The Marvel universe is home to a plethora of fantastic and fascinating villains and super-villains. Within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we have already seen such classic Marvel villains as the Red Skull, the Frost Giants, the Mandarin, Abomination, Ronan the Accuser along with many others. Also, the MCU is about to see even more Marvel villains now that Spider-Man has entered the cinematic universe. Hopefully, that means we’ll be seeing some truly underrated villains like Norman Osborn or Kraven the Hunter on the big screen.
While there are some Marvel villains who have seen the cinematic treatment, or been featured in various cartoons or video games, there are others who haven’t been adapted into any medium. When the average person thinks of any Marvel villains, they’ll usually pick somebody from Spider-Man’s famous rogue’s gallery, like Venom, or maybe because the MCU films have been so popular – Loki. He has easily become the most popular bad guy in these movies, among general audiences. Even while the movies have yet to illustrate just how powerful Loki can actually be.
There are, of course, other villains within the Marvel universe who deserve just as much praise and attention – if not a bit more. If used to their best potential, some of these villains can be some of the best on screen bad guys we’ve ever seen. And thankfully for you, we’ve put in the work to come up with 15 of the most underrated villains in the Marvel universe! We’ll even go over which of these villains are likely to appear on the big screen in the near future, and you better believe that information is relevant to your interests!
15. The Purple Man
His real name is Zebediah Kilgrave but he’s also known as the Purple Man – not only because of the color of his skin, but also because he wears expensive purple street clothes from time to time. Kilgrave’s original origin in the comics had him starting out as an international spy who later gained the ability of mind control. This is a pretty dangerous and menacing superpower to have, as his appearance on the Netflix series Jessica Jones will illustrate. In fact, it would be wise for Marvel to keep him around for future shows, or even movies, as he was portrayed excellently by David Tennant.
The Skrulls are green-skinned aliens who hold the power of shapeshifting. This means that they have the ability to literally hide in plain sight, and have created a massive amount of chaos within the Marvel Comics universe. As far as adapting them to the big screen, it looks as if they could appear in either the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or a Fantastic Four film with 20th Century Fox. But there are more heroes and characters to play around with in the MCU, so that would be the deal universe to debut the Skrulls. Perhaps they could be an addition to Marvel’s Phase 4.
Many Spider-Man fans have wanted to see this villain portrayed in one of the live-action movies for quite a while now. Quentin Beck, also known as Mysterio, started out as an actor and special effects artist who had a grudge against Spidey. Visually, Mysterio’s powers and abilities could be quite fascinating and inventive to see. He can create holographic projections, emit hallucinogenic gases and can even weaken Spider-Man’s “spider-sense.” With this new Tom Holland Spider-Man reboot, there is a good chance audiences can finally see Mysterio on the big screen, since Sony and Marvel will definitely want to tackle villains that haven’t been on the screen.
Arcade is definitely a Marvel villain that has never been in a movie. He’s a rather interesting fellow, considering that he loves to murder people by using very elaborate deathtraps – while always giving his victims just the slightest chance of survival. Certainly the MCU has never seen a playful villain quite like this. Arcade has gone after Ghost Rider, Spider-Man, the X-Men and even Alpha Flight. He doesn’t really have a clear backstory, as he tends to spin a different origin story to everyone he talks so, even his real name hasn’t been revealed. As to which studio owns the rights to the character, it’s likely he could pop up in a Sony (Spider-Man), Fox (X-Men), or MCU film.
Bullseye is mainly a villain for Daredevil and has been one of his best enemies. The guy, whose real name is Lester, doesn’t really have any superpowers, other than his uncanny and flawless sense of aim. This one skill has made him one of the deadliest assassins in the Marvel universe. Fans might be able to see the character going up against Charlie Cox’s Daredevil in the Netflix series’ third season. The character was very briefly hinted at in the first season, as a sniper, of course. He has famously killed Elektra in the comics, with her own sai no less.
10. Cassandra Nova
This powerful telepath is certainly not well-known among general audiences and has never been introduced in a film. Cassandra Nova is essentially a member of a parasitic race of psychic beings and attaches herself to Charles Xavier, while he was still in the womb. She absorbed the darkest parts of his mind and basically became Charles’ twin sister. She is a very dangerous enemy of the X-Men, having made an army of Sentinels murder over 16 million Mutants on the island of Genosha. Putting a character like this into an X-Men film, provided they handle her correctly, would be extremely cool to witness.
9. Kraven the Hunter
Kraven is another one of Spider-Man’s villains who has never made it to the big screen. He’s a big game hunter, of course, and sees Spider-Man as the ultimate challenge. But he would often underestimate just how well Spidey can handle and defend himself. The villain has one particular story in the comics that is quite iconic and memorable for those who have read it. Kraven shoots and “kills” Spider-Man and buries him, and dons his costume patrolling the city, in an attempt to prove he was better than Spider-Man. However, Spidey literally pulls himself out of the grave and Kraven ends up taking his own life.
