To say that the MCU has dozens upon dozens of characters in it would be the understatement of the century. This is a franchise with named characters easily pushing the hundreds, many of which have played major roles in at least one film with others still actively participating. Given that the MCU is basically an action series that changes its dressing with every film, we naturally see quite a lot of fighting. Like any good superhero story, these fights involve characters using fairly unique weapons. More often than not, we even go on to associate said weapons with their characters.
Weapon design is quite important as it can be used to convey who is who just from a silhouette. More importantly, a good weapon can elevate a character. Of course we’ll remember the characters with the awesome weapons, doubly so if said weapons pack a punch. Not everyone is a winner, though, and some characters do fall on the backburner. For every character who wins a fight, someone has to lose, and that can impact how we view their weapons. The MCU has some balancing issues, that goes without saying, but some are more extreme than others. We’ve got just as many overpowered weapons and we do pitifully weak weapons.
Yondu’s Yaka Arrows are arguably the most unique weapons in the entire MCU. A single floating arrow that can be controlled via what appears to be an equippable headset, Yaka Arrows zip and fly around via whistling in order to pierce through enemies at lightning fast speed. It’s honestly a shock the Yaka Arrows haven’t decimated even more characters in the franchise. They’re certainly capable of doing so given their amazing showing in Guardians Vol. 2. Maybe that’s for the best, though. We don’t need overpowered weapons to be TOO overpowered.
Ostensibly Thor’s final boss in his first film, The Destroyer is… underwhelming to say the least. Thor is widely considered to be the worst of the Phase 1 origin movies and The Destroyer’s presence might very well be a good indicator as to why that is the case. A weapon who comes out of nowhere, The Destroyer lacks a personality and is defeated rather easily.
He doesn't manage to destroy all that much.
Compare this to the other Phase 1 movies and their final fights: Tony struggles to defeat Warmonger; Bruce barely defeats Abomination; Tony and Rhodey team up to fight Whiplash; and Steve doesn’t really defeat Red Skull, not without nearly sacrificing his life. Thor, though? He beats The Destroyer like the pushover he is.
While most weapons on this list are signature weapons- in the sense that they’re associated with certain characters- there are a few key weapons that linger in the background despite actually being quite useful in their own right. Black Hole Grenades are no exception, packing quite the surprising punch.
Grenades that create miniature black holes (sort of) when thrown, Black Hole Grenades are theoretically insanely dangerous. Naturally, in being so dangerous, they don’t actually get much use in the MCU proper, but their few appearances do imply they could annihilate anything in their path. Even if they don’t.
Odin’s trademark lance, Gungnir is to the All-Father what Mjolnir was to Thor. Unlike Thor who got to use Mjolnir quite frequently before its destruction at the hands of Hela, we never really got to see Odin use Gungnir in action. At least not in any way that was meaningful or memorable. As a weapon, it should be strong, but we never see it do anything worth doing. Odin passes away before he ever gets the chance to show us just how strong he, and Gungnir, might have been.
On its own, the Cosmi-Rod wouldn’t be all that special. Thankfully, the Cosmi-Rod’s appearance in the MCU is one inherently augmented by the existence of the Power Stone. With the Power Stone in the Rod, Ronan the Accuser is able to overwhelm the Guardians without having to do much at all.
It really is just a rod, otherwise.
It can be argued that the Power Stone is the whole reason the Cosmi-Rod is overpowered at all, and… you’d be right! The entire reason the Cosmi-Rod is on this list at all is because Ronan just happened to use the Power Stone with it. This isn’t the only Infinity Stone augmented weapon you'll see on this list, so do keep that in mind.
Putting the Mark I on this list almost feels like cheating, but it does need to be mentioned just how weak a suit it is in comparison to Tony’s later suits. To be honest, not even later suits- the very next suit in the film. In the sense that the Mark I was built in a cave with a box of scraps, it’s outstanding. That isn’t what we’re comparing it to, though.
The Mark II is almost immediately infinitely better than the Mark I, improving upon all its failings in one single go. Of course, this is mainly a testament to Tony’s intellect more than a statement on how weak the Mark I is, but hindsight does make the suit seem so much worse than it actually was in the moment.
