Loki is a legendary god with Frost Giant genes and exceptional magical powers, yet his most powerful MCU weapon is his chaos-obsessed personality.
As an Asgardian god, Loki is supposed to be powerful enough to be unfazed by most threats in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but his increasingly stronger opponents have proved otherwise. Expertly portrayed by the charismatic Tom Hiddleston, Loki uses his charm and his obsession with chaos to steal the show in every one of his appearances in the MCU. Without the physical might of his brother Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the God of Mischief manages to outsmart most of his enemies and allies and almost crown himself King of the Nine Realms, but even gods can overestimate their own abilities.
Although Loki’s burning jealousy started hundreds of years before his MCU debut, it’s his brother’s coronation in the first Thor movie that signals the downfall of the Asgardian royal family. This leads Loki to rebel and try to conquer Earth in The Avengers, and also to seize the Asgardian throne as soon as he gets the chance in Thor: The Dark World. But Loki’s fate has never been one of peace, so he ends up reuniting with Thor in Thor: Ragnarok to defeat their sister Hela (Cate Blanchett) shortly before he uses his last breath to double-cross his former boss Thanos (Josh Brolin) in Avengers: Infinity War, finally redeeming himself after countless years of rascality. Mischief never dies, however, and the Avengers’ failed attempt to retrieve the Tesseract from a different timeline in Avengers: Endgame brings Loki back, albeit in another point in the space-time continuum.
Loki’s strength never comes close to Thor’s immense level of power, much less the physical might of other Asgardians such as his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and his grandfather Bor (Tony Curran). Instead, he always relies on his talent for magic and illusions to become a volatile harbinger of mayhem to everyone around him, regardless of their allegiances. Here’s how powerful Loki is throughout the MCU.
Besides the real motivations behind Loki’s thirst for chaos, the first Thor film revealed why he’s regarded as a god even though he isn’t a biological Asgardian. As soon as the Frost Giant King Laufey (Colm Feore) abandons a newborn Loki in an old temple, Odin rescues the baby and casts a spell on him to grant him all the physiological attributes of an Asgardian. The Allfather takes Loki home, where his adoptive mother Frigga (Rene Russo) teaches him his most valuable asset: sorcery.
Several hundreds years later, Loki has trained in hand-to-hand combat and refined his magic spells to the point that he’s able to fight against an army of Frost Giants alongside Thor, Sif (Jaimie Alexander), and the Warriors Three. Loki’s teammates are more experienced in battle, but he soon discovers that he has the advantage of being immune to the Frost Giants’ freezing touch due to his heritage. Still, he finds himself in need of powerful weapons that help him gain the upper hand against stronger adversaries, so he uses the Casket of Ancient Winters to freeze Heimdall (Idris Elba) before the all-seeing gatekeeper has the chance to engage in battle. He also wields Odin’s spear “Gungnir” to fight Thor and kill his biological father Laufey. Yet, without any external aid, his favorite trick is also his more effective one – he summons numerous copies of himself that confuse his enemies and often lure them to a surprise attack. At the end of Thor, Loki pulls off a trick that doesn’t involve a pinch of magic when he lets himself fall into a black hole, seemingly disappearing forever.
With Loki’s love for multilayered illusions, it comes as no surprise that his death at the end of Thor is not a definitive one. Rather, his trip through a wormhole lands him in the most convenient place for his tyrannic goals. The god arrives at Thanos’ doorstep, where the Mad Titan grants him the Scepter and offers him the chance to rule Earth if he fetches the Tesseract from S.H.I.E.L.D. With the Scepter, Loki becomes more aggressive and unstable. The Mind Stone inside the weapon allows him to control minds and shoot powerful blasts of energy capable of destroying armored cars and taking down the Avengers’ Quinjet.
Loki seems to have acquired more strength, as he gets a rematch with Thor on top of the Stark Tower and performs far better than the last time. But once again, he gains the upper hand with his typical trickery when he distracts his brother to stab him. His endurance and combat technique has improved, and he’s able to overpower Captain America (Chris Evans) before Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) blasts him away. To top it off, Loki demonstrates incredible reflexes when he catches one of Hawkeye’s (Jeremy Renner) arrows without even looking, and bullets don’t seem to have any effect on him while fighting multiple S.H.I.E.L.D agents. Although Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) wipes the floor with him, it’s still impressive that Loki only gets a few scratches after his brief stint on Earth.
Thor: The Dark World
Back in Asgard, Loki receives a life sentence for his crimes on Earth by Odin, who affirms to him that while they’re powerful beings and many worlds see them as gods, they’re not actual deities. Shortly afterward, Loki has a tense talk with his adoptive mother before she dies at the hands of Kurse (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), but his luck changes when Thor arrives to offer him freedom in exchange for support in his fight against Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). This is where Loki’s masterful abilities start to shine, beginning with his hidden portals to travel across the Nine Realms.
Loki’s illusions become vital to the fate of Asgard when he and Thor face Malekith, as Loki casts a realistic image of a wounded Thor to trick the villain into thinking that he has switched sides yet again. Thor finds the perfect opportunity to summon Mjolnir and attack, but Malekith escapes. However, Loki’s plan is still on track. He casts an even more realistic illusion of himself dying in order to save Thor from Kurse, but it’s only an excuse to sit out the rest of the conflict between the Asgardians and the Dark Elves. When Thor returns to meet his father after defeating Malekith, Loki has already taken advantage of his own fake death to throw Odin off to Earth and replace him as the King of the Nine Realms in Asgard. By this point, his magic skills are only matched by his unbridled ambition.
With his devious intelligence and impeccable impersonation skills, Loki manages to fool everybody in the Nine Realms and keep up his charade as a fake Odin for no less than four years. It’s only until Thor arrives from defeating Surtur that Loki is forced to drop his disguise, and only because his brother already has several centuries of experience in dealing with his schemes. Loki’s cockiness leads him to drop his guard, which means that at this point his sorcery has reached its peak, and he’s not prepared to face a more powerful wizard when he meets Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who makes him fall continuously for thirty minutes before sending him and his brother to Norway with a flick on his hand.
If the sorcerer wanted, he could trap Loki forever and there would be nothing the god could do about it. However, not everything is negative for Loki. He demonstrates his proficient fighting skills when he goes toe-to-toe with Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and when he slays Hela’s army of the undead alongside his new teammates using only a couple of daggers and his helmet as weapons.
Avengers: Infinity War
Loki’s ambition is both his biggest weakness and his biggest strength. That’s the reason why the God of Mischief cheats death multiple times in the MCU, but also why he can’t stop bringing trouble anywhere he goes. Unfortunately for him, Norse gods are mortal too, and Thanos knows that very well. When Thanos attacks the Asgardian ship that’s heading to Earth, Loki uses his fast reflexes to push Thor out of the way after calling Hulk to deal with the Mad Titan. Then, he attempts to use his talent for deceit to distract Thanos while he summons a dagger to stab him in the neck. But neither Loki’s trickery nor his agility compares to those of Thanos, who crushes Loki’s neck effortlessly.
Even after his real death in Avengers: Infinity War, Loki simply can’t stop returning. His escape with the Tesseract in Avengers: Endgame was the shortest of his appearances, but it’s also his most important one. The upcoming Loki TV series will show how powerful he can become in an adventure of his own, and maybe he will discover abilities he never knew he had. While considering Loki the strongest entity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe would be inaccurate, he’s undeniably the most resilient one. Sometimes, that makes a character far more powerful than the rest.