Avengers: Infinity War is nearly here. We’re closing in on the release date and Thanos’ big voyage to collect all of the Infinity Stones. And we know that the film is going to pull heroes in from across all aspects of the previous films. The Avengers are going to need all the help they can get if they want to stop Thanos from assembling all the Infinity Stones and using the Infinity Gauntlet. Although there’s something strangely satisfying about debating which heroes will bite the dust thanks to fighting the Mad Titan.
Let’s face it, not all of them are going to make it out alive. Whether that’s through contract obligations, they want to leave the franchise or just for a narrative gut punch. Either way, Thanos is going to be putting people down. But because it seems definitive that the Netflix and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. characters won’t be appearing in the film, we’ve kept our list purely focused on characters from the films. We’ve separated the Avengers into who we think have a hope in beating Thanos, because let’s face it -- there are some heavy hitters on the team. Here are 8 MCU heroes who can take down Thanos (and 7 who have no chance).
15 CAN: DRAX
Okay, so we know he got beat up by Ronan during the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, but let’s be honest, Drax could probably take Thanos. Drax is a hulking brute of a fighter, who is more than able to survive being eaten by a giant space monster like at the start of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Plus, add in the deep-rooted rage that burns inside Drax for the deaths of his family at the hands of Ronan but because of Thanos. That automatically adds another level of strength to him because of his determination to exact revenge on the mad Titan. Plus, do we really think that Thanos is going to be left alive after this whole saga? Surely Drax, Gamora and Nebula wouldn’t stand for him to survive…
14 NO CHANCE: BLACK WIDOW
Natasha Romanoff is one of the most capable fighters in the MCU, standing shoulder to shoulder with heroes like Captain America and Thor. We know she can hold her own against enhanced heroes and even calm down the Hulk, but unless the MCU acknowledges otherwise -- Natasha Romanoff hasn’t been enhanced like she has in the comics.
That means that despite all the futuristic weaponry and technology she gets her hands on, she’s still just a regular human being. And if Captain America was struggling to push back Thanos whilst he was wearing the Infinity Gauntlet in the most recent trailer, the chances of Black Widow being able to hold that level of power off is pretty unlikely. We’re not saying she isn’t a worthy opponent, but Thanos is a Mad Titan after all.
13 CAN: HULK
Let’s be honest, we’ve yet to see the Hulk get completely defeated by anyone in the MCU. Thor actually came quite close during Thor: Ragnarok, but was stopped by the Grandmaster. But the Hulk is a fountain of strength and rage that have a symbiotic relationship. And since it’s likely that he’ll have a better relationship and attitude to his fellow heroes, seeing them get hurt will only make him angrier.
And as we all know, the angrier Hulk becomes the stronger he gets. If he reaches a ‘world-breaker’ level of anger, it’s entirely possible that he throws enough strength at Thanos that he’s either knocked out or drops the Infinity Gauntlet. Plus, who doesn’t want to see the Hulk and Thanos fight it out in live action?
12 NO CHANCE: BLACK PANTHER
Sorry. This is probably going to annoy many people, but there’s no way that Black Panther can fight off Thanos. Although he wasn’t killed by Killmonger in their first fight, the villain definitely defeated him. But T’Challa also struggled to defeat his cousin when he was empowered by the Heart Shaped Herb. So if he’s struggling against someone with a similar skillset and similar abilities, how will he cope against an enemy with many more powers than him?
Obviously, there’s the technology aspect of Wakanda that he could utilize. But if Thanos assembles the Infinity Gauntlet (and let’s face it, that’s probably going to happen), that technology isn’t going to stand a chance against reality altering powers. Unless that is, the Soul Stone is actually hidden in the Vibranium meteorite in Wakanda like one theory states…
11 CAN: GAMORA
This slick assassin is more than capable of holding her own in fights against much bigger and more powerful opponents as we’ve seen on multiple occasions. Gamora was raised by Thanos to be the best fighter that she could possibly be, constantly defeating Nebula, and was never cybernetically enhanced as a punishment like her sister was.
This could mean that she knows exactly what Thanos would expect when engaging in a fight, so could anticipate what he would do. And although the Infinity Gauntlet might throw a spanner or two in the works of that plan, the deadliest woman in the galaxy certainly would have some kind of advantage. Combine her skills with those of her sister’s, and Thanos won’t stand a chance in that fight.
10 NO CHANCE: STAR-LORD
We all love Peter Quill, let’s not deny it. But he’s not exactly the most skilled in hand-to-hand combat is he? Whilst he’s an ace pilot, we just have to remember his disastrous attempts at fighting Gamora off during the first Guardians of the Galaxy film. Sure he has some slick weaponry and some rocket boosters, but that’s not going to mean anything against the full might of Thanos.
If Star-Lord had managed to keep the Celestial power that his father, Ego, had given him then perhaps he would be able to fight Thanos off with those impressive abilities. But since Ego was destroyed at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 -- it’s unlikely those powers are still dormant in Peter. Sorry Star-Lord, but it doesn’t look good for you.
9 CAN: MANTIS
Let’s be honest, there aren’t that many people that are going into Avengers: Infinity War full to the brim with excitement to see what Mantis is going to do. We’re not saying she isn’t a great character, but she doesn’t have the same level of fan frenzy compared to Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther, Spider-Man, Star-Lord…you get the idea. But if she served no purpose in the film, she wouldn’t be there.
