Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is officially in theaters! With that movie out, I decided that it is time for a new MCU ranking. I've already ranked the movies and the villains, so naturally, the heroes were next. There may be characters that are considered heroes that are not on this list. I didn't include most of the love interests. I did include Loki. So, yeah. Here's my ranking of the MCU heroes.
Spoiler alert: the bottom tier is basically all of the Eternals. Ajak is the worst of the bunch...because she isn't even really in the movie. Because of the way the story is told, she dies before we meet her. We don't care about her death. And, in the flashbacks, she just comes off as an unlikable and bland leader of the Eternals. I don't think we'll ever see her again, and I am just fine with that.
Kingo is another horrible member of the Eternals. He's the comic relief for most of the movie, and, while I like Kumail Nanjiani, I think that he wasn't that funny. He wasn't really that likable, either. And, to make matters so much worse, he just disappears before the final battle. Instead of helping his "family" out in defeating Ikaris and the Celestial, Kingo wusses out and just leaves before the final battle. He's terrible.
While Kingo and Ajak are terrible characters, they both have at least something interesting about their character. Ajak is the leader. Kingo has cool powers. Sersi is just so boring. As the protagonist for Eternals, she is just ridiculously bland. I am legitimately shocked that the writers of this film thought she'd be the best fit to lead. She's so forgettable. She doesn't really have an arc. She's just so boring. I don't know what else to say.
I know. I've never loved Groot. He's kind of a beloved character, but at the same time...he's not really that interesting. Of course, he has a very meaningful sacrifice in Guardians of the Galaxy. He's adorable in Guardians 2. But teenage Groot sucks. And he hasn't really had anything to do since the first Guardians, so I can't really put him much higher.
Surprise! Another Eternal. Druig had a potentially interesting character arc, but, since Eternals is an overcrowded movie with way too many plot lines and characters, he wasn't developed nearly enough. I think the idea of someone who still uses their powers to control humans is an interesting one. His motivation is understandable. But, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't end up meaning anything. So he's not really as interesting as he should be.
Mantis is strange. She's really funny, but, otherwise, I've found her to be kind of weird and just annoying. They've never really tried to make her a compelling character. I think there's more to explore from her time with Ego, but that's never a route that Marvel has wanted to go. I kind of wish they did more with Mantis, because she could be more than just odd comic relief, but they haven't, so I can't put her any higher.
Gilgamesh and Thena are two of the better Eternals. That said, that's not a very high bar...at all. I don't think the performance here is great. I like that he actually has emotions and seems to care for Thena as well as some of the other Eternals. But, once again, this movie is overcrowded, so his eventual death doesn't hit as hard as it should. He had potential, but they wasted it like they did with every character from this movie.
Thena is, again, one of the more compelling Eternals. Her character stands out amongst the others because she has this condition where she becomes possessed and attacks the rest of the group. This leads to an interesting inner conflict...that isn't explored enough and ends up being underdeveloped. What else can I say? That's the case with all of the Eternals.
Phastos is definitely the most compelling of the Eternals. He's one of the few Eternals who has settled in with humanity. He has a husband. A son. And he just wants to be at peace. I thought the scene where he watches Hiroshima was heart-breaking. It was the most emotion I felt throughout the entire movie. Brian Tyree Henry is very good. I think this character, while still underdeveloped, has an emotional resonance that the other Eternals do not have.
36. Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver
I appreciate Quicksilver for the impact that he's had on Wanda's journey, but Pietro just kind of shows up and then dies. They never really explore him. In Age of Ultron, Wanda and Pietro are presented as a package deal. They're kind of one character. They both stay together and work for Ultron before deciding to work with the Avengers. Pietro's sacrifice is kind of annoying, because I think he could've been an interesting character. But, since he dies really fast, I can't really put him higher.
