Power is important in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Uncle Ben’s mantra that “With great power comes great responsibility” has been the driving force behind the Avengers and the MCU’s superhero roster.
In the MCU, heroes are defined by their powers and how they use them. However, this is a period of change for the MCU’s power dynamics. The introduction of Captain Marvel will likely unseat the characters that top this list, and the rumored introductions of the X-Men and the Fantastic Four will also change the hierarchy of the MCU. However, in the post-snap and pre-Endgame MCU, the lines are clearly drawn.
This list ranks the superheroes of the MCU from weakest to most powerful. This list considered superpowers, physical abilities, enhancements, and intellect when ranking these characters. While this list doesn’t include every protagonist in the MCU, it does try to include every character who had some developed arc in at least one movie. Some heroes were left off because their powers weren’t unique or distinct enough, so while most members of the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy made it on here, the same isn’t true for Thor’s posse or Wakanda’s Dora Milaje. Finally, this list deals with the movies, so the Defenders and other characters that only appeared on TV didn’t make the cut.
With that said, let’s look at the 15 Most Powerful (And 15 Weakest) Superheroes In The MCU, Officially Ranked.
30 Most Powerful: Shuri
Shuri’s true power is hard to decipher. Much of it is in her intellect. Her only potential rival in that area is Tony Stark. However, when she steps out of the lab, as she did in Black Panther, her power only extends as far as her gadgets. While we’ve only seen her on the battlefield in small doses, she hasn’t asserted her power the way Tony Stark has.
This is why Shuri is on the weaker side of the powerful list. She clearly has the potential to be one of the most powerful heroes in the MCU, but for now she’s more interested in being Q to T’Challa’s James Bond.
29 Weakest: Mantis
Mantis seems weak, and her powers don’t help to change that. No one expects to see an empath throwing down with heavyweights like Hulk and Thor. However, Mantis is one of the only characters in the MCU that could incapacitate Thanos, so she belongs at the boundary between powerful and weak.
Sure, her abilities to detect and regulate emotions don’t seem that impressive at first, but she’s held sway over titans and planets. She’s also shown herself to be more resilient and resistant to injury than initially thought. However, her powers have a big drawback. To use her powers, she must be close to her target, a fact that dampens the scope of her power.
28 Most Powerful: Hulk
Aside from Thanos, the Hulk might be the best puncher in the galaxy. His takedown of Loki in the first Avengers certainly entitles him to a place on this list, and he showed skills in Thor: Ragnarok that suggest that he is becoming more powerful. He’s also extremely resilient, if not invincible, based on his scrapes with Thanos and his previous desire to end his own life.
Hulk doesn’t rank higher because he can’t always control his transformation or his actions when he’s big and green. He’s also been bested by other characters on this list. His strength, speed, and endurance make him one of the MCU’s most formidable characters, but ultimately not the most powerful one.
27 Weakest: Drax the Destroyer
The MCU has been faulted for including so many characters whose powers are punching really hard, and Drax is possibly the punchiest of the punchers. His main deal is that he is a warrior from a race of warriors, and he is on a warrior’s quest. His powers — superhuman strength, healing, agility, and, of course, reflexes — are nothing to sneeze at. One-on-one, Drax is probably a nightmare.
In the wider scheme of the MCU, though, every hero and villain has something to counter Drax. His powers don’t necessarily compare to stronger characters. If anything, Drax’s greatest power might be his warrior’s spirit. Free from fear and hesitation, Drax is most formidable as an unrelenting, unconflicted fighter.
26 Most Powerful: Black Panther
Between the famous heart-shaped herb and the Vibranium suit, T’Challa, aka Black Panther, is essentially a super soldier. His superior intellect, martial arts training, and leadership abilities make him formidable, but the destruction of the herb raises questions about the future power of the Wakandan king.
Like the most famous characters on this list, much of T’Challa’s power comes from the suit. He doesn’t rank higher because his suit doesn’t do as much as some of the other super suits. As an enhanced hero, he also has his limitations. Even without these things, his army and advanced technology give him power, and his ability to use them well makes him powerful.
25 Weakest: Black Widow
Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, is proof that power is about more than super strength or shooting energy from one’s hands. Spy training, some enhancements, and a storied career have been enough to make Black Widow one of the most powerful humans on earth.
Lacking the tools or powers of her colleagues, she’s helped lead the Avengers, take down multiple invading alien armies, and dictate global policy regarding superheroes. All of this is impressive considering she was originally trained to be an obedient, mindless assassin. Her powers may be limited, but she has used them impressively.
