PODCAST: WandaVision Episodes 5 & 6 (SPOILERS)!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

Things are getting CRAZY in the town of Westview, folks! On this episode of The World’s Best Podcast , we breakdown Episodes 5 & 6 of the excellent, new Disney+ series, (FULL SPOILERS) Over the last 2 episodes, WandaVision has has broken records to become the #1 show in the world!

WandaVision: The #1 Show In The World

I’m not that surprised by the ultra-positive response to the series. Among the reasons for the show’s popularity, is how unique and beautifully unconventional the series. There’s never been a major, mainstream comic book, superhero movie or TV series like this. Which is why it’s attracting so many new viewer who’d normally avoid the genre. It doesn’t look like it’s filled with the big CGI battles that turn some people off. Now audiences who normally avoid superhero-fare like this, are tuning into WandaVision for it’s charm, mystery, nostalgia, and the fact that it could be the most widely unique superhero project of the decade. The MCU seems to have another home run on his hands, now I can’t wait to see what they do with The Falcon and The Winter Soldier which premieres a week after WandaVision wraps up.

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Listen here: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/43472059 Or subscribe/listen on Spotify, Stitcher, Spreaker, iHeartRadio, Deezer, Podchaser, Castbox, Podcast Addict, Google Podcasts, & Apple Podcasts/ITunes…

iTunes/Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441#episodeGuid=https%3A%2F%2Fapi.spreaker.com%2Fepisode%2F43472059

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/11mA9kClyevVZjWYMQB1Io?si=7TfnqkBiShqTQpZhh2UDsA

Thanks for listening! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. We’re on Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul’s

MUST WATCH: WandaVision

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

As crazy as it must sound, it’s been just over a year and half since Spider-Man: Far From Home hit theaters. The film served as an epilogue of sorts to The Infinity Saga and our last piece of new content from The Marvel Cinematic Universe. When WandaVision premiered on January 15th, it ended what almost became the longest gap in new content since the studio’s inception. Second only to the 1 year 11 month gap between The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2. Fortunately, it looks like we have an insane amount of new MCU content coming our way this year, with WandaVision  as the first out of the gate..

  If going to talk about WandaVision, if you’ve seen the trailers, which I’m sure most of you have, you know the deal. But just in case, I’m posting a trailer right here to refresh your memory. Take one last look if you need a brief reminder:

I’m not gonna waste time going over the set up. Instead, I’m going to dive right in to what worked, and what didn’t, in The MCU’s first and highly anticipated new Disney+ shows. So, what did I think of the first 3 episodes of WandaVision? Does it live up to the hype? Was this the right project It kick off Phase 4 for Marvel Studios? Honestly, I don’t know yet.

The Big Problem: Weekly Episode Release Vs. Binge Format

My biggest take away from WandaVision was that streaming services desperately need to go back to the format that made them so intriguing and unique in the first place: Release all episodes of their original programming on the premiere date! It was so exciting things when a new season of Daredevil or Stranger Things, would premiere on Netflix and I could watch the entire story at my leisure! It was like getting to watch a trilogy of your favorite movie series over one weekend!

I understand that when Disney+ launched, the service needed to build up its library of original content and it’s subscriber base. The concern being, that people would just sign up, watch the first season of The Mandalorian over the weekend, and then cancel the subscription. Disney+ is successful enough now that it can move beyond that way of thinking and remember what drew people to streaming services in the first place.

    For a series like WandaVision, the weekly format actually hurts the show. In fact, it’s WandaVision’s biggest weakness. Each episode of the show is formatted to replicate and pay homage to a classic sitcom era. Episode 1 feels very much like The Dick Van Dyke Show, while Episode 2 feels more like Bewitched, with Episode 3 turning into something like The Brady Bunch or Happy Days. While this is certainly extremely unique and innovative for a superhero story, it’s too earnest for its own good. Let’s be real, we don’t really give a shit about the sitcom format, we’re all here to watch this series because we know this is The MCU and something extremely strange afoot. We care about the mystery of WHY Wanda and Vision are stuck in this weird TV sitcom reality. The series takes the sitcom gimmick that they’re replicating each week, way too seriously. It seems like the creators didn’t just use the aesthetic and style of a 1960s sitcom, they also seem to be following the rules of storytelling that you’d see in a sitcom in the 60’s, which isn’t all that interesting. Like I mentioned before, innovations like this need to continue for superhero films to survive and thrive. But WandaVision would’ve been much better served leaning into the creepy and unsettling aspects of the whole TV sitcom format, more like something out of The Twilight Zone. As it stands we get a pretty earnest and straightforward series that’s basically a sitcom staring Wanda and Vision, with hints of something darker and mysterious in the background. How did the characters find themselves in this strange TV world? Who or what is doing this? Is it Wanda herself? The answers to those mysteries are what we’re here to see. 

