www.cbr.com

War Machines: The 30 Most Skilled Fighters In The MCU Ranked

With Avengers Infinity War in theaters and ten years of movies leading up to it, the size of the MCU is unparalleled. In a world that is filled with as much action as we’ve seen, fights happen. Sometimes, you need an extra edge -- and there’s nothing better than years of training, experience, and a little quick thinking to help you out in a fight. We took a look through the MCU and picked out 30 of the best fighters. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean the most powerful character, and it doesn’t necessarily mean the most effective character -- we were looking for fight experience and training. Basically, we looked at it like this: if the character’s superpower was not a factor, how effective would they be in a fight?

There are a few characters that were difficult to leave off the list, so here a few honorable mentions: Iron Man (whose only fight training seems to be boxing lessons from Happy), Groot (who is more of a pacifist most of the time), Ant-Man (uses his size more than hand-to-hand combat), and Drax (who is completely underused in the MCU). That all said, we took the time to narrow down our top 30 best fighters in the MCU.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

30 SPIDER-MAN

One of Marvel’s most popular characters, Spider-Man is no stranger to movies. With five major films outside of the MCU, several animated shows, one live-action show, and decades of comic history, there are more fights than we want to count and villains ranging from the most basic street burglar to deadly threats like Thanos. So far, we’ve only see Spider-Man in two movies within the MCU, though:Captain America: Civil War, in which he fights against Cap, Falcon, Winter Soldier, and Ant-Man, and Spider-Man: Homecoming, in which he faces off against Shocker and Vulture.

He’s low on this list for a few reasons, but most of all his youth and inexperience.

There’s no doubt that he will grow into the legend that we all know and love, but right now, he hasn’t really won a fight. Think about it -- he lost to Cap. He got pulled away from Falcon and Winter Soldier by Falcon’s drone, which also demonstrates the lack of a strong Spider-Sense at this early point in his career. Spider-Man doesn’t even win the final fight in his own movie; instead, Vulture is defeated in an explosion caused by the crashed plane. He’s untrained, and without the experience or spider-sense, he doesn’t have enough of an edge of some of the other contenders on this list.

29 HULK

The next on our list (and one that may get you a little… angry) is the Incredible Hulk. We’ve seen him appear in The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Thor: Ragnarok. In each movie, he overcomes some truly powerful enemies, from the Abomination to the massive Chitauri flying serpents. He’s even featured as the main event of the Grandmaster’s gladiator arena. When you have a battle that you need to win, there are few allies you’d rather have on your side than the Hulk. Considering that Hulk is the byproduct of an experiment gone wrong (and that he is hidden inside puny Banner), the Avengers are lucky to have him on their team.

So why is he low on the list? Well, frankly, he’s got no real discipline. He’s just as likely to lose control and attack the wrong person, but even beyond that, his success lies solely in his strength. There’s no style, no training, and no sophistication or strategy to his attacks. While Hulk is becoming more sentient and less wild, it’s not easy to say the same of his combat. If he were completely evenly matched in strength and had to rely on fight skill alone, he’d probably lose.

28 FALCON

Falcon is Captain America’s ally, both in the comics and on-screen. Sam Wilson, played by Anthony Mackie in the MCU, has always been at Cap’s side. He first appeared in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, returning in a cameo role for a fight in Ant-Man, and playing a larger part in Captain America: Civil War.He’s fought Crossbones, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, and many more, not to mention the dozens of henchmen he’s taken down. As a pilot, he’s top notch -- it’s easy to see how skilled Falcon is with his wingsuit, using it not only to fly, but also as a flexible shield.

But we’ve seen what happens when his wings are disabled; he’s removed from combat almost immediately.

He has obviously been through basic training, and he obviously has some fantastic fighting abilities with the wings and guns, but on his own, he hasn’t shown us any reason to think he could stand up to the other characters on our list -- they’re all featured in more hand-to-hand combat scenarios, which made it much easier to rank them higher on the list. Falcon should be able to hold his own, but we really haven’t had an opportunity to see that happen.

