In the MCU, the Avengers (the original six and some of the other members of the team) have done a lot of heroic things over the years. All of these characters are heroes in their own right, and they have had their moments where they have tried to save others and even the world.
Whether it’s a huge, world-altering moment or facing their own inner demons, we’ve collected a list of the most heroic things each Avenger in the MCU has done and ranked them in order of significance (both on a personal level and considering the bigger picture). Needless to say, there are going to be all kinds of spoilers scattered throughout.
10 HAWKEYE: TRYING TO SACRIFICE HIMSELF INSTEAD OF BLACK WIDOW
Hawkeye’s role in the MCU has been somewhat controversial. Many fans felt that he should have been the one to die on Vormir instead of Black Widow. While the creators of Avengers: Endgame might have not given Hawkeye the sacrifice play, the fact is that Hawkeye would have died instead of Natasha in a heartbeat.
The two have been close friends for years and care deeply about each other. It’s clear that despite Hawkeye’s bad, flawed choices in Endgame, he still would have died instead of his friend and to get the stone.
9 BRUCE BANNER: LEARNING TO ACCEPT THE HULK AS PART OF HIMSELF
Sometimes the most heroic moments don’t occur during huge battle sequences. They aren’t even always about saving a whole bunch of other people. While Bruce Banner is obviously a caring person who is willing to be a hero and fight for others, one of his biggest battles has always been an internal one.
His journey over the years to control the Hulk and learn to accept him has been a big struggle. Saving yourself and learning to take care of yourself can be heroic, and Bruce Banner has shown us all that.
8 CAPTAIN MARVEL: HELPING THE SKRULLS
Carol Danvers hasn’t been in the MCU for very long, but she’s already made a big impact. While it’s clear that Captain Marvel can kick a lot of ass and is very powerful, some of her biggest strengths aren’t her superpowers. In Captain Marvel, she shows that she is willing to go against everything she has been taught to do the right thing.
After realizing the Skrulls had been victims all along, she fought for the cause and even made it her mission to help them find a home. Looking out for people who have been victimized or oppressed is definitely a heroic move.
7 THOR: REALIZING HE WAS MORE THAN JUST HIS HAMMER
In the Thor movies, Thor has gone on a journey to learn how to become a good king. While that whole arc might have been thrown out the window somewhat in Endgame, there’s no denying that Thor is someone with a pure heart who cares about saving others.
The moment in Thor: Ragnarok when he realizes that his power and ability to save people doesn’t come from having Mjolnir was a powerful one. Thor’s never-give-up attitude and dedication to his people makes him a true hero in this scene.
6 SPIDER-MAN: SAVING EVERYONE ON THE STATEN ISLAND FERRY
Spider-Man is a hero who is often focused more on saving people around him. While he has been a part of some of the epic battles of the MCU, in his own movies, he’s a kid trying to figure this whole superhero thing out.
As the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, seeing Peter Parker care about the people of NYC and look out for them is always heart-warming. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, when he saves the people on the Staten Island Ferry (along with Iron Man), he's demonstrating those ordinary-person-wanting-to-make-a-difference values that Spider-Man represents.
5 SCARLET WITCH: ATTEMPTING TO KILL VISION TO SAVE THE WORLD
In Avengers: Infinity War, Scarlet Witch is left with a horrible choice. She has to decide if she will be the one to kill the man she loves in order to try and save the world.
As she’s the only one powerful enough to destroy the Mind Stone, she chooses --with Vision’s blessing-- to kill him to try and save half the universe. While Thanos still wins and her sacrifice here doesn’t end up changing anything, it was still a heroic moment that showed she was willing to use her powers to do what was right, no matter the cost to her.
4 BLACK PANTHER: TRYING TO SAVE KILLMONGER AND GIVE HIM REDEMPTION
While Black Panther might have superhuman strength, speed, and more, these aren’t the only things that make him a hero. In his movie, T’Challa has to learn to become a king and to figure out what kind of ruler he will be.
After the battle with Killmonger, he offers to heal him and spare his life. This demonstrates the values that T’Challa prizes most: compassion, redemption, and second chances. His wisdom and willingness to forgive is one of his greatest traits by far.
3 CAPTAIN AMERICA: GOING INTO THE ICE TO SAVE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE
There’s no doubt that Captain America is a superhero who cares about sticking up for people. He’s always hated bullies, and the moment where he throws himself on the fake grenade in Captain America: The First Avenger gives insight right away into the fact he’s willing to die to save others.
At the end of this film, Cap puts the HYDRA plane into the ice so the weapons don’t detonate and kill millions of people. Captain America is clearly willing to sacrifice his life to save other people, and he shows this over and over.
2 BLACK WIDOW: SACRIFICING HERSELF TO GET THE SOUL STONE
While fans aren’t necessarily thrilled with Black Widow’s ending in the MCU, especially since the Black Widow standalone movie still hasn’t been made, there’s no denying that this character is a hero.
She has shown over and over that she’s dedicated to the Avengers and their cause. She is willing to sacrifice herself to get the Stone in order to save the world. Black Widow is a person who is extremely loyal to her friends and committed to saving other people.
1 IRON MAN: SNAPPING THE INFINITY GAUNTLET
While Tony Stark might not have started out his adult life as a hero, and he’s made some missteps along his journey, he’s always had a hero's heart. He’s always wanted to use his intellect (and the Iron Man suit) to bring about world peace and save people from harm.
In his greatest hero moment, he wields the Infinity Stones, knowing full well that doing so will kill him. By erasing Thanos and his army from existence, he sacrifices himself so that the rest of the universe can live.