After ten years and 19 damn movies Marvel Studios has finally created a villain truly worthy of our time. They've come close before - hell, they cast Oscar winner Cate Blanchett in Thor: Ragnarok - but no one has been as fleshed-out and engaging as Thanos, And no character thus far has felt as dangerous as the Mad Titan. The Avengers: Infinity War is a damn fine movie for many reasons but Thanos is the high point.
And thank God he was worth it, they've been teasing him for more than five years now. He had a lot to live up to considering he's such a pivotal figure in the comics world. He is supposed to be the bad guy to end them all after all, the most intimidating and menacing figure the Avengers will ever gone toe-to-toe with. It's such a relief that he actually delivers. Can you imagine if he didn't? It would be like if DC made a movie and screwed up The Joker.
Praise should be spread all around, from the digital artists who created such an impressive looking CG miscreant to screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. But serious accolades need to be given to Josh Brolin, who was really far better than many expected. When he was cast as Thanos, Brolin seemed like something of an obvious choice. That voice, that jaw, that grizzled demeanor - of course Brolin was picked to play the part. But maybe myself and others forgot that Mr. Brolin is an Oscar-nominated actor and a damn fine one at that. Infinity War is his movie and it's better because of him.
In celebration of Thanos finally delivering the villainous goods to the MCU, let's take a look back at some of the baddies who came before him. Some were great, some were only so-so but all paved the way for the brilliance that is Brolin's Thanos. And, no, we didn't cover them all, just the ones who have stayed in our minds the most, for better or worse.
Ah, Ivan Vanko, a.k.a Whiplash, a.k.a. remember that time Mickey Rourke had a comeback? When first announced, people were excited to see Iron Man battle against a villain who held grudge and an electrical charge. But when he arrived on the big screen he ended up being a forgettable foe with a shoddy accent.
Even talented actor Christopher Eccleston couldn't make Malekith the Dark Elf memorable. Maybe it's all that make-up or the uninspired direction that made Thor: The Dark World such a mess but this is one of the flattest characters the MCU has ever created.
The Guardians of the Galaxy are one charismatic group of heroes so Lee Pace had a tall order when he was cast as Ronan the Accuser. He's a heavy character, morose and the complete opposite of the Guardians vibe so it's not wonder he gets overshadowed. But, hey, at least his make-up was pretty cool and kind of goth.
Corey Stoll is one hell of an actor and he does some interesting things in Ant-Man but he's also just another stereotypical businessman-turned-egomaniac-psycopath. Plus he only gets more boring once he gets stuck inside a super suit. What a bummer.
Ah, this one is painful. Sam Rockwell, one of America's finest actors, stuck in a shit role in a shit movie. Iron Man 2 is bad for so, so, so many reasons but wasting Rockwell is perhaps the biggest one. For shame, Iron Man 2. For damn shame.
The second Avengers movie is called Age of Ultron so you're damn right Ultron was a worthwhile villain. A major reason for the success here is James Spader, the unnerving lick-lipping actor who laid it on thick as Ultron. He was obviously having a lot of fun playing the part and it showed. Ironically he has more personality than many living, breathing humans. Think about it: would you rather watch more Ultron or more Hawkeye? Yeah, we all know the answer to that.
You know our opinion of national treasure Michael Keaton. So of course he's one of the best MCU villains before Thanos. He brought his usual Keaton characteristics: the intensity, the personality, the eyebrows. He also gave Vulture emotional depth and motive. Thankfully he wasn't killed off at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming so here's hoping he flies back into the sequel.