Avengers: Infinity War gave us a glimpse into the madness and power that is Thanos, who ended up wiping half of all life in the universe away with a single snap. However, while Thanos is a powerful Titan, he isn’t nearly as formidable without the Infinity Gauntlet, which is why he is so synonymous with the bejewelled accessory. We look at 5 villains who are more powerful than the purple psychopath, who are still running around the MCU.
Please be aware of some spoilers ahead. Also, these villains are stronger than Thanos in his base form, as the cosmic power of the Infinity Stones trump many of these villains’ abilities.
Dormammu is the lead antagonist from 2016’s Doctor Strange, and hails from the Dark Dimension, of which Dormammu has total dominion over. The Dark Dimension is a dimension in the Multiverse, and since Dormammu has total control over it (spanning eons), this makes Dormammu a pretty scary entity.
Doctor Strange confronts Dormammu and manipulates Time to trap Dormammu in a time loop, thus never defeating him for good. While Dormammu possesses abilities that are beyond human comprehension, his power is still limited by the effects of the Infinity Stones.
2. The Collector
The Guardians of the Galaxy (2016) introduced The Collector, aka Tanaleer Tivan (Benicio del Toro); an odd “man” who seems to simply be a librarian of powerful, and weird, artefacts and items from across the cosmos. However, he is actually an Elder of the Universe; an extinct race of ancient beings that were around since the beginning of the creation of all things.
The Collector is mainly focused on his collection of non/living creatures and items, which is what gives the Elders their lengthy life-span (a lengthy pursuit of a single goal, not the collection itself), but they do have one goal above all others: preserve the future from ultimate destruction. In Infinity War, we see Thanos torture Tivan for the Reality Stone (ironic), and after Gamora seemingly inflicts a fatal strike, Thanos reveals that he already has the Red Gem. We aren’t sure if Tivan escaped Thanos before the attack ensued, however, knowing the MCU and the Russo Brothers, even when someone dies on-screen, they might still be alive, let alone off-screen.
Technically, Tanaleer isn’t a true “villain” per se, however, it’s a matter of perspective. Tivan is ruthless in his pursuit of collectible items, and will even destroy entire civilisations for a single item, or even imprison that civilisation, if he deems it worthy. You know, mugs and figures are one thing, but entire races, species, and cultures? That upkeep must be insane. Moving on, as an Elder, The Collector possess the power Primordial, giving him influence over cosmic energy, along with other limited abilities. Also, he can’t die, as Death has banished all Elders from her realm.
3. The Grandmaster
Thor: Ragnarok (2017) put The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum – naturally) at the forefront, and is a member, and “leader”, of the Elders of the Universe. He also happens to be the practical brother of The Collector (notice how they both have the chin stripe?). Anyway, The Grandmaster is also a collector, like his “brother”, however, he enjoys the collection of games, which is why he holds the fights we see Thor in.
The Grandmaster is not a strong entity but he is powerful as he has the ability to pit various super-powered individuals against each other. Not much else is known of The Grandmaster from the MCU, but with the ability to cause endless fights if he wished? Infinity War kind of shows us why that could be a bad thing.
Surtur made an appearance in Thor: Ragnarok (2017), where he wiped out Asgard, and fulfilled the prophecy of Ragnarok. Surtur is an ancient demonic being that lived within the realm of Asgard, and his existence predates Odin himself. Surtur was imprisoned by Odin at the Earth’s core, and after he was released by Hela, he proceeded to bring about Ragnarok.
Surtur has the ability to stand against Odin, and their battles have the energy to wipe out galaxies. Not much is known about Surtur in the MCU, and he is believed to have died along with Asgard when he wiped it out. However, in Norse mythology, Surt, or Surtr (Norse for “black”, and is from where the word “soot” originates), is actually a fire giant, or jötunn, who leads the habitants of Musphelheim against the Aesir and Vanir gods during Ragnarok. His fate is to kill, and be killed by, Freyr; the son of the Vanir sea god, Njord. Seeing as how Surtur in the MCU is the bringer of Ragnarok, which equates to the destruction of the cosmos, I would say he is OP for the base Titan.
5. The Living Tribunal
The Living Tribunal has only been referenced in the MCU so far, and only by means of Karl Mordo using the Staff of Living Tribunal in 2016’s Doctor Strange. The weapon had only a fraction of the cosmic beings power, and is second only to The One Above All; an actual Celestial Creator who is essentially “God” in the Marvel Comics, and is the single most powerful being in the Marvel Universe.
The Living Tribunal isn’t necessarily a villain either, but since he has threatened to destroy the Earth, thanks to its potential for evil, and since he watches over and maintains the balance over all realities in the entire multiverse, well that just says it all really.
I would like to give some special mentions to characters in the Marvel sphere that I feel deserve to be on the list. First, Hela, the first-born of Odin and the lead antagonist in Thor: Ragnarok. Hela is a terribly powerful being, and is the Aesir Goddess of Death. She was able to thwart Mjolnir in a single blow, she is more powerful than Thor, her brother, and she effectively ended Asgard. However, while she can stand toe-to-toe against Thanos, she might still get a run for her money. Also, she has a propensity to join the Titan rather than face him in the comics, but stranger things have happened, and besides, she is believed to be dead at the hands of Surtur.
Second is Galactus, and this was a tricky one. Galactus is an extremely ancient being that predates the “Big Bang”. He has an incredible backstory, which I implore you to read, as it is far too long to talk about here. Nevertheless, Galactus is one of the most feared beings in the cosmos, and has the ability, and need, to consume entire planets. Not to mention his power, but Galactus wasn’t included in the top five above because he is still owned by 20th Century Fox, the studio behind Fantastic Four: The Silver Surfer, which is where Galactus has made his only appearance to date. This was actually the same reason I haven’t mentioned Jean Grey but hopefully, once Fox is acquired by Disney, we can see the true MCU emerge. Moving on, Galactus has fought Thanos in the comics but Thanos rarely bests him without the Infinity Gauntlet.
Lastly, Death; a seriously under-rated character in the MCU to date. Death is one of the four Cosmic Entities in the Marvel Comics, with Entropy, Infinity, and Eternity being the other three. Death is exactly what her name implies; she holds dominion over the realm of the Dead, and she has the ability to convey death unto anyone, barring a few select individuals such as the Elders and the Celestials. Death, along with her kin, created the Infinity Stones, and are beyond comprehension, even to the oldest species in the Universe.
I know what you are thinking: “Why not put her on the list?” Well, first off, she very nearly made it due to her incredible power of death, because she could, theoretically, kill Thanos at any minute. However, his obsession with the Stones, and the fact that Death is one of the creators, has caused an intricate bond between the two, as referenced when Thanos smiles in remembrance after the Chitauri invasion of Earth, when The Other states that “To challenge them [humans] is to court Death”. This relationship is a cause for belief that Death will, eventually, be involved in the MCU at some point, but not in opposition to Thanos. I do not believe that Death will join Thanos in the MCU, because that would just be a ridiculously OP combination of characters, but she could still best the purple Titan. Another problem with Death is that she is almost a cop-put, a get-out-jail-free card, if you will. She cannot be slain by any other character in the MCU, and she literally holds the power of death.
That is my top five list of Marvel villains that have the power to defeat Thanos. There are so many other beings that also deserve to be on the list but I felt as though these were the top picks. Do you have any suggestions? Let me know in the comments.
Loves games with deep character development and a rich storyline. Also, shooty-shooties. Loathes microtransactions. Likes to use sarcasm and metaphors.
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