The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the biggest mega franchises that has ever existed. Before The Avengers, no one knew that a shared movie universe could have such incredible mainstream success. The franchise(s) have mined the Marvel comics universe to create a huge mythos of its own. It features tons of alien races, evil organizations, and fun comic book physics. The universe also has more than its fair share of cool weapons.
The universe not only takes cues from Marvel comics, but also from famous movie tropes. This is a brilliant way of making the sometimes cartoonish elements from old school comics palatable for a modern movie. They take their basis from films like Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Robocop, Star Wars, Star Trek, Excalibur, the James Bond franchise, Robin Hood, and even Groundhog Day for one time bending final battle.
While many of the heroes in the MCU use cool sci-fi tech, magical weapons, and ancient artifacts, many have laughably worthless weapons. Not everyone can wield a magical hammer that can control lightning, a metal frisbee that doesn’t like physics, or high tech armor that would make Robocop or any Fallout player cry. Still though, in a world where aliens, gods, and super-powered psychos roam the streets, one would think some of these Marvel players would try a little harder with their specialty weapons. Some of these characters really need to let go of their animal obsessions or fixations on medieval style weaponry. Others just need to make sure the weapons actually work before they try them out. There’s one MCU weapon that works about as well as something you’d order off Amazon without checking the reviews first.
Here are 20 MCU Weapons Ranked From Completely Useless To Wildly Overpowered.
20 The Ex-Wife
Iron Man 2 was a big disappointment in a lot of ways. It lost quite a bit of its energy from the first entry. Whiplash (Or Whiplash + Crimson Dynamo) was the start of Marvel’s long list of incredibly disappointing villains. Tony Stark also was much whinier and less awesome than the tank fighting version of the original.
One of the best parts of the sequel though, was Tony Stark’s weapon-making competition, Justin Hammer. Played by future Oscar winner Sam Rockwell, he had several running jokes throughout the film that almost made it worth it. The best of these was the ex-wife joke. When showing Rhodey all of the weapons he wanted to outfit War Machine with, he shows off his favorite piece. The cigar-shaped missile was supposedly his masterpiece. When Rhodey went to use the ex-wife in the final battle though, it was a complete dud. By far the worst weapon in the entire extended franchise.
19 Black Widow’s Stingers
Aside from being one of the greatest action films ever made, The Avengers is known for being pretty hilarious throughout. Whether it’s the “puny god” joke, the literal Hulk punchline, or Steve Rogers proudly exclaiming that he understands a reference, The Avengers keeps the laughs coming.
Unfortunately, some of the gags aren’t on purpose. The most unintentionally silly moment of the movie comes in the final battle when Black Widow shows off her tiny spy weapons against hordes of alien monsters. All the other Avengers have magical hammers, high tech weaponry, or superpowers to throw at the Chitauri in full CGI splendor. Black Widow, however, has these tiny stingers on her wrists. Sure, they’re cool when dealing with a hallway full of thugs, but when the hardcore avenging needs to be done, those little guys need a serious upgrade.
18 The Axe Gun
Agents Of Shield has built an amazing cast of characters over the years. One of the most surprisingly lovable of the squad members is the former mechanic turned current team leader, Mack. He has all sorts of attitude, blue-collar wisdom, and intensity that really makes him stand out on the team.
His choice of weapon though, is a little silly. Sure, the Axe Gun looks really cool, but the more you think about it, the more ridiculous you realize it is. The giant metal ax on the end must really throw the balance of the gun off. Not to mention that the gun itself doesn’t make for a great handle for the ax. All in all, it seems more like a weapon out of G.I. Joe than anything else. Maybe that’s what they were going for.
17 Hawkeye’s Bow
Hawkeye is awesome. He’s played by the exceptional Jeremy Renner, he’s the down to Earth family man Avenger, and he still pulls off a fohawk even though it isn’t 2006. Aside from Black Widow, his lack of any solo film or solo tv series is the biggest travesty in the MCU. That doesn’t make his weapon choice any less silly though.
