A superhero movie is often only as good as its villain. We know what to expect from our heroes, therefore it’s usually the villains that surprise and thrill us. I mean, what’s Endgame without Thanos? And would there really be Thor without Loki?
Most of the time, these baddies are thwarted due to their weaknesses and lack of superpowers. But sometimes, the MCU’s strongest supervillains come out on top.
From ordinary criminals to witches and demigods, we’ve seen several antagonists outshine the heroes.
So, which of these are the biggest and baddest of the bunch? There may not be any right answers, but here’s Tell Tales’ take on the most powerful MCU villains, ranked…
41) Aldrich Killian
Powers: Superhuman Strength, Agility, Stamina, Reflexes, Regenerative Healing, Heat Generation, Fire Breath
We start at the bottom of the list with an all-round disappointing villain to conclude the Iron Man trilogy. Indeed, we’ve ranked Aldrich Killian as the weakest Marvel villain.
Killian is one of many villains across the MCU with an axe to grind with Tony Stark, after being rejected one fateful New Year’s night. Heartbroken and embarrassed, Killan opted to join the Extremis research team, using the solution to heal his disabilities, while simultaneously gaining superpowers.
After a rampage of terrorist attacks, collusion and kidnapping, Killian met his end after being defeated by Iron Man, Iron Patriot and the Iron Legion.
How he got his Powers: Extremis injection
Weapons: Pistol, fire breath
Did you Know? In the comics, Aldrich Killian was one of the key scientists in the creation of Extremis. He later committed suicide, as he was plagued by guilt from selling it on to terrorist organizations.
40) Justin Hammer
Moving on to one of many villains to make an appearance in Iron Man 2…Hammer Industries’ own Justin Hammer!
Hammer is one of Tony Stark’s key competitors…if the competition was virtually non-existent! He can best be described as a ‘Tony Stark 2.0’, a rich lover of technology, who seeks to advance the world’s weapons to defend us all. Sounds great, right? Except it’s not. Hammer is inferior to Tony Stark in every conceivable way and continuously fails to dethrone him.
Hammer only ranks higher than Killian on this list due to his lack of powers and abilities. He failed to defeat Tony with nothing, whereas Killian failed with EVERYTHING.
How he got his Powers: N/A
Weapons: Rifles, shotguns, pistols, and grenades
Did you Know? In Marvel One-Shot: All Hail the King, Hammer is revealed as the MCU’s first male LQBT+ character.
39) Grant Ward
Moving over to Marvel’s TV shows and we have the one and only Grant Ward.
Ward was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and one of the original members of Coulson’s team in season one of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Unfortunately for them, he was also an undercover HYDRA operative, and a stone-cold killer fueled by lies, deception and trauma.
Ward flirted back and forth with HYDRA, before eventually becoming one of its new leaders. He was ultimately killed by Coulson when attempting to bring the HYDRA God, Hive, back to Earth.
How he got his Powers: N/A
Weapons: An assortment of S.H.I.E.L.D. & HYDRA weapons
Did you Know? Grant Ward is one of few characters to originate from the MCU, before making an appearance in the comics.
Powers: Superhuman Strength, Reflexes, Regenerative Healing, Teleportation, Electricity Manipulation
Another Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. villain is up next…the life model decoy known eloquently as ‘AIDA’ (Artificial Intelligent Digital Assistant).
AIDA was created by Holden Radcliffe from the remains of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s LMD program, and became a valuable asset to the team after saving Coulson and Fitz from the Dark Dimension.
However, AIDA and Radcliffe became corrupted by the Darkhold, with the AI using it to create her own virtual reality to trap the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. inside. In turn, she entered this reality and adopted the Madame Hydra persona, collecting Inhuman powers, while building herself a human body in the real world.
AIDA is ultimately killed by the Spirit of Vengeance, after she endures a psychotic break when feeling human emotions for the first time.
How she got her Powers: Murdering and harvesting Inhumans in the Framework
Did you Know? In the show, AIDA adopts the name ‘Ophelia’ when she becomes human. In the comics, Ophelia is known as ‘Madame Hydra’ and is the lover of Red Skull.
37) Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger
Obadiah Stane was a close friend of Howard Stark, served as interim CEO of Stark Industries, and was the mentor of Iron Man himself…sounds like a great guy, right?
You’d be wrong.
Like many classic villains, Stane was driven by business, greed and jealousy. He partnered with the Ten Rings organization to capture and kill Tony Stark, a mistake that opened up the entire MCU.
After his initial assassination attempt was thwarted, and after being exposed by Pepper Potts, Stane took matters into his own hands by building his own Iron Monger armor. If he was able to solve the icing problem, the MCU may look a little different…
How he got his Powers: N/A
Weapons: Iron Monger armor, sonic taser
Did you Know? In the comics, Stane is the CEO of his own company and a colleague of Norman Osborn.
