The 100 Greatest Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters (70-61)

Whether you think it’s the worst thing to happen to cinema or the only thing keeping it alive, there’s no denying the MCU changed Hollywood forever. Kevin Feige and his producing partners at the time should never stop getting praise for creating the franchise mold everyone borrows from now and for finally delivering the connected superhero universe every comic book fan dreamt about for ages. They weren’t the first to produce quality superhero movies but they were the first to make each film an event by making you see how each one was going to connect to the next and what it was all leading to. It was a ballsy move that ended up being the most successful gamble in Hollywood history. It has spawned over 30 movies and almost half as many TV shows. Not all of them have been great but almost all of them have produced great characters. Characters that turn no-name actors into instant movie stars and make B-tier comic creations into instant fan favorites. This franchise will continue to thrive for years to come because the actors they cast are always on point (well, most of the time) and the writing keeps them feeling distinct and instantly memorable. No other franchise has produced this many unforgettable characters and I predict, no other franchise ever will.

These are the 100 Greatest Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters of All Time.

70. Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings)

One of my favorite things about Darcy Lewis is that she was a completely original character in the still-growing MCU. There were no comics to fall back on for personality traits or history, no set story path to follow. Darcy was coming into the universe a blank slate, and she had to be interesting enough to make her presence welcomed, and justified. On paper, Darcy could have been dismissed as nothing more than the resident sarcastic sidekick who was there as a counterpoint to the somewhat serious and brainy Jane Foster, but the casting of Kat Dennings did wonders for injecting depth and dimension into the character. She became one of the MCU’s most devastating snarksters but her character did not stop there. Darcy is intelligent and bright, proving herself indispensable to Jane and Erik by being just the right balance of open-mindedness and grounded. Rather than being confined solely to Thor movies, Darcy thrived by taking on a vital role in WandaVision, proving she’s much more than the throwaway sidekick. She has the potential to play a much bigger role in the next phase of the MCU and I sincerely hope Marvel Studios will take advantage of it.

Romona Comet

69. Luke Cage (Mike Colter)

Luke Cage is one of my favorite characters in the comics. He is an extremely underrated character and it’s a shame that he has very little source material to work with. He was experimented on while he was in prison and then later goes on to become a Hero for Hire, eventually getting teamed up with Danny Rand after Iron Fist’s comic failed to sell. Much, much later when Jessica Jones was created, the two formed a relationship and that is where most of his source material comes from in the Netflix series. He is definitely one of those characters who seems like he should be front and center but does his best when he is in a supporting role. Oh, and he has unbreakable skin.


68. Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper & John Slattery)

A combination of Howard Hughes, Hugh Hefner, and Walt Disney, Howard Stark is the best and worst elements of his son dialed up to eleven. He’s a brilliant inventor, scientist, engineer, businessman, and war hero but he’s also a neglectful father who puts their work before their child. He’s a man of multitudes, which is why it’s the best duo performance in the entire MCU not including the retroactively canonized X-Men prequels. John Slattery played the older version, the one that’s distant and cold but not entirely without admiration, whereas Dominic Cooper plays the version before Tony was born, the playboy inventor who was every bit as loveably cocky as his son. The scene where Tony meets his father is one of the best moments in Avengers: Endgame. As much as the series was about the Infinity Stones and slowly piecing the trash together to overcome the ultimate threat, it was Tony Stark’s journey from bad guy to hero to ultimate martyr and him getting closure with his father was a huge moment in his story.

Sailor Monsoon

67. Jennifer Walters / She-Hulk (Tatiana Maslany)

She-Hulk has to be far and away the most polarizing MCU character to date. You either love She-Hulk or you hate She-Hulk. There is no in-between (and in case you’re wondering, I definitely fall somewhere within the former — oh, you didn’t ask? Okay, then never mind). See what I did there? Fourth wall breaking! Gotta love it. Anyways. Jennifer Walters is a lawyer by day and a lean, mean green wrecking machine by … uh, well, by day as well, I guess. Tatiana Maslany definitely pulled this character off a lot better than I thought she would be able to. The CGI sucked in some places (mostly at the law firm), but that hair — Oh, that hair! I am soooo jealous.

Ahem, anyway… As far as the show goes: It is exactly, as well as nowhere near, what I expected it to be. It probably went a little too far by making fun of the “toxic” fanbase, making it feel like it was bashing men for no good reason. You just don’t alienate part of the fanbase that made the MCU popular enough to give birth to your show. People say they want the MCU to take risks but the only risk that they want is one that they agree with and She-Hulk was definitely a risk that brought something different to the MCU. Is the show silly? Yes. Is it stupid? Oh, absolutely. But sometimes silly and stupid work great! And when it comes to a character named “She-Hulk” — what exactly were you expecting?! That’s what I thought. Subpoenaed. She’ll see you court.


