Who Should Lead The Avengers? Captain America vs. Iron Man vs. Thor

Published 4 years ago by , Updated June 27th, 2013 at 3:11 pm,


If you’re going to lead the world’s premiere superhero team, you can’t be some bum off the street. For such a high-profile position, you need someone who is as comfortable talking with Jay Leno as they are fighting to save the world. So who has the style to lead The Avengers?

Though Captain America showed off a knack for choreography during his stint as a USO performer, it’s hard to imagine the humble Steve Rogers gracing the cover of GQ or Esquire magazine. Cap is an old-fashioned kind of guy, and the bright lights of our modern 24-hour media might be too much for him to handle, which is why he comes in last for this category.

As a member of Asgard’s royal family, Thor is used to the spotlight. Throw in his rock star looks and unique wardrobe, and it’s easy to imagine Thor leading The Avengers into battle (or onto the red carpet). That being said, Thor does come from an entirely dimension, which probably means he’d have to overcome some cultural blocks before the world would embrace him. All things considered, Thor is a stylish superhero, but not stylish enough to win the category.

When it comes to style, nobody can top Tony Stark. As a billionaire playboy and the CEO of a globally recognized corporation, Tony is well-acquainted with the demands of the media and of the difficulty of living a dual life. Also, this category is where Tony Stark’s cockiness finally helps him. To lead a superhero team, you’ve got to have a little bit of swagger. Tony’s outsized ego might make things difficult on his teammates, but there’s nothing the public loves more than Iron Man.

VERDICT: Iron Man (3), Thor (2), Captain America (1)


Chris Evans as Captain America in The First Avenger Who Should Lead The Avengers? Captain America vs. Iron Man vs. Thor

Sometimes, the thing that makes a good leader isn’t easily defined or measured. Each one of these characters brings something unique to the table, but whose intangible element makes them the best choice to lead The Avengers?

Thor’s intangible quality is two-fold. One, Thor is royalty. That might not seem like a big deal, but it’s impossible to qualify the kind of impact that being raised in Asgard under the tutelage of Odin would have on a warrior. Two, Thor is a God. Presumably, having God-like power can manifest itself in a number of useful ways (though perhaps none which would necessarily make him a better leader). Despite his impressive intangibles, however, Thor comes it at the bottom of this category.

Tony Stark’s intangible quality is that he’s a certified genius. Whether he’s reprogramming his Iron Man suit on the fly, hacking into an enemy’s network, or devising new and better weapons, as one of the world’s greatest inventors and engineers, Tony is able to impact battles in a number of ways. While you can probably measure Tony Stark’s IQ, you can’t measure the kind of impact his technical brilliance might have on the battlefield, which is why Tony gets runner-up in this category.

Last, but certainly not least, you have Captain America. Though I’m certain I’ll get some negative feedback for this, I think Steve Rogers has a much greater intangible asset than Thor and Iron Man. Put simply, he’s just a kid from Brooklyn. Thor is, for all intents and purposes, an alien to our world. Likewise, Tony Stark, with his brilliant mind and billions of dollars, is completely disconnected from the everyday world. Captain America on the other hand understands what’s at risk when the world is under attack, because when it comes down to it, he’s just a regular guy. While that might not sound impressive, it’s hugely important to his character and something that greatly enhances his leadership potential.

VERDICT: Captain America (3), Iron Man (2),  Thor (1)

And The Winner Is…

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  1. I think Captain America because in “Civil War”, at the end Cap realizes that they’re fighting for nothing and does the right thing and surrenders to make sure the people still believe in heroes. This is why he is the chosen leader. Oh yeah, Spoiler alert Iron man 3 is coming out in April 2013, Thor 2 is coming out in November 2013, Captain America 2 is coming out I think in March 2014 and Avengers 2 is coming out May 2015.
    Ask me any questions… I will answer them. MWA Ha HA HA HA!!!

  2. To me, leaders must be intelligent. No point having a physically strong and brave leader when you ain’t got no brains. Thus I choose iron man

    • I love Iron man he is great and would be an awesome leader but … I think that Captain America is more mature and less conceited. I really can’t decide because I think Stark would confident and others would follow him and he could lead the group to victory but I also think that Captain is as well. As I said before regarding Captain, I could trust him to make the right decisions and besides…. don’t you think that Iron man would be into it at first and all organised but then he would get bored and go to a club? LOL. I’m not trying to be mean to Stark, trust me I love him, but I really cant decide. Well that’s my opinion!

      P.S.IRON MAN RULES!!!!!!!!!

