As we prepare for our hearts to get out of our stomachs and our minds to finally refocus after the emotional rollercoaster that was Avengers: Infinity War, only a few months stand between all Marvel fans and the beginning of the end of the prolific Phase 3. With Captain Marvel penciled in for an early March release, I feel like most, if not all, Marvel fans are somewhat overwhelmed with the infinite amount of theories surrounding the franchise’s direction. This article will not build upon or build a new theory; instead, I want to discuss a rather crucial comic book Marvelverse character that is often forgotten or criticized on the big screen. Yes, that character is none other than the radical Kree Ronan the Accuser.
When Captain Marvel was first confirmed, I’m not going to lie, I was both pumped and hopeful. Sure, I was excited for Carol Danvers to make her illustrious entrance into the already fantastic collection of super heroes, but I was more excited for a likely reappearance of one of my favorite baddies. Lee Pace’s portrayal of the peace-hating, hammer-wielding Kree militant is often criticized as one of the worst in the series’ entirety. Personally, I think such criticism is rather harsh, and I want to make my case prior to his resurgence in Captain Marvel. Now, before I make my claims, I am going to keep my focus on Ronan’s film portrayal because, let’s be honest, diving into his comic origin just isn’t relative following the Guardian’s direction established in the first film. Also, I will try to keep my praise of Pace’s range as an actor at a minimal to give more credibility to the character itself. So, here are three reasons why I think Ronan is a super underrated character in the film series:
Reason #1: Without his role in Guardians, the infinity stones may have registered differently amongst casual fans. All Marvel fans—no matter their level of knowledge or familiarity with the comics—have some awareness of the infinity stones, but it was due to Ronan’s demonstration of power while possessing the Power Stone that made me appreciate just how destructive the stones could be if found in the wrong hands and, not to mention, how the stones are selective in a sense of who is worthy of their possession (R.I.P. Carina the disgruntled employee). The Collector discusses the stones in this film, but talk is cheap. Again, I know some of the stones were referenced in prior films, and Loki’s use of the Space Stone was pretty cool; however, I never really thought of the Tesseract as a world-destroyer like when Ronan acquires the Power Stone. It was Ronan’s glowing display of war that led many fans to think, “even one stone can cause some serious problems”. The remaining stones and their whereabouts became more daunting and intimidating as a result of Ronan’s destruction.
Reason #2: Ronan, as I have mentioned before, is Kree, so the race’s strength is established through his ability to wield the stone, even though his ideology of power and war does not necessarily match with the Krees’ way of life. It is such reference to his heritage that we, as fans, get a glimpse of the all-out war that took place in the proceeding Marvel films. The thought of intergalactic conflict was highlighted in The Avengers, but if Tony Stark’s chilling view of their alien foe as he fell back to Earth wasn’t foreshadowing enough, fans were introduced to such existing conflict by way of Ronan’s entrance in GOTG. Xander was portrayed as somewhat of a safe haven in the film, and Ronan wanted it eradicated. Why? Because alien races are no different than the human race, everyone wants unlimited power and will stop at nothing to get it. This idea may seem a bit devastating for us humans, but Ronan’s death at the hands of a Quill-led Guardians team gives us Earthlings and other underachieving societies a fighting chance for what is to come at the massive hands of Thanos.
Reason # 3: Ronan doesn’t show us a weak side. I mean, he basically tells Thanos to shove his plan and respect him. The Accuser ended his conference call with the big guy and went about his day. Heck, even glory boy Tony Stark couldn’t do that, and Peter Quill let Thanos really get under his skin. Do you want another comparison? Thanos cried at the dispatch of Gamora, but did Ronan shed a tear on screen? Nope. There, he is more menacing than the ol’ Mad Titan. All joking aside, Ronan further embraces the villain mentality by disregarding the idea of a fair fight. Drax was a bit under the drink and in no shape to step up to Ronan, but Ronan simply sees him as an easy challenge. He not only steals his lunch, but he makes Drax watch him eat it, too. Oh, and he mocks Drax’s dead family while doing it (#savage). To end, Ronan is obliterated by the Power Stone, which further established credibility to the infinite power the stones’ possess. Such power knows no master, and Ronan’s death makes me see Thanos for the mortal he is with or without the stones. (Does anyone truly think the stones will not have an impact on Thanos’s eventual fall?)
Listen, it’s not Ronan’s fault GOTG didn’t give his character adequate background on his involvement in the Marvelverse. If you are in the camp to critique Pace’s acting, Marvel really doesn’t make mistakes in its hiring. I mean, sure, it took three Hulks to get to where we are today, but replacing Pace as Ronan could have been done had the brass felt he was incapable of such role. Here’s to hoping the Ronana gets a redemption arc, so to speak, in Captain Marvel and brings more credit to Pace’s presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Jon Maus is a high school English Language Arts teacher and an all-around pop culture enthusiast. He has a B.S. and a M.E. in English. Some of his favorite fandoms include The Walking Dead, Marvel, Disney, Back to the Future, and the Karate Kid.