Over the last 10 years, Marvel Studios has been responsible for introducing several live-action versions of popular comic book characters. It started its venture in 2008 by introducing Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, but since then it has introduced dozens of other superheroes and villains. Some of these characters are well known in the comic book world, while others are more unusual characters that many people haven’t heard of.
With the 20 movies that currently make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are too many characters to count, but some heroes are stronger than others. Sometimes the movies make the heroes weaker than they appear in the comics, but this list will be ranking the heroes based on their skills that have been established in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Some of these characters are simply humans with fancy gadgets, others have actual superpowers, while others have powers equivalent to the gods.
Since many of these characters haven’t squared off on screen before, it can be hard to determine who exactly would be declared the definitive winner in a fight, but certain heroes have a clear advantage over others. This list also doesn’t take into account which heroes survived Thanos’ snap since those who survived were completely chosen at random.
And sorry about all of the MCU posts…I had all of these scheduled around the time Endgame came out, and I was on vacation around that time, so just bare with me 🙂
Mantis, played by Pom Klementieff, made her first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. She was introduced as Ego’s servant, but became a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy after Ego’s downfall. Unfortunately, Mantis just isn’t that strong of a player.
She has the ability to sense people’s feelings by touching them, but this is basically just a parlor trick as compared to other heroes. She can sometimes alter people’s emotions and was able to keep Thanos docile for a short period of time, but Mantis just doesn’t stack up compared to other heroes.
Played by Anthony Mackie, Falcon has been included in a handful of the MCU movies. First appearing in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Samuel Thomas Wilson quickly became a trusted ally of Captain America.
He formally served in the United States Air Force and the Air National Guard, but his military training doesn’t add much when being compared to other heroes. Falcon may be good with a gun, has the ability to fly, and has proven himself as an adequate fighter, but even weaker heroes like Ant-Man were able to take him down.
Drax is no doubt a powerful fighter, but he unfortunately is the least powerful member on the original Guardians of the Galaxy team. Each member of the team is powerful for their own reasons, but Drax mainly relies on his brute strength to get jobs done.
Even though he is used for comedic relief in the movies, Drax is often seen as oblivious and at times, just downright dumb. With that in mind, he does have superhuman strength and durability, while also being skilled at hand to hand combat, so that counts for something.
James Rhodes has been a part of the MCU since the very beginning of the franchise, although Don Cheadle replaced Terrence Howard after the first Iron Man. Rhodes may have not been an incredibly powerful character early on in the series, but by Iron Man 2, the character had become War Machine.
Rhodey is lucky enough to battle alongside his best friend in one of his Iron Man suits, but Rhodey just isn’t as skilled with a suit as Tony is. With that in mind, his use of the War Machine armor with his military training does put him a bit higher up on the list.
Many people debate over who is more powerful between Hawkeye and Black Widow, and they truly are pretty evenly matched. That being said, Natasha Romanoff has been trained as a lethal assassin and talented spy from a very young age.
When she was introduced in Iron Man 2, it was joked that she was simply eye candy for characters like Tony Stark and Happy Hogan, but she quickly proved herself as an incredibly brutal fighter. Black Widow fights with no remorse and full force and while she may just be a regular human, she fights just as well as some of the other genetically enhanced superheroes on this list.
Star-Lord, played by Chris Pratt, may be the most comedic member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, but he can still pack a punch. Not only is Peter Quill talented in close-quarters combat, but he is also half-Celestial.
His powers were developed a lot in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 when he met Ego, but unfortunately, after he destroyed his father, his powers faded. Since then, Star-Lord is still an expert thief, marksman, and pilot, but he often lets his emotions cloud his judgments.
Scott Lang may just be a regular human without his Ant-Man suit, but his most powerful ability with the suit is size manipulation. Using tech developed by Hank Pym, Scott can alter his size, which allows him to compress force and energy, redistributing it at his enemy. Lang can shrink down to the size of an ant, which allows him to sneak past guards and through small cracks, but can also grow up to 65 feet.
After being trained by Hope van Dyne, Scott became a formidable fighter, and can also control insects by using an EMP Communication Device. Ant-Man is no doubt powerful, but he can also be clumsy at times.
Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier, is a childhood friend of Steve Rogers. Barnes became a prisoner of war during World War II, and as a result, was experimented on by Arnim Zola in an attempt to recreate Cap’s super-soldier serum. This allowed Bucky to survive into the present day, where he continues to develop his skills.
In Captain America: Civil War, Bucky helped Captain America defeat Iron Man, and even battled Tony without the help of Cap. Bucky is an incredible fighter, but became he even more powerful when he received a Vibranium arm while recovering on Wakanda.
Originally, Nebula was seen as a villain, but in recent movies, she has grown to become a hero in her own way. If Nebula would have grown up with a normal childhood, she probably would have been lower on this list, but she became incredibly powerful since Thanos took her at a young age.
Thanos crafted her into the fighter she is today, while constantly upgrading her with cybernetic enhancements. Due to her bionic enhancements, she is able to repair herself if she is severely injured, and has a much higher physical capability than the average fighter.
Gamora and Nebula are almost on the same page when it comes to combat. Both Gamora and Nebula were trained by their adoptive father Thanos, but Gamora would always win against her sister. Gamora may not be able to heal herself like Nebula can after a fight, but Gamora has proven time and time again to be the superior fighter over Nebula.
When compared to other heroes, Gamora has a big advantage when it comes to combat thanks to Thanos. Gamora’s hatred for Thanos allows her to fighter harder and stronger, especially when she has a sword by her side.