Know Your Audience & Why They’re Watching

They don’t have to show their hand right away, but we want more than just a silly sitcom with hints of something more interesting down the line. It couldn’t help but make me think of the film, Natural Born Killers, where Juliette Lewis’ abusive upbringing is shown in flashback form as a 60’s style TV sitcom, complete with a laugh track, while keeping the dark and twisted nature of her family life in tact. Seeing a horrible childhood juxtaposed with the wholesome sitcoms of yesteryear is what made that sequence so disquieting. Even Supernatural once did a crossover episode with Scooby-Doo, without ever compromising the tone or identity of either series.

    WandaVision would’ve been much better served to up the creepy factor by 100%. The sitcom format would work so much better if we were more frequently reminded of the unsettling truth that something sinister is causing this. As it stands it’s basically just a sitcom that occasionally reminds us that there’s something unusual and dangerous at the heart of these events. There are more creepy and disturbing moments, as well as more overt clues about what’s actually be going on, in Episodes 2 & 3. Which is why I think the 2nd and 3rd installment are so much stronger than the 1st. Now it feels like we’re going to have to sit through weeks of a sitcom that we’re not really interested in watching, to get to the part of the story that really matters, which will probably be around the last three episodes. I’m old enough to have watched many of these old shows when they aired in the “Nick-At-Night” days. A large part of the audience won’t even know what show’s WandaVision is drawing inspiration from.

    If the whole season dropped at once, the first 3 episodes would seem so much more charming and intriguing because we wouldn’t have to wait weeks to find out where this is going. We could dive right in and finish it out over a weekend. After all, it’s only six hours of content. Having said all that, I definitely like the show. Despite some of the creative choices that I disagree with, WandaVision is as fun as something like this could possibly be. Mainly because Wanda and Vision are such great characters and Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany are excellent actors who really give it their all. They’re a fun duo to watch and they have great chemistry as a couple. 

The bottom line is I encourage any superhero or MCU fan to check out WandaVision, just know what you’re getting into first. This is not an action adventure series. It’s very deliberate and with it’s own methodical and sometimes slow pacing. Which can be frustrating at times, but the potential of the underlying mystery as well as the performances by the excellent cast, will keep me coming back for more each week.

Like any good Marvel fan, or fanatic in my case, I kept my eyes peeled for Easter Eggs and believe me there are a ton of them! Wanda and Vision both have such storied history‘s as characters that there is a lot of storytelling there for the show to pull from. There are a lot of cool callbacks, Easter Eggs, and clues to previous MCU projects, comic book characters and storylines, as well as upcoming shows and films, in The MCU.

Easter Eggs, Clues, & References

 First of all, Wanda seems to have undergone a massive power upgrade. She can seemingly create and manipulate matter at will. Conjuring up objects from thin and altering existing ones. There’s a neat end credits sequence at the end of each episode with a musical score that’s creepy as hell and works as a unsettling contrast to the bright and bubbly nature of everything that comes before. It reminded me quite a bit of how Wanda’s powers would manifest in miniseries House of M with these sort of blocks. When she creates or destroys, something it comes apart or is put back together again small squares much like what we see in the end credits.

All 3 episodes drop huge clues that the people monitoring Wanda and Vision are S.W.O.R.D., we see their symbol in the van monitoring thing at the end of Episode 1 and it appears again in on a red and yellow toy helicopter that Wanda finds in Episode 2.

From Episode 1, the SWORD insignia appears on the notebook in front of the monitor, as well as on the computer screen on the left, in the bottom right corner of the screen

The inclusion of SWORD is extremely interesting because they’re basically SHIELD for space. They monitor extraterrestrials threats to Earth and other dangers to the planet from outer space. This would imply that something extraterrestrial is at play in WandaVision, which opens up all sorts of fun possibilities. In one of the Spider-Man: Far From Home post-credits scenes Nick Fury is seen on an alien ship or space station, which led many to theorize that he was setting up S.W.O.R.D.

Wanda makes a new friend in Episode 2, a young African-American woman who introduces herself as Geraldine. They meet while attending a planning event on a sunny afternoon, under gazebo filled with other women from the community.