Cast your mind back to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 -- Mantis was capable of putting Ego, a Celestial, to sleep. So by that logic, she should be able to put a Titan to sleep also, because Thanos isn’t as powerful as Ego, yet. If the Avengers can get Mantis close enough, she should be able to put him down.
8 NO CHANCE: SPIDER-MAN
Or Iron-Spider, however you want to refer to Peter Parker during Infinity War. But let’s face it, Pete is still at an amateur level of his superheroic career. And that is completely fine, because it means we’ll get to see him on his journey to becoming a fully-fledged hero who can stand up against the biggest of threats. Because for the moment, he’s still small scale.
But because he’s fought Captain America, he defeated the Vulture and the Shocker -- it’s possible that Pete will think he’s ready to take on Thanos. But it’s this naivety that could lead to him seriously being injured. After all, there is the shot in the trailer of him being pummeled by Thanos and another where he’s lying on the floor apologizing to Tony who is crouched over him. It looks like the Iron Spider may get put down very quickly.
7 CAN: SCARLET WITCH
She may have only appeared in two full films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far (and one post-credits scene), but Scarlet Witch easily has the potential to take down Thanos. Look, everyone knows that the comic book version of Wanda is incredibly powerful, she boasts reality altering powers that can be devastating. Just look at what happened when she said “No More Mutants” at the beginning of “House of M”.
Her powers are somewhat indescribable because they are seemingly limitless. And although she is still something of a rookie on the Avengers, we don’t doubt that given the right push or access to one of the Infinity Stones her powers could be increased ten-fold. Could she even write Thanos out of existence? Who knows…
6 NO CHANCE: WAR MACHINE
James Rhodes is a valuable member of the Avengers without a doubt. What’s better than having one Iron Man suit on your side? Having two. Plus, Rhodey could bring in his contacts with the military and the air force to call in for backup if a fight gets too heavy. But after his injury during Captain America: Civil War, it became very clear that technology is also his downfall.
When Vision accidentally shot him out of the sky, Rhodey sustained spinal damage that means he has to wear a robotic brace to help him walk. All Thanos would have to do is rip that from him and Rhodey is suddenly very vulnerable. It’s a truly uncomfortable thought, but then this is a villain who isn’t afraid of wiping out half of the universe with a single snap of his fingers.
5 CAN: VISION
Look, we’ve all seen the Avengers: Infinity War trailers multiple times and seen the Vision seemingly have his Mind Stone ripped from his head by the Black Order. But the fact that we don’t actually see the stone leave his head implies that he won’t lose it for some time. It’s likely that he’ll have it for the majority of the film or they find another way to keep him alive.
We saw his hand-to-hand combat skills during Captain America: Civil War, where Hawkeye’s leg just went straight through him. So even if Thanos swings at Vision with the full force of the Infinity Gauntlet, he should just be able to phase right through it. And if he can phase through things, he could make himself solid again after punching Thanos’ in the head and kill him.
4 NO CHANCE: OKOYE
So we’re not quite over our Black Panther fever, let’s be honest, who is? It was a great film that showcased a variety of different characters that challenged typical gender roles in superhero movies. One such character is played by the brilliant Danai Gurira; Okoye. We saw her fighting capabilities during Black Panther, and sure – they were impressive.
But that was going up against people with similar weapons and armor that she had. These were all things that she knew inside and out, she knew all their weaknesses. But a hulking alien from another planet is a threat she doesn’t know how to fight. And since she has no heightened abilities, if Thanos takes his anger out on her -- it’s likely that she’s going down and not getting back up.
3 CAN: CAPTAIN AMERICA
Okay, we know that he’s only a physically enhanced super soldier with heightened abilities, but we definitely think he could take on Thanos and win. If only through sheer determination. Because that’s the defining feature about Steve Rogers, sure he has the super strength and masterful martial arts abilities, but it’s his heart that drives him.
He won’t give up until the battle is won or the threat is neutralized. So even if Thanos breaks most of the bones in his body -- Steve would try to carry on and find a way to stop him, even if he dies in the process. Which let’s face it, is probably going to happen since Chris Evans said he’s done after Avengers 4. Goodbye Steve Rogers, but who’s next to take the mantle?
2 NO CHANCE: IRON MAN
Place your bets everyone, who’s going to die during Infinity War? One of the biggest theories sees Tony Stark biting the dust during his fight with Thanos. And to be fair, there is a scene in the trailer in which Thanos hits him so hard, it doesn’t look like he’s going to get back up again. Iron Man has been the glue holding the MCU together right from the start, it’s possible that it’s time to see what it’s like without him.
But in a similar way to Rhodey’s downfall without technology, Tony is very much the same. Even in Iron Man 3 when he was without his suits, he still managed to wind up captured by the Mandarin’s forces. He might still be a hero without his tech, but it’s the armors that give him an edge. A Bleeding Edge, you could say.
1 CAN: NEBULA
Because of course we had to include Nebula. For one, she’s a pure force of rage that is near unstoppable. We’ve all seen the animosity between Nebula and her sister Gamora, that’s all been generated because of Thanos’ treatment of them both as children. The hate that Nebula has for her adopted father runs deep. And during The Infinity Gauntlet she becomes more powerful than most of the Marvel Universe.
But after all the pain and suffering that Nebula has been through, we wouldn’t be surprised if she’s the one to strike the killing blow. The other heroes might wear Thanos down, but Nebula has the abilities to wipe him out once and for all. It would be ironic if her cybernetic enhancements that he gave her were the things that gave her an advantage over him.