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Marvel Characters Who Are Actually Jerks

The roster of heroes and villains in Marvel TV and movies continues to grow as more Marvel projects hit the screens. While it's easy to dismiss obvious antagonists like Thanos (Josh Brolin), Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), and Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) as utterly contemptible, plenty of heroes and antiheroes — even if they never cross the line into full-blown evil — are also less than noble. 

Sure, there are protagonists like Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) who represent everything we could want in a hero. There are also dubious figures like Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) who sometimes do the wrong thing for reasons that could be beyond their control. Then there are those characters who we like, maybe even admire, who aren't actually the most honorable individuals.

These characters can be funny, snarky, and even relatable; they're also often selfish, arrogant, and ornery. Many of them are doing their best to overcome some unfortunate circumstances; others are trying to do the right thing, but don't always get there the right way. Even if they save the world sometimes, these characters are jerks. While they're jerks audiences love, being their friend or ally isn't easy. Here are 14 Marvel characters who are actually jerks.

Iron Man

When Steve Rogers questions his integrity in 2012's "The Avengers," Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) asserts that he's a "genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist." He certainly is those things, but Cap's still got a point. 

While Tony's desire to help save the world is obviously commendable, he has some fundamental character flaws that aspiring superheroes should never emulate. Nowhere is this more obvious than in 2013's "Iron Man 3," where his dismissive attitude and lack of compassion leads to Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) going very, very bad. 

Tony's hedonistic, devil-may-care lifestyle is on full display throughout the "Iron Man" series. Not only does the onetime Stark Industries CEO appear to have a troubling relationship with alcohol, early on in the films, he wastes money as if it's meaningless and tries to bed any attractive woman who crosses his path. Even after he becomes a superhero and largely stops the incessant partying, Tony continues to revel in the attention and adoration he receives as both a celebrity billionaire and Iron Man, throwing elaborate events for himself to feed his ego. 

The worst instance of Tony's overconfidence leads him to secretly create Ultron (James Spader) — an AI system he plans to use to shield the world from extraterrestrial dangers. As we see in 2015's "Avengers: Age of Ultron," this well-intentioned idea ultimately becomes a threat to the world instead of a protector. Throughout his tenure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Tony's brash charisma charms audiences, many of his fellow Avengers, and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). However, his self-aggrandizing tendencies and arrogant ways mean he's often a complete jerk.


MCU fans have embraced Loki (Tom Hiddleston) ever since his introduction in 2011's "Thor," despite his villainous tendencies. During his first few MCU appearances, Loki seems to be obsessed with power. He relentlessly pursues the throne of Asgard in "Thor," and attempts to dominate Earth in "The Avengers." Yet, he's never been a simple, cut-and-dry bad guy. Even though he often says he despises his adopted brother Thor (Chris Hemsworth), on some level, he also cares deeply about the God of Thunder, and winds up helping him on more than one occasion. Loki even dies trying to save both of them from Thanos in 2018's "Avengers: Infinity War."

Nonetheless, Loki has repeatedly proven himself to be a pompous jerk. He's manipulated Thor and his friends into doing things that get them into trouble ever since they were kids, apparently just for the fun of seeing them punished. He's used his skills as a trickster to make Thor believe him dead multiple times, and he's taken the Throne of Asgard twice by striking out at his elderly adoptive father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins). At one time or another, Loki's shown contempt for just about everyone and everything, resulting in a lot of death and destruction. 

Yet, there may be no more powerful indicator of just how much of a narcissistic jerk Loki can be than the fact that he falls in love with Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino), a variant of himself, in his self-titled Disney+ series.


Throughout the first three "Thor" movies, Odin presents himself as the picture of steady, patient leadership whose tenure as the king of Asgard is a time of peace and prosperity. However, there's also ample evidence indicating that Odin is not as noble as he seems. 

Let's present Odin's treatment of Loki as our exhibit A. Odin adopts Loki — the biological son of Laufey, king of the Frost Giants — in the hopes of forging an alliance with their realm of Jotunheim. Odin raises Loki as his own, while keeping the young trickster god from knowing the truth about his parentage, ultimately making Loki feel like a pawn and exacerbating his negative, conquest-seeking instincts.

