10 MCU Characters Whose Powers Changed The Most Between Appearances

  • MCU characters' powers can change significantly between appearances, illustrating their growth or decline in power as part of their character arcs.
  • Adapting comic book characters for the big screen often requires creative liberties with their powers, sometimes resulting in their weakening or strengthening.
  • Changes in powers are often integral to the narrative, allowing characters to overcome challenges or face new threats in the MCU's ongoing events.
The powers of MCU characters haven't always been consistent, with the nature of some changing quite substantially between just two appearances. By adapting some of its most iconic comic book characters to the big screen, Marvel has had to take some significant creative liberties when displaying what their characters are capable of. Sometimes this has led to a pretty egregious weakening of Marvel's most powerful characters, but changing the nature of some powers isn't always unwarranted. In the case of these heroes and villains, the change in powers was integral to the narrative.
The MCU's character arcs are iconic, with the time between on-screen appearances only helping to make them more compelling. Changing how their powers manifest between appearances helps to illustrate the journey that they have been on during that time, whether it be through growing weaker or much stronger as a result of the MCU's ongoing events. In the case of these characters, that wider narrative took its toll, with their powers growing or diminishing much more than any of the MCU's most powerful characters.
Related 10 Most OP Superpowers In The MCU There are many powerful MCU heroes and villains with a wide variety of superpowers, but some characters won the lottery with their abilities. 10 Echo Embraced Her Ancestral Powers Hawkeye - Echo Close
Release Date January 9, 2024 Seasons 1 Streaming Service(s) Disney+ , Hulu As the presumed arch-villain for most of Hawkeye, Maya Lopez showed herself to be a formidable hand-to-hand combatant and a ruthless crime boss in charge of an otherwise hapless criminal gang, the Tracksuit Mafia. While Marvel Comics aficionados will have always been aware of Lopez's true destiny, the series that followed Maya from her tenure under Fisk to an independent hero in her own right defied all expectations. Instead of the ability to perfectly mimic the fighting styles of her opponents, Echo is now in possession of a somewhat nebulous set of powers bestowed by her Choctaw ancestors.
As of Echo, while Maya is still a formidable combatant, she can now subdue the likes of Kingpin with just a touch. She was also shown granting her cousin and grandmother the ability to make quick work of armed guards with their fists alone. Finally, Maya probed the mind of her erstwhile boss and visited a memory by placing her hands on his head. Needless to say, these are a far departure from the skills she showed initially in Hawkeye.
9 Loki Became A Full-On God Loki Season 1 - Loki Season 2 Loki has been a part of the MCU as long as any other character, which has given him time to undergo one of the MCU's most compelling character arcs and gave him plenty of time to hone his powers. The leap in power levels was never so vast as it was between the two seasons of Loki, however, as he edged closer to embracing his true "glorious purpose:" to be the living Temporal Loom that holds the Multiverse together, affording all of its inhabitants uninhibited free will. With his hands grasping entire timelines, the power Loki holds now compared to what he could do in Season 1 is mind-boggling.
8 Full-Powered Vision Would Have Been Too Much For Thanos Captain America: Civil War - Avengers: Infinity War The nerfing of Vision is one conceit that is easy to accept, given how easily a full-powered Vision could have lowered the stakes in the events of Avengers: Infinity War. The fact that the wounds inflicted by Corvus Glaive incapacitated Vision was what removed Vision from the fight in Wakanda as Thanos proceeded to snatch the Mind Stone from Vision's head and complete his mission. Glaive's relatively quick success in hamstringing Vision is harder to accept, however, as the synthezoid found himself defeated by Thanos' minions despite the mind-boggling abilities that were once at his disposal in Captain America: Civil War.
7 Scarlet Witch Became A Multiversal Threat WandaVision - Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness Close Scarlet Witch's descent into Darkhold-powered villainy was the icing on the cake when it came to her tragic MCU arc. It did, however, finally see her reach her true potential as she displayed a plethora of godlike powers in her single-minded pursuit of her children across the Multiverse. Her reality-warping chaos magic was all she required to make quick work of some of the Multiverse's most powerful beings: the Illuminati of Earth-838. While she displayed similar reality-shaping powers in her solo series, WandaVision, they didn't hold a candle to the unstoppable force she became by the time it was too late.