Geraldine (Real Name: Monica Rambeau AKA Spectrum)

They’re all there to discuss the upcoming talent show fundraiser that the town is putting on. Right off the bat, there’s some really weird shit going down at this gathering of happy homemakers. Within her first few seconds of interacting with Wanda, Geraldine looks almost frightened and appears confused as to why she’s even at this meeting in the first place. As if she just woke up from an upsetting and disorienting dream. In Episode 3, we see that she’s wearing a necklace bearing the insignia of SWORD . She may introduce herself as Geraldine, but we know better. She is in fact Monica Rambeau a.k.a. Spectrum. We’ve actually encountered Monica in The MCU already, we met her as a child, in Captain Marvel. Monica is the daughter of Carol Danvers’ best friend. Monica is clearly following in the footsteps of the woman she look up to since she was a little girl. The next time we see her in The MCU outside of WandaVision will be as a full fledged superhero in Captain Marvel 2 which will likely involve SWORD in someway.

  Someone, presumably SWORD,  are tattempting to contact Wanda through the radio. You very clearly hear them asking her “Who is doing this to you, Wanda?”The voice on the radio is Agent Woo who we first met in Ant-Man and The Wasp.

Wanda and Vision perform a magic act in the town’s talent show school fundraiser. One of the props they use in their act, “The Cabinet of Mysteries”, has a symbol on it that looks a lot like The Mind Stone. An artifact key to the origins of both Wanda and Vision.

The commercial in Episodes 2 is for a watch made by Baron Strucker, who gave Wanda and her brother their powers. The watch also has the HYDRA symbol and says HYDRA on its face. Episode 3 has a commercial for a bath product made by HYDRA

In Episode 2, Wanda goes from normal to what looks to be about six months pregnant in a matter of moments. In episode three she gives birth to twin boys named Billy and Tommy. Shortly after their birth Wanda tells Geraldine (AKA Monica) that she was a twin and she had a brother named Pietro. This causes Geraldine to snap out of it for a moment and mention how Pietro was killed by Ultron.

At which point Wanda makes note of Geraldine’s SWORD necklace and hurls her out of town, back into the real world. She’s intercepted by what looks to be a massive government operation that seems to be monitoring the strange dome that has encased this town. Which reminded me a lot of the facility SHIELD constructs around Thor’s hammer, Mijonir, when it falls to Earth in the first Thor film. 

It was also really cool just to hear Ultron referenced in Episode 3. He was an underrated villain who I’ve always wanted to see return. I had a theory that Ultron could somehow be involved in the events of WandaVision. I’ll just hold out hope that he’ll possibly make an appearance by the end of the season, who knows?

    In the comics, Wanda and Vision have twin children (Billy and Tommy), who are later revealed to be constructs created by Wanda’s powers. The knowledge that her children were never “real” eventually leads to her mental break with reality that results in the deaths of Hawkeye, Scott Lang, and Vision. The fallout causes The Avengers to briefly disband. Which would seem to suggest that these children will likely be a very important part of the series going forward.

Left: Billy AKA Wiccan; Right: Tommy AKA Speed

  In the comics, It’s later revealed that the children were in fact real and survived. Eventually becoming the Young Avengers known as Speed (Tommy) and Wiccan (Billy), whose powers mirror those of Wanda and her brother Pietro AKA Quicksilver. Other members of Young Avengers include Scott Lang’s daughter, Cassie, who will develop size changing powers in Ant-Man 3. As well as, Hawkeye’s protege Kate Bishop, who will be making her debut in the upcoming Hawkeye Disney+ series with Hailee Steinfeld in the role.

Expect us to continue covering WandaVision as the series continues!

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. We’re on Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

MCU: Marvel Casts KANG THE CONQUEROR! Is This The New “Big Bad” Of The MCU?

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

Jonathan Majors (HBO’s Lovecraft Country has been cast as Kang The Conqueror

    During their long stint as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, The Avengers have faced countless villains over the years. There are very few “Big Bads” in The Marvel Universe that The Avengers haven’t tangled with at some point or another. Heroes like Spider-Man and the X-Men have their own fantastic rogues galleries of villains. By contrast, The Avengers only have a few MAJOR villains to call their own. Villains who are seen as Avengers villains first and foremost. Sure, The Avengers may come up against Doctor Doom fairly frequently, but Doctor Doom has always been, and always will be, the nemesis of The Fantastic Four. However, when it comes to mortal enemies, what The Avengers lack in numbers, they make up for in their sheer level of badass. These motherfuckers are some next level threats. The Avengers have 3 iconic villains as primary enemies and we’ve already see 2 of them in The MCU: Thanos, Ultron, and Kang The Conqueror. I’ll get back to Kang in a minute. 

