This took ages

All 154 characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ranked

Ali Gray

25th April 2018

Avengers: Infinity War signals the end of the first 10 years of Marvel movies and over the past decade we've gotten know the countless characters that have resided within the Marvel Cinematic Universe more intimately than our own weekend lovers. How better to pay our respects to the extended Marvel family than by systematically ranking each notable character from the MCU, pitting them all against one another in an arbitrary internet Royal Rumble? Fight! Fight! Fight!

The rankings are mine, all mine, so feel free to direct your arguments to your nearest brick wall. Placings are determined not just by how entertaining/disappointing any given character is, but also by how entertaining they were expected to be - so there's plenty of little guys in that top 25. Where characters are indistinguishable from one another - or I just couldn't be arsed doing individual assessments - I've lumped them into one entry (say hello, Howling Commandos), while there are some characters who didn't make it because I either a) forgot them, or b) didn't deem them worthy of inclusion. Sorry Justin Theroux, but your Iron Man 2 police officer failed to steal the show. Right, that's enough pre-amble. Get on with it.

Malekith the Accursed

As played by: Christopher Ecclestone
First seen in: Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Miserable little space prick with a shit plan to extinguish all life in the universe just because he feels like it. Basically the equivalent of an angry Trump supporter raging against anyone who'll give him the attention he so desperately craves. Known as 'Keith' to his friends, although he probably doesn't have any, Malekith the Accursed needs to stop listening to Morrissey and get laid more than anyone in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. Literally get fucked, Emo Legolas.

Dr Leonard Samson

As played by: Ty Burrell
First seen in: The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Leo is what's known in modern internet parlance as a 'cuck' - and an incredible cuck at that. Very much the beta male to the Hulk's screaming alpha, Doc Samson can't hold onto his girlfriend Betty once Banner is back in town, and he barely even puts up a fight. With no memorable dialogue and no bearing on the story, he might as well not exist at all. The coolest he's ever been was when we called him 'Leo' about eleven seconds ago.

Howard the Duck

As played by: Seth Green
First seen in: Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

I'm not entirely sure why the internet got so excited over Howard the Duck’s post-credits appearance in Guardians Of The Galaxy, like he was the second coming of Nick Fury. Howard’s inclusion panders to the worst comic-book fanboys; he's little more than a lazy reference to an uninteresting and unusable character whose only purpose was seemingly to generate 2,000-word thinkpieces on

Dr. Nicodemus West

As played by: Michael Stuhlbarg
First seen in: Doctor Strange (2016)

Huh? I had to Google this guy, thinking that with a name like that I had to have forgotten an evil sorcerer or something. Turns out he's just a rival surgeon guy, and he's played by Michael Stuhlbarg of all people. Yup. Straight up forgot that character even existed, and I've seen the movie twice. Doctor Strange is perhaps the guiltiest movie in the MCU when it comes to tossing off acting talent on crummy secondary characters.

Dr. Wu

As played by: Xueqi Wang
First seen in: Iron Man 3 (2013)

A hugely integral part of Iron Man 3, but only if you were watching in China. Doctor Wu is the man you see for five seconds who removes Tony Stark's chest reactor, but in the Chinese cut - which was laughed out of cinemas - Wu enjoys a super-intense Grey's Anatomy-style interval scene before the surgery. It should also be noted that this scene was included only to show him drinking a specific brand of Chinese milk. Totally normal stuff, nothing to see here, move along.

Jackson Brice aka The Shocker #1

As played by: Logan Marshall-Green
First seen in: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Oh, Logan Marshall-Green. Not only did you not turn out to be Tom Hardy, you didn't turn out to be fan-favourite villain The Shocker, either. There's only so much disappointment one man can handle. He's the kind of needlessly aggressive, two-dimensional cartoon character that Spider-Man: Homecoming had otherwise successfully avoided, so when the Vulture accidentally evaporated him, no one shed a tear or even really stopped what they were doing.


