While The Avengers have been tearing up the big screen for a few years now, there are still only a relative handful that have made their debut on the big screen, compared to the dozens of heroes who have joined their ranks since Stan Lee assembled them all those years ago in the pages of the comic books.
Some members of the team make an impact well above their power level. Black Panther for instance is at the very peak of human potential, but isn’t the kind of guy to take down Galactus in a one-on-one slugfest. Some members, like Squirrel Girl, are just downright weird. (In Squirrel Girl’s defence, despite having a seemingly lame power set, she has beaten Doctor Doom and Thanos, so let’s cut her some slack!)
Whenever you start talking about teams of heroes, the question of who is the most powerful comes up pretty quickly. Here at Screen Rant we attempt to answer that question with our definitive list of The 20 Most Powerful Members of the Avengers, Ranked.
20 Captain America
Barely squeezing his way into the top twenty, there’s no denying that Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, is the heart and soul of the Avengers. Despite his lack of destructive power, his ability to get the most out of those under his command means that he adds so much more to a team than mere brawn.
A sickly young man, rejected for military service in World War II due to polio, Steve Roger’s impassioned plea was overheard and he was given the chance to volunteer for Operation: Rebirth, where he was transformed into a perfect physical specimen. Used as a symbol to rally the troops on the battlefield, Steve became Captain America and, beside allies such as his sidekick Bucky Barnes, Namor the Sub Mariner, and the original Human Torch, he helped the allies defeat the Axis forces.
Due to an accident near the end of the war, Cap was frozen in the arctic and lost for decades. Found by the newly formed Avengers, he was revived in modern times and not only joined the team, but became their leader.
19 Luke Cage
Born and raised in Harlem, Carl Lucas spent his youth in gangs, committing petty crimes. When he was framed for possession of drugs by a former friend, he was sent to prison, where he fell afoul of a sadistic guard. While in prison he was recruited for an experiment to create super soldiers like Captain America. While preparing for the treatment, the guard altered the settings in an attempt to harm young Lucas. It had the opposite effect and granted him superhuman strength and unbreakable skin.
He escaped prison and sought to use his powers for profit. Despite his own worst intentions, he eventually developed ties with the superhuman community and formed the Heroes for Hire. He eventually legally changed his name to Luke Cage and was exonerated of the crime he was falsely convicted of.
Despite having said many times over the years that he would never join The Avengers, he was present at the supervillain prison known as The Raft when there was a mass breakout. He aided in the capture of many of the villains alongside Captain America, among others, and accepted Cap’s offer to form The New Avengers. While initially an outsider, Captain America noted Cage’s natural leadership skills.
After Captain America seemingly died after the events of the Civil War, Luke became the de facto leader of the team and held the New Avengers together despite them having no mansion, money, or mode of transport. His sheer force of will kept the heroes focused even when facing the Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers.
18 Giant Man / Ant Man / Goliath / Yellowjacket
Hank Pym was a biochemist and cyberneticist who developed a revolutionary shrinking technology. Initially unsurehow to capitalise on this development, he saw the potential to use it to transform himself into the hero known as Ant-Man, alongside his socialite girlfriend Jan, who adopted the identity of the Wasp.
One of the founding Avengers, Ant-Man found that being surrounded by such powerful beings as Thor and The Hulk was intimidating. He then altered his formula to make himself grow instead of shrink, taking the identity of Giant Man. In either form, he retained his genius and was a useful member of the team.
Two terrible mistakes would change the perception of him forever. Firstly, his work on artificial intelligence accidentally created Ultron, one of the Avengers' greatest and most enduring foes. Secondly, in a moment of rage, he struck his wife Jan. Both of these actions continue to haunt him.
Angelica "Angel" Jones is a mutant with the power to generate intense microwave energy which manifests as intense heat and the ability to fly. After taking the name "Firestar", she fell under the telepathic influence of the White Queen, who was a ruthless villain at the time.
After seeing the White Queen for who she was, Firestar returned to living with her father. She joined the team known as The New Warriors, after coercion by Night Thrasher, and fought villains like Terrax and the Juggernaut. She became engaged to teammate Vance Astrovik, known as Justice, and remained with the team for some time.
After a reality-warping incident involving Morgan LeFay, Angelica joined the Avengers and fought against some of their greatest villains, including a horde of Ultron robots.
Firestar generally holds her powers back, but when she has used her powers to their full extent she has had injured Garthan Saal, who had the full power of the entire Nova Corps at the time. She also once powered an interstellar stargate with little effort, implying that she has far more power than she even realises.
The Greek god Hercules spent much time on Earth in ancient times, but when Zeus commanded the Olympians to withdraw he did so and did not step foot on Earth for over two millennia. When he re-enters human society, it is as a sometimes ally and sometimes rival to the Asgardian God, Thor. The two have a similar level of superhuman strength, but Hercules lacks Thor’s other mystical powers.
