The dust has settled, the alien invasion is over, and Carol Danvers has come into her own as a powerful superhero in the MCU.
But is she the most powerful?
Let’s take a look at the facts!
(NOTE: MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR CAPTAIN MARVEL AHEAD!)
Captain Marvel’s Power
Carol Danvers has strutted her stuff for us in the recently released movie – and she is definitely no slouch! Here is what the movie showed us about her power:
Carol Danvers is a direct human conduit to the Tesseract, which is one of the Infinity Stones
In the alternate reality of the MCU, Carol gets her powers slightly differently from the way she did in the comic books. In this version of the story, a freak accident occurs when Carol destroys a device that her mentor, Mar-Vell, had built to remotely harness the power of the Tesseract, a cosmic cube that we now know to be one of the incredibly powerful infinity stones.
Mar-vell had been trying to build a light-speed engine, and the technology she managed to create had the effect of granting Carol the power to generate blasts of photon energy from her bare hands.
Carol Danvers has Kree Physiology
For much of the movie, Carol is wearing a device that dampens her powers. In order to convince her that she is a member of the Kree Star Force, Yon-Rogg subjects her to a procedure that transfuses his own kree blood into her body, and alters her body physiology to make her more like the Kree.
This makes her tough and resilient, with fast reflexes and more strength than a normal human being. This is of course irrelevant once she breaks free of his control and embraces her true power, destroying the device.
Carol Danvers frees herself from Kree domination without help
When under the control of Yon Rogg’s device, Carol can be seen bleeding and bruised when hit by her enemies. However, when she learns to embrace her emotions and reject the control imposed on her, she destroys the device without help, coming into her own.
The awakened Captain Marvel performs several incredible feats
- After freeing herself from the device’s control, Carol then is left unhurt when hit by weapons that would previously have winded her or caused her to bleed.
- She takes to the air and flies.
- She generates an energy field around herself that allows her to breathe in space without a helmet, and allows her to wear a jacket in the vacuum of space with no harm coming to it.
- She matches the speed of a Kree mothership flying at lightspeed.
- She catches, lifts and throws a ballistic missile – an advanced nuclear weapon
- She flies through and destroys several of these weapons – effortlessly absorbing explosions intended to annihilate life on either the Earth or the continent of America.
- She destroys a Kree capital ship with the greatest of ease, by flying straight through it and having it explode around her.
- Ronan the Accuser makes a very quick judgement – deciding she alone is a weapon that makes the planet Earth too expensive a target for his advanced Kree starfleet, and retreats.
That was quite a list of feats!!!! So, the question now is, who among Earth’s most powerful heroes can boast of achieving something similar to these?
First, write off all the street level heroes
Yup, we know who these are. The normal humans or enhanced humans – people whose greatest talents are either their spying ability, leadership, Royal status, or some form of enhancement that makes them impressive in a boxing ring, but not necessarily in a death battle with weapons capable of destroying starships in play.
They are formidable foes and can perform extraordinary feats- but going toe to toe with a cosmically powered being is probably not one of them.
Hawkeye, Black Widow, Captain America, Winter Soldier, Star-Lord, Rocket, Falcon, Spiderman, QuickSilver
(Valid question: Why is quicksilver here? Super speed is one of the most amazing powers!
Answer: Super speed is very impressive, but this version of Quicksilver doesn’t move quite fast enough to dodge bullets… sadly.)
Next, we eliminate the Tanks
The next group I call the “Tanks”. These guys can take a hit – a lot of hits in fact – and can also dish out some serious hurt. They generally have some form of super power or alien physiology, and would probably give Carol a run for her money when she is under the influence of the Kree power dampener. However, it would be a stretch to imagine them single-handedly destroying a salvo of continent-destroying nuclear missiles.
Gamora, Ant-Man, Wasp, Groot, Mantis, Black Panther, Drax
Third, we get rid of the Fighter jets
Now we’re talking. This group can not just take some severe punishment, they can absolutely dish it out in spades.
Iron man’s suits are so advanced they can blanket entire battalions with explosive death. In Infinity War, he deployed nanotechnology so advanced it could automatically repair his suit, allowing him to go toe-to-toe with Thanos, even though the mad Titan was holding back.
The Scarlet Witch’s power to bend and affect reality marks her as one of the major powerhouses of the MCU, and the Hulk alone can smash through Chitauri capital ships and emerge unscathed from the milieu. The Vision, with his phasing, flying and incredible strength, was the breakout star of Age Of Ultron.
These are all incredible powerhouses, but we have one more tier, and this is the tier in which I feel Carol has earned her spot.
Hulk, Iron Man, War Machine, Scarlet Witch, Vision
And now, we have gone Cosmic
These guys are the only heroes in the MCU who have displayed power levels close to the show Carol put on at the end of Captain Marvel.
The power to manipulate time comes directly from an Infinity Stone, just like Carol’s power. At the end of his own movie, Doctor Strange saved the entire planet from a multiversal being bent on obliterating it entirely – by manipulating time.
This is by itself, one of the most incredible powers possible and grants Strange the potential to be the most powerful in the MCU. With Endgame potentially being Strange’s masterplan to defeat Thanos, this just might be the most powerful hero we have yet seen.
Why is Carol more powerful?
Honestly? She might actually not be. Time manipulation is a hard thing to beat. However, Strange’s status as an unbeatable force is compromised by the fact that at the end of the day, his access to cosmic power is a function of spellcasting and magic. The ease with which Ebony Maw rendered him ineffective in Infinity War showcases just how major this flaw is with him.
Thor is, without a doubt, the current champion of the MCU. Single-handedly taking on Thanos with his new weapon, Stormbreaker, Thor has recently gone through an awakening of his own, in Thor Ragnarok (incidentally also overcoming a power dampening device similar to the one used on Carol) – coming into his own as a true god of thunder and lightning.
In Infinity War, he went a step further, taking the full force of a dwarf star to the back as he forged StormBreaker – a rite of passage that left him near death.
Joining the battle against Thanos at the very end, Thor’s weapon and newfound power rendered the mad Titan ineffective even as he harnessed the power of six infinity stones! Thor went against Thanos one on one, and emerged victorious, striking Thanos down with a single blow to the chest – the only reason he did not get the kill being a poor decision not to go for Thanos’ head.
Oh, and he can travel faster than the speed of light thanks to his ability to summon the Bifrost, an Einstein-Rosen bridge that facilitates instantaneous travel.
Why is Carol more powerful?
Honestly speaking? It is indeed very likely that she is not.
Of all the heroes in the MCU, Thor comes the closest to Carol’s incredible show of strength at the end of Captain Marvel. He took the full force of a star, which can be likened to Carol’s destruction of several nuclear weapons. The bifrost takes him anywhere he wants to go, just like Carol’s light-speed flight, and his liberal use of thunder and lightning plus the unstoppable power of Stormbreaker makes him a force to be reckoned with, just like Carol’s mothership-destroying strength and energy blasts.
So why say Carol is more powerful then? It’s simple, and can be summarised by the words she spoke to Yon-Rogg when she shut him up during his display of machismo at the end of the movie – “I have nothing to prove”.
She would have gone for the head.