Ranking the MCU: The Weapons

In honor of the final “Avengers” of this era, I’m taking a fun look back at the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In this piece, I’m looking at the weapons used by Marvel characters since the series’ start in 2008.

14. Hawkeye’s Bow/Arrows

Hawkeye using his bow and arrows in “The Avengers.”

So, Hawkeye’s bow and variety of arrows are at the very bottom. I didn’t put the weapon too high, because, while they’re pretty cool, they aren’t on the level as some of the others on this list. Additionally, this is the one weapon that mostly really relies on the user more than any other. Probably no one else on the team could fight off either an army of aliens or robots with a bow and arrows, no matter how advanced they were. The arrows have some good abilities, from general explosives to others that melt metal, but it’s Hawkeye’s skills that really do the work.

13. Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet

Thanos using the full powered gauntlet in “Avengers: Infinity War.”

If this was just about what weapon is most powerful, the fully jeweled Infinity Gauntlet would of course be No. 1. With all the stones, the Gauntlet can do more or less anything. However, it is still a gauntlet. It’s well designed, looks great with all the stones and is extremely powerful. Yet it’s not as memorable as others on this list.

12. The Chitauri Scepter, used by Loki

Loki with the Chitauri Scepter in “The Avengers.”

The Chitauri Scepter, which falls into many hands but is primarily used by Loki, was a very powerful weapon and is eventually found to hold the Mind Stone. The weapon is impressive and the sharp, spear like end gives it an identity. It’s not the most grand item, but it’s effective.

11. War Machine’s shoulder canon

War Machine using his shoulder cannon in “Captain America: Civil War.”

Whether it’s been in animated series or comic books, a staple of War Machine has been the shoulder mounted cannon. So, it’s been great to see it in live action glory.

In its first appearance, the weapon was in the form of a minigun and later it was upgraded with more powerful cannons developed by Stark Industries. Regardless, the piece of heavy firepower is an awesome, iconic weapon.

10. Star Lord’s Pistols

Star Lord firing his guns in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Star-Lord’s pistols are great. First of all, he refers to himself as an outlaw, and it fits since he fires these things like a Wild West cowboy. Plus, from a film perspective, the guns are fairly unique. If I had to think of a comparison, it would have to be the plasma rifles from the “Halo” series. Like in “Star Trek,” the weapons also seem to have both a kill and stun function.

9. Winter Soldier’s Arm

The Winter Soldier punches Captain America’s shield with his metallic arm.

It’s not just a prosthetic, it’s an effective weapon that made the Winter Soldier a tough opponent, even for Captain America. One of the most memorable moments from the 2014 film “Winter Soldier” is when the titular character punches Captain America’s shield with his metal fist. Cap has to struggle in stopping that punch and the noise it makes is loud and intense.

Winter Soldier is also able to speed up his martial arts thanks to the motorized metal arm. The arm has also been shown to break concrete.

In “Captain America: Civil War,” Winter Soldier’s arm was destroyed. However, he received a new, improved one in “Infinity War” which he used in the Battle of Wakanda.

8. Rocket Racoon’s Hadron Enforcer

Star Lord using the Hadron Enforcer in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

I have a soft spot for big, powerful guns in science fiction, and this weapon, made by the brilliant Rocket Raccoon, fits the bill. So far in the series, its been shown to be one of the strongest weapons, with its force only being stopped by the power of an infinity stone. The fact that it appears to have been assembled with different parts by Rocket adds to the weapon’s cool factor, too.

7. Spider-Man’s Advanced Web Shooters

Spider-Man using his web shooters in “Homecoming.”

I won’t lie, I’ve always preferred the organic web shooters that Spider-Man had in the early 2000s films to the web shooters. However, they made them work really well here. Thanks to technology from Tony Stark, Spider-Man’s web shooters have all sorts of functions, as seen in the video below.

There’s everything from web grenades to just more standard web attacks. This is made even more impressive when considering that Spider-Man’s webbing is known to be incredibly strong.

6. Black Panther’s Energy Mechanic

Black Panther set to use his energy mechanic in his first movie.

Black Panther’s suit was first seen in “Captain America: Civil War” and it was already great. However, it received a fantastic upgrade in the 2018 film, making it even better.

Along with having nearly unbreakable armor and razor sharp claws, Black Panther’s suit also includes a feature that allows him to absorb blows from enemies and then unleash the energy back at opponents. It as an incredibly useful feature for Black Panther and the hero used it many times in combat with great success.

5. Iron Man’s lasers

Iron Man using his laser weapon in “The Avengers.”

Iron Man’s lasers built in to his arms have been sorely underused in the films, despite being some of his best weapons. They appeared in both “Iron Man 2” and “Avengers” and each time they were quite effective. Also, other than the next item on this list, it’s one of Iron Man’s more unique weapons. Many of them are missiles of some sort, but the lasers are different and much more deadly.

4. Iron Man’s Repulsor Rays

Iron Man using his repulsor rays in “The Avengers.”

This weapon is like the gold standard of the whole Marvel series. Even those who haven’t seen every movie probably recognize Iron Man raising his arm and firing these canon-like blasters.

While originally designed just to stabilize flight, the rays have become the most valuable pieces in Stark’s arsenal and when fully charged make for one of the strongest weapons in the series.

3. Thor’s Hammer Mjolnir

Thor preparing to use Mjolnir.

Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, was an incredibly powerful weapon and could only be stopped by the very strongest enemies. Along with being a great melee weapon, the other qualities of Mjolnir is what really made it work.

For example, Thor could call the hammer to him, and he was one of the only beings that could lift it. Plus, many times Thor had been seen throwing the hammer in order to fly. Touches like this added to the mysticism of the character and made it that much cooler of a weapon. Additionally, the hammer could summon and channel lightning for attacks.

2. Captain America’s Shield

Captain America throws the shield in “The First Avenger.”

I don’t think there’s a better item in the Marvel series that can be used for both an offensive and defensive purposes.

It’s a very accessible weapon, too, as both Black Widow and the Winter Soldier have been shown using it in battle, the latter throwing the shield with incredible strength thanks to the metal arm.

When used in combat, it’s incredibly effective, able to smash and cut through most things. This is especially true with Cap, as he’s basically a surgeon with the shield, even taking down a jet.

On the defensive side, Cap’s shield has yet to meet something that can break it. It’s taken a direct hit from Thor’s hammer and a blast from Loki’s scepter, and Cap shrugged it off.

Captain America reflecting Iron Man’s repulsor rays to hit enemies in “The Avengers.”

Another important factor is how the shield can be used in collaborative efforts. In “The Avengers,” Cap reflected Iron Man’s repulsor rays to hit more enemies and in “Age of Ultron,” the shield was hit by Thor and cut through five or six robot opponents with ease.

1. Thor’s Axe Stormbreaker

Thor channeling lightning in “Avengers Infinity War.”

Stormbreaker is very similar to Mjolnir, except better in practically every way. It of course is extraordinarily powerful, when thrown by Thor it broke through a fully powered blast from Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet with every stone.

On top of its power, the axe also benefits from an interesting “origin story.” The metal used for its creation was melted thanks to Thor’s risky, but successful attempt to channel the power of a star. Then, the handle was created thanks to Thor’s new friend Groot.

Design-wise, the handle made by Groot gives the weapon so much character and makes it a more memorable weapon than Mjolnir.

All photos courtesy Marvel Studios.


Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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