upon returning to Asgard, Hela slaughters all its soldiers when they resist her and tries to claim the sword of Heimdall to open the gate to the other Realms. When Heimdall saves the population of Asgard, Hela attempts to have her undead soldiers slaughter all of Asgard's people while forcing Thor to watch them die—after she had blinded him in one eye. She even killed her own right-hand man, Skurge, when he takes a stand to defend Asgard's civilians. Monstrous, sadistic and insatiable, Hela seeks to open the gate to all other Realms so she can conquer everything and continue her work of drowning them in blood and tears.
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home: Quentin Beck, aka Mysterio, is the true Master of the Elementals, orchestrating their attacks around the world to paint himself as a hero. Fired by Tony Stark years ago for being unstable, Beck concocts a scheme to both spite Stark and bring himself the attention he has always craved, entailing the destruction of a variety of villages and cities worldwide via the Elementals, then arriving on the scene as Mysterio to save the day, hoping to be a better hero than Iron Man ever was. Upon befriending and manipulating the young Spider-Man into handing over the E.D.I.T.H. glasses, Beck mind rapes and tries to kill him, threatening to execute his entire staff for a failure immediately beforehand as well. Beck plans to "stop" an Avengers-level threat by using his illusions to destroy London, causing maximum casualties to gain more coverage, and schemes to murder Spider-Man's entire class of high school friends to eliminate potential witnesses to his true nature before basking in the glory as Mysterio. An attention-craving lunatic defined by his petty, treacherous nature, even trying to appeal to Spider-Man's sympathy only to stab him in the back once beaten, Beck gets the last laugh as he frames Spider-Man as a villain and exposes the teenager's identity to the world as a final move to secure his claim to fame.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:

  • The Clairvoyant aka John Garrett is the Big Bad of the first season. Heading the Centipede Project as a powerful figure in HYDRA, the Clairvoyant has superpowered individuals abducted and experimented on, implants his soldiers with explosive leashes, which he utilizes should they fail him or outlive their usefulness, had Coulson tortured to reveal the secret of his revival, and frequently kidnaps and threatens the lives of the loved ones of his "employees" in order to ensure their complete loyalty. At one point he implanted a SHIELD Agent with an explosive leash and forced her to work for him, work that included massacring a subway train full of bank security personnel to get what they were guarding. Later he implanted an Explosive Leash in Mike Peterson as well, abducted his son, and turned Mike into the cyborg villain Deathlok against his will. Despite his cheery demeanor, the Clairvoyant has no loyalty or empathy for anyone, not even to his undyingly loyal right-hand man, Grant Ward, whom he nearly killed to further his own plans. Later, he would force Ward to attempt to murder his two friends, Fitz and Simmons, in order to prove he's not weak. Ultimately, the Clairvoyant's true interest was extending his own life, and once he'd achieved that he went on to plan world domination.
  • Dr. Daniel Whitehall, real name Werner Reinhardt, is one of the heads of HYDRA in season 2's present day, a former disciple of the Red Skull, and a true believer in Schmidt's cause of eliminating The Evils of Free Will. A bespectacled madman with a seemingly pleasant exterior, Whitehall has performed horrific human experiments during World War II and in the present, using the Obelisk to test how quickly people died after touching it. In the 1980's, Reinhardt brutally tortured and eviscerated Skye's mother, Jiaying, via surgery to obtain her powers of lasting youth, discarding her afterwards. Although she survived, Jiaying was warped by the experience and became a murderous villain in her own right. In the present, Whitehall brags about having mastered the art of keeping his victims conscious as he performs gruesome and invasive surgeries without anesthesia; brainwashes people, including loyal S.H.I.E.L.D agents, into becoming his slaves; frames S.H.I.E.L.D. for killing sprees that he himself organized; and ordered the Bus shot down, despite Ward promising mercy, after forcing its passengers to surrender Skye. Whitehall's goal is to use the Obelisk and the city it leads to in order to create a Weapon of Mass Destruction, which he will use to kill millions, if not billions of people. In his final appearance, Whitehall plans to torture Skye to death and force her father to watch. In his final moments of life, Whitehall smiles as he prepares to shoot Cal, only being stopped when Coulson guns him down. A sadistic, sociopathic Control Freak, Daniel Whitehall is a cold-blooded madman and one of the worst that HYDRA has to offer.

