Since 2011’s Thor, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been bringing its cosmic universe to the big screen. The final phases planned so far, through the Infinity War story, pit street level heroes, like Spider-Man or Hawkman, against cosmic villains who have the power to destroy planets. The magic of Marvel is that the heroes will still win in the end.
The "how" and the "who" can be the more complicated parts. Especially with sequels upon sequels and plots that cross over between multiple franchises. It’s hard enough to write a story that spans galaxies, but weaving it all together in a way that grabs the audience requires more storytelling finesse. When dealing with powerful deities, it’s all too tempting to make them perfect. While their strength makes them amazing, it’s their flaws that make them interesting.
It doesn’t take an encyclopedic knowledge of the MCU to enjoy these movies, but for the fan who cares about every last bit of connective tissue, this lore holds up to intense scrutiny and there are 60 years of comic books to prove it.
Here are the Every God In The MCU Ranked From Weakest To Most Overpowered.
15 The Collector
The Collector, played by Benicio Del Toro, first appeared in the after credits scene of Thor: The Dark World, where we learned of his obsession with collecting artifacts from all over the galaxy.
In the movies, The Collector is using his powers to gather Infinity stones; first the Aether from Thor: The Dark World, and then he fails in securing the Power Stone from Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s been confirmed that he’ll return for 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War.
In the comics, The Collector, also known as Tanaleer Tivan, is classified as an Elder of the Universe. Elders aren’t technically Gods like Thor or Odin, but they can be just as strong. The Power Primordial, an energy produced by the Big Bang, fuels all Elders of the Universe - allowing them to manipulate cosmic blasts, transfigure themselves and others, even glimpse telepathy and precognition.
14 The Grandmaster
Jeff Goldblum finds a way to bring the Grandmaster to life in Thor: Ragnarok (2017). This Elder of the Universe uses his power to demonstrate his superiority and ego. Described by Goldblum as a "hedonist", the Grandmaster rules the planet, Sakaar, a world full of institutions and populated servants to do his bidding and play his games.
In the comics, The Grandmaster, also known as En Dwi Gast, is known for his abilities as a master strategist and tactician. He’s a beneficiary of the Power Primordial as well, using it to set up elaborate traps and schemes to cause havoc in the universe.
The film version of the character seems a little bit less calculating, and it was revealed that he and The Collector are brothers.
13 Peter Quill
He actually prefers to be called Star-Lord, but the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy is the son of Ego the Living Planet, as we learned in Guardians Vol. 2. This makes Chris Pratt’s character half celestial. Although we don’t see his powers often, he does survive an inordinate number of tough scrape, and he proved he was capable of harnessing Ego’s power at least temporarily.
As the leader of a galactic superhero team, Peter Quill has already battled the Kree, the Nova Corps, the Ravagers, and the Sovereigns on-screen and he is set to appear in Avengers: Infinity War. So far in the overarching story, the Guardians haven’t been central to the plot.
It's safe to say that Star-Lord and his new found powers will have a more prominent role going forward.
The most common gods in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are the Asgardians. The first one that breaks onto our list is Sif, leader of the Warriors Three and close counselor to Thor.
Jaimie Alexander plays Sif in all three Thor movies and faithfully depicts the strong warrior and loyal friend. In the comics, Sif is a much closer companion to Thor, similar to the role given to Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster in the movies. Perhaps Foster will return in Infinity War, as she was left out of Thor: Ragnarok.
In Norse mythology, Sif is a God associated with fertility, has symbolic golden hair, and is actually Thor's wife. Audiences will just have to wait and see where that relationship goes.
Another God from Asgard, Valkyrie, aka Brunnhilde, just made her debut in the MCU in Thor: Ragnarok. Tessa Thompson plays the terrifyingly tough, hard-hearted heroine, who comes around to Thor’s side only after some convincing from the Hulk. When she finally does, she aids in their escape from the Grandmaster’s gladiator complex.
In the comics, Valkyrie is the appointed leader of the Valkyrior, the Norse goddesses who shepherds souls from the battlefield to Valhalla.
As a gatekeeper to the afterlife, her character flirts with anti-heroism, like in the movies, often moving between worlds and being torn between the interests of Valhalla and her own sanity. In the comics, she’s also counted as one of Thor’s many romantic partners.
Here’s another being in the MCU that has godlike powers, Surtur, the elemental fire demon. Audiences were just introduced to this mystic being as one of the villains of Thor: Ragnarok, voiced by Clancy Brown.
Surtur is a recurring adversary of Thor’s from the comics, frequently plotting to burn Asgard from his realm in Muspelheim.
In Norse mythology, Surtur, or Surtr, was a guardian of the Muspell fire realm. He’s the eternal nemesis of Norse god, Freyr: deity of virilty, success, and happiness. He’s also foretold to act as a sort of harbinger of Ragnarok, leading charge that would bring about the end of the world. With a heritage like this, Surtur is unlikely to lay defeated in the MCU for long.
In the MCU, Tom Hiddleston's Loki is almost constantly associated with Thor, strengthening their fraternal relationship and contrasting it at the same time with Loki’s evil streak.
The films also do a great job of keeping Loki as the wild card plot device of the franchise. Audiences know he’s probably working for the good guys in the end, but they’ve got to keep an eye on him.