    • U r completely right

    • Captian America isn’t smart???? I know he’s no book worm but when it comes to wars he is obviously smart. Being a genius doesn’t make you a leader

  3. I always thought iron man would be a great leader. plus you need someone smart to be in charge so tony should be in charge

  4. I love spongebob ok

    • What.

  5. The one i think should lead is iron. I say iron man because he is smart and well he is iron man. Captain America really doesn’t have any powers which doesn’t matter but he’s to demanding. And Thor will he needs to learn how to control him self. Iron man would be a ideal leader.

  6. Wow, really? How could you not give the weapons category to Iron Man? Thor is invulnerable? No he’s not, if he was then why didn’t he take down Loki and his army by himself? He’s a demigod, nothing more. He can do anything with his hammer? No he can’t. It can deliver some pretty heavy blows, but it can’t smash everything (it couldn’t smash the portal generator with the Tesseract in it).

    Among Iron Man’s huge assortiment of weapons, there’s definitely more then one that could easily tear Thor apart.

    Having said that I have to call b******* on this whole article which clearly has an anti-Tony and a pro-Captain America bias.

    • You’re entitled to your opinion, but Iron Man cannot “easily tear” Thor apart.

      More importantly, Cap is recognized as the one of, if not the most inspirational figure in the Marvel universe. On top of that, he is acknowledged as the best leader and tactician there is, to the point where in JLA/Avengers, both Superman and Batman concede that Captain America is the best choice to lead the final battle against Krona.

      Again, you’re entitled to what you think, and you make valid points about Tony and the advantages he brings to the table. But Cap is the man. No one else is as good a leader, period.

      Last thought: what is with the whole, “Cap has powers” thing? Cap has no powers, he’s enhanced to the best a human can be, but not “beyond” human, i.e., he’s no meta-human. No superhuman strength when compared to, say, Spidey, Thor, heck, anyone with actual powers.

      The movie cap, to me, is much closer to the 616 cap than Ultimate Cap, who does have superhuman powers.

      This is what makes Cap such a great character. He’s woefully underpowered, but almost every character fears and respects him for his fighting and leadership abilities, and the fact that he always does what is right, not matter the cost.

      So, I think I’d have to call bull(spit) on your bull(spit) call. I don’t perceive an anti-Tony bias, it just seems like the writer is telling it like it is: Tony has fancy gadgets, but Thor and Cap make better military leaders.

      - from a big fan of all three.

  7. Honestly, I believe this Article brings out some interesting points, but has a few flaws in some of the categories as well.

    Everyone knows Iron Man helped create the Avengers and has led them throughout battles(Pre-Cap revival). But does that mean he is a better leader than the Cap or Thor?

    The article hit the nail on the head that all of these members have the qualities to lead the Avengers, but which hero do all others look to for orders and leadership?
    Captain America.

    Thor has said it in the Secret wars, that Rogers is one of the very few humans he will take orders from and follow “through the gates of Hades.”
    If you think I’m wrong name Five heroes, just Five, who would follow Iron Man (or Thor) with that level of conviction.

    He has long track record of commanding teams on the battlefield and is an expert tactician. But is considered the Avengers “Field Leader/commander”, much like Cyclops for the X-men(Except not crying about dangerously over powered telepaths).

    Now on the subject of Powers, if My comic history proves correct. Captain America and Thor have beaten Iron Man(Almost about to kill him even). In a fight, all these heroes have many strong and weak points that can play in anyone’s favor in a fight. But unless Iron man pulls out that Asgardian Armor, it’s a more in the favor of Thor of this category. Thor (other than the Hulk) is the End all be all of the Avengers. The S@#t is pretty bad when you say WE NEED THOR!
    Cap and Ironman have fought various times in the past. Iron goes on and on about how his armor can predict Caps moves but Cap has proven you don’t need to have powers and be a genius to win a fight.
    Can Iron Man beat these two, Yes. Does it happen often, NO.

    But to be honest, what does your powers have to even do as a leader. Hi I’m Nick fury, I’m the leader of shield. I have no powers and I do my job. I may be a dick about how I get it done(getting spiderman killed for one and losing the trust of a most of the avengers) but I do it(Black or white).

    And if being the smartest is that important then Pym should be a great leader. Oh wait he’s a terrible leader that’s why. And that’s why this concept is kinda flawed. Of course no one needs Joe Dirt leading the fight against Thanos. But a high IQ does not make a good leader.

