From worst to best, here is how I rank the villains from the Marvel Netflix universe.
Note: Lots of spoilers below, so be warned. Also, I’ve just begun watching The Defenders, so I haven’t yet ranked Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra Reid (or any other new villains in that series).
I’m also not including Frank Castle, Joy Meachum, or Davos on the this. The first because he’s not really a villain (although he certainly does bad things), and the latter two because it’s not clear at this point whether they are really going to turn into villains.
13. Willis ‘Diamondback’ Stryker
The first half of the season portrays Diamondback as some sort of master criminal, and then they reveal Diamondback, who is one axis short of being two dimensional. I found him boring, and frankly, dumb.
12. Elektra Natchios
No, she’s not a Mexican appetizer, although that might move her up the list. So might The Defenders, but for now I find her rather boring.
Such a low ranking might not be fair, as we haven’t (yet) been given a chance to explore his character, but what we’ve seen so far is underwhelming.
10. Mariah Dillard
Just not sold on Mariah yet, but maybe she’ll deliver in Luke Cage Season Two. Still can’t forgive what she did to Cornell, however.
We never really explored his character. But, he keeps coming back, so we still might get the chance. Until then, while he’s very dangerous, he’s not especially interesting.
He probably deserves to be higher ranked than this, as he was certainly menacing enough. Still, the control psychopathy was rather one note, and the writers missed a fantastic opportunity. As the first season of Jessica Jones was nearing completion, the show presented an interesting quandary: what to do with Kilgrave? Killing him would have been ethically questionable, to say the least, but so would letting him go. And then they allowed Kilgrave to level up to the point where killing him was the only option. Missed opportunity.
7. Leland Owlsley
Not a brilliant villain, but he knows where the money is hidden, and he always has a great line or two. But going up against Fisk was a mistake.
6. Hernan ‘Shades’ Alvarez
So disturbing, and so smart. Give me more.
5. Harold Meachum
David Wenham’s Harold Meachum was nearly the strongest thing in the rather weak Iron Fist Season One (Colleen Wing probably gets higher marks). He was so conniving and showed his loss of humanity brilliantly.
4. Cornell ‘Cottonmouth’ Stokes
A brilliant club manager, who really wanted to be a musician, but is drawn into a world of crime. Loved it, and then they killed him off. Damn… More screen time would have moved him up the list.
3. Turk Barrett
Rob Morgan’s Turk steals each and every scene he’s in. And I love how he’s become the Forrest Gump of the universe, popping up everywhere.
2. Madame Gao
A tiny, little woman who exudes such power and terrifying presence. Even William Fisk treated her with extreme respect. I’m glad she’s in the middle of pretty much every evil plot.
1. Wilson Fisk
Fascinating, and so very, very broken. Fisk is a villain that absolutely believes he is one of the good guys. And, at times, he makes the viewer feel sympathetic towards him. And then he smashes someone’s head in with a car door and you are reminded how horrible he really is.