Which Marvel Superhero Movie Has the Best Supporting Team?

Jaimie Alexander in Thor and Sebastian Stan in Captain America The First AvengerWalt Disney Studios via Everett Collection/Paramount via Everett Collection

Not all sidekicks are created equal. Some can be an invaluable godsend, while others can be a mind-numbing liability. in building their vast cinemanic universe, Marvel has brought to life a ton of lovable and loathable sidekicks to screen, and some plucky companions are better than others. In prepearation of the upcoming film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we’ve graded each Avenger’s group of sidekicks. With categories including fighting skills, quippiness, and ability not to get captured, see if you’re favorite group of second stringers makes the grade.

Stark Industries and Associates (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3)

Members: Pepper, Rhodey, Happy, JARVIS, Black Widow (occasionally), Harley (the kid from Iron Man 3)
Fighting Skills: Modest. Rhodey has his own version of an Iron Man suit, but it doesn’t seem like he’s all that great at using it.  Meanwhile, Pepper and Happy are both pretty useless when it comes to fighting. The standout here would be Black Widow, but her contributions to the grade is stunted by the fact that she only appeared in one of the three Iron Man films.
Intelligence: High. While Happy is often characterized as being pretty dopey, Rhodey is a high ranking military officer and Pepper is the current CEO of Stark Industries, so they certainly have the smarts. The obvious stand out in this category is JARVIS. Tony Stark’s  computerized assistant/butler has given Tony the edge in many a sticky situation.
Quippiness: Off the charts high. The Iron Man films often feel more like comedies than action films thanks to the abundance of snark flowing from every mouth on screen. 
Damsel in Distress Rating: 
Off the charts high. While this team should be better at fending for themselves, considering Rhodey is literally a second Iron Man, they all require saving a whole hell of a bunch (seriously, get it together Cheadle). Plus, Iron Man 3 adds Harley, a pouty 10-year-old: the most vulnerable sidekick type there is. Poor Tony has his hands full.

Sif and the Warriors Three (Thor, Thor: The Dark World)

Members: Sif, Volstagg, Fandrall, Hogun
Fighting Skills: Very high. These near ageless god-like warriors have a couple millennia of fighting experience under their belts. This, plus their juiced-up Asgardian strength give them an edge when compared to most superhero sidekicks.
Intelligence: Modest. These four fierce warriors know their way around ancient weaponry, but the finer points of modern earthly society seem escape them. Just like Thor, the Warriors Three often seem baffled by life on earth,which has the potential to get them into trouble.
Quippiness: Modest.While Fandrall is a sly romantic at heart and is shown to have the gift of gab, most of these guys aren’t the most quick-witted band of fighters. They’re also missing about five thousand years of built-up pop culture to bounce off of, so our post-millenium love of snark might be lost on them.
Damsel in Distress Rating: Low. Thor can rest easy. These guys are more than adept at handling themselves in battle.
Overall: B+

The Soldier Squad (Captain America: The First Avenger)

Members: Bucky Barnes, Gabe Jones, Dum Dum Dugan, Jim Morita 
Fighting Skills: Moderately high. This is a handful of highly trained soldiers, but for all of their tenacity and hoorah fighting spirit, these guys are still plushy and vulnerable humans without powers or advanced technology. When facing of against supernatural threats, they likely won’t stand a chance. It also doesn’t help that they’re saddled with vintage 1940s weaponry.
Modest. Throughout First Avenger, these guys often show their hidden depths and are a far cry away from the meathead soldier stereotype, but they don’t come near some of the other scientists and special agents on the list. They’re not idiots, but don’t expect Mensa to give them a ring anytime soon. 
Modest. Jokes are a necessity on the battlefield, and these guys can sure crack wise. Their jokes might not be as razor sharp as some of the others on the list, but they do deliver the necessary goods.
Damsel in Distress Rating: 
Moderately High. As stated before, these guys are plushy humans, and Captain America does have to come to the rescue on occasion during First Avenger. One of them even bites the bullet during the film. 

The Scientist Squad (Thor, Thor: The Dark World)

Members: Jane Foster, Dr. Selvig, Darcy, that Intern
Fighting Skills: Dire. These guys are not fighters. Like at all. 
Intelligence: Off the charts high. With probably more academic degrees than Iron Man has suits, Thor’s lackies have a ton of brain power surging through their heads, which is good since Thor is essentially a meathead with a hammer. If the problem at hand requires more than brute force, this is your team.
Quippiness: Modest. While Kat Dennings’ Darcy can quip for days on end without rest, the rest of these guys are often more on the wrong end of snark, rather than being the ones to dole it out.
Damsel in Distress Rating:
High. These scientists couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag, and are constant need of saving by Thor.

Black Widow and Falcon (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

Members: Self Explanatory
Fighting Skills: Very High. One’s a juiced up ex-Soviet super spy with years of combat training, while the other is a military dude with freaking mechanical wings. These guys are geared up to the teeth with advanced S.H.I.E.L.D. weaponry, and can certainly handle themselves in most fights. 
High. Becoming an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t only about being able to punch things you don’t like really hard. The position takes smarts, and both these guys prove to be pretty intelligent when it comes to tactics and weaponry. 
One high, one low, averaging to modest. For a super spy, Black Widow is surprisingly snarky, and operates as a nice foil to the mostly stoic Captain America. On the other hand, Falcon is an agreeable straight shooter, and leaves most of the jokes for others to tell.
Damsel in Distress Rating: 
Low. Both Falcon and Black Widow are more than capable at handling their own battles. Besides, Cap has his hands full with the Winter Soldier.