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MCU Villains With The Best Motivations For Being A Villain

Updated February 5, 2021 4.3k votes 521 voters 23.7k views15 items

List RulesVote up the MCU villains who at least have a solid reason for being evil.

When you are looking at a list of MCU villains, some are more understandable than others. Iron Man 3's Aldrich Killian seems like the worst, Ronan the Accuser appears to be someone who doesn't really even need a rational motivation for his deeds, and Peter Quill's dad, Ego, is clearly just a jerk.

However, not all villains are created equal - and that applies to MCU antagonists, as well. Fan favorites like Killmonger and Loki are obvious choices here, but there are plenty of others to consider. Ghost was just looking to cure her molecular instability that stemmed from a childhood accident that claimed both her parents. Kaecilius was just looking to reunite with his deceased wife and son. Ultron was just looking to save the world from the destruction caused by humanity. Let's break down the MCU baddies with the best motivations for their actions.

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  • After a traumatic childhood involving the slaying of his father at the hands of his uncle, Erik Killmonger became a ruthless member of a US black ops group. He would go on to make his way to Wakanda, challenge his cousin T'Challa for the throne, and become the king of Wakanda - all with the goal of arming oppressed African immigrants around the world.

    Was Killmonger a monster who had no scruples about dispatching anyone who stood in his way? Unquestionably. But at the end of the day, his passion for trying to help oppressed peoples around the world instead of hiding away is admirable. If only he wasn't such a bloodthirsty madman.

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  • Photo: Ant-Man and the Wasp / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Ava Starr lost both of her parents in an accident where a quantum tunnel exploded and left her with a molecular instability that has her constantly switching between tangible and intangible states of being. This shifting between quantum states is extremely painful for Ava, and would've eventually led to her demise had Janet van Dyne not cured her at the end of Ant-Man and the Wasp.

    Are the childhood loss of both your parents and constant pain from molecular instability an excuse to commit crimes? Um, well, no. However, it's hard not to see Ava's side of things - and something tells us we haven't seen the last of the character in the MCU.

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  • Photo: Spider-Man: Homecoming / Sony Pictures Releasing

    Right after the Battle of New York in The Avengers, salvage company owner Adrian Toomes gained a contract to help clean up the wreckage of the city. Toomes invested all his money into bolstering the company's capabilities - then the Stark-backed Damage Control took over the clean-up, wiping Toomes's business out in the process.

    With seemingly nowhere else to turn for revenue, Toomes and his crew turned to reverse-engineering Chitauri weapons for sale on the black market. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and all that. Still, selling illegal weapons doesn't seem like the best way to make a living.

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  • Photo: Captain America: Civil War / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    As traumatic as losing a parent or partner is, it's often said there is nothing more harrowing than losing a child. So imagine just how horrible it would be to lose your father, your partner, and your son all in one fell swoop. That is exactly what drove Helmut Zemo to break up the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War.

    Zemo blames the Avengers for the loss of his family and takes it upon himself to make sure there are no more innocent casualties from their epic conflicts with the evil powers that be. What machinations will he get up to in the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier? We'll have to wait and see.

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