    First, let’s do a quick rundown of the mega-bad guys Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have faced so far. I’m not counting Loki for the same reason I don’t count Doctor Doom, Loki may have fought The Avengers, but he’s Thor’s problem first and foremost. Anyway like I said, we’ve already seen 2 out of 3 major Avengers baddies, so let’s start with Ultron. In the comics, Ultron is a fucking nightmare. He can never truly be killed, some piece of code always survives. Because he’s an artificial intelligence, every time he comes back, he’s a little more dangerous, a little smarter, and little more deadly. Tony Stark himself has said it on multiple times, it’s an inevitability: one day Ultron will simply win. Ultron may have lacked a lot of this menace on the big screen, but I still feel like there’s a lot to like in The MCU‘s portrayal of the character. James Spader put in an underrated performance as the deranged artificial intelligence, in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Some fans felt that the film and it’s titular villain were disappointing. However, I think Ultron is much more interesting than people give him credit for and I would love to see the character pop up in a future MCU film. 

   Then, of course, there’s Thanos, who made his first appearance in the post credits scene of the original Avengers film. After years of build up, Josh Brolin delivered an already iconic performance as The Mad Titan, Thanos. Cementing his spot not only as the best villain in The Marvel Cinematic Universe, but one of the best villains on the silver screen period. But even as Thanos was wowing audiences in the epic finale of Marvel’s Infinity Saga, some were wondering who would take his who would take his place as the next “Big Bad” of The MCU.

  Which brings us to “Big Bad” 3, Kang The Conqueror. Fans have been speculating for at least a couple of years now about which villain will become the next big threat in The MCU. With Ultron and Thanos out of the way, the smart money seemed to be on Kang The Conqueror. Now, it looks like those predictions are likely to come true. Recent reports from outlets like Deadline, indicate that Jonathan Majors currently starring as Atticus Freeman in the excellent new HBO series Lovecraft Country, has been cast in the role of Kang The Conqueror. These new reports also indicating that the character will be making his debut in Ant-Man 3. I haven’t seen Majors in many other roles besides Lovecraft Country, but he’s excellent in that series, so I really like this casting. I think there’s a lot of excellent potential here.

   So who is Kang The Conqueror, anyway? Born Nathaniel Richards, Kang is a human from several thousand years in the future, he’s even a descendent of Reed Richards. Kang’s defining characteristics are his mastery of time travel and his brilliant strategic mind. In the far future, Kang utilized his genius-level intellect and advanced weapons taken from across the timeline, to conquer Earth and expand his empire throughout the stars. Kang considers himself the ruler of time itself, with all of history under his domain. He’s gone by many names over the years, but he is the warlord or king of whatever age he finds himself in. He traveled back in time to ancient Egypt and was worshipped as a god because of his incredible technology. He spent years there, ruling as a pharaoh under the name Rama-Tut. During this part of his life, Kang crossed paths and swords with En Saba Nur aka Apocalypse, one of the greatest adversaries of the X-Men. With the X-Men making their debut in the MCU sooner or later, this opens up a lot of interesting storytelling possibilities that could come out of that connection. 

One younger version of Kang, is disgusted when he finds out about his future as a time-traveling despot, so he travels back in time to “The Age of Heroes”,  to join The Avengers in an attempt to avert this future. This Kang actually joins the Young Avengers under the name Iron Lad. Much later in his life, Kang takes up the alias, Immortus, serving as a quasi-guardian of the timeline. It’s easy to see the many possibilities for great storytelling at play with a character like Kang. Kang is so dangerous because he’s a brilliant strategist on par with Captain America or Nick Fury with technology at his fingertips that is thousands of years beyond what even brilliant minds like Reed Richards or Tony Stark have at their disposal.

Kang’s different incarnations through the timeline: Kang The Conqueror, Immortus, Iron Lad, Rama-Tut

Ant-Man 3 may seem like an odd choice to debut this character, but it was Pym technology that gave The Avengers access to time travel in the first place. Perhaps Kang doesn’t like other people messing around in, what he views to be, his domain? There are also rumors that Ant-Man 3 could also see the debut of The Fantastic Four in some way. Could this be a jumping off point for the future of the MCU in the same way a movie like Captain America: Civil War was? What do you guys think of Kang The Conqueror joining the MCU,? Do you like the casting? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

The True Villain of The MCU?

