Weapons are necessary in the world of superheroics. There are so many heroes and villains that travel around doing battle against forces far beyond our own capabilities. If a superheroes or supervillain goes into battle without a weapon he or she can trust, they’re almost certainly not going to make it out. Some characters are known primarily for their weapons such as Iron Man, Captain America, and Star-Lord while others pull it out as a surprise when the going gets tough such as Black Widow. Then there are the universal weapons that offer some sort of ultimate power to those intelligent enough to acquire them and powerful enough to wield them such as the Infinity Gauntlet and the Darkhold. With the Marvel Cinematic Universe getting as large and as popular as it has, it is inevitable that they’d have more and more weapons from this sprawling universe to adapt to the big screen.
That being said, these are adaptations and not carbon copies — creative liberties have to be taken in order to fit the stories being told on the big screen. While many of the weapons in the MCU aren’t completely accurate to the source material, there are some that are better than their comic book counterparts, some that are worse, and some that keep the spirit of the source material or even improve upon it. These changes are part of what makes the MCU unique from the comics. For better or for worse, Marvel Studios has not shied away from making changes when necessary. Let’s take a look at 10 Weapons The MCU Did Right (and 11 it did very wrong).
21 WRONG: MJOLNIR
Mjolnir may be recognizable, but it’s certainly not as powerful as its comic book counterpart. In the comics, Mjolnir gains its power from a cosmic storm that has been trapped within its form. Yes, Thor is powerful without his hammer, but it’s not just a tool for him to channel his strength through. Mjolnir is a powerful weapon with its own source of power (which just so happens to be a cosmic storm).
As shown in Thor: Ragnarok, Thor’s lightning and strength comes from himself, not Mjolnir. This fact reduces Mjolnir to the same status as any other enchanted, nearly indestructible hammer. Mjolnir has been great in the MCU, but there’s a reason it can be replaced and the comic version simply cannot.
20 RIGHT: VULTURE’S FLIGHT HARNESS
This is a radical but warranted departure from Adrian Toomes’s flight suit in the comics. Tennis ball-green and feathery, Vulture’s flight suit is far too silly to adapt faithfully to the big screen.
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, though, Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes may have a cooler costume than even Spider-Man. His flight harness was a massive, nimble, and powerful piece of technology crafted from the remains of the Chitauri invasion. It gave Toomes increased strength, enough durability to survive a plane crash, and the ability to handily defeat Spider-Man in a duel. On top of that, the harness can be operated remotely by Toomes, fly fast enough to catch and circle a Starktech transport jet and cut through metal with no effort.
19 WRONG: COSMIC CUBE
This is a case of Marvel Studios completely ruining one aspect of the Marvel Comics Universe in service of their overall plot. In Marvel Comics, the Cosmic Cube is an entirely separate entity to the Infinity Stones. But in The Avengers, the Cube, or Cosmic Cube, was revealed to be an Infinity Stone.
In the comics, Cosmic Cubes are powerful objects that have the ability to rewrite reality at the user’s will. They can do virtually anything and work by granting the user access to power from the Beyonder’s universe. Turning the Cosmic Cube into the Space Stone just cheapens the legacy of the Cube and ignores its importance to the Marvel Universe.
18 RIGHT: WEB-SHOOTERS
One thing that everybody knows about Spider-Man: he shoots webs. Spider-Man’s web shooters serve as a versatile set of weapons in addition to his main form of transportation. Spider-Man has used his webs to subdue people, blind or gag people, clog up mechanical components, and so many other things. His use of webs are so diverse and that is shown perfectly with all of the web configurations he has in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
When Tony Stark made Peter his suit, he went a little overboard and programmed in 576 different web-shooter configurations. These configurations included taser webs, web grenades, splitter webs, and web bullets. They were also able to shoot small spider-trackers and follow those trackers. And Peter makes good use of these options.
17 WRONG: ULTRON
In the comics, Ultron possesses incredible strength, speed, an Adamantium body, and weapons that are powerful enough to drop any of the Avengers, even Thor and Hulk. But his greatest advantage is his incredible intellect which allows him to stay dozens of steps ahead of the Avengers and defeat them before they even know it’s coming. And still, Ultron continues to upgrade himself.
In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ultron’s characterization was one of the main complaints. He wasn’t as menacing and he was seriously depowered compared to his comic book counterpart. Ultron’s final form may have been a match for Thor, but the Avengers as a team never felt like they were truly in danger.
16 RIGHT: THE HULKBUSTER ARMOR
One of the best parts of Avengers: Age of Ultron is the bout between Hulk and Iron Man. When the Avengers went to confront Ultron, Scarlet Witch manipulated the Hulk into rampaging through Johannesburg, forcing Iron Man to don the Hulkbuster armor to stop him.
In the comics, the Hulkbuster has made quite the splash when it was revealed in Iron Man #304. It’s fought the hulk on more than one occasion. Its hulking figure and immense strength allows Tony to trade blows with the Hulk, though it’s never actually helped him win before. The Hulkbuster may have never beaten Hulk, but it’s always looked incredibly cool fighting him — just like the MCU version does.
