Thanos is the quintessential villain of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but there are more powerful MCU antagonists than the Mad Titan. As the MCU’s scope grew throughout the years, the power level of both heroes and villains increased accordingly. Tony Stark’s opponents went from a businessman in an iron suit to a fire-breathing genius and a near-omnipotent AI. The MCU’s expansion into outer space and different dimensions only reinforced this difference.

Ever since Thor and The Avengers evidenced the reach of the Asgardians’ magic abilities, it has been evident that power is not only a question of raw strength. Magic, size, immortality, and even personality need to be taken into account in order to understand how powerful a character really is. For instance, Thor could have wielded the Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers: Endgame, but Smart Hulk was more mentally stable at the time. The nature of a character’s abilities also explains why Captain Marvel could punch any other hero into oblivion but Scarlet Witch could twist her spine with a flick of her wrist.

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As omnipotent as Thanos is with the Infinity Stones, many other MCU villains are naturally more powerful. His former servant Ronan the Accuser was able to wield the Power Stone with minimal resistance, and only stayed under Thanos’ command due to his hidden motivations. Similarly, Ego the Living Planet could have easily wiped out the Earth as easily as he did with other planets, but his desire to take over the entire universe led him to pursue Star-Lord and lose against the Guardians of the Galaxy before he could achieve it. That leaves Hela, Surtur, and Dormammu, three mystical beings with extremely long lifespans and a near-unlimited amount of power and it’s only the latter that can claim to be the most powerful.

Eons ago, Odin defeated Surtur by himself, but with Odin past his prime – and even worse, gone – Thor demonstrated that both Surtur and Hela are strong enough that even he, the second strongest Avenger, couldn’t defeat either of them in Thor: Ragnarok. Only they could defeat one another. However, Surtur can only be so powerful when merged with the Eternal Flame while wearing his crown. Thor: Ragnarok also proved how Hela can be defeated by way of humongous Fire Demon. So, the one MCU villain to go untouched by almost any weapon is Dormammu.

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Dormammu is virtually unbeatable in the MCU because he’s not really part of it. By nature alone, Dormammu spans his own entire reality as a trans-dimensional entity. He warps its very fabric to create his face and use his powers, he can bestow occult abilities on beings from different universes, and he’s described by The Ancient One as being older than time itself. The only obstacle that stops him from annihilating the MCU before anybody has a chance to blink is that he can’t simply go ahead and enter it. That’s why he recruited Kaecilius before Doctor Strange thwarted his plans thanks to sheer persistence. Sure, Dormammu suffered the least violent defeat in the entire franchise due to this tiny hindrance, but then again, it would have been impossible for Thanos to erase half of all life if he didn’t get a bejeweled glove.

Dormammu is the personification of destruction. It’s difficult to put his power into perspective with so many alien races and living planets, but Dormammu is an entire dimension and his goals include the whole multiverse as well. Objects like the Infinity Gauntlet may not work in his Dark Dimension as it does elsewhere in the multiverse. Thankfully, Doctor Strange was lucky and wise enough to find a clever use for the Time Stone to save the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe from being absorbed by The Destroyer of Worlds, at least temporarily.

Key Release Dates
  • Black Widow (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Sep 03, 2021
  • Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
  • The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
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