The Marvel Cinematic Universe is bubbling with overpowered entities.
You have your Dark Lords and cosmic big-shots, the mad villains who do the wrong things for the right reasons, and the heroes who define the very limits of what’s possible — all tied into a single narrative that begs the question: who takes the title of the strongest?
After stacking facts against figures and simulating hypothetical battles, I think I’m finally ready to answer that question. I’ve taken both heroes and villains from different corners of the MCU and ranked them based on their powers, skills, and abilities.
So without further ado, here is a list of the strongest characters in the MCU!
30Killmonger — N’Jadaka, son of N’Jobu
Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from the ships, because they knew death was better than bondage.Killmonger
It doesn’t take a lot of convincing to make people understand he’s strong; one look at Killmonger, and you know the man is dangerous.
Before he rose to take over Wakanda’s throne, N’Jadaka (Killmonger) served as the United States Navy Seal and later worked with the CIA as a black-ops mercenary. He was known for his savagery on missions and had the highest confirmed kills among his unit, which earned him the nickname Killmonger.
Once he took on the Panther Habit, Killmonger’s strength and speed were on par with T’Challa’s. His experience as a deadly mercenary and his smarts for tactics make him a powerful foe.
29War Machine — Colonel James Rhodes
138 combat missions. That’s how many I’ve flown, Tony. Every one of them could’ve been my last, but I flew ’em. Because the fight needed to be fought.James Rhodes to Tony Stark
Rhodey’s War Machine Mark V armor still comes equipped with a lethal arsenal of weaponry (including rocket launchers, unibeams, repulsors, and a miniature Stark Sonic Cannon) and gives him superhuman strength, flight, and durability.
The armor allows James to fight much experienced supersoldiers and conduct airstrikes on enemy lines without risking capture.
Though it’s not much against aliens and wizards, you can’t deny War Machine’s presence among the strongest.
28Shuri — The Wakandan Princess
I’m sure you did your best.Shuri to Dr. Bruce Banner
Despite only being a teenager, Shuri’s intelligence exceeds Dr. Seven-PhDs-Banner’s by a significant margin.
She is single-handedly responsible for all of Wakanda’s jaw-dropping tech. And she designed T’Challa’s upgraded Panther Habit, the first suit to use nanobots (which were stored in a ceremonial necklace worn by Black Panther) and employ kinetic energy from external sources for redistribution — vastly enhancing the Panther’s offense capabilities.
Considering all of this, Shuri is unquestionably one of the strongest characters in the Marvel universe.
27Valkyrie — The New King Of Asgard
You– You’re a leader, that’s who you are.Thor to Valkyrie
The Asgardians are naturally physically stronger than humans, with superhuman strength and such. But as leader of Asgard’s former force of elite warriors, Valkyrie’s physical attributes far surpass those of the average Asgardian.
Valkyrie can lift over 45 tons with her bare hands, and she’s skilled enough to beat Hulk in a fight. She’s also much, much older than Thor and has fought for more battles than the young God, giving her a lot more battle prowess.
26Gamora — The Deadliest Woman In The Galaxy
Gamora. Surgically modified and trained as a living weapon.Rhomann Dey
Though Gamora’s species were significantly more potent than humans and many other species.
This was further enhanced during her childhood with Thanos, who trained her as a deadly assassin and combatant and surgically modified her to enhance her physiology.
Gamora was given a cybernetic skeleton, which granted her immense strength, agility, reflexes, stamina, and vision. She was also trained in martial arts, marksmanship and was a master swordsman.
Anyone who’s anyone knows who you are.Rocket to Gamora
25Malekith — The Leader of The Dark Elves
Long before the birth of light, there was darkness, and from that darkness came the Dark Elves. Millennia ago, the most ruthless of their kind, Malekith, sought to transform our universe back into one of eternal night. Such evil was possible through the power of the Aether, an ancient force of infinite destruction.Odin
Malekith was the vicious leader of the Dark Elves, a race of elves that existed and thrived in the primordial darkness before the Big Bang. Malekith’s self-claimed purpose in life was to use the Aether (the Reality Stone) to destroy the universe and restore darkness, giving life to his dying people.
