Perhaps the greatest trick that the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever pulled was expanding to the world of TV. After all, the MCU is a world built on big-budget spectacle, and many were skeptical that it could successfully transfer to a world of smaller screens and smaller budgets.
The MCU on TV has exploded across channels like ABC and streaming platforms such as Netflix and Hulu. We’ve met amazing new heroes and villains that have permanently changed the shape of the MCU.
A time-honored custom among fans of superheroes and supervillains is trying to figure out who could beat who. Debating whether Wolverine can take on Deadpool, for instance, or whether Spider-Man could beat Captain America if he really tried.
It’s the same with the MCU on TV. Sure, we’ve got a long of list of heroes and villains. But who is the strongest? And just where does your favorite character land on the power rankings?
You don’t have to hack into a super-spy organization like S.H.I.E.L.D. in order to discover this top secret intel. In fact, all you have to do is keep scrolling to read Screen Rant’s definitive list of the 25 MCU TV Characters, Ranked Weakest To Strongest
In the first season of Daredevil on Netflix, we are introduced to the MCU version of the iconic villain, Kingpin. Part of his menace comes from the immense wealth and power he wields to takes out his enemies. The other part, though, is all Kingpin— we see how scary and physical his rage is when he turns a henchman’s head to pulp with nothing but a car door.
There’s no doubt that Kingpin is a major threat. At the end of the day, though, he’s just a man, especially when he is stripped of his wealth and his lackeys. After Daredevil takes him and he is carted away by police, Kingpin is safely contained in the prison system. For this reason, the mighty Kingpin is still on the bottom of our list of most powerful characters.
24. Alex Wilder
Alex Wilder is the de facto leader of The Runaways, a group of young people trying to discover the truth behind their supervillain parents and the ritual killings they engage in every year. Strategically, Alex is brilliant, using his wits to stay two steps ahead of the groups’ parents. Without his brainpower, the Runaways would have long since been caught, ending their quest for both truth and justice.
Unlike some of the other Runaways, though, Alex doesn’t have any special powers. He’s a bit like the MacGyver of the group: he does a great job devising weapons and plans out of whatever limited resources his group of friends has on hand. This is why the brilliant young Alex Wilder is still near the bottom of our list.
Part of the fun of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is that it gave us a fuller look at how S.H.I.E.L.D. works as an organization. In addition to cool secret agents that handle dangerous missions, S.H.I.E.L.D. also has brilliant scientists such as Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons to give them an edge over their enemies. Together, these two form the answer to any question of where characters like Nick Fury and Agent Coulson get all those wonderful toys.
The pair have different skill sets, with Fitz focusing more on technology and Simmons focusing more on biology. However, they work as a singular entity to solve most problems, and their combined brainpower has saved the day on many occasions. However, neither of them is that impressive in a fight, which keeps them from being too high on this list.
22. Gert Yorkes
Gert is another one of the erstwhile Runaways who is trying to uncover the mystery of her parents’ involvement with supervillainy. She’s an outspoken feminist and, along with Alex, basically serves as the brains of the group. From a sheer power level, she’d be much lower except for a big ace in the hole: her pet dinosaur!
She discovers that her parents created a special velociraptor in order to protect her. To that end, the dinosaur is keyed to Gert’s brain waves and obeys her command. This gives her a potentially lethal edge in combat, but her inexperience in using this connection (and the fact that disrupting Gert’s concentration or simply knocking her out can break their link) keeps her near the bottom of the list.
21. Chase Stein
If Alex and Gert are the brains of the Runaways, Chase is definitely the brawn. As a former lacrosse player, he is the most physically fit and strong of the entire group. We see early on that he can handle himself in a fight. However, his real power comes from his own invention: the Fistigons.
You see, Chase is a bit of a paradox. While he chose a life of the stereotypical jock, his father is an honest-to-God mad scientist. Some of that rubbed off on Chase, and he ended up designing special gloves to help him fight. We haven’t seen the full extent of what they can do, and when the smoke clears, Chase may have punched his way a bit higher on this list!
