Ranking MCU Characters Based On How Badly They Need Therapy

Many WandaVision takes are circling the internet right now — some of them good and some of them inexplicably dragging the show for its weekly-watch format. And sure, the binge-model dissecting of discourse is important, but there’s another issue at play in the fabricated sitcom fantasy Wanda has created to escape her grief. It’s a question we’ve been raising since the beginning of the MCU when Tony Stark escaped a perilous hostage situation by melding some pieces of scrap metal together and blasting through his daddy issues: Why aren’t the Avengers in therapy?

No, seriously. Why?

These super-serum-infused heroes, these gods, these orphaned teenagers-turned-Nazi-weapons-of-mass-destruction need help. Like, professional help*. Now sure, they’re all suffering from a savior complex and delusions of grandeur that often ruin any chance of a “normal” life, but some of the squad are worse off than others, and we’ve decided that now is the time for an intervention.

Here’s who we think needs some shrinking.

17. Loki: Now, whether Loki technically qualifies as an “Avenger” might be up for debate, but there’s no question this Frost Giant f*ckboi needs to quit scheming and start focusing on his mental health. The only reason he’s not ranked higher on this list is because we know he’d craft a holographic projection of himself to avoid any meaningful progress. Also, we’re not sure we want to put a therapist through this kind of trauma.

16. Falcon / Sam Wilson: Sam Wilson is one of the more well-adjusted members on the team — we first meet him counseling veterans suffering from PTSD in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Still, Wilson’s lost friends in combat, and he’s now being forced to partner with a formerly brainwashed HYDRA agent and assume the Captain America mantle after his best friend abandoned him for an overdue booty call. No one would blame him for needing to air out his feelings on all that.

15. Black Panther / T’Challa: T’Challa, a.k.a. Black Panther, is another Avenger who feels relatively sane, all things considered. He seemed to work out most of his issues with his father on that astral plane, and he bounced back from a near-death experience pretty quickly to assume the throne and his superhero birthright. Still, T’Challa was a casualty of the snap, and we can only assume he’s inherited a Wakandan-sized mess since returning, so if he needs some medicated stress relief, we hope he gets it.

14. Ant-Man / Scott Lang: Scott Lang’s superpower might as well be cracking jokes to deflect away from a suffocating sense of failure when it comes to parenting his young daughter. But don’t let Paul Rudd’s ageless visage fool you. This guy spent years under house arrest doing close-up magic and reading John Green YA book series. He’s practically screaming for help.

13. Captain Marvel / Carol Danvers: Carol Danvers is one of the strongest members of the Avengers, but that tough-girl attitude is just a shield. Homegirl lost her friends, family, and career before being kidnapped and gaslit into believing she was a Kree warrior. She’s got major trust issues — which is probably why she spent most of Endgame avoiding making real connections with her teammates and trying to fix the rest of the galaxy instead — and no amount of vintage Nine Inch Nail t-shirts is going to change that.

12. Doctor Strange / Stephen Strange: We wanted to rank Stephen Strange lower — mostly because he’d probably start every therapy session by announcing he’d already seen millions of potential outcomes and all of them felt like a waste of his time — but this Bleecker Street magician has a God-complex that rivals Thanos, and he needs to reckon with that, preferably before the multi-verse madness ensues.

11. Spider-Man / Peter Parker: Honestly, the entire team needs to be held accountable for recruiting a literal child into their intergalactic warfare because Underoos is just too young to have suffered so much. He’s got a complicated family dynamic to contend with, a life-destroying sense of grief over the loss of his mentor, Tony Stark, and an immense burden being placed on his shoulders by adults who should know better. Oh, and he was emotionally manipulated by a middle-aged con-artist in a tacky superhero suit. Jake Gyllenhaal, we’ll never forgive you.

10. Hawkeye / Clint Barton: Where to begin with Clint Barton? Serving on a squad of suped-up individuals was always going to wreck his fragile ego but Hawkeye went off the deep end after the snap and, while we’re not excusing his problematic vigilantism, we do think he needs to talk to someone about it. Like, it’s great your family’s back, but you spent half a decade killing people just to have something to do. Get help.

9. The Hulk / Bruce Banner: When your own teammate refers to you as a “man with breathtaking anger management issues,” it shouldn’t be an endorsement of your super-powers… it should be a signal that you need to see someone. Bruce Banner has contemplated suicide, spent years on a foreign planet as a green rage-monster killing other beings in a gladiator-style arena, lost his romantic interest in Thanos’ bid to cleanse the galaxy, and has been forced to not only revisit his trauma but use the very thing he hates most about himself time and again in service of the Avengers. This dude has a deep understanding of what Alec Baldwin went through during Trump’s presidency, and it shows. He might be on the mend now, but if he doesn’t want to spontaneously Hulk out whenever someone brings up how Marvel sacrificed Natasha Romanoff for white-supremacist Robin Hood, he needs a shrink on speed dial.

