Since the original six stood together in midtown Manhattan to protect the world from Loki and Thanos’ Chitauri forces, the Avengers have been at the centre of pop culture. They not only changed what a blockbuster movie is, but also what the next decade and a half would look like: since then, everyone in Hollywood has been trying to create their own successful cinematic universe, from Warner Bros.’ DCEU to Universal’s MCU.
But while the Avengers themselves have stayed the same, what it means to be an Avenger and which heroes make up the team have changed and moved around with each new movie. Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) had been a loyal government agent his whole adult life before joining the team.
On the other hand, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) was “knighted” into the team after an accident in space with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) was their most powerful weapon until Wanda (Elizabeth Olson) and Thanos (Josh Brolin) showed up and made him useless (or worse) without much effort. Because of this, the list of the seven most powerful Avengers looks very different from what it would have looked like ten years ago, or even from what it might look like in two years.
So, as we start to get into Phase Four, here is a ranking of the seven most powerful Avengers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Depending on what happens in Hawkeye: Love and Thunder and Thor: Love and Thunder, Hulk could be the only one of the original Avengers who fought Loki left by this time next year. Since then, a lot has changed, including where Hulk stands on the MCU’s power scale.
In The Avengers, which came out in 2012, Hulk is the one person who can beat Loki’s army. Now that ancient, magical, or space-based beings and technologies have been brought into the MCU, Hulk’s smash-em-up offensive is just a hammer in a world that needs a superhero equivalent of a crane. The scale of the war the Avengers are fighting has changed, and as a result, Hulk is no longer one of the most powerful. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Wanda Maximoff was able to not only stop Hulk from being a threat, but also turn him into a weapon. She hadn’t even started to use all of her witchcraft skills yet.
Even though his reputation among his peers has gone down, Hulk is still one of the most dangerous beings in the MCU. He can fight like Thor and think like Tony Stark.
Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), the newest member of the MCU’s strongest Avengers, will only be on this list if he has access to the Ten Rings, an ancient (and possibly alien) telepathically controlled weapon that kept the Mandarin in power for centuries and is sending a signal to an unknown and likely equally powerful receiver.
When you put that weapon in the hands of a man who is thought to be the best martial artist in the world, you get a mix of earthly skill and otherworldly power that makes Shang-Chi one of the most powerful heroes on Earth right away.
Thor: Ragnarok was where Chris Hemsworth’s character, the God of Thunder, really started to show what he was capable of. In the final battle of Avengers: Infinity War, he was shown to be the ultimate game-changer, one that would have killed Thanos if he had just gone for the head.
Even though he was drunk, he showed off the Top 5 strongest Avengers powers in the seventh episode of What If…?, which is canon. He fought Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) toe-to-toe. Thor has said that he is 1,500 years old and that he has killed twice as many enemies as he is old.
4. Captain Marvel
Because Captain Marvel is so powerful, her origin film was placed between Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame so that it wouldn’t mess up the flow of the other movies.
If Captain Marvel had been on the team that went up against Thanos on Titan, they would have been able to beat him despite Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) short-sighted actions. This is shown by how close she came to beating Thanos with the Infinity Gauntlet fully loaded.
On the surface, being able to shrink and grow doesn’t seem like much of a threat, especially when compared to the powers of ancient gods and aliens from other planets. But when the quantum abilities of the Ant-Man suit are taken into account, Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) case gets stronger.
Similar to Doctor Strange (don’t worry, we’ll get to him later), Ant-powers Man’s are in a different realm than those of Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, and even Thor and Captain Marvel. The proof is in the MCU itself, as marketing material for Spider-Man: No Way Home has shown that Doctor Strange is going to give Peter some sort of magically-powered gear called the “Integrated Suit,” and also in fan culture (subconsciously or otherwise).
This means that even though he has a lot of physical strength, there are some realms and sets of powers that beings who are better at fighting just can’t compete with. It’s why they won’t send Bruce Banner to deal with Wanda Maximoff after she went bad.
This is the main point of the argument for Ant-Man: whether he is too big or too small or messes with quantum physics or the quantum realm, the science behind Ant-abilities Man’s is too complicated for most Avengers to solve. After all, this technology was the key to the Avengers being able to undo Thanos’ snap. If that same technology was used in a weaponized way instead of a scientific way (which we’ll learn more about when he fights Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania), it’s hard to say how far Ant-Man can travel through time.
Ant-Man will likely be a key part of their fight against Kang, making him not only one of the most powerful but also one of the most important. This is similar to how Doctor Strange will be a key part of stopping the magical and multiverse threats that are coming to the MCU.
2. The Doctor Who
Some people might be surprised that the Sorcerer Supreme is ranked above both Captain Marvel and Thor. However, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has already shown how useless Thor’s brute strength is when compared to Doctor Strange’s magical and mental skills when the two briefly meet in Thor: Ragnarok.
Even though Thor isn’t fighting at all, Doctor Strange is so in charge of the situation (and Loki, too, since he put Loki in a purgatory of endless freefall) that it’s hard to imagine what Thor could do if he did decide to fight Strange. A being like Dormammu could not be killed by lightning or hammers, let alone the man who outsmarted it.
Now that multiversal madness is really coming to the MCU, Strange’s powers will be more important and probably stronger than ever.
1. The Witch with the Scarlet Face
Here’s the best way to sum up Scarlet Witch’s current status in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: it’s not clear if she’s still an Avenger after her somewhat villainous role in WandaVision, but it’s not up for debate that she’s the strongest of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. The only thing more dangerous than an all-powerful, multiverse-capable being like Doctor Strange is someone with nothing to lose, which is what Wanda is now that she has lost both the love of her life and their children.
Wanda Maximoff’s superiority is made clear in the WandaVision season finale, when Agatha Harkness, played by Kathyrn Hahn, says that the Scarlet Witch’s powers are stronger than those of the Sorcerer Supreme. This is true no matter what the characters’ personal arcs are.
“Did you know that the Darnold has a whole chapter about you? That is the book of the lost “Harkness tells Wanda. “The Scarlet Witch is made, not born. She doesn’t have a coven, so she doesn’t need spells. Your power is stronger than that of the Supreme Sorcerer. Your fate is to destroy the whole world.”
All signs point to the two most powerful Avengers fighting each other in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which comes out in March. This is good news for fans of the MCU.