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14 Overlooked MCU Villains Who Were Way More Important Than You Remember

List Rules
Vote up the MCU villains who deserve more credit as major threats.

Marvel heroes have had to face off against a plethora of destructive big bads all teaming with powerful MCU goons. The typical MCU movie is so jam-packed with villains for the hero to fight, it can be hard for each of the villains to get their proper due. In some cases, characters have literally taken over Air Force One and ended up as little more than a Marvel Universe footnote. It's hard out there for a villain trying to make a name for themselves. 

Not every evildoer can be Thanos, but even the most underrated MCU villains did plenty of damage during their Marvel tenures. The respect and screentime shown to Marvel villains throughout the MCU are inconsistent, to say the least, and sometimes don't line up with the villain's threat level. Sometimes, these villains perish in glorious demises that match their despicable deeds, and other times, flying ships happen to fall on them and their path of destruction meets an unceremonious end. Anyone in an MCU movie can come back, so hopefully, some of these neglected villains will return one day

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  • Ulysses Klaue Was A Key Element In Ultron And Killmonger's Master Plans
    Photo: Avengers: Age of Ultron / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Ulysses Klaue is the only person to ever successfully pilfer Vibranium from Wakanda and make it out alive. His feat is so impressive that Ultron decides not to even attempt to take from Wakanda and instead directly buys it from Klaue. This Vibranium is then used by Ultron to create the Vision and further his onslaught on the Avengers and the world at large. 

    Klaue is so important as the only outsider to make it in and out of Wakanda alive that even though Killmonger is the prince of Wakanda, he breaks Klaue out of prison to get his help. Furthermore, Klaue is dangerous for more reasons than his Wakandan knowledge and underworld know-how. Klaue possesses a sonic weapon that allows him to go head-to-head against Black Panther and live to tell the tale. 

    144 votes
  • Crossbones Still Waged A Campaign Of Chaos After Hydra's Failed Uprising (That Ultimately Led To The Superhero Civil War) 
    Photo: Captain America: Civil War / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Brock Rumlow is a Strike team member working alongside Captain America when he's first introduced into the MCU. Rumlow even offers a timely assist when Cap gets caught with a gun to his face. But, after Hydra's plan goes into action, Rumlow reveals himself to be one of the many Hydra sleeper agents acting within S.H.I.E.L.D. Captain America has the big dogs to worry about, but Falcon does get a nice, little face-off scene against Rumlow that at least shows he's a worthy opponent. Still, Rumlow's apparent demise in the film is unceremonious as a helicarrier falls on top of him. 

    At the start of Captain America: Civil War, Rumlow returns with a vengeance. He attempts to nab a bioweapon but is stopped by the Avengers. Rumlow then attempts to blow himself up, taking the team with him, but he's stopped by Scarlet Witch. The explosion does take out civilians, though, and the damage done turns out to be all the motivation the UN needs to start putting more plans in motion to control the Avengers. So, while Rumlow may not have terminated Cap, he did significantly impact the Avengers and force Cap and his team into hiding for months. 

    141 votes
  • Arnim Zola Was The Linchpin of Hydra's Infiltration Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    Photo: Captain America: The Winter Soldier / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    After the fall of WWII-era Germany, Doctor Arnim Zola was left without a job. Luckily for him, the always benevolent US of A decided to swoop in and snatch up such a promising employee candidate. The USA wanted Zola to fully switch sides and help them build S.H.I.E.L.D. But, in a move the United States should have seen coming, the famed Third Reich scientist decided to keep doing Third Reich stuff. Specifically, he helped plant the seeds for Hydra's eventual takeover of S.H.I.E.L.D in the far future. 

    Zola's actions between The First Avenger and Winter Soldier directly cause the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. Yet, Zola is little more than a footnote in Winter Soldier. His sole job is to reveal to Natasha and Steve that he manufactured an opportunity for S.H.I.E.L.D.'s downfall. From there, a missile strike seemingly eliminates him, and his Hydra stooges continue on with the plan. 

    147 votes
  • Surtur Wiped Out Asgard With One Blow
    Photo: Thor: Ragnarok / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Fans of the Power Rangers know how dangerous a foe like Surtur can be. Sure, he starts out small and relatively easy to defeat for the God of Thunder, but if his crown touches the Eternal Flame, he becomes a threat of cataclysmic proportions. But Thor is Thor, so he rushes in alone and doesn't take Surtur's danger all too seriously. 

    Thor and company actually manage to use Surtur to their advantage later in the film. Their main threat of the movie, Thor's sister Hela, takes over Asgard, and they run completely out of options. So, Thor and Loki do what any reasonable person would do, and they unleash Surtur - and with him, Ragnarok - upon Asgard. Surtur is utterly unstoppable in his new form, and he easily crushes Hela and all of Asgard

    119 votes
  • The Collector Has Been Alive Since The Beginning Of The Universe 
    Photo: Guardians of the Galaxy / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    The Collector's collection makes him one of the most powerful beings in the universe, and not even just because it briefly contained an Infinity Stone. He has been alive since the beginning of time, and for the entirety of his lifespan, he's been collecting rare and powerful items. 

    Make no mistake, the Collector is downright evil. He has slaves that work for him, and in Guardians of the Galaxy, one of them takes the first chance she gets to attempt to take the Collector's life. He's also the one who really keeps the Guardians of the Galaxy together in the first place, seeing as he offered them 4 billion credits for the orb. 

    123 votes
  • Kurse is the Darth Vader to Malekith's Emperor. Sure, the Emperor is in charge, but Darth Vader is his powerful enforcer and is the one remembered at the end of the day. Kurse deserves similar amounts of respect. 

    During their incursion of Asgard, it's Kurse who slays Thor's mom, Frigga, not Malekith. This moment is perhaps the most devastating event of both Thor and Loki's lives, and it is a side villain who pulls it off. In fact, this event is given even greater prominence in Loki, where being forced to watch his mother's future demise is a big part of Loki realizing he's going down the wrong path. 

    Then, after icing Frigga, Kurse goes and squares off against Loki, and the two seemingly take each other out (Loki actually fakes his demise and survives, but that's beside the point). This sets the stage for the events of Thor: Ragnarok by giving Loki a feasible way to fake his perishing. That's how much Loki respects Kurse's battle prowess that it makes perfect sense Kurse would be able to slay him in combat. 

    Malekith chasing after the Aether certainly hasn't been a major point of reflection for any of the characters in the MCU. Kurse killing Frigga has. 

    107 votes