10 MCU Actors Who Played Marvel Heroes But Were Villains In Other Movies

  • Marvel heroes rely on star power; actors with villainous history challenge audience investment in characters' appeal.
  • MCU avoids typecasting villains for heroes; faces must be attributed to heroes first despite villains played by stars.
  • Major Marvel stars, like Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth, have played villains, showcasing versatility beyond hero roles.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe relies on the star power of its heroes, but many of the series' biggest names are just as apt to play villains. It's safe to say that without the charisma of its leading characters, the movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe wouldn't have become as popular. Each hero is very reliant on the appeal of his or her actor in order to keep audiences invested in their personality, which can become tricky when actors are better known for villainous roles.
Thus far, the MCU has avoided casting anyone typecast for many villainous roles for the most part, ensuring that audiences are capable of attributing famous faces to their heroes first and foremost. That being said, it's not uncommon for Marvel's highest-paid stars to have had their cinematic roots in villainy. In other cases, they may branch out to more scummy characters after the fact, enjoying the refreshing experience of playing a despicable antagonist after so many years as a hero.
10 Chris Evans Knives Out Perhaps the glaring exception to Marvel's typical policy of avoiding casting villainous faces for their major heroes, Chris Evans has a long history of playing jerks. Even when he isn't outright evil, much of Chris Evans' career has been spent inhabiting unlikable hot heads, such as his previous brush with superherodom in Fox's Fantastic Four as Johnny Storm. That being said, his most recent well-known villainous role was that of Ransom Drysdale in Knives Out.
At first, Ransom appears to be the only sane member of the Drysdale-Thrombey family, even if he is still a crude, unlikable outcast. It's soon revealed that he was the one behind the entire mystery of the film, implicating Harlan's nurse Marta as the murderer of his late grandfather. Clues of the true depths of his villainy are dropped multiple times throughout the film before the major reveal, including some of the family's dogs reacting negatively to Ransom's presence.
9 Chris Hemsworth Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga Image via Warner Bros. One of the many actors whose career was utterly transformed by the MCU, Chris Hemsworth was a relative unknown before being cast as Thor. While the God of Thunder may have become comedic quickly in the series, Hemsworth has proven himself as a more capable, serious hero in other roles like the Extraction series. As of late, Hemsworth finally got to enjoy a change of pace as the depraved warlord Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Not only is Hemsworth a villain in the post-apocalyptic prequel, he's particularly despicable, willing to abduct children and kill his own men in the pursuit of power. He isn't even particularly good at being evil, constantly undermined by his own gang and failing to maintain an iron grasp on his spoils of war. Nevertheless, Hemsworth is endlessly entertaining in the role, squawking with fury in his native Australian accent while speeding along the Fury Road.
8 Robert Downey Jr. Oppenheimer After being the flagship face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for so long with a career-defining run as Tony Stark, it was hard to imagine Robert Downey Jr. as a villain. Though he's played unsavory characters before, there are few times the distinguished actor has been given the credit of being an outright antagonist. Luckily, his efforts in portraying Admiral Lewis Strauss in Oppenheimer proved that Robert Downey Jr. can be much more than a heroic figure.
A deeply petty man, Strauss is characterized by his pride and ego, orchestrating an entire series of security hearings against Oppenheimer due to his own one-sided rivalry with the brilliant physicist. The reveal that the straw that broke the camel's back for Strauss was a misinterpreted moment of rudeness from Einstein demonstrated just how far the man was willing to go over the smallest of perceived slights. Robert Downey Jr.'s exhilarating performance as Strauss earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
7 Scarlett Johansson Under The Skin The series' hallmark femme fatale and one of the earliest heroes to be introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow quietly carried the supporting cast of many Marvel films. Though she didn't get her own time in the spotlight until far too late into the series, Johansson's efforts as Natasha Romanoff are easy to appreciate. This makes it all the more shocking that she played such an inhuman threat in 2013's Under The Skin.
An A24 horror film, the avant-garde picture stars Johansson as a being simply known as The Female. Prowling the backroads of rural Scotland, The Female is an alien being that lures men to their doom before absorbing them into a mysterious metaphysical realm, essentially preying on humanity. Even though The Female may be the protagonist of Under The Skin, she's certainly a villain, though the narrative portrays her life with a certain air of tragedy.
6 Jeremy Renner Dahmer Jeremy Renner is one of Hollywood's most comfortable friendly faces. Playing the family man Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Renner's performance was quietly appreciated as a supporting character and original avenger, eventually getting his time in the spotlight with his own eponymous series. While Renner has made attempts at heading other heroic roles in films like Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, he also played one of the most evil real-world serial killers in a little-known crime thriller.
