Why Black Panther’s Erik Killmonger Is Marvel’s Best Villain

Black Panther has been out for a couple of weeks now, and it’s been met with quite the reception. Among other things, it’s broken box office records and it’s garnered very positive reviews from critics, virtually ensuring a sequel at some point. And one of the main reasons why viewers loved the film so much is Erik Killmonger, a villain that Marvel finally got right.

There are a lot of things that can differentiate a good villain. Sometimes they believe they’re the hero of their own story. A great villain may force our hero to question themselves and to change their actions for the better. Or they might make us reflect on our own beliefs and convictions as an audience. But all great villains share one thing in common: their motivations are more than just “destroy the world” or “kill the hero.” The GameSpot team thinks Killmonger is the best of the best among Marvel enemies because his goals are actually believable and go beyond pure, nihilistic destruction.

In the video embedded above, we go over this and other reasons why Killmonger is the greatest villain from the Marvel cinematic universe. Watching Black Panther, it is clear that the filmmakers invested in Erik Killmonger. They made it clear that he saw injustice in the world, both on a personal level and on a larger scale, and he believed that Wakanda had the capacity to right some of these wrongs. He was right, even if he went about it in a destructive way.

The one downside to how good Killmonger is, though, is that it ratchets up the expectations for supervillain Thanos when he finally appears in Avengers: Infinity War. Marvel has the profound challenge of not only making this villain’s philosophy convincing to an audience but also treating him like the hero of his own story. At the very least, we hope that Thanos has a more relatable motive than simply wanting to rule the galaxy.

You can see our full argument for why Killmonger wins the battle of the Marvel villains in the video above. Be sure to also check out our recent feature on what we want to see in a Black Panther sequel.

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Author: Alex Newhouse

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