The 25 Best Marvel Heroes Ever - IGN (2023)

"I am Iron Man."

With that, billionaire genius Tony Stark changed the world and the Marvel Cinematic Universe took off at top speed, never looking back. Soon, heroes from past, present and space will unite to protect Earth from all kinds of evil - such as evil AIs bent on wiping out humanity, Asgardian princes who want to conquer and rule, diabolical Nazi conspiracies that have been hiding in plain sight, and aliens. lunatics who want to decimate half the life in the universe.

With heroes ranging from super-spies to super-soldiers and space raccoons, the MCU has given us some of the most memorable champions in film history. It consists of noble kings, genius scientists, cunning SHIELD agents, and working-class lawyers and P.I.'s.

As for how this list was created, a panel of IGN editors voted on their favorite MCU characters. The results of this vote were then tallied to create this ranking. The criteria we took into account when voting included character development, performance by the actor playing the role, overall contribution to the overall story of the MCU world, diversity, and of course, just plain cool factor of the character.

That said, these are the best of the best - the ultimate superheroes you'd want protecting you from villains everywhere. And for more information on the MCU, check outMarvel's most powerful charactersand our listnew and upcoming Marvel movies.

25 Best MCU Heroes

25. Wanda Maximoff (The Scarlet Witch)

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Sokovian war orphan Wanda Maximoff eagerly joined, along with her brother Pietro, in Wolfgang von Strucker's experiments with the Mind Stone, which unleashed her unparalleled psychic powers. Arguably the most powerful hero in the entire MCU, the full fury of Wanda's abilities began to be revealed during her battle with Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, during the Battle for Earth, and then inThe reality-changing WandaVision series. (As for Vision, it just missed our list.)

Let's face it. Wanda would be much higher on this list after the WandaVision events... if it weren't for the Doctor Strange events in the Multiverse of Madness, whichestablished her status as a heroin a serious matter.

24. Brunnhilde (Valkyrie)

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As the only surviving Asgardian Valkyrie, Brunnhilde was exiled to Sakaar, where she worked as a hard-drinking bounty hunter after her entire squadron was killed trying to defeat Odin's daughter Hela. When Hela was freed by Hel after Odin's death, Brunhilde joined Thor and Loki in raging ragnarok to save her people. Once a fallen hero, Valkyrie is now a redeemed champion, the newly appointed queen (or is it king?) of the Asgardian land settlement in Norway.

23. Suri

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A child prodigy whose intellect could surpass that of Tony Stark, Princess Shuri of Wakanda is a technological whiz whose inventions and incorporation of vibranium helped transform Wakanda into the most advanced civilization in the world. Whether she's working to take out Bucky Barnes or trying to help her brother King T'Challa and the Dora Milaje defeat rebels and cosmic armies, Shuri is a battle-tested shining star in the MCU. That's even more true now that she's officially inherited the mantle of Black Panther from her late brother...if not the throne of Wakanda.

22. Clint Burton (Eye of the Hawk)

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If anyone knows that he's probably the lowest rung of the Avengers, power-wise, it's SHIELD agent and sniper Clint Burton. But devoted family man Burton is fine with it. Not that he won't risk his life or put his freedom on the line to protect the world or stand by his friends in moments of internal strife among the Avengers, but Barton's "big picture" is always his wife and his children. Because of this, he turned into the murderous avenger known as Ronin after they fell victim to Thanos' shard. Loyal and deadly, our love for Burton only grew when she teamed up with himKate Bishopin the series Hawkeye Disney+.

21. Rocket

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A genetically enhanced space creature (raccoon-like to us Earthlings), Rocket is a brash, hard-nosed super-soldier with a love of high-powered weapons and a penchant for stealing shiny tech that catches his eye (bonus points if it attaches to someone's body ). As the powerful pilot of Star-Lord's ship the Milano (and later Benatar's), Rocket is tough on outsiders, but will unleash hell if you attack his surrogate, misfit family. With his best eye Groot (who was literally a bud at times) by his side, Rocket waged war against Ronan, Ego, Thanos and other MCU titans of evil. And with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 giving Rocket the new mission and origin story he deserves, he's even more of a rising star in the MCU.