As played by: Faran Tahir
First seen in: Iron Man (2008)

Generic terrorist who makes probably the stupidest decision in Marvel's short history: he captures Tony Stark (going great so far), locks him away in a cave (sure), requests he build him a nuclear weapon (hang on) then has the audacity to be surprised when the world's smartest weapons manufacturer emerges wearing a fucking Metal Gear mech suit. That's an oversight even Bond villains grew out of.

Dr. Helen Cho

As played by: Claudia Kim
First seen in: Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015)

A slightly less transparent appeal to the Asian market than our good friend Doctor Wu, the character of Helen Cho at least has a function in her movie: to help create Vision. She does this by... uh, plugging a few things in and doing inscrutable science. Once she's served her purpose, she's eliminated by Ultron, and no one ever mentions her again. At least she got to party with the Avengers first, and asked the question that I think all of us would ask upon invite: "Will Thor be there?"

Phineas Mason aka The Tinkerer

As played by: Michael Chernus
First seen in: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

There really should be a rule that says anyone who gets a superhero or supervillain alter-ego should perform an act of at least mild heroism or villainy. Phineas here is the exception to the rule: he's little more than the pre-requisite bad guy tech dork, but he's billed as 'The Tinkerer'. Note to filmmakers: do not give your villains names that make them sound like child molesters. Unless that's exactly the angle you're going for.

Christine Palmer

As played by: Rachel McAdams
First seen in: Doctor Strange (2016)

The kind of female role you'd hoped had been banished to the dustbin of big studio pictures: a love interest that serves no purpose to the story other than to prop up the leading man and occasionally tell him he's great. Casting Rachel McAdams in a forgettable role like this has to go down as one of Marvel's biggest missteps. She's great in the part, obviously, because she's Rachel McAdams, but if it didn't say so right there, would you even have remembered her name?

Baron Wolfgang von Strucker

As played by: Thomas Kretschmann
First seen in: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

You looked cool in your monocle, Baron. But all you did was remind us of your similarly evil Germanic character in Cars 2, Baron. Your entire reason for being evil was to set up a gag where you give up easily - and punchlines do not epic villains make. You don’t hear Thanos telling knock knock jokes.

Agent Jasper Sitwell

As played by: Maximiliano Hernández
First seen in: Thor (2011)

I have only ever watched around thirty minutes of Agents of SHIELD so cannot really comment on Agent Jasper Sitwell's contribution to the Marvel Televisual Universe, but as I'm focusing squarely on cinematic duties, I can vouch for this guy's utter lack of importance. Blink and you'd miss him Thor and Avengers Assemble (thanks, IMDB!), Sitwell turns out to be a HYDRA agent undercover at SHIELD, but he also looks like a loan manager from Brentwood and his sole contribution to The Winter Soldier was getting hung off a building while Cap and Black Widow make jokes at his expense. More like Agent Shitwell. Hur hur.


As played by: Elizabeth Debicki
First seen in: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

There must be something in the bad guy playbook that says by talking in monotone and not moving your face or betraying any emotion you're giving off villainous vibes. I'm bored of this brand of placid baddie. Guardians villain Ayesha, played by Elizabeth 'What do I know her from?' Debicki, is cold, calculating and painted gold, but rather than being statuesque and intimidating, she's forgettable as fuck. I bet you even forgot she was in that movie. Her whole thing was that she had, and then lost, some batteries.


As played by: Benedict Cumberbatch
First seen in: Doctor Strange (2016)

The finale of Doctor Strange deserves praise for being different to the last act of every other Marvel movie i.e. it wasn't about one man defeating an army of disposable soldiers. For all its time trickery, however, Doctor Strange's big bad is still a total wet fart. Like something out of Green Lantern, ancient evil Dormammu is a big scary cloud of gas or something, who definitely wants to destroy the universe and everything in it, but fails because - get this - he's too impatient and he can't be arsed sitting through the Doc's repetitive sorcery. Doctor Strange literally defeats his first villain by annoying him to death.

