The Marvel Cinematic Universe is jam-packed with incredibly strong superheroes. The adaptation of comic book heroes into live-action has been popular across film and TV for decades, but Marvel Studios has arguably pulled it off better than anyone, having released over 30 feature films, eight TV shows on Disney+, and a whole universe of heroic characters that is ever-expanding. Since the dawn of the MCU with 2008’s Iron Man, a multitude of heroes have been introduced to the world, some of whom pack a punch that could defeat any villain or destroy the entire multiverse.
After four Phases of MCU adventures, Marvel Studios is constantly looking for ways to innovate and bring new heroes from Marvel Comics’ over 80-year history into the mainstream. While some of the MCU’s superheroes are god-like characters who harbor remarkable gifts, many are mere mortals, though these heroes can easily hold their own against some of the most powerful villains in the MCU, such as Thanos and Kang the Conqueror. While Marvel Studios is always adding new heroes into the mix, there have already been a huge amount of strong additions to the MCU that would give chills to the biggest threats in the multiverse.
20 Scott Lang, A.K.A. Ant-Man (& Hope Van Dyne, A.K.A. The Wasp)
While Scott Lang might seem to many as one of the weakest of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the size-changing ex-con actually has some incredible powers that ensure he can go toe-to-toe with the likes of the Falcon and War Machine while barely breaking a sweat. Ant-Man and his superhero partner Hope Van Dyne, a.k.a. the Wasp, have practically unlimited access to Pym Particles, which allow them to shrink to the size of ants while still packing a strong punch. Their size-changing ability makes them adept at espionage missions, and some intense training has turned them both into highly-skilled hand-to-hand combatants.
When it was revealed that Kang the Conqueror would appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, many questioned Lang’s survival in the first film of the MCU’s Phase 5. However, Ant-Man proved that he could hold his own against the MCU’s new big bad and displayed his tactical mind as he distracted Kang before he could escape the Quantum Realm and eventually (with Hope’s help) seemingly killed the supervillain. Ant-Man’s ability to not only shrink in size but also grow to extreme heights makes him a huge asset to any Avengers-level battle, including the climactic fight of Avengers: Endgame, which featured a giant Ant-Man easily taking down Thanos’ Leviathan army.
19 Peter Parker, A.K.A. Spider-Man
Peter Parker might be the youngest member of the Avengers, but that certainly doesn’t detract from his incredible abilities gifted to him by a bite from a genetically engineered spider. With enhanced strength, stamina, speed, and the ability to adhere to walls, the MCU’s Spider-Man is one of the physically strongest of Earth’s heroes, making him easily able to survive a building collapse, a skirmish with Bucky Barnes, and even hold his own against the Mad Titan, Thanos. Even so, it perhaps isn’t the physical attributes that make Spider-Man such an important member of the Avengers.
Despite being only a teenager, Peter Parker has a genius-level intellect that has allowed him to create his own synthetic webbing, and he’s also displayed a huge amount of emotional strength. Spider-Man: No Way Home was a tragic installment in the MCU’s Spider-Man: Homecoming franchise, as after dealing with Aunt May’s death, Parker urges Doctor Strange to make everyone in the world forget Peter Parker, leaving him completely alone but hesitant to tell his old friends the truth as they may be safer without him in their lives. While Spider-Man isn’t the most powerful of the MCU’s superheroes, he has certainly sacrificed more than most.
18 Peter Quill, A.K.A. Star-Lord
Peter Quill was introduced during Guardians of the Galaxy as a rogue member of the Ravagers who had been kidnaped from Earth in 1984. His true origins were kept hidden until Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which revealed Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord, to be the son of Ego, one of the MCU’s Celestials. His Celestial connection meant that Quill was an immortal being with an unimaginable amount of untapped power, though this was severed when Ego was killed. Despite the loss of his Celestial powers, Quill is still an incredibly powerful superhero in the MCU, as he has fully grown into his role as a Guardian of the Galaxy.
Guardians of the Galaxy showed that Star-Lord was able to hold the Power Stone in his hand for a short time, with the other Guardians joining him and using the energy of the Infinity Stone to destroy Ronan. It’s been theorized that Peter Quill would have been able to survive using the Infinity Stones to eliminate Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, an action that killed Iron Man. Star-Lord’s dedication to his found family, love for Gamora, and steadfast personality when protecting the galaxy make him one of the most memorable and powerful superheroes in the MCU.