Hey Everybody,

The guys over at ScreenJunkies, who put out some pretty solid content, made this fantastic video where they argue than Tony Stark is the true villain of the MCU. I gotta say I’ve definitely said similar things about Iron Man in the past. But this is the best breakdown of  why Tony Stark is a pretty big bag of shit that I’ve seen. It’s a very cool video. Once again, thanks and great job ScreenJunkies!  Enjoy!

– Paul

How PHASE 3 Fixed Marvel’s Villain Problem (And Why It Never Existed In The First Place)

 

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It first started around The Avengers. We had Loki light up the screen as one of cinema’s great big bads. Then Iron Man 3 came along with Aldrich Killian and “The Mandarin” (Which I actually thought was a smart way to deal with a potentially problematic villain). Maleketh in Thor: The Dark World was the nail in the coffin. The internet declared: “MARVEL HAS BAD VILLAINS!” Villains like Ronan The Accuser from Guardians of The Galaxy sealed the deal: Marvel has one dimensional, forgettable villains.

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After seeing Marvel’s excellent new film, Black Panther, with two very different, but fantastic in different ways. I got to thinking about the villains in PHASE 3 and not only doe each film in Phase 3 has at least 1 great villain, but I’d like to argue that the entire premise that Marvel has weak villains is BULLSHIT!

But I’ll get back to that… First of BIG SPOILERS FOR ALL MCU FILMS SO FAR INCLUDING BLACK PANTHER! Like I said, Black Panther has two great villains. First, there’s Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaw who we first saw in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Klaw is the “fun” villain. He’s got his awesome laser canon arm, blowing shit up. He’s laughing, having a good time. This is a guy who knows how to enjoy being an arms dealer in a world of aliens, gods, and superheroes. I often hate when villains “chew the scenery”, but when it’s done well like Serkis does here, it’s a blast to watch.

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Then we have Michael B. Jordan as Eric Killmonger. I love Michael B. Jordan, so I was psyched when he was cast in Black Panther, but he’s so likable I just didn’t see him as a villain. He’s the type of guy I saw more as a hero than a villain. Man, was I wrong. Killmonger in this movie is NOT. FUCKING. AROUND. He’s a vicious, focused, terrifying motherfuker.

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The scene when he faces T’Challa in The Falls for The Throne, you get the sense that T’Challa doesn’t really know what he’s dealing with. This is a man on a fucking mission. It was here where Killmonger reminded me of another great Phase 3 Marvel villain: Zemo. Zemo is the villain in Captain America: Civil War. He’s easy to forget because there’s so much dramatic eye catching stuff in that film. Zemo, like Killmonger when he faces T’Challa is just a man, not a god. But in Civil War, Zemo wins. He breaks The Avengers. The beauty of it, is what breaks The Avengers apart is the truth that Zemo exposes, their own lies and their own actions. Daniel Bruhl plays it perfectly. A grim man, on a grim mission.

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On the Cosmic side of things we have the excellent Cate Blanchett as the best Thor villain, Hela (because at this point is Loki even really a villain?). She was charismatic, funny at times and she made you see a much darker side of Odin. I also think she could be the most powerful Marvel villain we’ve seen so far. I do not think we’ve seen the last of her, either. We don’t really see her die and in the comics one of the reasons Thanos is trying to assemble the Infinity Gauntlet is to impress the “thing” he loves, Death. In the comics, there’s an actual female personification of Death that Thanos is madly in love with. I think instead of trying to introduce a new character into an already massive cast, they’ll make Hela the object of Thanos’ affection. She kinda, sorta, basically is Death anyway. So that’s my theory.

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Staying on the Cosmic side of the MCU, there’s Peter Quill’s extremely shitty father, Ego The Living Planet. Played perfectly by Kurt Russell, he never actually lies to Peter. He definitely omits very important facts, but he never outright lies. He’s the perfect space Dad! Except for the fact that he gave Peter’s mom a brain tumor. That’s a deal breaker. Before this big reveal, there are several smaller bad guys in the movie, but Kurt Russell is so disarming I found myself wondering who the hell the main villain for the movie was. So it’s real sucker punch when he reveals he planted the tumor that killed Peter’s mom. Tim Cuff, one of the site contributors thought Ego was his favorite MCU Villain. And what comic book fan didn’t love seeing the big face on The Planet when Rocket and Yondu are in orbit. Speaking of Yondu… FUCK! That’s the most heart breaking death we’ve seen in the MCU so far. “He may have been your father, boy. But I was your Daddy.” Goddammit it gets me every time!