Makkari is my favorite Eternal. Not because she has some kind of massive character arc. She probably actually has the least screentime. But she was charming and extremely likable. I don't know why, but I just loved her. She was so likable. Her relationship with Druig was cute and had all these fun moments. I really thought they did a good job of integrating a deaf superhero into this group. It doesn't make sense that she's deaf, but they did a good job with that regardless. Not a super memorable character. Not really a good character. But definitely the best of the Eternals.
34. Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel
When I think of Captain Marvel, I think of one word: lame. Captain Marvel is not a very good movie, and it doesn't present the character in an interesting way. Brie Larson feels like a cardboard cutout of the character. Then, in Endgame, she's presented as an egotistical wad of crap that decides to just dip on the Avengers and then just returns for the final battle. I don't really like her that much. Hopefully they improve her character in The Marvels.
33. Hope van Dyne / Wasp
Wasp is alright. Like a lot of the bottom tier of Marvel heroes, she hasn't really had time to develop. She was in Ant-Man as a side character and then thrusted into the forefront in Ant-Man and the Wasp. I like her. But she just hasn't really done anything that interesting. I do think her character can and will be improved in Quantumania.
32. Uatu the Watcher
I actually really dig the Watcher. He's a very fun character that becomes bigger and bigger throughout What If...?. I love that they introduced him as this Rod Serling-esc narrator and then slowly had him take form as he becomes the true main protagonist of What If...?. Jeffrey Wright's vocal performance is pretty great. He's not a major character in the MCU, but he's definitely a fun addition to What If...?.
Valkyrie is a good character. I really enjoy Tessa Thompson in the role. Her inclusion in Ragnarok definitely elevates the film. Her character arc is meaningful as she overcomes being a drunk scavenger on Sakaar and returns to her former glory as a Valkyrie. She's not a super prominent character. But I think she will climb up this list after future appearances.
Wong is a great side character. As a companion of Doctor Strange, he works. Benedict Wong is funny and likable in the role, and his constant banter with Strange is just tons of fun to watch. I like having more sorcerers in the MCU. Kamar-Taj is one of the most interesting places in the MCU, so the more characters you have come from there, the merrier. He is a side character, so I can't put him much higher, but I really do like him.
29. Nick Fury
Nick Fury is the Yoda of the MCU. He's the one who started it all. Samuel L. Jackson is perfectly cast in this role. He's a good leader for the Avengers that has character flaws. His ego and his determination to choose the mission over anything else leads to some problems in The Avengers and The Winter Soldier. He's not really the main character in any of the movies, but I am very excited to see his return in Secret Invasion.
28. America Chavez / Miss America
The newest MCU heroine is great. Xochitl Gomez's America Chavez is one of the highlights of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Her character arc is not the defining arc of the movie, but she's given a lot to do for a character that's essentially a plot device. She's very intriguing, because I think they could use her in some crazy ways in future installments. She's a fun addition to the MCU that I am excited to see more of.
27. Rocket Raccoon
Rocket Raccoon is a character I want highlighted in Guardians 3. He seems to have a tragic backstory that has been implied but never really explored. Either way, he's still a very good character. The fact that they make a scruffy raccoon a fan favorite is hilarious. Bradley Cooper's vocal performance suits the character perfectly. The Guardians are a fun group, because they are a bunch of misfits, but they work together as a family, and I love seeing Rocket feel that in Endgame. He will (hopefully) climb this list after Guardians 3.
26. Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier
Bucky is one of the most fun characters in the MCU, but also one of the most broken. His dry sense of humor fits the tone of his films perfectly, but I also really like his struggle to repay the debt that he owes after being the murderous Winter Soldier for so many years. It's an interesting arc that I feel like has more to explore, but I also don't think Marvel will go that route. I really like this character, but I wish I liked him more than I do.
25. Peggy Carter
Peggy is the main motivation for Captain America to keep fighting. She's charming, likable, and strong. Despite not being one of the more prominent MCU characters, she's a very important figure inside of the universe. She's a founder of S.H.I.E.L.D., which is impressive in and of itself. I've never watched Agent Carter, so I can't speak for her character in that. But she's great in the general MCU.