On the subject of suits made by Tony, let’s discuss one of the few suits in the series he made not for himself: the Iron-Spider. Introduced at the very end of Homecoming, Tony offered Peter the Iron-Spider as a homecoming gifts of sorts in the event Parker joined the Avengers, only for the teen to deny Tony’s request.
Peter in general is kind of overpowered.
That didn’t stop Peter from using the suit in his very next appearance, though, and the Iron-Spider suit allows Peter to get quite a lot done in the war against Thanos. He ends up getting snapped, ultimately, but not without putting up an incredible fight and contributing greatly to Thanos’ near defeat.
Hawkeye’s Bow is probably the saddest weapon on this list, because it’s exactly what it claims to be: Hawkeye’s personal bow. There is nothing special about it, nothing remotely interesting, or nothing cool. It’s literally just some guy’s bow. As a weapon, that makes it incredibly weak in the grand scheme of the MCU. As a character device, though? It makes Hawkeye all the more compelling. This is a man who is able to fight alongside Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and Bruce Banner by just using a regular bow. Who cares if it’s weak? That’s awesome!
The Cap's Shield shouldn’t be a weapon in the traditional sense. After all, shields aren’t traditionally weapons. That’s the thing about Steve Rogers, though: anything is a weapon in his hands. What should be a basic way of blocking incoming attacks, Steve weaponizes his shield in order to inflict damage from long range.
Steve's even more OP than Peter.
Each film Cap appears in, we progressively see him get more and more creative with the shield. By the time we reach Civil War, he’s basically using the Shield as an acrobat would in order to demolish Tony. While this could be a Hawkeye scenario, Steve’s shield is made of Vibranium, actually giving it larger than life properties.
Unless you’re a hardcore fan, and we mean hardcore, you’re probably scratching your head wondering when Black Widow ever had a signature weapon of her own. She fights like a basic martial artist and uses guns otherwise, right? Wrong! Black Widow actually has her own weapons! Unfortunately, they come with the reason why you haven’t heard of them.
Black Widow’s Bite, or rather Bites, are two bracelets that emit electricity through her punches. Considering she’s a fist fighter first and foremost, she naturally uses them quite often, but we never see them leave a real impact. She even used them all the way up to Civil War, but they never left an impact.
The fact Thor actually needs to forge Stormbreaker on screen really works to sell just how ferociously overpowered the weapon is. All movie, Thor has struggled with his inability to fight Thanos and he is finally able to find strength in Stormbreaker, a symbolic axe that signals Thor’s spiritual revival.
It really cannot be stressed just how close Thor came to one-shotting Thanos.
While the weapon does not go on to defeat Thanos, it does nearly put an end to the conflict. Had Thor aimed for Thanos’ head, he would have decapitated the Mad Titan right then and there. Unfortunately for Thor, he’s always one for theatrics, and his near miss leads to the Snappening. At least he gets to keep Stormbreaker!
Rocket Raccoon’s signature weapon (kind of,) the Hadron Enforcer was a short-lived cannon that the Guardians used in their battle against Ronan the Accuser. Given that it’s a literal cannon that can vaporize pretty much anything in its path, you’d think it would be overpowered, but it’s so unwieldy that the heroes haven’t used the weapon since. A weapon can be powerful, but they’re useful if they can’t actually be used properly. The Hadron Enforcer simply cannot be used reliably.
Remember the Chitauri? It’s been years since we last saw them and they didn’t exactly leave much of an impact on the MCU, but it’s important to remember where the series’ antagonistic forces began. The Chitauri marked the beginning of greater scale conflicts for the MCU, and they brought with them the weapons to do so.
It actually would have been smart to steal a few staffs.
Although the Chitauri Staffs were short-lived, anyone who loves the first team-up film will be able to remember just how overwhelmingly powerful those staffs were. Capable of destroying anything in their path, a Chitauri Staff would have done way more damage in a less light-hearted movie, likely taking a hero with them. They are truly insanely dangerous even if we don’t see them all that often.
Peter Quill’s Quad Blasters are certainly very cool, but they rarely give off that same “oomph” the other major heroes do with their respective weapons. This is mainly due to Star Lord himself being part of a set of characters designed around being a team, but that doesn’t mean he stacks up all too well in the face of other characters.
It is worth mentioning that Star Lord is capable of putting up some greats fights, even giving Thanos a run for him money- albeit shortly- but it’s less due to his Quad Blasters and more because of Peter himself. As weapons, they’re really just neat guns being used by a competent man.
