When it comes to villains, there is no shortage in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Let’s face it, for every superhero, there seems to be at least a half-dozen villains looking to take them out. Just consider Spider-Man’s rogues’ gallery and you can see that there are a lot of people to choose from. Now that the MCU has spit out more than a dozen films since its debut with 2008’s Iron Man, we have a menagerie of villains to examine and we thought it would be fun to look at the really ugly ones.
When you think about it, a lot of the characters who take up the sword against our favorite heroes aren’t the most attractive people in the universe. Some of them are mutated forms of regular people while many others are disturbingly grotesque aliens we wouldn’t want to find on the other end of the dreaded probe. We thought it would be fun to take a look at these characters and further examine the people who played them. Could these actors and actresses be as grotesque as their on-screen characters made them out to be? No, of course not. Thanks to the magic of special effects via makeup, lighting and CGI, some of Hollywood’s most attractive men and women have played some of Marvel’s most unattractive characters.
15. AYESHA – ELIZABETH DEBICKI
Ayesha was a secondary antagonist in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as she was the High Priestess of The Sovereign. Granted, she may be attractive to folks who like gold women, but, for the most part, she looks very inhuman. As the leader of The Sovereign, she was intent on the destruction of the Guardians after Rocket stole the very batteries she hired them to protect. She was, of course, thwarted in her attempt and is likely to return to the MCU to try again.
Elizabeth Debicki is an Australian actress who has appeared in The Great Gatsby and various roles in television and theater. She has been working as a professional actress since 2011 and has several roles lined up with four films in 2017 and three scheduled for the following year. She is much more attractive than her gold-plated form and an obvious choice for our list.
14. NEBULA – KAREN GILLAN
Nebula may have joined forces with her sister Gamorra in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 after a bitter fight, but when she was first seen she was most certainly a villain. Nebula is blue and covered in mechanical augmentation making her look a little less appealing than your average adult female Smurf. If you didn’t know who was behind the makeup, you may never know it was such a beautiful woman.
Karen Gillan went all-out for her role as Nebula by completely shaving her head! She had a wig of her own hair made until it grew back, so she is not wearing a bald cap. That’s commitment, given her instantly recognizable red locks. Gillan rose to fame playing Amy Pond, companion to Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor in BBC’s Doctor Who. She is also appearing in the remake of Jumanji and will appear as Nebula in future Avengers films.
13. EGO THE LIVING PLANET – KURT RUSSELL
When Ego made his appearance in the MCU in The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, his origin was changed somewhat to allow for a man to play him, but he was still just a gigantic living planet at heart. Ego’s primary form was that of the anthropomorphized planet you see pictured to the left, but he wouldn’t have been an easy character to relate to on film had he not been played by veteran Hollywood actor Kurt Russell.
Russell has been acting since he was a child back in 1962 and is still going strong. He is probably best remembered as playing Snake Pliskin in Escape from New York and its sequel, as well as Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China. Though he is now close to 70 years-young, he is still the picture of rugged masculinity, which many people continue to find attractive.
12. HELA – CATE BLANCHETT
Hela is the Asgardian Goddess of Death who is based on the Norse Goddess Hel. She is the ruler of Hel and Niflheim who is said to bring about Ragnarok, which is exactly what she appears to be doing in the trailers for Thor: Ragnarok. While her appearance in the film doesn’t seem too unappealing, she is sporting a head full of antlers and may only appeal to people who have a… “penchant for the deceased.”
Cate Blanchett has been busy acting professionally since 1992 and has appeared in a number of films nerds can relate to. She played Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, as well as Queen Elizabeth I in 1998’s Elizabeth for which she won numerous awards. Not in costume, Blanchett is clearly more beautiful than Hela, though, which is why we had to include her on this list.
