Movies based on comic book superheroes have never been bigger or better, but each new film or franchise requires a supervillain that is just as memorable. As the stakes and threats are rising every year, and Marvel’s shared universes continue to unite heroes against a common enemy, the villains will need to up their game just as quickly.
In the vast multiverse of Marvel, there are a lot of villains out there that push the limits for the heroes. Sometimes it takes the might of an army of superheroes or in some cases, even the heroes aren’t enough to stop the most powerful Marvel villains.
Updated on June 23rd, 2022, by Shawn S. Lealos: As the Marvel Cinematic Universe moves on, casual fans are getting to meet more and more of the most powerful Marvel villains. Kang was hinted at in Loki, and Gorr the God Butcher is coming up in Thor: Love & Thunder. However, even with the introduction to these villains, there are so many others that have still yet to make it into the MCU, proving that the movies could continue on for many years to come without worrying about a threat worthy of world decimation. With the Fantastic Four and X-Men coming soon, there is a good chance more Marvel supervillains could show up down the line, bringing even more powerful enemies that will excite any movie fan.
For years, the seeds were laid to introduce Knull into the Marvel Comics universe. He was the god responsible for the existence of the symbiote. Knull is older than time itself and was drifting through the black in peace before the Celestials’ light woke him and sent him on a rampage.
To see his true power, look at the King in Black series, where Knull destroyed entire worlds as he raged through the universe with his own army of symbiotes. It took all of Earth’s heroes, along with intergalactic heroes such as the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Kree-Skrull alliance to finally stop him. However, before they all teamed up, Knull beat Silver Surfer, the Avengers, the X-Men, and more, forcing the ultimate team-up to stop one of the most powerful Marvel Comics villains in history.
Go all the way back to the 1970s, there was one Marvel villain who proved capable of destroying the entire world with the snap of a finger. This was Korvac, who lived in the 30th century before he gained godlike powers and went back in time.
In The Korvac Saga, he wanted to bring about peace and perfection, but at the cost of free will. The Avengers battled him and Korvac killed every single one of them. Korvac undid the deaths and the only way to beat him was for him to submit. In recent Iron Man comics, a robot version of Korvac was back and he was powerful enough to beat Iron Man and his allies until Tony Stark stole his powers to turn things around.
Gorr The God Butcher
MCU fans are about to meet Gorr the God Butcher when he shows up in Thor: Love & Thunder. The story of Gorr is a tragic one, but also one that shows arrogance at what he really is. In the comics, Gorr started as a member of a society that worshipped the gods but never had one answer their prayers.
When Gorr lashed out, he was banished and ended up watching his wife and child die. Blaming the gods, he set out to destroy and kill all gods because he felt they cared about no one. He possessed the first symbiote, the All-Black, which gave him the power to actually kill entire pantheons of gods, which he did for centuries before Thor finally stopped him.
Kang has always been one of Marvel’s most powerful villains, a time-traveler who had conquered the world but went back in time to assure it would happen regardless of the timeline. He has taken the Avengers to the limit more than once thanks to his access to technology from the future.
However, his true power was finally revealed in his 2022 miniseries, where his past was shown. One thing about Kang is that there are several versions of himself thanks to meeting himself throughout the timelines. In the new series, it was shown how one version was able to survive through different wars and eventually come out even stronger than ever.
Onslaught was a creature formed when Professor X went into the mind of Magneto and shut it down. However, while there he saw all the pain in Magneto’s memories and that is what created the ultimate creature made of fear and hatred.
Onslaught was more powerful than almost any other Marvel villain in history and he proved it when he killed the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Hulk, and more, cementing his place as one of Marvel’s most powerful villains. Luckily, Franklin Richards saved the heroes by moving them to another Earth, but it took a massive sacrifice to stop him. Onslaught’s memory recently returned in Krakoa, taking away hope there from many young mutants.