    Now Iron man is by no means a bad leader at all, this article also points out that Iron man is able to lead the avengers in a PR sense better than Cap can. He knows how to deal with problems, that are more complex and more on an intellectual scale. He’s also good about looking at the bigger picture of a situation. Over the years he has matured(getting over his ego) from learning from his mistakes and victories on proving to be a capable leader of the Avengers. And don’t forget the greatest power of all….MONEY.

    Most of these points help my argument by a Comic Stand point.

    By the movies stand point. Cap is an ideal field leader. He’s experienced, trained,self-less and level-headed, but still has the fish out of water problem, of adjusting to the future. And he had to learn through Iron man about not allowing people to filter what you need to hear(by fury).

    Iron Man is recklessly dangerous in a team, He made it work out in the end. But there were times like what are you doing bringing that flying leviathan towards the grounded team. He is still an awesome heroes(pretty BA) but his charisma and confidence is the only thing that makes it seems like a more viable leader. In Iron Man 2(as bad as that movie is), Fury even lists all the reasons why he’s bad for a team.

    Thor is noble, strong and capable but the movies don’t do him justice to show leadership of the avengers.

  8. I was curious if you ever considered changing the structure of your website?

    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way
    of content so people could connect with it better.

    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or
    two images. Maybe you could space it out better?

  9. Face it Captain America should lead the avenger. Being a leader does not require intelligence or supernatural power. Leadership is the art of leading others to deliberately create a result that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Iron Man is very aggressive, Thor is young and has temper. Iron Man even refer Captain America as “The Jury” in the movie.

  10. If your judging leadership base on power then THOR is the one. He is the son of Odin a major god and the ruler of Asgard…so that makes THOR a real god with natural power.

  11. This is a USA movie. If you make iron man the leader of avengers, do you really think Obama would like it to see Captain America “wearing american flag suit” follow orders and be dictated? lol

  12. look iron man has an ego and captain is like grandpa from ben 10 but like ben 10 when the team needs a leader and the world needs a hero tony will rise

  13. Iron Man. Duhh. He is obviously the smartest one so that’s what matters.

  14. I like how people are like “Iron Man should be the leader because he’s smart”. Yeah, he’s smart but that doesn’t make a leader. He has a HUGE ego and his cockiness makes him not an ideal leader at all. Besides he’s more science smart.
    Captain America has the charisma needed for a leader, without the cockiness. Besides he has war/battle experience and LEADING experience. He fought in WW2 and led men against Hydra successfully I might add. That kind of “smart” is more import than Stark’s.

  15. Rogers is a good leader for the avengers but he would eventually have to step down. For the main reason that the super soldier formula would eventually destroy his body. I hope that this weakness is adressed before Avengers III.

  16. So many people calling bulls*** on this article because of a lack of Tony Stark, not so many understanding why. One even claimed it had a pro-Captain bias. Perhaps. But do you know why?

    If you’re in the military as a private – a minor member of the team – which would you have a bias for? A general, or another private? If you pick the answer incorrectly, you’re likely an imbecile.

    Tony Stark is by far one of the most enjoyable Marvel characters, in both comics and films. He’s an extremely intelligent individual, with an arsenal of weapons that would make the DoD jealous (and it has). He’s hilariously sarcastic, and works great as a comic (punny) relief. He’s definitely worthy of being an Avenger. Aside from, of course, being a “playboy billionaire philanthropist”. With that much brains comes an ego. And there’s nothing worse then a man that is all too sure of himself and willing to put people in danger to prove it. He’d make a good leader if and ONLY if he was willing to drop all of the party-phase nonsense.

    Thor is self explanatory. He shouldn’t be made leader for the same reasons he shouldn’t be king of Asgard. He’s got a good heart, but not necessarily always a good head. He’d much rather headbutt someone then actually consider a more peaceful alternative.

    Hulk wasn’t mentioned, but just for note: Ha.

    Captain America was a born leader. He was created for the PURPOSE of leading (hence “Captain” America and not Private America), it’s simple common sense. You put the person with military strategics and understanding in the front, and have him direct people. Because considering his powers are (for this argument) the least significant, it makes sense to give him a job where he orders people into the field instead of being in it himself.

  17. I think Iron Man should be tha leader. It air fare!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Well… its obvious that captain America would be a leader cause its part of his name REMEMBER:CAPTAIN America sooooooo…. Go captain

  19. Spiderman

  20. Yeah Cap you would think would be the leader but STARK has the genius to think of quick
    motives and mathematical strategies look when IRON MAN went through and fixed the Helicarrier precise decisions etc and then…….yeah forget it,,Cap’s the winner here.

  21. Iron Man he’s the smartest richest and the best avangers has to offer at the moment yeah thor is a god but he’s iron man