15 WRONG: WAR MACHINE’S ARMOR
James “Rhodey” Rhodes has had a tumultuous ride in the MCU. After being recast in the second Iron Man movie, he’s fought with his best friend, nearly had his suit melted while he was inside of it, gotten paralyzed after Vision blasted him out of the sky, and watched as many of his friends were wiped from existence right in front of him.
On top of all of that, he’s known primarily as “Iron Man with guns”. In the comics, Rhodey is his own hero. He possessed an alien bio-armor similar to Tony’s Endo-Sym armor, he’s had an armor that made him a cyborg, and he even piloted a satellite-sized armor. He’s far more than Iron Man with guns and his armor should reflect that.
14 RIGHT: GHOST RIDER’S CHAIN
This actually started out as JT James’s chain in the previous season. But after Robbie Reyes, the current Ghost Rider, thrashed him in battle, he appropriated his chain to add insult to injury. But despite this fact, Reyes has made far better use of the chain than Hellfire ever did.
By channeling the power of the Ghost Rider through the chain, Reyes was able to seriously damage LMDs, incinerate incorporeal beings, and even travel through dimensions like a sling ring. With his chain, Reyes was virtually unstoppable, with only the Eli Morrow version of Molecule Man able to stand up to him. This chain may not do exactly what its comic book counterpart does, but it has the same spirit.
13 WRONG: RONAN’S UNIVERSAL WEAPON
Ronan was an interesting kind of villain. He was threatening but fell short of being menacing. His hate for the Xanadarians was palpable, but had no motivation behind it. Maybe if he didn’t get embarrassed by Thanos, he would have been scarier. The comic book version of his Universal Weapon may have done the trick too.
Ronan’s signature weapon in Guardians of the Galaxy was pretty much just a huge hammer with the ability to project concussive energy. But in the comics, it’s far more powerful. Ronan’s Universal Weapon can absorb and project cosmic energy, manipulate matter, create force fields, control gravity, allows for interstellar teleportation, hyperspace travel, and flight. In the comics, Ronan is a heavy hitter because of his Universal Weapon.
12 RIGHT: DARKHOLD
There are still many people who don’t believe that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D vastly improved after stumbling to a start in 2013. Its peak season was likely season four which featured a thrilling, supernatural opening arc that transitioned perfectly into a more technology-based and tension-filled ending arc.
The object of power that plagued the team that season was the Darkhold, a supernatural book that gave the reader any knowledge he or she sought at the cost of being corrupted. In the comics, the Darkhold would only reveal mystical knowledge, but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D was able to adjust it in a way that was both true to the source material and allowed them to tell their story.
11 WRONG: STAR-LORD’S QUAD BLASTERS
This is a case of the MCU making something from the comics less cool for the sake of their universe. In the comics, Star-Lord’s signature weapon is actually his Element Gun which, obviously, can fire any one of the elements.
The Quad Blasters, a pair of double-barrelled laser handguns, are Star-Lord’s signature weapons in the MCU. However, they’re far weaker than the Element Gun of the comics. One barrel shoots a lethal red blast while the other fires a nonlethal electricity blast. However, Korath was able to shrug off a lethal blast with minimal damage. The Quad Blasters may look cool but there’s no way we’d rather see them than a gun that shoots the elements.
10 RIGHT: YAKA ARROW
Yondu’s Yaka Arrow has a legitimate claim to be the most powerful non-Infinity Stone weapon in the entire MCU. The combination of the Yaka arrow and Yondu’s new fin was easily able to wipe out his entire faction of Ravagers virtually by himself. These are the same Ravagers that went to battle with Ronan’s forces and survived during the first Guardians of the Galaxy.
In the comics, Yondu actually wields multiple arrows, but they don’t possess anywhere near the raw destructive power of the MCU’s single Yaka arrow. Plus, his whistle can control only the direction that his arrows travel, not speed. There doesn’t seem to be anything that the MCU’s Yaka Arrow can’t penetrate and it even showed the ability to explode on command.
9 WRONG: HAWKEYE’S BOW & ARROWS
It’s hard out here for an archer. MCU fans have always given Hawkeye a hard time, but his arsenal is actually quite impressive. Hawkeye’s quiver contains many gadget arrows from explosive arrows, taser arrows, trap arrows strong enough to temporarily incapacitation Vision, sonic pulse arrows incendiary arrows and more.
But if you think it’s hard for MCU’s Hawkeye, just look at comic book Hawkeye where he has to fight foes like Hyperion and Kang. To deal with these threats, Hawkeye in the comic books has a far greater arsenal. In addition to all of those listed above, he also has Pym Particles, unbreakable Adamantium arrows, rocket arrows, glue arrows, freeze arrows to encase his enemies in ice, and more.
