/Film Ranks The Heroes Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Last year, /Film ranked the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so that means we're allowed to wait a few more years before we're due for a full and proper refreshment. But with Captain America: Civil War currently in theaters, we decided we had to rank something. This is the internet and this what you do on the internet.

So we put our heads together and cast top secret votes to determine the greatest superheroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After winnowing down the list or eligible characters to thirty names (anti-heroes, power-less sidekicks, and villains were ineligible, as was the cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. since almost no one on the crew watches it), we each ranked the heroes in order of preference. Those ranked higher were given a certain number of points. Those ranked lower received fewer points. Any ties were decided by a second round of voting.

And this is what we got. Feel free to express your polite disagreements and passionate opinions in the comments below.

30. Hogun

15 Points

The Films: Thor and Thor: The Dark World

The Character: A member of the Warriors Three and Thor's most anonymous companion.

The Ranking: Hogun barely registers in Thor before he's literally abandoned in the second scene of Thor: The Dark World, leaving him alone on his home planet while everyone else gets a role in the main plot. His own movies don't care about him, so why should we?

29. Quicksilver

15 Points

The Film: Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Character: Obnoxious super-speedster with a vendetta against Tony Stark.

The Ranking: Everyone seemed to think Pietro Maximoff was the weak link of Avengers: Age of Ultron when the film initially came out and that still holds true today. There is only so much love we can muster for an annoying brat whose superpower isn't nearly as interesting as everyone else around him.

28. Fandral

20 Points

The Films: Thor and Thor: The Dark World

The Character: A member of the Warriors Three and Thor's second most anonymous companion.

The Ranking: He's Thor's buddy who kinda looks like Robin Hood. Yeah, we've got nothing.

27. Volstagg

22 Points

The Films: Thor and Thor: The Dark World

The Character: A member of the Warriors Three and one of Thor's slightly more memorable companions.

The Ranking: Because he's played by Ray Stevenson and because he actually has an easily identifiable personality (Loud! Boisterous!), Volstagg is easily the highest ranking member of the Warriors Three.

26. Heimdall

32 Points

The Films: Thor, Thor: The Dark World, and Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Character: The guardian of the Bifrost and the last defense against anyone getting into Asgard.

The Ranking: The greatest thing Heimdall has going for him is that he's played by the great Idris Elba. Strip that away from him and he's just a stoic warrior who gets to look intimidating every now and again.

25. Sif

42 Points

The Films: Thor and Thor: The Dark World

The Character: Thor's warrior buddy and almost-love interest.

The Ranking: There is a spark of life in Sif that helps her stand out from the other residents of Asgard. Still, she's too minor a player and ultimately too shallow to rank any higher than this.

24. War Machine

44 Points

The Films: Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War

The Character: Lt. Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes was an Air Force Officer before he absconded with one of his buddy Tony Stark's Iron Man suits.

The Ranking: The best thing War Machine has going for him is that two incredible watchable actors have inhabited the character. Both Terrence Howard and Don Cheadle have managed to create a straight-laced military man whose friendship with Tony Stark feels surprisingly real, but in the end, Rhodey is rarely more than a foil to reflect Tony's witticisms.

23. Hawkeye

49 Points

The Films: Thor, The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War

The Character: A government assassin-turned-Avenger whose sharpshooting skills have made made him the most impressive bowman in the world.

The Ranking: The defining character trait of Clint "Hawkeye" Barton is that he's a very ordinary man who somehow finds himself stuck in a world with extraordinary people. The entire appeal of this take on the character is that he's a bland everyman with a wife and a kid who actually has to worry about dying on every single mission. Alas, this is a bland everyman being measured against gods and monsters.

22. Gamora

52 Points

The Film: Guardians of the Galaxy

The Character: One of Thanos' adopted daughters who betrays dear ol' dad in the name of goodness and justice and what-not.

The Ranking: Although she's the least-developed member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Gamora is a striking and passionate presence, a warrior more than capable of putting the likes of Star-Lord and Drax in their place.

21. Scarlet Witch

53 Points

The Films: Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War

The Character: Quicksilver's telekinetic sister, who can manipulate reality and implant hallucinations and so on.

The Ranking: Wanda Maximoff has been in two MCU movies and it feels like we're finally starting to scratch the surface. She's young. She's inexperienced. She's grieving her departed brother and coming to terms with her powers. She's almost really interesting, but not quite yet.

20. Daredevil

56 Points

The Show: Daredevil

The Character: The "devil of Hell's kitchen" whose blindness is only a partial issue because his other senses have been brought up to eleven.