27 WAR MACHINE

Colonel James Rhodes (aka Rhodey) first appeared as Tony’s army friend in Iron Man, though we didn’t see him in action of any kind. When Don Cheadle took over the role for Iron Man 2, we got to see what he was capable of, standing up to Tony and ultimately helping him fight off Whiplash. In Iron Man 3, he continued to help, even after losing his armor. He also helped in several fights in Avengers: Age of Ultron, earning a spot on the Avengers team. Unfortunately, after the lengthy fight in Captain America: Civil War, he lost mobility in his legs, but Tony has engineered machinery to help him walk again.

This is another character that we haven’t gotten to see a ton of hand-to-hand combat from (the War Machine armor has more long-range weapons, after all), but when he was wearing the armor and fighting Tony in his superior Iron Man suit, Rhodey was able to stand his ground and even manage to win and escape. Even more impressive is his several action scenes in Iron Man 3 when he is out of his suit. Rhodey proves time and again that he is skilled, strategic, cool under pressure, and resourceful.

26 BATROC THE LEAPER

Batroc the Leaper plays a fairly large role in the comics as an adversary to Captain America. His father was also known for his acrobatic abilities, using them in World War II to aid the French. He’s often seen in a purple suit, and is able to jump long distances. The Batroc that we see in the MCU is not quite the same. His outfit has a purple tint to it, but his jumping abilities have been reinterpreted as an acrobatic, jumping-based fight style. He is part of the crew of terrorists that had taken over the S.H.I.E.L.D. ship at the start of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

He’s a master of savate, or French boxing, a fight style in which primarily focuses on kicking.

This clearly requires years of training, and it’s obvious that Batroc is quite skilled. He’s eventually defeated by Captain America, who had the edge of being a super soldier, but Batroc definitely stood his ground against Cap for a pretty significant period of time for a normal human. Also, it turns out that Batroc was hired by Nick Fury to capture the ship so that Fury could send Black Widow in to hijack the ship’s data -- so who knows, maybe Batroc took a dive. Is it possible the Leaper is a better fighter than we saw?

25 LOKI

Loki, brother of Thor, is one of the God of Thunder’s greatest adversaries. As the God of Mischief, Loki has fought at Thor’s side and against him. We first saw him in Thor, when he got Thor banished and assumed the throne. In The Avengers, he attempted to take over Earth. Thor: The Dark World saw him fighting at Thor’s side against Malekith, the Dark Elf who invaded Asgard and killed Frigga. He was absent from the MCU until Thor: Ragnarok, which possibly showcased his skills the best as he joined Thor, Heimdall, Hulk, and Valkyrie to defend the bifrost against Hela’s undead minions.

Loki may have been beaten by Hulk, but he stood his ground against the armies of Jotunheim and Hela. He’s proven efficient with a number of weapons, including the sceptre that Thanos gave him, daggers, and even his helmet at one point. As a prince of Asgard, he would have gotten all the same training as Thor, but Loki seems to not take much very seriously, and avoids combat (and indeed, conflict) in any way he can. He’s more likely to be the one pulling the strings and causing the fight than being a part of the fight itself.

24 DR. STRANGE

The Sorcerer Supreme is a title that has been held by many, but the one Marvel focuses on the most is Dr. Stephen Strange. A surgeon who lost the use of his hands in a car accident, Strange found himself seeking healing through alternative means. His search brought him across the globe, eventually to Tibet, where he found the Ancient One. It is there that Dr. Strange learns the mystic arts and starts on the path to becoming the next Sorcerer Supreme. This origin story is presented in several different mediums -- comics, a made for TV movie, and an animated version -- and the same story serves as the bones of the plot in the MCU’s Dr. Strange.

Though Dr. Strange is mostly known for his use of magic and spells, the movie shows us that part of his training includes martial arts training.