11. RAINA – RUTH NEGGA
When her character first appeared on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Raina was a lovely young woman who would often be seen wearing a floral-print dress. Unfortunately for her, when she found the Terrigen Crystals and unlocked her Inhuman powers, she turned into a rather unattractive-looking human porcupine. Granted, she may have benefited from her powers of precognition prior to attaining them. She may have decided not to undergo her transition.
Ruth Negga played the character prior to and following her transition from gorgeous to prickly. Negga is an Academy Award nominee for Best Actress due to her portrayal of Mildred Loving in Loving. She continues to portray a comic book character as Tulip O’Hare in AMC’s Preacher. Negga also works in theater and continues to make films. She will be appearing in 2018’s Ad Astra playing an as-yet-unannounced character.
10. RONAN THE ACCUSER – LEE PACE
If you took one look at Ronan The Accuser from Guardians of the Galaxy and thought you would swipe right, you may be the only one. Fortunately, Hollywood magic in the form of makeup artists, lighting and special effects have turned a rather handsome Lee Pace into the blue-skinned radicalized former member of the Kree Empire pictured to the left of the dashing fellow shown above.
Lee Pace has been working in and around Hollywood since 2002. You may recognize him as a longtime collaborator with Bryan Fuller as he has worked alongside him on several projects to include Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls. Besides those two television shows, Pace played none other than Thranduil in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit film trilogy. Seeing Pace play an elf isn’t a far stretch, but those dashing good looks certainly didn’t cross over into his playing of Ronan.
9. KAECILIUS – MADS MIKKELSEN
Nobody could have worn that disturbing eye makeup in 2016’s Doctor Strange and been a contender for the MCU’s most attractive villain. This is certainly true for longtime character actor Mads Mikkelsen. It isn’t unusual to see Mikkelsen adorn some form of face-disfiguring makeup for a role (remember the bleeding eye from Casino Royale?) so it was certainly par for the course to see him playing Kaecilius, the main antagonist of the film (not counting Dormammu).
Mads Mikkelsen is originally from Denmark where he began to achieve fame with his role in the first two films of the Pusher film trilogy. Initially, he trained as a gymnast and a dancer, but eventually found his way into Danish cinema and finally, Hollywood. Some of his other notable roles include the titular character in television’s Hannibal, Galen Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the aforementioned Le Chiffre in Casino Royale.
8. ABOMINATION – TIM ROTH
Let’s face it, there aren’t really any Hulk villains many people would call attractive. Certainly, no exception is Emil Blonsky’s Abomination. He matches the relative size of the Green Hulk, looks like his skin was more of an afterthought than a preconceived notion and has all sorts of protuberances growing out of him that are less appealing than one might think. Bottom line: he’s ugly.
When it comes to playing interesting characters, it seems the producers of 2008’s The Incredible Hulk didn’t need to look much further than Tim Roth. While he played the human version of Blonsky to look pretty much as he does normally, his CGI counterpart is definitely what we are interested in here. Roth has been working in film since 1982 and his rugged, yet handsome appeal is rather obvious.
7. RED SKULL – HUGO WEAVING
Yet another member of the MCU’s villains, the Red Skull is only attractive to people we wouldn’t want to associate with. The guy has a red skull for a head! As any fan of Marvel Comics knows, he has been around for a long time, having first appeared in Captain America Comics #1, written and penciled by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in 1941.
You may recognize Hugo Weaving from his time playing Agent Smith in The Matrix trilogy, but he has been playing some amazing characters for years. He was also V in the film adaptation of V For Vendetta, Elrond in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies and he also voiced Megatron in the Transformers film series. Weaving gets around Hollywood and it has a lot to do with his amazing talent, but it doesn’t hurt that he’s easy on the eyes as well.
6. THANOS – JOSH BROLIN
Anyone who has read Marvel Comics over the years likely knows all about Thanos. He is the bringer (and lover) of Death who has been on the hunt for the Infinity Stones in the MCU since the films got off the ground. He is the principal antagonist of the goings-on behind the scenes of The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy films and his machinations will come to a head in the forthcoming Avengers: Infinity War movies.
