Over the past three phases of Marvel Cinematic Universe films, we've had the pleasure of watching Earth's Mightiest Heroes and the Guardians of the Galaxy assemble and then team up to fight some of their most iconic and formidable villains from the Marvel Comics.
Our favorite heroes took down Ultron, foiled Loki's plans for world domination and—thanks to some time travel and the biggest crossover team-up to ever happen on the big screen—eventually managed to defeat Thanos. They undoubtedly couldn't have done all of that if they were weak, but comic fans know that many of the MCU's protagonists pale in comparison to their comic book counterparts.
In order to raise the stakes and make villains seem more threatening, Marvel has chosen to make several of their strongest heroes utilize only a mere fragment of their potential. Meanwhile, a few others were made far too strong, so they could shine as the franchise's greatest leaders and saviors. Here are 18 Heroes The MCU Made Useless (+2 They Overpowered).
20 MADE USELESS: SCARLET WITCH
Scarlet Witch channeled her rage to show what she's capable in the Avengers: Endgame fight against Thanos, but before she nearly took down the Mad Titan all on her own, she seemed to be far inferior to her comic book counterpart. She's meant to be capable of altering all of reality with a mere thought, but the Wanda of the films doesn't understand the full extent of her abilities.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has stated that Scarlet Witch is "near the upper echelons of power," but she simply hasn't proven that yet in the MCU.
19 MADE USELESS: VISION
Vision's origin story in the MCU was far different than his origin in the comics, because he was gifted with an Infinity Stone in his forehead right from the start. This should have made him the most powerful Avenger, but when the fate of the universe was on the line, he didn't even put up that much of a fight.
Vision struggled against Thanos' minions throughout Infinity War, and his connection to Wanda kept her from making the right decision and destroying the Mind Stone the moment the heroes discovered that the Mad Titan needed it.
18 MADE USELESS: SPIDER-MAN
Tom Holland is potentially the best Spider-Man we've ever seen on the big screen, but he also might be the most under-powered. Tony Stark introduced Peter to the superhero big leagues before he'd fully mastered his abilities, and it led to Spidey fighting villains like Thanos and Vulture before he was ready.
The MCU's Spidey didn't perfect his spider-sense until his fifth cinematic appearance, and his fairly poor showing in the fight against Thanos on Titan proved that he isn't using the super-strength that allowed him to punch Hulk into space in the comics.
17 MADE USELESS: NICK FURY
Nick Fury is supposedly one of the world's best super spies, and he's trained in several different styles of fighting. He has numerous powerful guns and weapons at his disposal, and knows how to use all of them. Yet, we've never really seen him fight alongside the MCU's other protagonists.
When the Avengers fought against Loki's army, Ultron's army and Thanos' army, powerless heroes like Hawkeye and Black Widow found a way to be useful. Yet, Fury couldn't be bothered to get in harm's way and shoot down some villains.
16 MADE USELESS: QUICKSILVER
Anyone who's seen Fox's last three X-Men films has gotten the chance to witness just how powerful Quicksilver can be. He's one of Marvel's fastest speedsters, and can stop his enemies and outrun danger with ease. Yet, the MCU's version got gunned down during his first heroic showing in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Quicksilver bested Earth's Mightiest Heroes a few times earlier in the film, but he failed to save Hawkeye from some gunfire at its conclusion and perished before we truly got to know him.
15 MADE USELESS: HAWKEYE
It's hard to expect too much power from a guy who's only real "gift" is an ability to be impossibly accurate with a bow and some arrows. But the MCU's Hawkeye has still somehow managed to be underwhelming when compared to his comic counterpart.
He was easily mind-controlled for most of Avengers, he kept getting beat up by Quicksilver throughout Age of Ultron, and he wasn't even in Infinity War. He redeemed himself a bit in Endgame, but during the film's final battle scene, he spent more time just running away than actually fighting Thanos' army.
14 MADE USELESS: HEIMDALL
Fan theories once speculated that Heimdall's golden eyes were a sign that he was the secret wielder of the Soul Stone, as that'd explain why he was able to locate souls all throughout the nine realms. Unfortunately, this theory was instantly proven false in Infinity War, when he was eliminated without much difficulty.
Heimdall's passing made his overall character arc quite underwhelming. He spent Ragnarok hiding from Hela instead of fighting her alongside Asgard's greatest warriors, and his only contribution against Thanos was protecting Hulk by sending him to Earth.
13 MADE USELESS: HULK
Hulk is meant to be the "strongest Avenger," despite Thor's belief that he is more deserving of that title. Unfortunately, his will isn't quite as strong as his gigantic muscles.
Loki briefly controlled his mind in Avengers, Scarlet Witch turned him into a destructive rage monster in Age of Ultron, and after he lost to Thanos at the start of Infinity War, he spent the rest of the film hiding inside of Bruce Banner.
12 MADE USELESS: STAR-LORD
Marvel definitely overpowered Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 by dramatically altering his origin story and giving him the powers of a Celestial. Once he lost those gifts, however, he became one of the MCU's worst heroes.
The heroes who fought Thanos on Titan in Infinity War nearly removed his Gauntlet and saved countless lives until Peter Quill's stubbornness and selfishness caused him to ruin their plan. They would have been better off if he just stayed away.