6 Hulk Became Weaker But Smarter Avengers: Infinity War - Avengers: Endgame Bruce Banner's successful merging of brain and brawn in Avengers: Endgame resulted in a compromise in which Hulk's powers - which were already nerfed by the MCU - were significantly diminished. This stands to reason, given that Hulk's incredible power is exponentially increased by how angry he is, an emotion that Smart Hulk has precluded from his repertoire by the time he appears in Avengers: Endgame. Hulk's change in power levels was a net benefit, however, as Banner's success allowed for his integral role in both the Time Heist plan and carrying out the Blip, something which the previous "arrangement" would have substantially hampered.
5 Iron Man Reached His Technological Peak Captain America: Civil War - Avengers: Infinity War Tony Stark's relentless pursuit of improvement reached its zenith by the time it came to facing Thanos, as his Mark L Armoor fully harnessed the mind-bending capabilities of nanotech. In his battle with Thanos on Titan, Stark was able to deploy enough force to make Thanos bleed. Not only that, but his nanotech gauntlet later housed the collected Infinity Stones, something which Thanos had to commission the legendary Dwarves of Nidavellir to achieve. Given that Tony Stark's MCU arc would come to a bittersweet end in Avengers: Endgame, it's hard to see how he could have ever improved on this example of what his mind could accomplish.
4 Monica Rambeau Honed Her Powers WandaVision - The Marvels Monica Rambeau gained her powers in the events of WandaVision and spent the time between that show and The Marvels getting to grips with her ability to phase and manipulate the electromagnetic spectrum. While there was still room for growth by the time she demonstrated what she was capable of in The Marvels, the fact that she could repair a rift between dimensions speaks volumes to just how far she has come during the time between WandaVision and The Marvels. While she was reluctant to adopt the moniker (or any moniker, for that matter), it seems Rambeau is well on her way to embodying "Photon" in her next MCU appearance.
3 Groot Reached Peak Physical Fitness Avengers: Infinity War (or Endgame) - Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.3 Close Groot underwent significant growth between the events of Avengers: Endgame and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 in more ways than one. The once-disaffected youth experienced some life-altering circumstances in the Infinity Saga's climax, which spurred him to become bulkier than ever in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. His size wasn't the only thing to change, though, as Groot proceeded to demonstrate some previously unseen abilities, which included the ability to grow into a giant, wield multiple guns like a living turret, and spawn wings capable of gliding. Groot has always been capable of many incredible feats, but those he demonstrated in his last outing felt particularly practiced.
2 Emile Blonsky Found Inner Balance The Incredible Hulk - She-Hulk Emile Blonsky's pursuit of Bruce's Hulk blood led to him becoming Abomination, a bigger, uglier version of Hulk that was capable of holding his own against the Jade Giant before Hulk's anger bested him. The rampaging Abomination was then imprisoned for several years, during which time Blonsky underwent another kind of transformation. As demonstrated in She-Hulk, Blonsky now has complete control over his transformation, in a similar arc to Smart Hulk. While he spoke a few words as Abomination in The Incredible Hulk, Abomination in his most recent guise is now particularly articulate - and even sports a more comic-accurate appearance.
1 Thanos Became A Weak Hermit Avengers: Infinity War - Avengers: Endgame One of the most shocking gulfs in power came when Thanos, after having completed his only goal, called it quits and retreated to "The Garden" to become a hermit. His new life is an exceptionally far cry from the powerhouse he once was, able to humiliate Hulk in a one-on-one tussle before getting his hands on every Infinity Stone and wiping out half of all life in the Universe. While the Avengers came at him at full speed, this time backed up by Captain Marvel herself, Thanos' lack of preparation and unwillingness to retaliate was blatant. Yet, in the wake of his victory, the Avengers' MCU success was tainted.


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