Hercules is a frequent member of the Avengers, relishing the excitement of battle and enjoying the company of fellow heroes. His greatest challenge was during the siege of Avengers Mansion by the Masters of Evil. Despite having been drugged, he valiantly fought the entire Wrecking Crew, as well as Mister Hyde and Goliath. His injuries were severe and he fell into a coma for several weeks. Sometime later, he confronted the Wrecking Crew again and regained his confidence when he defeated them singlehandedly.
At his full power, Hercules is one of the most powerful entities in the Marvel Universe and has extensive combat experience from having waged battles for many centuries.
Built by the robot villain Ultron, The Vision broke free from his master’s control and joined the team he was built to destroy. Despite being an android, his mind was patterned on that of the human Simon Williams, the Avenger known as Wonder Man. His human thought patterns yearned for acceptance and he fell in love with his team mate Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch.
A mainstay of the team, he faced many challenges, including being effectively lobotomized, being unable to access his emotions, and having his body destroyed several times. His most joyous moments became his most tragic when the two children he believed he had fathered with Wanda were revealed to be stray parts of Mephisto’s soul given form. The twin boys, Thomas and William, were reabsorbed into Mephisto and it was as if they had never existed.
Despite more tragedy than most people experience in a lifetime, The Vision attempts to find his place in the world as both a man and a valued member of the Avengers.
Namor McKenzie rules the undersea kingdom of Atlantis and is a human-Atlantean hybrid. Due to his unique biology, he exceeds the normal limitations of either race and has abilities that have been described as being mutant in origin. It is possible that Namor is one of Earth’s first mutants, possessing the so-called "x-gene" as well as his hybrid genes.
Unlike most Atlanteans, Namor appears to be a normal human, save for small wings on either side of his ankles which, despite their small size, appear to grant him the ability to fly. Like all Atlanteans he can breathe underwater and has great strength in order to survive the crushing pressure of the ocean depths. His strength is far greater than any other Atlantean and he has proven to be able to match the Hulk and Hercules in terms of raw strength. He also commands the armies of Atlantis and has thousands of soldiers at his command.
Jenifer Walters was an ordinary woman who happened to be the cousin of Bruce Banner, AKA The Incredible Hulk. Injured in an accident, she needed an emergency blood transfusion and Bruce was the only compatible donor on hand. His gamma-irradiated blood mutated her body, but unlike his transformation, she retains her mind and emotional control in her Hulk form. She also gained a more confident outlook on life in her new form and ceased to be the quiet wallflower she had been previously.
While not as strong as the Hulk, she still has a degree of invulnerability and, like him, can leap miles at a time. Spider-Man once punched her and broke his hand, showing that She-Hulk can throw down with the best of them.
She has been an occasional member of the Avengers for years, as well as the Fantastic Four and the Defenders. Her greatest challenge with The Avengers came when Scarlet Witch lost control of her reality warping powers and attacked her friends. She-Hulk was affected by the unstable Hex powers and tore The Vision’s android body apart with her bare hands in a moment of extreme rage.
12 Iron Man
Tony Stark was content to live the life of a genius inventor and head of Stark Industries, building better weapons for the government until he went to a foreign land to inspect a Stark facility. Captured by insurgents, he was forced to build them weapons but, with the help of a fellow captive, he built a crude prototype of the first Iron Man armor and escaped instead.
Discovering that he required the armor to survive his injuries, he began a career as a solo superhero, but was present when the Avengers came together and became a founding member of the team. As the years went by, he housed the team in his New York mansion and, later, his Manhattan skyscraper. He also built the Quinjets they used to go on missions and funded them via the Maria Stark Foundation. Constantly redesigning the suit, he has made it more and more powerful over the years and, while the roller skates have been dropped (seriously, it used to have built-in roller skates), the repulsor weapons systems and raw strength have increased exponentially.
It’s not just the suit that gives Tony power. His mind is one of the greatest on Earth, with only Reed Richards, Victor Von Doom, and Bruce Banner as his equals. In many situations that have required brains over brawn, Iron Man has been the most valuable member of the team.
The mutant known as Storm has the power to control the weather. While this may sound like she can merely make it rain, she actually has a connection to some of the most powerful forces of nature, and can hurl lightning as casually as some people make coffee.
In her adolescence, she was worshipped as a goddess for ending droughts in her native Kenya before Charles Xavier recruited her to join his second generation of X-Men. Despite being a mainstay of the X-Men for many years, she joined the Avengers at the urging of her husband, T’Challa, the hero known as Black Panther.
