Home Uncategorized 10 Most Terrifying Non-MCU Marvel Movie Villains Of All Time, Ranked

10 Most Terrifying Non-MCU Marvel Movie Villains Of All Time, Ranked

10 Most Terrifying Non-MCU Marvel Movie Villains Of All Time, Ranked


  • Even outside the MCU, Marvel villains remain terrifying and compelling on-screen.
  • Intimidating non-MCU villains like Doc Ock, Stryker, and Green Goblin have made their mark.
  • Characters like Carnage, X-24, and The Spot showcase unique and terrifying evolutions in non-MCU Marvel films.

While they might not be in the MCU, there are still plenty of Marvel villains that are all kinds of terrifying and intimidating on-screen. This could be regarding their visual appearance, their plans, and even how they’ve impacted certain heroes. As such, some Marvel villains end up becoming far more compelling than the actual heroes they face.

The MCU features some of the most capable and dynamic villains of all time. This includes the likes of Thanos, Erik Killmonger, early-MCU Loki, Ultron, and more. However, it’s been proven by other studios that a good and truly intimidating villain doesn’t necessarily need an entire interconnected universe. To that end, here are our picks for the top 10 most intimidating and terrifying non-MCU villains.


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10 Galactus (Not Accurate, But Still Scary)

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

As frustrating as the first live-action Galactus was, there still was a level of fear and terror at play. Debuting in 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the world-consuming entity known as Galactus was depicted as a giant sentient space cloud, rather than as he appears in the original comics as a massive cosmic being clad in purple armor. Nevertheless, this version of Galactus and the threat of his power to consume the entire world was still quite intimidating.

It’s also worth noting that the danger of Galactus was perfectly set up by his cosmic herald, the Silver Surfer. Having been voiced by Lawrence Fishburne, there’s nothing quite like the phrase “All that you know is at an end” to instill quite a bit of apocalyptic fear. This is something that Marvel Studios will hopefully try and emulate with their own Galactus who will be featured in their upcoming Fantastic Four reboot.

9 Col. William Stryker

X-2: X-Men United

Having first appeared in 2003’s X2: X-Men United, Col. William Stryker was the man behind the Weapon X project. Weapon X involved turning various mutants into living weapons, the famous of which was naturally Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. However, Stryker also turned his own son Jason into a living weapon, using his psychic abilities for his own gain while trying to decal an all-out war on mutantkind.

The first version of Stryker in the X-Men movies was played by Brian Cox. While younger versions of Stryker were featured in movies set earlier in the X-Men timeline such as X-Men: Origins and Days of Future Past, Cox’s version was arguably the most intimidating. Regardless, Col. Stryker’s complete hatred for mutants paired with his intention to turn several of them into weapons makes him one of the X-Men franchise’s most terrifying villains, even while not being not much of a physical threat on his own.

8 The Lizard

The Amazing Spider-Man

One of Spider-Man’s most tragic (yet terrifying) villains, Curt Connors’ Lizard made his full live-action debut as a monstrous reptilian mutant in 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man. Starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, the young man sought out Connors due to his work with Parker’s deceased father. Working together, Connors and Peter began working on a serum derived from lizard DNA to regrow limbs, something that could help remedy Connors’ lost arm. However, Connors used the serum on himself without proper trials, resulting in his vicious mutation into a giant lizard monster.

As a result, the Lizard became an extremely terrifying first foe for Parker who became Spider-Man after his classic radioactive spider bite. Living in the sewers and continuing his work in the shadows, Connors’ warped mind was determined to try and turn the entire city into lizard mutants just like him. To that end, The Amazing Spider-Man features a plethora of scenes that showcase the true horror of what has happened to Connors and his dark transformation, as well as just how dangerous he’d become with his new reptilian abilities.

7 Venom

Spider-Man 3

Although Tom Hardy might be the current live-action Eddie Brock and Venom, the live-action role was first played by Topher Grace in 2007’s Spider-Man 3. While Grace himself might not have been the most intimidating Brock, the Venom symbiote was all kinds of terrifying. This is especially true when Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker genuinely struggles to rid himself of the suit that was determined to stay bonded to its host, only letting go due to its aversion to sonics with the ringing church bell.

However, the final battle between Spider-Man and Venom saw the symbiote being just as intimidating. The third Tobey Maguire movie perfectly nailed the concept that Spider-Man can’t detect the symbiote with his spider-sense, resulting in some very well-placed jump scares. That said, Spider-Man 3’s Venom could have been far more terrifying, as early cuts of the film would have revealed that the symbiote had gradually been eating Eddie Brock while wearing it, leaving nothing but a skeleton after its defeat.

6 Doctor Octopus

Spider-Man 2

2004’s Spider-Man 2 saw the debut of Doctor Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) and his tragic yet terrifying transformation as Doctor Octopus, complete with his four cybernetically controlled metal arms that gradually corrupted his mind. As such, there’s no scarier scene in the Spider-Man trilogy than when a surgical team is brutally maimed and killed by these autonomous arms, all while Octavius is still unconscious on the operating table. At one point, a nurse is dragged into the dark while she desperately claws at the ground with her nails, and another shot depicts the respective POVs of all four arms as they converge to murder the last doctor.