The Destroyer

As played by: N/A
First seen in: Thor (2011)

Faceless walking heater with one job - "Destroy everything" - yet he fails to destroy anything except one small New Mexico eatery, Agent Coulson's car and a couple of Jotenheim snowmen. He's not even a particularly unique-looking robot dude - he looks like he's just stepped off the set of the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still and he has some major goss about Jon Hamm that you're not going to believe.

Darren Cross aka Yellowjacket

As played by: Corey Stoll
First seen in: Ant-Man (2015)

I will give you one million pounds if you can give me a rough outline of what Corey Stoll's villainous plan was in Ant-Man. Something... something to do with... business? He wants the shrink tech to... shrink... I want to say weapons? But what good is a tiny tank? He's... he wants to kill Ant-Man because of corporations and shareholdings, and... uh, because... oh I give up.


As played by: Kerry Condon
First seen in: Captain America: Civil War (2016)

There's something a bit unsettling about Iron Man sharing flirty banter with a female AI, because I'm almost certain there's fan-fiction about Tony Stark jerking it to the lilting Irish brogue of Kerry Condon's voice program F.R.I.D.A.Y. I bet he also programs her to be angry at him to give himself an extra challenge. Okay, the fan-fiction was written by me, but I'd had a few drinks and I'd just watched Spike Jonze's Her.

Ellen Brandt

As played by: Stephanie Szostak
First seen in: Iron Man 3 (2013)

In the comics, Ellen Brandt has pages and pages of back-story and a proper character arc and everything (okay, she has a long Wikipedia page which I can't be bothered to verify). On screen, she's little more than a super-powered Terminatrix out to sauté Tony Stark. That's fine, but there have been a lot of those kind of characters over the years, and the only thing that makes Brandt different is her bad wig. Oh, here's an interesting bit from her wiki! Apparently in the comics she's the ex-wife of Man-Thing. I love that Man-Thing has an ex-wife.

The Other

As played by: Alexis Denisof
First seen in: Avengers Assemble (2012)

Who even *are* you, The Other? Do you have an important role to play in Avengers Assemble, the most Important Film Of Our Time? Do you have meaningful dialogue? Important plot points to divulge? Or are you, as we suspect, just some Gwar-looking dude for Loki and Thanos to throw exposition at? Thanks for playing, The Other. I had to wiki you. Apparently you died.

Algrim aka Kurse

As played by: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
First seen in: Thor: The Dark World (2013)

It's not cool to spell your name with a 'K', Kurse. Just so you know. A big ugly guy who looks like a Slipknot tribute act, Kurse is the muscle that stands in for Malekith's utter lack of physical presence, so in other words he's the big ugly kid at school who the little weasely rich kid used to pay with crisps to protect him. That is actually a much more entertaining reading of Kurse's contribution to the MCU than anything the movie provides, so let's just go with that and move on.

Denarian Saal

As played by: Peter Serafinowicz
First seen in: Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

Sometimes you just need the right person to deliver that killer line for the trailer, and Peter Serafinowicz - he of the silver tongue and the Darth Maul growl - was that right person for Guardians Of The Galaxy. There's not much guarding of the galaxy for Denarian Saal to do with the A-listers in town, but he still has his moment, spitting venom at the Guardians as they stand accused in the Nova Corps lineup: "What a bunch of A-holes." He subsequently dies in battle, but every time someone calls the Guardians "a-holes", his work lives on.


As played by: Laura Harrier
First seen in: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Part of accepting Spider-Man: Homecoming as a proper high school movie and not just a piece of lip-service is coming to terms with the fact that some of Peter Parker's high school chums are just normal kids - no secret identities or superpowers. For us to buy Parker as a true nerd, it stands to reason he'd need an unobtainable crush, and Liz is that crush. Laura Harrier does great work making Liz slightly too cool to be interested in Peter, but the interplay between her and Tom Holland is sweet enough. Ultimately though, and contrary to my earlier point, Liz only really becomes integral to the story when we find out who her daddy is.

