In this article:
- Tony Stark was the first character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- As the MCU keeps expanding, though, the man inside the Iron Man suit is far from being the most powerful character.
- He may still be the richest avenger but these 10 MCU characters would absolutely destroy him in a head-to-head fight.
Before the overabundance of superhero movies and shows made the Marvel Cinematic Universe too complicated for anyone with a full-time job to keep track of, there was Iron Man (2008).
Iron Man was the very first MCU film, making its lead protagonist, Tony Stark, the first MCU character.
Being first helped Tony Stark shine in our eyes as one of the most charming characters from the MCU, but as new MCU characters showed up, it became clear that he wasn’t exactly the most powerful Avenger, let alone the most powerful MCU character.
Aside from being the richest Avenger and having the brain of an engineering god, MCU’s Tony Stark could easily be crushed like a soda can by any of these other MCU characters.
10. Sersi From Eternals (2021)
You might think that Thena, Gilgamesh, or Ikaris would be top contenders for MCU characters that can beat up Iron Man, but Sersi blows all four out of the water.
Sersi is an Eternal, a group of virtually immortal beings created by the ancient Celestials to help them cultivate and protect sentient life throughout the multiverse. At least, that’s what they think and what they hope to do. Sersi takes her mission as a protector seriously and uses her Celestial-given powers to aid humanity.
Would she beat up Tony Stark? Probably not due to her kind and empathetic personality. But the point is that she can because Sersi’s power is to alter matter itself. She can transmute metal into flower petals and draw water from the earth. Or turn Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit into a giant marshmallow.
In short, reality is whatever she wants it to be.
9. Doctor Strange From Doctor Strange (2016)
Doctor Strange is another MCU character who can change the basic components of reality. Before he became a sorcerer, though, he was a lot like Tony Stark in earlier movies: overly self-important and insufferable to be around — though both of them are funny.
Karma eventually bites the doctor in his ass, leaving him with an injury that made it impossible for him to work as a surgeon. This forces him to go on a life-changing adventure in search of an Eastern mystic cure, leading him to become a sorcerer sworn to protect humanity.
The former Sorcerer Supreme and Master of the Mystic Arts can create weapons and shields out of pure energy in addition to casting spells that enable him to teleport, move things with his mind, and conjure objects out of thin air.
Oh, and let’s not forget that he could just trap Tony in the Mirror Dimension and call it a day.
8. Black Widow From The Avengers (2012)
This pick is a little more contested considering that the Iron Man suit packs a ton of firepower. That said, Natasha Romanov a.k.a Black Widow would either end the fight by ending Tony or by making it a stalemate.
Natasha is one of the few MCU characters that don’t have superpowers. Everything she can do comes from her experience and training as an assassin that she received at the Red Room. Even unarmed and without powers, Natasha has shown that she can keep up with the rest of the Avengers using only her martial arts skills. Her training also seems to have given her body a level of strength and endurance far above the average person.
So Tony Stark with the Iron Man suit? Likely a stalemate. Tony Stark vs. Natasha in hand-to-hand combat? Tony is minced meat.
7. Captain America From Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Captain Steve Rogers began life as a scrawny, and often bullied, boy with a kind heart. His magnanimous personality was the reason dr. Abraham Erskine chose him to take the Super Soldier Serum. The doctor believed that the only person who should be given that much power is someone who wouldn’t abuse it and his decision later turned out to be right.
With the serum running through his veins, Steve Rogers has increased strength, speed, endurance, agility, healing, reflexes, and senses. He doesn’t have flashy powers like some of the people on this list, but it’s enough to make him a formidable match for Tony Stark, with or without the suit.
Plus, unlike Sersi, we already know he’d beat Tony up.
6. Vision From Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Vision fighting Tony Stark would be such a Frankenstein vs. Frankenstein monster moment seeing as Tony played a significant role in his creation.
Vision, as you can tell from his looks, isn’t a human or even an alien. He’s actually part-Mind Stone and part-J.A.R.V.I.S. Following the Avengers’ acquisition of Ultron’s alternate body, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner uploaded J.A.R.V.I.S into it. In true Victorian sci-fi horror fashion, Thor brings the body to life by striking it with his lightning powers, causing Vision to awaken.
The Mind Stone gave Vision a personality of his own and a keenly human understanding of others that Ultron lacked. It also granted him a superhuman physique, flight, virtual immortality, and the ability to shoot energy blasts. His supercomputer brain also makes him smarter than Tony could hope to be, taking away the one advantage that he has against more powerful opponents.
