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Zemo's Point Of View In The Falcon And The Winter Soldier May Surprise You

A compelling villain is hard to come by. The big issue seems to be making them relatable — studies show that the average citizen spends seven out of ten days not wanting to wipe out half of all life in the universe, so convincing them to get on board with a genocidal ethos can be sort of a schlep.

Overall, the MCU has done a banger of a job setting up its antagonists as violently misguided but understandable characters. Sometimes they're driven by jealousy or revenge or, in more cases than not, the way that Tony Stark was the world's most punchable guy until he started blowing off steam by rocket-punching terrorists. Sometimes they want an Iron Man suit of their own, which is a reasonable goal to have. Sometimes they flip the script by wanting a suit that isn't Iron Man's. The guy from Ant-Man just wanted to get little. We've all been there.

And then there's Zemo from Captain America: Civil War, the film's second most nefarious bad guy, next to a lack of effective communication in adult male friendships. Zemo is on his way back to the MCU for Disney+'s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and the show's head writer Malcolm Spellman spent some time describing the Machiavellian Sokovian's drives in a recent interview with ComicBook.com. The long and short of it: Marvel's favorite magenta ski mask enthusiast doesn't think he's the villain. And when you consider what he's been through, why would he?

Zemo seems like a swell dude

"It's funny because as we did different iterations of this, [...] who Zemo is, what he did in his past for his country, where that mask came from, all just became tangled into one personal storyline of a man whose country, city, and family were destroyed by superheroes who he views as villains, right?" Spellman stated (via CBR). "Zemo believes he's a hero in this series."

It's not an untenable perspective. Helmut Zemo, played in the MCU by Daniel Brühl, is a man whose life was destroyed by superheroes. A citizen of Sokovia, he lost his father, wife, and son during Ultron's attack on the nation and the battle with the Avengers that followed. Ultron being another of Tony's good intentions paving the way to explosive, CGI hell, there's really no denying that the world's mightiest heroes were entirely responsible for Zemo's fall from grace.

We've already seen how conniving Zemo can be during the events of Captain America: Civil War. He's a character who knows how to pick his battles, turning the Avengers on each other instead of taking the more popular route of designing a robot suit and playing a billion-dollar game of laser tag with Iron Man. There's no word yet on Zemo's plan in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier beyond "no more superheroes," but it'll be interesting to see what his newly refreshed sense of purpose compels him to do this time.