Emil Blonsky aka The Abomination

As played by: Tim Roth
First seen in: The Incredible Hulk (2008)

I really dig the choice of Tim Roth as a super-serum chugging soldier villain, a sort of dark flipside of Captain America, but that’s all in my head because the character in this movie not only pre-dates Cap, but he serves only to introduce a big snarling CGI bogeyman. There is something fun about Tiny Tim running headfirst into a fist-fight with the Incredible Hulk, but all the Abomination stuff is visual slurry.


As played by: Colm Feore
First seen in: Thor (2011)

A panini-faced Night King cosplayer desperately in need of eye-drops, Laufey is one villain of many in the first Thor movie. Despite his name he's not exactly a laugh-a-minute, but as Frost Giants go he does a decent job of appearing large and intimidating. I am way more interested in the unspoken back-story of how he became Loki's biological father, because that seduction story is definitely going to have some gory details.

Private Lorraine

As played by: Natalie Dormer
First seen in: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

No, uh-uh, no way, I reject all claims of sexism, there is absolutely no substance to the rumours that suggest Private Lorraine only made this countdown because she is played by famously nice-looking lady person Natalie Dormer, no, I'm not having it. The character of Private Lorraine is, uh... (*scrolls through Google Images*)... she's integral to the, uh... Captain America story, so. I'd rate Private Lorraine even if she was played by, uh, Josh Gad or whatever. I WILL NEVER LOG OFF.

The World Security Council

As played by: Powers Boothe, Jenny Agutter, Arthur Darbinyan, Donald Li
First seen in: Avengers Assemble (2012)

Lurking in the background of world events in a poorly-lit bunker like god-awful Metal Gear Solid characters, the World Security Council are simultaneously hugely influential in the Marvel universe and completely disposable. To be fair, The Winter Soldier briefly has the fantastic idea to give Jenny Agutter's Council member a moment of superlative ass-kicking, decking Robert Redford with a roundhouse, but it instantly undercuts it by revealing her to be Black Widow in disguise. The WSC go back to the shadows, where they can stay as far as I'm concerned.

Maria Stark

As played by: Hope Davis
First seen in: Captain America: Civil War (2016)

We know very little about Iron Man's mum other than the fact that she's dead and she raised an entitled little shit, but we see her for the first time in Captain America: Civil War, and her presence echoes throughout the rest of the movie - in a way she's more effective as a concept than a character. Witness Tony Stark, reduced to a boy when he discovers it was Bucky who took out his parents: "I don't care. He killed my mom." It's in that moment that Civil War moves into its inevitable and inescapable endgame. Kudos to Hope Davis for briefly giving that moment some substance, I guess.

President Matthew Ellis

As played by: William Sadler
First seen in: Iron Man 3 (2013)

I'm not sure the Marvel Cinematic Universe really needs a Commander-In-Chief, seeing as every single notable incident since its inception has been governed by superheroes. Perhaps there’s an interesting angle there about how politics and Avenging go hand in hand (Civil War touched on it but only really to facilitate a punch-up), but it’s not introduced in Iron Man 3 with William Sadler's damsel in distress President Ellis and it's sure as shit not going to get broached with a tangerine fatass stinking up the real White House.

Autograph Seeker / Meredith Quill

As played by: Laura Haddock
First seen in: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

I see you there, Laura Haddock, quietly playing two roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, like you’re Stan Lee or something. Yes to your moving performance as Peter Quill's dying mother, not so much yes to you role of Autograph Seeker in Captain America: The First Avenger. It’s a mid-table finish for you, greedy guts.

The Chitauri

As played by: N/A
First seen in: Avengers Assemble (2012)

Things we know about the Chitauri people. 1) They have an army. 2) Their army is mostly made up of warriors who die after being punched once. 3) Their primary mode of transport is those cool little hover scooters. As far as invading alien races go, they’re a battalion of basic bitches: neither particularly intimidating as individuals or in numbers, the Chitauri are your go-to space bugs if you want people to be squashed en masse without anyone actually caring.

