Movies have taught us grand, romantic gestures are the best way to woo the person of your affections. Turning up on a doorstep unannounced, standing outside a window while bumping "In Your Eyes" chasing someone down a terminal before they depart for good...if it doesn't flirt with ambiguous morality or fall within questionable legal territory, it's just not romantic.
These characters would do anything for love, but even they have their limits. Sadly, others don't pick up on the subtle distinction between being sappy and sociopathic, which results in extremely broken and problematic situations. Here are a few times when Marvel villains took things way too far for love.
Dr. Doom has that whole evil-but-charming hook down to an art. Plus, he has a tragic side capable of tugging at your heartstrings ever so slightly, making you cock your head in sympathy while simultaneously remembering he's capable of pulling off horrifically devious evil acts.
It's that ability to appear sympathetic -- and, to a degree, noble -- that makes his actions in The Children's Crusade story arc especially awful. A master manipulator, Doom has put up the once-powerful Wanda Maximoff in his home, caring for her and giving her a comfortable life. After reaching peak Stockholm syndrome, Wanda falls for Doom and agrees to marry him.
Such a gentleman, right? Well, Doom allows Wanda to continue moving forward with their planned wedding, despite knowing full well she has lost her memory and has no recollection of the fact she's the mighty Scarlet Witch. Worse, the Avengers are looking for her, a fact of which Doom is fully aware.
Once Wanda's son Wiccan turns up and starts trying to tell her the truth, Doom takes it on himself to silence the boy by attacking him with an all-powerful blast.
Being attracted to Wanda is a no-brainer. She's beautiful, she's smart, and she's powerful. It's easy to understand why Doom would be into the idea of making her his wife. But to lie, manipulate, and coerce a woman into being with you? And attacking her son after he tries to tell her the truth? You might be a genius Doom, but this is not a healthy way to go about wooing a lady.
Thankfully, Wanda eventually comes around and recalls her true identity as the Scarlet Witch, leaving Doom behind in his sad, lonesome country with nothing but thousands of Latverian subjects to keep him company.
Kilgrave is not as widely recognizable as other Marvel villains, but his abilities make him one of the most compelling and terrifying characters in the comics (and eventually in the MCU via Netflix's Jessica Jones).
Though Kilgrave's comics counterpart had an indigo hue that earned him the supervillain title "The Purple Man," his powers aren't actually physical or even outwardly visible. Instead, he is an abusive puppetmaster who merely has to issue a psychic command to have whatever he wants carried out. These incredible abilities can and have be used for be any number of things, ranging from restricting one's movement to forcing strangers into a murderous rampage.
Kilgrave had a fixation on Jessica Jones in particular; it was this infatuation that drove him to exploit her through the use of his particular skill. In doing so, he forced Jessica to perform a number of heinous acts.
Kilgrave is a completely unhinged sociopath, and his obsession with Jessica floats back and forth between her being a romantic interest and a powerful toy for Purple Man to control. His is the language of an abuser, a mas, and a dangerous madman whose petulance will lead him to gladly strip away someone's free will and humanity, so long as he has his neck screwed on tight.
3. Norman Osborn and Gwen Stacy's infamous tryst
You might have seen this one before. In one of the stranger story arcs in Spider-Man history, Gwen Stacy and Norman Osborn shared one night of passion while in Paris. This resulted in Gwen becoming pregnant and eventually having twins named Sarah and Gabriel. Due to Sarah and Gabriel's altered DNA they inherited from their dad, they grew rapidly and exhibited traits Osborn saw as "genetically superior." Feeling proud of these weird mutant babies, Osborn felt his world being ripped away when Gwen told him of her intention to keep the kids and raise them with Pete
Norman, being a textbook unhinged supervillain with little grasp of decency or humanity, saw this as a threat to his lineage and preservation of his precious super babies he'd created through his twisted version of biology. And, because he's not a reasonable or responsible father, he eventually killed Gwen Stacy in one of the most famous Spider-Man story arcs. You have this retcon to thank for one of the most unseeable images in comics.
Osborn's motives here are based in love; love for himself, his perceived superiority, his brilliant achievement. Never did he care about Gwen or his children; for him, it was all about preserving his creations and legacy so as to co-opt more power and prestige. Self-love is healthy, but there are clearly but there are clearly boundaries not mean to be crossed that Osborn gladly walked over with a spring in his step.
Being an all-powerful automaton just doesn't deliver as much satisfaction as you might think, which is why the practically-indestructible Ultron took it upon himself to make a girlfriend. Since he's modeled on the brain patterns of Hank Pym, Ultron developed an unhealthy obsession with the Wasp and eventually devised a plan that would help turn her into the subject of his affections.
So, he did what any reasonable, lovelorn sentient AI would do: he caused Hank Pym to experience great mental trauma and memory loss in order to coerce him into helping with the process of transferring the brain patterns of the Wasp into an entirely new fembot named Jocasta.
After battling the Avengers and taking both Pym and Wasp to a hidden base, Ultron forced Hank to begin the procedure. All of his carefully-laid plans to will love into existence proved to be futile, however, since Jocasta eventually turned on him and went on to aid the Avengers -- not unlike what happened with Ultron's canon son, Vision.
It's the kind of Frankenstein's monster story that has a particularly tragic end, where the creature he created specifically to provide companionship wound up becoming a dangerous enemy.
If ever there was a shining example of a spectacularly toxic relationship, it's that of the mad space titan Thanos and the personified embodiment of Death. Their relationship goes back--way, way back--to the days when Thanos was a school kid with few friends and many bullies. He was an easy target for harassment, due to his blatant physical deformities.
But, there was one girl who stood by him, feeding his insecure, rage-addled young mind all the negativity it could handle. She told him he was different, that he was special, and no matter how hard he might try, he would never fit in with the others.
Thanos took this to heart, and it stayed with him in his adult years. Leaving to make his own way in the galaxy and dealing with his deep-seated feelings of mistrust, insecurity, and betrayal by hooking up with a lot of space ladies. This resulted in Thanos having many lovers and many children scattered from one end of the galaxy to the other.
He didn't get a sense of the closure or satisfaction he needed until much later, when chance saw him meeting with his childhood friend who is partially responsible for his deep-seated issues. She revealed herself to be Death, and in a master play of manipulation, she told Thanos they were destined for each other.
The kicker? Death wanted Thanos exclusively to herself, so she laid out a grim ultimatum: he had to kill off his former lovers and children if he wanted to be with her. And, because even evil, all-powerful space titans get sad and lonely, he goes on a spree, wiping out a majority of his babies and baby mamas.
This is just one of the overtly brutal and cruel actions Thanos carried out in order to woo Death, another being his carefully orchestrated takedown of Deadpool. The Merc had grown too close to Death for Thanos' liking, causing him to send someone to curse Deadpool with immortality.
The lies and manipulation run deep in this relationship. Enough that not even the most super powered relationship counselor could begin to untangle the toxic bond shared by these two monstrosities.