Is Thanos The Marvel Villain We’ve All Been Waiting For?

Avengers: Age Of Ultron, meanwhile, proved to be the peak of anti-climactic CGI villains, with a creepy voice and an extremist plan being undermined by a lacklustre finale and a tendency to monologue. Elsewhere, Ant-Man’s Darren Cross joined the ranks of aggrieved, entitled white men – all of whom are only too familiar – along with Helmut Zemo from Captain America: Civil War, Kaecilius from Doctor Strange, Ego from Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2, and Adrian Toomes from Spider-Man: Homecoming. So many villains, so little variety. But then, along came Hela – the Goddess of Death.

With Thor: Ragnarok, Hela ushered in the dawn of a new age for villainy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Like Erik Kilmonger – the villain of the subsequent film, Black Panther – the power of Hela’s darkness is not derived from a desire for chaos, nor an obsession with causing a specific person pain; it does not stem from a singular pursuit of power, or an anger created by a loss of personal status (although – she’s quite happy to take an uptick in status as a by-product of her larger agenda). Instead, Hela and Kilmonger alike are driven by the very simple conviction that they are righting a wrong.

For Hela, she’s enraged at having been erased from history (and, temporarily, existence) by her father, after he used her to achieve power. She seeks to educate Asgard about the true origin of its wealth and power, while returning it to its colonial ways. For Kilmonger, he’s enraged by the idea that he’s had to live in a deeply racist America – disconnected from his own Wakandan culture and ancestors – while Wakanda has protected itself and prospered. He seeks to return to America and arm his community – encouraging them to rise up against their colonizers. There are similarities in the origins and motivations of Hela and Kilmonger – but they are vastly different than any villain that’s preceded them in the MCU.