Odin's handling of Loki isn't a one-off. He also banishes his bellicose daughter Hela (Cate Blanchett) after deciding to champion peace over conflict, despite previously encouraging her aggressive attitude. He goes so far as to cover up this chapter in his existence, arranging for the murals in his throne room to be painted over to tell a false story of peaceful leadership.

And when Odin gets upset, he can be downright vicious. In "Thor," he banishes his son to Earth to teach him a lesson after he attacks Jotunheim. In 2013's "Thor: The Dark World," Odin's desire to avenge the death of his wife Frigga (Rene Russo) leads him to seek out war with the Dark Elves even though such a conflict would likely result in countless Asgardian deaths. 

Odin can be wise and benevolent, but he also has a history of being a secretive, cold-hearted jerk.

Jessica Jones

When we meet Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) in her eponymous TV show, she's already put her fantastic powers to use as a superhero and decided it isn't for her. 

Jessica's pessimistic perspective makes sense. During her life, she loses her whole family in a car accident at a young age, gets adopted as a publicity stunt by tween star Trish Walker's (Rachael Taylor) overbearing stage mom, then finds herself mind-controlled by the sociopathic Kilgrave (David Tennant) for months. The latter torturous situation only ends after Kilgrave forces Jessica to kill someone.

Jessica suffers from intense trauma due to everything she's been through and has developed some unfortunate coping methods as a result. She's almost always drinking, she's prone to violent outbursts, and she can be absolutely terrible to people — even people she claims to care about. Jessica consistently comes across as disgusted, annoyed, and uncaring, even to her clients at Alias Investigations. Of course, Jessica's toxic disposition is simply a way to hide her issues, including her overwhelming self-doubt and guilt over taking a life. Still, even though there's a good, vulnerable person hiding underneath Jessica's disdainful demeanor, that nice person is buried deep. The persona on the surface — the version of Jessica she presents to the world — is an unsympathetic jerk.


Some Marvel characters balance out jerky tendencies with more righteous qualities. Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) isn't one of them. Wade proudly wears his obnoxious disposition and nonchalant, sarcastic attitude on his sleeve. Combine that with the fact that he couldn't care less what anyone thinks about him, and the result is an antihero who's hilarious in his 2016 self-titled film and its 2018 sequel. 

Still, we suspect watching Deadpool in movies is a lot more fun than actually spending time in his company. 

Don't get us wrong — Deadpool is a hero, at the end of the day. But outside of his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and social circle of X-Men-adjacent friendly-ish mutants, he doesn't really care about other people, and kills without hesitation. Deadpool's good deeds are balanced out by an extremely high body count. But ultimately, Deadpool's inclination toward being a jerk is a key part of his charm.


Before Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) turns himself into a living vampire by combining his DNA with that of vampire bats in his eponymous film, he's a renowned physician whose life's work centers on curing his own unnamed blood disorder. He's so single-minded about finding a cure that when he's awarded a Nobel Prize for inventing synthetic blood, he attends the ceremony just to reject the accolade in person. Whether or not he genuinely deserves the award, his behavior is that of an unabashed jerk.

In fact, Morbius tends to focus so much on finding a cure for his condition that he has trouble recognizing when he's crossed a line. He collects vampire bats in Costa Rica for research and keeps them in a glass cage in his austere lab, seemingly without food, water, or even a place to rest. While conducting some questionable medical experiments, he puts his assistant in danger of losing her license for helping him. The "cure" he eventually finds for the vampirism he created is deadly, yet he uses it on his best friend Milo (Matt Smith). While Morbius says he aspires to protect life, he has a funny way of showing it. 

While Morbius is more of a subtle jerk than many of the Marvel characters listed here, his fanatical dedication to his work still qualifies him for the title.

The Punisher

Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) from the TV series "The Punisher" has a sympathetic backstory that makes his turn to vigilantism understandable, if not justifiable. After he comes home from war, the former Marine is just settling back into family life when his wife, daughter, and son are all killed right in front of him. Frank is also shot, but survives through force of sheer will, and embarks upon a brutal rampage to avenge his family. After a while, his mission for retribution expands to include anyone he considers a criminal.

As self-appointed judge, jury, and executioner, Frank is merciless in his role as The Punisher. While he's careful to avoid hurting anyone he deems innocent, that doesn't mean he's a nice guy. Frank is abrupt, standoffish, and unwavering in his commitment to his mission. In fact, the only real regret he seems to feel is over the loss of his family. While he shows a certain amount of vulnerability to people he trusts or respects, Frank has no real interest in making friends. Instead, he tends to keep to himself, and when people do reach out, he's often a cold jerk.