Charged by the Time Stone and a great source of Dr. Strange’s more overwhelming powers, the Eye of Agamotto takes an average man and turns him into arguably the single most dangerous hero in the entire MCU. The Eye of Agamotto allows Strange to pull off some truly deceptive and lethal techniques.
In the right setting, Dr. Strange would be able to break your mind with what he’s capable of before using the Eye of Agamotto to break your body. His powers in Infinity War show off just how ruthless the Time Stone can be. If Thanos could use the Eye of Agamotto, we’d all be in big trouble.
Hofund is an aesthetically pleasing sword used by a well-liked and cool character, but it also the shining example of why we need to see weapons actually do something before we can believe they’re powerful. While the Hofund can open the Bifrost, Heimdall has never been able to use it well in combat. All his attempts at swordplay are undermined almost immediately, turning him and Hofund into basic fodder. It’s a shame since Hofund really is one of the better-designed weapons in the MCU.
Considering the Orb is literally just a vessel for the Power Stone, it’s perhaps not fair to have it so much higher than the Cosmi-Rod, but do remember how much characters needed to struggle in order to actually get the Orb open in order to get the Power Stone. The raw strength of the Power Stone is so overwhelming that a basic orb can give anyone an immense deal of trouble. With the Cosmi-Rod, we expect it to be strong. It’s a traditional weapon. The orb, though? It’s a sign that what’s inside may not be worth opening. For everyone’s sake.
Swords in the MCU really don’t have it easy. Gamora’s personal sword, Godslayer has an outstanding design and is amazing on a conceptual level, but it suffers from the same problem the Quad Blasters do: their user is a member of a deliberate team. As a result. Gamora’s Godslayer can’t be that much better than the weapons of her teammates.
No gods are being slain anytime soon.
This doesn’t mean she isn’t the strongest Guardian, she quite blatantly is in terms of competence, but she doesn’t really hold a candle to the other major MCU characters. She barely even gets a chance to properly fight Thanos, reducing Godslayer to near worthless levels which is a pity.
In truth, the Aether is really just the Reality Stone. On paper, the Reality Stone seems a bit lame when compared to its five brethren, but it is actually insanely dangerous. With the Reality Stone, Thanos is able to bend the rules of existence around him with little to no remorse. The Reality Stone might very well be the key that allows Thanos to Snap so effectively. It is a literal eraser in regards to the laws of physics. In that sense, it’s not only dangerous, it’s downright intense.
The Mind Stone’s vessel, Loki’s Scepter is quite dangerous. So dangerous, in fact, it’s debatable whether or not it should be on the weakest side of this list. The Mind Stone is powerful in its own right, but… it’s not exactly the most imposing of the Infinity Stones, at least not the way Loki uses it.
Stronger in theory than in execution.
Loki’s Scepter is primarily used as a way of tearing the Avengers apart, but not much comes out of that. The Avengers are back together in roughly under an hour and Loki’s use of the Mind Stone, and by extension his scepter, is rendered null in no time flat. It’s far from a good display of the Mind Stone’s powers.
The fiftieth of Tony Stark’s suits, the Mark L sees its debut appearance in Infinity War and it’ll be an honest to god shame if it ends up getting ditched by the time Endgame hits. Easily the most aesthetically pleasing of his suits, the Mark L is made out of nanotech and turns Tony into someone who struggled with a dude with whips to someone who can fight Thanos one on one.
Let that sink in: Tony is able to fight Thanos one on one, alone, with next to no help. He loses, obviously, but he puts up a good enough of a fight where Thanos chooses to acknowledge Tony’s worth and even lament his probable downfall, praise that not a single other character in the film gets.
Civil War is a fantastic movie for Tony Stark’s character, but not a particularly stellar one for him if you care at all about the power scaling in the series. Even though Tony relies on super suits that make him borderline invincible, he struggles immensely at the end of the movie in his fight against Steve and Bucky.
Civil War was a bad week for Tony to unveil Mark XLVI.
Not even the Mark XLVI, Tony’s most advanced suit yet, is able to endure the sheer onslaught Steve and Bucky lay down on him. While it’s not a fair fight by any means, it’s strongly implied that Steve still would have won even if he was fighting solo. The Mark XLVI was outclassed from the get-go.