Kate aka Agent 13 aka Sharon Carter

As played by: Emily VanCamp
First seen in: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

I feel like the question 'Does Captain America have a girlfriend?' isn't asked enough. Because on the surface of it, Cap and Sharon Carter definitely do a face-kiss before she goes into hiding. This feels like something that should but won't be resolved, because of obvious Earth-saving, but it speaks volumes about Agent 13 aka Kate the Nurse aka Sharon Carter that no one really seems to have an opinion one way or the other. The consensus seems to be that Bucky is all he needs. Sucks to be you, Shazza.

Senator Stern

As played by: Garry Shandling
First seen in: Iron Man 2 (2010)

Unless I'm mistaken, Garry Shandling's Senator Stern is still the only person in the MCU to say "Fuck you" to Tony Stark, and during a congressional hearing at that, which is enough to get him on this list by merit alone. We later find out he's a HYDRA double agent in The Winter Soldier, because he whispers "Hail HYDRA" into the ear of another double agent, but if you ask me, whispering your secret identity to someone - no matter how quietly - is still a really stupid and unsecure way of conducting evil business.

Nova Prime

As played by: Glenn Close
First seen in: Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

I too was tickled at the idea of Glenn Close in a Marvel movie, but it must have been a fairly soulless couple of days shooting against green screen, reading stuff and nonsense about ancient evils and what have you. I understand the character of Nova Prime is important in the Guardians comics but Glenn Close is a placeholder personified here, and I wouldn't expect her to show up again in the MCU. I'm picturing her on set, getting wistful about the time she spent on the gigantic set of Steven Spielberg's Hook, where everything felt so... real. This... isn't that.


As played by: Tadanobu Asano
First seen in: Thor (2011)

You are one of the Warriors Three, Hogun. I know that much about you. You're a sort of space samurai guy, which is pretty cool I guess. Hogun the shogun. I get it. But then, you didn't really get much stuff done there, did ya. In Thor world. Smallest guy on the poster there. Can't show up anywhere without your mates. My biggest regret about you, Hogun, is that no one ever introduced you to Bruce Banner. Hogun, Hulk. Hulk, Hogun.

Ivan Vanko aka Whiplash

As played by: Mickey Rourke
First seen in: Iron Man 2 (2010)

A bold choice for an Iron Man villain, given the high stakes of the MCU in 2010, Mickey Rourke's casting as Ivan Vanko now looks disastrous in the cold light of day. There's the terrible accent. The awful, awful hair. The shit motives. It didn't help that he spent most of the movie in a warehouse talking to a parrot, or that his weapons were whips despite the fact that Iron Man is quite a well-established range fighter. If you try really, really hard, you can almost pretend that Vanko, and indeed most of Iron Man 2, never even happened at all.

Ronan the Accuser

As played by: Lee Pace
First seen in: Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

Here are some other names that are analogous to the name ‘Ronan the Accuser’ in terms of projected menace, or lack thereof. Brian the Grass. Chris the Snitch. Terry the Tell-Tale-Tit. Kevin the Bum-Licker. Keith the Taddler. I could go on. Colin the Blamer. You get the idea. Fun aside: between Ronan and Keith the Dark Elf, the MCU technically has two-fifths of Boyzone.


As played by: Josh Dallas/Zachary Levi
First seen in: Thor (2011)

Witness the downfall of Fandall over three movies. Thor the First: Fandall is a disposable tertiary character with a few sharp one-liners and a bit of so-so swordsplay. Thor the Second: much the same, except no one noticed he was now played by a completely different actor. Thor the Third: he's killed within about six seconds of appearing on screen and doesn't get to say a single line. Rest in peace, Fandall. Nobody will miss you.

Lucian / Strong Zealot

As played by: Scott Adkins
First seen in: Doctor Strange (2016)

Scott Adkins has a passionate fanbase which must have been up in arms at his disservice in Doctor Strange: we're honestly led to believe that a man who is a black belt in Judo, Ninjutsu, Karate, Wushu, Jiujitsu, Muay Thai, and Capoeira would lose in a fight with someone named 'Benedict Cumberbatch'. He's officially credited as 'Lucian / Strong Zealot', like the filmmakers couldn't decide if he was important enough to be a named character, then the bell went for lunch.