Director James Gunn's 2014 MCU breakthrough "Guardians of the Galaxy" starts by taking us back to 1988. Moments after the death of his mother, a young Peter Quill is abducted by a band of space pirates known as the Ravagers. Given the rough environment he finds himself in, Peter never quite gets the chance to truly mourn his mother or grow up normally. As a result, when we meet the 30-something Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) –- a thief who wishes desperately to be referred to as "Star-Lord" –- he's developed a knack for surviving in space, but lacks emotional maturity. He's a shameless womanizer, he relishes in some of the dangerous situations he gets himself into, and he often makes impulsive choices without considering the consequences of his actions.

Nowhere is this more evident than in his reaction to learning about the death of Gamora (Zoe Saldana) while confronting Thanos in "Avengers: Infinity War." Peter's outburst of rage and pain ruins his group's plan to take the Infinity Gauntlet away from the Mad Titan, and dooms half of life in the universe. 

Peter Quill's abysmal decision-making skills combined with his overconfidence and penchant for mocking others makes him seem like a jerk who takes very little seriously, even when lives are in imminent danger.


Throughout the "X-Men" movie series, Logan (Hugh Jackman) is everything from a prisoner experimented on by the government, to a teacher at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, to the determined protector of an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart). Through it all, Logan routinely shows that he can be deeply loyal towards causes he cares about and folks he views as friends or allies. While he initially comes across as not caring about anyone but himself, he ultimately ends up protecting those who need his help, like Rogue (Anna Paquin) in 2000's "X-Men" and Laura (Dafne Keen) in 2017's "Logan."

Still, that doesn't change Logan's baseline personality. Logan is gruff, blunt, and cynical, plus he'd much rather resort to violence than talk out a conflict. Even though Logan is capable of making friends and falling in love –- as he does with Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) –- he's a loner at heart. Because of his tendency to self-isolate and lack of desire to spend too much time chatting, Logan can come across as an ill-tempered jerk who thinks the worst of people. His infamous savagery in battle certainly doesn't do much to contradict this perception.

Doctor Strange

If there's one thing fans learn about Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the character's first movie, it's that he's almost completely unable to see past himself. Arrogant and judgmental, Strange begins his story as a celebrity surgeon who turns away patients he can help simply because their procedures are too easy. These qualities make Strange an irredeemable jerk, as reflected by his lack of friends and loved ones outside of Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams). He even disparages the people trying to help him following the car accident that annihilates his hands, claiming he could do a better job repairing his nerve damage and dismissively calling his physical therapist "Bachelor's degree."

At this point, Strange saves lives, but also leaves many people to suffer, and alienates plenty more, including Christine. Down the road, Strange's enormous intelligence helps him excel as a sorcerer, but his arrogance still influences his behavior and choices. He insists on using the Time Stone to fight Dormammu, the ruler of the Dark Dimension, at the end of "Doctor Strange." After ignoring Wong's (Benedict Wong) completely correct advice against casually messing with mankind's memories, Strange casts the spell that leads to the multiverse starting to collapse on itself in 2021's "Spider-Man: No Way Home." 

Strange's intentions may be good, but ultimately, his excessive faith in his abilities leads him to take unnecessary risks that sometimes have outsized consequences. We might see more of Strange's arrogance in the upcoming sequel, 2022's "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."

The Ancient One

The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) may help Stephen Strange become a master of the mystic arts in "Doctor Strange," but she also hides a terrible secret — she's been keeping herself alive for centuries by drawing energy from Dormammu's Dark Dimension. The Ancient One is shrewd and enlightened about many things, including the mystical elements of the universe that most people know nothing about. However, by prolonging her life via such questionable means, she also demonstrates a willingness to do the wrong thing if it helps her reach her goals. Worse yet, by forbidding her students from bending the laws of nature while doing so herself on a routine basis, she demonstrates a hypocrisy that leads Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) and his disciples to turn against her.