He also learns how to create weapons of magical energy. Don’t forget, the Ancient One isn’t just training sorcerers for fun; they are tasked with protecting the Earth from any magical forces that may threaten it. Dr. Strange is new, but his training takes place over an extended period of time, so it’s easy to say that his training is more extensive than the likes of Spider-Man. His weapons training gives him an extra edge, as well.

23 IRON FIST

The Immortal Iron Fist of the comic books is a legendary warrior who has an incredible chi-based power that he can harness and use to unleash devastating kung-fu attacks on his enemies. In an origin story that is somewhat similar to that of Dr. Strange, Iron Fist learned his abilities in a monastery in Asia. Unlike Dr. Strange, Iron Fist spent nearly his entire life learning and then honing these skills. We see Danny Rand in his own Netflix series, Iron Fist, and in the Netflix team-up, The Defenders. His primary enemy in the MCU has been The Hand, a mysterious clan of assassins.

The thing about Danny Rand in the MCU, though, is that he seems to somehow be the weakest and least effective member of The Defenders. He declares that he is powerful more often than he really exhibits that power. He has some impressive training when compared to the average person, but nonetheless, he is extremely underwhelming in the MCU. Perhaps this is something they’ll fix in season two of Iron Fist. As of right now, it seems that it is fans’ least favorite show Netflix’s corner of the MCU, and a lot of that is because of the way Danny Rand is portrayed. Hopefully we’ll see some better use of his superpowers, better fight choreography, and more fluid execution.

22 NEBULA

Nebula is the adopted sister of Gamora and the adopted daughter of Thanos. As children, she was pitted against Gamora time and again, with Thanos cybernetically enhancing a piece of her every time she lost to Gamora in combat. She’s been seen in Guardians of the Galaxy as an enemy to Gamora, Star-Lord, and company, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, where she still plays an adversarial role at times, but ultimately allies herself with the Guardians when it really matters.

She’s strong, she’s had a lifetime of combat experience, and she has that nihilistic attitude that’ll drive a Ravager wild.

Of course, in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, we see Nebula’s body parts twist and snap back into place, and for the first time, it is incredibly obvious just how much of Nebula was replaced over the years. She clearly lost to Gamora a lot, and so she can’t be ranked nearly as high as her sister, but a lifetime of combat experience have also given Nebula a reputation as one of Thanos’s feared daughters. With a major score to settle against her father, Nebula ended Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on a hunt for him. So much for just getting a nice hat -- you know, something nice to make the other girls jealous?

21 VALKYRIE

The Valkyrie were mythical warrior women who traveled into battle on flying winged horses. Inspired by Norse mythology, the Marvel Universe as we are shown in the MCU makes no mention of the Valkyrie until Thor: Ragnarok. The newest Asgardian we meet is Brunhilde, but she goes by Valkyrie most of the time, being the only surviving member of the legendary army. She is a bounty hunter on Sakaar, taking down some of the most formidable beasts and sentient beings to fight in the Grandmaster’s Arena. She ultimately helps Thor and Hulk fight against the forces of Hela.

With all of the power of a normal Asgardian, she’s at least on par with Thor, but what puts her over the edge is her extensive combat training. To be part of an army that isn’t only legendary, but legendary to Asgardians, well, that can’t be easy. Considering the elongated lifespans of the Asgardian people, it’s probable that Valkyrie spent centuries learning and perfecting combat techniques throughout the universe. Though she doesn’t have as much of a chance to showcase her abilities as Thor, she definitely has the edge on the God of Thunder, especially when he doesn’t have his hammer available.

20 HEIMDALL

The next Asgardian on our list is none other than Heimdall, the gatekeeper and first line of defense for Asgard. We don’t see much of him in Thor, but he manages to take down an entire spaceship using nothing but a sword in Thor: The Dark World, and is the sole surviving soldier capable of defending the Asgardian people against Hela and her troops in Thor: Ragnarok. With eyes that can see anything in the universe, Heimdall is one of Odin’s most trusted advisors.

As one of the strongest Asgardians, he’s also one of the fiercest combatants.