Netflix Series

  • Jessica Jones (2015):
    • Kevin "Kilgrave" Thompson, the season 1 Big Bad, is an amoral, mind-controlling sociopath responsible for the ruination and deaths of countless lives. After gaining his powers due to his parents' painful, though well-intentioned, experiments on him, Kilgrave turned them into his slaves and grew up getting everything he wanted, notably raping women, ordering those who annoyed him to maim or kill themselves, and tormenting children, simply because he felt like it. Kilgrave becomes obsessed with heroine Jessica Jones when she breaks free of his control after he forced her to kill an innocent, and begins ruining her life by addicting her neighbors to drugs and having them kill themselves in her house, ordering one of her clients to murder her own parents in front of Jessica, and tries to manipulate her into becoming his slave again by holding people hostage by the dozen. Though seemingly caring for his parents, Kilgrave reveals his true colors as he forces his mother to stab herself to death and has his father taken apart limb by limb until he is dead. When seemingly beaten, Kilgrave orders dozens of innocents to kill each other just to distract Jessica, and uses his final act to proclaim his intent to make Jessica's sister Trish his new slave to be raped and tortured at his leisure. A petty, childish bully who wanted everyone to be his playthings while never admitting true guilt to anything he did, Kilgrave is one of the most despicable villains the MCU has to offer.
    • Gregory Sallinger, the season 3 Big Bad, is a man defined by envy and spite towards anyone he feels has more than him. A vicious sociopath from a young age who hated his "talentless hack" of a brother, Sallinger murdered a child and taunted his parents with photos. Growing up, Sallinger fixated on those he felt were mediocrities, torturing and murdering seven people while mocking them with the moment of their despair. Later torturing Jessica and her lover Erik with intent to murder them, Sallinger kidnaps Dorothy, Trish's mother and Jessica's adoptive mother, and tortures her to death. A devious sadist out to hurt others to embiggen himself, Sallinger shows the darkest side of humanity.
  • The Punisher (2017): Agent Orange, real name William J. "Bill" Rawlins III, is a sadistic CIA agent who was the mastermind of Operation Cerberus in Afghanistan, sending special forces to torture and kill targets. In reality, Rawlins used it to his own benefit, and when an honest Afghan officer named Zubair learned the truth, Rawlins framed him, abducted, tortured and murdered him while continuing to enrich himself via heroin smuggling. Upon receiving accolades and a potential promotion to Deputy CIA Director, Rawlins sought to close loose ends by having the remaining Cerberus squad members murdered while also planning the mass shootout that killed Frank Castle's family, alongside many other innocents. When he learns that David "Micro" Lieberman, who knew of Zubair's murder, had faked his death, Rawlins kidnaps and tries to murder Micro's wife and children along with him to tie up the end. Upon capturing Castle, Rawlins, his career in tatters, attempts to brutally torture him to death, ranting that Castle, and even Rawlins's own subordinate, Russo, are just "grunts" who exist to serve men like him. A sadist with a god complex, Rawlins stops at nothing to always come out on top and destroy those he can.

Cloak & Dagger (2018)

  • D'Spayre, real name Andre Deschaine, the Big Bad of season 2, was once an aspiring jazz musician who received powers from the Roxxon oil rig explosion, which allowed him to remove his headache pain by feeding off the despair of others. To cultivate this despair, he manipulates a nurse named Avandalia "Lia" Dewan into abandoning her life for him, and together they cultivate a sexual slavery ring under the guise of a community support group for abuse victims, using the group to find more victims. Once Ty and Tandy destroy the ring, D'Spayre feeds off Avandalia one more time, and abandons her barely-living body on the side of the road. After visiting the voodoo priestess Chantelle, who he later murders, D'Spayre uses his powers to rise to godhood, abducting people from across New Orleans to his Pocket Dimension so he can feed off their despair forever. While on the surface a helpful community support worker, D'Spayre is truly a sociopathic monster who inflicts unimaginable horrors on anyone who isn't himself in order to fuel his own power.

Non-Canon Tie-In Video Games

  • The Incredible Hulk (2008 Video Game): Major Glenn Talbot, a far cry from his later MCU characterization, is a homicidal army major obsessed with taking down the Hulk, Bruce Banner, through any means necessary. Beginning his attacks on Hulk by launching numerous missile strikes on him, Talbot disregards his soldiers' objections that the missiles will impact many highly-populated areas of New York, and pins all the ensuing destruction on the Hulk. When press helicopters fly too close to his military base, Talbot orders them all shot down, hoping to silence the reporters' attempts to oust him as a madman. Showing no care for innocents, Talbot kidnaps both Hulk's best friend, Rick Jones, and his Love Interest, Betty Ross, to use as hostages to draw him out, and, when the army turns on him after they learn of his crimes, Talbot responds by killing the soldiers sent after him, attempting to murder the Hulk, then setting his Hulkbuster armor to detonate, fully knowing it will wipe out most of the city, just to kill the Hulk. A sociopath who abused his power for no reason other than blind hatred and jealousy, Glenn Talbot stood out, even to Bruce Banner, as a truly wicked man whose hatred made him far worse than the "monsters" he claimed to be fighting.
  • Thor: The Dark World: The Official Game: Malekith the Accursed, the leader of the Dark Elves and the root of all evil in the game, differs from the version seen in the film. Desiring to return the universe to the "darkness" that existed before life sprouted throughout the cosmos, Malekith begins collecting powerful Uru weapons to use in a ritual to fulfill his desire. Sending his minions throughout the Nine Realms, Malekith has innocents killed, monstrous creatures released, and entire villages razed to the ground, all in various attempts to distract Thor from stopping him. With no loyalty to his "partners", as seen when he betrayed and attempted to murder both the Frost Giants and the God of Mischief, Loki, when they outlived their usefulness, Malekith proclaims himself a god before trying to wipe out all life in the universe, so as to make the Dark Elves the reigning power once again, with himself as ruler supreme.

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