Marvel Villains Are Overshadowing Their Heroes?

It might be time to say let go of the heroes that are leftover from the events of Endgame, as it has been stated that the Marvel villains are now overshadowing the heroes.

By Dan Lawrence | Published

christian bale marvel villains

Thor: Love and Thunder, the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the fourth solo outing for Chris Hemsworth’s Norse God of Thunder flew defiantly into theatres this week. Thor: Love and Thunder is every bit as charming and funny as Thor: Ragnarok. However, Vox’s Alex Abad-Santos writes how the film’s handling of its main antagonist, Gorr the God Butcher, could be the start of a worrying trend. Are Marvel villains overshadowing their heroes? 

Warning, this article contains spoilers about Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder, you have been warned!

Gorr the God Butcher is portrayed by the talented English thespian Christian Bale, a man who has achieved GOAT status in the comic book movie world thanks to his era-defining Batman performance in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. Gorr is a man whose life is left with no meaning when his daughter perishes, and his God belittles him. Gorr takes a vow to destroy all Gods after slaying his own with the Necrosword, a powerful and ancient weapon that infects the mind, body, and spirit of anyone who wields it. Bale’s portrayal of Gorr the God Butcher is Vox writer Santos’ favorite part of Thor: Love and Thunder (and the writer of this article is inclined to agree), but tragically, like most Marvel villains in a solo MCU movie, Gorr perishes come the movie’s end. 

Thor: Love and Thunder is definitely hilarious, but doesn’t quite capture the spirit in the way Thor: Ragnarok achieved, something that is reflected in the former’s Rotten Tomatoes score, 67% compared to Ragnarok’s 93%. Many critics, such as Kyle Smith of the Wall Street Journal, complain that although; “Chris Hemsworth, as usual, has a lot of fun in the title role, the film around him too often strains to provide excitement and laughs.” Then some critics align with Vox’s Santos, praising Christian Bale’s performance as Gorr, with Nick Schager of The Daily Beast writing; “Waititi’s Marvel superhero sequel to ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ features an imposing new villain in Christian Bale.” The consensus on Bale’s Gorr the God Butcher is that he is a leading light in Thor: Love and Thunder, one of the better Marvel villains, streaks ahead of the copy and paste hero imitations of the first phase of the MCU. However, the fact that he dies at the end of the movie makes his brilliance all too brief and shouldn’t Thor be the star of the show? 

Christian Bale’s character was every bit as powerful as Thor, if not more so, he was wicked, cruel, sinister, and erratic in equal measure and was given a narrative arc that made his plight and demise compelling. However, critiquing the demise of Marvel villains these days could be construed as a case of wanting too much. Gorr the God Butcher is lightyears ahead of the likes of Obadiah Stane and Ivan Vanko and it’s worth noting that although Phase 4 has not intertwined as much as previous Phases of the MCU, it’s still part of Kevin Feige’s grand master plan for the future of the MCU and if Gorr is not a part of it, then so be it. After all, the MCU has killed off numerous solo villains of great stature in the past, Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 for instance and still delivered the incredible Phase 3 finale that was Avengers: Endgame. Who knows, maybe the multiverse will provide another Gorr somewhere down the road? 

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