He’s skilled in several different weapons and has senses far beyond even the capabilities of his fellow Asgardians, giving him an edge in combat over the likes of Valkyrie and Loki. That he is entrusted with protecting the entire realm against any threat shows the level of skill he must have. That he pulls it off and manages to save and protect hundreds of Asgardian citizens, while having no reinforcement of his own, truly speaks to his abilities to fight and strategize. We wish we saw a lot more of him in action than we’ve gotten to, but whenever he does get into a fight, it’s usually a treat for the viewer.

19 BARON MORDO

Baron Mordo is most often thought of as a villain to Dr. Strange, but he was originally an ally and fellow student alongside Strange while under the guidance of The Ancient One. In Doctor Strange, he has been training for several years and so he takes on a bit of a mentor role for the doctor, helping him learn various spells and martial arts. He also helps Dr. Strange draw Kaecillius and his allies out of the Sanctum Sanctorum and fought against them in the movie’s finale. With all of the abilities of Dr. Strange and several more years of experience perfecting them, Baron Mordo is a fairly skilled combatant.

Though it is expected that Baron Mordo will be a villain in the Doctor Strange sequel, watching the effectiveness of his fighting and manipulation of reality was a fun part of the first movie. The artifacts he has, such as the Staff of the Living Tribunal and the Vaulting Boots of Valtorr, also give him quite an edge in combat. Still, based on training experience alone, he outranks the Sorcerer Supreme. Now that he’s starting to steal other sorcerers’ powers (per the Doctor Strange post-credits scene), he’ll be nearly unstoppable.

18 KAECILIUS

Kaecilius plays the part of the main villain for most of the film Doctor Strange. Portrayed by Mads Mikkelson, Kaecilius participates in several major fight scenes in the movie. He was The Ancient One’s star pupil prior to turning against her and gaining his own group of disciples to follow him in service of Dormammu. It is his quest to bring Dormammu to Earth so that Dormammu can recreate the Earth in his image, absorbing all life into his dark dimension and thus allowing the faithful followers of Dormammu to live eternally. Unfortunately, he has a profound misunderstanding of the forces he is dealing with.

As The Ancient One’s best pupil, Kaecilius is a master of not only combat, but also magic.

By mixing the two and adding his ruthless determination to accomplish his goals by any means necessary, Kaecilius is quite a formidable opponent. He is able to defeat Dr. Strange, Baron Mordo, and Wong. He’s such a strong fighter that Dr. Strange has to go over his head and bargain with Dormammu in order to win the battle. When the only way to defeat Kaecilius is to NOT fight him, you know the guy’s got some incredible power.

17 THE ANCIENT ONE

The Ancient One is the master of the mystic arts, the Sorcerer Supreme before Dr. Strange, and has been around for centuries learning and perfecting her craft. We see the extent of her powers in Doctor Strange, where she is capable to sending the doctor on a trippy voyage through universes and realms that are difficult to make sense of and impossible to describe. She fights several times in the movie, making very quick work of the majority of Kaecilius’s disciples in the opening scene, leaving him with only three allies -- he’d begun with close to 20.

The Ancient One in the comics has been depicted as an old Asian man; Tilda Swinton, who portrays the character in the film, is a middle-aged Scottish woman. Nonetheless, behind her unassuming physical shape lies the skill and intelligence to defeat almost any enemy. As the leader of the world’s mystics, she is responsible for protecting the Earth from any magical threats that may arise. She’s efficient, well-trained, experienced, and capable of accomplishing feats that the average human could barely begin to imagine. Though she dies in Doctor Strange, the lessons that she’s passed on to her students will continue to serve them and the world in the never-ending battle against the forces of evil.

