10 Marvel Movie Superheroes Way Weaker Than Powers Suggest

Split image of Chris Pratt as Star-Lord in a promotional image for Guardians of the Galaxy and Charlie Cox as Daredevil in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

The Marvel movie heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and beyond often prove to be much weaker than their powers appear to suggest. Throughout the movies of the MCU and Marvel films in other continuities, the characters of Marvel Comics and their spectacular powers are brought to life on the big screen. Many of these superheroes possess truly astonishing abilities, making them appear to be incredibly powerful individuals within their world.

This isn’t always the truth, however, because not all Marvel movie superheroes are as powerful as they seem. Despite possessing abilities that many would classify as incredible, the specific context of their power and its use can often dampen their true place within Marvel’s hierarchy of power. Not all heroes in the MCU’s movie timeline and beyond are quite as powerful as they appear, with many superheroes actually proving much weaker than their powers suggest.

10. The Human Torch Can’t Use His Full Power

The Human Torch’s Abilities Could Destroy The Planet If Used Without Care

Chris Evans' Human Torch flying in Fantastic Four movie

Long before the MCU’s The Fantastic Four, there was 2005’s Fantastic Four, featuring Chris Evans as the Human Torch. In the film, a scene in which the heroes test their abilities reveals that Johnny Storm can reach temperatures approaching those of a supernova, which he is expressly told would be bad for the planet. This outlines the overwhelming potential of the Human Torch’s power, albeit with a rather obvious limitation.

Despite this remarkable upper limit making Johnny Storm incredibly powerful, he’s actually made much weaker by his inability to safely employ it. Should the Human Torch approach those temperatures without any precautions, the entire planet would be destroyed, rendering his high power level effectively useless. Though the extent of his abilities makes him incredibly strong, the fact that such limits have very few practical uses actually makes the Human Torch weaker than he appears.

9. Ghost Rider Is Limited By His Contract

The Spirit Of Vengeance’s Strings Are Pulled By Other Characters

Nicolas Cage as Ghost Rider Stands with Chain in the 2007 movie

Nicolas Cage’s stint as Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider may not have earned him much critical praise, but he was given the opportunity to play a uniquely powerful superhero. Marvel’s Ghost Rider is imbued with the Spirit of Vengeance, giving him a range of supernatural abilities that make him a formidable figure in comparison to other heroes. However, there’s a very good reason that he’s not often considered one of Marvel’s most powerful characters.

The nature of Johnny Blaze’s transformation into Ghost Rider stems from a deal made with Mephisto. The deal effectively renders him Mephisto’s enforcer, complete with his supernatural powers, which are every bit as much a curse as they are a gift. As such, all of Ghost Rider’s abilities are intrinsically linked to his contract with Mephisto, meaning that his power is theoretically kept in check by his demonic master.

8. Spider-Man’s Powers Aren’t All That Helpful

Spider-Man’s Abilities Don’t Actually Make Him Powerful

Tom Holland's Spider-Man fighting the Green Goblin in Spider-Man No Way Home

Spider-Man may be one of Marvel’s most iconic characters, but he’s nowhere near as powerful as his status makes him seem. Across multiple iterations, Spider-Man’s origin story and abilities are largely consistent: he’s bitten by a radioactive spider, granting him the ability to stick to walls and enhanced reflexes. In most incarnations, he then creates web shooters that further adhere to his chosen arachnid identity.

Spider-Man may well be an important hero, but his core abilities are nowhere near as strong as they seem. His spider-sense and wall-crawling powers simply aren’t all that impressive when considered independently, and it’s actually Peter Parker’s intellect that makes Spider-Man so formidable. Considering intelligence was one of his defining traits before he became a hero, it’s clearly not one of his powers, so, in fact, it’s Spider-Man’s human side that enables him to be a better hero.

7. Makkari’s Speed Isn’t As Powerful As It Seems

Makkari Barely Stands Out Among Her Fellow Eternals

Makkari looks for The Emergence in Eternals

The cast of Eternals is positively packed with heroes imbued with cosmic abilities, and many of them are every bit as powerful as they appear. However, Makkari, the group’s speedster, is significantly weaker than she seems. Though super speed is often considered an especially overpowered ability, Makkari’s fellow Eternals consistently prove that it doesn’t make her stand out as much as it otherwise should.

The MCU’s Eternals are revealed to have been artificially created by the Celestial Arishem, and each is given a unique ability alongside shared powers. Every Eternal has enhanced strength, durability, and speed to some degree, with Makkari simply being faster than the rest. However, despite her speed, she’s unable to use it to overcome Ikaris in the film’s climactic battle, proving that her ability doesn’t give her the edge over her fellow Eternals. As such, Makkari is clearly proven to be much weaker than her powers suggest.

6. The Movies Waste Cyclops’ Potential

The X-Men Movies Don’t Establish Cyclops As An Exceptional Character

Cyclops in glasses and motorbike in X-Men The Last Stand

Cyclops may not be one of the X-Men’s Omega-level mutants, but he’s undeniably one of the more powerful figures to appear in the X-Men stories of Marvel Comics. His role as a leader within the team of mutant heroes signifies his strength, but it’s something that the movies failed to adequately depict. Though Fox’s X-Men movies showed Cyclops’ ability to shoot energy beams from his eyes, they failed the more powerful aspects of the character.

