The 10 Most Powerful Characters in the MCU (Pre-'Infinity War')

God-tier powers abound.


The superheroes Marvel Cinematic Universe are gearing up to fight their most powerful opponent yet as the Mad Titan Thanos launches his Infinity War. But, is the big purple guy with the glove actually the most powerful being in the MCU right now?

Going into Infinity War, the heroes of the MCU have already killed off many of their most powerful foes, so they won’t be part of this ranking. (Sorry, Ego the Living Planet, and sorry also, Star-Lord, since you gave up your Celestial powers). This ranking also won’t take into consideration characters who haven’t appeared in a movie yet, which means Thor: Ragnarok’s villain, the Goddess of Death Hela, won’t make the cut just yet.

Measuring power is, of course, totally subjective. For this ranking, though, the metric isn’t just “who would win in a fight” or “who is physically stronger,” but who has more power to change the world around them. It’s not strength or influence, but something different. That something is by definition a little hard to define, so of course, there are going to be debates about how everything stacks up. The question of Infinity Stones naturally comes into play here, since anybody who has one is automatically super powerful. To remedy that, the power ranking doesn’t take possession into account (with one exception) but it does consider whether a character has demonstrated an ability to wield an Infinity Stone. Finally, we’re basing this ranking mostly on just what we’ve seen in the MCU, with comics knowledge as secondary, broader guidance.


10. Scarlet Witch

Scarlet Witch’s powers aren’t that well-defined (she can control bad luck… which is somehow the same as telekinesis?) but it’s clear she’s a terribly strong force to be reckoned with. Captain America: Civil War’s directors, the Russo Brothers, once said that she was the most powerful Avenger, but she hasn’t demonstrated that yet in the movies. The Scarlet Witch in the comics has altered reality, but the MCU’s version is too untrained and unsure to do that … yet.


9. Doctor Strange

The new Sorcerer Supreme just accepted the lofty position, but he’s already proven he’s well on his way of earning the title of Earth’s most powerful magician. Stephen Strange is a highly motivated genius, and he on his way to having the same extreme power that his predecessor did. Not to mention, he outsmarted a demon from the Dark Dimension and mastered an Infinity Stone in no time flat.


8. Odin

A huge segment of Marvel comics is based on Norse mythology, so there’s an entire pantheon of literal gods running around the MCU. Naturally, they’re all pretty powerful since, again they’re literal gods. Odin probably was the toughest at some point, but the two Thor movies have shown that old age has slowed him down quite a bit. He needs to take regular naps now.


7. Loki

Loki is more of a trickster than a fighter, but don’t mistake subterfuge for weakness. As a god, Loki is automatically more powerful than any mere mortal, and time and time again he’s shown that he’s one of the most disruptive forces in the MCU.


6. Heimdall

The Guardian of Asgard is all-seeing and all-hearing, and he’s also insanely stoic and strong. He’s also the only being in the Nine Worlds that can operate the Rainbow Bridge, aka the portal between worlds. There’s a reason why Thor and his warrior friends weren’t eager to fight him.


5. Thor

With each movie, the God of Thunder lives more and more up to his name. Other Asgardians might be wiser or more tricksy than he is, but none are more powerful.


4. The Hulk

When we said in the introduction that power didn’t equal strength, the Hulk was the exception. Bruce Banner’s ill-tempered alter ego is so absurdly strong that he can, through sheer muscle, climb up the ranks. If you get the Hulk angry enough, he’ll punch a hole through the fucking universe. Also, he did kick Thor’s ass that one time.


3. Vision

Owning an Infinity Stone doesn’t automatically make you powerful, but Vision is an exception because he is an Infinity Stone. The Mind Stone, one of the most powerful objects in all of existence, is embedded into his forehead and is an essential part of who he is. Even without Ultron’s hyper-powerful coding, that’s enough to place him solidly in the top three.


2. Thanos

Okay, we haven’t really seen Thanos do anything other than sit in his swanky chair in the MCU, but we have heard what others have said about him. Though Ronan wasn’t nearly as terrified by him as he should have been, Thanos murdered Drax’s family, and subjugated Gamora and Nebula who all know his power too well. Chances are Infinity War will show the full extent of his power, but even the rumors we’ve heard are enough to earn the Mad Titan his ranking.


1. Dormammu

Yeah, Doctor Strange managed to swindle him in the end, but Dormammu killed him a dozen times first. A lack of understanding of “time” and poor bargaining skills trapped Dormammu back in his Dark Dimension, but he’s still there, lurking. Every other character on this list is just that, a character. Dormammu is an entire plane of existence.

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