The Marvel Universe has been growing at an exponential rate over the last decade, and by bringing more characters to the small screen, they are opening even more avenues to develop every hero in their stockpile. With television series and now, a boatload of Netflix originals, more and more people are finding the storylines attainable. But with a great universe comes some great flub ups that even the most dedicated fan can’t ignore, and Marvel Comics is not immune to fan critique.
When it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel has reached far past the readership, and into the hearts of audiences that have not even heard of some of the characters that are highlighted both on the big screen and the small screen. A wider audience means a lot of things– greater viewership, bigger budgets, and (of course) more critics. While many of the comic book fans have a certain power over the non-readers, both groups see mistakes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now, while these critiques have different levels of credibility, everyone has an opinion, and many of those opinions are backed by the support of the common consensus of Marvel fans.
While many fans have their favourite elements of the Marvel Universe, there are 15 that seem to be commonly loathed by the majority.
[WARNING: With a great article, comes GREAT SPOILERS]
15. Unnecessary Cameos
Alright, there are tons of characters in the Marvel Universe, and that is one thing a lot of people actually love about it (who doesn’t love spotting Stan Lee in every film?). However, this can lead to some pretty forced scriptwriting. Let’s throw Falcon into Ant-Man, because he might need a little more screen time. Let’s make Loki morph into Captain America 2.5 seconds for no apparent reason. With so many characters, it’s hard to find things for them to do, and sometimes throwing them into movies that they shouldn’t necessarily be in can help remind the audience that these people exist. However, in the end, it all becomes a little much, and even the most basic Marvel fan knows it’s contrived.
14. We Don’t Like Edward Norton When He’s Angry
Too many people agree that Edward Norton’s Hulk was… not the greatest casting choice they’d ever seen. Okay, even if you like Norton’s performance as Bruce Banner, Marvel knew they made a huge mistake when Norton felt the need to rewrite the script after signing on to the movie. Those portions of the movie were cut, of course. As many know, this didn’t go over well, and Norton and Marvel later made a very public split. However, in a 2014 interview, Norton told NPR that he didn’t want to be in the Avengers films, because they would take up too much of his time and keep him from projects that he wanted to focus on. Okay, no problem. We’ll take Mark Ruffalo.
13. What’s Girl Power and How Can We Exploit It?
There is no doubt that Marvel has some incredibly strong female characters. However, with the exception of Jessica Jones, it’s hard to find one with strong character development. While many fans scream that Black Widow would whoop ass in a stand alone movie, Marvel has yet to deliver. So, it seems as though they just stick her in movies that would otherwise be sausage fests. The worst part? Her character has very little cohesive plot points. First, she’s the one who helps Cap when he’s in trouble. Next, she’s the only one who can calm the Hulk and bring back the Banner. Many fans are annoyed that she seems like more of a plot device than an actual character at most times.
12. Controlling The Hulk
Really? “I’m always angry”? Really? Okay, it’s a catchy line, and is a great way to change an entire character in just three words. The writers really have done it this time. Ultimately, the whole allure of Hulk was his inability to control himself, and therefore he became the wildcard. However, falling 1,000 feet into an abandoned warehouse seemed to switch things up a bit, and then Bruce Banner delivers the line that would change how movie-goers had to look at Hulk from then on: he’s under control now. B-O-R-I-N-G…yet understandable from a writer’s perspective. While many fans are still annoyed by this little twist, others have allowed for their suspension of disbelief to make its way through all of the movies that followed.
11. Not Taking Characters Seriously
While the old school way of adapting comic books for the big or small screen is to make it a little campy, studios don’t have to do that anymore. The reason things were cheesy and campy was because special effects didn’t exist, so bringing in the superheroes abilities was a little harder, and writers had to get creative. This cheesing of superhero films often led to a lack of character development.
These days, making characters too campy and failing to develop them properly is a huge turn off to audiences. This is seen most clearly when Peter Parker gets his groove back in Spiderman 3 (we’ll get to that), and in Nicolas Cage’s Ghost Rider.
10. They’re Not all Invincible
Now, it’s safe to say that we expect our superheroes to be…well, super. Even though this is very much true, there are some critics who think that the invincibility of superheroes can often lead to lackluster screening. While many superheroes suffer terrible emotional damage when their not-so-super loved ones kick the bucket, there oftentimes isn’t much at stake for the superhero’s livelihood itself. Superheroes often die in the comic books. However, the Marvel Cinema Universe takes hold of its little cash cows (actors), and squeezes every drop out of them. Now, we know Logan is gone… but his death was set in the year 2029. This gives his viewers hope that they will see him show up for cameos here or there… I mean, the latest X-Men movie was set in the 1980’s. They could, theoretically, have roles for Hugh Jackman for another 40 years.
Now, I know they killed off Professor X, The Phoenix, and Cyclops. However, while these deaths were surprising to audiences, they didn’t seem to fit the way they should have. It was as though the writers were responding to the criticism that superheroes don’t die… so they just offed a bunch of them in ways that seemed forced.
