Top 10 Movie Characters That Need to Be Nerfed

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Top 10 Movie Characters That Need to Be Nerfed

VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: Garrett Alden
These movie characters are insanely powerful, and that's the problem. For this list, we'll be going over the characters from films whose abilities, skills, or resources are a bit too powerful to maintain suspense in their respective flicks. Our countdown includes Quicksilver, Neo, Captain Marvel, and more!
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Top 10 Movie Characters That Need to Be Nerfed


Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 movie characters that need to be nerfed.

For this list, we’ll be going over the characters from films whose abilities, skills, or resources are a bit too powerful to maintain suspense in their respective flicks. To be clear, none of these are bad characters at all – but if they were just a little less powerful, their stories would probably be more engaging. Mild spoilers ahead!

#10: Selene

“Underworld” franchise (2003-16)
Selene begins this film series as a badass vampire warrior and she only gets more powerful as it goes on. Throughout the movies, she takes on werewolves, elder vampires, and hybrid creatures with relative ease. By the later instalments, she’s practically the vampire messiah! She’s even immune to sunlight! As awesome as it is to see Selene kick ass and look good doing it, we rarely feel as if she’s in any danger of losing—unless you’re talking about losing someone close to her. With a little nerfing, Selene could be a more relatable and compelling protagonist, without losing any of her coolness. Or at least as relatable as an immortal vampire can be…


#9: John Preston

“Equilibrium” (2002)
John Preston is a brutal enforcer in a totalitarian regime where a mandatory drug suppresses all emotion. A series of crises, however, lead him to experience emotions and to eventually aid in the overthrow of the dictator in charge. Although Preston is outmaneuvered a few times during the story, when it comes to combat, the man has no match. A master of the pseudo martial art “gun kata,” Preston is just improbably good at shooting guns and environmental awareness. He’s even handy with a sword, too. While a nerf to his abilities would certainly add some more tension to his role in the revolution, we would also miss out on some truly excellent action scenes.


#8: Quicksilver

“X-Men” franchise (2000-)
Pietro Maximoff, better known as Quicksilver, is a mutant with the ability of superspeed. He’s so fast, time looks as if it’s standing still when he goes all out! This makes for some phenomenally entertaining scenes, but it also carries an unfortunate side effect, narratively speaking. If Quicksilver is around, he could easily solve most problems the X-Men encounter in literal seconds. As such, the movies have to find ways of sidelining him, like leaving him behind or knocking him out. Another solution, however, might be to put a limitation on his abilities, like only being able to run for so long before needing to rest. Then again, if it means giving up those crazy slow-motion scenes, maybe we should think it over first…


#7: Rey

“Star Wars” franchise (1977-)
Rey is quite the polarizing figure, even in a trilogy of polarizing “Star Wars” movies. But even her staunchest defenders can admit that she’s a little too good at what she does. Rey is a great pilot despite spending most of her life on a desert planet? Well, that’s nothing new for “Star Wars,” but-…wait, she’s also a better mechanic than Han and Chewie? And she’s super strong with the Force with very little training? Look, “Star Wars” is no stranger to overpowered protagonists. But the difference with Rey is that she doesn’t really…lose…at all. The Resistance suffers setbacks, but she doesn’t. It might have humanized her to see her take the L on occasion…though not necessarily in the typical “Star Wars” way.

#6: Dr. Stephen Strange

Marvel Cinematic Universe (2008-)
As the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Stephen Strange is one of the most powerful of the Avengers. He’s actually the guardian of the dimension in which the Marvel Cinematic Universe occurs. That’s a high weight class! Although he no longer has the Time Stone, which let him manipulate time itself, Dr. Strange is still absurdly powerful. While he was successfully relegated for most of “Avengers: Endgame,” what with being temporarily dead and all, we’re honestly not sure how Marvel is going to maintain dramatic stakes when there’s a sorcerer of this caliber hanging around. Unless of course, he were to face a threat of equal or greater power. [hum a song from “WandaVision”]

#5: John McClane

“Die Hard” franchise (1988-)
In the first “Die Hard” movie, one of the things that makes John McClane such a refreshing protagonist is that he’s not the typical action hero for the period. He’s an average Joe who’s up against incredible odds and somehow manages to succeed. Unfortunately, as the franchise progresses, he gradually transforms from a subversion of the usual action cliches to embodying them. Whereas he was once nearly crippled by glass in his feet, later films see him surviving leaps that would easily kill you. He even uses a car to take out a helicopter! If or when the series does continue, we hope that John can be brought back to basics.

#4: Spider-Man

Marvel Cinematic Universe (2008-)
Let’s get one thing clear – there’s nothing wrong with Spider-Man’s superpowers in the MCU. That’s not what needs nerfing about the character. Rather, it’s his resources. Thanks to Iron Man, Peter Parker has access to high tech suits, weaponry, and transportation that the character typically hasn’t had in other adaptations. What alternate versions of Peter Parker have had to work for, MCU’s Spider-Man is handed on a silver platter. Even after Iron Man’s death, Peter is still given great power, which he fails to handle responsibly. Basically, we need to see this Spider-Man without a safety net. There’s a reason that the third act of “Homecoming” is so thrilling.

#3: Magneto

“X-Men: Apocalypse” (2016)
Erik Lehnsherr, better known as Magneto, has always been one of the strongest mutants in the “X-Men” franchise. “X-Men: Apocalypse”, however, takes this power to absurd new heights. Thanks to guidance from Apocalypse, Magneto is able to manipulate the magnetic poles of the planet to rip entire cities and landmasses apart. This is basically the power to end modern civilization condensed into one man! While “Dark Phoenix” downplayed Magneto’s powers again, the radical mutant’s terrifying abilities should probably have never gotten so inflated in the first place! If or when the MCU introduces Magneto and company, we can only hope that they strike the right balance.


#2: Neo

“The Matrix” franchise (1999-)
Neo is “the One.” This means that, within the confines of the digital world of the Matrix, he’s basically a god. He can fly, stop bullets in mid-air, alter the Matrix around him, and even revive his lover from death. While he’s still human, and can be hurt, it takes a malicious program taking over practically the entire rest of the system to pose a serious threat to him, and even then—he’s basically letting it happen. With a fourth “Matrix” movie set for a 2021 release, it will be interesting to see where his character is headed. Will Neo be downgraded to “merely” superhuman or will he continue his ascension as a godlike figure with powers to match?

#1: Captain Marvel

Marvel Cinematic Universe (2008-)
The Infinity Stones are a big deal in the MCU, and a few of the heroes get their abilities from these incredibly powerful objects. One such example is Captain Marvel, who gained her powers from a lightspeed engine powered by the Tesseract. As a result, Captain Marvel is able to produce cosmic energy, fly, survive in space and take hits from Thanos—among other incredible feats. It’s telling that her appearances so far either see her powers severely limited, or else have her away from the action much of the time. She’s undeniably an inspiring hero, but she’s just too strong to provide much dramatic tension at full strength. Hopefully, future appearances can see her face off against a worthy foe or get nerfed… again.
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