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.220Needed more respect?
- 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!254Needed more respect?
- Photo: Captain America: Civil War / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
It would be very interesting to see what Sokovia was like before the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. If the Battle of Sokovia changed the makeup of Earth's Mightiest Heroes forever, setting in motion the events of Captain America: Civil War, imagine how the tragedies inflicted on the innocent people of the fictional country completely altered their reality. Devastation on that scale can send shockwaves that ripple for years and years.
A good example of this is Baron Zemo. After being a decorated member of the Sokovian Armed Forces, Zemo would turn his eye to criminal masterminding after his family perished as a result of the Battle of Sokovia. His ultimate goal? Destroy the Avengers from within. Not world domination. Not the extinction of mankind. He just wanted retribution for his family. And to terminate anyone who was enhanced with a Super-Soldier Serum, but that's beside the point...255Needed more respect?
- Photo: Black Panther / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
What would've become of Erik Killmonger had his uncle not slain his father and abandoned the child in America? Killmonger's psychological baggage due to his traumatic childhood serves as the emotional core of Black Panther, and it's easy to understand why. The hardship Killmonger experiences is far more relatable to a wide audience than anything T'Challa has been through in his relatively privileged life.
And in some ways, Killmonger's desire to uplift the oppressed peoples of the world wasn't entirely off-base. Wakanda could have been helping the less fortunate around the world with their advanced technologies and intelligence for decades upon decades, and yet they chose to remain hidden from the world at large. Perhaps he could've raised this issue in a more constructive way had he been brought back to Wakanda by his uncle all those years ago, but we'll never know.278Needed more respect?