Doctor Strange marks the fourteenth feature film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a film series like no other. The MCU rakes in billions upon billions of dollars worldwide and for good reason; Marvel films are fun adventures with great action and humour but ever since the MCU’s inception there has been one continuous problem with the series. The villains of the films are just so-so and after 14 films in the series this issue should be straightened out.
Now I know that we don’t currently get great, menacing three-dimensional villains in Marvel movies because Kevin Feige, supreme overlord of the MCU, prefers to make movies focusing on the superheroes and this has definitely worked. The heroes are what sell the movie and if the audience isn’t highly invested in him or her then they may not bother to come back and see their next solo adventure or even the next team-up movie. Thinking of the franchise is undoubtedly the right way to go and putting lots of time and effort into developing a villain when they are only going to be killed off at the end of the film isn’t going to help the MCU at large. However, even with killing off the bad guy at the end of the movie and them having the same amount of screen time, there is one way to improve these villains.
Since 2008’s Iron Man many of the villains in the MCU films have had the same powers as the hero. I think we should switch it up a bit. Yes, I understand that these are the bad guys they faced in the comic books but with such an interconnected universe swapping the villains from a story stand point would be easy. I agree that there are some bad guys that need to be in the movies that they are in such as Mads Mikkelsen’s Kaecilius in Doctor Strange. Doctor Strange needed to introduce the mystical side of the MCU and having both a hero and villain who can use ‘magic’ was the best way to do so but now that audiences are familiar with this new part of the MCU I think it would be interesting to see a magic user as a villain in a Thor or Iron Man movie.
My favourite action sequence in Ant-Man wasn’t the finale in which Ant-Man fights Darren Cross, who are both able to shrink to a tiny size, but was in fact the Ant-Man vs Falcon fight. Falcon has his set of powers (flight and some cool guns) while Ant-Man has his own and this made the fight between the two of them much more unpredictable, interesting and fun to watch than just two tiny man having a brawl.
What if the earliest two MCU movies had swapped villains and Iron Man fought Abomination and Hulk fought Ironmonger. The final fights in both movies were fairly unspectacular CGI overloads of metal on metal and green skin on green skin and switching them up would have made them much more interesting and also could have served as a proto-Hulkbuster fight to get fans ready for when the two clash in Age of Ultron. I’m not sure how this would work from a narrative perspective and maybe for the first film the bad guy should have similar powers to the hero but for sequels they need to switch it up.
Spiderman is considered to have the best rogues gallery of all of the Marvel superheroes and that’s because they all have very different – and very cool – abilities. Spiderman’s nemesis isn’t just another teenager who got bitten by a spider and decided to go bad but instead he’s fighting extraterrestrial symbiotes and industrialists who drink Goblin formula. In the upcoming film Spiderman Homecoming we are going to see Peter Parker go up against Vulture for the first time on the silver screen and I can’t wait for what will likely be a unique confrontation between the two.
After the release of Captain America Civil War everybody was raving about the battle at the airport in which both sides of heroes clash. That scene works so well because it features characters of various superpowers fighting in new and unique ways specific to them. Highlights included Ant-Man climbing inside and sabotaging Iron Man’s suit, Spiderman taking down Giant-Man and Scarlett Witch containing Vision. How boring would the fight be if all the characters had the same abilities. There is no reason why fights in all superhero films between hero and villain can’t be like this, all they need are different and opposing powers.
What do you think about the MCU’s villains? Let me know in the comments and geek out with me about Marvel or DC on Twitter @kylebrrtt.