They say wisdom is the intersection of emotion and intellect. And what better way to describe the characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? These superheroes often have an almost limitless understanding of science. They travel to alternate dimensions, dabble in magic, create technological advancements, and explore alien worlds. And yet, they also deal with epic emotions like their underlying daddy issues, loves and losses, and watching half of the world get decimated. But who is the wisest of them all?
In their battles, both internal and external, these characters showcase their wisdom by making hard decisions and epic sacrifices. Their unique worldviews help them navigate the impossible. So which of the Avengers is the wisest? Which of the Guardians of the Galaxy has got it all figured out? Who on Asgard sees it as it is? The strongest character might have power but no idea what to do with it. And even the dumbest characters have their own source of inner knowing. Who would you want to explain the secrets of the universe? Who would be the sage member on your superhero squad? These are the wisest characters in the MCU, but the wisest one is up to you.
Who? With a name like the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), you can expect them to be wise. The Ancient One was the Sorcerer Supreme and the leader of the Masters of the Mystic Arts. She protected the Earth for centuries.
Overall Philosophy: What cannot be seen is as important as what can be. So much of the source of the Ancient One’s power is the unknown. While drawing power from the Dark Dimension to live longer was a questionable moral choice, the Ancient One does understand a lot. In Avengers: Endgame, they are able to see the issue with giving away the Time Stone and dooming their world. The key to their awareness is about focusing on what can be seen and what cannot and giving them equal weight.
Most Profound Statement: “You think you know how the world works? You think that this material universe is all there is? What is real? What mysteries lie beyond the reach of your senses? At the root of existence, mind and matter meet. Thoughts shape reality. This universe is only one of an infinite number. Worlds without end. Some benevolent and life-giving. Others filled with malice and hunger. Dark places where powers older than time lie ravenous... and waiting. Who are you in this vast multiverse, Mr. Strange?”
Played By: Tilda Swinton
Who? Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is the Sorcerer Supreme. After an accident took the use of his hands, he found his way into the mystic arts. Over time, he replaced the Ancient One and became the Earth’s mystic protector and guardian of the Eye of Agamotto (the Time Stone).
Overall Philosophy: His overall philosophy is that he knows best. While that philosophy is problematic, the universe does end up righting him a few times. He learns a greater balance to his hubris and how to expand his mind to the full realms of possibility. It’s his wisdom that helps the Avengers survive the events of Avengers: Infinity War.
Most Profound Statement: “Pain's an old friend.”
Played By: Benedict Cumberbatch
Who? Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is the King of Asgard. He’s made many strange choices for the sake of Asgard. He adopted Loki as a baby. He ravaged other kingdoms with his daughter Hela (Cate Blanchett). And he also took away his son Thor’s powers. These are all strange choices, but he ultimately knew what would happen.
Overall Philosophy: His philosophy seems to be, “For the greater good.” Granted, his understanding of what is good is always changing throughout his life, but he’s not one to shy from making the choice that will serve Asgard best. That even includes his own demise.
Most Profound Statement: "I have sacrificed much to achieve peace. So, too, must a new generation sacrifice to maintain that peace. Responsibility, duty, honor. These are not merely virtues to which we must aspire. They are essential to every soldier and to every king."
Played By: Anthony Hopkins
Who? Vision (Paul Bettany) began as the program J.A.R.V.I.S. Tony Stark created him to serve as a computerized butler. He later evolved when he was integrated with Ultron. He eventually became the living computer Vision. With the power of the Mind Stone, he’s able to see things on a much deeper level.
Overall Philosophy: Life is worth preserving. As a being who came to life as he did, he’s focused on the protection of it. He devotes his advanced gifts to protecting life on Earth and is even willing to sacrifice himself.
Most Profound Statement: "Humans are odd. They think order and chaos are somehow opposites and... try to control what won't be. But there is grace in their failings. I think you missed that."
Played By: Paul Bettany