The whole bow and arrow thing came from a simpler time in the comics world. In that time, it wasn’t silly at all to have a character like Hawkeye or Green Arrow use a high tech version of a medieval weapon on a team with literal gods and characters with incredibly futuristic weapons. Today though, it’s hard to imagine why MCU Hawkeye would choose a bow and arrow instead of literally any other type of sci-fi weapon Tony Stark or Shield could make for him. Even other Avengers make fun of him for it. Iron Man calls him Legolas, Black Widow jokes about how the team doesn’t need him, and Black Panther doesn’t even pretend to care. At least he has a good sense of humor about it.
16 The Falcon Wings
The Falcon wings are actually pretty cool. They have hidden guns, high powered jets, and even shoot a little drone called Red Wing (a reference to comic Falcon’s literal falcon sidekick). They’d be a worthy addition to the Avengers armory if it weren’t for one small thing that makes them ridiculous. Why isn’t he just wearing Iron Man armor?
This problem doesn’t become readily apparent until Avengers: Infinity War when Falcon is taking on the army that’s charging at Wakanda. War Machine comes up behind him and scorches the Earth with a powerful napalm attack. At that moment, Sam wearing little Buzz Lightyear wings really seemed stupid. Tony Stark literally has hundreds of suits. To be honest, it doesn’t make any sense why all the Avengers aren’t in them but at least he could’ve given Sammy an upgrade or something. They aren’t even powered by arc tech! Man, imagine if he has to charge the freakin’ things like an iPhone each night. Poor Sam.
15 The Spidey Suit
Compared to the suit in Spider-Man or The Amazing Spider-Man, the Spider-Man suit introduced in Captain America: Civil War (and shown more fully in Spider-Man: Homecoming) is incredibly high tech. It has a head’s up display, an A.I. and some pretty intense functions. It’s quite the cool piece of tech.
What’s weird about it though is that Tony Stark intentionally gave Peter the low tech version. We find out at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming that Iron Man had secretly had a much more advanced Iron Spider costume locked away. He spent the entire movie lecturing Pete for not being more careful when he secretly had a much safer suit that he just wasn’t forking over. That kind of hypocrisy is almost like lecturing Peter for not being worthy of a suit even though Tony couldn’t be a superhero at all without one. Oh, wait…
14 Captain America’s Shield
The most famous element in the MCU is Vibranium. Mined only in Wakanda, the metal is known for being the most versatile element in the world. The scientists in Wakanda use it for all sorts of different things. Unfortunately, the United States government was a bit less imaginative.
Howard Stark used every bit of it that they had to make one single shield. One shield that he didn’t even really have a need for. It wasn’t even the primary shield he was pitching for Cap to use. They were literally in a sci-fi arms race with Hydra and Howard Stark used the rarest and most powerful element on Earth to make what is essentially a manhole cover. Luckily, Captain America can throw the thing around like the laws of physics don’t even exist. Otherwise, it’d basically be the most expensive hub cap in the universe.
13 The Whistle Arrow
Mary Poppins…I mean Yondu, is one of the most surprisingly popular characters in the Guardians Of The Galaxy franchise. Not only is played by the fabulous Micheal Rooker, but he also has one of the weirdest/coolest weapons in the universe.
His arrow that dances to the sounds of his whistle is one of the best weapons. Yondu uses it to take out an entire battalion of Ronan’s men (or Ninja Turtles) and then eliminates all of his traitorous crew. Neither battle requires much effort. The only problem is, that in order to use the weapon, you have to be able to whistle incredibly well. Kraglin shows just how difficult the weapon is to use when he tries at the end of the sequel. It’s basically a weapon that can only work for one person.
12 The Panther Suit
Few superheroes have made the impression Black Panther did in his opening film. Sure he had an awesome debut in Captain America: Civil War, but he didn’t really come into his own until his solo film. That movie went on to be one of the biggest superhero films of all time and a huge cultural landmark.
Part of what made it so cool was all of the awesome Panther tech designed by T’Challa’s sister Shuri. The most notable concept here was the Black Panther suit that was able to take shape or disappear in the blink of an eye. Aside from it also being made of Vibranium, it had the ability to store kinetic energy and then release it in a big purple energy blast. The only problem with this is that the suit has no long-range weaponry. Sure, the kinetic energy blasts are awesome, but they don’t do much unless the enemy is up close. You’d think Shuri would be eager to top the Iron Man armor, but she kinda comes up short.