20. Bucky Barnes (The Winter Soldier)

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Granted, James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes spent most of his existence as a brainwashed HYDRA assassin before becoming a pawn in Helmut Zem's plan to take over the Avengers, but this childhood friend of Steve Rogers started out as a model soldier. in WWII and one of the Screaming Commandos who fought directly against the Red Skull and HYDRA. After showing supreme acumen in the fight against Thanos in Infinity War and Endgame, Barnes must now find his place as a man out of time in a post-Captain America world. Which is exactly what we see him doing in the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

19. Sam Wilson (Falcon/Captain America)

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From the moment ex-pararescue pilot Sam Wilson became fast friends with Steve Rogers, he never left his side. Although an Avenger, Wilson was loyal to Rogers above all else, and by the time the dust settled on Endgame, Wilson was Rogers' choice to carry Captain America's shield after Cap retreated into the past. Wearing EXO-7 Falcon wing gear, Wilson provides incredible support while in flight, aiding artillery attacks from above in ways that can only be matched by Iron Man and War Machine. And in the series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we finally saw Sam take on the mantle of Captain America. Next up is the lead role in Captain America: The New World Order.

18. Nebula

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The MCU loves a good redemption story, and Nebula's web-enhanced (and perpetually tormented) "Daughter of Thanos" represents one of the franchise's best "180s." Violently resentful of his love child Gamora and constantly seeking Thanos' approval, Nebula did the Mad Titan's bidding without question. In the end, Nebula recognized Thanos' "love" as abuse, and Gamora as a true sister. By the time Endgame came out, she had literally executed a previous version of herself to save her new companions. Nebula's emotional journey continued in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, bringing to a close one of the most important MCU characters.

17. Jessica Jones

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Hardscrabble P.I. Jessica Jones, who developed superpowers when a genetic research company saved her life as a child after a car accident, is a fierce, no-nonsense defender of the downtrodden. With Hell's Kitchen as her refuge, Jones fought her way back from brainwashed sexual slavery and defeated the evil mind controller known as Kilgrave. After that, he was a key partner - working with Matt Murdock, Luke Cage and Danny Rudd - in taking down The Hand and then defeating the brutal serial killer Gregory Sullinger. Jones can be a bit of a badass champion, but she's someone you definitely want on your side when the chips are down. (As for whether or not Netflix characters count as part of the MCU, that's a whole other discussion -- but we live in a multiverse now, no matter how you slice it.)

16. Gamora

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Thanos' deadly "adopted" daughter Gamora turned against her father's lessons and joined the crusade against him when she found a new surrogate family and helped form the Guardians of the Galaxy, saving the planet Xandar from destruction. Before Thanos sacrificed his life to obtain the Soul Stone in Infinity War, Gamora reconciled with her sister Nebula, formed a romantic relationship with Star-Lord, and helped save the galaxy—twice. Now a different version of Gamora circa 2014 is floating around the MCU and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 leaves her story wide open.

15. Phil Coulson

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Ace SHIELD agent and Captain America superfan Phil Coulson was director Nick Fury's right-hand man for the Avengers Initiative. Coulson's death, at the hands of Loki, served to mobilize the Avengers and unite them in a last-ditch effort to repel the Chitauri invasion of New York. Secretly resurrected by Fury using blood from a preserved Kree corpse, Coulson lived on, leading his own SHIELD team on many adventures through virtual realities and alternate futures. Eventually dying again, Coulson continued to exist in the form of a Life Model Decoy where he continued to do what he does best: recruit the best agents and inspire goodness in others.

14. Nick Fury

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After discovering the existence of large-scale alien threats, superspy and SHIELD agent Nick Fury has been working hard for the Avengers Initiative - an enterprise that will seek out powerful individuals to help protect Earth from alien invaders in Captain Marvel's absence. Over the next decade, Fury collected data on many individuals, though Tony Stark's Iron Man suit would serve as the catalyst for active recruitment. Once the Avengers are assembled, Fury's expertise, resources, and justice will help prevent galactic attacks, HYDRA infiltrations, and other global threats. He is the ultimate glue of the MCU. We're thrilled to see Fury finally become the star of the series in Secret Invasion.

13. Δρ Stephen Strange (Doctor Strange)

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Doctor Strange, you've come this far. After being a rather unsympathetic character in his first solo film (yetafterhis accident), transactions Dr. Stephen Strange seemed to tone it down a bit with the Avengers in Infinity War and Endgame. Well, that and facing the incomprehensible evil of Dormammu at the climax of his first film. Sure, he could probably still learn some patience (see Peter Parker's entire No Way Home spell), but there's also a lot on his mind. After all, he is one of the most powerful beings in the multiverse, as it turns out. And yet he couldn't keep the job of Sorcerer Supreme...

