Marvel Has Failed Many of its Villains, But Zemo is Still a Fan-Favorite

If you’re not steeped in comics lore, Zemo, the key villain of Captain America: Civil War might be seen as one of Marvel’s better bad guys. Some people who are steeped in comics lore have found his appearance disappointing, because it doesn’t match the comics. 

Thing is, Marvel Cinematic Universe movies and villains often don’t match in the comics. They can’t because the screen has different demands than the page does. For instance, much more often than not, Marvel costumes are not going to be comic-book accurate because they would look silly in a “real world” setting. A villain is another matter, however. 

Who was Baron Zemo?

Daniel Bruehl
Daniel Bruehl | Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Laureus

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Zemo was the primary mover and shaker behind the Avengers fighting with each other. He breaks the Winter Soldier out of a cell and reprograms him to be a villain again. He knows full well the Soldier’s presence will prove dangerous to the Avengers, because of Bucky’s unwitting role in the fate of Tony Stark’s parents. 

Zemo’s goal is to tear the Avengers apart, and rather than simply attacking them directly, he gets them to run at each other and fight at a German airport. His goal is to destroy the Avengers by letting them destroy themselves from within. And he more or less succeeds — for a time, anyway. 

In this YouTube clip from the movie, Black Panther caught up with Zemo while Captain America, Iron Man and the Winter Soldier were fighting, and he and Zemo had this exchange: 

Zemo: I knew I couldn’t kill them. More powerful men than me have tried. But if I could get them to kill each other…

Zemo: I’m sorry about your father. He seemed a good man, with a dutiful son.

T’Challa: Vengeance has consumed you. It’s consuming them. I’m done letting it consume me.

[T’Challa retracts his claws]

T’Challa: Justice will come soon enough.

Where do fans stand on Baron Zemo?

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One fan on Reddit seemed confused that there had been pushback about Zemo, and that fan wrote, “I seen people say he’s one of the bad ones and I disagree with that so much sure he doesn’t fight he was a different kind of threat then usual he wasn’t trying to fight anyone he was just trying to tear everyone apart he was just smart I liked him.”

Another fan replied, “Zemo was great. It can’t be forgotten that he was the only villain besides Thanos to actually achieve his goal.”

As CinemaBlend pointed out, there were actually two Zemos in the comics — the original, who was a villain during World War II, and his son, who threatened Captain America after his thaw from the ice. That timeline obviously wouldn’t have worked in the movie’s scenario, so the writers created something of a composite character.  

Baron Zemo will return

If you loved Zemo, the good news is that he’ll show up again in the Disney+ show, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Little is known about how Zemo fits in a world without Captain America, but it is known that Daniel Bruhl will reprise his role from Civil War. On the heroes side, Sharon Carter, played by Emily VanCamp, will return as well. 

As ever, Marvel actors aren’t allowed to divulge details, but Bruhl did post a photo from the set of the TV show, which indicates Zemo will have his comic-accurate costume.

So if you hated Zemo, the good news is he’ll be back, and perhaps more fans who favor the page will be happier this time. 

The show had completed much of its filming by the time the pandemic shutdown hit, but there was still some work to do. Disney has shifted the release dates of the theatrical movies but has made no announcement regarding the status of the Disney+ shows. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier had been slated to premiere in the fall.