16 THOR

The God of Thunder is arguably the most powerful hero in the MCU. With Mjolnir, his magical hammer, he is nearly unstoppable. Almost no one else can lift it, it can fly and change directions mid-flight, and it can break just about any material, including the Bifrost Bridge. Throughout the MCU, Thor has appeared in The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor, Thor: The Dark World, and Thor: Ragnarok. He’s fought some truly impressive foes and never lost -- even against the Destroyer Armor and the Hulk.The only being who he’s been unable to defeat in combat is Hela, though it’s a safe bet that Thor won’t be able to take down Thanos alone.

With centuries of training and battle experience, Thor has a lot to back up his brute strength.

Even once he’s lost his hammer (and before he remembers to use his lightning abilities), Thor is able to take down the Hulk using little more than junkyard scraps. He was trained to be a warrior king, after all, so it makes sense that he would have the force and ability to fill that role, both as a leader and as a combatant. You’ll rarely see an Asgardian fight that Thor is not involved in, and he’s led his allies to many victories over the centuries.

15 GAMORA

Another “daughter” of Thanos, Gamora appears in Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. She’s the only female member of the Guardians for the first film, joined later by Mantis. The green-skinned alien is one of the best fighters on the Guardians team, if not THE best. She stands her ground against Star-Lord, Rocket, Groot, and Drax. She also fights her sister, Nebula, several times. Though she doesn’t have as much to do in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, she is nonetheless an essential part of the team, and the only one who is focused on the task at hand. She has a serious approach that keeps the Guardians grounded.

By the time we meet her, she’s been fighting across the galaxy at the side of Thanos for decades, earning a reputation as one of the galaxy’s fiercest killers. We also spoke before about how Thanos was constantly pitting her against her sister -- it appears that Thanos’s goal was to train the greatest fighters the galaxy had ever seen. Her reputation is greater than what we get to see on screen, but maybe they’ll dive a little more into Gamora’s past in Avengers: Infinity War.

14 OKOYE

In Captain America: Civil War, Okoye almost fights with Black Widow, and Black Panther laughs it off as something that would be fun to watch. And you know what? Black Panther is a hundred percent correct -- that WOULD be fun to watch. Okoye doesn’t get a chance to spring into action in Civil War, but she does show off quite a lot in Black Panther. Quite simply put, Okoye is incredible. She is loyal to the throne of Wakanda and leads the world’s fiercest female fighting force, the Dora Milaje. She is a key part of Wakandan culture, protecting the king as his personal guard.

She leads the fight in Black Panther, using a spear and other weapons to overcome her enemies.

Wave after wave of fighters, including her own relatives, attack her, but she gives no quarter. As a fighter in Wakanda, she’s unparalleled. It’s easy to see why she’s become something of a feminist icon since Black Panther hit theaters. Her entire life has been dedicated to protecting the Wakandan throne -- a loyalty that supersedes her own personal opinions on that ruler. It was a painful choice for Okoye to make, putting her duty above her own feelings, and Okoye was eager to jump back to T’Challa’s defense when he reappeared.

13 COULSON

agents-shield-clark-gregg-captain-america

Yes, you read that correctly: Agent Coulson is ranked on this list. If you’re only familiar with the character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s films, then you’re missing out on one of the best characters in the MCU. Yes, he appeared in Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, and The Avengers, where he apparently died. However, fans who have watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC have seen that Coulson survived the attack and went on to lead his own team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, helping keep the world safe throughout the events of the films.

On the show, Coulson has been given several major and impressive fight scenes. He's been able to show that not only does he have the intelligence, but also the skill to have earned his place as leader of the group. Also, if you’re looking for more proof of Coulson’s tough nature, look at the bonus features of the Captain America: The First Avenger Blu-ray. The Marvel One-Shot, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer, spotlights Coulson in a short but entertaining scene that is easily some of Coulson’s best screen time in the MCU. For a man who has no superpowers, Coulson sure can handle himself in a fight.

12 MELINDA MAY

Another agent from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Melinda May is the best fighter on the team. She’s stoic and often silent, but has never met an equal in combat. She’s definitely a better fighter than Coulson, and was trusted by Fury to put the team together in the first place. She’s essentially the TV version of Black Widow, extremely trained, lethal, and cunning. She’s known as “The Cavalry” amongst S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, because of a legendary mission in which she rescued a brainwashed S.H.I.E.L.D. team. That team had been taken by a young Inhuman, whose psychic powers drove her insane.

