The Marvel Cinematic Universe has more characters than ever at the moment, spread over numerous films, upcoming TV series and various superhero teams. Because of all the drama that has taken place in the franchise since Iron Man debuted in 2008, fans have had the chance to see countless heroes and villains change over time.
Character development is the mark of a good series, be it on television or in the movies - the last things audiences want is for a character to remain plain and two dimensional during the story. Luckily, the MCU has had no problems with creating complex and well written characters, as the following list will demonstrate.
This list is dedicated to the characters - both good and bad - who ended their run in the franchise on completely different terms than where they started. Some are still going strong, and only promise to get better with time.
Whether a redeemed villain, a hero put through the wringer or a mercenary who tossed aside their previous line of work to fight with the good guys, here are the MCU's best character arcs (so far).
The big bad of the first era of the MCU, Thanos (Josh Brolin) was teased for a maddeningly long time before he was given the chance to show audiences what he was made of. Appearing sparingly in cameos from The Avengers onwards, he made his proper full-feature debut in Infinity War - and proved to be worth the wait.
Though only really explored in depth in Infinity War and Endgame , thanks to Brolin's striking performance and some great writing, Thanos ended up being the franchise's best villain.
Committed to wiping out half the universe as a form of "correction" to how overpopulated it is, he quickly gets his hands on the Infinity Stones and sets about completing his mission. His unwavering belief in his genocidal ideology sees him kill his own daughter - and at one point destroy most of his own army - just so Scarlett Witch won't kill him.
Unlike many comic book bad guys, Thanos is something very refreshing. He isn't after world domination. Rather, he thinks he's the only one who can save the universe from itself, and once his task is complete he can sit back on a farm and admire his work.
It's a staggering arc spread over two great movies, and as a compelling villain he's going to be hard to beat.