Malekith was the strongest of the Dark Elves (except Kursed) and had physical attributes greater than the average Elf. After he was infused with the Aether/Reality Stone, Malekith gained power over the fabric of reality, putting him on equal footing with Thor.
24Aldrich Killian — The (Almost) Mandarin
You simply rule from behind the scenes. Because the second you give evil a face, a bin Laden, a Gaddafi, a Mandarin, you hand the people a target.Aldrich Killian to Tony Stark
Aldrich Killian may not have been the most intriguing villain, but he did manage to amass quite a lot of powers for himself.
A gifted scientist himself, Killian worked with Maya Hansen on her project Extremis and used it to heal himself of his disabilities.Helater went on to upgrade the Extremis virus, which gave him unrivaled healing properties. Aldrich could regrow entire limbs in a matter of seconds and survive explosions with minor injuries.
The Extremis virus also gave Aldrich the ability to manipulate his body into generating extreme heat — enough to melt iron on contact. He could also breathe fire and cause explosions, something we’ve yet to see from another character in the MCU.
23Ultron — The Murder Bot
How could you be worthy? You’re all killers.Ultron
Ultron was hands down the scariest villain in the entire MCU. Sure, Thanos was bigger and stronger, but nothing will top Ultron and his eerie “I had strings, but now I’m free” scene. Literal goosebumps, not even exaggerating.
What made Ultron truly dangerous was the fact that he wasn’t tied down by worldly possessions, people, or even flesh. He existed everywhere at the same time, and was driven by a single objective — making him highly unpredictable.
Of course, his robotic physiology gave him superhuman strength, allowing him to lift upto 100 tons at any given point. And he could use telekinesis, energy blasts, and exothermic manipulation with unlimited restraint. But the fact that Ultron could channel himself via any computer technology and exploit any piece of tech in a world that’s largely dependent on machines… that’s lethal.
22Red Skull — Johann Schmidt
Schmidt believes he walks in the footsteps of the gods. Only the world itself will satisfy him.Arnim Zola
In an obsessive attempt at becoming the “superior man,” Schmidt injected himself with an older, unstable version of the supersoldier serum. Though he gained all that he’d hoped for (superior intellect and physiology), the serum left his face horrifically disfigured. The skin peeled off from his face, and his skull turned red, earning him the name “Red Skull.”
Thanks to the serum, Red Skull is physically as strong as Captain America. However, Schmidt was also intellectually gifted. Erskine acknowledged him as a brilliant scientist, and Hitler made him the charge of the Nazi science division.
This might not be enough to put him among the elite, but it doesn’t stop Schmidt’s maniacal self from rising as high as the top thirty — which is quite the honor in a multiverse containing hundreds of characters.
21Groot — Angry Little Tree
I am Groot!Groot
Groot’s species can grow upto 23 feet tall and lift well over 100 tons with relative ease, putting him physically ahead of the characters we’ve discussed so far. In his adulthood, Groot himself would weigh around 4 tons— much heavier than the rest of the Guardians combined.
What sets him apart, though, is his flora-esque physiology. Being made of 100% fire-resistant wood, Groot can sustain immense damage from firearms, explosive weapons, and bombs. His body manipulation technique can also grow vine tentacles, allowing him to take ten to fifteen opponents simultaneously.
If that wasn’t enough, Groot has ridiculous healing abilities that help him grow severed limbs back. Thanks to that, Groot can live longer than 1500 years old, which technically counts as immortal.
20Ant-Man — World’s Greatest Grandma
What’s up regular-sized man?Rhodey after ruining Scott’s lunch
Scott Lang’s inherently good nature and tongue-in-cheek humor has everyone sleeping on his abilities, but Ant-Man is overpowered.
Thanks to the Pym Particles, Ant-Man has control over atoms— the foundation of the entire universe. The space-time concepts hold no power over him, and he can travel across time and dimensions without restraints (given that he has enough particles). The suit is also designed to help him survive the quantum realm, which is why Ant-Man can go without both food and oxygen for considerable periods.
You’re like a bullet.Hope Van Dyne
While shrunk, Scott is superhumanly strong. The suit allows him to retain his original density even when he’s only half an inch long, which results in his attacks being 150-200% more robust.