Ayesha is one of the many villains in the Guardians of the Galaxy saga. She held a subdued role as her lofted grandeur clashed with the hilarity of the Guardians.
Ayesha holds the title of ‘Golden High Princess of the Sovereign’, a civilization she genetically re-engineered to become one of the strongest people in the MCU. However, after she hired the Guardians to protect the Anulax Batteries, she becomes enraged by their behavior and Rocket’s betrayal, but fails to take them down.
She may be the creator of the legendary Adam Warlock, but Ayesha and her powers have nothing against her son’s magnitude.
How she got her Powers: N/A
Did you know? In an alternate reality on Earth-691, Ayesha is the biological mother of the legendary Ravager captain Stakar Ogord.
Next up is Yellowjacket, a man so evil he attempts to murder the greatest person in Hollywood…Paul Rudd!
Yellowjacket, or Dr. Darren Cross, is effectively another version of Obadiah Stane, in that he’s a seemingly strait-laced company man, who ultimately goes a wee-bit mad attempting to match the achievements of greater men.
His “Yellowjacket” answer to Hank Pym’s Ant-Man suit makes him a formidable adversary, though he’s ultimately thwarted and banished to the Quantum Realm.
Darren Cross actually returns in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in the form of M.O.D.O.K., a sort of mutilated floating head, who exists to do Kang’s bidding. We’re not quite sure whether to add points for M.O.D.O.K.’s power or detract for his general absurdity…
How he got his Powers: N/A
Weapons: Assorted laser-like suit attachments
Did you Know? In comics lore, Darren Cross has interactions with the X-Men, briefly running afoul of Emma Frost and Magneto.
Powers: Superhuman Strength, Reflexes, Fight Style Mirroring
Taskmaster, a.k.a. Antonia Dreykov, is the daughter of General Dreykov, who commands the Red Room and the Black Widow program. After nearly being murdered, Antonia was preserved, enhanced, and brainwashed, becoming in effect, a super soldier with an ability to instantly mimic opponents’ fighting styles.
In Black Widow, she initially comes across as a sort of unbeatable automated fighter. One can only imagine the damage she might have done (unwittingly) on her twisted father’s behalf.
Once she’s exposed to the Red Dust that frees Black Widows from mind control though, she is essentially subdued (though still deadly).
How she got her Powers: Neuro chip
Weapons: Sword, shield, bow, exploding arrows, pistol, knife
Did you Know? Taskmaster was arrested by Thaddeus Ross in a deleted-scene from Black Widow. Are there plans for her to be deployed by Ross and the U.S. army in a future MCU installment?
Next up is Quentin Beck, a.k.a. Mysterio – one of the most bizarre villains (or indeed characters) in the MCU so far. He’s a disgruntled Stark Industries employee who uses a fleet of weaponized and/or projecting drones to simulate attacks from ‘Elemental’ monsters. He then saves the day, positioning himself as the ultimate hero.
On the one hand, Mysterio is a genius, and one who has a Stark-enhanced Spider-Man on the ropes for the better part of Spider-Man: Far From Home. On the other, he has no real powers, and his plot winds up being paper-thin. We give him points for wreaking some havoc, but ultimately, he’s a little toothless.
It should also be noted that without Jake Gyllenhaal, this character would rank lower. On paper, Mysterio probably shouldn’t work, but Gyllenhaal pulls it off.
How he got his Powers: N/A
Weapons: Drones (weapons and projectors), handgun, briefly E.D.I.T.H.
Did you Know? Bruce Campbell, who played multiple roles in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films, was originally tabbed to play Mysterio in Spider-Man 4.
Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. Kingpin ranks at no.32 (although most Daredevil fans prefer to see him ranked higher!)
Fisk is arguably a very intelligent and notorious businessman/crime boss with a knack for digging his hands into every part of the law.
After the events of The Avengers, Fisk used the devastation to his advantage, collaborating with other crime bosses to gain control of New York City and rebuild Hell’s Kitchen in his own image. However, his plans are continuously thwarted by Matt Murdock throughout the Daredevil series…or so we thought.
With his reemergence in Hawkeye, many fans speculate that Fisk used the blip to his advantage in the same fashion he did with the Battle of New York. And with a new Daredevil series coming soon, the book is still open for the criminal mastermind to plot his next scheme.
How he got his Powers: N/A
Weapons: Pistol, body armor
Did you Know? Kingpin is the only main antagonist to appear in both a Marvel Studios and a Marvel Television project.
Powers: Quantum Mutation, Enhanced Strength, Durability, Intangibility, Invisibility
Ghost comes in on the list at no.31, but many fans may not actually class her as a true villain when her story is brought to light.
Ava Starr, a.k.a. Ghost, gained her abilities through a quantum accident which killed her parents. Like many villains on this list, S.H.I.E.L.D. intervened and abused her powers to their own benefit.
