The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to move in an intergalactic direction. The first three phases of the MCU have been dubbed the “Infinity Saga” by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. This era of the MCU focuses on the formation of the Avengers and how they battle the alien leader Thanos (Josh Brolin). Thanos searched the universe for the six “Infinity Stones,” which gave him the power to complete his “Infinity Gauntlet.”
It doesn’t look like Thanos will be the last fearsome alien that the Avengers and their new allies will have to face. The upcoming MCU films “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” and “The Marvels” will introduce new alien characters. When you consider all of the upcoming television shows set in the MCU coming to Disney+, it has never been a better time to be a Marvel fan.
Anyone who grew up reading Marvel comics has dreamed of seeing their favorite characters face off on the big screen. The question of “Who is the most powerful?” is a popular debate. Here are the most powerful aliens in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ranked.
Jeff Goldblum is a very idiosyncratic actor. Based on his public persona, Goldblum may note seem like a natural choice to play one of the most powerful characters in the MCU. However, Goldblum’s inherent goofiness makes him perfect for the role of the Grandmaster in 2017’s “Thor: Ragnarok.”
Writer-director Taika Waititi took advantage of Goldblum’s sense of humor, and together they created one of the funniest characters in the MCU. The Grandmaster is an eccentric leader who rules the planet Sakaar with an iron fist. The Grandmaster’s slaves (or “prisoners with jobs,” as he calls them) have constructed massive monuments in his honor. He stages entertainment events in which his “champions” face off in front of large crowds. It’s here where Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) battle each other for the first time since Banner accidentally unleashed “The Hulk” back in 2012’s “The Avengers.”
Although the Grandmaster is an influential alien leader, he’s not the brightest character in the universe. The Grandmaster’s regime is disrupted when Thor, Hulk, and their new ally Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) team up to escape. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) deceives the Grandmaster and infiltrates his inner circle.
King Laufey (Colm Feore) is the ruler of the dreaded Frost Giants, a powerful race of humanoids that come from the planet Jotunheim. Thor’s father, Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins), waged war against the Frost Giants during his long reign as the King of Asgard. Although Odin managed to subdue the threats to Asgard, the Frost Giants weren’t finished creating chaos in the Nine Realms. Laufey held on to his animosity and only reluctantly agreed to Odin’s peace treaty. In “Thor,” it is revealed that Loki is Laufey’s son. Loki offers to help Laufey assassinate Odin.
While Laufey is a cunning warlord, he is easily deceived by Loki. Loki is the greatest trickster in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even though Laufey and his warriors are able to enter Asgard, Loki ultimately betrays his biological father. Laufey is so intent on getting revenge that he can’t see his son’s betrayal coming.
In 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” Thor is forced to team up with Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel). However, he also requires the assistance of one of Thanos’ victims, Eitri (Peter Dinklage). Eitri is the ancient King of the Dwarves.
Before the events of “Avengers: Infinity War,” the Dwarves were among Odin’s greatest allies. They helped the king forge Thor’s hammer, Mjølnir. Mjølnir is passed down by members of the royal family, and can only be wielded by those that are worthy. However, Thanos noticed the Dwarves’ incredible forging abilities. He invaded their home and enslaved them. Thanos forced the Dwarves to construct the Infinity Gauntlet.
The Dwarves were massacred. Eitri was their only survivor. Eitri reveals his tragic backstory to Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and agrees to help him build another powerful weapon. Using the power of the star Nidavellir’s rings, Eitri helps Thor construct Stormbreaker.
Eitri is physically strong. He is also emotionally resilient. Despite the tragedy that was inflicted upon his people, Eitri is still able to help those in need when they ask for his help. The Avengers would not have been able to unite without Eitri’s contributions.
Ronan The Accuser
Even though it is a great movie, 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” features one of the least interesting villains in the franchise. Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) is a generic space warlord. If you were underwhelmed by the characterization of the Kree character, you are not alone. “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn lamented that “there is some messy villain plot stuff in the first movie” that he would like to “deal with again.”
Although Ronan might not be the most interesting character, that doesn’t mean that he isn’t a powerful threat to the heroes. 2019’s “Captain Marvel” reveals that Ronan and Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) planned to massacre the Skrulls. He isn’t averse to committing genocide. It’s only through Ronan’s cruelty that the Guardians unite, as Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), and Rocket Raccoon have no reason to team up initially.
Ronan wanted to wipe out the Xandarians through an alliance with Thanos. However, his lust for power dooms him. He is incapable of wielding the Orb and is defeated by the Guardians. Ultimately, he’s just a stepping stone that prepares the Guardians for greater threats.