Nebula is one of the characters that I feel Marvel has done the best job of redeeming. She's horrible in Guardians of the Galaxy. You hate her. But, in Guardians 2, they give her motivation. We get a sympathetic backstory. And she spends Infinity War and Endgame trying to fight Thanos instead of appease him. That's a really powerful arc that I think is sometimes overlooked. I don't love Karen Gillan and I don't think Nebula is prominent enough to be higher, but I do really enjoy this character.
I don't like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, but Simu Liu's titular hero is one of the better Marvel heroes. He's complex. He's not perfect. He's had to do horrible things, but he understands that. When juxtaposed with our villain, we sympathize with him even more. All he wants is to be happy and save his father from the path he's going down. I really cannot wait to see more of this character, even if I don't really like his movie.
22. James Rhodes / War Machine
War Machine is a character that I've always wanted more of. He does kind of feel like a sidekick to Iron Man, which I've never loved, but I do actually really enjoy the character. He's been with Tony since the beginning. He's stuck with him through all the highs and all the lows, and eventually joins the Avengers. He's just charming and always likable. Don Cheadle brings a fun presence to the screen that I've always liked. I cannot wait to see him star in Armor Wars.
Gamora is a powerful character. Her backstory is sad. Her relationship with Thanos is complex. One of the best moments in the MCU is when she thinks she's killed Thanos. She starts crying, showing that she cares for Thanos, even though he's a sociopath. He's been a good father to her. Her death is one of the saddest moments in Infinity War. There's no chance that it stays permanent, but I do think it would be more powerful if she did stay dead.
20. Marc Spector / Steven Grant / Moon Knight
Moon Knight is a great new addition to the MCU. He's just a really cool looking character. But beyond that costume, there's so much depth and complexity. Marc Spector and Steven Grant are two very different characters that share the same good characteristics. We understand his trauma and why he is the way that he is. He's a darkly compelling character, and I cannot wait to see him in future installments.
20. Drax the Destroyer
Drax the Destroyer is probably the funniest character in the MCU. Dave Bautista's sarcastic seriousness absolutely works. Behind all of the comedy, though, there's a legitimately sad backstory that sometimes gets overshadowed by how funny this dude is. Drax's wife and daughter will violently murdered by Thanos, and he's on a quest for revenge. Through that quest, he finds a new family in the Guardians of the Galaxy. He's actually kind of an emotional character. He just also happens to be hilarious at the same time.
18. Pepper Potts / Rescue
Pepper is one of the most underrated characters in the MCU. This is how you do a love interest right. She's not a damsel in distress. She stands up to Tony. She tells him when he's wrong. And she's able to stand on her own. She's the one that pushes Tony into rejoining the Avengers in Endgame. I just think she's so underrated. I don't know if we'll ever see her in a major role again, but I want to.
17. Kate Bishop / Hawkeye
Kate was a super fun addition to Hawkeye. She was essentially the main protagonist of that show, and Hailee Steinfeld brought an innocent and youthful charisma that I just loved. Her dynamic with Clint was one of the most fun duos that I've seen. She doesn't really have a major arc, but she's just a really fun character that absolutely steals the show.
I thought Vision was awesome in Age of Ultron and Civil War. The only thing I hate about Infinity War is what they do with his character. But then they redeem him in WandaVision. He's a powerful ally to the Avengers that proves to be the emotional core of Infinity War. He then returns in WandaVision and stands up to the woman he loves. He fights beside her, but he also knows that what she's doing is wrong, and isn't afraid to tell her that. I'm sure we'll see him again as White Vision, but I'm happy where his character is right now.
