The MCU is, basically, a recreation of the comic universe on screen, based on the Avengers and building outward from there. Of course, that Universe is incomplete without the myriad of villains from the comic universe, chosen specifically because they’re popular in the comics.
That being said, there are some that were adapted better than others. If a villain doesn’t appear on this list, it’s not that I think he or she was portrayed badly, it’s just that I lean more towards others. Feel free to disagree. I invite you to comment and we’ll talk about it.
General Thunderbolt Ross is one of the oldest villains in the Marvel Universe. To bring his dedication to military science to screen, William Hurt did an excellent job in my opinion. He brought the desperation of Ross, while maintaining a sense of calm and authority. His team to chase Banner was a great representation of the Hulk-buster units in the comics.
The brilliance of this adaptation is not that it was identical to the comics, but that it chose not to be. The adaptation of Zola from the walking computer screen into the menacing databank of the former scientist’s mind. The winning touch for me was the arrangement of the camera and the screen in the shape of Zola’s original body (see above). In opinion, brilliant.
Second villain from the same movie, but I could not resist. The great fear coming into Cap 2 was the question of how to correctly portray the Winter Soldier. The movie did a brilliant job, remaining extremely true to the comic storyline (substituting Russians for Hydra, granted), while at the same time doing it in a manner that was believable to the audience. The Soldier shined.
Hear me out. I am against the Trevor Slattery plot twist. I see it as neutering Iron Man’s chief villain. Some would argue that the fact that the Mandarin was not actually the Mandarin should eliminate him from this list. I see it differently. The movie set up the character was he was in the comics (minus some the magic, I’ll grant you), and then deviated, so I will say they still set him up well. While the magic rings were not crossed over, there was no doubting that we feared the Mandarin. His aura remained true and his costume was almost an exact match… then they shot themselves in the foot, but hey, All Hail the King.
Yeah, you had to know this was coming. Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of Loki is going to stand in legend among comic book movies. He took the traditional villain of Thor and gave him depth, making the trickster into a sympathetic villain. Bravo, Hiddleston. You have more fan-girls than the hero.
As epic as these villains have been, I am extremely excited to see what the future holds for Marvel Villains. Will we see Baron Mordo in Doctor Strange? Will we see Baron Zemo in Captain America? Who could portray Maximus the Mad in the Inhumans? Truly, only time will tell.