The Ranking: Played with charm and anguish by Charlie Cox, Matt Murdock is more defined by his Catholic guilt than his super-senses, which is right on the money. However, Daredevil tends to downplay his abilities in favor of just letting him be a magical blind person, which is not a good choice at all.

19. Luke Cage

57 Points

The Show: Jessica Jones

The Character: A tough guy with a big heart. Oh, and unbreakable skin.

The Ranking: He's only a supporting player on Jessica Jones (his solo series arrives soon), but Mike Colter has already made a strong impression as Luke Cage. He's sweet and passionate, tough and terrifying, a man entirely aware of how the world sees him as a person of color and as an "enhanced" being. He's only going to get more interesting.

18. The Vision

72 Points

The Films: Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War

The Character: An oddball science experiment run amuck, the combination of Ultron's ambitions, Thor's lightning, Tony's meddling, JARVIS's A.I. and a very convenient synthetic body.

The Ranking: The Vision is the weirdest hero in the MCU, one of those outrageous comic book characters that no one ever thought they'd see on the big screen. But now he's here and he's odd and fascinating and looks amazing in sweaters. These movies just need to give him a little more to do.

17. Nick Fury

79 Points

The Films: Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Character: The spy to end all spies. The guy who knows everything whether SHIELD happens to exist at a given moment or not.

The Ranking: Before the MCU learned how to fly on its own, Samuel L. Jackson's Nicky Fury held the whole thing together. Although he's now a background player, the head of SHIELD loomed over Phase One like an all-knowing, all-seeing espionage god. Deny his contributions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe at your own peril.

16. Drax

79 Points

The Film: Guardians of the Galaxy

The Character: A literal-minded warrior consumed by vengeance with a surprisingly flowery manner of speaking.

The Ranking: He may look like just another simple-minded brute, but Drax is a terrific character because he's actually fairly complicated and more than a little hilarious. Everyone knew that Dave Bautista could pull off the vengeful muscleman thing, but few could have predicted the strength of his comic timing and the compelling chemistry he'd develop with every other member of the team.

15. The Falcon

79 Points

The Films: Captain America: The Winter Solder, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War

The Character: Captain America's new best friend and loyal comrade who can take to the skies with his wing suit.

The Ranking: Like Hawkeye, Sam Wilson's whole deal is that he's a very normal man operation under very un-normal circumstances. Thankfully, his wing suit allows him to be hugely effective (and visually appealing) in any action scene. And thankfully, he's played by the charming Anthony Mackie, who sells his friendship with Steve Rogers from the moment the two of them first meet.

14. The Winter Soldier

84 Points

The Films: Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Captain America: Civil War

The Character: Captain America's old best friend and not-so-loyal comrade who is always a few key phrases away from reverting into an unstoppable killing machine.

The Ranking: If you peel back the cool costume and the robotic arm and the constant expression of longing and brooding, there's not much going on with Bucky Barnes. But no one can play tortured quite like Sebastian Stan, who finds a thousand different ways to brood. Captain America being so invested in him goes a long way to us being invested in him. Plus, he does have that cool robotic arm.

13. Thor

93 Points

The Films: Thor, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, and Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Character: The Asgardian god of thunder whose adventures on earth have transformed him from a terrible braggart to a more level-headed braggart.

The Ranking: The lowest ranked of the core Avengers team, Thor faces an uphill battle against his compatriots because his solo movies simply aren't as good as those of Iron Man and Captain America. When Chris Hemsworth shines, he tends to shine in a weaker movie. Still, there's no denying that Chris Hemsworth looks like a Norse god and there's no denying that his impeccable comic timing elevates Thor above a basic brawler and into something special.

12. Rocket Raccoon

95 Points

The Film: Guardians of the Galaxy

The Character: A genetically modified raccoon with a thing for heavy weapons and depressing speeches.

The Ranking: Who would have thought that an anthropomorphized criminal raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper could break our hearts? The result of painful experiments that are intentionally left unexplained, Rocket looks like a cute and goofy mascot, but he's actually as real and as weary as anyone else in the galaxy.

11. Jessica Jones

96 Points

The Show: Jessica Jones

The Character: A super-powered private detective whose main ability is her penchant for self-destruction and misery.

The Ranking: The Marvel universe is full of self-destructive characters and Jessica Jones is their queen. Krysten Ritter's performance is all pain and charisma, a perfect encapsulation of depression, trauma and how someone with super-strength would go about their day resisting both. Jessica is a survivor, a fascinating figure who only grows stronger as she finds ways to repair the cracks in her facade.

