- Warning: Major spoilers ahead for “Avengers: Endgame.”
- Over the past decade, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has introduced a huge cast of superheroes with a wide array of abilities.
- Many fans have debated the identity of the MCU’s strongest character.
- The battles and surprises in “Endgame” give us more evidence to fuel the debate. Here’s our official power ranking.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
In the years since Tony Stark told the world he was Iron Man, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has introduced a huge cast of superheroes with a wide array of abilities.
From a genetically enhanced World War II soldier to a photon-blasting Kree-human hybrid, the MCU’s decadelong saga has brought together the most ambitious superpowered team in cinematic history.
It has also inspired a lively debate about the strength of each character’s abilities and who would be considered the most formidable Avenger.
We rated every hero on a scale of 1 to 10 (with some exceptions) using evidence from the 22 interconnected MCU movies, including and especially “Avengers: Endgame.” Here’s our power ranking. (Note: This doesn’t include details or storylines from the comics.)
This is your last chance to head back before “Endgame” spoilers.
Abilities: As an empath, Mantis can read the emotions of others while touching them. She can also influence and alter their emotions – “to some extent,” in her words.
Power scale: 1. Mantis’ powers are quite potent. She was able to make Ego, an ancient and powerful Celestial, sleep against his will in “Guardians of the Galaxy 2.” She was also instrumental in the near defeat of Thanos in “Infinity War.” But neither would have been possible without the help of other characters: In the former case, Drax carried her away from danger and saved her life; in the latter, Doctor Strange put her in place to subdue Thanos. Her skill set is extremely specific and, when it comes to most situations, not very useful.
Abilities: Thanks to genetic enhancements, Rocket is extremely intelligent and far more durable than a regular raccoon.
Power scale: 1. Rocket is most useful in situations that require plotting, strategising, laying traps, and manipulating science and technology. But in the thick of a battle, he’s useful only so far as he can use a powerful gun. He was nearly crushed by an enemy ship at the end of “Endgame” and survived only because of Tony’s snap.
Abilities: Drax has superhuman strength, durability, agility, and regenerative powers.
Power scale: 1. In theory, Drax is a great warrior. He was able to overpower most of Ronan’s forces in “Guardians of the Galaxy.” But compared with many of the Avengers, he hasn’t shown us anything too impressive. Plus, he’s not the brightest, and his confidence is a bit overinflated, so that has caused some problems (see: trying to attack Thanos alone in “Infinity War” and jumping in a monster’s scary mouth in “Guardians of the Galaxy 2”).
Abilities: Shuri, the Princess of Wakanda, doesn’t have any powers. She’s the nation’s leading expert in science and technology, especially adept at employing the many uses of vibranium. She’s also the world’s best and most prolific inventor.
Power scale: 1. Shuri is the smartest person in the MCU and an irreplaceable asset. But she does her best work off the battlefield, where she designs and builds weapons, armour, and shields for others. She can hold her own in a fight to some extent, but she doesn’t have the same training or battle instincts as many of our other heroes.
Abilities: Star-Lord is half-human and half-Celestial, but with the destruction of his father came the destruction of Star-Lord’s power source. At this point, he’s just a human with fancy gadgets and a lot of confidence. He also seems to have retained some superhuman durability.
Power scale: 1. While Star-Lord is a skilled fighter and marksman, his recent performances have all but stripped him of his credibility. He single-handedly ruined the nearly successful plan to defeat Thanos (after barely even helping subdue him) and would have been killed by some lame alien in “Endgame” if Gamora hadn’t saved him. He’s nearly useless when he’s not coordinating with a team.
Abilities: Hope is an agile and acrobatic fighter, having been highly trained in martial arts. When equipped with the Wasp suit, she can shrink – which increases her proportional strength – and fly.
Power scale: 1.5. While Hope showcases some impressive battle instincts in “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” we simply don’t have enough evidence of her abilities to give her any extra points. From what we’ve seen, she’s certainly powerful by regular standards, but she would likely lose to nearly any other Avenger in combat.
Abilities: As a sentient tree, Groot can extend and manipulate his body in apparently limitless ways. He can use his limbs as swords and never has to worry about them breaking off because they always grow back. In “Guardians of the Galaxy,” we saw him form an impenetrable barrier with his branches, get blown up for the sake of his friends, and regrow.