8 RIGHT: IRON MAN’S ARMOR
No matter what version of Tony Stark you get, he’s always going to be the world’s foremost weapons designers. Another constant is Stark’s development of the the Iron Man armor and the fact that he spends great portions of his life improving it. In the MCU, that has culminated in his latest armor which appears to be constructed of nanobots and possess the ability to form different weapons and devices seemingly out of nowhere.
This is essentially the same as one of his most recent and powerful armors from the comics: the Mark 51 or Model-Prime armor. Along the way, his armors have progressed through his comic book counterpart’s armory and has finally ended up with his most advanced non-specialized suit.
7 WRONG: EXTREMIS
The Iron Man storyline, Extremis, introduced one of the most powerful opponents Tony Stark has ever faced on his own at that point: Mallen. Mallen was a domestic terrorist who was infected with Extremis that granted him enough power to completely overpower Iron Man. He had increased strength, speed, and the ability to breathe fire and shoot electricity.
In Iron Man 3, the Extremis virus produced pyrokinetic soldiers powerful enough to take on Iron Man — however they were still defeated by numerous people numerous times throughout the movie. Meanwhile in „Extremis“, the virus made Mallen powerful enough to dominate Iron Man. Mallen devastated Tony in their first fight and left him on the brink of death. Iron Man 3 did not translate that power correctly.
6 RIGHT: CAPTAIN AMERICA’S SHIELD
Captain America’s shield in the comics was made when vibranium and an iron alloy was fused together with an unknown catalyst — this fusion has created a shield that has proven to be largely impenetrable. This shield has only been shattered before by truly extraordinary circumstances.
In the MCU, Captain America’s shield is not only indestructible, but reflective too. It’s reflected bullets back at his attackers, repulsors back at Iron Man, and even a powerful blow from Mjolnir back at Thor. Cap has even weaponized the reflective power of his shield by allowing Thor and Iron Man to reflect their attacks off of his shield and into their enemies. Marvel did this iconic weapon justice.
5 WRONG: THE MILANO
Marvel Studios changed a whole lot of things about Star-Lord when they introduced him in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. One of the biggest changes was his signature ship. In the comics, he shares a psychic link with his sentient ship, “Ship”, that has the ability to alter her structure at will.
In Guardians of the Galaxy, the Milano is just a Ravager ship with some extra character. The ship may look cool and be memorable enough to catch on with the fans, but there’s no doubt that “Ship” is a far cooler and more powerful vessel for them to travel in.
4 RIGHT: STORMBREAKER
Beta Ray Bill’s Stormbreaker is essentially the same as Mjolnir. But in the MCU, Stormbreaker is far more powerful. In Avengers: Infinity War, Thor wields Stormbreaker and he used it to tear through legions of Outriders destroy their massive dropships with minimal effort. He can use it to summon the Bifrost and it was even powerful enough to cut through a beam from the fully powered Infinity Gauntlet.
Stormbreaker from the comics is actually wielded by Beta Ray Bill and possesses power similar to Mjolnir. So while it may be powerful, it could never hope to stand up to the power of the Infinity Gauntlet and could never access the Bifrost. This is a real upgrade over the original.
3 WRONG: THE DESTROYER
The Destroyer may be the most powerful weapon that Asgard has ever created in the comics. The fact that Thor was able to destroy it without much effort in Thor is proof that it was weakened for the MCU. Its strength wasn’t even enough to stop a powerless Thor. And the Warriors Three were able to put up a good fight against it.
In the comics, it has physical strength that’s greater than that of Thor’s who can lift the planet-sized Midgard Serpent. It also can withstand obscene amounts of damage and has a disintegration beam that can destroy virtually anything. The Destroyer in the comics was only destroyed by the Celestials and, even then, it was easily reanimated.
2 RIGHT: BLACK PANTHER’S SUIT
It’s made of self-repairing nanites that also have the strength and durability of vibranium. On top of these defensive capabilities, it has offensive capabilities as well. The suit has the ability to absorb kinetic energy and release it in a destructive burst. This burst is strong enough to completely destroy a car and send the massive Cull Obsidian flying.
This is far more advanced than any Black Panther suit from the comics. Yes, it’s bulletproof like the comic book version, but it can do much more as well thanks to the genius of his sister, Shuri. In this instance, the movies made it far better than in the comics.
1 WRONG: THE INFINITY GAUNTLET
During the Infinity Gauntlet storyline, the Avengers were pests to Thanos when he wielded the full power of the gauntlet. With it, he sensed them coming from across space and as soon as they were transported to his shrine, he froze time and could have ended them all right then and there if Mephisto didn’t talk him out of it.
Even when Thanos restricted himself to only using one gem at a time, none of the Avengers posed a threat to him. Not even Thor or the Hulk. But in Avengers: Infinity War, the Avengers and Guardians were able to competently battle him on Titan and Stormbreaker even overpowered blast from the fully powered gauntlet. That’s a massive downgrade in power.