Ever since Iron Man officially jumpstarted the Marvel Cinematic Universe back in 2008, more and more heroes and villains have been added to the MCU. With other movies like Captain America: Civil War and Thor: Ragnarok, the age old question of who’s the strongest got tossed around a bunch. Or in this case, which MCU hero is the strongest of them all?
With over 17 movies movies and seven TV shows, there’s a ton of characters to examine. However, we’re comparing some of the MCU heroes to their comic book versions. You see, in the comics, heroes like Thor, the Hulk, etc. are some of the strongest mortals in the universe. With abilities ranging from destroying planets to even time travel, though fans want to see their favorite characters at the peak, it makes sense to a certain degree why the MCU would depict a few characters in a weaker light. After all, the stronger a character is, the less relatable they become. The opposite of that is when you have heroes who’re typically considered weak, but are then made OP. Today at CBR we’re looking at heroes the MCU made OP and a few it weakened along the way.
15 TOO STRONG: STAR-LORD
Everyone loves Star-Lord and his goofy antics. The half-human scoundrel runs around the universe with his Guardians of the Galaxy, causing all sorts of mischief and saving the day. Using only his wits, Star-Lord has faced off against some of the universe’s most evil individuals. Things even got taken up a notch for Peter Quill Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Turns out Ego, the living planet, was Peter’s father and bequeathed his son with the powers of a Celestial.
The Celestials, for those unaware, are living planets with god-like abilities and Quill possessed those powers until he destroyed dear ‘ol dad.
While he had the Celestial power, Star-Lord had complete control over energy and matter. His powers were limitless. Even though Peter lost his powers by the movie’s end, he’s still gotten out of plenty more situations than is feasible for a guy with just a cassette player.
14 TOO WEAK: DRAX
For a guy who with “destroyer” in his name, it’s ironic how often Drax the Destroyer gets destroyed by foes, rather than him doing the destroying. Billed as the “strong guy” in the Guardians of the Galaxy MCU crew (not including the sentient walking tree Groot), Drax is forever getting thrown around. He’s capable of taking on waves of henchmen, but when it’s crunch time, Drax simply can’t withstand assaults from major villains.
First there’s Ronan, who easily demolishes Drax, and then in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Drax is delegated to be the comic relief. None of this is to say that Drax is a bad character, because he’s not, but in the comics he was specifically created to kill Thanos. That being the case, Drax could fight evenly with the likes of Thor and the Hulk, and was one of the only beings the Mad Titan feared.
13 TOO STRONG: BLACK PANTHER
In the pantheon of the Marvel Comics universe, it’s easy to overlook Black Panther. He typically stays on the fringe, keeping to himself, but that doesn’t mean he’s afraid to unleash his panther powers from time to time. In the comics, Black Panther’s beaten Mephisto (the devil), taken out Thanos in seconds, and even stalemated Galactus with mere words. Though T’Challa has always been considered on the same level of Captain America, his feats have proved otherwise.
His wielding of the super metal Vibranium also allows Black Panther to claim victory over most opponents.
Captain America owns a shield made of the kinetic-force-absorbing metal, but T’Challa wears an entire suit made of the stuff. By most standards, T’Challa and his outfit are indestructible. The suit has incredible powers, and when combined with T’Challa’s connection to the Panther god, there’s little he needs to fear in the MCU.
12 TOO WEAK: LUKE CAGE
The man with unbreakable skin, Luke Cage’s super strength, bulletproof and fireproof skin, and impressive healing factor, give the hero little to worry about…in theory. The comics have Luke Cage getting punched through skyscrapers by the Hulk, jumping out of high rise buildings, and dishing out enough punishment on villains that many consider Cage the strongest “street-level” hero. Granted, those are the comic books we’re talking about. The MCU Luke Cage is inconsistent in a variety of ways.
Though he’s been shown capable of stopping a bus by punching it, and can walk through explosions without injury, Luke’s bulletproof skin doesn’t make him indestructible. Only Luke’s skin is impenetrable; he remains susceptible to internal injury. Also, for reasons relatively unexplained, the power-less Elektra has kicked Cage with enough force to knock him over and hurt him…somehow.