Yet, more than anything, the Ancient One's actions show profound arrogance –- the very trait she considers Strange's biggest flaw. The Ancient One claims that although she despises drawing energy from the Dark Dimension, she does it for the greater good, as only she can protect the world from mystical threats. Yet, considering how many sorcerers she's trained over the years, it's hard to imagine there haven't been others who could fill the role she claims she absolutely must maintain. It's her inflated notion of her own importance that makes The Ancient One come across as a jerk.

King T'Chaka

When we meet King T'Chaka (John Kani) in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War," he is the dignified, peace-loving king of Wakanda. Considering his steadfast demeanor and wise ways, it's no surprise his son, T'Challa, is shocked and saddened by his father's sudden death in a terrorist attack during the signing of the Sokovia Accords. However, 2018's "Black Panther" sheds light on a different side of the character.

Decades before he passes away, King T'Chaka sends his brother Prince N'Jobu (Sterling K. Brown) to spy for Wakanda in Oakland, California. When T'Chaka learns that N'Jobu has leaked information to forces hostile to Wakanda in order to procure resources to aid oppressed African Americans, T'Chaka travels to Oakland to confront his brother. Their conversation goes badly, and T'Chaka kills N'Jobu. Worse yet, he leaves N'Jobu's young son Erik (Seth Carr) behind, a choice that results in Erik growing up into the vengeful Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan).

T'Chaka insists that all of his choices were in service of Wakanda, but his decision to keep the existence of his orphaned nephew a secret suggests he knew what he did was wrong. His desire to protect Wakanda also prevents the country from helping the rest of the world. We can argue about how much responsibility Wakanda — a wealthy country with advanced technology — should or shouldn't accept for other nations, but ultimately, it's T'Chaka's betrayal of his family that makes him a jerk. The fact that he continues to excuse his behavior when T'Challa confronts him on the Ancestral Plane makes it even worse.


Ikaris (Richard Madden) is introduced in 2021's "Eternals" as the strongest and most accomplished fighter among the band of 10 extraterrestrial beings who arrive on Earth during ancient times, supposedly to protect humans from the monstrous Deviants. During their stay on the planet, Ikaris falls in love with and marries fellow Eternal Sersi (Gemma Chan), but eventually leaves her without warning. This makes him a jerk all by itself, but the reason he leaves is even more disturbing. The leader of the Eternals, Ajak (Salma Hayek), tells him the true purpose of their mission — to prepare Earth for the birth of its inner Celestial, an event they call "The Emergence," a process that destroys the planet upon its completion. Ikaris realizes that since he must commit his time toward ensuring Earth is annihilated as planned, his schedule has no room for love, despite his functionally unlimited lifespan. 

Ikaris keeps this secret for centuries, and when Ajak expresses some doubts, he arranges for her to be killed by Deviants and acts surprised when he and the other Eternals find her body –- yet another duplicitous move in a life full of them. Ikaris also does everything in his power to keep the other Eternals busy in the week leading up to the Emergence in order to prevent them from interfering. 

Maybe Ikaris is motivated by misplaced loyalty to the Celestials who created him, and we should give him some credit for switching sides at the literal last minute to help his friends. Ikaris isn't quite gross enough to be a full-blown villain, but he's definitely a massive jerk.

U.S. Agent

In the Disney+ series "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," John Walker (Wyatt Russell) is the man who the American government appoints to pick up the mantle of Captain America following the events of "Avengers: Endgame." John's a highly decorated soldier, so on paper, he looks like he handle the gig. But he's no Steve Rogers. 

The pressure to fill his predecessor's sizable shoes exacerbates some of the eventual U.S. Agent's less admirable qualities. His ascendance to the role of Captain America makes him feel superior to others, including Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie). Sadly, John fails to keep his pride in check, and misses an opportunity to learn more about Steve Rogers, and being a superhero, from Bucky and Sam.

Moreover, the short-lived Captain America's singular position makes him believe everyone should defer to his authority at all times. After his defeat at the hands of the Dora Milaje, the humiliation pushes him over the edge, and he takes the Super Soldier Serum, which only adds to his instability. When his best friend Lemar Hoskins (Clé Bennett) is killed during a fight with the anti-nationalist group the Flag Smashers, John brutally beats one of them to death with Captain America's shield. 

While John can be a jerk, and even a ruthless murderer, he genuinely seems to want to protect America. Now that Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) has recruited him to become U.S. Agent, he may only need a push to embrace his worst impulses.