A battle between good and evil is a fundamentally satisfying thing, and over the decades, Marvel’s doled out more than its fair share. But with the advent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, those battles became that much more visceral, employing actors of varying skill levels (mostly great) in one epic showdown after another. One film and series at a time, they’ve added more and more characters to their roster, with several jumping between stories and mediums to make that world feel just that much more concrete. Agent Maria Hill? She’s all over the place. Jasper Sitwell? That conniving asshole makes plenty of appearances. And you can never have too much Peggy Carter.
Of course, the bigger the world, the more frequent the duds. We’ve compiled and ranked a list of 140 of the most memorable (or offensively forgettable) characters in the MCU, 70 heroes and 70 villains, and pitted them against each other in a series of arbitrary but unexpectedly fun showdowns. Ever wonder who’d win a fight between Erik Selvig and Darren Cross? Wonder no more; we’ve sussed that one out for you. Now this list is far from complete, if only because Marvel’s got a bit of a problem creating memorable villains, and we had to throw in some back benchers on one side (Dr. List, anyone?) and cut some real contenders on the other (don’t expect to see the Warriors Three or the Howling Commandos on this list — all apologies to Dum Dum Dugan, who is the best).
So let’s get in the spirit of Civil War with some showdowns of our own. Any list is fun — who’s the top villain? Who’s the worst hero? Where’s Happy Hogan? Inquiring minds want to know! — but just to add a little spice, we tried to imagine who’d win that fight. Let us know what you think, but beware — if you disrespect Natasha Romanoff, Hulk might smash you.