Movie Reviews

10 Best Superhero Transformations In MCU Movies


  • Hulk’s transformation into Savage Hulk showcases his uncontrollable power after being manipulated by Wanda Maximoff’s magic.
  • War Machine’s evolution into the Iron Patriot reflects a sleek government-led rebranding, enhancing his hero status.
  • Captain Marvel’s embrace of her true power marks a triumphant moment as she sheds her Kree conditioning and becomes an independent hero.



Many of the core characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have changed radically since their franchise debuts, but only a select few have undergone remarkable hero transformations. Since the beginning of the MCU’s movie timeline, the franchise has introduced countless characters adapted from the pages of Marvel Comics. Many of the heroes of the franchise have appeared on several occasions, presenting the opportunity for growth and change across their respective MCU journeys.

With so many characters appearing and stories unfolding across the movies and TV shows of the MCU, it’s no wonder than many of its heroes have undergone transformations on occasion. Sometimes this is as simple as a visual upgrade to their suit, but has also been known to be as comprehensive as a physical transformation or even an overhaul of their powers. With that in mind, here are the 10 best superhero transformations in the history of the MCU.


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10 Hulk Becomes Savage Hulk

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Though it’s perhaps not the most obvious transformation to occur in the movies of the MCU, Avengers:Age of Ultron features a particularly memorable Hulk moment. After encountering Wanda Maximoff, the Avengers find themselves manipulated by her magic into fear and paranoia. The effect this has on the Hulk is profound, and results in the green giant rampaging across the city after transforming into Savage Hulk.

The reference this makes to Hulk’s Savage Hulk persona is part of what makes the transformation so great. It also highlights just how dangerous the Hulk can be when his inhibitions are stripped away, offering a clear piece of evidence as to why Banner is so concerned about losing control. Though the transformation itself isn’t physically obvious, the abrupt shift in Hulk’s personality speaks to both Wanda’s power and Hulk’s own.

9 War Machine Becomes The Iron Patriot

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Many characters wear Stark armor in the MCU, but War Machine was one of the first to do so. James Rhodes first donned one of Stark’s suits in Iron Man 2, taking control of the technology to keep Tony in check and later adopting the mantle of War Machine. The hero’s most obvious transformation comes ahead of Iron Man 3 when he undergoes a massive visual overhaul as part of a government-led rebranding.

War Machine becoming the Iron Patriot is a clear nod to the character from the comics. Though Rhodey’s Iron Patriot armor differs from that worn by Norman Osborn in the comics, the design is much sleeker and cooler than War Machine’s previous look. Rhodes first went from a simple silver suit to a silver and black one, but for Iron Man 3, the Iron Patriot design reimagines him as a champion of the US government, making his aesthetic transformation particularly great.

8 Steve Rogers Rejects His Cap Identity

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

After the events of Captain America: Civil War, Steve Rogers is shown dropping his iconic shield. It’s not fully revealed until Avengers: Infinity War that this signified the character abandoning his Captain America persona as part of his disillusionment with both the US government and many of his fellow Avengers. When Steve Rogers reappears, he is sporting a full beard and a decidedly less clean-cut look than his previous MCU appearances.

The transformation is much more than just aesthetic, however. Steve Rogers abandoning his Captain America identity is more symbolic than anything else, marking the death of the character acting as the champion of specific ideals. Instead, Steve makes a conscious decision to act as an individual rather than as a symbol for a government that has condemned him, which is perhaps the most understatedly significant part of his entire MCU story.

7 Hulk Becomes Professor Hulk

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

It’s no secret that the Hulk is one of the MCU’s best-developed characters and that he has changed massively since his first appearance in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. Perhaps the biggest shift in his character actually occurred off-screen, between the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. In that five-year span, the hero worked to reconcile his Hulk and Banner personas, combining them into a single entity.

This resulted in the introduction of Professor Hulk, also known as Smart Hulk. The character possesses the self-control and intellect of Bruce Banner but the physical strength and resilience of the Hulk, making him one of the most powerful Avengers in the MCU. Though the transformation itself wasn’t shown, it’s one of the MCU’s most significant individual developments and proved to be a triumphant moment for the beloved character.

6 Doctor Strange Becomes Zombie Strange

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness features a number of characters and their respective variants, including different versions of Strange himself. One such variant is actually killed in the opening scene, which is paid off later in the movie when Strange is forced to use the Darkhold to combat the Scarlet Witch. In order to prevent the collapse of multiple realities, Strange uses the Darkhold to dreamwalk into the body of his deceased variant, becoming Zombie Strange ahead of the film’s climactic battle.