After the collapse of S.H.I.E.L.D., Ghost realized that her powers were slowly killing her, and after catching word about the creation of a new Quantum Tunnel, she set out to find her cure. Inevitably, this led to conflict with Hank Pym and Ant-Man when she attempted to steal the tunnel for herself.
Fortunately, Janet Van Dyne transferred some of her own quantum energy to Ghost, saving her life and sending her into recovery.
How she got her Powers: Exposed after a quantum accident
Weapons: Ghost Suit
Did you Know? Ghost became only the second female antagonist in an MCU film, after Hela.
Dreykov is up next, the man behind the Black Widow program and the infamous events of Budapest.
He was a former high-ranking member of the Soviet army, using his influence to create the Red Room and his Black Widow program – to which Natasha Romanoff and Yelena Belova were subjected to.
During the events of Black Widow, Dreykov’s true influence is revealed when Romanoff attempts to kill him, realizing she can’t, due to his pheromonal lock on her. He is ultimately killed by Yelena Belova in a helicopter explosion after the Black Widows bring down the Red Room once and for all.
How he got his Powers: N/A
Weapons: Handgun, knife
Did you Know? Dreykov was initially name-dropped in The Avengers by Loki, making him the first MCU antagonist to be mentioned before his on-screen debut.
Powers: Enhanced Strength, Speed, Durability, Reflexes (with Heart-Shaped Herb)
Erik Killmonger is a fan-favorite Marvel villain. But he’s also a tricky one to assess. On the one hand, he’s kind of just a really motivated dude with what he perceives to be a righteous quest guiding him. Then again, once he gets his hands on that heart-shaped herb, he’s essentially the Black Panther in villain form.
He can kick butt, but there’s not that much separating him from, say, Taskmaster – he needs the enhancement.
Killmonger is a villain you love to hate because, like the most effective Marvel baddies, he’s just sympathetic enough to make you think about your allegiance. On a list of ‘best villains’, he might rank higher. In terms of power though, this feels about right.
How he got his Powers: Heart-Shaped Herb
Weapons: Assorted guns, vibranium spear, vibranium sword
Did you Know? To better understand the character, Michael B. Jordan (who played the role in Black Panther) wrote a diary as Erik Killmonger.
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Vulture (or “that vulture guy” as he’s referred to in Spider-Man: Homecoming) is one of the cleverer villains in the MCU. If we accept that the Chitauri invaded Earth and left a bunch of tech behind, it’s not at all a stretch to believe that a disgruntled and industrious someone would strive to collect and use said tech.
That’s how we end up with Vulture, whose impressive understanding and manipulation of Chitauri leftovers yields impressive power.
In the end, part of the point is that he’s a little in over his head (sensing a theme here with Marvel villains?). But on the way to that point, he makes pretty good use of a super-strength flying suit and some zappy space weapons.
How he got his Powers: N/A
Weapons: Exo-suit, Chitauri staff, Chitauri gun, regular guns
Did you Know? With Mysterio, Vulture was set to appear in Sam Raimi’s unmade Spider-Man 4, with John Malkovich taking on the role.
27) Ivan Vanko/Whiplash
This ranking might spark some debate. Iron Man 2 has a so-so reputation, and Whiplash is viewed as a weak, one-dimensional character (despite Mickey Rourke wanting to add some depth to the role).
Fair enough, but Whiplash ranks closer to the middle than the bottom for one specific reason: He actually figures out Stark tech. This guy doesn’t stumble on Chitauri weaponry (like Vulture) or create a knock-off Iron Man or Ant-Man suit (like Obadiah Stane or Darren Cross). He builds his own Arc Reactor, which implies he can match Tony Stark brainwave for brainwave.
Where he goes wrong is that he spends about as much time forming a plot to take down Iron Man as you or I might spend ordering a sandwich.
How he got his Powers: N/A
Weapons: Whiplash suit/energy whips
Did you Know? The MCU’s Whiplash is a sort of a character hybrid. The character drew from a comic book Whiplash, as well as the Crimson Dynamo, but was in part an original conception.
26) Alexander Pierce
Next up on the list is one of the top dogs within both HYDRA, S.H.I.E.L.D. and even the U.S. government…Alexander Pierce.
Pierce was recruited by HYDRA in the late 80s after an incident in Bogata caused him to lose faith in democracy. He joined the World Security Council in 1989 after a stint in government, ordering the release of infamous HYDRA scientist Werner Reinhart, and overseeing S.H.I.E.L.D. operations globally.
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Pierce orchestrated the HYDRA uprising by ordering the assassinations of Nick Fury, Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff – all via Bucky Barnes. His plans were inevitably thwarted by those loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D., with the destruction of Project Insight, shortly after being killed by Nick Fury.
How he got his Powers: N/A
Weapons: Explosive security badges
Did you Know? The MCU version of Alexander Pierce is an amalgamation of his character from the comics with Aleksander Lukin, the original handler of The Winter Soldier.