24 Most Powerful: Captain America
Steve Rogers/Captain America could’ve ranked much lower. He’s a super soldier decades removed from his treatment. He punches and jumps his way through scrapes. His suit has neither bells nor whistles and his go-to weapon is a shield.
Yet this is the person who literally held his own against Thanos, and that alone is enough to cement his place as one of the most powerful heroes of the MCU. Against a plethora of heroes who can cross space and time, the humble super soldier makes his way onto the most powerful list through sheer strength, dedication, and will power.
23 Weakest: Okoye
Okoye is the first of many humans to appear on the weak side of this list. Her power comes from two areas: her skill as a fighter and her control of an army. She’s one of the few characters on this list that would still be powerful without a metal suit or alien technology, which is impressive.
Still, her power is limited to the human realm. As leader of the Dora Milaje, she certainly wields more power than most humans on the planet, and she goes toe-to-toe with Thanos’ super alien army and lives to tell about it. Without the enhancements enjoyed by other characters, she plateaus at this place on the list.
22 Most Powerful: Groot
Aside from super strength, speed, malleability, and healing, it’s important to remember that Groot is also somewhat immortal. In terms of power, this is a creature that can punch, run, manipulate their body to be an offensive or defensive weapon, heal itself, age slowly, and regenerate as its own offspring. His main limitation is that he only communicates through a three-word phrase.
All in all, Groot possesses an amazing set of powers with almost infinite potential. Its teenage angst may make it less effective at times, but there’s no denying that Groot holds a valuable place on the Guardians and makes for a formidable creature in the MCU.
21 Weakest: War Machine
It’s hard to place War Machine in terms of power. The suit itself is powerful, but James Rhodes or Rhodey isn’t always effective when he wears it. Audiences have seen the War Machine suit wield a great of power and take down some impressive targets, but Rhodey frequently is on the sidelines or easily taken out.
He’s also the only Avenger to suffer a serious injury despite have a fully armored suit. Of course, a superpowered suit is only as powerful as the person wielding it, and Rhodey’s military training has apparently only taken him so far.
20 Most Powerful: Ant-Man & the Wasp
Having a tie may seem like cheating, but Ant-Man and the Wasp are neck-and-neck when it comes to power. Hope van Dyne’s Wasp has some edge over Scott Lang’s Ant-Man. She can fly and shoot energy using her suit, and she is a more accomplished fighter and businessperson than Lang is.
Lang, however, gains points because he has more experience with the size-changing technology and in the Quantum Realm. He’s also managed to make himself huge. Really, they are ranked together because they’ve become tremendously powerful as partners who manipulate size to disrupt space and time.
19 Weakest: Rocket Racoon
In many ways, Rocket Raccoon is the Black Widow of the Guardians. Trained and enhanced against his will, Rocket has used opportunism and skill to play important roles in some of the most important events in the galaxy.
Rocket is the product of cybernetic enhancements, but his scheming and quick thinking has allowed him to outsmart and defeat numerous adversaries. Most of the MCU’s enhanced characters jump into their roles as super soldiers or warriors, but Rocket is one of the few to see the full potential of his powers, even if that makes him morally dubious at times.
18 Most Powerful: Iron Man
Tony Stark is the original hero-because-of-the-suit, but his power comes as much from his intellect as it does from his inventions. What places Iron Man higher than other suit-based heroes like Black Panther or Ant-Man is his mastery of the technology and his ability to constantly change, develop, and improvise with it.
Similarly, he places higher than geniuses like Shuri or Bruce Banner because he is equally comfortable using brains or brawn. The MCU treats Stark like the bridge between the time before superheroes and the time after, and his powers straddle that border as well. He is powerful, but his powers only extend to the limits of human technology.
17 Weakest: Falcon
Falcon suffers a similar problem to the other technology-reliant humans on this list. He has an impressive toolbox, in this case weaponized metal wings, that affords him a great deal of power. However, he’s easily taken out by more powerful characters or anyone who can disrupt his technology.
In spite of this, his ability to fly and his training as a soldier make him a challenging adversary. However, this isn’t enough to counter the fact that he is very vulnerable. Flight and weapons training make him more outwardly powerful than other characters, but they don’t make him powerful enough to rank higher.
16 Most Powerful: Spider-Man
Spider-Man is the last of the heroes in gimmicky suits, and he places so highly for one reason. His suit isn’t as advanced as Black Panther’s nor as kitted out as Iron Man’s, and it can’t travel through dimensions like Ant-Man’s. Here’s the difference: without the suit, Spider-Man still has powers.