20. Agent Coulson
Agent Coulson represented our first real look at the MCU’s S.H.I.E.L.D. as he worked with Pepper Potts to try to contain the threat of Obadiah Stane in the first Iron Man movie. It’s only fitting that Coulson led the MCU into the world of television, headlining the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show.
Coulson already had a healthy dose of secret agent training. As the show has gone on, we’ve seen him get some upgrades, including a bionic arm and cool tricks like a hardlight holographic shield to protect himself from danger. Throw in his flying car, Lola, and Coulson is much more impressive than most non-powered humans, but he’d be the first to admit that he’s one of the more minor threats, even on his own team.
The Inhumans were first introduced to the MCU via a prolonged story in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. before being the focus of their own TV show. While the show received mixed reviews from fans and critics alike, it gave us an interesting view of the Inhuman royal family, including Medusa.
She’s got a small sprinkle of enhanced strength and durability, but Medusa’s main power comes from her hair. She can use it for everything from enhancing her dexterity to choking out her foes in combat. Combined with her hand-to-hand fighting skills, she can be a formidable foe. However, as Maximus illustrated in the show, it’s possible to simply cut her hair and take her powers away, which keeps her a bit low on the list of powered characters.
Molly is the youngest member of the Runaways. Despite this, she is one of the strongest. Due to her heritage, Molly has lots of raw power, and she can use it to do impressive feats such as lift cars and tear down walls. Because of this, she’s destined to be the true bruiser of the team.
Why, then, isn’t she higher on this list? In addition to the fact that she’s still learning how to use her powers, Molly’s super strength comes with a super drawback. She typically gets very drowsy after using her powers, to the extent that she passes out when she is running from Mrs. Wilder and ends up getting captured. Clearly, Molly has a long way to go when it comes to using her powers.
Jigsaw (also known as Billy Russo) represents the true Big Bad of Punisher‘s first season. While the Punisher’s main target is ostensibly William Rawlins (a corrupt soldier who has risen to the highest ranks of the CIA), he is heartbroken to discover that his old military friend Billy has been helping Rawlins, resulting in a climactic fight between the two former partners.
Obviously, Jigsaw has a lot of the same skills as the Punisher due to their shared background. This makes him an excellent strategist, sniper, and hand-to-hand combatant. However, he doesn’t have the technological resources that Punisher has via Micro, and his own vanity often holds him back. This keeps him from clawing his way that much higher in our power rankings of MCU characters.
16. Melinda May
Melinda May is extraordinarily skilled at all aspects of combat as well as espionage, making her an all-in-one asset for both stealthy missions and brutal shootouts. She’s even one of the few main cast members who can pilot air/spacecrafts, letting her add vehicles to her arsenal of potential weapons.
Melinda May is so awesome that she has a bittersweet nickname: “the Cavalry.” It generally refers to her ability to kick butt and save the day, but the actual name came about from a mission where May herself had no backup and had to kill countless bad guys and eventually put down a little girl who was using her powers to kill people. This makes May one of the deadliest non-enhanced humans.
It’s only fitting that Punisher is our highest ranked human without superpowers. Frank Castle is exactly what he looks like: a man with a lot of guns, a lot of training, and very little will to live. Ironically, his willingness to throw himself into deadly situations is what makes him so dangerous, as the man with nothing to lose typically comes out on top of those worried about their own survival.
The Punisher has an impressive number of notches on his belt, too. He’s taken out entire gangs, essentially serving the role of a one-man army in cleaning the streets. He’s survived ambushes by trained military commandos, coming out of fights few others could survive. And he’s even been able to get the drop on Daredevil, a man whose super-senses typically keep him safe.
14. Nico Minoru
Most of the enhanced people on this list were born with certain powers, or maybe mutated by Terrigen gas. When it comes to Nico Minoru, her power comes from a different source: magic. Specifically, magic that she controls via the Staff of One, a weapon once possessed by her mother.
On a long enough timeline, Nico will probably end up as the most powerful person for the MCU’s TV universe. Right now, though, she’s no Doctor Strange; we’ve really only seen her do things like manipulating the weather, tracking her targets, and creating magical barriers. This is only the tip of the iceberg for her potential as well as the Staff’s, and it will be fun to watch her control of this great power grow as her show goes on.