This mission traumatized her and was the thing that caused her to want to be out of the field.

To complete the mission and save the day, she had to kill a child. This shows that, no matter how difficult the decision, May is capable of doing the tough thing for the greater good. Though this may be the basis for her nickname, she lives up to it with her skill. She’s unmatched. She’s an obvious choice for Coulson’s right hand in the organization -- not only because she’s a great asset, but because she would be able to take him down if necessary.

11 HAWKEYE

S.H.I.E.L.D. trains their agents well, even specialists like Hawkeye. Though bows and arrows aren’t often found on the battlefield, Hawkeye uses them at both long and short ranges. First appearing briefly in Thor, Hawkeye first really showed off his skills in The Avengers. He reappeared in Avengers: Age of Ultron, where he stood out and became something of a fan favorite. By the time Captain America: Civil War came around, Hawkeye had already shown us that he was capable of fighting aliens and robots. He’s also fought Black Widow several times (once while brainwashed).

Those fights with Black Widow are the ones on which we’re basing our judgment. She’s one of the best fighters in the MCU -- she has no other abilities and has to survive insane battles at the side of superheroes. It’s impressive that he can hold his own while fighting her. In fact, Scarlet Witch claims he’s pulling his punches, so he wasn’t even fighting as hard as he could. That said, she’s beaten him before, so he can’t be called the better of the two. He’s a family man with a lot to fight for, which gives him even more of an edge in combat. Everyone’s fighting to save the world; he’s also fighting to save his family.

10 PUNISHER

A Special Forces agent, Frank Castle appeared first in the second season of the Netflix series Daredevil. The character was so well-received that a spin-off series was quickly green lit. He’s got years of training and combat experience, and we see it all put to great use. He fights against Daredevil and is able to capture him. He takes down organized crime in New York City on his own. He fights his way through wave after wave of prison inmates. And that’s just in a few episodes into someone else’s show. In his own, we see him taken to the edges of brutality. He’s beaten to within an inch of his life but still manages to come back and defeat Billy Russo, another former member of the same dark ops group Frank worked for.

That Frank was selected for this elite group shows that he was already one of the best soldiers in the armed forces.

Everything that we see after that is just further proof. He uses a lot of guns, sure, but we’ve seen how effective he can be in hand-to-hand combat, as well. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing more from the Punisher in season two of the Netflix series.

9 THE WINTER SOLDIER

A soldier from World War II, Bucky Barnes has been frozen several times over, getting thawed only for brainwashing, therapy, training, and special missions over the decades. He’s been behind some of the most high-profile assassinations throughout the years, including Tony Stark’s parents. He first appears in Captain America: The First Avenger, returning in Captain America: The Winter Soldieras a villain, and finally breaking his brainwashing in Captain America: Civil War. He’s stood up to Cap, Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Iron Man. Considering that his robotic arm is the only thing about him that would be considered super, that’s pretty impressive.

He’s able to catch Captain America’s shield and throw it around as effectively as Cap himself. He’s a legendary assassin whose very existence was under question -- that’s how effective he was at killing without getting caught. He’s single-handedly taken down super soldiers and dozens of cops in Civil War. As Cap’s friend and ally in World War II, Bucky was already impressive. After Hydra brainwashed him and trained him further, he stepped up a few levels. Given his own brain back, it’s easy to imagine that Bucky will be a force to be reckoned with in Avengers: Infinity War.

8 ABOMINATION

Let’s state the obvious first: Hulk beat Abomination in The Incredible Hulk. We get that. The Hulk was able to defeat the Abomination in the finale of the movie because the Hulk’s power is tied to his anger. The angrier he gets, the more powerful he becomes. Thus, when the Abomination’s actions threatened Betty Ross, Hulk had just the drive he needed to defeat Abomination once and for all. However, we also ranked Hulk way lower on this list than the Abomination, and up to that point, Hulk was getting destroyed by the Abomination.