Though not physically imposing, Loki’s ingenuity, silver tongue, and mastery over mystic arts make him a challenge for the Avengers. He also possesses godlike strength much like his brother Thor, making his appearance a deception. Loki has the ability to teleport, shapeshift, and influence the weak-minded to his will.
In more recent years, Loki has garnered even more skill over weaponry including spears and scepters. This is mainly due to Tom Hiddleston’s beloved MCU portrayal which began to influence the character’s portrayal in the comics. Even going as far as to make him more of an anti-hero.
In a world of technology, Magneto has the ability to manipulate metal however he wants. That alone makes him dangerous. One flick of the wrist and Iron Man is turned inside out or the Avengers’ Quinjet is nothing but a metal ball for Magneto to throw into space.
What keeps Magneto from being so deadly are his morals. Yes, he’s a radical who thinks all humans need to pay for their prejudice against mutants. However, in times of crisis, Magneto is also a sympathetic being who doesn’t want the world to end which can lead to him as an unlikely ally.
Hank Pym originally created Ultron in the comics using his own mind as a blueprint, giving the A.I. genius-level intellect, and leading it to upgrade itself multiple times before attacking the Avengers. With an Adamantium body, Ultron’s powers go well beyond superstrength, flight, or speed.
He’s notoriously hard to kill, turning on every other villain who decided to bring him back to life. Add the fact that he can control technology remotely, and even hypnotize humans to implant secret missions, and Ultron’s constantly evolving intelligence can go toe-to-toe with the best comic book villains, period.
The writers of the X-Men series decided to stun readers by making Jean Grey the most powerful mutant yet. Exposing Jean to lethal radiation, she emerged as Phoenix, a physical form of the cosmic and otherworldly Phoenix Force. Eventually, her heightened powers corrupted her, driving Jean mad and wiping out alien worlds by accident.
Wielding telekinetic and psychic power beyond any of her friends, Phoenix ended her own life to prevent more death. Even though the publisher would later reveal it wasn’t really Jean, but a copy of her created by the Phoenix Force, The Phoenix Saga remains a fan favorite.
Easily the most famous of the big villains in the Marvel Universe. Thanos in the comics was obsessed with proving his worth to Death herself. However, in more recent years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe portrayal has turned Thanos into an icon. A survivor of a lost race, he is determined to create the perfect balance in the universe.
Even without his Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos has shown the power and skill to take down the likes of the Hulk and Thor with ease. Need more be said? With the Infinity Gauntlet and all six stones, he became the most powerful being in the universe.
Gabriel Summers is the brother of Cyclops and Havoc of the X-Men. Since he’s basically able to control energy in nearly every form, Gabriel can deflect Cyclops’ eyebeams, resist psychic attacks, and even hijack or absorb the abilities of mutants around him.
When he feels betrayed by Professor X, he takes the name Vulcan and turns those powers against his own family. Thankfully, he pursued his villainy in space, not on Earth, becoming the head of an entire alien empire.
Ego The Living Planet
Not only is Ego a literal planet but a godlike being with immense power. He has complete control over his physical form, can create an army of constructs and his own anti-bodies to attack and destroy anything. On top of that, Ego can emit powerful psionic energy that can reduce anything to ashes.
The limits of his power are seemingly endless but he is not indestructible. His weak spots are what keep him from becoming the most dangerous threat of the Marvel universe. One of these weaknesses is his actual ego, ironically enough, and his overconfidence.
Originally created to fight the Fantastic Four, Galactus isn’t an alien or a god but a bit of both. Before the Big Bang created Marvel’s universe, an alien fled the death of the one that came before, fusing with its essence before the new one took its place. Galactus was the result: a god-like being who has to feed on living planets to stay alive.
His scout, the Silver Surfer may get most of the recognition, but Galactus has the power to do just about anything: transform matter, teleport, create life, revive the dead, and more. Even Reed Richards couldn’t tell just where Galactus’ powers ended, but exploiting his weak spots has saved Earth more than a few times.
