• MCU characters are often weakened for the sake of plot, but the power disparity between live-action and comic book versions can be frustrating for fans.
  • Characters like Mantis, Von Strucker, and Adam Warlock have had their powers downplayed in the MCU, limiting their full potential.
  • Kang the Conqueror, Drax, Ultron, Klaw, Odin, Vision, and Hulk have all been portrayed with less power than their comic book counterparts, missing out on opportunities to showcase their true abilities.



The MCU is no stranger to weakening characters for the sake of plot, but for some, the gulf in power between the live-action and comic book iterations is particularly vast. Marvel Comics is known for going to extreme lengths with the feats its heroes and villains are able to pull off, which include tearing through space and time like they are made of paper. Sometimes, however, the nerfing of fan-favorite MCU characters carries a significant sting.

The justifications for hamstringing characters are pretty understandable, as Marvel is responsible for maintaining a balance and ensuring that the MCU’s most understated characters, like Hawkeye, get their time in the spotlight. While watching these powerful Marvel heroes on the big screen often takes a healthy dose of the suspension of disbelief, there are some things that heroes are capable of in the comics that are better left off of the big screen. With that being said, these characters should have been given more power, even if only slightly.

Related: All Marvel Movies Releasing In 2024

10 Mantis Is An Unparallelled Martial Artist

Portrayed By Pom Klementieff

Mantis waving goodbye in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Even discounting the fact that Mantis’ contributions could lead to her being one of the most powerful superheroes in the MCU, her powers go much further in the comics. Mantis is one of few heroes who could go toe-to-toe with Thor and come out on top, not through her mind-influencing powers, but through bona fide martial arts. That isn’t the only ability that the movie Mantis has been stripped of, as her comic book counterpart is also capable of astral projection, controlling vegetation, and pyrokinesis. While movie Mantis is quietly formidable in her own right, particularly when astride an Abilisk, a Mantis with fire-bending powers would be a welcome addition.

9 Wolfgang Von Strucker Has A Lethal Disease

Portrayed By Thomas Kretschmann

Thomas Kretschmann as Baron Wolfgang von Strucker

Although Marvel has a knack for portraying understated yet compelling non-superpowered villain, a Baron Von Strucker with entropic abilities stemming from a “Deathspore” virus would have made him a lot more memorable. Comic book Von Strucker is still a high-up HYDRA agent with many similar personality traits to his live-action counterpart, but through his disease, he can also stand up to superheroes by willingly spreading his virus. His death would also release the virus in his vicinity, though the fact that the MCU Von Strucker was killed by the presumable disease-resistant Ultron would have very much nullified the impact of this power.

8 Adam Warlock Is Like Marvel’s Superman

Portrayed By Will Poulter

Will Poulter's Adam Warlock in golden ship in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 specified how Adam isn’t as powerful as he should be, which should signify how Warlock was nerfed for the benefit of the Guardians of the Galaxy 3 plot. That is not to say that Will Poulter’s portrayal of the character still isn’t incredibly powerful, being responsible for the near-death of Rocket Raccoon and the redemptive rescue of Peter Quill in the vacuum of space later. In the comics, Adam Warlock is directly tied to the Soul Stone, with a soul too powerful for Death to claim. Evidently, this is one attribute that won’t make an appearance post-Infinity Saga.

The litany of abilities granted to Adam Warlock in the comics is partly thanks to this immortality, with each rebirth granting him new powers. Another perk for Adam Warlock, however, is his ability to develop new powers depending on the situation. Given that he has only just debuted, there is still plenty of time for Adam Warlock to grow into the kind of hero that could give Captain Marvel a run for her money.

7 Kang The Conqueror Hasn’t Conquered Much

Portrayed By Jonathan Majors

So far, the MCU has gone to great lengths to dumb down Kang’s threat, which at this point could signify how much he should be feared. Despite this, aside from being second only to Loki when it comes to ultimate power, Kang has recently been prepared as the true big bad of the multiverse, the likes of which Thanos should be afraid. While the movie rendition of Kang is mostly faithful to the comics, including his genius intellect and powerful gadgets, he has yet to not be defeated by Marvel’s superheroes. The Council of Kangs may remedy this in the future, but time is running out for the arch-villain to start being a true threat.

