Wasted Marvel Villains – big stars in lame roles
While audiences are quick to judge a movie or television show based off of a single viewing, most people fail to understand and empathize with the fact that nobody goes through life without making mistakes. So, since fans can relate to such a fact, it shouldn’t be a large surprise when franchises as massive as the MCU occasionally put out a movie that underperforms or includes a character that didn’t meet their potential. With M.O.D.O.K in Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania getting a mixed reaction from fans, now’s a good time to check in on other water Marvel villains.
While T=the MCU has done a decent job of addressing one of their biggest flaws and that was improving their villains, an area that was widely critiqued for the majority of Phases 1-3. Even so, some of their villains have still left bitter tastes in fans mouths since the performance/character felt wasted compared to what it could have been. Now, as stated above, mistakes are bound to happen and the MCU isn’t excluded from that – but with some of the accomplished and sought-after actors that the MCU has landed, it’s sad how they’ve squandered the opportunities.
Note: this list will be going in chronological order of appearance
Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell)
A little excusable since Justin Hammer was the secondary villain in Iron Man 2 and Sam Rockwell has earned most of his stardom after his short-lived appearance in the MCU, but it doesn’t mean that this wasn’t a wasted performance. Rockwell has 2 Oscar noms (1 win) as well as being nominated for multiple Emmys and Tonys – he’s far too talented an actor to keep him on the MCU sidelines. Not to mention, Rockwell went on record stating that he wanted Justin Hammer to return in the upcoming Thunderbolts movie, meaning all the MCU has to do is pick up the phone.
Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce)
It’s old now, it was old a decade ago – audiences don’t want villains who have petty, personal vendettas against the hero. It’s not relatable, it feels like a grown-adult throwing a super-powered temper-tantrum, and it’s beyond campy. So, when Guy Pearce’s character, Aldrich Killian, continued that same same pattern from Iron Man 2, it was not only a let-down but an absolute waste. Pearce is an Emmy winner with more than 60 movies released over his career and is one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood – and most fans try to forget that he was ever even in the MCU.
Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis)
A three year build-up following his appearance in Age of Ultron was cut-down immediately and unnecessarily. While Black Panther was an excellent film with one of the MCU’s best villains in Killmonger, the decision to kill off Andy Serkis’ character was quite the waste. Serkis is known as Hollywood’s best performance capture actor with roles like Gollum in Lord of the Rings and Caesar in the Planet of the Apes franchise. He’s outstandingly talented and to have his character get the rug ripped out from under him was a move that the MCU should hopefully remedy with a variant in the future.
Aaron Davis (Donald Glover)
Excusable since the character wasn’t technically a villain yet in the film, but that’s what makes his single-appearance all the more wasteful. It wasn’t an accident that an actor as coveted as Donald Glover was chosen for Davis’ (known as The Prowler in Marvel Comics) brief appearance in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but the fact that Glover hasn’t made any kind of return is borderline inexcusable. Glover has won multiple Emmys and Grammys as well as being a highly accomplished director, writer, and producer. Frankly, the only reason he hasn’t been back is probably because of how busy he is with all his other endeavors.
Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne)
It’s hard to believe that the MCU would recruit an actor as prolific as Laurence Fishburne to be a villain and have him do… practically nothing. Though Bill Foster confirmed that he was capable of changing his size just like Dr. Pym and Ant-Man, and everything was perfectly set-up for Foster’s super-alter-ego Goliath to make an appearance, he never did. Instead, Ant-Man & the Wasp decided to waste the performance from a multi-Emmy-winning actor who also has a Tony and an Oscar nom.
Yon-Rogg (Jude Law)
If there’s anything worse than a villain with a petty grudge against a hero, it’s a villain with an undying loyalty for no reason. Enter Yon-Rogg. The Captain Marvel villain was as one-dimensional as a character could get, his only motivation being his loyalty to the Supreme Intelligence with no true explanation as to why. Add in the fact that Jude Law is an actor with 2 Oscar noms, as well as 4 Golden Globe noms, and it makes the character an even bigger waste.
Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal)
This one was next level. Granted, the villain that had to follow Thanos was never going to meet audiences expectations, but the MCU didn’t have to set the bar this low. Mysterio, arguably one of Spiderman’s biggest comic-book nemeses behind the Green Goblin, was reduced to yet another petty-grudge villain with no real motivation behind jealousy of a child. Considering MCU fans had been asking for Mysterio as well as Gyllenhaal, an Oscar and Tony nominated actor, for several years prior to the film, it only made the waste even worse.
Kro (Bill Skarsgard)
Who? Oh yeah, the not-villain villain from Eternals who didn’t even really need to be in the movie because of how much they wasted him. Now, Skarsgard might not have the accolades that the actors listed above have, but he has shot into stardom after his rendition of Pennywise the clown and has quickly become an A-list actor. Combine that with how Kro was in the movie for two seconds and had next-to-no impact on the plot, and you get a massive MCU waste.
Gorr (Christian Bale)
Last, and arguably the worst, is the character every fan can agree was tremendously wasted in the MCU – Gorr the God Butcher. An incredibly dark and painful character like Gorr was never going to work in a Taika Waititi comedy and the added sting of the villain being played by Christian Bale and getting hardly any screen-time made it all the more gut-wrenching. Bale has 4 Oscar nominations (1 win), 5 Golden Globe noms (2 wins) and was the face of The Dark Knight trilogy. While he might not be everybody’s favorite Batman, he’s nowhere near anybody’s favorite MCU villain. Such a waste.