11 OVERPOWERED: IRON MAN
Hulk, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man all fought Thanos in Infinity War, but Tony Stark was the only hero who made the Mad Titan bleed. Sure, he had the most experience as a superhero in the MCU, but he isn't nearly as powerful as those Avengers teammates in the comics.
Iron Man was also the hero to wipe Thanos and his army out of existence in Endgame, and while it was poetic to see Tony bring an end to the Infinity Saga, it was surprising that reality's savior was just a man in a high-tech suit.
10 MADE USELESS: MARIA HILL
Maria Hill trained under Nick Fury, and thus has significant combat and weapons knowledge. She could have been every bit as useful to the Avengers as Black Widow has proven herself to be, but like her mentor Fury, she's just stayed out of the fight and simply helped behind the scenes.
Until she actually enters a fight alongside Earth's Mightiest, it's hard to deny that she's pretty useless as a hero.
9 MADE USELESS: DRAX THE DESTROYER
In the comics, the Eternal named Kronos created Drax the Destroyer in an attempt to take down his villainous grandson Thanos. Drax is supposed to be the ultimate fighting machine, but Dave Bautista's take on the character has turned Drax into mere comedic relief.
The MCU's Drax spent years vowing revenge on Thanos, but he wasn't more useful or formidable in the fight against the Mad Titan than any of his other fellow heroes. He's mostly just been a far weaker, goofier version of the Hulk.
8 MADE USELESS: DOCTOR STRANGE
When Stephen Strange trapped Dormammu in an endless time loop in Doctor Strange, fans understandably assumed that he'd be the Avengers' greatest weapon in their looming fight against Thanos. Yet, when it came time for the Sorcerer Supreme to battle the Mad Titan, he didn't even use the Time Stone hidden within the Eye of Agamotto.
Strange claimed that there was only one route to victory against Thanos, but it's really hard to believe that he couldn't have done more against him.
7 MADE USELESS: THE WARRIORS THREE
Outside of Thor and possibly Lady Sif, the God of Thunder's three best friends are supposed to be Asgard's greatest fighters. The Warriors Three helped Thor on various missions throughout his life, but when they tried to fight Hela without their godly ally in Ragnarok, the Goddess of Death eliminated them in mere seconds.
Hogan at least put up a momentary fight against Hela, but Volstagg and Fandral were taken out immediately upon Hela's arrival in Asgard.
6 MADE USELESS: SHURI
Marvel has confirmed that Shuri the franchise's smartest character, but the lovable Wakandan princess has yet to really use her intellect as effectively as Tony Stark used his.
Shuri gave her brother T'Challa an amazing battle suit, but her own uniform and tech wasn't enough to hold off Killmonger for long in Black Panther. When the Avengers came to her for help in removing Vision's Mind Stone in Infinity War, she failed to do so in time and couldn't protect Vision from the Black Order, either.
5 MADE USELESS: GHOST RIDER
Cybernetic superhero Deathlok strongly resembles Cyborg from DC's Justice League, so it's not particularly surprising that Marvel chose to use him in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. rather than one of their films. What was shocking for Deathlok fans, however, was how under-powered they made him in the show.
Deathlok was far too easily manipulated by HYDRA's John Garrett, and despite their lack of powers, was repeatedly bested by Phil Couson's team.
4 MADE USELESS: BUCKY BARNES
In his first three MCU appearances, Bucky Barnes existed solely to put Steve Rogers in harm's way. Cap had to rescue him in The First Avenger, tried to save him from HYDRA's mind control in Winter Soldier and then split Earth's Mightiest Heroes in half to clear Bucky's name in Civil War.
That's a lot of trouble just to help a hero whose only skill is proficiency with a gun. He should be able to maneuver and fight like Cap does, but ever since he gave up the Winter Soldier moniker, Bucky has solely relied on artillery.
3 MADE USELESS: JESSICA JONES
Jessica Jones is practically as strong as Captain America and the Hulk, and every now and then in her solo Netflix series and The Defenders, she actually proved that. Unfortunately, however, she was often too busy dealing with family issues to actually use her super strength to fight crime.
It's hard to save the innocents of New York City when all of your time is focused on stopping your crazy mother or revenge-seeking adoptive sister.
2 MADE USELESS: FALCON
Falcon is definitely going to make for a better Captain America replacement than Steve Rogers' other option, Bucky Barnes, but that doesn't mean he's a particularly impressive superhero.
Falcon proved in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that he can be taken out of a fight completely if his wings are damaged, and his defeat at Ant-Man's hands despite Scott Lang's combat inexperience shortly after was pretty embarrassing. In the comics, he can at least talk to birds and see through their eyes, and is a skilled martial artist and gymnast.
1 OVERPOWERED: CAPTAIN MARVEL
Captain Marvel is in fact one of the most powerful heroes in Marvel Comics, but she's somehow even stronger in the MCU. Kevin Feige has stated that she's even more powerful than Thor, and Endgame implied that she could have easily destroyed Thanos if he didn't have any Infinity Stones at his disposal.
Carol's powers seem limitless, and it's hard to imagine her ever even breaking a sweat in a fight. It's great to see such a formidable female superhero, but it's hard to view villains as threats when she can defeat any adversaries with ease.