Tony Masters, also known as Taskmaster, was born a prodigious savant and mnemonic abilities. He is able to flawlessly duplicate the physical actions of others just by looking at them, and psychologists referred to his gift a “photographic reflexes.” Expanding his combat repertoire, he carefully studied the movements and fighting techniques of superheroes, delving into a life of crime. It’s a pretty interesting setup for a villain, though he’s never been used in any movies. At one point in the comics, Nick Fury had him as a sleeper agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. to gather intelligence in the criminal underworld. If Marvel Studios owns the rights to the character, he could be surely be used somewhere in Phase 4.
7. Emma Frost
Emma Frost, formerly known as the White Queen, comes from a very wealthy family and is a Mutant who possesses various telepathic talents. Emma believed her revealing wardrobe was just one of the many weapons in her arsenal, giving her an instant advantage over men. January Jones portrayed her in X-Men: First Class but was not at all able to pull off being evil, or frankly, all that sexy. It’s a shame Sharon Stone never got the opportunity to play this character. Emma still deserves to be portrayed correctly on screen, and does have an important role in the X-Men universe. At one point, after Jean Grey died, she and Scott Summers/Cyclops (who was in love with Jean) found themselves in a romantic relationship.
6. Doctor Octopus
Doc Ock is one of Spider-Man’s best villains, and he hasn’t been seen onscreen since 2002. This villain has had a number of legendary battles with Spider-Man and remains one of his greatest enemies. The train sequence in Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man 2 should illustrate how great the fight choreography is between these two characters. Both Peter and Otta are extremely intelligent and it’s always fun to see them try and smart one another. But, much like a Green Goblin/Norman Osborn, this is a villain who should stick around in more than one movie. Maybe the MCU can have an interesting place for him in their movies.
5. Dark Phoenix
Plenty of X-Man fans remember how poorly Fox handled the Dark Phoenix saga in X-Men: The Last Stand. The movie really did a terrible job at portraying just how powerful this character truly is. The story arc in the comics involves the Kree, Skrulls, the Shi’ar and features the X-Men going into space. It’s doubtful that Fox will ever take it this far, and they have confirmed that they want to take another stab at this story. The Dark Phoenix at one point poised a more serious threat to the entire universe than Galactus, the first (and oldest) living entity in the universe – and that guy eats planets.
4. Kang the Conqueror
Kang is another Marvel villain who has yet to appear in a film. He is essentially a Time Traveling Warlord and a family descendent of Reed Richards and Susan Storm of the Fantastic Four. Kang commands a vast armada of warriors from all over the galaxy, all in his future era. He’s served as a great villain to the Avengers for several years, but it looks like Marvel Studios doesn’t own the rights to the character, or Kang could appear in either a Fantastic Four or X-Men film. The character first appeared as Kang in an issue of Avengers from 1964, but prior to that, he appeared as Rama-Tut in an issue of Fantastic Four.
3. Doctor Doom
Much like Dark Phoenix, Doctor Doom has never truly been done justice in any of the live action Fantastic Four films. Not only is he one of the coolest looking villains in the Marvel universe, he’s gotta be among at least the top 5 best in that universe. He is a classic supervillain in that he wants to rule and conquer the world, but the man is frighteningly intelligent and resilient, as well as monstrously evil. The Fantastic Four and Dr. Strange ended up trapping Doctor Doom in Hell at one point in the comics. Doom survived. He’s become a God, three times. Victor von Doom is one incredible Marvel character that has never gotten his shine in the movies.
The Kingpin is probably Daredevil’s greatest foe and one of Spider-Man’s best villains. Right now, people are probably more familiar with Vincent D’Onofrio‘s Wilson Fisk on Netflix’s Daredevil. His power was on display in the show’s first season, and there is a strong possibility that he will be coming back with a vengeance in the third season. He has no superpowers, to be sure, but he is incredibly strong and quite durable, more so than the average person. He’s completely destroyed the life of Matt Murdock and views Spider-Man as an infuriatingly annoying nuisance.
1. Norman Osborn
Norman Osborn has to come to the Marvel Cinematic Universe at some point, especially now that Spider-Man is part of the universe. Seeing the Green Goblin isn’t really necessary, as Osborne himself and his brilliant mind are enough to cause some serious mayhem within the MCU. He’s not just a villain to Spider-Man, Norman also hands his hands in plenty of other nefarious and illegal villainous activity in the Marvel universe. He’s also caused more tragedy and heartbreak in Peter’s life than any other villain, giving him an impressive resume of being a truly fantastic villain in the Marvel universe.