25) Johann Schmidt/Red Skull
Powers: Enhanced Strength, Speed, Agility, Durability, Healing; Immortality & Omniscience
Much like Killmonger is basically the angry-and-unhinged Black Panther, Red Skull is more or less Bad Captain America. His enhancements come from a version of the same ‘Super Soldier Serum’, and he fights for the Nazis (or the HYDRA offshoot of the Nazis), rather than the U.S.
In the MCU, Red Skull can actually be considered one of the most powerful beings. This is because after messing with the Tesseract, he gets yanked to Vormir to be an immortal Stonekeeper (hate when that happens). As a villain though, ranking him at 25th seems about right.
How he got his Powers: Super Soldier Serum
Weapons: Regular guns, Tesseract-powered guns, Tesseract-powered cannon
Did you Know? Red Skull accompanied Loki as a key villain in early drafts of The Avengers.
24) Arthur Harrow
Powers: Enhanced Strength, Speed, Agility, Durability, Healing; Divine Judgment
Here’s a hot take: For all his talents, Ethan Hawke seemed awkward in this role. But a soft-spoken cultist gifted superpowers by gods of Ancient Egypt is a tough mark to hit. The character just wasn’t that compelling.
In terms of pure power though, Arthur Harrow deserves a respectable position. He can basically do all the super-soldier stuff, thanks to his bond with Ammit. Plus, he can suck your life force out when his tattoo decides you deserve judgment.
How he got his Powers: Becomes an avatar of Egyptian deities
Weapons: Staff of Ammit, revolver
Did you Know? Ethan Hawke indicated that he viewed the character as a bad-guy Steve Jobs. Okay then…
Powers: Superhuman Strength, Speed, Agility, Durability, Healing, Stamina; Gravity Manipulation
Yon-Rogg is a difficult villain in the MCU to assess regarding power. He’s certainly a supremely capable individual – a natural super-soldier, like an alternative human being enhanced in every way that would make someone deadlier. Plus, he’s got those bizarre Magnitron Gauntlets to disorient enemies.
When we see Yon-Rogg though, he’s…not that special? Among the Kree, and up against Captain Marvel, he basically comes across as an alien version of Crossbones from The Winter Soldier. That is to say, he’s a really good soldier, but sort of just one of the pack.
Perhaps we’re underrating what Yon-Rogg could do one-on-one against some higher-ranked villains. But when it’s all said and done, he doesn’t really distinguish himself in his one film of work.
How he got his Powers: Born a Kree
Weapons: Kree gun, Magnitron Gauntlets (for gravity manipulation)
Did you Know? Keanu Reeves nearly played the part! He was too busy filming John Wick, however, opening the door for Jude Law.
Powers: Superhuman Strength, Durability, Healing; Ability To Wield Aether
Here’s another controversial pick. Malekith isn’t exactly a fan-favorite, and Thor: The Dark World is widely considered to be among the MCU’s worst. He’s a little like Yon-Rogg, in that he doesn’t seem unique; he’s just a member of a powerful race.
What does separate Malekith is his ability to manipulate the Aether, which he created from the Reality Stone. With this substance, he could teleport, regenerate, possess and overwhelm adversaries.
He probably should have done more, but he was outwitted by Loki and Dr. Erik Selvig.
How he got his Powers: Born a Dark Elf; discovered and harnessed Aether
Weapons: Aether, dark matter dagger, dark matter grenades
Did you Know? Before playing the role of Doctor Strange antagonist Kaecilius, Mads Mikkelsen was slated to play Malekith.
Powers: Magic, Dark Dimension Magic, Immortality
When you watch Marvel movies, you realize that MCU villains often possess the same powers as the heroes they’re matched up against. Such is the case with Kaecilius, who emerges as a bad powerful sorcerer, just as Doctor Strange is becoming a good powerful sorcerer.
In short, that means he can do a lot of what Doctor Strange does, which makes him immensely powerful. He’s also boosted by his connection to the darker magic of Dormammu and the Dark Dimension (though it’s not always super clear what he gains from the alliance).
It’s the fact that Kaecilius is basically an interdimensional monster’s pawn that keeps him from ranking higher on this list.
How he got his Powers: Student of magic; learned from the Ancient One, absorbed power from Dormammu
Weapons: Curved daggers
Did you Know? Mads Mikkelsen has said that his take on Kaecilius is based on multiple comic villains.
20) Agatha Harkness
Powers: Magic (including Energy Manipulation, Levitation, Telekinesis, Longevity, Hypnosis)
Agatha ‘All Along’ Harkness is an immensely powerful MCU villain who sort of just…fizzles out.
Empowered but corrupted by dark magic centuries before the events of WandaVision, she is drawn to the prop town by Wanda Maximoff’s magic. There, she attempts all kinds of deceptive shenanigans only to be thwarted in the end by Maximoff.