5. Spider-Man From Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Spider-Man, Spider-Man does whatever a spider can, and one of those things is to give Tony Stark the beatdown of his life.
Peter Parker is a lot like Steve Rogers in the sense that both of them start out as awkward teenagers. But after a spider bites Peter, he gets the strength of a spider and the ability to climb walls.
He also receives abilities similar to that of post-Super Soldier Serum Steve Rogers, which means he now has heightened senses, faster reflexes, increased stamina, and a more durable body.
Admittedly, Tom Holland’s Peter Parker isn’t as naturally powerful as Toby Maguire’s Peter Parker because he can’t generate webs from his hands. Instead, he has to rely on a custom-made compound that serves as his webbing. Still, he’s a strong contender against the old tin can.
4. Black Panther From Black Panther (2018)
If there’s one MCU character that can match Tony Stark on all fronts, it’s the Black Panther.
Black Panther, who’s known to his people as King T’Challa, gets his superhuman strength, agility, speed, reflexes, and stamina from the Heart-Shaped Herb, a sacred plant that was used for generations by Wakandans to perform a ritual that granted people the power of the Black Panther.
Add to that an arsenal and special suits made by his sister, Princess Shuri, and T’Challa could easily run circles around Tony.
Not to mention, the King of Wakanda may even be wealthier than Tony Stark by virtue of being the king of an absolute monarchy that has access to the world’s most bountiful Vibranium reserves. That’s not even counting the money that T’Challa could make from patenting Wakandan technology or what he gets in taxes from his people.
The best part is that none of T’Challa’s money comes from the Military-Industrial Complex so we can at least be sure that MCU T’Challa isn’t blowing dirty money on parties.
3. Thor From Thor (2011)
Here’s another royal MCU character that could deliver divine smackdowns on everyone’s favorite Tin Man: Thor.
The god of thunder is an Asgardian descended from a long line of powerful royals. As the prince of Asgard, he once commanded the wealth and military might of an advanced alien race.
After Asgard’s destruction, though, Thor only has himself to rely on, which is pretty much all he needs when it comes to a fight.
Thor has all the standard abilities granted by a superhuman physique and then some. He can summon thunder and lightning, fly, and heal faster than most Asgardians. His long life also means that he has centuries worth of combat experience which is nothing to scoff at even if the guy is played off as a dumb himbo.
Mjolnir, his hammer, could easily chip away at Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit and with his lightning powers, he could overload the suit, causing it to malfunction.
2. Captain Marvel From Captain Marvel (2019)
As another MCU character whose powers come from an Infinity Stone, our local billionaire playboy would have a better chance at surviving if he stays out of the way of Captain Marvel.
Captain Marvel a.k.a Carol Susan Jane Danvers was a U.S Air Force pilot and was one of the best in her class. However, gender-based restrictions on pilots prevented Danvers from flying in combat. Together with a fellow pilot, Maria Rambeau, she became a test pilot for Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S which was spearheaded by S.H.I.E.L.D.
She later comes across the Tesseract, the Space Stone that appears in the first Avengers movie, which explodes and melds its energy with her DNA, giving her the power to manipulate cosmic energy. The Kree blood transfusion she received gave her superhuman strength, longevity, and healing far beyond that of many MCU characters.
That’s why it’s pretty obvious that she could turn the Iron Man suit into a modern art sculpture.
1. Wanda Maximoff From Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Wanda Maximoff first showed up in Avengers: Age of Ultron as a villain with the power to read people’s minds and make them see illusions.
While this turned out to be the least of her psionic abilities, many MCU watchers immediately noticed the destructive potential of her abilities. It’s kind of hard not to considering that her messing with the Avengers’ heads showed how easy it was to cripple them.
Wanda’s abilities were strengthened by the Mind Stone, the same stone that helped create Vision, but it’s later revealed that she was born with a natural talent for Chaos Magic, a rare form of wild magic that’s rooted in the beginning of the universe.
With it, Wanda is able to control people’s minds, generate force fields, conjure objects out of thin air, create life, and alter the fabric of reality.
Other characters in the MCU note that if Thanos hadn’t ordered a blitz to distract her, she would have killed him. You know, Thanos, the guy who killed Vision of all people. Or not people? Either way, Tony Stark, even with his best Iron Man suit on, would not survive a cage fight against the Scarlet Witch.
Between Wanda and Sersi, it’s less of a question of whether they can crush him like a Pepsi can and more a question of what they would turn him into if they fought to the death.
This list only counts the MCU version of these characters and, clearly, the most obviously powerful ones are listed in no particular order. Let us know which MCU characters, that virtually no one thinks of, you believe could take Iron Man in a fight.