15. Clint Barton / Hawkeye
Hawkeye was one of the most underutilized characters in the MCU, but then his show gave him plenty of space to develop. I think his character vastly improves in Endgame and beyond. Instead of being the forgotten Avenger that wasn't in Infinity War, he's a broken man that lost everything. When he gets his family back, he still has to pay for his time as the Ronin, and deals with some very powerful threats. Jeremy Renner is great, and I really hope we get more of him in the future.
14. Bruce Banner / Hulk
Part of what I find interesting about the MCU is how they change the hierarchy of their characters. Before the MCU, Hulk was way more popular than Iron Man or Black Widow or Thor or Ant-Man. Which leads me to my point: I think Hulk should be one of the best characters in the MCU. And he's not. He's a great character. But I always feel like he's been sidelined. Obviously, his origin and inner struggle makes for one of the most intriguing characters in the Marvel lore, but I just feel like they haven't explored it to the extent that they could. I still love him. He's still great. But he isn't top tier.
13. Yelena Belova / Black Widow
It's telling that Yelena has been in two MCU projects and is already this high. She's probably going to be our new Black Widow going forward, and I am all for that. Florence Pugh gives one of the absolute best and funniest performances while also bringing an amazing level of emotion and anger to this character. She balances all of this with an absolutely scene-stealing character that I'm dying for more of.
12. Peter Quill / Star-Lord
Star-Lord is easily the best of the Guardians. The first film starts off with this tragic opening scene that depicts the death of his mother. He then gets captured by the Ravagers and spends his entire life as a lonely scavenger that's looking for a family. And, once again, that's what I love about the Guardians. They are a family. After years, Star-Lord is able to find this weird family in the Guardians of the Galaxy. I can't wait to see how they continue his character in Thor: Love and Thunder and in Guardians 3.
11. Sam Wilson / Falcon
I was never a huge fan of Falcon. I always thought of him like the War Machine to Captain America, and I felt like that didn't ever really work. However, as soon as Steve passes him the shield at the end of Endgame, I started to really love this character. And he gets tons of development in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. We see his inner struggle as a black man trying to take up the mantle of Captain America. He's a powerful character with tons of social commentary behind him, and should absolutely be one of the central figures going forward.
10. Scott Lang / Ant-Man
Ant-Man is tied with Drax for the funniest character in the MCU. He's just great. In the first two Ant-Man installments, he's a goofball that just wants to be there for his daughter but continually screws up. By the end of that movie, he's able to become the superhero that his daughter always saw him as. He's one of the major players in Endgame, and I give him kudos for that. Quantumania is probably the MCU movie I'm most excited for after Multiverse of Madness. I cannot wait to see Ant-Man again.
9. Loki Laufeyson
Whether you like it or not, Loki is a hero at this point. He will still appear on my villains list, but he is absolutely a protagonist. And I actually really love that. I don't love the ridiculous number of fake-out deaths that he has. But, otherwise, he's an awesome character. His journey from villain to anti-hero to full on hero has been one of the best in the MCU. It was all summed up well in Loki, where he underwent his entire character arc again, but in a really well done way. I'm pumped for season two of his show. And maybe he'll make an appearance in Love and Thunder. Who knows?
8. Thor Odinson
Thor is another character that I didn't love until the later phases of the MCU. I think the first few years of Thor suffered from the MCU still trying to find its footing. He was written as this extremely serious god that felt straight out of Shakespeare. Ragnarok did a massive swing and turned Thor into a comedic character while also showing the amazing range of power that he has. This is a character who has lost everything, but continues to be a great leader. The trailer for Love and Thunder teased some interesting directions for him, and I cannot where they take his character from here.
7. Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Nat is the best supporting character in the MCU. Yes, she has her own movie, but they gave it to her way too late and it didn't end up being that good. This is another broken character that has done terrible things, and is paying off her debt by being an Avenger. Her sacrifice in Endgame, while not as powerful as Iron Man's, is still one of the most devastating but also most satisfying moments in the MCU. I'm still a little bit annoyed that she never got the solo movie she deserved when she deserved it, but she's an incredible character.