12. Wong

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Doctor Strange's underling in the comics, Wong became the Sorcerer Supreme when Strange was captured and disappeared for five years along with half the universe's population. And you know, Wongisthe most experienced wizard compared to Stephen Strange. While the "rules" of comics and storytelling in general require him to return the job to Strange, for now at least the MCU is keeping Wong in the role. Maybe because he's really good at it! She also apparently has time, despite the demands of her job, to take part in cage fights against the Abomination and binge drinking on The Sopranos with her new BFF Madisynn. Wong is all about work-life balance!

11. Peter Quill (Star Lord)

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Half-human, half-Celestial Peter Quill was stolen from Earth as a boy by a crew of Ravagers led by Yondu Udont, after losing his mother. After Yondu refused to hand Quill over to his father Ego, he raised Quill as his own, albeit mostly in an abusive Ravager-like manner. Quill would eventually leave the Ravagers and go off on his own, with no real purpose as a treasure hunter, until starting a new family as part of the Guardians of the Galaxy. A cavalier, wise warrior who is easy to provoke and hard to contain, the extremely powerful Quill is often underestimated and always overconfident. Now, brought back to life after Thanos' shot and leading the Guardians into a brave new era, Peter is learning how to finally step back and get back in touch with his Earth roots. At least, until he's inevitably called back into action in Avengers: Kang Dynasty.

10. Matt Murdock (Daredevil)

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Attorney Matt Murdock, a legal pit bull for the poor and neglected, has been struggling with problems since he was a boy. The scandalous son of a boxer and an ambitious nun, Matt was blinded at a young age and gifted with super-sensitive sonar-like hearing thanks to the poisonous slime that covered him. A lawyer by day and a masked vigilante by night, this "Devil's Hell's Kitchen" has taken a beating in the name of justice like no other. Putting everything on the line against the Russian mob, Wilson Fisk, The Hand, and even Frank Castle, Murdock will fall in the name of freeing his city from corruption and evil.

Although Daredevil's Netflix series has long since ended,Spider-Man: No Way Home confirmed that Matt Murdock exists in the MCU(and with no less powers). We'll be seeing a lot more of our favorite superhero lawyers in shows like Echo and Daredevil: Born Again.

9. Peggy Carter

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Shattering terrifying glass ceilings, Margaret "Peggy" Carter went from codebreaker to SSR agent to, after World War II, one of the founding members of SHIELD. A staunch advocate for peace and equality, Peggy finds herself drawn to Steve Rogers, both before and after she receives Abraham Erskine's Super Soldier Serum. After Steve's apparent death, Peggy will fend off multiple threats to the world alongside Howard Stark, Edwin's butler Jarvis, the rest of the badass commando, and fellow agent Daniel Sousa. Like Nick Fury, Peggy is the ultimate MCU through-line, acting as a constant moral inspiration for Captain America as she appears in five movies, her own Marvel One-Shot, and a two-season TV series. Plus, we now have an alternate universe Captain Carter!

8. Scott Lang (Ant-Man)

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The MCU loves an "amazing" hero, and they don't come any more humble than former thief Scott Lang. In the midst of trying to turn his life around after a stint in prison, Lang is recruited by scientist Hank Pym and asked to wear Pym's old Ant-Man suit while he prepares a heist to stop HYDRA from taking over the shrinking technology. Finding a new sense of purpose wearing the suit, Scott would later survive Thanos' recording while in the Quantum Realm, helping to discover that the microcosm held the answers to retrieving the Infinity Stones and restoring countless lost lives. . He succeeded even where many failed to defeat Kang the Conqueror (at least for now). Whether he's incredibly short or 20 feet tall, Lang is the true wild card of the MCU. He always surprises his enemies with -well- crowd magic.

7. Bruce Banner (Hulk)

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"We got the Hulk."

Those words may have made Loki sneer at the time, but the God of Mischief wasn't smiling moments later when he found his body ground to a pulp by Bruce Banner's "always angry" scientist alter-ego, the Hulk. Of course, Banner's independent green goliath gamma radiation overload effect can sometimes work against the Avengers, as there's rarely a reliable method to stop the Hulk once he goes into rampage mode (unless you're Black Widow). But there's no doubt that Banner, both brilliant and raw, is a regular dual threat. And now that he has completely fused his warring sides into one form, he is nearly unstoppable. In his wakeShe-Hulk: Season 1, the Hulk now faces his greatest challenge yet - fatherhood.

