The Marvel Cinematic Universe is filled with some of the strongest superheroes and most dangerous villains in movie history, with alien beasts, Asgardian gods and gamma-irradiated giants leveling cities during the course of their battles.
And then there are the tiny, fragile little beings who are just doing their best, despite being almost laughably weak. Now, that's not to say these characters aren't wonderful, charming, sinister, or downright awesome for what they contribute to the world. It's just that, if they tried to punch Thor, they'd just break their own hand.
In a effort to give them their due, it's important to understand what they contribute before explaining exactly why, despite their various mental or emotional strengths, they are physically out of their league in the MCU.
Very few characters in the MCU have been as important and influential as Hydra scientist Arnim Zola, while still being so incredibly non-intimidating and weak. Working with the Germans and Hydra during WWII, then spearheading the Winter Soldier program - which leads to Bucky Barnes being reborn as the metal-armed assassin of the same name - so much of the MCU's history, and even its present, is steeped in Zola's villainous machinations.
That being said, he's a sniveling, pint-sized jerk who sends others into battle to fight on his behalf. Despite inventing superpowered exoskeletons, he never tries to don one himself because he's just a frightened inventor with a love for hate. Eventually, he perishes of a terminal disease, but his brain and consciousness are transferred and downloaded into a massive computer in a bunker beneath Camp Lehigh.
But even then, his intelligence isn't loaded into a giant robot body (as it is in the comics). That could at least pose a threat to Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff when they discover the computer during the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Instead, he's just an antique reel-to-reel computer, and all Zola can really do is stall the pair long enough for S.H.I.E.L.D. to try and blow the base up. Even this plan fails, as Steve and Natasha manage to escape, while Zola's mainframe is finally obliterated by the explosion.1,4981,596Are they weak?
Need More Marvel In Your Life?Photo: Amazon811Are they weak?
As the righthand man and first mate of the formerly disgraced Ravager Yondu Udonta, Kraglin is a devoted and loyal friend and shipmate. He's also brave (in many cases), standing up to the forces of Ronan the Accuser during the attack on Xandar and (ultimately) defying his fellow Ravagers after inadvertently sparking a mutiny against his captain.
However, Kraglin is the consummate "watch the ship" guy. He's the one who is always saddled with the duty of holding down the fort while the real heroes put their lives on the line to battle the baddies. This is exactly his role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, when Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and Yondu join the fight against Ego the Living Planet. He's on board the ship when the fleet of the Sovereign's omnicrafts appear, and he tries to warn his comrades. Why does he stay behind? Because everyone except him has something legitimately useful to lend to the battle.1,0371,859Are they weak?
Obadiah StanePhoto: Iron Man/Paramount Pictures
Tony Stark's business partner proves himself to be a maniacal slayer, and in the Iron Monger armor, he proves to be one of the first villains to really give Tony a run for his money as Iron Man. Even without the armor, Stane almost ends Tony when he gets the drop on him by paralyzing Tony and ripping the arc reactor out of his chest, which nearly ends the hotshot inventor's life.
However, like Tony himself, so much of Stane's power comes when he's piloting the Iron Monger battle armor. Unlike Stark, he's not smart enough to design the tech himself, and he's at least two or three decades older. While he might look like a real badass with his bald head and formidable beard, if he and Stark had duked it out in the street with their bare hands, Tony would have flattened him - not to mention what literally any other hero in the MCU would have done to him.9971,812Are they weak?