19Spider-Man — The Newest Official Member of The Avengers
You got gifts, Parker.Talos to Peter
Even before he was Spider-Man, Peter was a prodigious student of science. His intelligence was only further enhanced by the spider bite, giving him an IQ of 250 (canon), while the great Tony Stark himself stands at 186.
Peter can lift anywhere between 10-60 tons, but that’s a lot considering that he’s untrained and still a child. He could lift over 300 to 400 tons in the comics — that’s about the size of the biggest dinosaur we know — and it’s only a while before we see that level of strength in the MCU.
This, combined with the extra boosts from Stark Tech Spidey-Suits, is truly unrivaled.
18Black Panther — The King Of Wakanda
I got a look at your suit. Vibranium weave. I’m impressed.Natasha to T’Challa
The Black Panther can lift a whopping 800 tons in his prime— that’s much more than Groot, Peter, and Ultron can lift combined.
T’Challa is one of the worst opponents you could face on a battlefield. The properties of the Heart-Shaped Herb put him physically on par with supersoldiers like Steve Rogers and Bucky.
His Panther Habit is also one of the strongest armors known to humanity. It’s made entirely of vibranium, which makes the suit indestructible. And thanks to Wakandan tech, it’s also able to absorb kinetic energy from a blow and redistribute it in a counterattack.
17Sam Wilson — The New Captain America
I might fail. Shit, I might die. But… We built this country. Bled for it. I’m not gonna let anybody tell me I can’t fight for it.Sam Wilson
Sam Wilson doesn’t have physical enhancements, making him relatively weak compared to the superhumans in the MCU. But what he lacks in inhuman strength, he makes up for it with his mantle and skills.
Post TFAWS, Sam’s new Captain America suit is a gift from Wakanda. The entire ensemble is pure vibranium, making it indestructible like the Panther Habit. The suit also has bigger wings that can shield Sam against any attack and comes with many powerful thrusters to boost his flight — perfect for an ariel combatant like himself.
16Hulk — The Enormous Green Rage Monster
I see this as an absolute win!Professor Hulk
Hulk is the physically strongest hero in the entire MCU.
Hulk can lift 100 tons like he’s picking up a can of soda. But the angrier he gets, the stronger he becomes, which is why there’s no limit to how much he can lift. The max we’ve seen him go so far is over a thousand tons, but Hulk has benched over 150 billion tons in the comics.
It literally doesn’t get crazier than this.
His physiology gives him an unrivaled advantage in battle. His punch is heavy enough to dent vibranium — that’s a punch much harder than Saitama.
15Loki — The God of Mischief
I am Loki, of Asgard. And I am burdened with glorious purpose.Loki
The flesh and bones of frost giants are three times denser than humans, making them far more powerful and durable.
As a Jotun raised in Asgard, Loki is both physically strong and well-versed in sorcery. His magical forte lies in battle, and his arsenal comprises of Duplication Casting, Illusion Manipulation, Telekinesis, and Mental Manipulation (among others). Physically, Loki can lift upto 50 tons (while assisted by magic).
Loki is also a genius-level tactician and an expert combatant.
14Hela — The Goddess of Death
Our destiny is to rule over all others. And I am here to restore that power. Kneel before me… and rise into the ranks of my great conquest.Hela
Odin’s firstborn was able to crush Thor’s hammer like it was glass and raise an army of the dead to aid her conquest— she’s more than strong.
Hela drew her power from Asgard, making her impossible to kill (unless you destroyed the whole planet). As a Necromancer, she could summon the dead and create lethal weapons out of thin air.
She was strong enough to defeat an entire army alone and win unscathed, and it’s said that she can lift over 100 tons as well.
13Surtur — Asgard’s Doom
I cannot die. Not until I fulfill my destiny and lay waste to your home.Surtur to Thor
Surtur was one of the most powerful beings in the cosmos, a mighty being of prophecy. He was immortal and unkillable; the best Odin (protector of the Nine Realms) could do was weaken him. And even when he was functioning at only 20% of his power, he nearly overpowered Thor.
At his prime, Surtur was over 1,000 ft. tall and was much stronger than both Hulk and Hela combined. As a Fire Giant, he could create massive flames from his sword, which were strong enough to consume all of Asgard in a cataclysmic event.
