Tag Archives: He Who Remains

The New Complexity of the Marvel Villain

I remember Marvel Studios years ago. Every movie was fun and some films were better than others but one element of the universe that was always lacking was the movies’ villains; Whiplash, Red Skull, Yellow Jacket, Ego, Secretary Pierce, Ronan, Ultron, etc.

These villains were, in a word, lame. And then we got Zemo.

In an instant, the typical antagonist whose grand plan was world domination was flipped on its head. The writers tricked us into thinking that this was Zemo’s motivations as the story unfolds with a predetermined conclusion that Zemo was about to unleash a small but mighty army of scary Super Soldiers onto The Avengers, only for that narrative to be flipped on its head when we realize Zemo’s only goal was to see The Avengers destroy one another.

And what were his motivations? His family was killed in Sokovia.

Suddenly Zemo wasn’t the typical Marvel antagonist. He was a man whose yearning for The Avengers’ downfall spawned from a place we can all understand; grief. That’s why when we reunite with him in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier the writers didn’t exactly portray him as this evil guy but as a smart individual who just so happens to not like The Avengers.

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