Shang-Chi debuted as part of the MCU’s Phase 4 in arguably one of the most well-received projects of the Multiverse Saga so far. As the son of the MCU’s real Mandarin, Xu Wenwu, Shang-Chi was subject to intense martial arts training from an early age, which made him one of the most deadly individuals on Earth, and meant that he could easily take on Razor Fist and his goons on a San Francisco bus in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. On top of his incredible martial arts skills, Shang-Chi now also has possession of the mystical Ten Rings, which grant him even greater powers.
The Ten Rings are ten bracelets in the style of Hung Gar Iron Rings that gift their user immortality, enhanced strength, and mystical powers originating from the Rings’ mysterious composition. Wenwu used the Ten Rings for hundreds of years to build his empire, establish the Ten Rings organization, and make himself known as one of the most dangerous men on the planet, but Shang-Chi will use these remarkable weapons for good. Shang-Chi would be a huge asset to the MCU’s New Avengers team since his fighting skill challenges that of Captain America or Black Widow, and the Ten Rings are potentially more powerful than Thor’s hammer or Captain America’s shield.
16 Stephen Strange, A.K.A. Doctor Strange
Though he was originally skeptical of the mystic arts, Stephen Strange eventually rose through the ranks to become Master of the New York Sanctum, protector of the Time Stone, and becoming the MCU’s Sorcerer Supreme before the role was assumed by Wong after Thanos’ Avengers: Infinity War snap. Doctor Strange’s eidetic memory allowed him to learn the ways of the Mystic Arts incredibly quickly and led to him saving the Earth in Doctor Strange by trapping Dormammu in a time loop. This proved that Strange’s genius-level intelligence is just as important as his mastery of magic.
Doctor Strange, Avengers: Infinity War, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness have all cemented Doctor Strange as one of the most formidable superheroes in the MCU’s roster. However, What If…? showed Strange’s potential as a villain too, as he exploited the power of the Time Stone for his own personal gain. Even so, there’s no doubt that a sorcerer who can stand his ground against the likes of Dormammu, Thanos, and even more sinister variants of Doctor Strange himself deserves his place among the strongest superheroes in the MCU.
Since his debut, Groot has become a valued member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. A highly intelligent, tree-like being whose natural composition means he can regrow limbs or even an entire body, Groot is a brilliant ally in battle. His dedication to the Guardians of the Galaxy team also made him one of the most lovable and memorable characters in the MCU, as he sacrificed himself at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy in order to protect his new family. Luckily, one of his twigs regrew into a new Groot, who has since been featured in various MCU adventures.
After Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Groot helped the Avengers battle Thanos’ army in Infinity War, a film that also displayed the new Groot’s strength as he was able to form his arms into the handle for Thor’s new ax, Stormbreaker. The GOTG Holiday Special showed a more built-up Groot, with bark reminiscent of increased muscle, and trailers of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 have shown that he can also grow extra limbs, and even wings, which will surely come in handy in the upcoming battle. Groot is perhaps the most versatile of the MCU’s heroes, so hopefully he will have a long future in the MCU.
14 Tony Stark, A.K.A. Iron Man
Tony Stark could never be regarded as one of the physically strongest of the MCU’s superheroes, but he had qualities in other areas that made him one of the most powerful members of the Avengers. The entire weight of the MCU was balanced on Stark’s shoulders as Iron Man kicked off the MCU in 2008, and it was Iron Man’s sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame that brought the tyranny of Thanos to a satisfying ending. Stark’s strategic mind, keen wit, and supreme intelligence made him a formidable opponent to any villain, but it was his monumental technological advancements that put him on the map.
During Iron Man, Stark was able to miniaturize his arc reactor technology using only the leftover parts of several of his own weapons. This also led to the development of the first prototype Iron Man armor, which he used to escape captivity before refining the design. As Iron Man, Stark used his influence, fame, and fortune to extinguish threats across the globe, eventually saving the world from otherworldly threats multiple times. Whether it be flying a nuclear missile through a portal into space, destroying a falling city, or using the Infinity Stones to save the universe, Stark was always one of the most creative and talented superheroes in the MCU.
13 Bucky Barnes, A.K.A. The Winter Soldier/White Wolf
While not always regarded as a superhero, Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. the Winter Soldier, has earned that title more than most. Subjected to HYDRA brainwashing after a tragic accident during WWII, Barnes, imbued with the super-soldier serum, operated as the Winter Soldier for decades, committing assassinations and covert missions for HYDRA. After his mind was cleared of HYDRA’s conditioning (thanks to the Wakandans), however, Barnes became a loyal ally to Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson, with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier showing the lengths he would go to in order to protect the legacy of the retired Captain America.