In any other series, Bucky’s Arm would just be a cool visual detail that we’d assume made him stronger than the average person, but would never actually push him past the heights of the big game heroes like The Cap or Iron Man. This isn’t any other series, though. This is the MCU, and Bucky’s Arm is awesome. Effectively an augmentation of Bucky’s core strength, his arm is able to give Bucky the ability to fight evenly not only with Steve, but with a suited up Tony Stark. That alone is overpowered on another level entirely.
One of Iron Man 3’s many forgotten afterthoughts, Extremis should be much stronger than it is. Considering it turns humans into literal laza monsters who can burn through skin, steel, and… well, just about anything, you’d think Extremis would play a big role later on. Pepper even got infected with Extremis at the end of the film.
Pepper probably forgot about Extremis too.
Come the very next installment in the MCU, though, and Extremis is gone without a trace. No references, no mentions, and no indication that it ever actually existed. This massive threat ended up being no threat at all, leaving no impact on the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the slightest.
If this were a list about overpowered “things” in the MCU, Vibranium would be at the very top. A borderline magical material, Vibranium can be used to create literally anything you can think up. T’challa’s Vibranium Suit is no exception, elevating an already competent fighter to ridiculously high heights.
With his Vibranium Suit, T’challa can store up energy, deflect damage back at his opponents, augment his speed, increase his mobility, refine his dexterity, and greatly adjust his strength. The only other suited character who could pose a fight would be Tony, but even then T’challa might scrape away a victory.
In theory, Cap’s Wakandan Shields should actually be stronger and better than his signature shield. Not only can Cap use his shields as gauntlets, the sheer mobility of the Wakandan variants allow him a more acrobatic and dynamic combat style. These are weapons literally made for fighting.
At least they look nice.
Sadly, they don’t get to do much if at all during the course of the film. As promo art for the next film indicates that Cap will get his trademark shield back, it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever see the Wakandan Shields do anything other than briefly grapple with Thanos before Steve loses his composure and gets crushed.
It is truly surprising just how powerful Vision actually is during Civil War. A literal Infinity Stone, Vision could have wiped the floor with Cap’s team had he felt the need or desire. Thankfully for Cap and company, Vision’s a team player and isn’t exactly looking to vaporize his dear friends on behalf of Tony’s crusade.
Had they been up against some actual baddies, though, and Vision would have demolished the competition in no time flat. Unfortunately, Civil War would mark the last chance Vision would get at showing off his fearsome power. His next appearance isn’t so kind...
Oh Vision, Infinity War was not kind to you. Where the start of Phase 3 saw him at the top of the hero totem pole, to the point where not a single character would feasibly be able to defeat him during the airport battle, Vision went down… poorly during the Thanos conflict. To be fair, he was weakened, but still.
Vision's life is awful.
As the target of Thanos’ wrath, and the last Stone he needed, Vision takes an absolute beating throughout the film. By the time Thanos is tearing him to pieces, it’s no wonder he goes down so easily. This isn’t even taking into account how Vision was literally being repaired and had to forgo the process to go fight. Poor guy.
It goes without saying, but of course the Infinity Gauntlet would be the single most overpowered weapon in the entire MCU. It’s so strong, in fact, that the nearly as overpowered Stormbreaker is able to do nothing to actually stop Thanos. The Infinity Gauntlet is able to mold the fabric of existence with a snap of the fingers.
Not even a snap, though, really. Thanos can do so much with just the Gauntlet. Naturally, this is because the Infinity Gauntlet is basically six weapons in one. We know our heroes will ultimately defeat Thanos, but there it’ll likely take an even more overpowered weapon to save the day. Maybe Tony should make his own Infinity Gauntlet...
Mjolnir is a bit of a controversial choice to put in the too weak category, especially at the very bottom. Thor’s signature weapon, Mjolnir has caused an incredible amount of havoc since its inception. Until it was destroyed in Ragnarok. Now, it isn’t the destruction that makes it too weak. Rather, it’s what the destruction represents.
It's a shame Cap never got a chance to pick it up.
The reason Mjolnir breaks isn’t just to deprive Thor of his familiar weapon, it’s to teach him that Mjolnir isn’t the reason why Thor is strong. Instead, THOR is the reason Mjolnir is as strong as it is. True strength was inside of him all along. It’s a fantastic direction to take his arc, but it does diminish Mjolnir considerably.