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Great But Underappreciated Characters In the MCU

In most cases, these characters accompany the main superheroes but remain in the shadows themselves.

Odys Korczyński

29 April 2024

Great But Underappreciated Characters In the MCU

In most cases, these characters accompany the main superheroes, aiding them in battles while also providing some sort of narrative or social background. However, successful stories could be crafted around these characters, placing them in the spotlight instead, and the MCU wouldn’t just lose anything from it but might even gain new life. All great universes eventually reach their limits if they keep exploiting the same heroes. So, there’s plenty to choose from, but would this approach still sell the Marvel world to viewers? That’s uncertain. As a longtime MCU viewer, I see characters lingering in the shadows, becoming increasingly intriguing with each new film, as the main ones have become too predictable.

Moon Knight (Oscar Isaac)

Moon Knight Oscar Isaac

I’ll start with Moon Knight because his situation in this lineup is unique. He’s undoubtedly a great character, meticulously crafted psychologically and brilliantly portrayed in the series. But what does that amount to? While the series is part of the so-called Phase IV of the universe, in practice, it doesn’t matter much because other superheroes dominate. Moon Knight is separated from them by a thick barrier, both in terms of narrative and style, and even in the age rating. He has lost a lot because of this, yet he should be at the forefront of superheroes. Scenes like his clash with Bushman and his relationship with Dr. Arthur Harrow should be etched into the history of superhero cinema. It’s an outstanding duo with Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke.

Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders)

Maria Hill Cobie Smulders

Some of you might wonder who Maria Hill is, but if I were to show you her pictures, you’d immediately recognize her. Right now, Spider-Man: Far From Home is airing on TV, where Maria Hill appears, but what does it contribute to the plot? Honestly, I don’t know. She mainly stands around and stares at a monitor, briefly drives a car, and at one point utters the crucial words “Seismic activity,” as if nobody in Fury’s team was aware that the ground was shaking. According to her biography, her presence should matter because Hill is Nick Fury’s closest collaborator, but since Fury himself has limited screen time, why bring in his deputy? Just to have her on set, thus filling in the gaps? That’s how it looks in practice, but it could be much better if her warrior skills were appreciated.

Kraglin (Sean Gunn)

Sean Gunn Kraglin

He was born on Xandar. Among all the Ravagers, Yondu Udonta was the most intelligent, although you wouldn’t necessarily see it in the Guardians of the Galaxy series. You might get the impression that he’s just a big goof, but he tirelessly and effectively pursues his goal, which is to be as great a leader of the Ravagers as Udonta was. However, he fails in that regard because Kraglin moves to the Guardians’ team. Nevertheless, Kraglin still gains a more significant position than being just a movie clown. This is the moment when viewers’ attention should focus on him when he begins to serve under Rocket’s leadership. However, if he wasn’t so funny, nobody would probably notice him at the moment when he becomes heroic. Still, he never quite shakes off the label of a secondary goofball whose only purpose is to amuse the audience. It’s a shame because he deserves more serious attention.

Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum)

grandmaster jeff goldblum

Excluding Jeff Goldblum, just the fact that the Grandmaster is an eccentric dictator on the planet Sakaar gives him some kind of unique charm. He’s mysterious. In essence, it’s not clear what his charisma is based on; maybe some superpower he doesn’t reveal? One thing’s for sure, there’s too little of him, and besides, he’s supposedly the dictator, yet he’s stuck on the planet himself. The Contest of Champions is a way to survive, but does it have any greater significance in the universe? The Grandmaster is a chaotic and unpredictable personality, but ironically, there’s little of him there.

Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson)

Quicksilver Aaron Taylor Johnson

He’s a strange character, definitely underrated, but with potential. The version used in the MCU is a summary of his abilities and character. However, it’s hard to decide whether he would be a better antagonist or protagonist. His desire for revenge on Tony Stark might be even more interesting than his glorious deeds during the Battle of Sokovia. Within the genre of superhero movies, the theme of redemption for characters serving great villains who turn against their masters is quite overused, as seen with Quicksilver, who opposes Ultron and then sacrifices his own life to protect Hawkeye and a young boy named Costel. His death marks the end of his career in the MCU, and his character will always be overshadowed by Wanda, who plays a larger role in the series.

