Finding Marvel’s Dumbest Avenger

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Chris Hemsworth as a Consfused Thor marvel

Credit: Marvel Studios

And this is stated with all the love one can muster for the himbo kings and queens of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The Avengers gathered together on the promotional poster of 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Marvel Staff Reveals Truth Behind “Messed Up” MCU

It has been over ten years since The Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of Marvel Studios, a strategic move that followed the resounding success of Marvel Entertainment’s Iron Man in 2008, a film that marked Robert Downey Jr.’s return to stardom. Since then, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has made significant advancements, most notably with the release of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers in 2012, a movie that redefined the superhero genre.

The MCU has made a profound and enduring impact on the superhero film genre and the entire cinematic industry, cementing its significance — despite differing viewpoints. The initial three phases of the MCU, collectively known as the Infinity Saga, ultimately reached their highly anticipated climax in Phase Three with the immense popularity of Avengers: Infinity War in 2018 and Avengers: Endgame in 2019.

Mark Ruffalo as Hulk with Chris Evans as Captain America in Avengers: Endgame
Credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios’ Not-So-Wise Superheroes

Naturally, Marvel Studios (and by extension Marvel Comics) are known for their brave, loyal, and intelligent heroes. Whether it’s “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), the renowned gamma ray expert, or Doctor Strange/Stephen Strange the (former) Sorcerer Supreme and ex-celebrity surgeon.

Because what is a superhero world without individuals of super-intelligence?

Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) casting a spell
Credit: Marvel Studios

But with “mainly brains”, there is almost inevitably going to be “pretty much just brawn”.

Related: Upcoming ‘Avengers’ Movie Will Reboot the Entire MCU Universe

How do we decide on the dumbest Avenger?

Is there criteria for this? What defines “dumb”?

Jeremey Renner as Clint Barton Official Character Poster for Hawkeye Series on Disney Plus
Credit: Marvel Studios

Let us just state that there is zero disdain or offense aimed at any of these heroes!

We’re not going to be looking at heroes with dumb powers, or with dumb “concepts”, but rather someone who might be less than intelligent — in the “conventional” way.

Just like we wouldn’t include the Marvel Comics’ Smartest Man Alive, the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards in a proper list of the MCU‘s smartest heroes, we’ll be considering the “Main Universe” Multiversal Variants. To borrow lingo from Loki (2021) — this is “Sacred Timeline” Marvel universe only!

Ranking the “Dumbest” Avenger, From Least to Most

Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland)

Okay, hear us out.

Tom Holland as Spider-Man
Credit: Marvel Studios/Sony Pictures

Peter doesn’t always make the smartest decisions, despite being technically smart.

Holland’s Peter Parker is prone to putting his loved ones in danger, or making some vital mistakes — think: the spell he makes Doctor Strange cast in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) to make everyone forget him.

But this could arguably be down to a multitude of factors — most significant of which being his youth and inexperience. Although technically more of a dork, Peter Parker still makes some remarkably dumb decisions. He’s book smart but not really smart in the grand scheme of things, earning him last place on this list!

Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd)

Paul Rudd’s character, Scott Lang (Ant-Man), is not portrayed as being less intelligent but rather as a different type of hero within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Scott Lang is a skilled thief and burglar with a background in electronics and engineering, which does require a certain level of intelligence and technical aptitude.

In the MCU, Scott Lang is often depicted as a more relatable, everyman sort of character who relies on his resourcefulness and quick thinking rather than being a genius inventor or scientist like some of the other prominent characters (e.g., Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man or Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/The Hulk).

Doesn’t forgive him his less than “intelligent” moments, but he’s less “dumb” strictly, and more an out-of-the-box thinker!

Thor Odinson (Chris Hemsworth)

Thor is worthy enough to wield Mjolnir. But he’s not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed.

Part of his character is that he’s a natural foil to his ridiculously smart, cunning brother Loki Laufeyson/Loki Odinson (Tom Hiddleston). Thor is more the sort of guy who sees things at face value, and as such can be a little bit oblivious. He’s straightforward, and sometimes operates with blinkers on, but he’s a good guy at heart.

It might take him a bit of time to get to grips with things, especially new things. He’s another “act first, think later” sort of dude. He is definitely smart when it comes to physical things like beating up baddies, however, as his tactical and physical prowess on the battlefield can attest.

It’s not so much that Thor is “dumb”, but more that he’s just simple. And simple isn’t necessarily bad!

Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt)

Perhaps its best to think of Peter Quill as impulsive, first and foremost.

And that sort of impulsive behavior naturally leads to questionable situations, fairly often.

The Guardians of the Galaxy’s Star-Lord is a doer, not a thinker. And sometimes that works out, but other times it really doesn’t.

The arguably dumbest thing he’s ever done is hit Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War out of anger after the murder of his love (and Thanos’ daughter), Gamora, eventually costing the Avengers their win. This action eventually led to the notorious Snap that wiped out half of the universe until the events of Avengers: Endgame.

Apparently, this was not James Gunn’s intention for Peter Quill’s character, but when the Russo Brothers took over during Avengers, it became canon. Either way, it happened — and that’s a rather undeniably dumb move on Quill’s part.

Mantis (Pom Klementieff)

Mantis, a character introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2018), possesses empathic and mind-manipulation abilities and is not… typically portrayed as highly intellectual.

Raised by the Celestial Ego the Living Planet (played by Kurt Russell), who is also the father of Peter Quill AKA Star-Lord, and later revealed to be (spoilers for The Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas Special (2022)), Quill’s half-sister, Mantis is a wholly unique individual who may come off as a little ditzy to some. Especially when she’s screaming excitedly about some sort of Earth custom, like kidnapping Kevin Bacon.

However, it’s not so much that Mantis is dumb — it’s more like she’s innocent. Which maybe makes her a little naïve. Because her talents lie elsewhere. In the empathy and emotions department, and less so in her intelligence or scientific acumen. At the end of the day, her empathetic and socially intuitive abilities play a significant role in the Guardians’ (and Avengers’) dynamics and problem-solving.

The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)

No, not Bruce Banner, nor the Smart Hulk-fusion of Banner-and-Hulk, but the straight-up Hulk.

Who arguably might not “exist” right now in the MCU, but him being less intelligent than Bruce Banner is pretty much a part of his whole “deal”.

It doesn’t make him useless, though! He’s still a guy with feelings, who is capable of love and emotion, even if anger does often take precedence. At the end of the day, he’s “dumb” — sure, Hulk is no astrophysicist — but he’s still a vital part of the Avengers team.

The fact that he “outsmarts” Bruce Banner once in a while is testament to the fact that perhaps he’s not as “dumb” as one might think.

Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista)

Drax the Destroyer… is perhaps the most “canonically dumb” character in the MCU.

He’s frequently caught in situations where others are just baffled at his not-so-intelligent actions. But that does not make him any less endearing, or important to the Guardians or Avengers.

He brings his own unique flavor — and sure, that’s more brawn than brains, but tactical thinking just isn’t his strong suit.

Instead, he’s fiercely loyal, the epitome of a “gung-ho” attitude, and so straight-up badass at what he does that you can forgive him his less-than-bright moments.

Because the question at the end of the universe is truly: why Gamora?

If you really think about it — none of these heroes are “dumb”.

You could say that “dumb” at the end of the day isn’t the most objective descriptor (and you’d be right). Because every hero here, despite them perhaps not being the most intelligent in certain aspects, is absolutely capable and amazing in their own ways!

What do you think of our list of the “dumbest Avengers”? Did we miss out on anyone? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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