12Ronan The Accuser — The Radical Warlord
They call me a terrorist. Radical. Zealot. Because I obey the ancient laws of my people, the Kree, and punish those who do not. Because I do not forgive your people for taking the life of my father and his father and his father before him. A thousand years of war between us will not be forgotten!Ronan The Accuser
As the strongest Kree warrior, Ronan was worshipped for his strength. He was able to toss Drax The Destroyer around like a rag doll, not needing to exert much force himself. And, of course— he survived direct exposure to the Power Stone (a stone known for being impossible to touch due to its incredible power).
This exposure, however, only left Ronan stronger. With the Power Stone in his possession, Ronan was capable of destroying entire planets within seconds. He annihilated all of Nova Corps fleet on Xandar with a few blasts, and for a brief moment, was the most vital being in the galaxy.
11Vision — The Most Sophisticated Sentient Weapon Ever Made
Humans are odd. They think order and chaos are somehow opposites and… try to control what won’t be. But there is grace in their failings. I think you missed that.Vision to Ultron
The Mind Stone in his programming alone should be enough to explain his strength, but here are the other reasons why Vision is so powerful:
• He’s worthy of Mjölnir
• He’s made of Vibranium enhanced with the Mind Stone
• He uses the same programming as JARVIS, the world’s most capable AI.
Vision can also use the Mind Stone to draw raw cosmic beams destructive enough to tear through considerable structures in a matter of seconds. He can phase right through objects and use the stone to create synthetic items at will.
10Iron Man — Earth’s Best Defender
The truth is… I am Iron Man.Tony Stark
All the Iron Man suits are exceptional, but the Bleeding Edge armor, in particular, puts Tony beyond the reach of 90% of the MCU character hub.
Mark 50 was the first Iron Man suit to use nanotech, allowing the suit to act as its own factory to manufacture weapons mid-battle. The suit could also generate shields, cannons, blades, and every other weapon known to humans imagination was the only limit with this suit.
The suit was also mentally commanded and could relocate nanites to parts of the armor that were damaged. It only weighed about 25 pounds (a significant drop from the previous armors), increasing speed, agility, and flexibility.
This suit the most powerful man-made weapon we’ve seen in the MCU.
9Captain America — The First Avenger
I’m not looking for forgiveness. And I’m way past asking permission. Earth just lost her best defender. So we’re here to fight. And if you wanna stand in our way… we’ll fight you, too.Steve Rogers
Steve Rogers was the world’s first superhero, and one of the greatest we ever saw.
The supersoldier serum massively enhanced his body, giving him a physique beyond humans at their peak. Steve could run faster than cars and stop helicopters with his bare hands, and his intelligence had also been considerably enhanced.
But that’s not the only thing that makes him stronger. Steve was also worthy of lifting Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir, and he could hence use all of Thor’s powers. Steve was, essentially, a human with the power of God.
8Ebony Maw — Squidward 2.0
Your powers are inconsequential compared to mine.Ebony Maw to Iron Man
Maw was one of the many lone children Thanos abducted and trained as the Black Order. There’s a common misconception that Maw is a sorcerer, but his appearance in Infinity War gives us no reason to believe that.
However, Maw is undoubtedly a very powerful telekinetic. His mastery over this power allows him to manipulate otherwise inanimate objects into behaving like his minions. In an offensive attack, he can lift weight worth ten tons without exerting much of himself, which results in some hefty damage.
Maw can also use his telekinesis to levitate and drag other beings behind him with such ease that it genuinely makes you wonder just how powerful this dude was.
7Captain Marvel — The Space Soldier
I’ve been fighting with one arm tied behind my back. But what happens when I’m finally set free?Carol Danvers to Supreme Intelligence
Captain Marvel got her powers after absorbing an energy blast from the Tesseract, which is why she’s immune to energy-based attacks. Instead, her body turns that power she’s hit with into her signature cosmic energy, which is said to be highly overwhelming (in the least).
In Binary Mode, Carol’s physical strength is off the charts. The Kree blood in her system boosts this up, helping her accomplish astonishing stunts — like ripping Sanctuary II apart without a single scratch on herself.
When the ship just forgot about the battlefield and refocused everything it had on the energy it picked up from Danvers… that scene alone tells you how powerful she is.