She may be one of the more recent villains in the MCU, but Agatha scores pretty high based on her powers. She’s a chaos witch, and it’s unclear if her potential strength actually has boundaries; she can do whatever she wants. So can Maximoff, though, and in the end, the Scarlet Witch simply outwits Agatha.
How she got her Powers: Inherently magical, but also studied Dark Magic to enhance powers
Did you Know? In WandaVision, Agatha hails from the age of the Salem witch trials. In the comics, she dates all the way back to the glory of Atlantis.
19) Norman Osborn/Green Goblin
Powers: Superhuman Strength, Agility, Stamina, Reflexes; Flight (with Glider)
The Green Goblin may not have a single power to match, say, Malekith’s matter manipulation, or Ghost’s invisibility. He doesn’t command influence like Dreykov or Alexander Pierce. Still, he ranks higher than all of these powerful Marvel villains, because he’s a self-made terror.
Rather than being born with abilities, or learning to control others with abilities, Norman Osborn created his own version of a Super Soldier Serum, as well as awesome weapons to wield with it. He’s basically Tony Stark and Red Skull rolled into one menacing baddie.
The Goblin’s role in the MCU was brief, but since this is meant to be the same character from Sam Raimi’s Spider-verse, we’re counting his work in Spider-Man.
How he got his Powers: Invented and inhaled enhancement gas
Weapons: Glider, bombs, razor drones
Did you Know? Willem Dafoe (now 67 years old) performed his own stunts when he reprised his role as the Green Goblin in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
18) Ronan the Accuser
Powers: Superhuman Strength, Speed, Agility, Durability, Healing, Stamina
Ronan could be just another strong Kree, like Yon-Rogg. Throw in his staff-like hammer, however, and he’s a few notches more intimidating.
This is a superhuman warrior with advanced healing capability and a massive hammer that blasts out energy. This hammer also wields the Power Stone, which massively amplifies the weapon’s capability.
Ronan is definitely powerful enough to earn a top-20 spot. He defies Thanos; he took on Captain Marvel; the guy just knows how to pick on the very few cosmic beings who can make him seem weaker than he is.
How he got his Powers: Born Kree; wields the Cosmi-Rod hammer
Weapons: Cosmi-Rod hammer (plus Power Stone)
Did you Know? Ronan actor Lee Pace first auditioned to play Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Powers: Superhuman Strength, Speed, Agility, Durability, Healing, Stamina; Flight; Breathing Underwater; Hypnosis; Ability To Talk To Sea Animals; Spider-Man-like Wall-Crawling
Among the most recent additions to the MCU is Namor, the ocean-bound demigod, who wages war on Wakanda.
With access to vibranium, he can be compared to Black Panther…if Black Panther could fly, communicate with sea animals, breathe underwater, and cause floods. So, yeah, ‘demigod’ isn’t a stretch.
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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever called for a villain who could take over the Earth, and Namor fits the bill. He might rank higher were it not for the sense that he’s on his way to a Winter-Soldier-like transition from baddie to hero.
How he got his Powers: Mutation due to family ingestion of blue plant mixed with vibranium
Weapons: Vibranium spear
Did you Know? The Namor character concept dates back to the 1930s, when what would become Marvel was known as Timely Comics.
Powers: Superhuman Strength, Speed, Agility, Durability, Stamina; Flight; Telekinesis; Heat and Energy Generation; Manipulation of Technology; Theoretical Immortality; Vibranium Body
Ultron could certainly rank further up this list. After all, this dude is like Superman, if Superman hated humanity, could switch bodies, and had control over the internet. He was a global threat, and as the title of his film (Avengers: Age of Ultron) says, it took the whole team to stop him.
What holds Ultron back a little bit, is that it doesn’t ultimately take a miracle to bring him down. He’s mauled by Hulk, partially incapacitated by Wanda, and finished off by Vision and a zap from the Mind Stone.
Team effort was required, and there was a lot of collateral damage. But if you can be beaten by Tony Stark’s new, less evil version of you, you can’t top MCU’s most powerful villain list.
How he got his Powers: Created as an AI with help from Bruce Banner and Tony Stark; altered by the Mind Stone
Weapons: Minion robot sentries
Did you Know? In comic lore, it is Hank Pym rather than Tony Stark and Bruce Banner who creates Ultron.
Powers: Superhuman Strength, Speed, Agility, Durability, Stamina; Flight; Immortality; Optically-Emitted Energy
Speaking of villains who are basically Superman, Ikaris certainly fits the bill. Even from a power perspective, the two characters are one and the same (though, we don’t know if Ikaris can see through walls).
Created as a mole within the Eternals with a mission to set Earth for sacrifice, Ikaris found himself squaring off against his fellow immortal bad asses. This was too much for him, suggesting that his power had its limits.