Wong (Benedict Wong)

Wong Benedict Wong

At some point, he started to remind me a bit of Kraglin, who played a Marvel-esque clown role. Generally, Wong’s relationship with Doctor Strange is designed somewhat on the principle of a very serious student – a very serious master, and we laugh at this seriousness, but Wong’s personality doesn’t stop there. Overall, we don’t see too much of Wong in the MCU. He plays a quite intense background role in Doctor Strange’s story but only has minor roles, for example, in the Avengers. In reality, we don’t fully grasp Wong’s power. Just knowing facts from his biography isn’t enough. After all, Wong is a master of mystical arts, and without him, Strange wouldn’t be able to protect the New York Sanctum.

Drax (Dave Bautista)

Drax Dave Bautista

I used to think about a full-length MCU production with Drax as the main character, whose heroic death would sum up the contemporary vision of superheroism according to Marvel. Today, I still think of him as a highly underrated character in the universe, but telling his story in a series that would be filled with comedic elements, as it suits Drax’s character, but also his personal dramas. Remember, he’s a deeply troubled personality. The fact that he managed to maintain this mental level is nothing short of titanic work, deserving of cinematic recognition. Someone who says, “Nothing goes over my head. My reflexes are too fast. I would catch it,” and at the same time believes, “When you’re ugly and someone loves you, you know they love you for who you are,” must be very wise by nature.

M’Baku (Winston Duke)

M’Baku Winston Duke

If we were to create a ranking of the most honorable heroes, who aren’t necessarily super in terms of supernatural powers, M’Baku would definitely rank among the top. His sense of honor borders on madness. It’s the highest, most patriotic level, matched only by Steve Rogers and T’Challa. Perhaps because of this, M’Baku is sometimes perceived negatively, ruthlessly, which doesn’t win him many fans. However, a ruthless warrior appropriately portrayed in the film can gain fans over time. Generally, M’Baku’s behavior is complicated but ultimately positive. By honoring T’Challa’s grace during their trial conflict, he facilitated Wakanda’s liberation from Erik Killmonger’s hands. Additionally, he sent the forces of the Jabari tribe to defend Wakanda, and ultimately Earth, in the fight against Thanos. He deserves more respect for his actions.

Nebula (Karen Gillan)

Nebula Karen Gillan

Before systematically implementing his plan of annihilation throughout the universe, Thanos devastated many worlds. One such world was inhabited by the Luphomoids. However, Nebula’s story was greatly simplified in the MCU. It’s worth examining her history in the comics. The homeland of the Luphomoids was the planet Luphom, which was destroyed by Galactus. Nebula was the daughter of the Luphomoid chieftain – Zorr the Conqueror. Nebula should not be confused with an android or other type of robot. Luphomoids are a humanoid species distinguished by their blue skin. They are known as a race of warriors and conquerors. It was Thanos who augmented Nebula, changing her appearance and personality so drastically that she began to resemble a synthetic being more than anything else.

Heimdall (Idris Elba)

Heimdall Idris Elba

Heimdall, the Marvel Universe’s sentinel, overshadowed by Thor, even Loki or Hela. Yet, he’s a hero character almost flawless. He got a chance to make a stronger appearance in Ragnarok. As we remember, he was removed from his position by Loki, who impersonated Odin. However, when Hela attacked, the situation became so serious that it was Heimdall who had to lead the refugees from Asgard to the mountains. Unfortunately, he never received the recognition he deserved; he died at the hands of Thanos — but not before using his magic to transport Hulk to Earth. It’s hard to imagine this character played by anyone other than Idris Elba, who infused it with his uncompromising artistic personality.

Odys Korczyński

Odys Korczyński

For years he has been passionate about computer games, in particular RPG productions, film, medicine, religious studies, psychoanalysis, artificial intelligence, physics, bioethics, as well as audiovisual media. He considers the story of a film to be a means and a pretext to talk about human culture in general, whose cinematography is one of many splinters.

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