As well as being enhanced by a super-soldier serum similar to Dr. Abraham Erskine’s, which gifted Steve Rogers his abilities as Captain America, Bucky Barnes also has a unique weapon that makes him a very strong hero in the MCU. While originally donning a titanium arm with the communist red star imprinted on the shoulder, Bucky would eventually get gifted a vibranium arm after his time in Wakanda. His vibranium arm grants him even more power, shown during fight scenes with the Dora Milaje and John Walker, a.k.a. Captain America/US Agent, in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. He will be a fantastic addition to the MCU’s Thunderbolts team.
12 Steve Rogers, A.K.A. Captain America
Sam Wilson has now taken over the role of Captain America in the MCU, continuing the legacy of Steve Rogers in Captain America: New World Order and beyond. However, Wilson hasn’t been given the super-soldier serum, which was previously a trademark of Captain America, so Wilson will perhaps be a more grounded and human superhero, whereas Rogers’ serum gifted him enhanced strength, speed, stamina, and endurance. Designed to be the pinnacle of the American military during WWII, Rogers rescued hundreds of thought-dead soldiers and eventually faced the head of HYDRA, the Red Skull.
Armed with a vibranium shield and with the super-soldier serum running through his veins, Steve Rogers was the clear leader of the Avengers in the MCU’s initial adventures. Not only did he have enough strength to stop a helicopter from taking flight and hold Thanos at bay for a short time, but Steve Rogers would also eventually be confirmed to be worthy of wielding Mjolnir, Thor’s enchanted hammer, in Avengers: Endgame. Rogers’ tactical and strategic expertise was second-to-none and put him at the center of the MCU for over a decade before he retired in Endgame, living in the past with Peggy Carter before passing the shield to Wilson.
11 T’Challa & Shuri, A.K.A. The Black Panther
The mantle of the Black Panther has been passed down through the Wakandan generations, starting with the First King of Wakanda, Bashenga, but eventually falling on T’Challa, and later Shuri in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The late Chadwick Boseman debuted as T’Challa, a.k.a. the Black Panther, in Captain America: Civil War, an African hero imbued with the power of the heart-shaped herb, a vibranium-infused plant that granted him powers to the effect of the super-soldier serum on Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes. One thing sets the Black Panther apart from other super soldiers, however, and that is the Wakandan warrior’s vibranium armor.
Vibranium is a common resource in Wakanda, as the metal has allowed the hidden African nation to make huge advancements in technology while keeping themselves secret from the outside world. The Black Panther uses vibranium as the ultimate form of protection, as the Black Panther suit is able to deflect bullets and absorb and redistribute kinetic energy. The Black Panther’s claws are also made from vibranium, making them a weapon capable of leaving marks in Captain America’s shield. Shuri’s Black Panther suit was able to seal her stab wound during her battle with Namor, saving her life and allowing her a very exciting future in the MCU.
10 Jennifer Walters, A.K.A. She-Hulk
Bruce Banner’s cousin, Jennifer Walters, debuted during the MCU’s Phase 4 in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, which sped through the iconic Hulk’s origin story. Walters became She-Hulk after being exposed to Banner’s blood in a car accident, transforming her into a Hulk, though she immediately displayed far more control over her Hulk persona than her Avenger cousin, allowing her to work and live as She-Hulk without expressing her rage. As She-Hulk, Walters has the same abilities as her more troubled cousin, an indescribable amount of strength, invulnerability, impenetrable skin, and an enhanced healing factor.
She-Hulk is a much more human representation of a Hulk than Banner’s version, as many would be able to relate to Walters’ personal life struggles, including dating as She-Hulk and striking a healthy work/life/superhero balance. Despite having flaws like any normal human, Jennifer Walters is one of the physically strongest superheroes currently in the MCU. Her ability to break the fourth wall also not only makes for good TV but displays a level of self-awareness and connection that will make her a fantastic asset to the MCU’s New Avengers team.
If the Eternals are collectively the most powerful superheroes in the MCU, then Gilgamesh must be the strongest superhero in the MCU, as he is often referred to as the strongest Eternal. While all the Eternals have remarkable abilities due to their own physiology, including enhanced strength, durability, speed, agility, and immortality, Gilgamesh was able to use cosmic energy to project an indestructible exoskeleton around his arms and fists. This increased his natural strength tenfold and made him a legendary warrior in the Eternals’ battle against the Deviants throughout human history.