6Thor — The God Of Thunder
I’m only alive because fate wants me alive.Thor
That Thor’s physiology is superior to the most powerful Asgardians seems like a no-brainer, but the fact that he survived the power of a dying neutron star… he truly is a God.
With Stormbreaker, Thor was able to slice through a beam from the completed Infinity Gauntlet. A single lightning bolt from Thor is a billion joules, strong enough to send a fully powered Thanos flying away and leave cavernous trenches in the Earth. Thor is as close to invincible as a character gets.
5Dormammu — The Primordial Ruler of the Dark Dimension
He is the Cosmic Conqueror, the Destroyer of Worlds. A being of infinite power and endless hunger, on a quest to invade every universe and bring all worlds into his Dark Dimension.Wong describing Dormammu
Against Dormammu, everything else falls pale. He is described as an entity who “possesses frighteningly tremendous power of apocalyptic proportions,”; a statement that irrevocably holds.
Dormammu controls the dark dimension to the extent where the entire dimension wraps around to form his face and body. A fraction of his power granted to humans makes them as strong as the Ancient One— so imagine powerful he is.
As an omnipotent being, Dormammu is capable of energy projection, protective shields, time travel, teleportation, telepathy, soul manipulation, life-force absorption, dimensional portal creation, elemental control, and the creation of artificial beings.
4Doctor Strange — The Master of The Mystic Arts
You were born for the Mystic Arts.Wong to Stephen Strange
With the Time Stone under his protection, Doctor Strange has power over all of time. He is known as the prodigious student of the Mystic Arts, and though it’s still unofficial, Strange is a much more powerful sorcerer than the Ancient One herself.
Strange can mold reality to a certain degree. During the Battle Of Earth, he morphed the Earth to sallow a significant faction of Thanos’s army. Strange can also summon or conjure objects, cast shields, and binding spells, teleport across the multiverse, Astral project, and warp dimensions. There are no limits to his power, even without an Infinity Stone.
3Wanda Maximoff — The Scarlet Witch
You have no idea how dangerous you are … Did you know there’s an entire chapter devoted to you in the dark hold? That’s the book of the damned!Agatha to Wanda
The Chaos Magic Wanda wields is both ancient and legendary.
Even before she awakened her full potential, or could learn how to harness her powers properly, Wanda was capable of spontaneous creation and destruction. She could manipulate hundreds of people simultaneously without exerting conscious effort. Her powers rival the Sorcerer Supreme, and she has effortless control over time, space, reality, and the very fabric of the universe.
So far, Wanda is the most substantial magic user in the entire history of the MCU, and it doesn’t seem like that’s going to change any time soon — if ever.
2Thanos — The Mad Titan
Dread it. Run from it. Destiny arrives all the same. And now, it’s here. Or should I say, I am.Thanos
Thanos was a mighty Titan, capable of taking on both Thor and Hulk in a fight. He was an immortal too— the only weapon that could kill him was the most potent weapon ever forged, Stormbreaker, and even then, the attack had to be at its full power to finish the job.
With all six Infinity Stones, Thanos was quite literally the singular God of the entire universe. The stones made him nearly omnipotent, and he could destroy the entire universe with a snap of his fingers.
1Kang The Conqueror — He Who Remains
If you think I’m evil, well, just wait till you meet my Variants.He Who Remains to Loki and Sylvie
Kang the Conqueror is the most powerful character in Phase 4, as well as the entire MCU. He and his Variants were responsible for the violent multiversal war until He Who Remains (Kang’s variant) ended the war and took his place as the Supreme Ruler of the Scared Timeline.
A brilliant scientist himself, Kang’s discoveries have led him to become the master of time. Kang has also studied almost every piece of tech in the universe and can summon weapons from any era. In fights, he’s known to conjure weapons that humanity has no defense against.
We’re yet to see the true extent of his powers in the MCU, but even the brief encounter with He Who Remains was enough to confirm his superiority to every other being in existence.
About Marvel Cinematic Universe
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is an American media franchise and shared universe centered on a series of superhero films and TV series, independently produced by Marvel Studios and based on characters that appear in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.
The franchise includes comic books, short films, television series, and digital series. The shared universe, much like the original Marvel Universe in comic books, was established by crossing over common plot elements, settings, cast, and characters.