This might put him in league with Steve Rogers or T’Challa, but Peter Parker’s strength, speed, agility, durability, youth, and detection ability give him an edge. In the MCU, Spider-Man is the ideal balance of superpowers with a super suit. Add to this an intellence that might rival the Starks and Pyms of the world, and you’ve got the MCU’s most powerful terrestrial human so far.
15 Weakest: Bucky Barnes
Bucky Barnes goes by a lot of names — the Winter Soldier, the White Wolf — but his power ranking is compromised by his lack of stability. Barnes should be as powerful as Captain America, and for the decades he has caused immense damage and for being a former master assassin.
As a hero, however, he is shaky. He still possesses excellent training and skills, but his effectiveness is hampered by decades of brainwashing as well as understandable guilt and trauma. His reliance on a cybernetic enhancement that he doesn’t always seem able to control also makes him as much of a liability as an asset.
14 Most Powerful: Nebula
Nebula’s heritage as a Luphomoid is enough to give her an advantage over any regular human. Her cybernetic enhancements make her a highly effective warrior, and her training makes her even more dangerous. Nebula is the recipe for a powerful character: innate ability layered with technological enhancements topped off with brutal training that makes her a brilliant fighter, shooter, assassin, and pilot.
Naturally, this only takes her so far against Thanos, but it’s easy to imagine her holding her own against any member of the Avengers. She’s seemed to have found a match in Iron Man, another humanoid whose technology and determination can’t overcome cynicism or personal conflict.
13 Weakest: Yondu
Yondu is a Centaurian with cybernetic enhancements. His powers are mainly relegated to being able to control an arrow, in addition to being a master pilot and thief. The arrow bit is important because Yondu has been able to take out large groups of enemies quickly and from afar. This is an impressive skill.
However, it’s also Yondu’s main one. In a list of characters that are either enhanced or superpowered or both, Yondu is the gold standard of one-trick ponies. He has a great trick, and it allows him to do a thing or two that more powerful characters can’t do. Still, Yondu’s power is enough to evoke comparisons to Mary Poppins but little else.
12 Most Powerful: Gamora
Almost everything that was said about Nebula is true for Gamora. Her Zehoberei heritage naturally makes her more powerful than regular humans. She is a master fighter, shooter, assassin, and pilot, and she possesses super strength, speed, agility, endurance, vision, and healing abilities.
Between her and Nebula, however, we know that Gamora is more powerful. Because Thanos made them fight as children and punished the loser by replacing one of their body parts with an “enhancement,” Gamora’s power is visible. This childhood training also left her with severe guilt and a reputation that spans the galaxy.
11 Weakest: Star-Lord
Peter Quill’s powers are still a mystery to some extent, and if he were still living on/with Ego, he would certainly have a better ranking. Alas, Star-Lord’s hybrid DNA take a backseat to his training as a space pirate and his hustling ability.
Most of his power comes from the technology that he uses, and he is an impressive fighter. His quick wits and ability to improvise also help him stand out among the Guardians, but Quill can be his own enemy. His pettiness and insecurity cause problems that his powers can’t compensate for, and this is one of the reasons that his power is so limited.
10 Most Powerful: Scarlet Witch
This is the woman who took down the Avengers (minus Hawkeye) on her first try, destroyed an Infinity Stone, and almost prevented the snap. If Wanda Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch, only acted with her powers and not with her heart, then the MCU would still be intact -- or she would’ve destroyed it herself.
Scarlet Witch is the physical embodiment of the “with great power...” saying. She has great power. Without responsibility, though, she can create chaos. She has psionic, telekinetic, and telepathic powers, so she can manipulate matter for almost any purpose from flying to mind control. She misses the title of most powerful Avenger because she doesn’t have full control over her powers and can be easily beaten once distracted.
9 Weakest: Hawkeye
Clint Barton has always been the most mockable Avenger, but he’s also the most relatable. He has no real powers, only abilities. He’s a master sharpshooter who's risen through the ranks to fight alongside super soldiers and aliens while habitually saving the world.
However, when a character’s main attributes are marksmanship and ambidextrousness, it’s hard to call them powerful. Hawkeye is well-trained and incredibly skilled, but he’s not particularly powerful. He does, however, place higher than other characters because he has his life and priorities in order. Amongst a surprisingly insecure bunch, Barton finds an edge by keeping his stuff together.