8. Captain America / Steve Rogers: Look, we’re not here to besmirch America’s Ass, but Steve Rogers spent an entire MCU Phase trying to readjust to 21st-century life, and he didn’t really make that much progress. The man was frozen in ice for decades, woke up to find everyone he knew dead, his ex-girlfriend in a retirement facility, his best-friend mind-warped into a HYDRA killing machine, and, horror of all horrors, he had to learn how to operate the internet practically on his own. If Endgame proved anything it’s that Captain Rogers struggled to live a full life if he wasn’t fighting something (or someone). His retcon of the timeline wouldn’t have course-corrected his disturbing need to put himself in danger to prove his life had meaning or his control-freak tendencies. Peggy Carter does not have time to fix this man and be a kick-ass spy. Get to therapy Cap!

7. Iron Man / Tony Stark: Whew, now we’re getting into the thick of it… “it” being the inherited generational trauma, crippling narcissism, and stunted maturity that makes up Tony Stark’s unique psychopathology. It’s no secret the genius inventor had daddy issues, but he was also suffering from some severe PTSD after that battle in New York, which led him to make truly idiotic decisions mid-way through the Avengers series. Technically, Iron Man is dead having sacrificed himself in the fight against Thanos, but whichever tropical island lined with bikini-clad models and stocked with an endless supply of cheeseburgers his soul has retired to, we hope it has a psychiatrist on standby.

6. Star-Lord / Peter Quill: Do you think Star-Lord knows he’s being played by the worst Chris? If so, that’s reason enough for him to rank so high on this list. If not, there are plenty of problematic personality signifiers that qualify him for a one-on-one sesh with a willing therapist. Again, the daddy issues are prominent here as is his inability to form meaningful connections, his lack of maturity, his need to be the center of attention… wait, this sounds like someone else. Anyway, go talk to a psychologist Peter and stop chasing the alternate-timeline-version of your girlfriend who doesn’t know you, you creep.

5. Vision: Has anyone died more times than this well-meaning, dorky synthezoid? Either let him rest (eternally) or get him to a group meeting.

4. Thor: We know people had mixed feelings (and rightly so) about the appearance of “Fat Thor” in Avengers: Endgame, but even though the character’s downward spiral was played for laughs, we can’t help but think he’d benefit from some psychiatric help. Then again, how do you explain to a literal god that his hippie Nordic vacation is actually a severe case of situational depression; that, instead of eating his feelings, drinking his weight in beer, and yelling at teens on Fortnite, he needs to seek professional help?

3. Black Widow / Natasha Romanoff: Natasha Romanoff deserved better than what she got from the MCU, and what she deserved was a robust healthcare plan that included mental health counseling because Black Widow went through it during her time as an Avenger. We all have some kind of childhood trauma, but nothing really compares to being raised in an academy for assassins that forced you to practice ballet for hours and gave pop quizzes tasking you with murdering a stranger. Her new team didn’t treat her much better. Bruce Banner took a joyride on the Quinjet and never really came back. Clint Barton got a mohawk and a katana for his post-Snap sabbatical. Cap spent most of his time crying in group sessions, Tony Stark bounced to start a family after they failed to stop Thanos, Carol Danvers went galavanting through space… Poor Black Widow spent so much energy cleaning up after her teammates, she didn’t even have time to get her hair done, let alone invest in her mental health. Here’s to hoping she found some kind of peace in the afterlife.

2. Scarlet Witch / Wanda Maximoff: If you’ve been tuning into WandaVision for the past few weeks, you already know why the Scarlet Witch is ranked so high on this list. The Avengers’ angstiest member has been put through the wringer over the course of her young life. She survived a war-torn upbringing and the death of her parents, only to become a lab rat for HYDRA and a misguided henchman for Ultron. She lost her brother, was forced to kill her lover once and watch him die twice, and when she returned post-Blip, she found that the people she had sacrificed so much for were scrapping Vision’s body for parts. Sure, hijacking an entire town to live out your happily ever after fantasy is technically “wrong,” but instead of labeling her a villain, we need to set her up with a good shrink.

1. The Winter Soldier / Bucky Barnes: Oh, you thought Wanda Maximoff was the most f*cked up Avenger? Let us introduce you to Bucky Barnes, a man who’s been placed in and out of cryo so much over the past 100 years, his brain resembles a melted ice cream cone. Shuri did her best to fix this “broken white boy,” but when you’ve spent decades murdering people because someone whispered the words “freight car” in Russian, you don’t need your own buddy cop comedy series… you need a lengthy stay in a mental health facility.

*This is, in no way, a substitute for professional guidance. If you are a Marvel character and you believe you need help, please reach out to the appropriate government agency (for the love of Monica Rambeau, not S.W.O.R.D.) and/or an intergalactic rock being named Korg.