As well as being the strongest member of the Eternals, Gilgamesh also expresses a huge amount of kindness, empathy, and connection to his fellow Eternals, specifically Thena. Gilgamesh vowed to always protect Thena (and others from Thena) after her Mahd Wy’ry got too much for her to handle, he was the only being strong enough to defend himself against her unprovoked attacks, but this was also because he cared deeply for her, and didn’t want to see her hurt. Gilgamesh was eventually killed by Kro, and his power was absorbed by the Deviants’ leader, but he will be remembered as a supremely powerful hero in the MCU.
During Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ultron and a mind-controlled Helen Cho designed Vision as the perfect body for the evil artificial intelligence, brought to life by the Mind Stone, which was embedded within the body’s forehead. JARVIS was eventually put inside the Vision’s body, and he was activated by Thor, awakening one of the most powerful characters to grace the world of the MCU. Made of vibranium and able to control the power of the Mind Stone, Vision became a valuable member of the Avengers before their disbandment in Captain America: Civil War, harboring abilities some of the Earth’s other heroes could only dream of.
Aside from being almost indestructible until Thanos came along, Vision’s powers in the MCU included flight, body density alteration, and use of the Mind Stone as a powerful laser, as well as having genius-level intelligence, a steadfast moral compass, and strong hand-to-hand combat skills. Vision also very quickly proved that he was worthy of wielding Mjolnir, which not only impressed but also intimidated the other Avengers. While Vision was killed during Thanos’ quest for the Infinity Stones, WandaVision revealed he has been rebuilt as White Vision, and a rumored Vision Quest series will continue his story as one of the strongest MCU superheroes.
7 Adam Warlock
Adam Warlock will finally debut in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after being teased during one of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s post-credits scenes. For his introduction into the MCU, Adam Warlock’s origin story from Marvel Comics has been changed, so it’s unclear what abilities the new hero will actually have, but if his comic counterpart is anything to by, Adam will become one of the most, if not the most, powerful superheroes in the MCU. In the comics, Adam was genetically engineered to be perfect, the next step in humanity’s evolution, which is similar to how the Sovereign described him in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
In Marvel Comics, Adam Warlock is the guardian of the Soul Stone, but since this has been destroyed in the MCU, it seems he’ll have a different gem in his forehead. Adam has enhanced superhuman abilities which rival even the most powerful superheroes, including strength, reflexes, cosmic senses, immortality, energy manipulation, and a genius-level intellect and philosophical mind. He is regularly seen to be one of the most formidable opponents to any villain, which makes Adam Warlock’s debut in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 even more exciting.
6 Carol Danvers, A.K.A. Captain Marvel
Carol Danvers’ Phase 3 introduction into the MCU brought a lot of criticism with it, as many wondered why a character who supposedly arrived on Earth in the 1990s had been missing for the last two decades, especially when her incredible power-set would have been helpful in sparing the lives of half the universe during Avengers: Infinity War. Danvers gained her powers after being exposed to the raw energy of the Tesseract, a.k.a. the Space Stone, but didn’t unlock these abilities until years later. Realizing her true potential, Captain Marvel quickly renounced her old Kree commanders and chose to help the Skrulls on their search for freedom.
While Captain Marvel gave audiences a glimpse of Danvers’ power, Avengers: Endgame showed why she hadn’t been involved as a character in previous films: she would have defeated the enemy very quickly. Captain Marvel’s appearance in Avengers: Endgame, though brief, featured her obliterating Thanos’ ship with ease and going toe-to-toe with the Mad Titan, being able to withstand a punch to the face without even flinching, and only being brushed aside by Thanos’ fast use of the Power Stone. Captain Marvel is an MCU superhero on the level of the gods, so very much deserving of a place among the strongest heroes in the franchise.
While Sersi might not have the same amount of physical strength as Gilgamesh, her specific ability to use cosmic energy to transform matter marks her very high among the MCU’s strongest superheroes, not least because she used this power to quite literally save the entire planet. Initially, Sersi could have been regarded as the weakest member of the Eternals, as she was under the impression that she could only transform inorganic matter, but this soon turned out to be false, as she turned an attacking Deviant into a tree. However, this would only be a taste of her true strength.
Over the duration of Phase 4’s Eternals, Sersi goes from a delicate and relatively naive character to becoming the Prime Celestial and even finding herself with the power to transform the emerging Celestial Tiamut into marble. Even though this killed the Celestial and left a massive Celestial statue rising from the ocean, Sersi’s actions at the end of Eternals saved the world and humanity, as the Celestial Tiamut’s emergence would have torn the planet apart. This, on top of Sersi’s kind-heartedness and aptitude for love and connection, makes her a terrifyingly delicate member of the Eternals, so hopefully she has a bright future in the MCU.
