14 MCU Villains Who Put The Most Work Into Their Evil Plans

List Rules
Vote up the MCU villains who got a lot of work done.

Some MCU villains have it pretty easy: They show up, smash, and do evil things (we're looking at you, Abomination). That being said, not all MCU villain plans are made equally. There have been some baddies in Marvel Studios' films that have really gone above and beyond with their work ethic. You may think Darren Cross and Ultron make for lackluster villains in the annals of filmmaking - but can you really say they didn't work their butts off? Cross spent years trying to recreate Hank Pym's size-changing tech and ultimately succeeded, while Ultron almost wiped out all of humanity on Earth in less than a week.

Say what you want about them or Marvel's overarching "villain problem," but don't mock these villains' work ethic. So, scroll down and vote up those antagonists who make you think you need to work just a little bit harder in your life.


  • Helmut Zemo Concocts An Insanely Intricate Plan, Complete With Murder And Expert Disguises, All To Have The Avengers Destroy Themselves
    Photo: Captain America: Civil War / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    In the specific terms of a normal human taking on the gods and heroes of the Avengers (sans Hulk and Thor, it must be said), it's hard to believe anyone being as successful as Helmut Zemo. Emotionally ravaged by the demise of his family as a consequence of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner creating Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Zemo took it upon himself to break up the Avengers from the inside in Captain America: Civil War.

    Though his overall plan was much more complicated, by bringing the slaying of Stark's parents at the hands of Bucky Barnes to light, the schism between Team Cap and Team Iron Man was finalized. Never one to miss a chance to kill two birds with one stone, Zemo did away with a handful of super-soldiers sleeping in cryogenic chambers, as well. Talk about some serious planning. By the time he resurfaced in Falcon and the Winter Soldier, he could dance to his heart's content.

    71 votes
  • Erik Stevens, AKA N'Jadaka, AKA Killmonger, had a childhood marked by tragedy. It is unclear what happened to his mother, and his father was slain by his uncle when Killmonger was just a boy. Killmonger, left alone in the world, was given no explanation as to why his father was slain and was left to fend for himself. As you can imagine, finding his father's corpse in their apartment left quite the impression on the young child.

    Killmonger's grief would turn to rage as he aged, honing his abilities in the military. He worked his way through the United States Naval Academy and MIT before becoming a Navy SEAL. Never one to underachieve, Killmonger became the leader in confirmed kills by a wide margin in his unit, hence the nickname "Killmonger." After this, it was into Black Ops for the CIA for Killmonger before he eventually turned to criminal activity with Ulysses Klaue. His assassination of Klaue finally granted him entrance into his father's homeland, Wakanda, where he seemingly took the life of T'Challa to take control of the throne. Killmonger ended up losing the throne at the hands of his cousin, but the man took himself from an impossible situation to the birthplace of his father with little more than a can-do attitude and an ability to take out pretty much anyone in front of him.

    70 votes
  • Alexander Pierce Proves To Be The Double Agent Of All Double Agents By Running Hydra And S.H.I.E.L.D. At The Same Time
    Photo: Captain America: The Winter Soldier / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Living two elaborate lives is no joke. Leading an organization like S.H.I.E.L.D. while simultaneously heading up Hydra is the kind of thing only the best-trained double agent can do. That Alexander Pierce managed to keep a dedicated and intelligent spy like Nick Fury off his scent for years speaks mountains of the man's ability to lead two entirely different existences. Pierce was this close to successfully initiating Project Insight and setting plans into motion that would have basically made Hydra the rulers of the entire globe.

    Nick Fury was so in the dark about the whole thing, he helped Pierce get Project Insight off the ground and close to the finish line! Sam Jackson's character was on board with the whole thing until the very last second. That is how good Pierce was at living two lives. If Tony Stark considered Nick Fury to be the spy whose secrets had secrets, what would that make Pierce? Ponder that for a second.

    61 votes
  • Thanos Spends Decades Building His Space Empire And Following Leads On Where The Infinity Stones Are Hidden
    Photo: Avengers: Infinity War / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Let's get one thing straight: Thanos was batsh*t insane. He wasn't "right," and he didn't do a service to everyone across the universe at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. Instead of using the considerable might of the Infinity Stones to increase resources everywhere to feed and house all people on every planet, he decided to eliminate half of all life with the snap of his fingers. He called this "mercy" because he was a straight-up crazy person.

    That being said, Thanos managed to bring all of the Infinity Stones together in the first place. After decades of conquering planets and building out his military might with the Black Order, Thanos became tired of systematically wiping out half of all life in the universe on a world-by-world basis. And though no one in the history of the universe had managed to bring even two Infinity Stones together in one place and hold them at the same time in their hands, Thanos managed to get all six of them. This wasn't a mere treasure hunt, either. Thanos and the Black Order razed Xandar and took on the full might of the Avengers and their allies to get their hands on all the stones.

    59 votes
  • Ultron Builds A Factory From Scratch, Turns A City Into A Planet-Killing Missile, And Creates A New Vibranium Body Before He's Defeated
    Photo: Avengers: Age of Ultron / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Avengers: Age of Ultron may be everyone's least favorite Avengers flick, thereby making Ultron everyone's least favorite Avengers villain, but he was an artificial intelligence who put in work. Like, he did more work in a few days than most people do in their entire lives. That kind of dedication to eradicating humanity from the Earth deserves to be admired, in some way.

    After being created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, the "murderbot" convinced the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver to join his cause, got vibranium from Ulysses Klaue, seized control of a city, built a massive factory for constructing his various automatons, and turned said city into a massive planet-ending missile in the span of less than a week - all while fighting off the Avengers on multiple occasions.

    Had Ultron successfully slain humanity with his plan, he would've proven himself to be a superior being. That kind of efficiency just isn't human whatsoever. And he didn't even have the souped-up vibranium body that would become the Vision! Is Ultron underrated? Ultron might be underrated.

    60 votes
  • Quentin Beck (With His Team) Uses His Considerable Intellect To Try And Dupe The Entire World Into Believing Mysterio Is The Next Great Superhero
    Photo: Spider-Man: Far From Home / Sony Pictures Releasing

    It is easy to think of Mysterio merely as Quentin Beck, the man, but this would be overlooking the vital importance of his team. His cadre of aggrieved ex-Stark Industries employees came together to create the Mysterio persona with Beck as the figurehead. Without that team, Beck was just an emotionally unstable former co-worker of Tony Stark with a grudge against a dead man. Put them all together, though, and they managed to dupe a whole bunch of people into thinking Mysterio would be the next great superhero after the Avengers' victory over Thanos.

    The group of geniuses used illusion projectors and battle drones to create life-like Elementals that seemingly threatened all of humanity. Amazingly, the only person who could seem to stop them was Quentin Beck in the guise of the powerful Mysterio. It was a disappointing way for the likes of Sandman and Hydro-Man to make their MCU debuts, but it served as a fantastic story in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Also, having a collective of disgruntled tech-whizzes try and fake their way into fame and fortune feels extremely 21st century.

    37 votes