Maul is the most over-rated villain in the galaxy


Maul might be one of the scariest characters in the Star Wars universe but does that make him a legendary villain?

Spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story and Avengers: Infinity War ahead.

Forgive my harsh words, but I’m in a bit of a huff after reading the utter blasphemy that my friend and colleague Neil Harrington posted to this good website earlier this week. He wrote a piece saying that Solo: A Star Wars Story was not only better than Avengers: Infinity War but that it’s not even close.

I’m personally more of a DC guy than Marvel, and I like Star Wars more than both, so I’m generally not chomping at the bit to defend the franchise from its seemingly few critics. But to say that Solo is a better movie than Infinity War is simply a ridiculous claim. Infinity War is a better movie in every aspect from story arc to sound editing. Neil is right about one thing: it’s not even a competition.

And that’s not a slight on Solo; it has its flaws but is overall a fine film. However, we must respect the transcendence that has taken place with Infinity War. Not only is it the cumulation of eighteen mostly good movies doled out over the past decade, but it’s the beginning of a new era for blockbuster movie villains.

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The crux of Neil’s argument is that Infinity War is a movie about Thanos (true) and that Thanos is a boring, simplistic villain (unequivocally false). He claims that Maul’s cameo in Solo was more impactful than Thano’s entire IW arc.

I love Maul. I love him in the films and the animated series. He’s certainly the most memorable character from The Phantom Menace, and he’s crazy intimidating. But there’s a difference between being a good enforcer and a good villain.

Like his name suggests, Maul is essentially a marauder, molded by Palpatine to do his bidding. Palpatine never had any intentions of handing off his empire to his apprentice (remember his execution of Count Dooku?).

Thus, Maul never acquired his master’s strategic prowess. After his rejection by Palpatine, Maul tries to form several uprisings against the Republic/Empire, all of which fail. He never out-grows his “angry bad guy with a vendetta” shtick.

By contrast, Thanos is not only the more complicated character, but it’s debatable whether he is even really a villain. His ecologically-motivated massacres are arguably making the universe a better place for all in the long run. His infamous “finger snap” forces viewers to questions whether a quick and painless death for half the population isn’t preferable to a slow and painful one for many as our environment collapses.

Next: 5 things we can learn from Solo

Now, of course, the efficacy of Thanos’ plan has been heavily criticized by researchers, who I will not quarrel with. But isn’t the conversation that he started more interesting and important than anything Maul has ever done?