11 Rocket’s Armory
When the first trailer for Guardians Of The Galaxy dropped, casual fans were weirded out by the talking Raccoon who was somehow supposed to exist in the same universe as Iron Man. Who would’ve thought that Rocket would go on to be one of the most popular characters in the MCU. One of the coolest aspects about Rocket is all of the weapons he can concoct. The nighttime raid the Ravagers try to pull on the Guardians is by far the best showing of Rocket’s ingenuity. He can pull together all sorts of extremely powerful weapons out of junk metal and stolen goods.
The only downside is that, at times, it does break the realism. Rocket’s ability to spontaneously craft amazing weapons is just short of Wile E. Coyote’s ability to make complex Acme machines in seconds. Rocket is already dangerously close to being a straight up cartoon character, it’d be better if he had more limitations to the weapons he makes. That or more specialty weapons that carry over from film to film.
10 The Ant-Man/Wasp Suit
Ant-Man seemed like the superhero film no one asked for when it came into theaters. Surprisingly, the film was a great deal of fun. Part of this was the extremely charismatic performance from Paul Rudd. The other part was just how cool the Ant-Man suit was. The ability to spontaneously reduce in size is awesome by itself but the fact that Scott can keep his normal strength in that small size makes him effectively a human bullet.
The concepts around the suit only get better with Captain America: Civil War and Ant-Man And The Wasp. They introduce new concepts like Ant Man’s Giant Man function and Wasp’s wings and blasters. Pretty much every action sequence featuring the two was energetic and fascinating. There are a lot of downsides to the suits. They are wildly dangerous and glitchy. Scott nearly passes away due to complications from the suit about every other time he uses it. Either that or he turns himself into the most adorable superhero toddler ever.
9 Loki’s Scepter
The biggest recurring plot line in the MCU revolves around the various Infinity Stones that exist in the universe. The second one that is introduced in the universe is Loki’s Scepter which secretly housed the mind stone. It has the ability to take over people’s minds and shoot powerful energy blasts. It also seems to have latent manipulative powers akin to the One Ring in The Lord Of The Rings judging from the scene where the Avengers nearly eliminate each other in its presence and Loki’s heroin junkie complexion throughout the film.
The stone continues to show its usefulness as it acts as the basis for both Ultron and Vision’s artificial minds. It’s unclear if all of Vision’s powers come from the stone. If they do, then it also gives the wearer flight, intangibility, super strength, and incredibly powerful energy beams. It is weird that Vis can’t take people’s minds over. Maybe he’s just too good of a guy to do that. He was worthy enough to lift Mjolnir after all.
8 The Tesseract
The first film to feature an Infinity Stone was Captain America: The First Avenger. In this film, it introduced the Tesseract. Modeled after the all-powerful Cosmic Cube from the comics, the Tesseract was a limitless energy source. Red Skull used it to make a massive amount of extremely powerful Hydra weapons.
The cube had even more power under the surface. Secretly, the cube contained the space stone. It allows the user to teleport instantly. While Loki had some difficulty using this function, eventually he found a way to cast a portal to his hidden Chitauri army with the help of a hypnotized Selvig. It’s one of the most versatile weapons in the MCU, especially when Thanos puts it in his Gauntlet. When you’re having an adventure that spans the entire universe, the space stone is a real time saver.
Most of the weapons in the MCU don’t come with a ton of rules. Cap’s shield has no regard for physics. Iron Man’s armor seems to never run out of missiles. Black Widow’s stingers can barely take down a grown man but they easily penetrate Black Panther’s Vibranium suit. The whole “one must be worthy” clause to the holding of Mjolnir is one rule the MCU takes very seriously.
The entire plot of the first Thor movie and the best gag in Avengers: Age Of Ultron revolve around the idea that one must be good enough to take up the powerful weapon. It’s a strange rule (What is the criteria even? How is Thor a better person than Steve freakin’ Rogers?) but it’s more than worth it. Despite its small size, it’s one of the most powerful weapons in the universe. An experienced user like Thor can whip the thing around like a weightless pom and summon extraordinary bursts of lightning. It’s definitely a weapon worthy of a god, assuming that particular god is worthy of the weapon.