Josh Brolin is the man behind the CGI that is Thanos, but he is best known for his work in No Country for Old Men, Milk, Hollow Man, American Gangster and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. He is slotted to play Cable in Deadpool 2 so he has made his way onto both the MCU and the X-Men franchise headed by 20th Century Fox.
5. MALEKITH – CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON
Malekith was the ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim and the primary antagonist of Thor: The Dark World. His appearance is that of a relatively large blue elf, but not the sexy kind from Tolkien’s books and more of the homicidal evil type you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. Some might find him appealing given an affinity towards elves, but for most people, he is far from attractive.
Malekith was played by Christopher Eccleston who most fans of our list will recognize as the Ninth Doctor from BBC’s, Doctor Who. Eccleston has been acting since 1988 and has played some significant roles in Hollywood and British cinema. He is a veteran stage actor and continues to work in film, television and theater.
4. THE OTHER – ALEXIS DENISOF
Though he didn’t have much screen time and is known only as The Other, this MCU villain plays the role of Thanos’ personal servant. He was the direct conduit between Thanos and Loki, providing the Chitauri army used to attack Earth in The Avengers. He was also Thanos’ representative to Ronan The Accuser until that particular MCU villain got a bit miffed and snapped his neck.
Alexis Denisof is probably best known for playing Wesley Wyndam-Pryce from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He is also known as the husband of Allison Hannigan who shared the screen with him on How I Met Your Mother where he played the obnoxious newscaster more closely associated with Cobie Smulders. In yet another connection, Smulders makes appearances in the MCU as Maria Hill. It really is all connected!
3. LASH – BLAIR UNDERWOOD
Lash was another character on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. who wasn’t always the ugly guy pictured above left. Lash is the super-powered version of Dr. Andrew Garner, a Neurologist and Forensic Psychologist who was married to Agent Melinda May. When empowered, Lash went on a killing spree and eventually turned himself in to S.H.I.E.L.D. Though he was a villain, he saved Daisy and died a hero.
Blair Underwood has been working consistently in film and television since 1985. He is probably best known for playing attorney Jonathan Rollins on L.A. Law. He was also a love interest in a four-episode run of HBO’s Sex and the City. Currently, he plays Owen Hall on Quantico and was chosen for this list for, well, what should be obvious reasons.
2. LAUFEY – COLM FEORE
Laufey was the secondary antagonist of the first Thor film. He was the leader of the Frost Giants and Loki’s biological father. He was the longtime nemesis of Odin and the rest of the Asgardians, though a truce existed until Loki’s machinations brought Laufey to Asgard in an attempt to assassinate his rival. Unfortunately for the King of the Frost Giants, he was betrayed and killed by Loki.
It took makeup artists five hours to turn the dashing gentleman known as Colm Feore into Laufey. As you can see, he required quite a bit of alteration to make him an unattractive villain of the MCU — just look at that chin! Feore has been working since 1981 and is likely best known for his role of Ted Brockhart on House of Cards and First Gentleman Henry Taylor on 24.
1. KURSE – ADEWALE AKINNUOYE-AGBAJE
Algrim was one of Malekith’s first lieutenants who stood beside him during the war with Asgard and was one of the few who survived the war. After five thousand years alongside Malekith, he didn’t hesitate to sacrifice himself to become Kurse in an attempt to take revenge against Asgard. Kurse is a heavily armored mutated form of the Dark Elf Algrim who had immense power and ability when it came to combat.
Fortunately, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje looks nothing like Kurse and is, in fact, a fashion model among many other professions. He played Killer Croc in Suicide Squad, Malko on two episodes of Game of Thrones and has recently broken into directing with Farming, a semi-autobiographical film based on his childhood. He was also Mr. Eko on Lost, a part which he requested to be written off so he could return to London following the deaths of his parents.
Which of our MCU villains did you find most attractive when the makeup and CGI effects came off? Sound off in the comments and let us know!
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