Power scale: 2. Groot is incredibly strong and adaptable when he’s fully grown. But as a teenager, he’s not as experienced in battle (and very prone to moodiness). But to be fair, he’s basically immortal, and it’s super impressive when he skewers a group of enemies with one arm.
Abilities: Wong is a Master of the Mystic Arts, a sorcerer sworn to defend the fabric of reality.
Power scale: 2. Wong has powerful magic at his fingertips, but he’s basically a watered-down version of Doctor Strange. We haven’t seen him fight very much; he was pretty useless in “Doctor Strange” and bowed out of the action entirely in “Infinity War.” He helped protect people in “Endgame,” so that was helpful, but we wouldn’t want to see him go up against a major villain one-on-one.
Abilities: Okoye, the general of the Dora Milaje, takes her job extremely seriously. She doesn’t have any powers, but according to Nakia, she’s the best warrior in Wakanda – and Wakanda has a lot of warriors. Having a vibranium-powered weapon helps too.
Power scale: 2. Anyone would want Okoye on their side for a fight. We’ve never even seen her injured. But she doesn’t have any enhanced abilities or armour, which kind of puts her close to the bottom of our list by default.
Abilities: Sam Wilson doesn’t have any powers. Using his specialised winged jetpack, he can fly with incredible speed and agility. He also uses goggles in flight to enhance his vision.
Power scale: 3. Without his wings, Falcon doesn’t seem like much of a fighter – and we saw him suffer when they were damaged in “Captain America: Winter Soldier.” But he’s super good at manoeuvring them, and he’s had some impressive moments: He sent Proxima Midnight flying in “Infinity War” and killed a massive space monster with his sharp wings in “Endgame.” He also earned a half-point when Steve Rogers chose him as his Captain America successor, because we trust Steve’s judgment.
18. War Machine
Abilities: Rhodey doesn’t have any powers, and he lost the use of his legs in “Civil War.” In battle, he uses an iron suit made by Tony Stark that’s largely equipped with machine-gun-style weapons and explosives.
Power scale: 3. War Machine is a valuable Avenger because of his heart and courage of conviction. His weapons can be very handy in a large fight, as we saw in the Battle of Wakanda – but they’re honestly primitive compared with the types of blasters we’ve seen come from space or from Tony’s suit. It’s not as if anyone off the street could operate the suit, but without Tony’s help, War Machine can’t improve his technology or evolve as a superhero. And as far as we know, he doesn’t have any hand-to-hand combat skills.
Abilities: Scott Lang doesn’t have any powers. In battle, he uses a size-manipulation suit designed by Hank Pym. He’s able to shrink to incredibly small sizes – increasing his proportional strength – and grow to incredibly large ones.
Power scale: 4. We’ve seen Ant-Man at his most powerful when he uses his ability to grow. At that size, he can withstand a tremendous amount of firepower and crush enemies effortlessly with a single foot. But we also know that he can’t maintain that huge size for very long without sustaining damage.
Scott uses the shrinking technology very skillfully, but he’s pretty useless without the suit (which he didn’t design or build), and many of Ant-Man’s powers are useful only in pretty specific circumstances.
16. Winter Soldier
Abilities: Bucky Barnes received a variation of the super-soldier serum that gave Captain America his abilities. He has enhanced strength, durability, speed, agility, reflexes, and healing. He also has a cybernetic arm, now made of vibranium, which increases his strength even more.
Power scale: 4. We’ve seen Winter Soldier hold his own against Captain America and Black Widow and expertly assassinate scores of people – but all while being mind-controlled by Hydra forces, which made him cutthroat and ruthless. Since Shuri was able to “reset” his mind, we’ve only seen him use a gun. It seems he’s not as effective as he once was. On top of that, thanks to “Civil War,” we know his arm can be forcibly removed or blasted off, making him vulnerable in a battle against superpowered people.
Abilities: As an Asgardian, Brunnhilde has superhuman strength, durability, speed, reflexes, agility, and stamina. She’s also a highly trained member of Asgard’s elite force of Valkyries, making her a renowned warrior. (Even Thor says that growing up he wanted to be a Valkyrie.)
