Michael B. Jordan’s performance as Killmonger is mesmerising. Here’s why he’s the best MCU villain yet.
I’ve seen Black Panther twice now. It may not be the best Marvel film of all time, but it is definitely one of my favourites. Critics have been giving it perfect scores, and in general, what Ryan Coogler and co. have achieved is fantastic. They’ve crafted an entertaining and unique superhero flick with a superb soundtrack and relevant social themes. Oh and they gave us Marvel’s Best villain yet: Erik Killmonger.
Marvel continues to knock it out of the park with their movies but they always fall short when it comes to their villains. Yet with Black Panther Marvel have lifted the curse and produced the best villain to ever grace the MCU. So what makes Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger such a great villain?
Empathy For the Villain
Michael B Jordan’s performance of Killmonger was the highlight of the film for me and a lot of that was due to the depth and complexity of the character. He isn’t a moustache twirling madman who wants to destroy the world for the sake of it (like most Marvel Villains – sorry but it’s true). He is a mentally and physically scarred individual who’s been through tough times and seen his people be oppressed his whole life.
You completely understand why he does the things he does; you feel for him and can get behind his motivation – albeit not necessarily his actions.
The team behind Black Panther took their time to flesh out Killmonger and it really shows! All great villains in Cinema were complex characters you could empathise with: The Joker, Darth Vader, Hannibal Lector… and now Erik Killmonger.
The Perfect Antithesis
Every hero needs an arch-nemesis that pushes them to their physical and mental limits. That’s why The Joker is such a great villain for Batman and likewise why Killmonger is such a great villain for Black Panther.
So far there’s no Marvel villain who was the complete antithesis to our hero. Obadiah Stane came close in Iron Man, but wasn’t nearly as complex or charismatic as Killmonger.
T’challa and killmonger are similar yet poles apart in their ideals, and this echoes the real life differences between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X. Both of them wanted the same thing, to protect their people and free them from oppression. But both had very different ways of achieving this. This is why when the two characters clash on screen verbally and physically it is so enticing!
Charisma and Swag (yes, swag).
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Swag? Really? But yes, Killmonger is the most swagged up villain to grace the MCU, and that makes him even better in my book! Michael B Jordan plays Killmonger with such Charisma that he steals every scene he’s in (and maybe the whole movie). Everything from the way he dresses to his mannerisms makes him such an appealing character. You can’t help but chuckle at his quips and taunts.
As soon as Killmonger is introduced, Jordan wins you over. My only regret is we didn’t get enough of him.
Michael B. Jordan has really left a mark on the MCU with his performance as Killmonger and with Infinity War only months away, Thanos has a lot to live up to!