If there’s one thing Thanos proved in Avengers: Infinity War, it’s that he is one of the strongest and most capable characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His depiction on screen isn’t much different than his comic book counterpart. He’s one impressive character who succeeded in defeating the Avengers, Asgardians, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as many more characters off-screen.
He appears to be the strongest being in the MCU, but just why is Thanos so strong? That’s largely due to his access to the Infinity Stones. There are still some characters who are technically stronger than he is. Given the right conditions, some members of the Avengers could have beaten the Mad Titan were he not so advantaged due to the Infinity Stones. On his own, Thanos is still an incredibly powerful character with a number of abilities making him stronger than most people he comes into contact with.
When it comes to determining who is stronger than Thanos (and who is weaker), it’s important to take a look through the comics as well as the films for the abilities that might not have yet been showcased on screen. While it’s nearly impossible to cover every character in the MCU as it grows, this group makes for compelling entries to examine Thanos’ strength against.
Updated on July 26th, 2021 by Amanda Bruce: As the MCU continues to grow and expand into the far reaches of space and even new timelines, new characters, and new versions of old characters, will come to the screen. Thanos might not be the big bad moving forward, but his presence – and the results of his action – loom so large in the MCU that the strength of different characters will be measured against his ability to defeat the Avengers for years to come.
24 WEAKER: STAR-LORD
Star-Lord might have some planetary power stored deep within him in the MCU, but he doesn’t truly know how to wield it just yet. Instead, he relies on his human-level brute force and familiarity with a wide range of firearms in a fight.
It doesn’t help that, unlike Thanos, he isn’t able to keep calm and maintain focus in a fight. His emotions tend to get the better of him, as fans witnessed in Avengers: Infinity War. There’s no way Peter Quill is taking Thanos down in a one-on-one fight when his lack of focus with half-a-dozen allies alongside him cost them a win.
23 STRONGER: CAPTAIN MARVEL
Fans actually got to see Captain Marvel join the fight against Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, and it’s pretty clear from her brief attempt at keeping the Infinity Gauntlet away from him that she’s stronger than he thinks.
Her power set involves absorbing and redirecting energy. She’s essentially a conduit for power, making her own force pretty much limitless. The only reason she couldn’t defeat Thanos in Endgame was because of the number of outside weapons and the literal army used against her. If they faced off, Thanos wouldn’t stand a chance.
22 WEAKER: FALCON/CAPTAIN AMERICA
He might be going by Captain America as Steve Rogers’ successor, but his power set remains the same in both roles. Sam Wilson isn’t someone with super strength or other super abilities. He doesn’t have the physical strength to take on a Titan.
That doesn’t mean Sam’s flying skills wouldn’t come in handy against Thanos. It just means he’d have to spend most of his energy evading the enemy instead of actually fighting back.
21 STRONGER: THE TVA
With the airing of the first season of Loki, it’s clear that the MCU’s Time Variance Authority holds a lot of power, even if Loki and Sylvie shake things up for them. Within their headquarters, for example, the Infinity Stones are just paperweights.
That means Thanos wouldn’t even be able to use his preferred weapons against them if he happened to violate their sacred timeline rules. It also helps that the entirety of the TVA is armed with weapons that allow them to “prune” people from the timeline. If they took Thanos on in their own house, they’d have him out of commission in no time.
20 WEAKER: DRAX
Drax is arguably one of the best characters in the MCU, and his portrayal by Dave Bautista is absolutely excellent. When compared to the comic book character he’s based on, however, he’s incredibly weak. In the comics, Drax is not only much stronger than his on-screen counterpart, he was essentially created to defeat Thanos.
Looking back at his performance on screen, Ronan beat him handily in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film and he didn’t fare well against Thanos when the two finally met. He certainly has the heart to combat the Mad Titan, but when it comes to a blow-to-blow comparison, Thanos is much stronger than Drax the Destroyer.