Her time with the Avengers was short, yet intense. Thrown into conflict with the second version of the Dark Avengers, she fought alongside the Red Hulk to tear down Norman Osborn’s alliance of A.I.M and Hydra. She then had her loyalties tested as the Avengers went to war with the X-Men over the fate of Hope Summers, the mutant messiah. Standing against her husband cost her marriage and many of her new friends.
Recruited into the Avengers by Iron Man and Ms. Marvel, Ares was hired on the basis that he was a combination of Thor and Wolverine. A massive powerhouse of strength and a rebellious outsider, Ares was prepared to cross the lines other heroes wouldn’t.
He proved to be a highly effective Avenger. In his first mission with the team he used his tactical genius to devise the plan that took down Ultron and in his second, he used his God of War mind to devise the plan of attack that defeated Doctor Doom.
Choosing to remain with Norman Osborn when Osborn took control of the Avengers, he believed that the heroes who left were cowards and traitors. He believed that Osborn was the legitimate leader, due to his assassination of the Skrull queen Veranke. He fought alongside the Dark Avengers until he realised Osborn had been lying to him and attempted to stop him directly. He was intercepted by an insane Sentry and was torn limb-from-limb by his former friend.
9 Red Hulk
When the Red Hulk first burst onto the scene, little was known of the origins of this new and mysterious Hulk. Established as a second entity to the original green Hulk, the Red Hulk was everything his predecessor wasn’t: tactically gifted, cunning, and in control of his awesome power.
Early in his career, he took on Thor, Galactus, and many other heavy hitters, quickly establishing himself as a major player. Eventually, it was discovered that he was in fact General Thunderbolt Ross, a long-time adversary of the Hulk. He had been given the powers of a Hulk by a group of scientists and supervillains known as the Intelligencia.
Seeking redemption, the Red Hulk began working quietly for Steve Rogers and generally laying low until he happened upon the villain known as The Hood, who was in possession of an Infinity Gem. Realising that he couldn’t deal with the cosmic level threat alone, he sought the Avengers’ help. Helping to end the threat, he was offered a place on the team and quickly became one of their most powerful and useful assets.
While there have been several versions of Hyperion, one constant remains among them all: they are incredibly powerful!
The version that joined the Avengers was the only survivor of a race of Eternals sent to an alternate Earth from a dying world. Raised by his adopted father, he took the name Marcus Milton and eventually joined his world’s Squadron Supreme as one of its greatest heroes. When his reality was destroyed, he was the lone survivor once more, caught in a void of nothingness.
A.I.M. scientists pulled him into the Earth-616 reality and held him captive until he was discovered by the Avengers. Joining the team, he quickly became one of their first responders to emergencies, using his enormous power to full effect.
Like all previous versions of Hyperion from across various timelines, this Hyperion possesses super-human strength, stamina, speed, durability, flight, and atomic vision which manifests as energy blasts. He can also augment his powers through use of cosmic energy, something no other Hyperion has been able to do.
7 Wonder Man
Simon Williams was the son of a wealthy industrialist who took over his father’s business after his death. Lacking his father’s business skills and facing stiff competition from Tony Stark, his business began to fail. On the advice of his brother, he began to embezzle funds, but was caught and imprisoned. He became a pawn in the schemes of Baron Zemo and the Enchantress and agreed to undergo an experimental process to gain superpowers. He was sent to infiltrate the Avengers, with the aim of betraying the team. Wonder Man found himself unable to betray them, and turned on Zemo instead, seemingly at the cost of his own life.
Years later, it is revealed that he had merely been in a coma, and he is revived and joins the team as one of their most powerful members. His “Ionic Energy” body is essentially invulnerable and has vast superhuman strength nearly at the level of Thor.
He was seemingly killed once more during a battle with the Kree. He was resurrected by Scarlet Witch in a ghost-like form, but she later managed to fully restore him to a more human form.
6 Captain/Ms. Marvel
Carol Danvers was an officer in the USAF when she met the scientist Dr. Walter Lawson, who unbeknownst to her, was actually the Kree hero Captain Marvel. Danvers was caught in an explosion of a Kree device and, due to her proximity to Captain Marvel, her human genes were augmented with Kree genes, giving her a unique physiology.
After a brief period of recovery, she discovered she had developed great superpowers. She could fly, had super human strength, and could absorb and redirect huge amounts of energy. She also had the ability to sense danger, but this power came and went periodically. She adopted the name Ms. Marvel and quickly became one of the most respected superheroes in the superhuman community.
During her time with the X-Men she gained the powers of a binary star, becoming much more powerful, but these powers subsided over time. She has shown that, when near a massive power source, she does still have the potential to go binary once more, but whether she will achieve this permanently remains to be seen.