6 The Iron Man Armory
Tony Stark shocked the world when he revolutionized modern weaponry with a few pieces of scrap metal he had in a cave. His first Iron Man suit took on an entire camp of terrorists with no problem. The armors have only gotten more powerful from there. His armors have gone toe to toe with Thor, beaten down Hulk, and destroyed an alien mother ship. He even once performed a show-stopping move where he summoned dozens of his suits to fight as his own personal army.
He suffered a major defeat when his armor failed to stop Captain America and Winter Soldier in a close quarters brawl. It could’ve been the emotional compromise, the damage Ant-Man had done to its system, or the fact that he spent most of the fight trying to outpunch a super soldier with a weapon made of physics altering Vibranium. This did nothing to stop his resolve as Tony went on to make his best suit yet. His nanotech armor in Avengers: Infinity War was a major leap forward.
5 The Aether
There is a lot of debate among fans of the MCU as to which film is the best. Some say the first Avengers, some say Black Panther, for others it’s Infinity War, and some even claim Captain America: Winter Soldier deserves the title. The one thing that most fans will agree on is which film is the worst, Thor: The Dark World.
The film may be a massive dreary disappointment but it does have one of the most overpowered weapons in the universe, The Aether. Revealed later to be The Reality Stone, The Aether gives the user the ability to manipulate reality itself. Malakith wants to use it to…make the universe dark again? He’s the patron saint of Marvel villains with no discernible motivation. Regardless, The Aether could’ve altered the entire universe within seconds. That is unbelievably powerful. So why didn’t Jane Foster just use it to defeat the Dark Elves when she was bonded with it? Jesus Thor: The Dark World, figure your stuff out.
4 The Orb
The first Guardians Of The Galaxy revolved around an almost Indiana Jonesesque plot to capture an ancient powerful artifact. Star-Lord, the other Guardians, and the Kree fanatic Ronan all battle it out for control of The Orb. When the Guardians take The Orb to The Collector, he informs them that it, in fact, The Power Stone.
While many of The Infinity Stones aren’t instantly clear as to wait they can do, The Power Stone is not subtle. Ronan comes very close to obliterating Xandar just by tapping it against the planet’s ground. The only downside to the weapon is that one has to be an incredibly powerful being to hold it, otherwise you blow up in a purple explosion. That is unless you’re a Titan, a demi-god, or whatever Ronan is.
In Thor: Ragnarok, Mjolnir was destroyed by Thor’s long lost sister Hela. During the course of that film, Thor learns the opposite lesson he learned in the original Thor and discovers that his godly powers have been inside him the whole time. From that point on, Thor realizes that he doesn’t need any sort of a weapon outside of the most powerful one, self-acceptance.
Just kidding. In Avengers: Infinity War he continues his trend of unlearning lessons when he goes on a quest to forge himself a new one to replace Mjolnir. Thor goes so far as to take the full blast of a star in order to craft it. Once he does though, he steals the entire movie with the most epic movie entrance in the entire MCU. Stormbreaker makes Mjolnir look like one of those tiny bats kids get at baseball stadium gift shops.
2 The Eye Of Agamotto
Doctor Strange is a movie all about Stephen Strange learning to let go of the scientific world in order to learn how to master the mystical one. He spends the entire run time learning all about mystical artifacts and powers he can learn with the right discipline. So the movie ends with him using the various mystical items and powers he’d learned through hard work to defeat Dormammu.
Strange uses The Eye Of Agamotto to bend time to his will. He traps Dormammu in the plot of Groundhog Day for what is presumably hundreds of years. Seeing as there was no Andie MacDowell for him to seduce in order to get time to get moving, Dormammu makes a deal with Strange instead. It turns out that The Eye Of Agamotto is actually The Time Stone. This ability to manipulate time is one of the most powerful weapons that could possibly exist.
1 The Infinity Gauntlet
The number one weapon on this list should be no surprise to anyone. This is especially unsurprising considering it includes several of the most high powered weapons on this list together. The Infinity Gauntlet is possibly the most powerful movie weapon ever made. It gives the user the powers over time, space, power, time, reality and soul (whatever that means). It basically gives the user the ability to be God.
Instead of floods though, Thanos dispenses his will upon the galaxy by eliminating half of the entire universe’s population with the snap of a finger. It’s one of the most brutal scenes in the entire MCU and the entire premise of Avengers: Endgame.
Did we miss any of your favorite weapons? What about one that you hated? Let us know in the comments!