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Then we have my personal favorite from Phase 3 and maybe the whole MCU, Adrian Toomes (they never actually called him The Vuture in the movie) played by the absolutely fucking legendary Michael Keaton. The film opens days after the Chitauri Invasion, Toomes is a blue collar contractor and he and his crew are contracted by the city to help clean up the Chitauri tech left over from the invasion of New York, but are fucked over by the government and Stark Industries when they create a government division to handle these things called “Damage Control”. Keaton almost steals the whole movie. He’s super menacing, but clearing he’s a normal, loving, husband and father. He’s kind of the anti-Tony Stark, he has the high tech Vulture suits he uses for heists, he’s blue collar, Tony’s silver spoon.

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Man, the scene Peter shows up at Liz’s to pick he up for the dance and Toomes, who we now realize is Liz’s dad, is my favorite sequence in the movie. In the car on the way to the dance, the way Keaton plays Toomes slowly realizing this kid is Spider-Man is phenomenal. Keaton is so fucking good in this role, I hope he pops up in future movies.

What makes a fantastic villain is that they think they’re the hero of the own story. That seems to be a common trend here with the Phase 3 villains. Several of the villains I’ve listed are ones that we easily sympathize with. Or maybe even think are right? When you find yourself siding with a villain more than the hero, an interesting story is being told. Killmonger, Zemo, Toomes, and even Hela to an extent all have very legitimate reasons for their actions.

Now the only outlier in Phase 3 is Doctor Strange. A very good movie, a solid origin flick, but the villain, Kaicillius, is pretty bland. It’s its cool seeing Strange facing down Dormammu in the final act, he’s more of a force of nature than a villain.

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So, with the exception of Doctor Strange, it think I’ve made a pretty solid argument that the Marvel Phases 3 villains are pretty great. But I also said that I didn’t think Marvel even had a villain problem in the first place. So let’s quickly go through Phase 1 & 2 and it’s villains. I’m going to rate the quality of the villains themselves, NOT the movies:

PHASE ONE

Iron Man

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The one that started it all. In more ways than one. It started the unfortunate “villain just being an evil version of the hero” trend. But it’s not a total loss, Jeff Bridges is fun in the role. The irony is that he’s more menacing as Obadiah Stane than he is when he’s in the Iron Monger suit. Also, what the fuck is his endgame once he gets the suit on? I also give them a bit more credit with this being their first film and they’re still finding their footing.

Villain: Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger
Grade: C+

The Incredible Hulk

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The lost, red headed step child of the MCU. Here we have The Abomination and General Ross. When it come to Ross, his reasoning for hating the Hulk/Banner so much is, here’s a badass military man who’s always in control and has never been afraid of a damn thing in his life. Then he’s there for the birth of The Hulk, an unstoppable monster that makes him completely helpless. For the first time in his life, he felt fear and The Hulk put it there. He want’s to kill the thing that put fear into him. He’s terrified of The Hulk and that’s why he hunts him with such vigor. He’s like Ahab, kind of. Ross of course pops up like a shit that just wont flush in Civil War.

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Then there’s Tim Roth’s Abomination. There’s something to be said for seeing The Hulk just tear it the fuck up against his most monstrous and physically powerful adversary. Their fight through Harlem is fun, CGI madness. Like Ross, Emil Blonsky has the unique motivation of a military man. A man past his physical prime, who knows if he had the physical ability he had 20 years ago with the skills and tactical knowledge he’s learned since, he’d be a force to be reckoned with. Which leads to the series of events that turn him into The Abomination. He tries to become something like Captain America, but he turns himself into a monster instead. It’s important to remember that in the MCU the secret to creating super soldiers like Captain America died with the scientist who invented the procedure. People have been trying to perfect it for decades but . Captain America was the only real success, usually People end up with something more like the abomination. I actually think these are 2 pretty underrated and interesting villains .
Once Hulk beats The Abomination into submission, alive and unconscious, he just takes off! What the fuck were they gonna do if he woke up? It’s not like they have a prison cell designed to hold something like The Abomination just on hand, because I think they have a half hour TOPS before this fucking thing wakes up! They don’t make it clear here, but in the comic, unlike The Hulk, he doesn’t change back to a man. He’s a giant fucking death monster permanently (something tells me he’ll be cool with it). Then again maybe Ross does have something ready to go because he had JUST captured The Hulk. This is a dangerous fucking situation is all I’m saying!
There are actually several other interesting loose ends in this movie. Like how the post credit scene with Ross and Stark in the bar at the end of the film doesn’t make sense, because in the larger context of the MCU because they were still trying to figure out what the MCU would be. But they retconned it in the Marvel One-Shot “The Consultant”.
Then there’s Tim Blake Nelson as Dr. Samuel Sterns who was helping Bruce to find a cure. He helps Blonsky make the final transformation into The Abomination. During the procedure he get a cut on the head and the Hulk’s blood drips into the wound. From there his head begins to bubble and grow.