In the movies, Scott Summers is missing many of Cyclops’ most important qualities. His conviction and his ability to lead are all but non-existent, even though he still acts as something of a figurehead for the team. Despite his status implying his power as both a mutant and leader, the way in which he’s written in the movies makes him appear far weaker than he deserves.

5. Ajak’s Healing Was Useless In The End

Ajak’s Power Failed Her In The Worst Way

Ajak (Salma Hayek) looks off-screen in the Eternals

Another member of the Eternals who is much weaker than she should have been is Ajak, the original leader of the team. As the Prime Eternal, Ajak is implied to be the most powerful and important of the group, with her healing abilities seemingly a large part of what makes the team so formidable. Developments throughout the film’s story undermine this, making Ajak seem much weaker upon reflection.

For all of her healing abilities, Ajak is completely unable to heal herself when attacked. In fact, she’s easily duped by Ikaris and then killed by Deviants who do not possess anywhere near her supposed level of power, making her appear less powerful than was previously implied. What’s more, it’s also revealed that the Eternals are artificially created by the Celestial Arishem, further rendering Ajak’s healing powers weaker than they initially appeared.

4. Star-Lord Doesn’t Get Many Perks From Being Half Celestial

Star-Lord’s Parentage Does Little To Help Him

Chris Pratt's Star-Lord in Ravager jacket in Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 explored Star-Lord’s MCU backstory, which involved the remarkably powerful nature of his biological father. Star-Lord learns that his father is actually Ego the Living Planet, who in the MCU is described as a Celestial. It’s revealed that Star-Lord possesses a fraction of Ego’s power, as he is genetically half Celestial.

Even so, Star-Lord’s genetic build-up does him no favors at all. Both before and after encountering Ego, his half Celestial status comes with no obvious benefits, as he appears to be human in every other meaningful way. He doesn’t possess any enhanced abilities that serve him in his adventures across the galaxy, and his Celestial parentage doesn’t even earn him the respect of those around him. Considering that he’s descended from an incredibly powerful cosmic being, Star-Lord is much weaker than he should be.

3. Ant-Man’s Shrinking Is Ruined By Poorly Written Context

The MCU Has Bungled Ant-Man’s Potential

Scott Lang's Ant-Man speaking to an ant in Ant-Man

When Hank Pym recruits Scott Lang as the MCU’s Ant-Man, it’s explained that even when shrunk, Scott will retain his mass, allowing him to use his full strength despite his reduced size. This is an ability that should make Ant-Man a formidable combatant, as he could operate largely unseen but with the strength of his normal self. Unfortunately, the MCU’s use of Ant-Man rendered that ability far weaker than it deserved.

The MCU’s handling of its own scientific context was remarkably inconsistent. Scott is shown on multiple occasions engaging in acts that should be impossible, such as riding on top of an ant. The ever-changing rules about Ant-Man’s mass have led to his abilities being downplayed, despite the initial implication being that he would be an incredibly powerful hero in the MCU despite his diminutive stature.

2. Daredevil’s Iconic Ability Has Always Been A Lie

The Man Without Fear Is More Regular Than He Seems

Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock Smiling In Full Daredevil Costume In She-Hulk Episode 8

First appearing in live-action in 2003’s Daredevil, the Man Without Fear has since joined the MCU. Both versions possess comic-accurate Daredevil abilities: the same accident that rendered Matt Murdock blind also enhanced all of his other senses. This is commonly shown to give Daredevil superhuman awareness of his surroundings, as well as reflexes much faster than the average person. However, on balance, this doesn’t make Daredevil as powerful as his movie and TV appearances imply.

Considering all aspects of Matt Murdock’s condition, he’s still effectively no better off than he would have been without his accident. His combat prowess stems from his finely honed reflexes rather than his sensitive hearing, which isn’t something that would have been affected when he was blinded. Though his other senses were enhanced to compensate for his lack of sight, this only really levels the playing field for Daredevil, subtly making him much less powerful than he appears to be.

1. Captain America’s Super Soldier Status Is Not Enough

The Super Soldier Isn’t All That Super In The MCU

Close-up shot of Chris Evans' Steve Rogers as Captain America in Captain America: The First Avenger

Steve Rogers serves as the MCU’s first Avenger and the quintessential human hero. His inspirational place in the franchise stems from the super soldier serum which enhanced him in every way to peak condition, marking him as the ultimate example of human potential. In realistic terms, however, this shouldn’t be enough to make him one of the MCU’s most powerful heroes, as he is still, by definition, human.

The MCU is filled with gods, magic users, and technologically enhanced individuals. As such, Steve Rogers’ abilities as Captain America should still fall short, as even the most powerful human is still much weaker than some of the aliens and other beings that Cap comes against. In that regard, Captain America’s use of the super soldier serum doesn’t make him anywhere near as powerful as the movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe imply.

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