Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

GOTG Vol. 3 Makes A Convincing Argument For The Strongest Guardians

Contains spoilers for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3"

Since "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" is a superhero movie, the old debate about which character in a team is the most powerful may occasionally surface. The question is especially intriguing now that various upgrades and alternate-reality counterparts have left the team in a place where even the few Guardian vs. Guardian scuffles we've previously seen — looking at you, Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) — don't really set much of a precedent anymore. 

Fortunately, we've seen enough at this point of the franchise to form a rough power ranking of the longer-serving Guardians. Because we still don't have a full idea of their powers, though, we'll leave the newest members of the team's current incarnation alone for this thought exercise, so no Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), Phyla (Kai Zen), or Blurp in this one.

Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Kraglin (Sean Gunn), and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) all have great equipment but are relatively squishy, so they're out in the opening round. Drax (Dave Bautista) is strong and Gamora skilled, but both have met their matches a little too often to warrant anything beyond mid-tier ranking. Nebula's healing abilities and weapon arm are great, but she also has too many losses to make it to the top. Even Groot (Vin Diesel) isn't the strongest Guardian, since the first Groot is the only original Guardian to perish, and Warlock shows that the current Groot can be defeated, as well.

However, there are two Guardians whose feats in "Vol. 3" alone make a convincing argument for their strength. As such, it appears that we now live in a world where Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Cosmo the Spacedog (Maria Bakalova) are the most powerful Guardians of the Galaxy.

Mantis is by far the most dangerous Guardian

Mantis (Pom Klementieff) might be clumsy and socially awkward, and as Nebula quite crudely points out in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," her powers seem more suitable for low-key therapy sessions than large-scale power struggles. Of course, that rant comes shortly before Mantis casually erases part of Drax's memory, and takes all of a minute to tame three terrifying Abilisks — you know, the giant monsters that are so strong, the entire Guardians team struggled to take down just one in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2." 

She has her quirks, sure, but Mantis' empath powers and surprising creativity make her a dangerous opponent both on the battlefield and during stealth missions. She can make people fall in love and incite murderous rage with ease and even powers up Cosmo the Spacedog so she can hold two giant ships together long enough to save the day. Those are just Mantis' "Vol. 3" feats, too. Her abilities have worked on extremely powerful entities like Ego (Kurt Russell) and Thanos (Josh Brolin), and she's taken enough hits over her MCU appearances to prove that she has a surprising amount of durability, as well. What's more, even without actively using her powers she's a formidable behind-the-scenes force. She can and often does act as the team's beating heart, constantly working to defuse all sorts of personal funks and interpersonal conflicts that could hinder their missions.

Mantis would never make a big deal of it, but it's clear that she's by far the most powerful and versatile Guardian of the Galaxy. As she confidently walks toward her unknown destiny with three gigantic Abilisk friends in tow at the end of "Vol. 3," it's easy to believe that the next time we see her, she'll be an even tougher nut to crack.

Cosmo's telekinesis is an impressive combination of precise control and raw power

Since we're talking about versatility, it's very difficult to ignore the Guardian who just might be the single heaviest hitter in the team's history, regardless of the lineup. Though a jealous Kraglin deems her a bad dog early in the movie, Cosmo the Spacedog is anything but. Cosmo's been around since the very first movie and is very much in the Guardian game by the time of "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special." And what a Guardian she is.  

Cosmo's stamina has its limits, but as long as she can keep going, her telekinesis powers are off the charts. The way she uses massive slabs of debris to swat the High Evolutionary's (Chukwudi Ewuji) minion who's about to attack Kraglin is already impressive enough to draw a comparison to the powerful Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), but as it turns out, it's just a casual warm-up. The grand finale sees Cosmo use her powers to connect the High Evolutionary's ship and Knowhere — two gigantic vessels that, given one of them is full of fire and explosions, very much don't want to stay together. Sure, it takes a toll and Mantis has to boost her, but the fact that Cosmo can do this for even a second is a testament to her sheer power. As her "bad dog" demonstration with a pebble early in the movie shows, she can also control that power with terrifying precision. 

What's more, Cosmo is probably sitting on a bunch of psionic powers we're yet to see. Apart from the telekinesis, the comics version of the character is an incredibly powerful, unaging telepath. Since the MCU Cosmo makes a quick reference to the 1960s and seems to project her speech with her mind, it sure seems that she has those powers in store, as well. Good luck calling her a bad dog if she ever decides to unleash her full potential.