In Dahmer, Jeremy Renner plays the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, a real criminal who murdered and cannibalized 17 young men. For its grisly narrative, Dahmer does a good job being respectful and not sensationalizing the horrific actions of its real-world subject, helped in part by Renner's excellent performance. It might be difficult to imagine the face of Hawkeye committing such atrocities, but Dahmer proves that Renner is capable of being a true chameleon.
5 Benedict Cumberbatch The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Benedict Cumberbatch rose to prominence with the flash-in-the-pan success of the BBC's Sherlock, which re-interpreted Arthur Conan Doyle's classic tales for the modern era. Cumberbatch excellence as an eccentric bristly genius made him a perfect choice for Doctor Strange, which he quickly proved as one of the best late additions to the MCU. Since then, Cumberbatch has become well-acquainted with villainous roles in other blockbuster franchises, including Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy.
As bad as The Hobbit trilogy failed to capture the magic of both the original book and the famous Rankins-Bass animated film from the 80s, Benedict Cumberbatch as the dragon Smaug was one of its best choices. Willing to crawl around in a motion capture suit while maintaining a fearsome persona as a mighty beast, it's astonishing how much menace Cumberbatch was able to inject into the creature's voice. Cumberbatch also appeared as the infamous Khan in 2013's Star Trek: Into Darkness.
4 Anthony Mackie 8 Mile Anthony Mackie's witticisms and delivery made him the perfect foil to the stoic Captain America in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Maintaining himself as one of the most active Marvel heroes ever since his introduction, Mackie colors the high-flying hero with bucketloads of personality, shaping the relatively unknown avian hero into a fan favorite. However, it was Mackie's performance as a villain that put him on the map in the first place.
Alongside the famous rapper Eminem, Anthony Mackie starred in the semi-autobiographical tale 8 Mile as the notorious Papa Doc. A rapper and gang leader, Papa Doc challenges Eminem's B-Rabbit on multiple fronts, threatening his life and his reputation. Hilariously enough, Papa Doc's most famous scene is the moment in which B-Rabbit is able to preemptively invalidate Mackie's entire verse in the film's climactic rap battle.
3 Paul Rudd Mute Known more for his comedic roles, Paul Rudd was Marvel's choice for bringing to life the irreverent comedy of Scott Lang's Ant-Man. Having starred in famous gutbusters like Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Wet Hot American Summer and I Love You Man, Rudd was a natural at conveying the MCU's signature brand of comedy. That being said, the actor and comedian has a little-known villainous role under his belt as well.
In the 2018 neo-noir science fiction film Mute, Paul Rudd plays Cactus Bill, a surgeon who runs a black-market clinic. He's also the ex-husband of love interest Naadirah, standing in the way of her happiness with Alexander Skarsgård's Leo, the movie's speechless protagonist. A cyberpunk movie starring comedy icon Paul Rudd as a murderous black-market surgeon is just as weird as it sounds, and the film's poor critical reception isn't kind to Rudd's ability to portray a genuinely evil man.
2 Brie Larson Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Avengers: Endgame introduced Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, the first female hero of the MCU to eventually headline her own film and one of the series' most powerful characters. While Brie Larson's solo films have had an uneven reception, one never gets the sense that any of her character's failures to captivate an audience are the fault of her own performance. Clearly a talented actress, Brie Larson's roles scatter across a wide moral gradient.
In Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Brie Larson stars as one of Ramona Flowers' seven evil exes, the only female of the group, superstar musician Envy Adams. Curiously enough, Larson isn't the only Marvel superstar to play an evil ex, an honor she shares with Chris Evans. Both Brie Larson and Chris Evans reprized their roles for the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World animated series on Netflix, which reunited the cast of the original live-action film.
1 Paul Bettany The Da Vinci Code After seeing English actor Paul Bettany's wonderfully homely performance as Vision in the MCU, it's hard to imagine him ever playing a villain. Not only is Vision one of the most powerful members of the Avengers, but he's also one of the kindest, always polite no matter the situation. That being said, Paul Bettany is a very experienced performer, and he put to screen one of the most disturbing cinematic villains of the early 2000s in The Da Vinci Code.
In the adaptation of Dan Brown's hit mystery novel, Paul Bettany plays Silas, a.k.a. The Albino. A devout monk with albinism, Silas is a self-flagellant zealot who seeks to claim the Holy Grail for the Opus Dei, a secretive power-hungry religious group, going to decidedly ungodly lengths to get it. The stark contrast between Bettany's raging villainy as Silas and his gentle heroism as Vision makes watching The Da Vinci Code a true case of cultural whiplash after the MCU.
Upcoming Marvel Movies Release Date Deadpool & Wolverine July 26, 2024 Captain America: Brave New World February 14, 2025 Thunderbolts* May 2, 2025 The Fantastic Four July 25, 2025 Blade November 7, 2025 Avengers: The Kang Dynasty May 1, 2026 Avengers: Secret Wars May 7, 2027


不想錯過? 請追蹤FB專頁!    
前一頁 後一頁