Power scale: 5. Not only did Valkyrie survive on the bloodthirsty planet Sakaar for many years – she thrived. As a scavenger, she had to subdue and capture powerful warriors, including Hulk. She also overpowered Loki fairly easily. And she was drunk the whole time! Later, Valkyrie was essential in defeating Hela in “Thor: Ragnarok” and very helpful against Thanos’ army in “Endgame.”
Abilities: Nebula was trained and “perfected” by Thanos, meaning she’s a highly skilled half-machine assassin. Even before he replaced an assortment of her body parts with advanced technology, Nebula had naturally higher physical capabilities, including strength and durability.
Power scale: 5. We’ve seen Nebula snap necks and throw people around with one arm. She briefly held her own against Thanos in “Infinity War,” and he even said Nebula nearly managed to murder him when she snuck on board his ship. But we also know that Gamora has overpowered her in every fight they have ever had. Thanos’ abuse took a significant emotional toll, which has likely bled into her efficacy as a warrior.
Abilities: Clint Barton doesn’t have any powers. He’s an expert marksman who uses specialised arrows that burn and explode, among other things. In the years between “Infinity War” and “Endgame,” he became Ronin, a skilled assassin with a samurai sword.
Power scale: 5.5. Hawkeye’s abilities may seem inadequate in the face of the Avengers’ enemies – something he poked fun at in “Age of Ultron” – but there’s a reason he’s still alive. As we saw in “Endgame,” he can single-handedly cut down huge groups of enemies and, aided by the mastery of his fancy arrows, hold off swarming hordes of aliens.
The fact that Hawkeye can operate on an even playing field with superhuman warriors like Valkyrie and Nebula, without any powers at all, moves him up on our point scale.
12. Black Widow
Abilities: Natasha Romanoff didn’t have any powers. She was tirelessly bred to become one of the most fearsome spies and assassins in the world. She was typically armed with a specialised electroshock weapon but could also handle guns, spears, knives, or swords with ease.
Power scale: 6. With the help of Captain America and Falcon, Black Widow defeated two of Thanos’ minions with apparent ease. She was also extremely effective when fending off his monstrous army in Wakanda.
While Black Widow was trained by Hawkeye, she secured a spot above him on this list by overpowering and outsmarting him in “Endgame.” In sacrificing herself, she solidified her worth as a hero and proved the student had become the master.
Abilities: Gamora is a Zehoberei, an alien species that naturally possesses superhuman strength and durability. She was trained and cybernetically enhanced by Thanos, who called her “the fiercest woman in the galaxy.” He regarded her more highly than any of his other “children” or soldiers.
Power scale: 6.5. Gamora is similar to Black Widow: She was raised, nearly from birth, to be a ruthless assassin and has proved her prowess many times over. But she has natural abilities that far surpass non-enhanced humans, and she earned a fearsome reputation throughout the galaxy before turning on Thanos. As Rocket told her, “anyone who’s anyone knows who you are.”
Abilities: Vision was an android with a synthetic vibranium body, allowing him to walk through walls and fly. His consciousness was a combination of Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Stark’s artificial intelligence, and the Mind Stone.
Power scale: 7. In theory, Vision should be one of the most powerful Avengers: He had the freaking Mind Stone embedded in his forehead. But it’s clear that Vision never tapped into the stone’s true power – possibly because he knew what kind of destruction and horror that could cause. He even admitted that he didn’t understand the stone and that it controlled him more than he controlled it.
He was also meant to be the smartest and certainly the most righteous Avenger. He was even able to wield Thor’s hammer in “Age of Ultron.” But in actual battle scenes, he didn’t prove himself very effective. He was useless in “Infinity War” and managed to survive only with Wanda’s help. When he was destroyed by Thanos, Vision didn’t even put up a fight.
Abilities: When Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, he gained the proportionate strength of a spider – making him considerably stronger, faster, more durable, and more agile than the average man. He also has enhanced senses that give him incredible battle instincts, allowing him to dodge and counter incoming attacks more effectively. Plus, you know, he can shoot webs from his hands and climb up walls.