13. Karolina Dean
Karolina Dean shares a lot in common with her fellow Runaway, Nico. In addition to having the same shared enemy, Karolina is also discovering more about the hidden powers inside herself. These powers represent great combat potential for her to eventually unleash.
Right now, she doesn’t know much about her powers except that her skin glows and that she can emit bright lights. She hasn’t done much with the light projecting except to blind some of her foes, but these powers will only grow. Her comics counterpart can use light to create laser blasts and force fields.
Daredevil is really the whole package (and we’re not just talking about Charlie Cox). Matt Murdock’s actual power set is relatively limited: he is able to use his enhanced senses to detect the area around him more acutely than anyone else. However, he pairs this with his martial arts training to become a very formidable fighter.
We’ve seen Daredevil go toe-to-toe with both generic gang members as well as Hand ninjas. His enhanced senses let him detect foes even in complete darkness, and he can sense hidden enemies that are trying to surprise him. He can even gauge whether an enemy is lying or not by listening to their heartbeat.
Fittingly enough, Elektra is basically the darker reflection of her former boyfriend, Daredevil. They share similar training thanks to the mysterious man known as Stick, and they fought together multiple times before becoming foes. However, a few things give her an edge over her former lover.
First, Elektra is willing to cross moral lines that Daredevil is not, and she’s all too happy to kill her enemies. This gives her a lethal edge in most combat situations. Additionally, she has previously died and been resurrected by The Hand, and she came back faster and stronger than before, with acute senses to rival Daredevil. With all of this, it’s easy to see why she was the first real foe for the assembled might of the Defenders.
Karnak is another member of the Inhuman Royal family. However, he’s much more powerful than Medusa. He’s got a full array of martial arts skills and years of training. His real ace in the hole, though, is his unique probability powers.
This character is able to see how any given scenario could possibly play out. Better yet, he can play through this scenario countless times in his mind until he figures out the best possible outcome for himself. This would theoretically make Karnak the deadliest fighter on the planet, and the only reason he isn’t near the top of the list is that we see he is not infallible: he gets injured in a fall he could not avoid and his powers start going on the fritz.
9. Purple Man
The Purple Man (also known as Kilgrave) is a character whose powers have let him cheat his way towards the top of this list. Purple Man himself is not very strong, nor is he very brave. In a pinch, he’s not even very smart. What he lacks in other skills, he makes up for with his powerful mind control abilities.
With just a word, Purple Man can command any person (or group of people) in his presence to do literally anything he wants. He can make them kill themselves, fight others… at times, he’s held entire police departments in his sway. This means that Purple Man can surround himself with a private army whenever he wants and instantly force his enemies to kill themselves as soon as they apparoach. If Jessica Jones had not killed him, he would represent the greatest threat in the MCU!
8. Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones is another character who does as much as possible with a relatively straightforward set of powers. Her primary ability is enhanced strength and durability, and a lifetime of rough living has made her a hell of a fighter. In a pinch, she can even fly (or, at the very least, leap to upper stories of buildings in a single bound).
Ultimately, her primary weapon is her own unstoppable nature. When she’s on the case, she won’t stop until she’s figured out what’s going on. To this end, she’s taken on Hand ninjas, Elektra, and even a mind-controlled Luke Cage. Most impressive, though, is that she is seemingly the only person to break free from the mind control of Kilgrave, who she then killed. This means that she might legitimately have the strongest mind on the planet!
Originally, Lash was Dr. Andrew Garner, an accomplished psychologist, professor, and former husband to Melinda May. However, a Terrigen crystal transformed him into a big blue monster called Lash.
Lash had a simple collection of powers that made him nearly unstoppable: super-strength, super-durability, powerful energy blasts, and even a healing factor. He used these powers to hunt down and kill various Inhumans that he determined to be a threat, or that simply “deserved” to die.
