The Best On-Screen Marvel Villain Isn’t From a Movie

The superheroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been both entertaining and interesting to see develop.

Not only have the performance been wonderful, but the writing for those characters has been on point as well. That said, the films wouldn’t work without compelling antagonists. The MCU has featured plenty of great villains on the big screen.

What some fans may not realize is that the best villain from the MCU may not have even been in one of the movies. According to some fans, it may have been from a Marvel TV show. 

The great villains of the MCU

Some of the best villains from the MCU’s films include: 

  • Erik Killmonger. Michael B. Jordan’s portrayal of Black Panther’s nemesis was so effective because the character’s point of view was defensible. While his methods of pushing for equality were abhorrent, from a moral standpoint, he was doing what he thought was right. 
  • Red Skull. Captain America’s arch-enemy began as a force of evil. After being absorbed by the Tesseract, he showed up again during the Infinity saga as humbled protector of the Soul Stone. 
  • Loki. In what may be the best cinematic villain Marvel has offered, Loki went from being a mad man hellbent on conquering Earth to being a redeemed brother who sacrificed himself to help save Thor. 
  • Thanos. The ultimate MCU onscreen villain, Thanos brought together all the universe’s superheroes and defeated them. He lost in the end, but not without much sacrifice. 

Of course, the MCU isn’t confined to movies. There are also TV shows in this universe, and that section of the sandbox has had plenty of great villains as well. 

The villains of the Netflix MCU

Kevin Feige
Kevin Feige | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Marvel canceled all of its Netflix shows, but not before they became popular with critics and fans alike. Not every Netflix show was a hit – Iron Fist had its fair share of detractors – but many of them were. While those heroes were mostly beloved, there were plenty of great villains as well, including: 

  • Wilson Fisk. Vincent D’Onofrio’s take on the classic Marvel character is equal parts empathetic and terrifying. He makes a great counterpart to Daredevil. 
  • Cottonmouth. While this Luke Cage villain died in season one of the series, Mahershala Ali’s depiction of the character was memorable. 
  • Bullseye. Daredevil’s other frequent foe gets a captivating season-long arc and origin story that would have been wonderful to see play out had the show not been canceled.

At least one group of Netflix MCU fans online have an overwhelming favorite for the best villain, however. 

Why Marvel fans felt Kilgrave was the best Marvel villain


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During season one of Jessica Jones, the main antagonist was a supervillain known as Kilgrave (known as Purple Man in Marvel Comics). Kilgrave has the power of mind control, and he uses that power to make people do some depraved things on his behalf. He exerts this power over Jessica for a time during the show’s first season.

A Reddit thread discussing Kilgrave as a villain talked about just how sick and evil he was. One fan noted: 

“He really made the superpower of mind control absolutely terrifying in a moral sense.”

Another pointed out how scary Kilgrave was because of the control and influence he could display: 

“Kilgrave is just something else. No other villain in the whole Marvel pantheon feels so completely dangerous just to be near. Even Thanos, even the biggest physical threats do not feel as deeply terrifying and uncomfortable just to be around. Because most villains can beat you up a bunch, hurt your body, but Kilgrave can take away your personhood.”

There might be villains in the MCU who were more powerful, but Kilgrave may be the most chillingly terrifying. Despite never appearing in one of the movies, it’s why he may be the MCU’s best villain.