4 Thor Odinson
Since his debut in 2011’s Thor, the Asgardian God of Thunder has always been known to be one of the strongest characters in the MCU. His Asgardian physiology alone grants him abilities beyond those of any super soldier, let alone regular humans. Even so, Thor’s power has only grown stronger over his long MCU career, as Thor: Ragnarok left him without his trusty hammer, Mjolnir, but a greater understanding of his own ability to harness the power of lightning and a stronger appreciation for his family, friends, and duty as the new King of Asgard. This came to a head in Infinity War, which ended with Thor almost stopping Thanos.
While Thor was able to withstand the full force of Nidavellir, harness the power of the Bifrost with Stormbreaker, and reclaim his worthiness with Mjolnir, Thor’s true strength has always been in his morals and the transformative relationships he built with the heroes of Earth, including the likes of Jane Foster, Erik Selvig, and the Avengers. Thor: Love & Thunder even saw him take on the role of father to Gorr’s resurrected daughter, Love, which will surely imbue Thor with a new set of skills for his future MCU appearances. It’s been a running joke that Thor is actually not the strongest Avenger, but his godly power makes him a formidable ally to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
3 Charles Xavier, A.K.A. Professor X
The MCU’s 616 version of Professor Charles Xavier hasn’t yet debuted, but Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness saw Patrick Stewart reprise the role as a variant of Professor X, the leader of the mutant team, the X-Men. Professor X is regarded as an Omega-Level mutant, meaning his power reaches an undefinable level for his specific skill set. In the case of Professor X, he is one of the world’s most powerful telepaths, allowing him to read and control the minds of anyone around him, and his scientific genius led him to create Cerebro, a machine capable of connecting him to anyone around the world.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness gave viewers a hint at Professor X’s strength, as he was able to enter the mind of the Scarlet Witch and talk to her trapped Earth-838 variant, though this eventually led to his demise at the hands of the corrupted witch. As the founder of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, and the X-Men, Professor X has instilled a positive message of unity between humanity and mutantkind in hundreds of young mutants while also training them to control and use their powers. Charles Xavier is an incredibly strong and assertive leader, ranking him very highly among the MCU’s heroes.
2 Bruce Banner, A.K.A. The Hulk
Though Bruce Banner’s cousin, Jennifer Walters, is among the MCU’s strongest superheroes, the source of her power has widely been regarded as the strongest Avenger and a potential ticking time bomb in the MCU. After being exposed to a usually-lethal dose of gamma radiation, Bruce Banner gained the ability to transform into the rage monster colloquially known as the Hulk. In the Hulk’s early MCU appearances, his strength was unmatched, and its completely unpredictable nature made the character verge on the side of horror, as he would regularly wreak havoc, needing the might of several Avengers to bring him down.
The Incredible Hulk saw a battle between the Hulk and the Abomination trash Harlem, The Avengers showed him kill many members of Loki’s Chitauri army with ease, and Avengers: Age of Ultron featured a tragic rampage through the streets of Johannesburg. Even so, over time, less and less focus has been put on the Hulk’s rage in favor of putting Banner’s genius front and center. Not only is he an indestructible and unstoppable rage monster, but Banner has seven PhDs that he regularly puts to use in the lab with Tony Stark. However, many are hoping the angry Hulk returns in a potential World War Hulk project in the MCU.
1 Wanda Maximoff, A.K.A. The Scarlet Witch
There are certainly some impressive and powerful characters in Marvel Studios’ epic shared universe, but the Scarlet Witch is by far the strongest and most terrifying superhero-turned-villain of all. Wanda Maximoff has had one of the most tumultuous journeys in the MCU, taking her from HYDRA volunteer, to Avenger, to fugitive, to wife and mother, and finally to villain in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. What’s scariest about the Scarlet Witch, however, is that nobody truly understands how powerful she actually is, not even herself, which makes her unpredictable.
Wanda’s ability to manipulate probability and cast spells without incantation makes her a formidable adversary to any villain, or hero for that matter. She is the 616-universe’s Nexus being, meaning she has the ability to change the future and alter the timestream, and since gaining possession of the Darkhold in WandaVision, she was able to dreamwalk to another reality and massacre the Illuminati team on Earth-838 in search of America Chavez. Despite her apparent death in the collapse of Mount Wundagore, it’s expected that the Scarlet Witch will return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, potentially with a greater understanding of her incomparable power.
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