Have you ever had a day where you were just down in the dumps and you felt the need to lash out at anyone who wandered into your vicinity? Well, there are plenty of MCU villains who were underappreciated by those around them who feel your pain. We all deserve a little respect, and when we don't get it, sometimes we get a little spiteful. Do we upend our lives and become supervillains? Um, no... but we get where these baddies are coming from!
Sharon Carter became the Power Broker out of desperation after her government turned on her! Nebula was literally raised by a madman and became a bad guy because of it! Aldrich Killian was a total laughing stock before Extremis changed his entire life! If these people had gotten a little more TLC, then maybe they'd have been heroes instead of villains.
- Photo: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
"Complicated paternal relationships" are something of a throughline in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You've got Tony Stark's thorny relationship with Howard Stark. You've got Ego being a completely garbage dad to Peter Quill. There's Odin lying about Loki's parentage for years. Hank Pym spent years refusing to tell his daughter Hope the truth about her mother's supposed demise. But no MCU father is worse than Thanos.
Just picture it: A wrinkly-chinned, purple maniac comes to your planet, slays half of everyone you know, and kidnaps you to raise you himself. Then he pits you in battles against other "adopted" kids he's done the same thing to, tinkering with your mechanical body parts every time you lose. There is absolutely no way you are coming out of that relationship unscarred. And thus, Nebula spent her early appearances in the MCU as a villain before becoming a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and eventually, the Avengers.
- Photo: Thor: The Dark World / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Loki really is just a "scared little boy." That is how Agent Mobius describes him in Loki, and it is an apt description. Growing up in the massive, ever-looming shadow of Thor couldn't have been easy. And when Loki discovered he wasn't a true son of Asgard but an adopted Frost Giant, well, the seeds of villainy were well and truly sown.
There was always good inside of the God of Mischief. This is something Thor believed to his core, and Loki's redemption in Thor: Ragnarok as well as his attempted assassination of Thanos at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War proves it. But if Odin had shown him a little more love as a young man and the God of Thunder had been a little bit better of a person before the events of Thor, perhaps Loki would've never turned heel in the first place. And a bunch of people wouldn't have perished in The Avengers!
- 330 VOTESPhoto: Captain America: The Winter Soldier / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
You probably wouldn't know it if you haven't been reading Captain America comics for a few decades, but Agent 13 (AKA Sharon Carter) is actually a pretty major supporting character and love interest for the Star-Spangled Man With A Plan... at least, that's the case in Marvel's publications. The Sharon Carter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, however, has mostly been an afterthought until Falcon and the Winter Soldier revamped her character for the next phase of the MCU.
It's almost as if the masterminds at Marvel Studios didn't know what to do with the character. So, in the end, Sharon ended up being a not-so-serious love interest for Cap as S.H.I.E.L.D. fell apart and her inevitable betrayal of the CIA led her to flee the country. By the time she was kicking around Madripoor, she was in 100% survival mode. When she was forced into a life of wrongdoing to survive, she really went for it. The Power Broker was born.
- Photo: Ant-Man and the Wasp / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Ava Starr is genuinely one of the more tragic villains in the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe. She gained superhuman powers she could not control in an accident that took out her parents when she was a child. Instead of getting the care she needed, she was taken advantage of and turned into a super-spy essentially against her will. So far, Ava's life isn't exactly what you'd describe as a fairy tale.
By the time we see Ava in Ant-Man and the Wasp, she has mere weeks to live before her unstable quantum energy power set terminates her. This forces Ava to essentially become a supervillain of sorts as she struggles to survive at any cost with the help of Bill Foster. It is unclear what will come of Ava after being healed at the hands of Janet van Dyne at the end of the Ant-Man sequel, but fans would undoubtedly be excited to see her return.