Ultimately, Lash ended up near the top of this list for his impressive track record of taking on some of the most powerful people on the planet and surviving the encounter. Fortunately for S.H.I.E.L.D., he had a change of heart near the end of his life and helped Daisy become immune to the mind control of Hive.
Even within the Inhuman Royal Family, Gorgon is known as one of the big guns. He’s got a power set that effectively makes him the Wolverine of their team. This includes super strength, an enhanced sense of smell, and a shockwave stomp that his foes never see coming.
Like many Inhumans, Gorgon has lots of combat training and experience that helps to make him a one-man army against normal foes. His super smell helps him track down his enemies, and he’s got enough strength to kill a man with a single blow. His secret weapons, though, are the hooves in his feet: they give him an unexpected edge in combat and also let him knock people off balance simply by stomping those powerful hooves on the ground.
5. Iron Fist
To put it mildly, Iron Fist is a very divisive character, and he comes from a very divisive TV show. However, there’s no doubt that the Iron Fist weapon itself is one of the most powerful weapons in the MCU. That makes Iron Fist himself one of the MCU’s most powerful fighters.
Iron Fist has had a lifetime of martial arts training. This also lets him focus his chi and channel the powers of the fist. That fist can help him take out any foe, door, or wall with a single punch. He can also send waves of force out with each punch, and can even use the powers to heal himself or others. Finally, the powers of the fist enhance his existing martial arts powers, making him stronger, faster, and more agile than he ever was.
4. Luke Cage
Luke Cage is a man with very few weaknesses. He also knows exactly how to leverage his impressive strengths. Put that together, and you’ve got one of the most tenacious heroes to walk the face of the planet.
In a word, Luke Cage is bulletproof. He has used this ability to take on small armies of gang members firing hundreds of bullets at him. Hands break on his face, and he survives storms of bullets without anything more worrying than a torn t-shirt. He’s a skilled fighter with super stamina and enhanced healing, meaning that even on the rare occasions where he’s hurt (such as with Judas bullets), he can quickly recover. This is a man who can walk through fire as easily as he walks through a rain of bullets, and he is nearly unstoppable.
3. Black Bolt
When it comes to the Inhuman Royal Family, Black Bolt is at the very top of the list in terms of power. He has relatively few powers, but he knows how to make them count. While he has the enhanced strength that is standard among the Royal Family, Black Bolt’s main power is his hypersonic voice.
Basically, any sound he makes his a weapon. If he grunts towards a car and that car instantly flips over. He can kill with a single word. Similarly, he can use one word to tear down entire buildings. You can start doing the math on this: Black Bolt could destroy an entire city by screaming, and his voice might even be a match for the Avengers. That makes him either a dangerous foe or a valuable ally to anyone who knows him.
Aida represents the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. answer to Ultron. Like Ultron, she was originally created with a noble purpose in mind: she was a Life Model Decoy who could do everything from helping with complex cases to lending an extra hand in combat. However, she becomes corrupted by the mystical Darkhold and becomes one of the greatest threats the planet has ever known.
She effortlessly takes out our favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. team and straps them into a weird, Matrix-style virtual reality known as The Framework. She did this because she could not yet fully break her program and kill, but she eventually transferred her mind into a real body so she could be fully free of her programming. The new body came complete with a bunch of Inhuman powers, making her nearly unstoppable. Had Coulson not stopped her, she would be ruling the entire world by now!
Of all the MCU on TV characters, “Qauke” Daisy Johnson (previously known as Skye) has had the most dramatic journey. She started out as a simple hacker and aspiring S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, but she eventually discovered her Inhuman heritage and powers. On paper, those powers are simple: she manipulates vibrations. In reality, this opens up a world of destructive potential.
We’ve seen her knock her enemies down with concussive blasts and create force fields to protect herself and her friends. She can shatter walls and destroy guns with a single gesture. Daisy can even fine-tune the vibrations and allow herself to fly. Recently, she’s learned how to absorb and stop an earthquake, but if she wanted to, she could also create one. In fact, the most recent season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it was revealed that Daisy had destroyed the earth with her powers, making her our most powerful MCU on TV character.
Didn’t see your favorite MCU TV character on the list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
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