19 STRONGER: THOR
Thor has proven himself time and time again on the big screen. Is Thor stronger than Thanos? As the Asgardian God of Thunder, he has gone toe-to-toe with some of the MCU’s biggest and baddest villains. Without a weapon, he is still very strong, having weakened his sister Hela, but he does his best work when he is holding something in his hand.
Though he lost Mjolnir in his initial battle with Hela, he withstood the might of a star to forge Stormbreaker. When he shows up in Wakanda and uses the weapon, he easily defeats his enemies. Had he followed Thanos’ advice and aimed for his head, he would have easily defeated him and prevented the “snap” that culled half the universe. When he follows through with that idea later, it’s a little too late, but it’s proof that he could have won.
18 WEAKER: LOKI
Loki is one of those characters who is constantly defeated but always seems to come back stronger than he was before. He’s a trickster and the Asgardian God of Mischief so enemies would expect him to keep on coming. Even death can’t keep Loki out of the story.
When it came time for Loki to go against the Mad Titan, he was easily grabbed and the life was choked out of him. Granted, Thanos used the powers of the Infinity Gauntlet at the time, but seeing as he had just defeated the Hulk in hand-to-hand combat, it seems likely he would have easily defeated Loki without the weapon.
17 STRONGER: HULK
Across the Marvel Universe, there truly is no character stronger than the Incredible Hulk. Not only is he ridiculously powerful to begin with, he gets stronger the madder he becomes. Over the years, he has only gotten stronger in the comics. While Thanos did defeat him when they came face-to-face in the opening act of Infinity War, let’s not forget Thanos had the Power Stone at the time.
Were the two to go up against one another, the Hulk would easily smash Thanos into the ground. There’s almost no question about it. The Hulk has the upper hand in most situations against Thanos.
16 WEAKER: IRON MAN
Tony Stark held his own against Thanos in the final scenes of Infinity War, but he was ultimately not able to keep up. Through the use of his Bleeding Edge Armor, he was able to withstand a number of the Titan’s blows, but the suit’s nanobots continued to degrade and fall off throughout the battle.
Tony could take on most opponents were he given enough time to prepare, but when comparing Tony and Thanos directly, Tony is the weaker of the two. Even without the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos is far more powerful than any of the suits of armor Tony Stark has invented.
15 STRONGER: SURTUR
Thanos is lucky Surtur was busy smashing the remains of Asgard when he went looking for the Infinity Stones. Surtur is an immensely powerful being who easily defeated Hela and destroyed Asgard at the end of Thor: Ragnarok. Granted, his part in the destruction of Asgard was foretold, but his power was so immense, it’s no surprise he was able to carry out the prophecy and fulfill Ragnarok.
Hela easily defeated the combined might of Asgard herself and seeing as she was quickly dispatched by Surtur, it isn’t unreasonable to assume he would smash Thanos were the two to fight. With the Infinity Gauntlet, it’s not a question, but on his own, there’s no way Thanos could have gone up against Surtur when empowered by the Eternal Flame.
14 WEAKER: BLACK WIDOW
Black Widow has a lot of talents as a result of her Red Room training and, thanks to some Stark-Tech, she has some cool weapons. Unfortunately, she isn’t a match for the likes of Thanos. She definitely proved herself against his minions when they came to Earth looking for Infinity Stones, but when comparing a gifted human with amazing combat skills to someone like Thanos, she doesn’t actually compare.
Her signature move of jumping up and gripping an opponent’s neck to take them down wouldn’t even work on the guy—he’s too big! She could punch and kick him all day — whether he has the Infinity Gauntlet on or not, it’s not going to make any difference. He could simply swat her away like a fly, but he would probably take a moment to appreciate Black Widow’s heroism before doing so.
13 STRONGER: THE ANCIENT ONE
Granted, she no longer exists in the MCU but were the Ancient One to return, or had Thanos gone up against her when she was alive, things might have played out differently in Infinity War. Doctor Strange learned a lot from the Ancient One, but when you compare their talents, he still has much to learn. She was the true Master of the Mystic Arts and her skills in sorcery would have easily matched Thanos.
