Star Wars and Marvel are the two mega-franchises dominating the cinema world right now so of course comparisons are going to be made. There are a lot of elements that can be compared between the two franchises but one thing that is a huge staple to a movie is its villain. If the antagonist is memorable the film is unforgettable. If the villain is kind of lame seven times out of ten that movie is going to easily be a mediocre film. Star Wars was built off of the basis of heroes and villains and Marvel has, much in the same way, been built on that same foundation too.
So, today I’m going to compare three of the franchises’ best villains and see whether Star Wars or Marvel comes out on top. Enjoy!
The Conniving Villains:
Emperor Palpatine is one of the evilest villains I’ve seen in a movie. He’s horrifying to look at and he relishes inner and outward chaos. He was the mastermind behind the destruction of the Jedi and he was the head of the Empire for decades. Once he told Anakin Skywalker how Darth Plagueis had been betrayed by his apprentice. He didn’t know that he would end up suffering the same fate.
Loki was the first Marvel villain to be regarded as a worthy antagonist. He was given a compelling storyline in Thor and he was an intimidating villain in The Avengers. After that he slowly began to redeem himself over the years but his conniving, mischievous side never fully left. He’s the God of Mischief after all. Loki, however, did end up becoming one of my favorite characters in the MCU and I’m sad that he died. 😦
While Loki is definitely a great antagonist Emperor Palpatine is much more villainous by far.
Star Wars: 1 pt
Marvel: 0 pts
The Compelling Villains
Kylo Ren wasn’t very original in The Force Awakens. In fact, he felt like a Darth Vader ripoff. It wasn’t until he killed Han Solo that I took him seriously as a worthy Star Wars antagonist. Rian Johnson understood that Kylo Ren needed some serious tweaking so he made him a complex character that we saw not as a heartless villain who killed his own father! but as an abandoned child who was never given any meaningful nurturing. By the end of The Last Jedi I have to admit, I care about the dude. Yes, he’s still a villain of course but there’s so much more to him as well. And that’s why he’s such a great character.
Until Black Panther there hadn’t been really any villains as complex or compelling in the MCU as Erik Killmonger (except for Mr. Toomes/The Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming.) And that was the MCU’s only problem. They had great movies but the antagonists were always super lame. Killmonger changed that narrative by presenting an argument that was almost heroic. Of course, we are obliged to root for T’Challa simply because he’s the clear good guy in the situation but, from a certain point of view, it can be honestly said that the Wakandans were the villains and that Killmonger was the real hero in the whole picture of things. At the end of Black Panther he supposedly dies but it hasn’t been confirmed that he is indeed so he may in fact return for another round of revenge in Black Panther 2. (That would be awesome.)
To be fair, this category is definitely worthy of a tie. Kylo Ren is an absolutely amazing character played by a brilliant actor in Adam Driver. And the same thing can be said about Killmonger who wasn’t even fully utilized into Black Panther until the second half of the movie where he immediately stole the show. I could’ve never imagined Michael B. Jordan as a villain but he is undoubtedly one awesome antagonist.
Star Wars: 2 pts.
Marvel: 1 pt
The Iconic Villains
What would Star Wars be without the magnificent Darth Vader? He’s intimidating, he’s evil, he gave the heroes of the original trilogy quite a run for their money, and he uttered one of the most famous lines in all of cinema: “No, I am your father.” It’s hard to become an iconic villain but Darth Vader’s presence is enough to grab the attention of people of all ages around the world. Even people who don’t know anything about Star Wars know who Darth Vader is.
Thanos isn’t iconic through cinema but rather in the Marvel comics. I knew nothing about Thanos until this April and I am still reeling at how powerful he is. Marvel has constantly fed us villains that can be beaten throughout their movies so to see an antagonist that the heroes couldn’t defeat was a breath of fresh air. Not only was Thanos seemingly invincible but he was complex as well. He was a madman, of course, for his genocidal plan but he was a slightly understandable madman and that’s what made him so interesting. I can’t wait to see him (hopefully) get defeated in Avengers 4.
While I love Darth Vader for his pure awesomeness I have to admit, Thanos has acquired my attention as well. I mean, if it came down to a Darth Vader/Thanos fight, well it’s obvious who would win. At least…I think? *shrug* Whatever the case I feel obliged to give this category a tie as well. Darth Vader is undoubtedly cool but Thanos is pretty awesome too.
Star Wars: 3 pts.
Marvel: 2 pts.
The Star Wars Villains Have Prevailed!
Marvel gave Star Wars a run for its money but at the end of the day Star Wars villains are some of the best villains to ever appear in any movie. They look cool, they’re powerful, they give the heroes plenty of grief, and they’re memorable which is the biggest point. I’ve never forgotten a major Star Wars villain and that’s why they are so fantastic.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a splendid day. May the Force be with you.