Top 8 Smartest MCU Villains Ranked

Top smartest MCU villains so far
Credit: Marvel Studios

Top smartest MCU villains so far
Credit: Marvel Studios

The Marvel Cinematic Universe boasts an impressive gallery of villains, some we've yet to see make their respective debuts.

But out of the formidable foes that already debuted in the billion-dollar franchise and have been a thorn in our heroes' sides, here are the top 8 smartest MCU villains we have seen thus far:

  1. Skrulls (Captain Marvel & Secret Invasion)

    The Skrulls made their first appearance in the Captain Marvel movie. While not every Skrull is essentially a villain, Secret Invasion confirmed that the majority of them jumped ship and joined Gravik in destroying humankind.

    This was because Nick Fury did not fulfill his promise of building them a new home.

    The Skrulls’ strength lies in their population number rather than their strength. They were able to infiltrate major government officials by replacing their human counterparts and have been living under the guise that they were, in fact, the humans they were representing on Earth.

    The only thing that foiled their plan is the fact they failed to retrieve the Avengers’ DNA from Nick Fury in time.

    Since the Super Skrulls have also entered the franchise, it eventually introduced G’iah as the most overpowered character in the MCU for possessing every known Avengers’ DNA in her system.

  2. Mysterio (Spider-Man: Far From Home)

    Quentin Beck aka Mysterio merely had one appearance in the entirety of the MCU, but his performance was nevertheless one of the smartest moves from any villain that has shown themselves on the big screens.

    After being fired from Stark Industries, which already indicates how competent his level of intelligence is, Quentin set off a plan to manipulate the entire world into thinking he was overall, a hero.

    Although, since we're talking about Mysterio technically manipulating Peter Parker here, Spider-Man was a teenager at the time. He was naïve and felt the need to do good even towards strangers like him.

    However, as seen in the post-credit scenes of Spider-Man: Far From Home, Nick Fury and Maria Hill had had the Skrulls in disguise facing against him.

    In this sense, Mysterio was smart, but not as smart as the next villains on this list.

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  3. Ultron (Avengers: Age of Ultron)

    In a matter of seconds after being born, Ultron had gained a century's worth of knowledge and skills, including how to set himself an android body made out of Vibranium.

    This artificially intelligent war machine had been a product of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner's work after having taken from JARVIS aka Vision's mechanism.

    Initially created to protect Earth, Ultron, like many species that have grown suspicious over the curious existence of humans and their culture, developed his own hypothesis of the world deserving mass destruction instead of protection.

  4. Agatha Harkness (WandaVision)

    There aren't many female villains in the MCU, but Agatha Harkness deserves to be on this list for blending pretty well in Wanda's little fantasy world of WandaVision.

    See, Agatha's difference in strength and intelligence against, for example, Hela, is that intimidation of great power doesn't always result in victory.

    Agatha's strength lies in pretending to be a part of Wanda's imaginary world of Westview before striking against the Scarlet Witch right after entrapping her in her runes in the basement of Wanda's own home.

    Agatha may have been beaten by the Scarlet Witch herself, but hopefully, we'll be seeing much more of her character and the extent of her powers once Agatha: Coven of Chaos comes to fruition.

  5. Loki the God of Mischief

    While Thor the God of Thunder usually unleashes his unbeatable strength through his weapons, Mjölnir and Stormbreaker, Loki's evil schemes stem from his reputation as the God of Mischief.

    As the God of trickery, he has to devise his plans ahead before facing his opponents (in most cases, it's his own half-brother Thor leading him to believe he has died). It matches quite well with how he has to be a master of pranks and illusion.

    His downside, however, is letting his pride get in his own way. Once provoked by his helpless nature of being wanted and loss of purpose, he tends to lash out and lose his stance on where his plan is supposed to go.

    ALSO READ: Are the Sokovia Accords Still Active After Avengers: Endgame?

  6. Baron Helmut Zemo

    First appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Zemo was determined to get his revenge against the Avengers.

    Considering his family died during the events of Ultron's destruction of Sokovia, Zemo called it upon himself to study every Avenger's weakness.

    This was most evident when he found out how HYDRA triggers Bucky Barnes' hypnotization of turning back into the Winter Soldier.

    Zemo's advantage is held in having a naturally charismatic nature, in which anyone could be fooled by his command of words and expertise in the black market. He is not meant to be taken lightly, but he could trick you into thinking so.

  7. Thanos the Mad Titan

    Thanos controlled the overall cinematic universe of Marvel since the beginning of the franchise. Coming from an alien race, his intelligence doesn’t stem from the likes of strategies that Tony Stark or Bruce Banner could predict on their own.

    It doesn’t help that his superior and massive physical build and strength (plus thick unbreakable skin) renders him even more untouchable by any potential opponent he could face in battle.

    Take note that Earth was not the first planet he disintegrated by snapping half of the universe’s population out of existence. If anything, this makes him a formidable foe if he had not died at Iron Man’s hands in Avengers: Endgame.

  8. Kang the Conqueror and His Variants

    Both in Marvel Comics, as well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Kang the Conqueror and his variants have always been depicted to be one of the most intelligent and strongest tacticians for villains in the franchise.

    If you think about it, as the Loki series portrayed, He Who Remains was behind the making of the Time Variance Authority in manipulating the actual events on the Sacred Timeline.

    If setting up the establishment of the ‘Sacred Timeline Protectors’ wasn’t a smart move, I don’t know what is.

    Though Kang the Conqueror is one of the strongest big bads, he doesn’t compare to Victor Timely’s precision in executing his plans, which we’ll be seeing more of once Loki Season 2 drops.

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