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Clearly this was meant to set up Hulk villain, The Leader. In the comics, Sterns’ transformation makes him super intelligent and he ends up looking something like this:

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We never see hide nor hair from this guy again anywhere in the MCU so presumably he’s out there up to no good. Or he got hit by a bus…

Villain: General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross
Grade: B+

Villain: Emil Blonsky/ The Abomination
Grade: B-

Iron Man 2

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Everybody shits on this movie, but I like it a lot. I agree Mickey Rourke is another shitty “evil version of the hero” villain. He’s actually the least interesting villain in that category. But Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer FUCKING. RULES. He is so fucking fun to watch in this movie. Here’s a guy who desperately wants to be Tony Stark, but just can’t quite pull it off. When it comes to villains, he saves this flick.

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Villain: Ivan Vanko/Whiplash
Grade: D+

Villain: Justin Hammer
Grade: A-

Captain America: The First Avenger

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When people first started talking about the “MCU Villain Problem”, I was like do you have fucking amnesia?! What about The Red Skull? They absolutely nail him. THIS is The Red Skull of the comics. Plus, Hugo Weaving playing Werner Herzog playing The Red Skull? Fucking genius ( This is true by the way, Weaving largely based The Red Skull on Herzog). The make-up effects are fantastic. This is a great Marvel villain, people. Also, to this day I’m certain he didn’t actually die at the and of the movie. He’s holding the Tesseract, The Space Stone, I just think he was transported across the galaxy and I’ve been waiting to see him return since. I’ve heard the Hugo Weaving isn’t too keen on reprising the role, but he’s already covered in The Red Skull make up, I’m sure there are plenty of great actors to fill his shoes. I could see them maybe bringing him back in Avengers: Infinity War, so we shall see

Villain: The Red Skull
Grade: A

Thor/ The Avengers

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I’m going to skip right over Thor and Avengers because we all know Loki is the man.

Villain: Loki
Grade: A+

PHASE 2

Iron Man 3

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Here’s Marvel’s first big standalone after The Avenger and they were scared people wouldn’t want to see the heroes apart now that we’d see the best of the best. They were wrong to be worried. This was a huge hit for Marvel. Unlike many people, I don’t hate “The Mandarin Twist”. Which was, as I said before a clever solution to a potentially problematic villain. The Mandarin was nothing but a pathetic rip off of the much better DC villain Ras Al Ghul. It’s hard to argue that Ben Kingsley is a great in the role. He sells the idea of The Mandarin as a terrorist and then is really fun to watch when we realize he’s just a drug addled British actor. For The Mandarin purists out there the last Marvel One-Shot “All Hail The King” should help to alleviate the pain.

Villain: The Mandarin
Grade: Guy Pierce – C-/ Ben Kingsley – B-

Thor: The Dark World

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Malekith is the real lowest of the low. The blandest, most uninteresting Marvel villain in the MCU’s weakest film. It’ a shame because Christopher Eccelston played one of the most terrifying villains of all time as Raymond Calitri in Gone in Sixty Seconds (That’s kind of an inside joke, which I shouldn’t do). Fortunately there’s nowhere to go but up for both the MCU and the Thor movies. This is BY FAR the worst Marvel villain from any of the films.

Villain: Malekith The Accursed
Grade: D+

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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I’m reluctant consider The Winter Soldier a villain in this film because he’s kind of more of a victim than anything else. Yes, he does some terrible things, but when I think of this film I don’t think of him as a villain. He’s Bucky, a hero in his own right and Cap’s friend turned brainwashed assassin. Ultimately he’s a very scary and effective human weapon for HYDRA. The fact that there are this many layers to the “villain” of the film speaks to how good both the movie and the character are.

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Then we have the great Robert Redford who’s excellent as Alexander Pierce, one of the heads of HYDRA. Having one of the great American actors play a HYDRA agent who has infiltrated the highest levels of SHIELD is so fucking cool. This a role he could have easily phoned in, but he puts in a fantastic performance. Like all great villains, at certain points he kind of has you seeing where he’s coming from. I think this film is the moment when the geeks truly inherited the earth, when with his dying breath Robert Redford whispers “Hall Hydra“.

