13 MCU Henchmen Who Could Be A Legit Big Bad On Their Own

List Rules
Vote up the MCU henchmen who earn their spot at their villainous leader's side.

The prominent antagonists get all the plaudits in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - but how about those minor MCU villains you just love to hate? The likes of Thanos, Loki, and Killmonger may garner the attention, but the little guys deserve some love, too - even if those little guys are massive brutes with a sword for an arm. Yeah, that's right, we're talking about Razor Fist. We're talking about Skurge the Executioner. We're talking about Crossbones.

If your favorite underrated MCU villains never got the chance to be the focal point of a superhero's ire in a movie, then chances are, they're on the following list. So, vote up the sidekicks who not only did their bosses proud, but also managed to make you think they could run things themselves.


  • 1
    281 VOTES
    Ebony Maw
    Photo: Avengers: Infinity War / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Who Is He: This magic-wielding alien can go mano-a-mano with Doctor Strange, so you know he's no joke. He also regales his soon-to-be victims with tales of Thanos's greatness, making the Mad Titan seem like some kind of deity. Gross. Also, we know Tony Stark calls him "Squidward," but the guy has a severe case of Voldemort-face. Would that analogy have been too on the nose?

    His Most Effective Moment: He successfully captures Doctor Strange and attempts to take him back to Thanos, even though he is dealing with the Sorcerer Supreme, Iron Man, and Spider-Man all at the same time (with a bit of help from Cull Obsidian). Interestingly enough, this makes Ebony Maw the most effective member of the Black Order in the MCU, as the rest of them outright fail in their tasks.

    His Downfall: Put simply, Peter Parker has a clever idea from that "really old movie," Aliens. Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the Cloak of Levitation team up to send the Maw shooting out into space to die a cold, dark death.

    281 votes
  • 2
    221 VOTES
    Arnim Zola
    Photo: Captain America: The Winter Soldier / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Who Is He: Arnim Zola has been one of Captain America's steadiest antagonists over the years, making dozens and dozens of appearances in Marvel Comics since first appearing in 1977. Unfortunately, he was sidelined to henchman duty for Captain America: The First Avenger and was never given the chance to be the big bad he has proven to be in Captain America comic books. At least we can all agree that Toby Jones was great casting for the scientist turned robot-man. Here's hoping he comes back sometime in the MCU's future.

    His Most Effective Moment: The Red Skull may have been the intimidating force behind the original incarnation of Hydra, but Zola was the brains behind the operation. Without Zola tinkering on the Tesseract, the Skull never would've been able to make Hydra into the force that it was. He was so smart, he ended up getting his brain put into a computer.

    His Downfall: Presumably, Zola's computerized form perishes just after being discovered by Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Of course, that doesn't mean Marvel Studios couldn't find an easy explanation to bring him back in the future. 

    221 votes
  • 3
    243 VOTES

    Who Is He: It feels a bit weird calling Ulysses Klaue a henchman when he was technically the leader at one point, but when you're entirely used and then discarded by a film's true villain, you're demoted to sidekick status. Andy Serkis's off-the-wall performance as Klaue is one of Black Panther's highlights, and his two brief appearances in the MCU (the other being a scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron) feel all too brief in hindsight.

    His Most Effective Moment: Klaue shows his criminal acumen during the scene in which he and Killmonger steal the vibranium from the museum near the beginning of Black Panther. Orchestrating the crime scene to make it look like amateurs did the robbery was a pretty intelligent move. 

    His Downfall: Putting your trust in the wrong people can lead to a path of destruction. Should Klaue have ever put his trust in a man with the nickname "Killmonger"? Probably not. And when Killmonger offs him to get into Wakanda, it feels like Klaue has gotten what he deserves. 

    243 votes
  • Proxima Midnight
    Photo: Avengers: Infinity War / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Who Is She: Marvel Comics fans know just how bad*ss Proxima Midnight really is. This relatively new character from the mind of famed comic book writer Jonathan Hickman is not one to be trifled with. It's a toss-up between her and her husband, Corvus Glaive, for the title of the Black Order's deadliest member. In Avengers: Infinity War, she seems to be wholly committed to serving Thanos. Though rejecting the Mad Titan would probably mean immediate termination, it's clear Proxima delights in hurting others, and she's quite good at it.

    Her Most Effective Moment: How many Marvel villains could go toe-to-toe with both Black Widow and Okoye at the same time? It appeared as if Proxima was going to eliminate Natasha Romanoff during the Battle of Wakanda if not for the intervention of the Scarlet Witch.

    Her Downfall: Wanda Maximoff is one of the most powerful beings in the MCU, so being slain by her really isn't all that embarrassing. Standing your ground in a fight against the Scarlet Witch, Okoye, and Black Widow is nothing to scoff at, even if it ends with a brutal demise. Maybe don't side with Thanos next time, yeah?

    211 votes
  • 5
    211 VOTES
    Crossbones
    Photo: Captain America: Civil War / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Who Is He: Brock Rumlow began life in the MCU as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who was secretly a Hydra loyalist the whole time. Blind allegiance to the Hydra cause makes him a perfect underling for Alexander Pierce in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. When Hydra falls at the end of that film and Rumlow is pulled from the wreckage of a collapsed building, the former S.T.R.I.K.E. commander must find a new line of work: terrorism-for-hire! Thus, Crossbones is born.

    His Most Effective Moment: Rumlow proves to be a solid fighter when he takes on the Avengers at the beginning of Captain America: Civil War. He holds his own against both Black Widow and Captain America, which is no small feat. In fact, he almost takes out Captain America with hidden explosives by luring Rogers in close with the name of Bucky Barnes.

    His Downfall: Forgetting the Scarlet Witch exists proves to be Crossbones's massive failure. Rumlow is going to perish from the explosives hidden in his costume no matter what, but he wants to take Captain America with him. Alas, the Scarlet Witch ruins his day by saving Captain America at the last minute. However, maybe Rumlow does get the last laugh as Wanda accidentally slays a bunch of innocent people when she can't fully control the explosion.

    211 votes
  • 6
    169 VOTES
    Kurse
    Photo: Thor: The Dark World / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Who Is He: Like all the Dark Elves in Thor: The Dark World, Algrim the Strong is both unyielding in his fealty to Malekith and, essentially, forgettable from the moment the credits roll. Algrim stands out from his brethren by agreeing to submit to the Kurse Stone and become "Kurse." Though you may not remember this character from one of the MCU's least cherished films, he's no slouch in a fight. He kind of beats up Thor during their fight in the movie, and that tells you everything you need to know.

    His Most Effective Moment: Well, killing Thor's mother proves to be a pretty memorable moment for this henchman. Kurse's involvement in The Dark World even comes back around during the time-travel sequence in Avengers: Endgame, so that's pretty cool. 

    His Downfall: Just as you shouldn't underestimate Kurse, it isn't wise to underestimate Loki. The God of Mischief activates a bunch of Black Hole Grenades the Dark Elf is keeping on his belt (which seems unwise) and causes Kurse to be completely enveloped in a small black hole. Don't let your enemies get close to your grenades, kids.

    169 votes