6. T'Challa / Black Panther
Black Panther leaves me at a loss for words. They start off his journey in Captain America: Civil War as he watches his father die. His quest for revenge is halted when he sees how the Avengers have broken down and lost it because of vengeance, and he goes into Black Panther as he learns how to be king of Wakanda. His character arc in that movie is inspirational, as he is actually able to learn from our villain. The loss of Chadwick Boseman is a hole that will never be filled. I am devastated that we will never see more of this character and of Chadwick Boseman, but he gave us one of the best superheroes of all time.
5. Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch has had the most tragic journey in the MCU. She's been a broken character from the beginning, but she's always had good intentions. However, she's never been fully good and never fully bad. She operates very much in a gray area. Her character arc is just so emotional and so sad. You understand her stance in WandaVision, and you understand the tragedy that carries over to her arc in Multiverse of Madness. I hope to God she is not dead, because I love this character and I love Elizabeth Olsen in the role. I want more Wanda, and I feel like we can definitely do more with her in future movies.
4. Doctor Stephen Strange
Doctor Strange should be the next Iron Man. He has shown in multiple movies that he's a great leader but has flaws that can result in bad things happening. He seems to know the most about the Marvel universe, so it would only make sense for him to be the face of the MCU going forward. Besides all that, Strange is just cool. His ego and narcissistic nature make for an interesting character, but we also see how he continues to save lives through magic. He has the coolest power set in the MCU. The action and visuals that accompany him are awesome. And Benedict Cumberbatch is just perfect. I am always in the mood for more Doctor Strange, and I really hope he's very prominent in the next phases of the MCU.
3. Steve Rogers / Captain America
If pure good was summed up in one character, it would be Captain America. His arc is just so powerful. It starts off when he crashes the plane into the ice and sacrifices himself for the good of humanity. He wakes up as a man out of time and decides to still continue to do good. Through Winter Soldier and Civil War, he becomes distrusting of the government, leading to conflict with Iron Man. But he continues to fight for good. All of this leads to Endgame, where he shows he is worthy of Thor's hammer, never gives up, and beats Thanos. When he travels back in time to return the infinity stones, he commits the first act of selfishness he's ever committed and stays in his time to be with Peggy. The final shot of Endgame gives me chills just thinking about it. Eight years after he crashed the plane into the ice before promising Peggy a dance, he is able to finally dance with her. I mean. That's just perfection. The top three is basically tied for me. I think all three of these characters are basically perfect.
2. Peter Parker / Spider-Man
Spider-Man was always interesting to me, because he was always fun, but he never felt like the traditional version of Peter Parker that I knew and loved. I loved this different version, but it always felt like something was missing. And then No Way Home came out. And he learns the cardinal lesson of being Spider-Man: With great power comes great responsibility. Instead of teaching Peter that lesson in one movie, they stretch it out over a few movies, which was absolutely genius. No Way Home cemented Tom Holland as my favorite Spidey, and it's not really even close. I cannot wait to see him as the traditional Spider-Man. It's gonna be awesome.
1. Tony Stark / Iron Man
Iron Man is my favorite movie hero of all time. Just on the surface: he looks awesome. He's so charming. Robert Downey Jr. gives one of the most iconic performances of all time. His skill set is cool. He's a great leading man for the MCU. Those qualities already make him a great character. But what makes him the best is his arc. From the first Iron Man, he's arrogant. He's egotistical. In The Avengers, Cap says to him "You're not the one to make the sacrifice play". And, after the Blip, he's able to settle. He was positively affected by Thanos' snap. He had a daughter. He got five years of happiness...but he gives that up to save a suffering world. He does make the sacrifice play. He snaps his fingers and dies to destroy Thanos and his army. It leaves me speechless every time I think about this character. He's perfect. I love him. Spider-Man and Doctor Strange are great, but no character will ever de-throne Iron Man as the best MCU hero.