66. Thaddeus E. “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt)

Initially introduced in the underrated The Incredible Hulk, “Thunderbolt” Ross was a secondary antagonist for the Edward Norton version of Bruce Banner / The Hulk. Hurt was great in the role (as was pretty much everyone else in the film), but the 2008 film’s poor box office haul as well as the Hulk’s film rights being held by Universal meant that Disney and Marvel basically forgot this film existed until 2016 when they brought Hurt back for Captain America: Civil War. Now “Thunderbolt” Ross was antagonizing more than just the Hulk, going after the Avengers for their reckless behavior while saving the world.

This “new” Ross was a welcome addition to the more-established MCU and I welcomed his brief presence in Avengers: Infinity War, Endgame, and Black Widow. It’s just a shame that Marvel let the character sit on a shelf for almost a decade because I loved what Hurt brought to the character. With Hurt’s passing in 2022, Marvel has recast the role with Harrison Ford (of all people), with the legendary actor set to make his MCU debut in Captain America: New World Order. While I’ll miss seeing Hurt in the role, I’m excited to see what Marvel has planned for Ford’s take on “Thunderbolt” Ross.

Marmaduke Karlston

65. Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel (Brie Larson)

Captain Marvel, aka Carol Danvers, has quickly become one of my favorite characters in the MCU, not to mention one of my favorite comic book characters in general. I vaguely knew about Captain Marvel before her self-titled movie came out, but it’s fair to say the Captain Marvel movie was my primary introduction to the character. And what a character she is! Here, at last, was a Marvel superhero I could fully identify with. Watching Carol, as Vers, struggling to fit in and succeed on Hala with the Kree really struck a chord with me, being someone who has continually struggled to fit in myself.

In her debut film, I loved watching Carol constantly being told that she needs to control her power, reign in her power, and so on until finally, the moment comes when she realizes she’s struggling because she’s holding back, and so she lets all her power out and it is a glorious moment to behold. She is a force to be reckoned with; yet — despite being insanely powerful — she doesn’t let it go to her head. She also refuses to be pushed around, and that is part of what makes her one of the coolest superheroes in the MCU and a joy to watch every time she makes an appearance.

Becky O’Brien

64. The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum)

The 2010s were definitely kind to Jeff Goldblum, with the actor experiencing quite the career comeback in the back half of the decade. After starring in the long-awaited Independence Day sequel, Goldblum joined the MCU as himself The Grandmaster, the ruler of the planet Sakaar who finds joy in other people’s misery. Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi told Goldblum to make the role his own and he certainly achieved that with The Grandmaster oozing Goldblum’s trademark charm. He’s the sort of carefree supporting character the MCU needs more of (honestly, I bet if you replace Korg with the Grandmaster Thor: Love and Thunder will get a thousand times better). With that said, I’m not necessarily sure we need to see The Grandmaster again, but his presence in Ragnarok was definitely a highlight and I look forward to revisiting it in future rewatches.

Marmaduke Karlston

63. Classic Loki (Richard E. Grant)

Classic Loki’s introduction near the end of Loki Season 1 had me jumping off my sofa! The costume and the acting choice of Richard E. Grant were comic-book-perfect. Okay, so the Loki variant known as “Classic Loki” was only in an episode and a half before meeting his fate, I don’t care. He’s great! Also, I don’t think he’s dead. And if he is, well, I’ll be honest with you, I’ll just go back and rewatch the scene where he creates an illusion of Asgard over and over again.

Ralph Hosch

62. Xu Wenwu / Mandarin (Tony Leung)

We are once again asking why Marvel Studios continuously chooses to make all of the most interesting characters appear as villains in just a single movie. Minor gripes aside, it was great to see Hong Kong cinema legend Tony Leung make his Hollywood film debut as the badass adversary and father of Shang-Chi. All of the film’s deepest emotions come directly from Xu Wenwu as a character and Tony Leung’s incredible performance. It’s pretty easy to see how someone would have such bad daddy issues with this guy for a father.

Raf Stitt

61. Quentin Beck / Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal)

Jake Gyllenhaal is one of my favorite actors when he is at the top of his game, so I was extremely excited when he was cast as Mysterio. The structure of Spider-Man: Far From Home left me pretty disappointed in the character until about halfway through when Quentin Beck gets a magnificent heel-turn. From there, Mysterio becomes one of the best Spider-Man villains put to screen yet, and the two sequences when he traps Peter in his illusions are top-notch.

Jacob Holmes

80-71 | 60-51

Who are some of your favorite MCU characters? Maybe they’ll show up later in the list!