There’s a reason for that, and it’s probably the same reason that Nick Fury was originally told to recruit Abomination for the Avengers instead of the Hulk.

The Abomination, prior to his transformation, was Emil Blonsky, the best soldier America had in the modern day, with more training and field experience than any other. He was given a dose of Super Soldier Serum, though not exactly what Steve Rogers had been given. It still enhanced his strength, speed, and reflexes. Once the Abomination was formed, all of that knowledge and enhancement was even further enhanced. If he hadn’t pissed off the Hulk by putting Betty Ross in danger, Hulk might not have walked away from that fight.

7 DAREDEVIL

On Netflix, Daredevil was the first shot at a Marvel show, and it was a huge success. Daredevil has taken on a sort of Iron Man role in the Netflix part of the universe, holding a reputation that other heroes discuss and providing the strongest leadership presence when they all team up in The Defenders. He’s fought Kingpin, Punisher, Elektra, and several members of The Hand. Fortunately for him, he has some heightened senses and has developed a sonar ability after having been struck blind. Nonetheless, his combat abilities are impressive, and probably the strongest of the Defenders. His fighting is better even than Iron Fist, whose entire backstory is all about his kung-fu training. That says something.

Daredevil was trained by Stick, who is a member of the Chaste, a group dedicated to fighting the Hand. The Hand are the main enemies of the second season of Daredevil, Iron Fist, and The Defenders.They are highly trained ninjas who spend their lifetimes training in mystic combat arts. For Daredevil to succeed in fighting them, even with help from Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist, is quite impressive indeed. That he’s doing it all while blind? Well, that’s just amazing.

6 ELEKTRA

Elektra Natchios appears in the second season of Daredevil and ends up being the main adversary of The Defenders. She was trained by Stick and the Chaste, but was prophesied to become The Black Sky, the leader of the Hand. She’s fought and killed several Hand members, including some of their strongest leaders. She’s also fought against Daredevil and all of the members of the Defenders. Of course, for Daredevil, the fight is personal; they have a romantic past. However, Elektra seems to lose this memory once she dies and is reawakened as The Black Sky.

With a lifetime of training under Stick, she’s already got more experience than almost anyone.

She’s willing to kill for her cause, even before she’s reawakened as The Back Sky. Once she wakes up with the mindset of The Black Sky, she’s just about unstoppable. Only by collapsing caverns on top of her are the Defenders able to prevent her from succeeding in the Hand’s mission to mine the dragon bones that were stuck underneath New York City. If it takes a cavern collapsing on you to stop you from winning, then we’re pretty sure you qualify as an official powerhouse.

5 BLACK PANTHER

T’Challa, the king of Wakanda, first appears in Captain America: Civil War, as a guardian to his father, T’Chaka, who is king at the time. When his father dies in an explosion, T’Challa suits up as Black Panther to find the man responsible. In his search for justice, he faces off against Captain America, Bucky Barnes, and Falcon, among others. His suit allows him to run at super speed and gives him enhanced strength, which helps him to fight against Steve Rogers, despite his superior strength from the Super Soldier Serum. Eventually, T’Challa and Cap ended things on positive terms, and will presumably ally themselves together in Avengers: Infinity War.

He returned in Black Panther, where he assumed the throne of Wakanda, fighting M’Baku and Killmonger throughout the course of the movie to cement his place as the ruler of the isolated nation. As Black Panther, he is recognized as the nation’s greatest warrior and tasked with being one of the main protectors of Wakanda and its citizens. His suit helps, but his technique is what makes him truly powerful. T’Challa has a great mind, thinking outside of the box to win battles when he needs to. He is a wise and soft spoken leader who is able to walk the walk and talk the talk.

