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14 Marvel Studios Villains, Ranked By The Sheer Impracticality Of Their Plans

Updated November 12, 2019 19.3k votes 3.5k voters 147.6k views14 items

List RulesVote up the most ludicrous Marvel villain plans.

For all of their bluster and fantastic costumes, Marvel villains are pretty dumb. You can argue all you want that it takes a lot of work to become second-in-command of Stark Industries, or that Norse Gods are inherently super-intelligent, but when you see these insane MCU villain plots in text form, you’ll not only rethink your allegiance to HYDRA, but you’ll wonder whether or not Marvel villains are even good at their jobs.

You don’t have to look hard to see convoluted Marvel movie villain plans. Just about every bad guy in the MCU has a plan that starts off normal before veering into dodgy territory that relies on pure happenstance. Even guys like Alexander Pierce (the bad guy from Captain America: The Winter Soldier), who seem like they do everything by the book, eventually give up on hard work and efficient planning to simply let the chips fall where they may. Maybe these guys get so full of themselves they think there’s no way they can fail, or maybe they’re just bad at their jobs. If you’re not sure whether or not your favorite MCU movie features a villain with a poorly planned scheme (spoiler alert: it does), keep reading to discover all the villain plans from Marvel movies that make no sense.

  • 1. Darren Cross

    Darren Cross may be the most low-stakes villain in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. He's basically a stock Iron Man villain, but without a flashy wardrobe. What does he want to do? Sell his Yellowjacket costume and its technology to HYDRA. Fine. That should be easy enough, but instead of just selling his tech, he decides that he needs to rub his former mentor's face in the deal while doing some general bad guy stuff. 

    Why involve someone else in your evil plans, when all you have to do is trade a briefcase of money for a fake science suit? It's almost like Darren Cross didn't actually want to sell his suit to HYDRA, and he really just wanted some attention from Hank Pym. For such a wealthy science man, Darren Cross sure doesn't seem to know that phones exist. 

    Stupid plan?
  • Justin Hammer is the second coolest science billionaire in the Marvel universe, and that just burns him up! Why can't he be an Iron Man that sleeps with reporters like Tony Stark? He develops dangerous dangerous weapons too, so why don't people love him?

    In Iron Man 2, Justin Hammer discovers that his desire to destroy the Stark name while selling the Iron Man tech to the government dovetails quite nicely with Ivan Vanko's need to kill Tony. He provides Vanko with the means to escape from prison by sending him a bomb. First of all, even if you could somehow bribe everyone you needed to in order to get a plastic explosive to Vanko, how is he supposed to get out of a super-max comic book jail with one smallish bomb?

    Also, about that whole "selling the Iron Man tech to the government" angle, doesn't the military have super-smart people working for them who could reverse engineer the technology so Gary Shandling won't have to deal with annoying billionaires? That's what S.H.I.E.L.D. is all about, right? If they have a floating, untraceable air base that can kill everyone on the planet, then they can probably build an Iron Man suit. 

    Stupid plan?

    #438 of 877 The Greatest Movie Villains Of All Time#3429 of 3,517 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time#85 of 496 The Best Comic Book Villains

  • Ivan Vanko's entire end game is to show the world that Tony Stark isn't as great as everyone thinks he is. How does he go about accomplishing his goal? Well, he fights Tony on a race track, and then builds a drone version of the Iron Man suit to show that he can build drones, for some reason. It's impressive that he can do so much work with just his hands, but what is it all supposed to accomplish other than getting him a job in an Iron Man suit factory? 

    Vanko's plan hinges on the hope that Americans will dislike Tony for being a flawed individual. Has Vanko ever watched television before? People love flawed characters.

    Stupid plan?
  • 4. Kaecilius

    Kaecillius wants to gain eternal life by calling forth Dormamu from the Dark Dimension and seeing how things shake out. To accomplish his goal, he steals some pages from a magic book that may or may have what he was looking for, and just starts doing magic all over the place.

    He kills the Ancient One, not believing that anyone could put up a fight — this is all despite living in a reality where Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy regularly handle stuff like this. Of course, the whole thing goes wrong when Doctor Strange uses a time turner to fix everything.

    Stupid plan?