Total Nerd

The Most Ruthless Characters In The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ranked

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? 

Photo:
  • 1
    2,599 VOTES
    Hela
    Photo: Thor: Ragnarok / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Who She Is: 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 She's 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. 

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

    Is She Secretly A Softie? No.

  • 2
    2,328 VOTES
    Thanos
    Photo: Avengers: Infinity War / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Who He Is: 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 He's 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. 

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

    Is He 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. 

  • 3
    1,757 VOTES
    Ultron
    Photo: Avengers: Age of Ultron / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

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

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

    His 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. 

    Is He Secretly A Softie? No.

  • 4
    3,111 VOTES
    Scarlet Witch
    Photo: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Who She Is: Wanda Maximoff is a Sokovian ex-pat who tried to help Ultron defeat the Avengers after she and her brother were freed from Baron Strucker's HYDRA facility. She eventually joins the Avengers after realizing the scope of Ultorn's plans. She then accidentally takes over the New Jersey suburb of Westview with her reality-warping powers while in a fugue state set off by her partner Vision's death at Thanos's hands. Her experience in the Westview Anomaly teaches her the scope of her chaos magic, which she uses to try and force her way into a universe where the children she manifested in Westview still exist.

    Why She's So Ruthless: Wanda's unflinching use of magical force stems both from the traumatic experiences she lived through and the intoxicating magnitude of her chaos magic powers. 

    Her Most Ruthless Act: Single-handedly executing the Illuminati of Earth-838 in bloody fashion.

    Is She Secretly A Softie? No. If anything, Wanda spent years hiding the true depth of her savagery in the MCU. She was able to find peace for a spell when traveling with Vision, but the experience of first destroying Vision's Mind Stone, watching him be brought back only to be killed by Thanos, getting Blipped, and then experiencing a false family life in Westview tore down any gentle layers she had left.