This is a battle that might have even succeeded with Thanos carrying the Infinity Gauntlet. As we saw in the film, he had some trouble battling Doctor Strange so an even more powerful sorcerer certainly would have a chance against the Mad Titan.
12 WEAKER: HAWKEYE
The audience didn’t get to see Clint Barton in Avengers: Infinity War due to his “retirement,” but he returned for the fight in Endgame. He certainly has a lot of skills, but as he said in Avengers: Age of Ultron, he’s just a guy armed with a bow and arrow.
He’s the best archer in the MCU and could hit anything he aims at, but that doesn’t mean much to Thanos. Imagine if Hawkeye were in the battle at the end of Infinity War. Would Thanos even notice if some arrows were bouncing off him? Probably not. While an arrow to the eye might slow down most people, it would likely be only a minor annoyance to the likes of Thanos who is easily stronger than even the most gifted human.
11 STRONGER: EGO
The Ego presented in the MCU is quite different than the one in the comics, but at the very least, he’s a planet! Not only is he a planet the size of Earth’s Moon, but he’s also a Celestial, which is a being more powerful than any other in the Marvel Universe. Not much is known about the Celestials in the films, but they are a race of immense, often armored beings capable of extraordinary feats in the comics.
As he demonstrated in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, Ego can create matter and energy and use it however he likes. Could Ego beat Thanos? Without the Infinity Gauntlet, Ego vs. Thanos would be a quick match. It’s a good thing he perished before the events of Infinity War or Thanos might have been unable to accomplish his task.
10 WEAKER: CAPTAIN AMERICA
Captain America’s superpowers are that he is the ultimate human. He’s the best athlete, the strongest man, and simply the greatest a human could possibly be. When he stood up to Thanos and grabbed the Infinity Gauntlet to hold him back, Thanos was clearly visibly impressed. Here was a man, granted an incredibly strong and powerful man, but a human nonetheless, who stood up to Thanos and held back the Gauntlet.
While Thanos could have destroyed Captain America, he chose instead to punch him with his non-gloved fist. This knocked out the First Avenger, but it suggests Thanos was so impressed with him, he let him live. Cap may be strong, but as we have seen, he isn’t stronger than Thanos – at least physically.
9 STRONGER: DORMAMMU
When it comes to powerful beings in the MCU, you don’t have to look much further than Dormammu. Hailing from the Dark Dimension, Dormammu made it his goal to infiltrate the MCU and take control of it. Only the Sorcerer Supreme stands in his way and thanks to Doctor Strange and the Time Stone, he was defeated – for a time.
His powers are off the charts and comparable to a god so he is easily stronger than Thanos. Fighting the Mad Titan without the Gauntlet would easily make him a victor, but he may be just as strong or stronger even with the Gauntlet thrown into the mix.
8 WEAKER: BLACK PANTHER
T’Challa, aka the Black Panther, is certainly a strong and powerful human, but at the end of the day, he is just a human with some fancy technology. Black Panther’s powers are similar to those of Steve Rogers; he is the ultimate human in strength and reflexes, but these powers only allow him to stand up to Thanos, not defeat him.
Even with his Vibranium suit, which is capable of absorbing kinetic energy and later releasing it, he is not able to defeat Thanos. Vibranium has its limits and they appear to be the strength and will of Thanos. When comparing the two, Black Panther is almost insignificant against Thanos’ strength and powers.
7 STRONGER: THE SCARLET WITCH
Thanos is a powerful being in his own right, but he required the Infinity Stones to accomplish his goals. Without them, he may be strong, but he is nowhere near as strong as Wanda Maximoff, otherwise known as the Scarlet Witch. While he needs the Stones to use their powers, she was created via a Stone – or at least, her powers were awakened from one as revealed in WandaVision.
