The MCU Villain Showdown! Pt. 2
For those who are just joining us, this is our tournament battle royale between the deadliest enemies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe! Today we’ll be resolving bouts in the Lower Left Bracket. You can see the first round of battles right here.
Spoilers for all movies and shows up to and including Captain Marvel.
Each battle comprises of three categories, which points awarded to the character who had more success in their villainous endeavours, who’d win in a fight and who we like more.
RONAN THE ACCUSER VS BUCKY BARNES – ‘THE WINTER SOLDIER’
Successful Villainy: What makes this an especially tricky match-up is the scale of the ambition. The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) was tasked with eliminating Nick Fury and Captain America. He comes damn close to achieving both before making his getaway, impressive given the targets in question. Ronan (Lee Pace), however, was out to obliterate a planet. Having worked for Thanos to steal an Infinity Stone, Ronan betrayed the mad Titan and headed to Xander where he smashed all but destroyed the Nova Core, killing countless Xanderians, and was only stopped from destroy the entire globe by Star-Lords inexplicable ability to hold the Power Stone.
Ronan has the bigger ambition and, more than that, was in control of his actions. Bucky loses a lot of points on this count for the fact that he never wanted to be a villain. Point to Ronan.
Fight! Ronan has an army of followers but he’s also the dramatic sort who’s likely to take on a challenger himself. If you put him head to head against Winter Soldier you’re going to have one hell of a battle. They’re both very fast and incredibly strong. Winter Soldier has his metal arm for extra defence but it may not hold up to Ronan’s hammer. And then there’s the fact that Ronan has a control of an Infinity Stone. We’re not saying that Ronan wouldn’t walk away from this without some broken arms or even a missing limb, but he’s the one who’ll walk away. A second point to Ronan.
Who We Love to Hate: It’s hard not to side with the villain who was forced to fight against his will AND who had and good redemption arc. He’s also endorsed by Captain America, which makes him cool in our books. Ronan, conversely, is a zealot with anger issues. Of course this is a point for Bucky!
Result: We…didn’t expect this. Everyone loves Bucky and although we hate to do this: 2 – 1 in favour of Ronan.
BILLY RUSSO VS WILSON FISK – ‘THE KINGPIN’
Successful Villainy: Now it’s easy to dismiss this category as a win for the Kingpin of Crime (Vincent D’Onofrio), but let’s not discount Billy Russo (Benjamin Barnes) just yet. Russo is a highly trained military operative who had a hand in creating the vigilante called The Punisher and almost takes down the skulled psychopath. On second thought, let’s dismiss this category as a win for the KINGPIN OF CRIME. That’s a title that doesn’t come easily. Fisk a vicious killer and a ruthless leader who holds New York in the palm of his hand. Russo destroyed Frank Castle’s family, but there’s no telling how many families Fisk has cut down. Obvious point for Kingpin.
Fight!: Again, Russo is a highly trained military operative but next to the hulking mass of fury that Fisk becomes when angered he’s got no chance. Russo is going to be a smear left across the floor. Another point for Fisk.
Who We Love to Hate: Russo is mostly being let down by the obvious and disappointing ‘reveal’ that he’s Jigsaw in the second season. He was a decent enough villain until then. Kingpin, on the other hand, set the standard for excellent Netflix villains. The talented D’Onofrio from his decades of experience in front of the camera to creating a complex and terrifying foe for Daredevil. Again, Kingpin takes the point.
Result: 3 – 0 for The Kingpin. When the Netflix villains were good, they were really good.
AGENT GRANT WARD VS ALDRICH KILLIAN – ‘THE MANDARIN’
Successful Villainy: Killian (Guy Pearce) certainly set his sights high – he looked to destroy Iron Man immediately AFTER his win during the Battle of New York with a side order of stealing his girl and abducted the President of the USA for good measure. To this end he did pretty well. He got Stark, Pepper, War Machine and the President at his mercy along with his gang of super-heated soldiers. It’s his cockiness that proved his downfall, but he came close. Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) is less a grandiose monologging villain and more an insidious, creeping evil. For a good solid season we thought Ward was an agent of SHIELD, loyal to our beloved Coulson, but the entire time he was an agent for Hydra. He betrayed his entire squad and played a key role in bringing down the entirety of SHIELD, continuing to play mind games with them long after. Killian was a flash in the pan, but Ward is a real threat to the world and we’d never know he was there. Point to Ward.
Fight!: Trained by both SHIELD and Hydra, Ward is an expert agent who can readily take down any opponent. Unless that opponent is a regenerating, fire breathing lunatic with a squadron of similarly enhanced marines at his disposal. Ward is figuratively and literally toast. Point to Aldrich.
Who We Love to Hate: There is no way we’re giving this point to a white guy with Chinese tattoos who calls himself ‘The Mandarin’, especially when the more interesting version was a decoy. Point to Ward.
Result: He may not be the most appreciated villain in the MCU, but Ward is going to the next round with a 2 – 1 victory.
DARREN CROSS – ‘YELLOWJACKET’ VS YON-ROGG
Successful Villainy: Cross is a genius scientist who wanted to uncover the truth behind Hank Pym’s rumoured Ant-Man suit. To this end he succeeded immensely, having ousted Pym from his own company and painstakingly recreated the technology of the Pym Particles before weaponising them and selling military contracts for a tidy profit. He’d be a major player on the world stage if he hadn’t lost his mind. Yon-Rogg is less a go-getter, instead playing a long-con convincing Carol Danvers she’s an alien soldier as part of his war effort. This backfires in a spectacular fashion when Danvers regains her memory and beats the snot out of him. Point to Yellowjacket.
Fight!: Tough call on this one. Yon-Rogg is an elite alien warrior with super strength and years in the field, whilst Yellowjacket has the ability to shrink almost completely from sight and fire lasers. Yon-Rogg is over-confident though, and would easily over-estimate Yellowjacket’s ability to get an edge on him. It’s not an easy win, but it’s a point for Yellowjacket.
Who We Love to Hate: Hate is the right word when it comes to Darren Cross. He’s a slimy, thieving, honour-less war profiteer. He is fun though, and his suit looks cool. Yon-Rogg is just a super-tough dirtbag. Point to Cross.
Result: A surprising 3 – 0 win for Yellowjacket. We’ll see how he fares against tougher opponents before long.
That’s the left opening brackets taken care of…we’ll find out who makes it through on the right side very soon!