Few Marvel Cinematic Universe characters have had to deal with as many challenges as Nebula (Karen Gillan). Nebula is a powerful Luphomoid warrior with a cynical perspective on the universe. However, Nebula’s pessimism is completely understandable given her tragic upbringing. Nebula’s family was murdered by Thanos who adopted her as his daughter and trained her and Gamora as his assassins. Nebula and Gamora grow up enemies.
Despite her emotional strength and combat abilities, Nebula’s power is often taken advantage of. She serves as one of Ronan’s strongest supporters during his search for the Orb and questions her role in the universe after the Guardians’ victory. Nebula holds on to her hatred for Gamora and attempts to kill her once more. They ultimately begin to understand each other. Seeing these characters discuss their shared trauma and ultimately working together is one of the most powerful storylines within the MCU.
Nebula will play an important role in the future of the MCU. Hopefully, she will finally be granted personal agency after all that she has suffered. Nebula ranks lower because she is still assessing what her role in the new Guardians of the Galaxy will be.
The God of Thunder is one of the most well-developed characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A true sign of power is learning from your mistakes and confronting the errors of your past. Thor has to constantly reassess what his role is in the Nine Realms. Is he fit to be a King? Is he worthy of wielding Mjølnir? Is he a valuable asset to the Avengers? Does he truly care for his adopted brother, Loki? Thor isn’t strong just because of his superhuman strength, speed, and durability. He has grown into his role as both a responsible leader and a brave hero.
In 2011’s “Thor,” the titular character is arrogant and believes that his birthright will inherently make him worthy of wielding Mjølnir. It takes being stripped of his powers and banished to Earth to teach him that this is not the case. In 2013’s “Thor: The Dark World,” Thor forgives Loki for his misdeeds. In 2017’s “Thor: Ragnarok,” Thor realizes that he holds Asgard’s future in his hands. He decides that he will not follow in his father’s footsteps and learns that “Asgard’s not a place, it’s a people.”
In an amusing yet emotionally impactful storyline in 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame,” Thor becomes overweight following his failure to stop Thanos in 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War.” Thor becomes stronger because he is forced to face all the demons from his past, including the death of his mother, Frigga (Rene Russo).
The firstborn child of Odin proves to be more than a match for her siblings. Hela Odinsdottir (Cate Blanchett) serves as the chief executor for her father, and the Goddess of Death. Since childhood, Hela was trained to be cruel. She represents the imperialism and corruption that exist during Odin’s reign. If Thor was able to take on his father’s best qualities, Hela adopted all of Odin’s worst traits. She is remorseless, callous, and selfish.
Hela is also no slouch when it comes to fighting. Like her brother, Hela possesses incredible strength, endurance, and agility. When Thor initially tries to confront her, Hela shatters Mjølnir. She assumes control of Asgard and promises to return the kingdom to its warlike ways. Hela is a charismatic leader. She promotes Skurge (Karl Urban) to be her new executioner, and those who dare to stand up to her are demolished.
However, Hela ultimately ranks lower on the list because she is so obsessed with power that she fails to become a truly great leader. Thor understands that leadership takes patience, empathy, and a good sense of humor. Hela still ranks higher than her brother because Thor needs the help of Bruce Banner, Valkyrie, Loki, and Skurge to stand up to her.
Following the release of 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” one question dominated Marvel fans’ minds: Who is Peter Quill’s father? The casting of Kurt Russell seemed perfect. “Guardians of the Galaxy” pays tribute to the 1970s and 1980s with its idiosyncratic soundtrack and popular culture references. Why not bring in one of the greatest action stars from that generation? Russell’s casting ended up being subversive. While initially Peter is amazed by the powers that Ego has, he soon realizes that the space pirate Yondu (Michael Rooker) was the man who raised him.
Ego is a powerful being and a member of the Celestial race. Ego tells his son that he’ll even refer to himself as a god when he’s “feeling humble.” With the power to manipulate matter and create a humanoid persona, Ego planned to commit genocide on the universe so that he could remake it in his own image. The reason Ego ranks lower on this list is that he’s so selfish that he can be outwitted by a gang of misfits. Ego doesn’t understand why Peter wouldn’t want to join him, but Peter realizes that being a good person is more important than being a god.
Loki is one of the most complex characters within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He is the biological child of the Frost Giant Laufey but was raised as an Asgardian by Odin. As a result, Loki has the stamina and durability of a Frost Giant but learned the strong leadership qualities of his adopted father. His adopted mother, Frigga, taught him how to wield magic. Loki learns how to deceive others. His tricks are often effective. Loki’s tragic upbringing gives him a hardened perspective on the universe.
However, Loki has never been nurtured. His arrested development makes him self-centered, and he’s guilty of often playing too many pranks at once. Loki is so convinced that he’ll be able to get Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Thor, Bruce Banner, and Black Widow to hate each other in 2012s “The Avengers” that he’s shocked to see them work past their differences to come together and defeat him. Loki lacks faith in others and underestimates the power of compassion.