4 KILLMONGER

Erik Stevens was born in America, but has Wakandan blood and is a cousin to T’Challa. He may have grown up in the lower class of America, but once he learned of his heritage, Erik had a sharp focus. He worked his entire life to claim the throne of Wakanda so he could use Wakanda’s wealth to help those with African ancestry throughout the world. As an American soldier, Killmonger worked black ops, earning the nickname “Killmonger” for his deadly actions in combat.

He eventually manages to track down the nation of Wakanda and gain access with the help of Ulysses Klaue.

Once there, he challenges T’Challa for the throne, and defeats him mercilessly, throwing his body over the edge of a cliff and immediately beginning to bring his goals to fruition. T’Challa is eventually able to defeat Killmonger, but only by using the vibranium trains. In straight combat, Killmonger demonstrates that he is the superior fighter several times, and against several foes. Though he dies at the end of the movie, he goes out on his own terms. He could have been healed, but refuses, choosing to die a free man, rather than to owe his life to T’Challa.

3 CAPTAIN AMERICA

Coming in at number three is Steve Rogers, aka Captain America. We first saw Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger, where he fought Red Skull and managed to take down an entire Hydra fort almost singlehandedly. He continued to be the hero America needed in The Avengers, leading the team to victory against Loki and his Chitauri forces. He fought Winter Soldier in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and a ton of his former allies in Captain America: Civil War.

Yes, he has super strength, and that puts a lot of force behind his punches and kicks, but it takes skill, training, and technique to be able to fight as effectively in the first place. Steve’s clearly had tons of training with his iconic shield to be able to make it fly around the way he does, and that training must also apply to his fight training, as well. S.H.I.E.L.D. only takes the best and makes them better, as we’ve seen with the other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on this list. The difference between Cap in the modern day with advanced training and the Cap we saw in World War II is extremely noticeable.

2 BLACK WIDOW

Number two on this list is also the only member of the Avengers to have no real power, ability, or special weapon. She first appeared in Iron Man 2 and captured audiences everywhere with her fluid acrobatic combat and casual attitude. She’s snarky and doesn’t take anyone’s sass. She continued on in The Avengers, giving us an amazing fight scene while tied to a chair, fighting Hawkeye, and taking down a ton of Chitauri soldiers. She was also invaluable in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War.

Whether she’s fighting friend or foe, Black Widow proves time and again that no one can fight her and expect to walk away.

We really need to reiterate: she doesn’t have any major special equipment that gives her a special ability, like Stark’s Iron Man suits, Bucky’s arm, or Falcon’s wingsuit. There’s no superpower, like Scarlet Witch. She has no enhanced abilities, like Cap. Natasha is just an extremely well-trained woman, who has been able to fight alongside gods and superheroes. That she’s done all of this as effectively as enhanced beings speaks to her abilities. She’s honestly an inspiration and we really hope she gets a solo movie sooner than later.

1 HELA

Our final slot on this list is reserved for the Goddess of Death, Thor’s sister Hela. Though she only appears in one movie, she leaves a mark on the MCU that will have repercussions that last for a long time. She was originally Odin’s executioner, tasked with eliminating his enemies and executing his war plans. With Hela at his side, Odin was able to conquer the realms and put them under Asgardian control. She returned in Thor: Ragnarok when Odin died and made it her immediate goal to take the throne and demand fealty or death from all Asgardians.

When she first arrives on scene, she defeats Thor and Loki, sending them off to Sakaar. She arrives in Asgard and immediately dispatches several of the warriors three, Thor’s legendary soldier friends. In her next battle scene, Hela is approached by the entire strength of the full Asgardian army. She destroys them all in a matter of seconds. It’s an incredible fight sequence, one of the best displays of fighting prowess in the entire MCU. She’s so powerful that Thor cannot defeat her -- he needs to sic Surtur on her, sacrificing Asgard and allowing him to destroy it. She’s easily one of the most frightening villains in the MCU, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that she is literally the goddess of killing people. We’d expect nothing less.

Next 10 Underrated Villains We Hope Appear In DC’s Year Of The Villain

More in Lists