Several versions of Spider-Man have been seen over the years, but the current version of the character is being played by Tom Holland. Peter Parker in the MCU is still in high school, but has already proven his strength as a superhero. He was not only able to become a successful crime fighter with a homemade Spidey-suit, but he was also able to become an even better fighter with the suits Tony Stark provided him.
Parker gained many superpowers after being bitten by a radioactive spider, including wall-crawling, a Spidey-sense, and a regenerative healing factor. As his character further develops he will likely become stronger, but the famous web-slinger is stuck near the middle since his character is still developing.
Robert Downey Jr. kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe ten years ago when Iron Man hit theaters in 2008. Tony Stark has been a crucial character in all of the Avengers movies to date, and seemingly gets more powerful with each movie. The source of Tony’s strength is no doubt his Iron Man armors.
Without his suit, Tony is an average fighter, but his armors give him protection, allow him to fly, and give him an array of weapons with incredible strength. Iron Man has taken down many enemies throughout the last ten years, and even put up a fair fight against Captain America.
One of the newer characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is T’Challa, aka Black Panther. T’Challa is a skilled fighter even without his Black Panther suit, but the advanced technology of Wakanda give him a huge advantage over his enemies, and other heroes on this list.
The Black Panther suit is made out of Vibranium, which can absorb kinetic energy and store it in order to attack enemies later on. Besides the clear advantage Black Panther has with technology, he is also skilled at creating strategies and tactics for battle.
Another one of the original Avengers who comes higher up on the list is Captain America. Captain America has many advantages over his opponents, but among his greatest source of strength is the super soldier serum that was developed by scientist Abraham Erskine. Captain America’s shield is also made out of Vibranium, which allows him to adequately protect himself while also using his shield as a weapon.
As if his enhanced speed, stamina, and agility weren’t enough, Steve Rogers is known for being incredibly loyal and determined. While that may not make him physically stronger, never giving up is likely what will help him overcome the odds of beating Thanos in Avengers: Endgame.
Hulk is often considered one of the strongest superheroes in existence, and people aren’t wrong. The biggest advantage Hulk has is his absolute brute strength. Hulk is by far one of the strongest Avengers, and his alter ego Bruce Banner is also incredibly powerful.
When Bruce Banner returns to his human form, he has a genius-level intellect and is often considered one of the smartest human beings in the world. Unfortunately, when he transforms into the Hulk, his brains go out the window, as Hulk has a very rudimentary form of communication.
Unlike her brother Pietro, Wanda Maximoff is by far one of the most powerful superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Scarlet Witch has an array of superpowers, all of which are incredibly powerful. Wanda can project energy in the form of blasts and waves, has telekinesis, and can form a psionic force-field.
She is also skilled in telepathy, can manipulate people’s minds, and can also use her powers to levitate. Scarlet Witch and her lover, Vision, are pretty evenly matched, but the only thing that puts her below Vision is that she sometimes struggles to control her powers.
Vision started out as Tony Stark’s personal A.I. named J.A.R.V.I.S. but was given a synthetic Vibranium body in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Vision has all of the common superhero traits like superhuman strength and durability, but he has so many more powers that set him apart from his fellow heroes.
Vision can manipulate his density, phase through objects, fly, and has a genius-level intellect since he is a form of A.I.. Vision has proven to be invaluable during a fight and was one of the few characters with the ability to lift Thor’s hammer. Vision was powered by the Mind Stone, which has since been ripped out of his head.
Stephen Strange started out as an arrogant neurosurgeon, but has since grown to become an incredibly powerful sorcerer and a member of the Masters of the Mystic Arts. Strange can create weapons and shields out of energy using magic, use his Sling Ring to travel between dimensions, and can fly using the Cloak of Levitation.
Strange was formerly able to manipulate time with the use of the Eye of Agamotto (which held the Time Stone), but Thanos of course obtained that in Avengers: Infinity War. Doctor Strange has proven himself to not only be a master of the Mystic Arts, but was even able to outwit Dormammu and battle Thanos one on one.
Thor was one of the six original Avengers, and is by far one of strongest heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As an Asgardian, Thor is naturally strong and an adequate fighter, but his powers have only grown since his first appearance. In Thor: Ragnarok, it was discovered that Mjolnir isn’t the source of his power, and that he can manipulate weather and electricity at will.
In Avengers: Infinity War, he survived the full blast of a star to form Stormbreaker, which he was able to use to nearly defeat Thanos. Thanos is often considered one of the most powerful beings in the entire MCU, and Thor nearly defeated him in one hit.
While it may seem premature to include Captain Marvel on this list, she will more than likely be introduced as the most powerful hero of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. The trailers have already showcased her incredible cosmic powers, which include superhuman strength, energy manipulation, and energy absorption. This means that she can blast her enemies with hyper-charged photons, while absorbing other energy to make her more powerful.
Carol Danvers is also a skilled pilot, who served time in the United States Airforce. While she hasn’t been seen on the big screen yet, she is widely believed to be the strongest hero in the MCU, and the key to undoing Thanos’ destruction.
No list ranking powerful heroes could be complete without Stan Lee. There is a popular fan theory that Lee is actually playing one of the Watchers; an ancient race that simply watches over the events that unfold across the universe.
While he has appeared in every MCU movie to date, Lee is more than just a powerful hero in the movies. Stan Lee was a real-life hero to many of his fans around the world and his work in the comic book industry has no doubt been a crucial part of the development of the MCU. Needless to say, Lee will never be forgotten and will always be considered a true superhero.