The mysterious group of omnipotent beings known as the Watchers may be the most powerful characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but they rank lower on the list because there’s simply not that much that we know about them. In the comics, Uatu the Watcher is an ancient being who became an ally to the Fantastic Four. However, Uatu and the other individual Watchers from the comics have yet to appear in the MCU. The Marvel Studios films often play fast and loose with the original source material, so it’s unfair to rank the Watchers any higher based on their comic book incarnations alone.
However, the MCU did give fans a taste of the Watchers and their powers in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” A group of Watchers receives information from an informant (Stan Lee) in one of the MCU’s best post-credit scenes. James Gunn included this as a reference to the popular fan theory that Lee’s cameos were all connected.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had a recurring problem. Many of the films fall apart during their third acts. It’s not entertaining to watch two similarly powered characters battle after you have seen it countless times before in other superhero movies. 2016’s “Doctor Strange” is one of the rare MCU films that avoided this issue. Steven Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) outwits his opponent, Dormammu, instead of just fighting him.
Dormammu is a powerful entity that rules the Dark Dimension. Dormammu uses his power of influence to recruit the sorcerer Kaecilus (Mads Mikkelsen) into joining his plan to bring the Dark Dimension to Earth. While Dormammu has powers that can fundamentally change reality, Strange uses the Eye of Agamotto to trap him in a time loop. Dormammu finds various ways of killing Strange, only to see him appear again. Perhaps if Dormammu had gone up against a less clever opponent, he would have ranked higher on the list. Given that his most evil plan didn’t work, Dormammu sits comfortably at #5.
Kang The Conqueror
Some of the most important characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been introduced in the streaming shows created for Disney+. Although it is mostly a fun adventure, the “Loki” series ended up introducing a potentially game-changing new character that could affect the future of the franchise. Jonathan Majors appears as Nathaniel Richards, one of the many variants of the villain Kang the Conqueror.
Fans of the comic books know that Kang is a powerful character with incredible abilities. His influence on the multiverse is enough for him to place as high as #4 on this countdown. Given that we don’t know exactly what Kang will do next, he doesn’t rank any higher. However, Majors will next be seen in 2023’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” which could end up boosting his position. Kang’s full powers have yet to be revealed. Kang is an important figure in the comics, so it’s logical to predict that he will play a major role in the future of the MCU.
This list has already mentioned Odin a few times, and that’s because he’s one of the most influential characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You don’t cast a veteran actor like Anthony Hopkins for a minor part. Hopkins brought depth and intelligence to the character who serves as a mentor and father to both Thor and Loki. Even though Odin is killed by Hela in “Thor: Ragnarok,” the universe is dealing with the fallout of his passing.
Odin was the King of Asgard and the ruler of the Nine Realms. In the first “Thor,” he falls into a deep slumber that thrusts the entire universe into chaos. The Frost Giants feared breaking their peace treaty with Odin but took advantage of his absence to develop their evil plans. When Odin returns, he decides that Thor has finally learned how to be a fitting replacement. This shows that outside of his godly abilities, Odin is a humble and just leader worthy of a high ranking.
Gamora has stood against incredible odds and proved herself worthy of conquering them. When she is first introduced in 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Gamora has already endured immense pain. She suffered abuse at the hands of Thanos, who raised her to be an assassin. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has made many questionable decisions regarding its female characters, but “Avengers: Infinity War” does a good job at handling how Gamora wrestles with her past. Even though Thanos claims to “love” her, the film does not attempt to absolve him of the terrible things that he has done.
Gamora is the ultimate survivor. She emerges from battles with Ronan and Ego, and even after Thanos throws her to her death in “Avengers: Infinity War,” an alternate version of Gamora appears in “Avengers: Endgame.” She reunites with Peter Quill. Regardless of the memories that the new Gamora possesses, she is skilled in hand-to-hand combat. She’s also able to do something that takes incredible strength and determination: She’s able to put up with Chris Pratt being annoying!
Perhaps he is an obvious choice for #1, but Thanos is easily the most powerful character that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has introduced thus far. Even when Thanos does finally perish, his death comes after the Avengers and their allies have been pushed to their physical and emotional limits. Thanos is the character that the first three phases of the MCU were building towards. They are called the “Infinity Saga” because they revolve around Thanos’ goals.
The MCU was born with 2008’s “Iron Man,” so it makes sense that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) would only die after giving his life to defeat the ultimate enemy. The fact that Thanos could only be defeated by the entire extended team of characters shows what a fearsome opponent he is. Individually, they might not stand a chance, but working together, they can stand up to true evil. Thanos’ impact is still felt in phase four. The entire universe has to adjust to what life after “the snap” looks like.
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