This characterization is very true to the reflection of Norse mythology. Loki is frequently using his shape-shifting powers to trick the gods, while at the same time always currying their favor. Loki is not actually Thor’s adopted brother in the mythology, as Heimdall and Loki kill each other. Marvel's version is definitely more fun.
Cate Blanchett’s Hela introduced fans to the Goddess of Death in Thor: Ragnarok to great effect. As the first born daughter of Odin, she adds to Thor’s family drama and is another Asgardian warrior woman thrown into the mix. Her rivalry with Valkyrie is described in the film as a bitter and violent one.
In the comics, Hela is a natural foil to Valkyrie as well. While Valkyrie is tasked with ferrying souls of dead heroes up to Valhalla, Hela commands the underworld of Niflheim which is home to the rest of the passed on souls.
There is also her rivalry with Odin and Thor. Hopefully, fans will see Hela return in another incarnation for a different story.
The central villain of 2016’s Doctor Strange, Dormammu, was surprisingly voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch - the same actor playing the hero of the movie. This hyper-powerful demon made his debut in the MCU once Kaecilius summoned him forth from the Dark Dimension. A time loop perpetuated by Strange is the only thing that could stop him from devouring Earth.
In the comics, Dormammu is one of the most powerful magical villains in the Marvel universe, frequently squaring off against Doctor Strange and the other mystical Marvel heroes. The Dark Dimension is the natural habitat of Dormammu: a realm fueled by dark, angry, and evil thoughts and energies.
Seeing as Dormammu was only stopped - not fully destroyed, we may see him further down the line.
The God of Thunder and perennial Avenger, Thor is played by Chris Hemsworth in the MCU. The performance is one of the more essential roles of the franchise, and Hemsworth easily jumps between jovial warrior and stern hero.
Now that three Thor movies have been made, audiences know the character well and he’s getting a bit trickier to pair off with in groups of heroes. Playing opposite the tricky Loki has worked well, but moving forward Thor will have to develop as a team leader.
When last we left Thor, he had been hot on the trail of the Infinity Stones until he was captured - first by Surtur and then by The Grandmaster. The King of Asgard is the strongest link between Marvel’s cosmic and earth heroes.
The once King of Asgard is father to Thor and Hela, while also being Loki's adoptive father. He has been played by Anthony Hopkins in all three Thor movies. The MCU’s Odin is a regal ruler tasked with the safe-keeping of the Nine Realms.
This classic monarchy is presented in the first Thor film. Odin is the linchpin between the two princes, Thor and Loki, fueling their rivalry throughout the trilogy. It will be interesting to see how Thor carries on the legacy of his father.
In the comics, Odin is the King of the Gods and his power is described as being driven by the Odin-Force. This grants him the abilities of shape-shifting, teleportation, and inter-dimensional transportation, along with immortality and great combat strength.
Another cosmic being, Ego the Living Planet is portrayed by Kurt Russell in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. As we learned from that movie, this version of Ego is also Peter Quill’s father.
In an undertaking worthy of his name, Ego decided to spread his influence by mating with beings from every different solar system he could find. This meant that he could be in multiple parts of the universe at once. It was also revealed that Ego was responsible for the death of Star-Lord's mother at the beginning of the first movie.
In the comics, Ego is just as self-absorbed. Making his first appearance in the 1960s animated Thor show, the Living Planet has the ability to control every molecule on his planet, down to the thinking, feeling planet core.
The MCU villain has been relegated to cameo roles so far, but that will finally change with the release of this year's Avengers: Infinity War. Thanos' last two appearances were in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and he was played by Josh Brolin both times.
The Mad Titan, as he’s also known, is on a quest to gather all six Infinity Stones which, once combined in the Infinity Gauntlet, has the power to destroy entire worlds.
The film version of Thanos is also woven into the family drama of the franchise, as he is the father of both Nebula and Gamora. This isn’t a relationship that’s true to the comics, but it parallels the Thor/Loki sibling rivalry really well.
2 The Celestials
Ego the Living Planet, isn’t the only Celestial we’ve seen in the MCU. In the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, an Easter egg is dropped seemingly in passing.
A space port visited in the film, the location of “Knowhere” is actually the head of a deceased ancient Celestial. In the background, there is a holographic statue portraying possibly the same Celestial.
So far, little is known about these beings, which keeps in line with their mysterious backstory and dubious character development, but they are one of the most powerful races of beings of this cosmic universe. Judging by their history of clashing with Asgardians and other galactic heroes, they won’t stay idle in the MCU for much longer.
1 The Watchers
The Watchers are even more mysterious when compared to The Celestials. In the MCU, they’ve only made one appearance and have played no significant role in the story so far. In the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 post-credits scene, Stan Lee has a cameo where he’s explaining himself to a handful of tall robed aliens, seemingly on an asteroid.
In the comics, the Watchers take an equally passive role, but they’re power is felt a lot more strongly. The reason they’re number one on this list is because they are, by definition, the ultimate being.
The Watchers' only role in the universe is to observe and record. They hold ultimate power, can manipulate time and space to any degree, and can even bend reality in any direction they want it to go. However, they are under strict edicts not to intervene. Perhaps seeking out these lifeforms will be how the Avengers are able to defeat an Infinity Gauntlet-wielding Thanos.
Did we miss any of the Gods in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?