Batroc the Leaper

As played by: Georges St-Pierre
First seen in: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

You've got to love a villain whose main thing is that he's always jumping - jumping so much he left his goons little choice but to give him a nickname which reflected his love of physical movement. Here's his hidden back-story, in lieu of an actual character arc: Batroc was a former high jump champion, who was cheated out of a gold medal at the 19-whatever Olympics by an American, hence his hatred of Captain America, I guess? That'll do. Boing.


As played by: N/A
First seen in: Iron Man (2008)

Perpetual fuck-up and mechanical slave who lives in Tony Stark's lab, whose entire physical form is that of an elbow but who somehow still manages to have more charisma than, say, Terrence Howard. Can he sense Tony's constant disappointment in him? Can he feel pain? I'm saying yes.

Samuel Sterns

As played by: Tim Blake Nelson
First seen in: The Incredible Hulk (2008)

There's something quite sad about a character who spends an entire movie setting himself up as a villain but still amounts to nothing - along with a Hulk sequel, Sterns' eventual transformation into mis-shapen elephant-headed genius The Leader never materialised, and so the MCU was denied Tim Blake Nelson in proper comic-book villain mode. That would have been quite something, but what we're left with is a functional role that never lurches into genuine villainy.


As played by: Ray Stevenson
First seen in: Thor (2011)

Also known as Obelix: the rotund, bearded chum of our blonde hero who cannot physically stop himself from devouring food and drink. That's pretty much his whole bit, to be honest. His contributions to the Thor movies have so far consisted of making jokes about being hungry (I get hungry, I get jokes!), beating up unimportant stuntmen in fight scenes and getting perpetually thrown through tables.

Heinz Kruger

As played by: Richard Armitage
First seen in: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Sporting the most German-sounding name in the universe, baddie Heinz Kruger is an early hint at just how pulpy The First Avenger is going to get: he's a boo-hiss villain right out of 1940s propaganda, right down to the final fizz-pop of his cyanide capsule. Obviously he had a limited shelf life, and he was always going to play second fiddle to Hugo Weaving doing A Very Werner Herzog Halloween, but as Cap villains go, he was pretty good.

Corpsman Day

As played by: John C Reilly
First seen in: Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

To be honest I'm just thrilled that, for all its galaxy-spanning scope, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has room for John C Reilly. Just existing down there, on planet Xandar, diligently and dutifuly doing his Corpsman work. He doesn't need a medal. He doesn't need a costume, or even a proper name. Just be thankful that John C Reilly is part of the MCU and there's nothing anybody can do or say that'll make that untrue.


As played by: Damion Poitier / Josh Brolin
First seen in: Avengers Assemble (2012)

Lavender shithouse from the Homer dimension who has a serious procrastination problem. Thanos has appeared a slightly different shade of purple in every one of his three underwhelming appearances in the MCU to date. Appearance #1: He’s informed that his first plan to enslave planet Earth has failed. Appearance #2: He gets punked by Ronan the Accuser, who slags him off then hangs up on him. Appearance #3: Tired of his crippling inability to manage a team whose sole task is obtaining Infinity Stones, Thanos resorts to taking on the entire project’s workload by himself. Guys. I think Thanos might be shite.

The Howling Commandos

As played by: Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, Bruno Ricci, Kenneth Choi, JJ Feild
First seen in: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Let's be honest: you couldn't pick half these guys out of a line-up, right? I'm sure in the comic-books the Howling Commandos had all sorts of wild and wacky wartime adventures, but in the movie universe they seemingly only exist in ass-kicking montages and to give Steve someone to be sexy at. And if you disagree, then how come they're all dead? Yeah, exactly. Case closed.