Interestingly though, Ikaris was never fully bested. He was simply defeated and shamed to the point of flying into the sun, as one does.
How he got his Powers: Created by the Celestials
Did you Know? Eternals explains that the legend of Icarus is derived from Ikaris. In the comics however, Ikaris was the father of an actual boy named Icarus and borrowed the name.
14) The Abomination
Powers: Enhanced & Superhuman Strength, Agility, Speed, Durability, Stamina, Reflexes, Regenerative Healing, Transformation, Bone Spike Protrusion
The Abomination is a great villain who puts Bruce Banner and The Hulk through their paces throughout The Incredible Hulk.
Also known as Emil Blonsky, this baddie is a former special-ops commander and pawn of U.S. General Thaddeus Ross, who recruited him to help take down The Hulk.
Blonksy was injected with a modified version of the Super Soldier Serum before his blood became transfused with that of The Hulk, turning him into the Abomination. He may have lost his fight against the green giant, but he was strong enough to make a comeback in She-Hulk.
How he got his Powers: Super Soldier Serum injection and blood transfusion
Weapons: Bone Spike Protrusion & various other military equipment
Did you Know? In the comics, The Abomination can transform back into his human form. In the MCU, he doesn’t achieve this ability, until it is later revealed in She-Hulk.
13) Helmut Zemo
It’s difficult to consider Baron Helmut Zemo as a powerful villain, because he really isn’t one. Like Alexander Pierce, he’s a completely ordinary man. His scheming genius, however, might just be unparalleled in the MCU.
A Sokovian aristocrat hellbent on revenge against superheroes after Avengers: Age of Ultron, Zemo schemes to cause a rift between the Avengers, rather than take them on himself. He’s so calculating and clever about it that he basically succeeds, beginning with a plot to frame Bucky Barnes for the murder of King T’Chaka.
Sure, the Avengers don’t actually destroy each other. But what Zemo accomplishes without actual ‘super’ powers ironically helps him come across as one of the most powerful villains in the MCU.
How he got his Powers: N/A
Weapons: Assorted guns (usually pistols)
Did you Know? Zemo is a big Marvin Gaye fan. Random, much?
Powers: Superhuman Strength, Agility, Stamina, Reflexes, Speed; Potential Immortality; Ring Summoning; Energy Manipulation
It’s actually difficult to define Wenwu regarding his superpowers. Some of the characters on this list have no actual ability, deriving power from suits, weapons, or influence, rather than inherent ability. Wenwu is somewhere in between.
Without the Ten Rings, he would basically be a martial arts master; with them, he’s a force on par with some of the MCU’s deadliest and most capable.
It may just be best to consider the Ten Rings a part of him, almost like Thor and Mjølnir. They alter and enhance him, he calls to them, and he is their sole possessor right up until his death.
Considering Wenwu’s powers, he’s certainly a formidable foe. That said, like many MCU villains before him, he also bites off more than he can chew – which puts a limit on how high we can rank him.
How he got his Powers: Martial arts training; granted power by the Ten Rings
Weapons: Ten Rings
Did you Know? Wenwu, the ‘real’ Mandarin, was considered as the lead villain for Iron Man and Iron Man 3. He was scrapped from the first in favor of Obadiah Stane, and in Iron Man 3, we instead saw the ‘fake’ Mandarin as a puppet for Aldrich Killian.
Powers: Superhuman Strength, Agility, Speed, Durability, Stamina, Reflexes, Regenerative Healing, Heat Generation
In Thor: The Dark World, Algrim is a powerful Dark Elf who turns into a monster after volunteering to be enhanced by a Kurse Stone. From then on, he is completely destructive – like a super-powered minotaur with no regard for life.
We don’t know if Algrim’s powers could bruise Dormammu or take a hit from Ronan’s orb-infused hammer staff, but we do know that he storms Asgard, assassinates Thor’s mother Frigga, and tosses Thor around like a ragdoll for a while.
He might not have Zemo’s wits, which is why he’s ultimately tricked by Loki. But his power is immense.
How he got his Powers: Born a Dark Elf; enhanced by Kurse Stone
Weapons: Black hole grenades
Did you Know? While this Kurse helps to sack Asgard, a comic version actually winds up redeemed and helping to defend it.
11) Gorr the God Butcher
Powers: Superhuman Strength, Agility, Speed, Durability, Stamina, Reflexes, Regenerative Healing; Teleportation; Shadow Realm Access; Conjuring Monsters; Conjuring Objects
Yeah, so…it’s kind of in the name. This is a character who becomes disenchanted with the gods, finds a magical sword, and then uses it to gallivant around the galaxy slaying deities.
Even his Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki has a section titled ‘Cosmic Killing Spree,’ which has its own sub-section for ‘Slaughtering the Gods.’ It’s safe to say the Necrosword grants Gorr sensational powers, even if he himself is nothing particularly special.