8 Most Powerful: Vision
Deciding where Vision belongs in a power ranking has a lot to do with potential. His power set is impressive as is. He can fly, shoot energy projectiles, pass through any form of matter, lift Thor’s hammer, regenerate, interface with almost any electronic, and punch with the best of them.
Vision’s typical approach is patient and subdued, but he draws his power from the Mind Stone and has a body made of Vibranium. In other words, he is made of the most powerful substances in the galaxy. Also, he hasn’t fully manifested the power of the Mind Stone, so if he does return, he could have infinite power.
7 Weakest: Quicksilver
On a team of punchers and shooters, Quicksilver was a breath of fresh air. Still, despite possessing an actual superpower (something many on this list don’t have), he was undone by multiple characters and became the first superhero casualty of the Avengers.
His super speed was impressive, but it paled in comparison to other Avengers and ultimately couldn’t save him. While he sacrificed himself to save innocents (and Hawkeye), it’s hard not to blame the character for his own demise. Perhaps a less cocky, more focused speedster (like the one in the X-Men universe) would use their power more effectively.
6 Most Powerful: Valkyrie
When it comes to power, it’s hard to beat an Asgardian. Valkyrie, true to form, is superhuman. She is stronger, faster, and more agile than a regular person. She ages slower, can fight for longer, and can heal more quickly too. She’s a master fighter and sword expert, so she usually enters battle with a double-edged sword or equally intimidating long, sharp, dangerous weapon.
Of course, something keeps her from the top spot. Her alcoholism dampened her ambition and reflexes, making her less powerful. She’s noticeably absent against Thanos, which doesn’t bode well for her superpower credentials, and she lacks the confidence to use her powers to help, though that may change with time and therapy.
5 Weakest: Agent Carter
This entry mainly refers to Peggy Carter, who helped Captain America save the world during World War 2. However, the ranking applies to her niece, Sharon, who followed in her footsteps. Both are government agents who never let decorum stand in the way of their morals, and both were expert spies.
However, it’s easy to forget that Peggy Carter was in a tremendous position of power during her heyday. Aside from espionage, she was a brilliant detective, fighter, shooter, and scientist who set Hydra back decades through her intellect and physical prowess. Before the Avengers ever assembled, it was Carter and others like her who protected the planet, becoming powerful without having super powers.
4 Most Powerful: Thor
The mightiest of Earth’s mightiest heroes isn’t actually from Earth. If there was any doubt that Thor was the most powerful of the (original) Avengers, then Infinity War dispelled it. He endures the power of a star, he fights Thanos and ultimately defeats him, and he pops an eye into his head without so much as a shriek.
However, all of this isn’t enough to put Thor at the top. Even his status as a Norse god can’t land the number one spot. Thor’s strength, power, and control of lightning make him powerful, but alas, he’s not the most powerful hero in the MCU.
3 Weakest: Nick Fury
These rankings measure power, not the quality of character. This explains why Nick Fury, one of the most iconic spy masters in pop culture history, ranks so low. If this were solely a measure of soft power, Fury would be the master.
But in terms of physical power, Fury just doesn’t compare. Not to aliens or super soldiers or even his own agents, and maybe that’s the point. Fury is like the king on the chessboard. He wields almost immeasurable power without possessing much himself. That in itself is a kind of power, just not the sort this list measures.
2 Most Powerful: Doctor Strange
Some heroes are the most powerful creatures on their planet or in the heavens, but Doctor Strange has power over time and reality. Strange is a master sorcerer who teleports, flies, and fights with the skill level expected of an Avenger. He also uses magic, manipulates time, and travels through dimensions.
Fans have debated who is the most powerful Avenger for decades, and those arguments often come down to three names: Scarlet Witch, Thor, and Strange. The competition might be tight, but in the end it’s hard to deny Strange. Other MCU heroes can bend reality or travel through space, but Strange is the truest master of the cosmos that audiences have seen thus far.
1 Weakest: Korg
At the bottom of this list is Korg, the Kronan warrior and rock monster with a surprisingly high level of emotional intelligence. Korg is quite strong and in that sense powerful. He ranks so low because his ability to use that power has not always yielded results.
At heart, Korg’s biggest weakness is his lack of organization, and this severely limits the effects of his power. His failure to print enough fliers for his revolt or mastermind a breakout from Sakaar are proof that he isn’t living up to his potential. As such, the best Rock, Paper, Scissors gag in cinema history finds himself at the bottom of the power heap.
Who do you think is the most powerful or weakest superhero in the MCU? Let us know in the comments!