When going through the list of stereotypical superhero traits, the possession of super-strength is often ranked pretty high - and given that the Marvel Cinematic Universe features the most famous superheroes in the world, it’s a good bet several of them are indeed super-strong. Through nearly two dozen movies across three phases, the protagonists of the MCU have put on some rather impressive displays of physicality - whether they're lifting, pulling, or punching objects several times their own weight.
While all of the heroes in the MCU are well-built by ordinary human standards, there’s a distinct difference between the rippling biceps of Hawkeye and the gamma-infused deltoids of the Hulk. In other words, everyone is pretty strong in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - but only a select few truly qualify as superhumanly robust. There’s a vibrant debate ongoing as to who is truly the strongest - and where each MCU hero slots in on the strength rankings - but, thankfully, there’s no shortage of extreme moments to base such judgements on.
When: Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
No one really knows how much strength it takes to hold open the iris of a dwarven forge built around the miniature star of Nidavellir - but the safe assumption is it’s a considerable amount. Thor takes on this risky task in the name of creating a Thanos-slaying apparatus, and he not only succeeds at holding the device open long enough, he does so while taking the full force of the star.
As the actual God of Thunder, a certain level of deistic accomplishments can be expected from Thor at any given time, but what he does on Nidavellir is the stuff of legends - and that’s saying a lot when we’re talking about a guy who is literally the stuff of legends.
When: Avengers: Endgame (2019)
The Hulk often sells himself as the “strongest one there is,” but his maximum strength isn’t put on full display until the events of Endgame. After past-Thanos targets the Avengers HQ, the entire multilevel building and its foundation collapse on top of several Avengers - but Professor Hulk manages to protect them by carrying the full load of the ruined facility on his back.
A good rule of thumb states the average three-level building weighs about 350 pounds per square foot - though one would have to assume the Avengers HQ weighs a little bit more than that. Even using that conservative estimate - and another conservative estimate of 20,000 square feet - the Hulk is holding at least 7,000,000 pounds on his back. He’s also doing so with one good arm after having his other one heavily impaired by the Infinity Stones.
When: The Avengers (2012)
Bruce Banner telling Captain America he’s “always angry” and proceeding to stop the charge of a Chitauri Leviathan with a single punch still stands as one of the greatest moments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s also a rather physically impressive feat, with each Leviathan presumably weighing hundreds of tons, including a particular beast traveling at a high speed, which probably requires an awful lot of momentum to halt with a right cross.
If the Hulk is to be given accolades for stopping a Leviathan in its tracks, then Scott Lang definitely deserves a shout-out. In Giant-Man mode, he accomplishes the same feat in Avengers: Endgame - sending one of the living warships hurtling to the earth with a mean left hook.
When: Captain America: Civil War (2016)
The moment in which Captain America grabs hold of an ascending helicopter to prevent his brainwashed best friend from escaping is truly memorable - and not just for its gratuitous display of Steve Rogers’s biceps. Holding down a moving helicopter is the sort of feat only a supersoldier could pull off, and the physics behind the act are seriously astonishing.
Men’s Health estimates just the weight of the helicopter itself - with a metallic-armed Winter Soldier on board - sits at around 3,000 pounds. Once one factors in the force of the rotors trying to lift off, we’re left with thousands of pounds of resistance on each of Cap’s biceps. Is there any truer testament to the power of friendship?