Many villains are great for their subtleness and relatability. Not Hela. She’s loud and proud about her power and there’s something uniquely refreshing about that, especially as Marvel’s first female villain. What Odin keeps hidden for the greater good, Hela makes no apologies for as she shines a light on and embraces Asgard’s bloody imperialist past.
“Where do you think all this gold came from?” Tying her in so closely with Thor was a great choice as it kept Thor on his heels and set the stage for him to finally surpass his father in both strength and kingly nobility.
Taking advantage of a more character-driven TV series format, Vincent D’Onofrio absolutely owns this role. Scary, vulnerable, tragic, and flat out impressive, the viewer will often find themselves switching between wanting to hate him and wanting to hug him as his anger issues make him a terrifying force, yet his tragic backstory makes us empathize.
But what makes him truly great is that from his own perspective, he is the hero of the story. He’s doing what it takes to save the two things he loves most: His girl and his city.