10. Black Panther

99 Points

The Films: Captain America: Civil War

The Character: The new king of Wakanda, a black-suited superhero who exists to serve and protect his people.

The Ranking: Despite only appearing in one movie so far, there is no MCU hero quite like T'Challa. Unlike so many other members of the Marvel universe, who wear their hearts on their sleeves or guard themselves with quick wits, the Black Panther is a closed book who is perfectly comfortable in his own skin. He's a politician. He's royalty. He answers to no one but himself and gets away with it because he is literally a king of an entire African nation. Making that likable is no small feat and Chadwick Boseman pulls it off.

9. Peggy Carter

105 Points

The Films: Captain America: The First Avenger, Agent Carter, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The Character: Captain America's more-than-capable first love who is capable of matching wits and skills with any super soldier any day of the week.

The Ranking: She could have easily have just been Steve Rogers' girlfriend and no one would have batted an eye, but Peggy Carter is one of the most memorable heroines of the 21st century so far. She may not have Cap's science-enhanced strength and speed, but she's the smartest person the room and the kind of spy who knows exactly how men see her and uses it to her advantage. It worked on audiences, too. We expected a love interest and got one of the top ten best MCU characters.

8. Groot

107 Points

The Film: Guardians of the Galaxy

The Character: I am Groot.

The Ranking: I am Groot.

7. Ant-Man

117 Points

The Films: Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War

The Character: A former criminal whose chance encounter with an amazing shrinking suit puts him on the fast track to redemption and what-not.

The Ranking: With Scott Lang, Paul Rudd has captured a tricky balance – he's funny, but not incompetent. Ant-Man is scrappy without being bumbling and a goofball without being an idiot. In Rudd's capable hands, this seemingly silly character rises to the occasion. Ant-Man is inherently funny and he leans into that...only to surprise us with how good he is at being a superhero.

6. Black Widow

118 Points

The Films: Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War

The Character: A veteran spy with too much red in her ledger who spends her present atoning for her past and making the tough calls that other heroes would rather avoid.

The Ranking: Several characters come together to form the heart and soul of the MCU and Natasha Romanoff is one of them. Like Hawkeye and Falcon, the appeal of Black Widow is that she's an ordinary woman who steps up to an extraordinary task. Unlike those two, she never seems to dwell on her mortality. Scarlett Johansson's performance is wonderful because she's as tough and capable as the superheroes in her midst, but she allows us to see just enough of the pain that's lurking beneath the surface. When she does open up, and that's a rare privilege, it's a reminder that she's so much more than a collection of skills.

5. Spider-Man

118 Points

The Films: Captain America: Civil War

The Character: You know, just some kid from Queens who can do whatever a spider can.

The Ranking: Tom Holland's Spider-Man has only had about twenty minutes of screen time in the MCU and he managed crack the top five. That's a sign that someone is doing something right. In any case, this take on Spidey (a young, woefully inexperienced wisecracker who uses humor as a shield in battle) is so incredibly promising that we'll happily endure another new Spider-Man movie series so soon after the death of the Amazing Spider-Man series.

4. Star-Lord

119 Points

The Film: Guardians of the Galaxy

The Character: A smarmy lady's man and and rogue and Earth exile who just so happens to the be the best chance the galaxy has at not getting totally destroyed.

The Ranking: This is what happens when you cast someone as effortlessly charming and irresistible as Chris Pratt as a Han Solo-esque space adventurer. Peter Quill is a rogue and scoundrel, but in the hands of someone like Pratt, he's a rogue and a scoundrel to whom we take an instant shine and fall in love with immediately. This is the kind of character who could come off as a sleazy jerk on the page, but in execution, he's a heavily armed puppy dog.

3. The Hulk/Bruce Banner

127 Points

The Films: The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, and Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Character: A genius scientist who transforms into an unstoppable green rage monster when he gets angry. As you do.

The Ranking: The great thing about the Hulk and Bruce Banner is that you get two terrific characters for the price of one. In one corner, you have the giant monster that smashes and crushes and puts on one helluva show. In the other, you have the low-key, charming scientist played with gentle good humor (and just enough raw pathos) by the great Mark Ruffalo. There is no better bargain in the entirety of the Marvel universe.

2. Iron Man

137 Points

The Films: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War

The Character: Genius, playboy, billionaire philanthropist who is smart enough to build a powerful armor suit and wily enough to pilot it into all kinds of dangerous situations.