Zombie Strange’s demonic design makes the shift one of the coolest transformations in MCU history. However, it’s actually the significance of the transformation that makes it so noteworthy, as it marks a defining moment for Strange. By using the Darkhold, Strange establishes himself as a character willing to employ morally dubious methods to achieve what’s right, making his transformation into his zombie variant especially important.

5 Captain Marvel Shrugs Off Her Kree Conditioning

Captain Marvel (2019)

2019’s Captain Marvel serves as an origin story for the hero of the same name in the MCU, introducing Carol Danvers and chronicling her journey to becoming the powerful cosmic hero. The human Danvers begins her journey as part of the Kree Empire, living with memory loss and having no knowledge of her past or her original identity. She later discovers that this is largely due to Kree manipulation and conditioning, and that it was holding back the full extent of her powers.

The scene in which Danvers shakes off her conditioning and finally unleashes her true power is an excellent MCU transformation. The empowering moment shows Danvers becoming a true hero, and also comes with a new look as she removes the Kree colors from her uniform. As it sees her fully embrace the Captain Marvel persona, Danvers’ transformation into an independent hero is one of the most triumphant individual moments in the entire MCU.

4 Iron Man Becomes The Hulkbuster

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron sees many characters undergo transformations, but it’s one of the less impactful changes that stands out as the movie’s coolest. After Hulk is transformed into Savage Hulk by Wanda Maximoff’s magic, Iron Man is forced to employ drastic measures to stop his fellow Avenger’s rampage. Calling in a powerful upgrade, Stark transforms his Iron Man armor into its Hulkbuster variant.

The much bigger and stronger suit allows Stark to go head-to-head with the Hulk. The design of the Hulkbuster armor is awesome, but the display of Stark’s technological brilliance is what makes the transformation so much better. Seeing Stark’s use of new technology powerful enough to out-muscle the Hulk marks him as the MCU’s most brilliant mind, confirming that his genius gifts him practically unlimited potential within the franchise as well as simply being an incredibly cool action sequence.

3 Scarlet Witch Becomes Evil Scarlet Witch

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

There are many powerful characters in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’s cast, but none wield the frightening abilities of the Scarlet Witch. After the events of WandaVision, Wanda Maximoff fully adopted the Scarlet Witch persona, and her use of the Darkhold led to her plan to scour the Multiverse for her sons. Her journey from villain to hero and ultimately back to being a villain is one of the MCU’s most tragic, and her final transformation is one that showcases the extent of her power.

Becoming the evil Scarlet Witch is a transformation that sees Wanda tap into the depth of her magical abilities. Threatening not just the lives of specific individuals but those of countless beings across the Multiverse, Wanda risks causing multiple incursions as she searches for her children. The full transformation also leads to a scene in which Wanda takes on the combined might of all the sorcerers of Kamar-Taj and wins, confirming the frightening scale of her power.

2 Thor Becomes Lebowski Thor

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Thor’s MCU character arc has been an especially dark one for the franchise, with the God of Thunder suffering many heavy losses on a personal level across his story. The events of Avengers: Infinity War seem to hit Thor the hardest, however, prompting a huge transformation in the founding Avenger. After failing to defeat Thanos and witnessing the Snap wipe out half of all life, Thor sinks into a deep guilt-ridden depression, gaining weight and becoming “Lebowski Thor.”

Lebowski Thor is the physical manifestation of Thor’s guilt and grief. Having lost his entire family and many of his Avengers teammates, Thor blames himself for being unable to defeat Thanos, and his transformation represents the difficulty he has in processing those feelings. Lebowski Thor clearly shows Thor’s human side by having him react in a relatable way to unmanageable levels of responsibility, making it an especially powerful transformation.

1 JARVIS Becomes Vision

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

It’s fair to say that no MCU character’s transformation has been as obvious or empowering as that of JARVIS, Tony Stark’s AI assistant. Introduced in Iron Man, JARVIS served Stark for many years until the events of Age of Ultron. During the movie, he’s seemingly killed by Ultron, only to resurface in time to be transferred into Ultron’s intended body, becoming the hero Vision.

JARVIS becoming Vision is a huge and important transformation for the MCU’s wider story. The hero is powered by the Mind Stone, making him one of the most powerful Avengers, and his Vibranium body also makes him incredibly tough. Having initially been no more than Tony Stark’s robotic butler, JARVIS being assimilated into the hero Vision makes for perhaps the greatest transformation in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its story.

MCU Franchise Poster

Marvel Cinematic Universe

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