6. King T'Challa (Black Panther)

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After the death of his father, King T'Chaka, at the hands of the terrorist Helmut Zem, Prince T'Challa was forced to not only assume the position of ruler of Wakanda, but also assume the mantle of the Black Panther, their superhuman protector of his people. With enhanced strength and speed given by his country's heart-shaped grass and a high-tech vibranium suit, T'Challa is both an irresistible force and an indestructible object, always ready to defend his country against ruthless smugglers, violent rebels. and foreign armies. A compassionate crusader, a noble monarch, T'Challa's legacy will never be forgotten. Neither is the life and career of the late Chadwick Boseman.

5. Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow)

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Natalia "Natasha" Romanoff, a once-enemy KGB agent who trained as a young special assassin under the Black Widow program, finds herself giving up her old life - and country - to join SHIELD at the urging of Clint encouragement. Burton. As Nick Fury's top secret agent, Romanoff helped track down Tony Stark and eventually joined the ranks of the Avengers when Loki launched an alien invasion of New York. Seeking redemption for her past transgressions and ultimately sacrificing her life to help bring back all those lost in Thanos' decimation, Romanoff was loyal to her friends, dedicated to her missions, and deadly to a T.

4. Peter Parker (Spider-Man)

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Gifted high school student Peter Parker is fresh out of Queens before being recruited by Tony Stark to stop Captain America and his allies from protecting wanted fugitive Bucky Barnes. And with that, Parker and his relationship with Tony as a surrogate son became the heart of the third phase of the MCU. As a kid who "tricks" himself into the deadly business of the bigwigs (and the Mad Titans), young Parker overcomes the Vulture, the Shocker, a disgruntled Stark Industries technician Mysterio, and his own fears to ask MJ out on a date. But it was Parker's death during The Snap that hit Tony the hardest and eventually convinced the Armored Avenger to join the others in a "time heist" to get the Stones back. Parker's optimism and willingness to do good was exactly what the MCU needed and exactly what the Avengers needed to undo all of Thanos' damage.

More recently, Peter has been reminded of the great power/great responsibility motto at the core of his character as he has lost his Aunt May and abandoned all his friends for the betterment of those around him.

3. Thor

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Once the arrogant heir to all of Asgard, then an exile in need of redemption, Thor watched as his fallen adopted brother Loki waged war on the planet the God of Thunder had come to love and appreciate: Earth. Emotional and often temperamental, Thor would go on to help Earth, defeating dark elves, HYDRA soldiers, Ultron's drones and more as he tried to forge his own path and destiny. One that didn't involve ruling Asgard. Whether he's arguing over his lost love Jane Foster, sparring with Loki, getting into friendly spats with the Hulk, or eating a ton of carbs out of guilt, Thor is a fun member of the Avengers.

2. Tony Stark (Iron Man)

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There's no Avengers without Iron Man, and there's no Iron Man without a wounded and terrified Tony Stark who has changed his mind and transformed from a sassy womanizer arms dealer to a (still sassy) armored hero who helps guide and shape Nick Fury. , The Avengers. Tony's story took a wild turn when he gave his life to wipe out Thanos and his entire army using the Infinity Gauntlet, fulfilling the promise he made to essentially create (or, in this case, become) "the suit." armor around the world." And from a franchise standpoint alone, it was Robert Downey Jr.'s pitch-perfect performance as Tony, and Jon Favreau's comedy-drama design for the first Iron Man film, that set the stage for all the MCU films that followed.

1. Steve Rogers (Captain America)

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When creating America's first Super Soldier, the first thing you have to consider is the character of the man. Courage, honor and honesty are of the utmost importance, which is why short, skinny bully Steve Rogers was the right choice to become the world's pioneering (and, it turns out, only) perfect serum sample. People are certainly mourning the loss of Iron Man, but what about the huge void left by Captain America's late retirement? Rogers saved the world from both the Nazis and HYDRA in the 1940s, then, after being frozen for decades, returned to stop global incursions from all sides and fronts as a member of the Avengers, always acting as the group's persistent consciousness. What it meant to want to do right, all the time, even if it meant losing. A born leader, loyal best friend, and peerless hero, Cap is the paragon of virtue at the heart of the MCU.

Note: This story was originally published in March 2021. It was updated on May 17, 2023 with the latest information about these characters.

Matt Fowler is a writer for IGN and a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow him on Twitter at@TheMattFowleri Facebook


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