Power scale: 7. In “Civil War,” Spider-Man’s first real fight, he handily defeated both Falcon and Winter Soldier. He even held his own against Captain America (though Cap was clearly holding back). Spider-Man has incredible potential as an Avenger, especially now that he has a supersuit built by Tony Stark with specialised abilities like “instant kill.” But he’s still inexperienced, and he can get sloppy. In “Infinity War,” he was easily smacked down by Thanos and was even restrained by Star-Lord, somehow.
Abilities: Hulk, Bruce Banner’s rage-fuelled alter ego, was created by Bruce’s version of the super-soldier serum and a huge blast of gamma radiation. His main power is his remarkable, untiring strength. Plus, Hulk is basically immortal, and Bruce himself is a genius.
Power scale: 8. Hulk has traditionally been seen as the strongest Avenger physically – and for good reason, though he’s been subdued by both Iron Man and Thor. Then he got wrecked in “Infinity War,” and we haven’t seen him fight since. Now that Bruce has managed to merge his mind with Hulk’s body, he seems thoroughly disinterested in fighting. The Hulk body is still wildly strong and nearly indestructible, but Bruce no longer has Hulk’s ferocity, and now it looks as if he has only one working arm.
7. Black Panther
Abilities: Whoever holds the Black Panther mantle in Wakanda – currently King T’Challa – is given heightened abilities after eating the Heart-Shaped Herb. He has superhuman strength, speed, durability, agility, stamina, healing, and reflexes.
T’Challa is also a master martial artist and tactician. His Black Panther suit is weaved with nearly indestructible vibranium that can absorb kinetic energy, such as blasts or punches, and repurpose it as a counterattack.
Power scale: 8. Black Panther’s strength and enhanced abilities are on par with those granted by Captain America’s super-soldier serum. His fighting style is graceful and acrobatic, setting him apart from many of our other heroes – as does his quiet, intense resilience. Even when he was caught off guard without his suit in “Civil War,” he was essentially equal to Winter Soldier in hand-to-hand combat. With the energy-absorbing suit that made its debut in “Black Panther,” he’s nearly invulnerable.
6. Doctor Strange
Abilities: Doctor Strange is a Master of the Mystic Arts, a sorcerer sworn to defend the fabric of reality. He has nearly infinite stores of magic and can bend aspects of space and time (even though he can’t use the Time Stone anymore).
Other Masters have noted that Strange seems born for the mystic arts and, according to the Ancient One, Strange is destined to be “the best of us.”
Power scale: 8.5. The nature of the mystic arts does put Strange at a slight disadvantage because he needs to move his arms and hands to access his power – which is how Ebony Maw was able to capture him in “Infinity War.” But we can’t hold Strange’s loss to Thanos against him, because he knew how that battle would turn out. He knew the Avengers had to lose first in order to win. So we don’t know how Strange would have fared in that fight if he hadn’t seen his own death occur in advance, but we do know that without him, Tony and the Guardians wouldn’t have stood a chance.
In “Endgame,” Strange mostly focused on practical damage control, so we didn’t see him face off with Thanos again. But we did see that he can teleport whole armies from across the galaxy, so that’s a huge plus.
5. Iron Man
Abilities: Tony Stark’s so-called powers all came from his genius-level intelligence. He built the first Iron Man suit while held captive by a terrorist group in a cave in Afghanistan. Over the following years, he constantly rebuilt and improved his Iron Man technology, eventually harnessing nanotech to create an extremely durable suit with powerful weapons.
Power scale: 9. Iron Man was the only Avenger able to injure Thanos in “Infinity War,” and he did it when Thanos had already collected four Infinity Stones. He was also the only person Thanos knew by name, as evidence of Iron Man’s fearsome reputation.
“Endgame” solidified and built upon that reputation. Iron Man was able to outsmart Thanos in the most important possible moment and briefly wield the power of all six Infinity Stones, which previously seemed as if it should be impossible for a regular human body to withstand.
4. Captain America
Abilities: After enlisting to fight in World War II, Steve Rogers was chosen for Project Rebirth and injected with the super-soldier serum. It gave him an ideal physical form, making Rogers indefinitely fitter, stronger, and more durable than any other human. He has enhanced senses, and his body heals itself ridiculously quickly.