As an Avenger she has faced many demons, both figuratively and literally. She had an issue with alcoholism for a time, which got her suspended from the team, but like all her challenges, she overcame it with the help of her friends and colleagues.
She has recently adopted the codename Captain Marvel, both to honour the original and to reflect her status as one of the key players in the Marvel Universe.
5 Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange earned the ability to manipulate magic and cosmic energies through years of intense study. While in recent years his power levels have been written as being considerably diminished, he has been able to astrally project his consciousness across the astral plane to communicate with entities such as Eternity.
As the Sorcerer Supreme, he is tasked with protecting the mortal realm from any forces that would seek to cross the barrier and invade our world. Doctor Strange doesn’t so much generate power as serve as a conduit for it, often invoking the power of extradimensional entities such as Cytorrak. Given that he is well-respected by the greatest mystical forces in all realities, his potential to channel great power may be limitless.
During the first Civil War, he chose not to take a side, merely meditating in hopes that there would be a peaceful resolution. After the final battle, he joined Luke Cage’s team of New Avengers feeling that if he had intervened he may have been able to prevent Captain America’s death at the culmination of the war.
4 Scarlet Witch
Initially displaying the ability to create “Hexes” to alter the probability of events happening in her immediate vicinity, Scarlet Witch's powers eventually involved manipulating reality itself. Coming into contact with the “life force,” Wanda’s powers grew to the point where she was able to manipulate reality across the entire galaxy and create an alternate universe in place of the regular 616 Marvel Universe. This event came to be known as the House of M and had lasting repercussions for many years, as her final act was to rob 90% of Earth’s mutants of their powers.
While she has lost this power level, the multitude of cosmic power sources in the Marvel Universe would imply that it’s only a matter of time before she is able to use another source and achieve it again.
Her time as an Avenger has often been defined by her relationship with her brother Quicksilver, who remains fiercely protective of her despite her being much more powerful than he is, and her marriage to the android known as the Vision.
Like many others in this list, Thor’s power levels are inconsistent. At his classic power levels, he is fractionally less physically powerful than the Hulk, but has energy manipulation powers thanks to his ownership of Mjolnir. He is also the son of Gaea, which grants him certain magical abilities on Earth including, but not limited to, a form of terrakinesis that lets him move the continents themselves. While he is rarely shown to use these abilities, he has been seen to open a chasm between two nations in order to make their fight harder, giving the peacemakers a chance to end the conflict.
An Avenger since the very beginning, it was his brother Loki who inadvertently brought the team together. Thor was also present when Captain America joined the team and bonded with him as they were both out of place in the modern world.
Not only is Thor considered powerful for his great strength and durability, but his wise council is often sought due to his many centuries of experience. Only his brashness and Viking rage have let him down on occasion.
Robert Reynold’s power levels were never fully defined during his tenure as an Avenger. What is certain is that his powers come from a concentrated and enhanced version of the same Super Soldier Serum that gave Captain America his powers. Whereas the original serum took Steve Rogers to the peak of human strength and agility, the enhanced serum combined with the illicit drugs already in Robert Reynold’s system took him to the very peak of superhuman ability and he verged on godhood and omnipotence.
Aside from his strength and durability, which was shown to be equal to The Hulk’s when the two fought and almost leveled Manhattan during World War Hulk, The Sentry had a multitude of other abilities which seemed to be almost without limit. When battling The Molecule Man, it was discovered that the Sentry shared the same power, a total control over molecules both inside and outside his body. It is theorized that his ability to regenerate himself and others, as well to reanimate his dead wife, stem from this skill.
Beyond these abilities, The Sentry has shown to be capable of harnessing sunlight into energy beams, hypersonic flight, and astonishing psionic powers. Had he not asked Thor to kill him,and lowered his defenses, it’s unlikely that the combined superheroes present during the Siege event would have been able to defeat him.
The Hulk is the strongest Avenger there is, period. While some of the reality-warping members of the Avengers have had varied power levels over the years, The Hulk has consistently been the strongest being in the universe. Even Thanos has said that The Hulk is the only individual he actively avoids a one-on-one conflict with.
Caught at ground-zero of a Gamma Bomb of his own design, Bruce Banner absorbed the intense energy of the blast and, instead of being vaporised, somehow acquired the ability to transform into a massive engine of destruction. While he is the most physically entity, the Hulk is generally considered a curse rather than a gift and Bruce Banner has spent a lifetime trying to free himself from his transformations into the Hulk.
While he was a founding member of the Avengers, The Hulk has spent more time fighting against them than as an actual member. However, when Steve Rogers pleaded with the Hulk to aid them against Cyclops/Dark Phoenix, the Hulk joined in the decisive battle and has been an on-and-off again Avenger since then.