Following Jonathan Majors’ legal troubles and the lukewarm response to Kang, there are reports that Marvel will pivot away from the character entirely.

6 Drax The Destroyer Should Destroy More

Portrayed By Dave Bautista

Dave Bautista as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy

Drax the Destroyer is often played for laughs in the MCU, which flies in the face of his intimidating moniker. While he has shown great feats of strength – such as by forcefully pushing the door to the High Evolutionary’s ship off its hinges – there is still so much more that Drax could offer. Among his unseen powers are flight, surviving in space, playing the saxophone, and the ability to pose a significant threat to his arch-nemesis, Thanos.

5 Ultron Should Have Won

Portrayed By James Spader

Ultron being threatening in Avengers: Age of Ultron

Ultron was a casualty of the MCU’s requirement to condense entire comic book runs into a single movie, which reduced him to an enemy that the Avengers could defeat in a pretty short space of time. The same could not be said of Ultron in the comic book run Age of Ultron, in which he won, as hinted at by the title. Ultron’s comic book M.O. was to constantly adapt insurmountable improvements, leading to a vast list of superpowers that included the ability to visit other planes and matter manipulation. In the MCU’s defense, however, Ultron eventually became the conduit through which Vision’s power could be demonstrated.

4 Ulysses Klaw Could Have Easily Taken A Bullet And Lived

Portrayed By Andy Serkis

Andy Serkis’ phenomenal portrayal of Klaue was only part of the reason that his unceremonious death at the hands of Killmonger was a perversely tragic one. A sonic-spewing arm isn’t exactly something to write home about, but it is what the comic book Klaw became over the course of several appearances that truly made him a villain to be feared. This was thanks to Klaw’s body being composed of semi-solidified sound that made him impervious to just about anything other than a vacuum, including a bullet to the torso. Klaw’s resurrection is unlikely, but hope remains that Serkis will reprise the role in a far more formidable capacity than before.

3 Odin Is A Literal God

Portrayed By Anthony Hopkins

Thor Ragnarok Odin

As the King of Asgard, Odin is supposed to be the most powerful of all Asgardians, with godlike powers that measure up to his status. One of these, specifically, is the Odinforce, which Odin only briefly wields throughout the course of the first three Thor movies, such as banishing Thor to earth and stripping him of his power and shooting energy beams from Gungnir. The comic book rendition of these powers, however, has Odin going toe-to-toe with some of Marvel’s most cosmically powerful beings and often coming out on top with little apparent effort.

Though Odin’s comparatively meager powers in the MCU could be put down to too few opportunities for him to shine through, the way in which he was outmaneuvered and overpowered by the dark elves and Loki is particularly egregious. Instead of dealing with what Odin versus Thanos would have looked like, however, which probably should have ended in a clear victory for the Asgardian King, the MCU decided to kill him off before Thanos’ plans got underway in earnest, which was probably a wise move. Regardless, not seeing a fully powered Odin in action against a world-ending threat feels like a missed opportunity.

2 Vision Was Debilitated Too Early

Portrayed By Paul Bettany

Paul Bettany's vision crouches over shortly after gaining life in Avengers: Age of Ultron

Vision’s power in the MCU was at its most stark when conveyed in the What If…Ultron Won? episode, in which Vision’s body, inhabited by the programming of Ultron, is able to effortlessly bisect a Thanos in possession of all the Infinity Stones except for the Mind Stone. No such moment transpired during the events of Avengers: Infinity War, thanks to Vision being weakened after Corvus Glaive caught him off-guard and impaled him on his blade. Yet Vision’s power was never given a chance to shine after Avengers: Age of Ultron, though it is somewhat understandable given how a full-powered Vision could diminish pretty much all of the MCU’s biggest threats.

1 Hulk Can Punch Through Time

Portrayed By Mark Ruffalo

Hulk’s suppressed power in the MCU is one of the franchise’s biggest and most criminal sticking points, as his iconic comic book equivalent has been capable of some impossibly outlandish feats. These include punching through time itself, which may have come in handy during the events of the Avengers: Endgame Time Heist. Though there is still the slightest room for Hulk to be given the power levels he deserves in the MCU, potentially through a World War Hulk arc, some of the biggest disservices done to the Jade Giant have included his defeat at the hands of Iron Man, Thor, and Thanos.

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