Additionally, the evolution of such a hopeful scientist seeking to provide the world with renewable energy becoming so corrupted by his own creations is as dark as it is compelling. As such, his ultimate redemption where he overcomes the arms and saves the city from destruction is certainly earned by the end of Spider-Man 2. However, his time as one of Spider-Man’s greatest and most intimidating villains should not be discounted by any means.

5 Green Goblin


Despite the aforementioned Spider-Man villains, there is no more terrifying villain outside the MCU than Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin. With his company in danger of bankruptcy, Norman Osborn tests a performance-enhancing drug on himself in the first Spider-Man movie. Increasing his physical abilities while corrupting his mind, Osborn developed an alternate persona known as the Goblin, one that saw him controlled by his darkest desires and impulses. Armed with a variety of military prototypes such as a glider and bombs, the Goblin begins killing board members at Oscorp before taking a keen interest in Spider-Man, becoming the first true arch-nemesis of Maguire’s Peter Parker.

However, the true terror of the Green Goblin is in the moments where the real Norman tries to break through, desperately trying to resist the Goblin from taking over his mind. Likewise, Willem Dafoe’s Goblin is such a good villain that he became a major nemesis to two different versions of Spider-Man as seen in the MCU’s Spider-Man: No Way Home. Having killed the MCU’s Aunt May, the same Goblin who died fighting Maguire’s Peter Parker became a major rival to the MCU’s Spider-Man played by Tom Holland.

4 Carnage

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

2018’s Venom set up Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock and his symbiote as an anti-hero. Becoming a Lethal Protector, 2021’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage pitted Venom against his new offspring that bonded with serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson). Even without the blood-red symbiote, Kasady was already one of the most terrifying non-MCU villains, having killed his grandmother, mother, and his mother’s dog as a child before becoming a professional serial killer as an adult, killing several people and hiding their bodies before he was arrested by the FBI and jailed in San Quentin.

After being interviewed by Eddie Brock and bonding with Venom’s offspring, Kasady becomes even more dangerous as Carnage. Naturally, bonding with a lethal symbiote was only going to make an insane and homicidal maniac like Kasady even worse. As such, Carnage is at his most terrifying during his breakout from San Quentin, though admittedly, his path of destruction and living up to his namesake is somewhat undercut due to the movie’s limiting PG-13 rating.

3 X-24


Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine finally met his end in the X-Men universe at the hands of X-24. As featured in 2017’s Logan, X-24 was a perfect genetic clone of Wolverine created by Alakai-Transigen, the successor to the Weapon X program. As such, there is no moment more terrifying and shocking than when Charles Xavier is killed by X-24, especially with audiences initially being made to believe that it was the real Logan who did the dark deed.

Containing nothing more than an uncontrollable rage, X-24 is so terrifying because he’s exactly what Weapon X intended for Wolverine to be. As such, the clone is effectively Logan fighting a dark reflection of his own past, one he sacrifices himself to save others from. While he might not have been one of the most enduring non-MCU villains, X-24 ranks so high primarily because of what he darkly represents to Logan, the darkest parts of his legacy.

2 Smiley Men

The New Mutants

While they weren’t in the most popular of X-Men movies, The Smiley Men seen in New Mutants are quite literally pure terror incarnate. Manifestations of Magik’s own nightmares come to life, The Smiley Men are monstrous representations of the mask-wearing sex traffickers who kidnapped and abused Illyana Rasputin when she was a child sex slave. As such, the Smiley Men are the supernatural monsters Magik remembers them to be.

By pure visual depiction alone, the Smiley Men rank high as truly terrifying non-MCU villains. However, they rank even higher considering how horrible and monstrous they were even outside of Magick’s nightmares. Thanks to Dani Moonstar and her ability to make one’s fears come to life with the ability to kill, the supernatural Smiley Men came to life to terrorize Magik for real in the final Fox X-Men movie.

1 The Spot

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

The evolution of The Spot in 2023’s Across the Spider-Verse is one of the most brilliant and truly terrifying villain arcs of all time, especially outside the MCU. Having been initially presented as a D-list villain just as he’s portrayed in the original comics, no one expected Spot to be as genuinely scary as he became by the end of the second Spider-Verse film. Discovering his ability to travel the multiverse through his interdimensional portals, Doctor Johnathon Ohnn chose to prove himself as a worthy villain by destroying entire realities after he wasn’t taken seriously.

Now, the potential threat The Spot poses to the entire Spider-Verse (and personally to Miles Morales) is immeasurable ahead of Beyond the Spider-Verse (which has yet to find a release date). This has become quite evident even in Spot’s new visual depiction. Having accumulated an influx of interdimensional power, The Spot is now the inverse of how he used to look, now being predominantly black with only bits of white poking out. He also looks incredibly unstable, a dark tease at what’s to come and the pure destruction Spot could cause. No one’s laughing now, and they definitely won’t be when Beyond the Spider-Verse eventually releases.

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