As played by: Rene Russo
First seen in: Thor (2011)

LOL. Frigga. Rene Russo is an actress of substantial talent, which is mostly lost underneath the Shakespearean drapes and the Branaghian dialogue. I feel like the Mother of the God of Thunder should be sort of all-powerful and unstoppable and not just, um, Thor's Mum. One thing I will say in favour of Frigga: her funeral in The Dark World (erk, spoiler) is one of the most genuinely sentimental moments in the MCU to date, possibly because she's one of the only Marvel characters to actually stay dead. (If she's still alive, she's quite on fire).

Korath the Pursuer

As played by: Djimon Hounsou
First seen in: Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

It makes me sad that Djimon Hounsou accepted the role of Korath because he wanted his kids to see that black guys had a place in the MCU too - he missed his moment by about four years (he had already voiced Black Panther in a 2010 animation). His delivery of the line "Who?" in response to hearing Peter Quill’s alter-ego is sublime, it’s just a shame that it ended up being quite prophetic for poor old [checks notes] Korath the Pursuer.

Colonel Chester Phillips

As played by: Tommy Lee Jones
First seen in: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

In truth this role is little more than an R. Lee Ermey stand-in, required to bellow at pathetic maggots while wearing military fatigues, but Tommy Lee Jones elevates it, as he always does, even if his character just plain ceases to exist like all the other squares left back in the '40s come the movie's end. It's fun to think just how little Tommy Lee Jones would have enjoyed the process of being in a Marvel movie, grimacing through the table reads, clock-watching during shooting, getting all the Chrises wrong.


As played by: Idris Elba
First seen in: Thor (2011)

The least-arsed space god Viking doorman you will ever see, Heimdall’s stony expression and monotone delivery is definitely not to be conflated with Idris Elba’s publicly expressed desire to be anywhere other than Valhalla, no sir. Subsequent movies unsuccessfully tried to shoehorn him into action scenes - Thor Ragnarok even made a plot point about how easily replaceable he was.

Howard Stark

As played by: John Slattery / Dominic Cooper
First seen in: Iron Man 2 (2010)

A dad of two halves: Stark Senior Senior, played by John Slattery is a stern sort of chap with nary a hint of Tony's youthful charisma; Stark Senior Junior, played by Dominic Cooper, is powered by sheer smarm and spunk. Marvel have never quite made these individual takes on Howard Stark feel like two sides of the same coin, but then they've been quite busy building an 18-movie, six billion-dollar cinematic universe and the most envied business model in the world, so you have to say fair enough.


As played by: Karen Gillan
First seen in: Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

Perhaps it's the baggage that Karen Gillen brings to the role, but Nebula is a character who looks like she's stepped off the set of a Doctor Who rip-off - no other character in the MCU looks quite so much like a bad cosplay version of themselves. Distracting though the makeup is, it still doesn't result in a memorable character - Nebula is an inconsequential satellite character orbiting the Guardians franchise, and in as much as she's only famous because of her daddy, she's basically the Kim Kardashian of the Marvel universe: no one really know what she does or what she's for.

M.I.T. Liaison

As played by: Jim Rash
First seen in: Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Dean-dong! Jim Rash calling! I don't care how many screenwriting Oscars he's won, he'll always be Dean Pelton to me. I mean, honestly: he gets about 20 seconds to make an impression in Civil War, courtesy of former Community directors Joe and Anthony Russo, and in that scant amount of screen-time he manages to cram in around 250 words of dialogue, a Dean Pelton reference and the words "embedded in the meat shaft". Pound for pound this might be the most effective cameo in the entire MCU - even better than Abed's cameo in The Winter Soldier.

Stakar & Aleta Ogord, Martinex, Charlie-27 and Mainframe

As played by: Sylvester Stallone, Michelle Yeoh, Michael Rosenbaum, Ving Rhames, Miley Cyrus
First seen in: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

The Guardians movies are full of little references and nods to the comics, and here we have five whole characters who are essentially walking, talking Easter eggs. Stallone's appearance early in Volume 2 is entirely welcome, because, well, because he's Sylvester Stallone, but by the time we're introduced to the rest of his Ravagers gang, it's quite clear by the time left on the clock we don't even need to bother to learn their names. If you read the comics and love these guys and are appalled by their placing, please get some perspective and go away.

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