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We also have Rumlow AKA CROSSBONES as a solid piece of shit, soldier villain. Who we get to see again as Crossbones in Civil War. I think he’s the perfect muscle in this film to the brain that is Alexander Pierce.

Villain: The Winter Soldier
Grade: A-

Villain: Alexander Pierce
Grade: B+

Villain: Brock Rumlow AKA Crossbones
Grade:B-

Guardians of the Galaxy

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Here we have another pretty generic space villain. Very one dimensional. He wants to kill everyone on the planet Xandar because the Kree…something… ancient blood feud… something, something. Don’t get me wrong, Ronan is NOT a very good villain, but I kind of like him. He’s got a cool look. He’s light years better than Malekith, the last generics space villain we got. And call me out for drinking the Marvel Koolaid, but I love when he has to go get chewed out by Thanos. The whole thing had a very Darth Vader and The Emperor feel. Always a plus

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Villain: Ronan The Accuser
Grade: C+ (That’s probably too high a score, but I like this guy for some reason)

Ant-Man

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Ant-Man continues the classic Marvel problem of the villain being an evil version of the hero. We also have the reverse Iron Man with the young buck trying to take the company away from old Michael Douglass’s Hank Pym. In Iron Man it was the older guy trying to steal the company. A lot of been there, done that here. Sure, the Yellowjacket suit is cool and Ant-Man has one of the best third acts of any Marvel film, but this just ain’t gonna cut it villain-wise.

Villain: Darren Cross AKA Yellowjacket
Grade: C

Avengers: Age of Ultron

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“There are no strings on me…” – Ultron

I wanted to save this for last, even though technically Ant-Man came out after this film. I think Ultron is by far the most underrated villain in the MCU. James Spader plays him perfectly as this twisted reflection of Tony Stark. His “birth” scene, when he reveals himself to The Avengers in that Frankenstein’s Monster version of Stark’s drones, is creepy and memorable in the best ways. He’s a legitimate threat to the Avengers, which can be difficult. To be fair he should have been more of a “HOLY FUCK, HOW ARE WE GOING TO BEAT THIS UNSTOPPABLE BADASS WHO’S 10 STEPS AHEAD OF US?!!” Villain. But I think what we got really worked. Ultron isn’t Skynet. He’s not a cold, unfeeling machine. He wants to be human, but his emotions are all fucked up. He doesn’t understand why people can’t see what he’s trying to do for them.

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To Ultron, Earth NEEDS an extinction level event so the surviving humans will become stronger. As Ulron says to the twins “As soon as the Earth settles, God throws a stone and believe me he’s winding up.” I think he’s talking about Thanos here. I don’t think he knew specifically what it was, but he new something big and bad was heading our way and we weren’t ready (I just wanna say other sites have been talking about similar ideas, but I’ve had this theory for awhile now). I also think it’s fascinating that he’s always talking about God, Faith, and Religion. I find it so fascinating and would love to know why Wheadon chose to have theology on the mind of a powerful A.I. so much. Besides the Red Skull and The Vulture, this is the villain I would most like to see return in a Marvel film. In addition to being one of my favorite scenes in the MCU, when Vision and the very last Ultron drone have that great conversation about humanity at the end of Age of Ultron. Ultron comes at Vision and Vision destroys him in blinding light using the Mind Stone in his head. OR DID HE?!  Check out the scene here:

Earlier in the film, Vision does say earlier “I don’t want to kill Ultron. He’s unique.” Maybe Vision has some of Ultron’s code tucked away somewhere for safe keeping. As we all, know from the comics, Ultron always comes back…

Villain: Ultron
Grade: A

So out of the 16 villains from PHASES 1 & 2 analyzed and graded here, 10 were at least a B- or higher. Of course, that’s just my personal analysis. I didn’t even get into the villains from the Netflix shows. You throw in villains like Kingpin, Killgrave, and Cottonmouth and the debate is OVER. BOOM.

I’d also like to point out that I’ve always said Marvel has the best heroes (with the exception of Batman) and DC has the best villains. Up until recently, Ive been a big DCEU defender in fact. But so far, Warner Bros., in one way or another (directly or indirectly) have managed to royally fuck up their 3 best villains: Lex Luthor, The Joker, and Darkseid. So, who really has the villain problem, hmm?

So there we have it, I’ve made my case. I hope I changed some hearts and minds. But you guys are the Judge in the end. Let me know what you think. I am right? Dead wrong? A complete idiot?.. well, we all know that last one’s true anyway. Let me know in the comments below or on our Facebook page World’s Best Media.

As always, thanks for reading!

-Paul