“Who’s more powerful, [blank] or [blank]?” An innumerable number of geeky conversations have begun with that very question, as comic book fans have been having that kind of debate for as long as superhero comics have been around. This is something that very much extends to the world of superhero movies as well, as, for example, the last 11 years have seen nerds endlessly fight about who the strongest Marvel character is in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are never any firm answers, as every showdown requires context, and the various members of the Avengers are constantly evolving – but looking at where things stand right now, we figured that we would take a crack at a ranking.
Examining where things presently stand in the franchise canon, we have identified the five most powerful Avengers who are currently active, and ranked them based on the magnitude of what they can accomplish with their powers. So who is it right now that sits atop the pile? Read on and find out.
5. Doctor Strange
When you really think about it, Doctor Strange hasn’t actually been practicing magic all that long, as his first solo movie in 2016, but it speaks volumes to his spectacular intelligence and skill that he is as powerful as he is. He has already achieved in the mystic arts what some people don’t achieve in entire lifetimes, and his abilities are only growing more potent. He may not be the Sorcerer Supreme just yet, but he is certainly on his way.
His ability to cast spells, use magic relics, and conjure interdimensional energy has all varieties of uses – be it looking into possible futures, opening portals, or ensuring that important items stay out of evil hands. His incredible photographic memory means that he learns more and more everyday about the potential of his gifts, and at this time next year he may very well be sitting at the top of this list.
Sorry, Hulk: you’re slipping a bit. Five or six years ago the giant, green rage monster would have been battling it out with Thor for the top spot on this list, but he isn’t quite the same now in the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame. Yes, the character took a huge step forward in his evolution, as Bruce Banner and the Hulk are now a fused mind, but what can’t be immediately dismissed are the consequences from his snap with the Nano Gauntlet.
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo have said that the damage done to Hulk’s arm as a result of bringing back everybody who was blipped is “irreparable,” and that’s something that tracks with the fact that the emerald Avenger doesn’t have a “hero” moment in the final battle against Thanos and his army. He may somehow get better, and that very well could be something that we get to see as a part of his role on the upcoming She-Hulk series, but for now he’s fallen a bit in the Marvel Cinematic Universe power rankings.
If this feature was written after only watching about half of Avengers: Endgame, Thor probably wouldn’t be as high up on this list, as he definitely suffered a bad crisis of confidence following his initial encounter with Thanos and let himself go a bit too much. That isn’t the point of view I’m writing from, however, and the truth of the matter is that the God of Thunder bounces back quite considerably by the end of the Infinity Saga’s capstone blockbuster. Sure, he still has a few pounds to shed, and he no longer possesses the political power that comes with being the king of Asgard, but his spirit has been rebuilt, and his abilities are as spectacular as ever.
Both Mjolnir and Stormbreaker are immensely powerful weapons that few in the universe other than Thor can wield, but as we learn in Thor: Ragnarok, the Asgardian merely channels his power into them. His lightning abilities are entirely innate and god-like, and combined with his durability and strength he is unquestionably still one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel universe. The rankings may change when Thor: Love And Thunder comes out and we witness the ascension of Jane Foster’s Mighty Thor, but until then the Chris Hemsworth character keeps the three spot on this list.
2. Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel is unlike any being in existence. Having had her DNA changed by an explosion of Tesseract energy, and then receiving a Kree blood transfusion, she is neither totally human nor totally alien. What she definitely is, however, is powerful. When she fully understands what it is that she is capable of, her abilities grow and grow, and as such there was a time when she stood as the strongest hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (we’ll get into why she’s not anymore in a moment).
If one needs any proof of Carol Danvers’ spectacular power, one need not look any further than her arrival during the final battle in Avengers: Endgame. She is viewed as so dangerous by the alien forces that she diverts the attention of all the weapons on Thanos’ ship, Sanctuary II, away from the rest of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and then she demonstrates why that was probably the best call by single-handedly destroying the city-sized vessel. Her ability to fly and harness cosmic energy is remarkable, and she is definitely a hero you want around when things are going Armageddon-level wrong.
1. Scarlet Witch
When Scarlet Witch was first introduced in Captain America: The Winter Soldier/Avengers: Age of Ultron, she definitely wasn’t the most powerful hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At that time she had only just started accessing her abilities, and while it allowed her to do cool things like cause hallucinations and harness energy, her powers kept her on a tier with heroes like Doctor Strange, Black Panther, and Vision. Now, however, in the wake of WandaVision, things are much different in the canon, and it’s a challenge to argue against the fact that Wanda Maximoff is the strongest Marvel hero alive.
As gifted as all of the other heroes mentioned in this list are, right now there is no ability in the franchise greater than Scarlet Witch’s capacity to warp reality to her will. She may not have 100 percent total control over her power just yet (hence the plot of WandaVision), but that doesn’t mean that she’s less strong; she’s just more dangerous. She’ll be back on the big screen soon in Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, and we only expect the character’s strengths to advance further.
These are the rankings as things currently stand in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the franchise has the capacity to totally change with each newly released project – and we’ll keep updating this feature accordingly. To discover everything that is ahead for the canon, both on the big screen and the small, check out our Upcoming Marvel Movies guide, and our Upcoming Marvel Television guide.
NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.
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