11 TOO STRONG: DAREDEVIL
Daredevil might not be parading around New York with the Avengers, but that doesn’t mean he’s a slouch in the power department. Although his only “powers” include super senses, the MCU Daredevil seems capable of much more. Already, he’s gone up against a fair number of heroes and villains, nearly defeating them all. He might not have the power of Thor, but Matt Murdock can sense even the slightest changes in air density and temperature, making him a human sonar on both a large and small scale.
This means he can sense the weak points in an opponent’s weapon and disarm it.
Additionally, despite having no “super” agility, Daredevil’s dodged bullets just by hearing the hammer click and “feeling” where the bullet will be. He proven more than a match against the Hand ninjas, Iron Fist, Elektra (who also beat Iron Fist), and anyone he needs to take down.
10 TOO WEAK: THOR
One of the strongest heroes in the Marvel Universe, Thor’s power is legendary on Earth and in all the Nine Realms. With Superman-level strength, invulnerability, and a kinship with the elements, Thor has beaten everyone from the Silver Surfer to Thanos. The Thunder God can dive in the sun and come out unscathed, survive direct hits from Galactus, time-travel, and, even destroy planets. Does this sound like the God of Thunder from the MCU? Probably not.
For the most part, the movies do a bad job at demonstrating Thor’s power. Sure, he’s strong enough to fight Iron Man and even hold his own against the Hulk, but MCU Thor’s strength is terribly inconsistent. One second he’s big man on campus, the next, he’s struggling against henchmen. Even though Thor: Ragnarok gave him a power-up, Thor’s power still doesn’t come close to his comic book counterpart.
9 TOO STRONG: CAPTAIN AMERICA
For a guy who’s looked at as needing a shield to be useful, Captain America kicks more butt than he chews bubblegum in the MCU. It doesn’t matter who he fights, Captain America is inexplicably able to hold his own against Ultron, defeat Spider-Man, and even lay out Iron Man. The Super Soldier Program that turned Steve Rogers into the “perfect specimen,” pushed his physical capabilities beyond the peak of human potential.
Though on paper this was only supposed to make him “nearly” super, his strength, speed, and durability are far beyond the greatest Olympic athlete.
Think back to when he and Bucky fought Iron Man during Civil War. Though Iron Man has been shown capable of handling Thor, Captain America’s blows do more damage than the thunder god’s hammer. Throw that in with his master martial arts ability and mastery of his Vibranium shield, and Cap is nearly unbeatable.
8 TOO WEAK: IRON FIST
Danny Rand is the Immortal Iron Fist. The title’s been passed down for centuries, bequeathing the chosen one with chi-based abilities. Spending half his life training in martial arts with mystic monks, Danny can summon the Iron Fist, turning his fist into a glowing bulldozer of destruction. In the comics, Danny is a true living weapon. Few writers exercise all his abilities at once; else they have an overpowered character. The showrunners for the MCU Iron Fist took a completely different approach. They made Danny Rand a weak kitten that complained a lot and barely knew how to use his powers.
In both Iron Fist and The Defenders we’ve seen Danny uncharacteristically inept. Even the show’s villains are unimpressed with Danny Rand. Comic book Danny can utilize his energy manifest the Iron Fist, chi blasts, and chi healing. MCU Danny is a hot mess.
7 TOO STRONG: ELEKTRA
In the MCU, Elektra Natchios was trained by her mentor Stick to be a weapon against the evil organization known as the Hand. Along the way she met Matt Murdock, fell in love, fought ninjas, and then died. It happens.
After the Hand resurrected her, Elektra became deadlier than ever.
Capable of tanking strikes from Danny Rand’s Iron Fist with little trouble, constantly knocking over Luke Cage with simple kicks, and generally killing or beating up anyone in her way, the only person who seemed capable of standing up to her was Daredevil. Armed with a pair of sais, Elektra got deadlier and more overpowered in each subsequent episode of The Defenders. Four superhuman heroes could hardly trouble her; impressive, considering all Elektra really has going or her is some martial arts know-how and egregious fashion sense.
6 TOO WEAK: SCARLET WITCH
There’s no denying Scarlet Witch’s power. Like many heroes in the MCU Scarlet Witch is weakened so she’s not OP, but that’s not to say she isn’t a potential contender for being one of the strongest heroes in the MCU. In the MCU she’s been demonstrated as possessing some semblance of mind control, but it’s her telekinesis that makes her extra dangerous. She hasn’t fully mastered her powers, but the Scarlet Witch’s psionic abilities allow her to levitate, project force-fields, and move objects with her mind on a molecular level.
