Who is the smartest character in the MCU? An age-old question when discussing comics in general, but one that’s not particularly as clear when speaking in terms of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Most would plead the case for people like Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, or even Dr. Stephen Strange.
If you asked the Russo brothers they would apparently try to tell you that Shuri is the smartest character in the MCU. I have a different choice. I’m going to go through each valid option and breakdown where they could make a case for the title, why they fall short, and finally, deliver a rankings verdict before taking to the comments to hear your opinions on the matter. So without further hesitation, let’s begin.

Bruce Banner

Let’s start with Bruce Banner. One of the greatest minds in the Marvel universe no doubt. He is responsible for creating The Hulk, helping fix the Vision problem, and being one of S.H.I.E.L.D’s go to minds. However, there’s something that people always forget. The Hulk was a failed experiment. He botched it. On top of that, he hasn’t done much else in the MCU to fight for this title. He probably isn’t even top three if we are being honest with ourselves. Yes, he does still have that potential and he holds it back because he knows he failed, so we will giving him credit for knowing this, and for it being the reason he has yet to show us otherwise. But regardless, He is not the top mind in the MCU.

Dr. Strange

Many feel the need to throw Strange in the ringer because of his ability to manipulate forces of the universes and do so accurately without messing with the continuum. While there is no doubt he may have acquired one of the most vast pools of knowledge in all of the realms, that does not equate to intellect. He used spells to give himself an advantage over time to absorb info to perfection. in reality he’s nothing more than a surgeon that can study well. So in the case of the MCU, Dr. Strange isn’t even one we should be considering if you ask me.

Tony Stark

Tony Stark is not only the most common answer when taking on this discussion but its also one of the most viable. Tony Stark created a reactor for himself inside of a cave. He created most of S.H.I.E.L.D’s tech including the helicarriers. He figured out how to send the Chitauri back. He created an artificial intelligence, albeit to an awful failure until Banner came along, and he created the Bleeding Edge armor. The man is a bonified genius without a doubt and most definitely in the running for the greatest mind in the MCU. One of his biggest downfalls is not knowing when to quit. Make no mistake that this is one of the biggest parts of manipulating and discovering anything.


According to the Russo brothers, Shuri would be the smartest in the MCU. Now, while she is indeed one of the most intelligent to be able to achieve the feats that she has no doubt, the fact is that she has learned to manipulate a technology that no outsider has ever even had the access to beyond what most would believe to be a myth. She and her people have had exclusive experimental rights to this material for centuries. I’m almost certain that literally everyone else on this list, with the time to experiment properly, could also achieve what Shuri has. Howard Stark for example, with one chunk of the material, created one of the most valuable infusions in the history of the Marvel universe. The only other hint at her intelligence reaching beyond the material that she has had sole access to master has been the correction in Visions cerebral engineering, which to be fair was not Bruce’s field but is under Shuri’s specialty of engineering and is done with the exclusive tech that as I said before, had others had access to, likely could have figured out. Nonetheless, it does give insight as to her level of potential going forward. One thing that I can assure you for certainty, however, is that she is smarter than Dr. Strange without a doubt.

Hank Pym

Most Comic die-hards would insist that Hank Pym is the smartest because he and Reed Richards are hands down the smartest within the comics. While that’s no doubt true and does play some part into the MCU, the fact is that this isn’t the comics and we have yet to see this potential fully proven. In fact, most of Hank Pym’s history had been skipped over in the MCU leaving us not really knowing his limits. However, not only can Hank Pym’s reach can be seen sprinkled throughout the MCU indicating that his potential is in fact much greater than explored, but Pym holds quite possibly the greatest discovery known. Hank Pym did not only discover one of the most powerful aspects of the MCU, the Quantum Realm, but he learned to manipulate it and did so without any cheating, unlike Strange. He did that with his own mind. That feat alone makes him a sure-fire contender for the number one spot on this list. One downside would be that he never completely mastered this skill. But is that really a bad thing? Some would argue he didn’t have the ability to do so. I would argue that he chose not to explore a path he felt held a far greater risk than reward. Personally, I feel like that is something that everyone else on this list overlooks. When something shouldn’t be messed with. Not because he’s scared, but because he knows that no human needs such power in the first place.

Fitz and Simmons

One of the most overlooked sets of minds in the MCU, due solely to their limited exposure, would be Agents Leopold Fitz and Gemma Simmons. These two minds have figured out some of the greatest puzzles in scientific history. They’ve built artificial intelligence, and unlike Stark, Fitz did so successfully only having a downfall in trusting his partner. Yes, he had a partner to help finish it but so did Stark, and at least Fitz had the brains to make sure he had that partner before it went online to ensure that it was done properly. They solely were responsible for the understanding of the inhuman genetics. They conquered the understanding of an extraterrestrial realm. They’ve figured out how to turn a person basically into a spirit and how to revert them back. They figured out how the devil works. They’ve consistently proven their worth in cybernetics, engineering, biochemistry, and as many fields as you could imagine making them the most well-versed and multi-dimensionally talented characters on this list. Most could argue that they always have done so off the backs of other research, and while that may be true, so do all scientists. Regardless, they’ve still figured out all of these feats in weeks time for most cases. These two minds may not be at the top of the list, but they certainly deserve a spot on it. While its true that two minds are better than one and most minds are on this list as the one, you’ll find that in most cases these incredible feats were done single-handedly in the name of saving the other.


So who is the smartest mind in the MCU? Well, while this list is bound to change based on the furthered developments, I made this list in the order of what we have seen so far in the MCU. Both completed feats and what we know to be potential have been taken into consideration. The smartest minds in the MCU would go as followed.

1. Hank Pym
2. Tony Stark
3. Fitz and Simmons
4. Shuri
5. Bruce Banner
6. Dr. Strange

Sound off with your thoughts on who the greatest mind the MCU is, and why they stand above the other candidates in the comments. To stay tuned for further developments on the matter, and find more debates and discussions like these, be sure to subscribe by Email.

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