Gorr is also a sympathetic character, which can belittle his savagery. Just remember that ‘Cosmic Killing Spree’ though, if you really want to question his power…
How he got his Powers: Enhanced by bond with Necrosword
Did you Know? Gorr is one of the newest villains in the MCU, having first appeared in Marvel comics in the 2010s.
10) Ebony Maw
Powers: Levitation, Telekinesis, Considerable Strength
Probably the character most MCU fans would casually smack in the face, Ebony Maw is a snide, superior cultist. His religious devotion to Thanos is borderline comical, and his general demeanor is maddening; he’s almost a snob about his power.
That power, though, is no joke. While Iron Man eventually does away with this aggravating sidekick, he spends a good portion of his time in Avengers: Infinity War tossing the Avengers around like ragdolls and torturing Doctor Strange.
If Ebony Maw weren’t distracted by a larger mission, he could conquer Earth in a few hours. So, yeah, he’s definitely one of the most powerful Marvel villains out there.
How he got his Powers: Natural
Did you Know? Tony Stark famously calls Ebony Maw “Squidward”, a reference to a Spongebob Squarepants character. In the French version of Infinity War however, the American reference is replaced by one to Lord Voldemort.
Powers: Omnipotence, Immortality, Energy Manipulation
At this point on the list, we’re getting largely into deities. And even in this context, Ego seems the most like a single, all-encompassing god.
Born a celestial and capable of, erm, being a planet, he is literally on a quest to redesign the universe into planetary extensions of his own being. The guy is playing Minecraft with the universe.
It might not get much more powerful than that, even in the wacky and limitless expanses of the MCU. Ego can’t rank any higher than this, though, because he ultimately goes down like the Death Star with its exposed kill vent. All that power, and Ego is defeated because his brain is accessible to his enemies.
How he got his Powers: Born a Celestial
Did you Know? Matthew McConaughey turned down the role of Ego before Kurt Russell got the opportunity.
Powers: Superhuman Strength, Agility, Speed, Durability, Stamina, Reflexes; Immortality; Weapon and Armor Materialization; Magic, Necromancy
Most of Thor: Ragnarok is devoted to telling us how strong and powerful Hela is. Loki stresses to Thor that Hela – their long-absent big sis – is stronger than both of them. Heimdol implies that she can’t be stopped.
Really, there’s no argument. Hela is like Gorr the God Butcher, if in addition to his Necrosword, he had full-fledged Asgardian power.
Hela’s ranks in the top 10, because unlike so many of the MCU’s most powerful villains, she isn’t outsmarted by weaker characters. She only succumbs to Surtur – who ranks higher in this list – and Ragnarok itself.
How she got her Powers: Born Asgardian; practiced sorceress
Weapons: Mjølnir, Necroswords, Bloodaxe
Did you Know? Hela was the first female lead villain in a MCU film.
Powers: Superhuman Strength, Agility, Speed, Durability, Stamina, Reflexes; Teleportation; Matter Manipulation and Conjuration; Illusions
Loki has just about every power in the book, making him one of the most powerful villains in Marvel.
Physically, he acts the part of a demigod, with all the superhuman traits typical of more evolved and advanced species in the MCU. Mentally, he’s a schemer on par with Baron Zemo. Magically, he’s every bit the trickster Agatha Harkness or Kaecilius is.
We can’t say Hela is stronger than Loki, because we’re still not really, truly, 100% confident he’s gone. Sure, Thanos crushed his throat and said Loki wouldn’t be resurrected again. But this particular villain’s main power is basically that he refuses to die.
Would you be surprised if we see Loki in a 2030 MCU film?
How he got his Powers: Born Frost Giant. Also learned magic from Frigga.
Weapons: Assorted daggers; Infinity Stone scepter
Did you Know? Loki’s staged death in Thor: The Dark World was originally meant to be permanent.
Powers: Superhuman Strength, Durability; Immortality; Fire Manipulation
Let’s be honest: Surtur is basically the Balrog – you know, that terrifying Lord of the Rings character – of Marvel.
He exists for the singular purpose of bringing about Ragnarok and destroying Asgard and unlike most MCU villains, he succeeds!
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Sure, he’s been defeated and/or banished by both Odin and Thor before we ever meet him in Ragnarok. And yes, he ultimately fulfills Ragnarok as Loki’s pawn with minimal Asgardian damage. But in terms of power, he’s capable of destroying all of Asgard.
Oh, and he takes Hela down in the process.
How he got his Powers: Um, is just a Fire Demon
Weapons: Twilight Sword
Did you Know? Surtur is based on Surtr, who like Thor, Loki, and the rest, is a real character from Norse myth.
5) Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch
Powers: Telekinesis, Energy Manipulation, Mental Manipulation, Telepathy, Levitation
The undisputed strongest MCU villain? Maybe the fifth. Where to start with her?