This might sound impressive, but it’s nothing when compared to the Scarlet Witch from the source material. With her mutant hex powers, coupled together with her control over chaos magic, Wanda Maximoff is one of the most dangerous heroes in Marvel Comics. To this day, aside from temporarily beating the Vision, we haven’t seen MCU Wanda perform overly impressive feats.
5 TOO STRONG: VISION
In both the MCU and comic books, Vision is an exceptionally powerful being. Powered by the cosmic energy of the Mind Stone, Vision’s synthetic android body is made with Vibranium, the virtually indestructible metal that can do nearly anything the plot requires.
In turn, this makes Vision one of the MCU’s strongest heroes.
The Vision is a quiet soul, yet when push comes to shove, he has a long list of powers at his disposal, including Thor-level super strength, intangibility, durability, flight, and energy blasts (from the Mind Stone). In Age of Ultron he took down dozens of Ultron drones single-handedly. On top of it all, he’s the only other hero shown worthy of wielding Thor’s hammer. If he used that, the Vision would be unstoppable.
4 TOO WEAK: GAMORA
The last of the Zen Whoberi, Thanos adopted Gamora when she was a child. Trained and augmented by the Mad Titan, Gamora became one of the greatest assassins in the galaxy. Eventually, she earned the title of Deadliest Woman in the Universe. Learning nearly every martials art the universe had to offer, her fighting skill became so advanced she could easily best foes who were stronger than her.
That said, Gamora is plenty powerful, and physically strong enough to fight the likes of the Thing and She-Hulk to a standstill. She can survive the vacuum of space and her skeleton is virtually unbreakable thanks to some tampering from Thanos. Although we’ve seen Gamora in two movies, she hasn’t demonstrated anywhere near the level of power she’s known for in the comics. If anything, she’s a pale facsimile who’s too hung up on dealing with her emotions for Peter Quill.
3 TOO STRONG: WINTER SOLDIER
Though he might lack super powers per se, the Winter Soldier is one of the MCU’s deadliest combatants. With literally decades spent killing people and honing his skills, the Winter Soldier is an assassin unlike any other. Originally known as Bucky Barnes, he was thought dead after falling into an icy river. He was “rescued” by Hydra and turned into their personal killing machine.
Additionally, Bucky was given the same super soldier serum as Captain America, further boosting him and providing low-level superhuman strength, speed, durability, and advanced healing.
All that, on top of his super powerful bionic arm, makes Winter Soldier a nasty piece of work. While brainwashed, Winter Soldier’s focus and lack of morals let him fight to his fullest. He nearly killed Captain America, assisted in taking down Iron Man, and if given the right equipment and prep time, there’s few heroes or villains he couldn’t kill.
2 TOO WEAK: MEDUSA
The Queen of the Inhumans, Medusa is also known for the funky ability to control her hair. Though initially this might seem unimpressive, Medusa’s hair-based powers are ridiculous. She psychokinetically controls each strand of hair; they each possess greater tensile strength and durability than steel wire. If she wants, she can form her hair into spears or piecing weapons that can impale most anyone or anything, and they can shield her from all kinds of attacks, be they physical or something more intense like energy blasts and fire.
She’s beaten Venom with sonic whiplashes from her hair; Medusa, as seen in Marvel Comics, is not to be messed with. On the other hand, there’s nothing impressive about the MCU Medusa. She has the same basic powers, but her hair can be cut with ordinary scissors and rendered useless rather easily. All things considered, she’s probably the weakest superhero in the MCU.
1 TOO STRONG: PUNISHER
The Punisher is technically a good guy, but tell that to the people he’s put in the ground. Frank Castle is, and continues to be, wrath incarnate. The Punisher and his brutish and unwavering righteous indignation have helped him carve through a wide swath of bodies in the MCU. Though he’s just a normal guy with absolutely zero powers and no physical enhancements, that hasn’t stopped the Punisher from delivering pain to anyone he deems in need for a little pain.
He’s beaten Daredevil a number of times, taken on a score of armed prisoners by himself, and always seems to have a way out of any precarious situation.
Similar to the Winter Solider, Castle’s focus is like a living laser. Once he sets his sight on you, nothing will stop him. There are few heroes/antiheroes scarier and more murderous than the Punisher.