If you’ve ever played Dungeons & Dragons, you know the purpose of the Moral Alignments. These nine categories help define a character, acting as a guide of internal philosophy for each character to follow. And if you’ve become familiar with these alignments, you know they can be applied outside the game too, as a way of understanding and clarifying your favorite character’s (and people's!) actions and worldview.
With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at one of our favorite fictional universes, just to see where some of our favorite characters wind up. So get your 20-sided die ready, True Believers: here are 9 MCU characters and Their Moral Alignments.
9. Lawful Good - War Machine
There’s a reason they put James Rhodes into a red, white, and blue Iron Man suit. Rhodey is loyal and kind, self-sacrificing and committed to fighting the good fight. In true Lawful Good fashion, he adheres to the side of lawfulness and order, a true blue soldier in every way. If that’s the case, you wonder, why isn’t Marvel’s favorite Boy Scout the subject of this entry? Well, Captain America certainly is Lawful and Good up to a point, but when the chips are down, Cap will go against his government to stick to what he thinks is right. Cap’s got a much more personal idea of what’s right, despite what his superiors may think. Rhodey, on the other hand, has never Civil War-d anybody.
8. Neutral Good - Spider-Man
Speaking of a personal sense of right and wrong, it’s hard to get more personal about morality than the “great power, great responsibility,” idea. Peter is wise beyond his years when it comes to doing what is right. He will always do his best to do what’s good, but is at the same time open-minded, aware that his superiors don’t always know exactly what’s best. For example, Spider-Man looks up to Tony Stark like a father. However, when he thinks Stark is keeping him back from doing what’s right, Peter will definitely go against his wishes. Even when, well, it doesn’t work out for him so great.
7. Chaotic Good - Star-Lord
Chaotic Goods are defined by a general sense of morality, but also kind of a selfish way about applying it to their actions. Peter Quill is a prime example of this. He hates when innocent people are in trouble, when evil goes unpunished, or when indifference allows the bad guys to win. However, his sense of justice is often very internal; the wrongdoers he hates most are the ones who have wronged him. Look no further than the battle scene in Infinity War for proof. The infamous Star-Lord is many good things: compassionate, courageous, brilliant. But he’s not exactly reliable.
6. Lawful Neutral - Odin
When confronted by a law that’s hurting people, Lawful Neutrals will still side with the law. This is very much Odin’s character. He has established a working model of governance, and if the occasional Frost Giant or Dark Elf gets screwed over along the way, so be it. Admittedly, Odin’s character evolves by the time he dies in Thor: Ragnarok, probably because he sees the dark side of his philosophy embodied in his daughter, Hela. Still, most of Odin’s time on-screen is spent holding Order above all things. He was the Judge, for all his faults, and a judge adheres to the law.
5. True Neutral - Rocket
Are the Guardians of the Galaxy really the idiots that Marvel’s marketing has sometimes branded them? Sure, Drax is bad with keeping secrets and Star-Lord can be obnoxious, but for the most part, the GotG are pretty nice people. With the exception, of course, of Rocket Raccoon. Rocket is, in very obvious ways, predominantly committed to himself. Yes, this can mean he finds himself on the side of the heroes, but that’s because those heroes are doing something that benefits him. However, when that’s not the case, Rocket will butt heads with them. Perhaps that’s why Rocket’s storyline in Infinity War is the most tragic. His bravest, most out-of-character acts happen on the course of that film, and they cost him everything.
4. Chaotic Neutral - Loki
Part of being a Chaotic Neutral is that you do whatever you can get away with. No one in the MCU fits that description more than the God of Mischief. Loki often sides with the villains in a film, but that’s usually because he’s getting something out of it. Still, there are moments in which he helps those he cares about, even though they might have fought in the past. Chaotic Neutrals are creatures of the moment, making choices on a whim based in their immediate surroundings. Whether that means working for Thanos or shanking him, that’s what the Son of Laufey is going to do.
3. Lawful Evil - Ronan
There’s something fascinating about the seemingly paradoxical Lawful Evil. Their fierce loyalty, in other cases, would be a praiseworthy trait. However, like the Kree Accuser, Lawful Evils are loyal to a destructive force. They are soldiers in the worst possible way, adherent to deadly ideals and willing to do despicable things to advance them. Ronan’s commitment to punishing the weak put him firmly in this category. Although, we may get a different side of him once Captain Marvel comes out this May. After all, no one is born a Lawful Evil. It takes something dark and terrible to make them that way.
2. Neutral Evil - Ego
How can someone even be a “Neutral Evil?” Doesn’t being a bad guy at least take commitment? Well, it can, but Neutral Evils are villains because...that’s the way they are. They’re almost forces of nature, doing what’s wrong because that’s the natural conclusion of their thoughts. They’re like weeds, choking out other plants because it’s in their biology. Like a weed, Ego the Living Planet does what’s in his DNA. His evil plan is literally just to multiply, to spread himself into every sentient mind in the Galaxy. And would that have been so bad?
Ok, yes it would have.
1. Chaotic Evil - Surtur
You don’t see too many real Chaotic Evils in fiction. To motivate a villain, after all, you usually need some sort of cause. But Chaotic Evils only have one, and it’s to do what’s most destructive. They want annihilation for every person, place, and thing in their worldview. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Prophesied by the ancients to be the Death of Asgard, Surtur has only his final act on his mind. When faced with any option, his choice is to burn, to destroy. There is no good or evil to Surtur, only intact or broken. And no force in the universe will stop him from turning the former into the latter.
Unless he has a really good monologue prepped. That might slow him down.
What other alignments can you assign to your favorite MCU characters? Any obvious ones we missed, or any we got wrong altogether? Let us know in the comments section below!