The Ranking: The entire MCU is built upon the shoulders of Robert Downey Jr., whose crowd-pleasing take on Tony Stark proved that B-list Marvel superheroes could open movies and match A-list competition like Spider-Man and the X-Men when it came to quality storytelling. Since his big screen debut in 2008, Iron Man has been a constant presence in the Marvel movies and we've gotten to watch him evolve from a conceited rich kid into a complicated, troubled man who feels the need to carry the worlds' burdens upon himself. No MCU character has changed as much as Tony Stark and Downey has sold every step of that transformation.

1. Captain America

145 Points

The Films: Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War

The Character: A nice kid from Brooklyn who abhors and bullies and gets the chance to take one the greatest of them when he's entered into a super soldier program.

The Ranking: Of the five /Film writers who participated in assembling this list, three of them selected Captain America as their number one choice. His victory here was assured. Unlike Tony Stark, who has evolved alongside the MCU, Steve Rogers is defined by how much he doesn't change. He's still the same guy he was back during World War II. He still stands for the same things. What's fascinating about him is how this steadfast, morally upright guy reacts to a world that changes around him. Even as America lets him down, he still feels the need to represent what it could be. Even when the world turns against him, he feels the need to protect it. Somehow, Chris Evans has found a way to make a morally rigid man who makes every choice based on pure decency interesting.

Ethan Anderton's Ranking

30. Hogun

29. Volstagg

28. Quicksilver

27. Fandral

26. Daredevil

25. War Machine

24. Hawkeye

23. Drax

22. Heimdall

21. Luke Cage

20. Sif

19. Gamora

18. Nick Fury

17. Jessica Jones

16. Scarlet Witch

15. The Falcon

14. Peggy Carter

13. The Winter Soldier

12. Black Widow

11. Thor

10. The Hulk/Bruce Banner

9. Rocket Raccoon

8. Black Panther

7. The Vision

6. Spider-Man

5. Groot

4. Ant-Man

3. Star-Lord

2. Iron Man

1. Captain America

Jack Giroux's Ranking

30. Quicksilver

29. Hogun

28. Fandral

27. Heimdall

26. Volstagg

25. Sif

24. Black Panther

23. Luke Cage

22. Jessica Jones

21. Gamora

20. Daredevil

19. War Machine

18. The Falcon

17. Drax

16. Hawkeye

15. Thor

14. Scarlet Witch

13. The Winter Soldier

12. Peggy Carter

11. Spider-Man

10. The Vision

9. Nick Fury .

8. The Hulk/Bruce Banner

7. Groot

6. Rocket Racoon

5. Black Widow

4. Star-Lord

3. Iron Man

2. Captain America

1. Ant-Man

Jacob Hall's Ranking

30. Hogun

29. Fandral

28. Heimdall

27. Volstagg

26. Sif

25. Gamora

24. Quicksilver

23. Nick Fury

22. War Machine

21. Rocket Raccoon

20. Daredevil

19. Scarlet Witch

18. Luke Cage

17. The Vision

16. Hawkeye

15. The Winter Soldier

14. Drax

13. The Falcon

12. Star-Lord

11. Groot

10. Spider-Man

9. Black Widow

8. Ant-Man

7. Black Panther

6. Peggy Carter

5. Jessica Jones

4. Iron Man

3. Thor

2. The Hulk/Bruce Banner

1. Captain America

Angie Han's Ranking

30. Quicksilver

29. Fandral

28. Hogun

27. Volstagg

26. Hawkeye

25. Heimdall

24. Sif

23. Scarlet Witch

22. Gamora

21. Daredevil

20. The Vision

19. War Machine

18. Rocket Raccoon

17. Nick Fury

16. Thor

15. Drax

14. Ant-Man

13. Star-Lord

12. Groot

11. The Falcon

10. The Winter Soldier

9. Luke Cage

8. Iron Man

7. Spider-Man

6. The Hulk/Bruce Banner

5. Jessica Jones

4. Peggy Carter

3. Black Widow

2. Black Panther

1. Captain America

Peter Sciretta's Ranking

30. Scarlet Witch

29. The Vision

28. Quicksilver

27. Luke Cage

26. War Machine

25. Volstagg

24. Hawkeye

23. Hogun

22. Fandral

21. Heimdall

20. The Winter Soldier

19. The Falcon

18. Sif

17. Thor

16. Gamora

15. Black Panther

14. Peggy Carter

13. Groot

12. Daredevil

11. Ant-Man

10. Jessica Jones

9. Nick Fury

8. Black Widow

7. Drax

6. Rocket Raccoon

5. Captain America

4. Star-Lord

3. Spider-Man

2. The Hulk/Bruce Banner

1. Iron Man