She demonstrated this power when she successfully destroyed the Mind Stone held in Vision’s head. Having the power to destroy a Stone is significantly greater than being able to wield one. She even held off Thanos while she did it. Granted, he used the Time Stone to undo what she did, but she clearly demonstrated her strength as greater than Thanos’ in that scene.
6 WEAKER: ANT-MAN
While the audience didn’t get to see Scott Lang as Ant-Man take on Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, he does contribute to the efforts in Endgame. Ant-Man’s strength, despite him learning to use his size to an advantage, is much smaller than Thanos’.
Using human strength as the size of an ant may be a lot when going up against other people, but against Thanos, it’s almost nothing. In terms of strength, Lang doesn’t stand a chance, but when you get to his tech and ability to access the Quantum Realm, he may have an advantage. Only time (and future MCU films) could tell for sure.
5 STRONGER: ODIN
Many people speculated that the reason Thanos never attempted to go after the Stones himself prior to the events of Infinity War was that he feared Odin. If Odin’s accomplishments and power are considered, that’s likely an accurate theory. Odin united the Nine Realms and defeated some of the greatest powers in the universe to become the Kind of Asgard.
In a battle between the two, it’s unlikely Thanos would come out on top. He may be a powerful Titan, but against an Asgardian like Odin, whose power was essentially infinite, there is no way he could have won. It took Odin’s final end for Thanos to initiate his plan and the audience can’t really blame him for that.
4 WEAKER: NOVA CORPS
The Nova Corps was introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy as a powerful group capable of standing up to the likes of Ronan the Accuser. Their work in thwarting his attack against their home planet helped the Guardians of the Galaxy ultimately defeat Ronan. When the battle was over, they took possession of the Power Stone to keep it safe from anyone who might come looking for it.
Thanos himself retrieved the Power Stone from the Nova Corps so they clearly were incapable of stopping him, even when he had no Stones to aid him. Unfortunately, this battle happened off-screen and it was only referenced in Infinity War, but their defeat at his hands clearly demonstrates the Nova Corps was weaker than Thanos.
3 STRONGER: RONAN
Ronan the Accuser was working as a pawn for Thanos as he attempted to acquire the Power Stone from the Guardians of the Galaxy in their first film. When it comes to Ronan vs. Thanos, the former is no weakling.
Ronan clearly demonstrated his ability to wield an Infinity Stone, which is something almost nobody in the universe can do. It nearly destroyed Star-Lord and the rest of the Guardians, but he picked it up and slapped it on his hammer without a problem. Ronan did so in defiance of Thanos so he clearly doesn’t fear him. With his hammer, probably even without the Power Stone attached, Ronan would likely defeat Thanos in combat. Both are powerful to be sure, but Ronan has the slight edge when it comes to strength in combat.
2 WEAKER: VISION
Vision was created with and maintained the Mind Stone within his forehead, but he never truly faced Thanos. In their attempt to remove the Mind Stone from his head with the intent to destroy it, the audience never really got to see the android go up against the Mad Titan. When the two did meet, he was easily picked up and destroyed when Thanos plucked the Stone from his head, but what might have happened were they to fight normally?
Sadly, the audience will never know, but given what’s been shown, it is apparent that Vision, even with an Infinity Stone affixed to his head, is weaker in comparison to Thanos. Thanos really did just pick Vision up like a rag doll when he pulled the Stone from his head. It wasn’t even a challenge.
1 STRONGER: DOCTOR STRANGE
Doctor Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme and the Master of the Mystic Arts. While he isn’t as powerful as The Ancient One, he can certainly stand his ground against a being such as Thanos. Many have speculated that he allowed Thanos to win the fight as that “was the only way” they could ultimately defeat him, but when examining their fight, it looks as if Strange had an edge–for a while.
Not only does Doctor Strange have a great many spells at his command, but his tools and weapons also allow him to supersede many of the functions of the Infinity Gauntlet. He could have continued the fight and may have won. Without the Gauntlet, it wouldn’t even be a question, but even with it, Strange’s powers are beyond Thanos’.
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