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The Most Ruthless Characters In The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ranked 

Eric Luis
1.7k votes 328 voters 11.4k views 14 items

List Rules Vote up the most cold-blooded characters to populate the MCU.

Marvel Studios may be owned by Disney, but the MCU is far from G-rated. There are a lot of dark themes and characters in the series, and some of those characters are downright ruthless. It's not just the villains either - even some of the most popular heroes in the MCU can be brutal. Thor arms himself with a hammer, after all, which requires extreme action in a fight. 

The MCU is clearly full of people willing to make hard decisions - but which MCU characters are the most ruthless? Is it worse to extinguish half of all life without hesitation, or to take out a single person in a particularly cruel way? What qualifies as ruthless, and who meets those qualifications best? 

Hela is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Ruthless Characters In The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ranked
Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
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Who They Are: Hela is the Goddess of Death and sister of Thor. After being imprisoned for a thousand years, she returns to Asgard in the wake of her father's demise to claim the Asgardian throne for herself.

Why They're So Ruthless: Hela has no issue with taking the life of anyone or anything that gets in her way. She ravages Asgard in her quest for power, leading to the destruction of the city itself. She is also strong enough to crush Thor's hammer with her bare hands. 

Their Most Ruthless Act: She takes out an entire Asgardian legion by herself. 

Are They Secretly A Softie? No

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#45 of 110 The Greatest Marvel Villains & Enemies Ever #72 of 655 The Best Comic Book Villains

Thanos is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Ruthless Characters In The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ranked
Photo:  Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
2

Who They Are: Thanos is an alien from the planet Titan. His mission is to acquire the Infinity Stones and wipe out half of all life in the universe. 

Why They're So Ruthless: Thanos succeeds at wiping out half of all life, ultimately extinguishing many beloved heroes along the way. He is willing to do anything to achieve his goals, which includes throwing his own daughter off a cliff. 

Their Most Ruthless Act: Throwing his daughter, Gamora, off a cliff in his quest for the Soul Stone. 

Are They Secretly A Softie? Yes, Thanos has a soft spot for his daughter, which is why he is successfully able to attain the Soul Stone. He sees his quest as an act of mercy rather than a brutalization of the universe. 

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#6 of 961 The Greatest Movie Villains of All Time #1,363 of 3,827 The Best Movie Characters of All Timefeaturing There's Already A Future Of The Marvel Universe Where Thanos Has Won (And It Is Awesome!)

Ultron is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Ruthless Characters In The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ranked
Photo:  Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
3

Who They Are: A rogue AI designed by Tony Stark to defend the world from extraterrestrial threats. 

Why They're So Ruthless: Ultron quickly becomes sentient and breaks out of his original mission parameters, choosing to wipe out humanity instead. 

Their Most Ruthless Act: Ultron slays the HYDRA commander Baron Strucker and uses his blood to write the word "PEACE" on the wall of his jail cell. 

Are They Secretly A Softie? No

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#6 of 110 The Greatest Marvel Villains & Enemies Ever #3,508 of 3,827 The Best Movie Characters of All Time

Dormammu is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Ruthless Characters In The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ranked
Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Who They Are: An ancient inter-dimensional being and ruler of the Dark Dimension.

Why They're So Ruthless: Dormammu is a cosmic being with an insatiable appetite for power. His goal is to enslave every dimension in the multiverse, eliminating trillions in the process.

Their Most Ruthless Act: He takes out Dr. Strange countless times while the two are trapped in a time loop. 

Are They Secretly A Softie? No

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#17 of 110 The Greatest Marvel Villains & Enemies Ever #14 of 47 The Best Villains In The Marvel Cinematic Universe