There are a lot of magical beings on this list, but Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. Scarlet Witch appears to be the magical power. This ultimate Avengers villain may not have some of the god-like and/or immortal advantages of the top four characters on this list, but when it comes to one-on-one power matchups, she might be unbeatable.
This is clear when Wanda is a hero, in that she’s treated almost like the Hulk is, as if she might explode at any moment. It’s all the clearer when she ‘goes bad’, given that she basically took down the Masters of the Mystic Arts singlehandedly.
Officially the most powerful female Marvel villain out there, there’s no transcending this baddie.
How she got her Powers: Born with Chaos Magic; further enhanced by Mind Stone
Did you Know? Wanda Maximoff is known as the daughter of the X-Men’s Magneto in comics.
Powers: Dark Dimension Magic; Superhuman Strength, Durability; Energy Manipulation; Immortality
We were conflicted ranking Dormammu this high, because he ends up being a bit of a punchline in Doctor Strange.
He’s sort of a comical creation, and he’s defeated by a clever bit of Time Stone work by the good Doctor. Basically, Strange traps Dormammu in a loop of repetition, torturing the demon until he agrees to relinquish his grip on Earth.
It’s all somewhat ridiculous. But we’re talking about an immortal being here, who precedes time and controls an entire dimension’s worth of magic.
If you were challenged to come up with the most powerful being the human mind could conceive of, you might dream of Dormammu.
How he got his Powers: Inherent to being an immortal interdimensional demon
Did you Know? Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Doctor Strange, also did the motion-capture work for Dormammu’s animation.
Powers: Superhuman Strength, Durability, Speed, Stamina, Agility, Healing; Longevity; Assorted Additional Powers Relating To Infinity Stones (Reality Manipulation, Illusions, Matter Manipulation, Biological Manipulation, Soul Manipulation, Time Manipulation)
Purely as a Titan, before gaining further power, Thanos might not have quite ranked as a top-five most powerful MCU villain. As we come to know him throughout the Infinity saga however, he gains more and more power, to the point that he rivals and arguably even outstrips Dormammu.
With his successful collection of the Infinity Stones, Thanos gains the ability not only to perform ‘The Snap’, but to bend virtually every conceivable aspect of reality to his will. He’s all-powerful in terms of pure capability.
Thanos is only defeated because he fails to see some of the possibilities the Avengers exploit (and which Doctor Strange explores on his own journey ahead through time).
How he got his Powers: Born of Titan; Gains power with each Infinity Stone he possesses.
Weapons: Sword, switchblade, scepter, Infinity Gauntlet
Did you Know? Apparently, Thanos is precisely 8-foot-3. This compares to the comic version, which for some reason is 6-foot-7.
Powers: Omnipotence; Omniscience; Immortality… Seriously just All Of The Powers
How can we argue with an immortal cosmic judge?
Arishem exists to determine if planets are worthy of living on, or ought to be destroyed. He is too large, powerful, and high-minded to really act like a villain. He doesn’t exactly get personal about things. But he does initially plot to sacrifice Earth via the use of his planted Celestial, Ikaris.
One does wonder why Arishem doesn’t just punt planets into oblivion when the time comes. He seems unusually preoccupied with the process. Still, his power is almost incomprehensible, so we rank him as the second strongest Marvel villain ever.
How he got his Powers: Born the Prime Celestial
Weapons: None, unless we count other Celestials as his weapons
Did you Know? The design for Arishem was pulled from Eson the Searcher – a different Celestial from Marvel Comics.
1) Kang the Conqueror
To list no powers for Kang is complicated. As far as we can tell in the MCU so far, he has no inherent powers. Rather, his journeys through time and the multiverse have exposed him to limitless knowledge. He has also crafted a suit of armor that lends him superhuman abilities, energy manipulation capabilities, and so on.
So why does Kang deserve the very top spot on the list? The answer is the same one the MCU appears to use for most everything these days, for better or worse: the multiverse.
Kang does not seem like the deadliest villain in a fight. We just saw him lose to a stampede of large ants in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, after all.
Because he exists in forms across universes, hops about as he pleases, and chooses the realities that suit his needs, however, he must be considered the MCU’s strongest villain.
The other villains listed here exist in known forms in a core universe. But Kang is all Kangs. His villainy contains all possibilities. He is the most powerful MCU villain of all time.
How he got his Powers: N/A
Did you Know? Kang, aka Nathaniel Richards, is related in the comics to Reed Richards, a.k.a. Mr. Fantastic.
As stated at the start of this long list of MCU baddies, there are no absolutely ‘right’ answers to the question of Marvel’s most powerful villains. At this stage of the MCU, though, this list certainly makes some sense.
Agree with our choices? Think we’re crazy for a few? Let us know how you would rank the strongest MCU villains in the comments below…
There are some sections of this article that were written by Jordan Page.
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