Plenty of Marvel villains can claim to be the biggest threat a universe has to offer, but few can actually state that they themselves are, in fact, a universe. When The Beyonder was introduced as the main antagonist of Marvel’s Cosmic event, Secret Wars, it was revealed that he was no mutant or alien, but an entire universal realm known as ‘The Beyond’ condensed into a human form.
And his powers were as impressive as you’d expect. Able to banish demons effortlessly, destroy, resurrect, and reshape beings at will, The Beyonder was even able to defeat Death itself. How did The Beyonder first use that power? To throw heroes and villains into battle for his amusement – proving that even if your existence is an infinite one, a sense of humor can’t hurt.
After all, he is the actual Devil of the Marvel world. Mephisto is the ancient demonic being that created the likes of Blackheart, ruined character arcs in Spider-Man: One More Day, and even brought about the fan-favorite hero: Ghost Rider.
Mephisto garnered attention due to fans’ very wrong theories of him being the villain behind WandaVision. Meanwhile, in the comics, Mephisto has made enemies of the Beyonder and even Doctor Doom due to taking his mother.
When an advanced race from the Negative Zone seeded barren worlds with alien spores, they couldn’t have predicted that one spore would grow into Annihilus. Evolving from a weak insect into a brilliant warrior thanks to his creators’ technology, Annihilus set out to destroy any and all life he saw as a threat.
Over the years, that would come to include the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and nearly every other Marvel superhero team. It’s hard to know what’s scarier: the Cosmic Control Rod he wields, granting him super strength and immortality, or his superpowered aliens known as Centurions from the Negative Zone’s many planets. He also can’t be killed without coming back to life even angrier than before.
Born with grey skin in ancient Egypt, his tribe left him to die. Instead, he was discovered by a band of warriors who recognized the boy as En Sabah Nur – the first, immortal mutant. Over the years, Apocalypse would take a new name, and reveal more mutant powers than nearly another other Marvel character.
Able to reshape his body, strength, speed, and nearly everything else, there’s no challenge the villain can’t change to defeat; something that the X-Men: Apocalypse movie did not portray properly. Eventually taking over Earth and mutant-kind to separate the weak from the strong, no mutant could ever make the X-Men tremble like Apocalypse.
Most Marvel fans know the story of Adam Warlock, a hero engineered to be the most perfect and highly-evolved human in existence. Not long after being created, Adam encountered Magus, a leader of pure evil who led an oppressive religious empire across thousands of enslaved worlds.
With the power of quantum magic well beyond Warlock, the real twist came when Magus revealed that he was once Adam Warlock, eventually corrupted and growing impossibly powerful. Warlock ended up using his Soul Gem – and some teamwork – to bring Magus down, but his millennia-long empire and limitless power make him one of the greatest villains in Marvel’s multiverse.
Not every villain needs a superpower or alien upbringing to be effective. Take Victor Von Doom: with one parent lost to Mephisto, and the other to a tyrant, Victor put his energy into righting those wrongs. Mixing his mother’s mysticism with old-fashioned science, his brilliance soon landed him a scholarship to America.
But when an experiment left his face horribly scarred, he put the blame on his friend and colleague, Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. Taking over his home country of Latveria, Doctor Doom would become one of Marvel’s most brilliant – and most villainous – figures. Doctor Doom has taken on heroes and villains of all planets and dimensions with the help of his intelligence and magic combined.
One look at this character and one might think he pales in comparison to the likes of Thanos or Doctor Doom. Appearances are definitely deceiving in his case because he can control and manipulate matter in any way shape or form. He can turn a tree into a skyscraper or a street into a lake of acid.
Anything is possible for the Molecule Man. This is what makes him such a challenge: he could snap all of the Avengers into dust without needing a special glove. In a way, Molecule Man is the most overpowered Marvel villain, which is likely why he is not featured often.