Captain America typically wields a shield made of vibranium, though we’ve seen him easily master every other weapon he’s laid his hands on – including Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. He’s the only known human who’s been able to lift it, since, according to Thor, it would cause any other person’s body and mind to collapse simultaneously.
Power scale: 9.5. Captain America was in a position to kill Iron Man in “Civil War,” which puts him higher on our ranking. He has consistently defeated opponents with flashier powers and is probably unbeatable in close hand-to-hand combat (barring an opponent with powers like Thor’s or Captain Marvel’s). Plus, as we know from his famous catchphrase, his sheer will and determination make him an invaluable Avenger. He literally never gives up.
3. Scarlet Witch
Abilities: Wanda Maximoff and her brother were the voluntary subjects of Hydra experiments. Scientists used the Scepter, which housed the Mind Stone, to give them otherworldly powers. The scientists didn’t actually know about the Mind Stone or understand its uses, so the Maximoffs were not directly subjected to its power. But the Scepter did grant Wanda powerful abilities like telekinesis, telepathy, and energy manipulation.
Her psionics allow her to fly, generate force fields, move large objects, and project dangerous blasts of energy. She can also invade the minds of her enemies and plant realistic, disturbing visions that can incapacitate them out of fear. We saw her do just that in “Age of Ultron” with Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, and Thor.
Power scale: 10. They did Wanda dirty in “Infinity War.” Her feelings for Vision may have impeded her powers, or at least her abilities to wield them effectively. But she’s also the only hero who was able to face Thanos one-on-one while sustaining zero injuries – and she did it twice. She held him off with one hand in “Infinity War,” and he had already collected five stones by that time. She was on the verge of overpowering him in “Endgame” and might have succeeded if he hadn’t “rained fire” from his ships. We’ve seen Scarlet Witch grow more powerful with each appearance, and it appears she’s getting better at harnessing her raw power.
Abilities: Members of the Asgardian royal family are not actual gods, per se – but they’re as close to gods as you can get. Thor is ridiculously powerful, such that only his father and older sister (both dead) would surpass his strength. He’s not immortal, but he’s close to invulnerable, considering he endured the full force of a star and survived.
Thor is most powerful when he can channel his powers through an enchanted, loyal weapon forged on Nidavellir, like the hammer, Mjolnir, or the ax, Stormbreaker. But as the God of Thunder, he can also summon and harness pure lightning.
Power scale: 20. Thor is so powerful that filmmakers are constantly looking for ways to handicap him. In “Ragnarok,” they destroyed his hammer. In “Infinity War,” they took him out of the picture for most of the action – and when they put him back in, a suitable weapon in his hands, he was mere moments away from killing Thanos. In “Endgame,” they gave him severe symptoms of alcoholism and depression, undermining his ability to fight effectively.
If Thor were at peak potential during most of the Avengers’ battles, they probably wouldn’t have been very long. In fact, he didn’t even discover his true potential as the God of Thunder until “Ragnarok.” There’s no telling how powerful he truly is, because Marvel is constantly putting obstacles in his way – and even with those, he’s easily the second-strongest hero we’ve seen.
1. Captain Marvel
Abilities: Though she was born on Earth as a regular human, Carol Danvers absorbed the power of the Tesseract, which housed the Space Stone. She was granted superhuman strength, speed, and flight. She can emit extremely powerful photon blasters from her fists.
Additionally, she was made into a Kree-human hybrid after the Kree soldier Yon-Rogg gave her blood transfusions. The Kree are naturally stronger and more durable than humans. Thanks to her time with the Kree Starforce, Captain Marvel is also highly trained in combat.
Power scale: 100. “Captain Marvel, she is as powerful a character as we’ve ever put in a movie,” the Marvel Studios head, Kevin Feige, told Vulture. “Her powers are off the charts, and when she’s introduced, she will be by far the strongest character we’ve ever had.”
He was right. We saw Captain Marvel punch through an entire spaceship with complete ease, mere moments after realising her true power. She didn’t need training or time to learn how to harness her abilities, as many Avengers did.
We’ve seen her manipulate cosmic energy at will, armoring her body with surging power that allows her to fly through space and withstand attacks. She flew across multiple light-years in one night while carrying an entire spaceship; she wasn’t budged or even affected when Thanos punched her in the head. There is no one in the MCU who could even come close to her power.
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