9. Thor + Jane Foster = Love?
The love story between Thor and Jane Foster was, in no uncertain terms, contrived. It was not developed nearly as well as it should have been, and it’s kind of unbelievable. Okay, Thor is attractive–god-like, if you will. Jane is attractive and really, really smart. A match made in Asgard? The critics think not. The odd thing about this is that with the lack of development of their relationship, the fact that Jane Foster isn’t on screen unless it’s convenient for some portion of the plot doesn’t really affect audiences. Her name is mentioned here and there, but the entire relationship just is, and should be questioned by fans.
8. Silencing Deadpool Was A Stupid Idea
In X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), Deadpool shows up, played by Ryan Reynolds. But it isn’t the Deadpool most fans knew and loved. His wit and snark are completely missing. Why? His mouth is sewn shut… you know, to keep him in line. This completely destroys the Deadpool character that most comic fans knew and loved. People who weren’t fans of the comic book saw Deadpool as a near-carbon-copy of the Mortal Kombat character, Baraka.
7. Peter Parker’s Dance Break
Everyone remembers the dance scene in the Toby McGuire Spiderman 3 (2007). Who could forget something so bad it embarrassed even the viewers for watching it and knowing that they like Spiderman. It’s that scene that everyone knows happens, and most people just close their eyes when they have to watch it. It’s embarrassing; it doesn’t fit in the movie. Okay, Peter has some confidence, but he’s not cool. If you watch, even the other actors in the scene are giving him weird looks. It’s awkward, and uninteresting. It’s cringe-worthy. The Spiderman dance scene has gone down in history as a single scene that destroyed an entire movie.
6. The Spiderman Reboot…Too Soon?
I just imagine if the Marvel Cinematic Universe were in the movie Mean Girls, someone would say, “Stop trying to make Spiderman happen.” Of course, Spiderman has always been a Marvel Comic fan favourite, but that just makes it harder for movie studios to get it right… and perfect. The biggest complaint about the Spiderman reboots has been that they were all just too close together. With only five years between Spiderman 3 and the reboot, The Amazing Spiderman, fans were hardly able to get over the cringe-worthy dancing of Toby McGuire (see number 7 on this list) before Andrew Garfield took over as the web-slinging saviour.
5. X-Men Time Paradox
What’s the best way to change actors for characters they’ve been playing for nearly two decades? Well, just have a movie where the current actors go back in time and change history…That could lead to all sorts of things like: characters were born in different years, from different parents (yet, have the same abilities, personalities, and names), and have different life experiences. Right? Sigh… okay, audiences get what you’re doing here, Marvel Studios, and some of us will even accept it as pretty cool that you’re not just rebooting and regurgitating old plot lines. However, there are fans who are raising their arms and giving a WTH look to the big screen.
4. Constant Destruction of Towns
Summer blockbusters have become smashfests in general. However, the idea that the popcorn movie has to be destructive to be compelling is a little 1996. With special effects making it easier for movie studios to bring down entire cities and neighbourhoods, it almost seems like it’s been a contest to see which superhero (or superhero team) can do the most damage to the biggest city, and it’s getting a little old.
Marvel did address this in their Netflix series on a deeper and personal level, by showing “common folk” mourning the loss of loved ones who were only considered collateral damage. However, it wasn’t enough to make them stop total destruction and mass chaos.
3. They’re Worried About Being Weaponized
While it is a VERY realistic storyline, why does it seem like nearly every person with powers has to worry about being weaponized? It seems like the majority of the conflict in superhero movies is against the American government who wants to weaponize everything. Sure, these storylines are definitely what would happen in real life. However, the biggest problem with them is that they often fade away. “I saved the world from my brother who is also an alien, so now the government doesn’t want to weaponize me.” Another issue with this storyline is that (with the exception of Wolverine and other mutants in the X-Men world) these superheroes aren’t spending 100% of their lives being tested, having their DNA extracted, or being torn apart, bit by bit. If you’re going to go the route of the government trying to weaponize a superhero, it shouldn’t stop with “he saved the day… let’s leave him alone.”
2. The Tragedy That Was Daredevil (2003)
Most fans take Daredevil (2003) for what it’s worth. Ben Affleck wasn’t creating the greatest movies at the time, and pretty much taking everything that was handed to him. The acting was slightly below sub-par; the character development was nearly non-existent; and the fight scenes are clunky and awkward. Not to mention, Matt going blind magically made his other senses go crazy… immediately. Additionally, he has some kind of amazing acrobatic skills when he grows up. How did that happen?
1. The Fantastic Four
For some reason, The Fantastic Four (2005) has been criticized over and over again. From the rubbery special effects to the choice in director and cast, most fans seem to roll their eyes. Overall, it wasn’t horrible, though. It was a victim of it’s time, created by a studio that wasn’t so keen on comic books, and before special effects were beyond special.
The reboot in 2015 was destroyed by critics… and the director of the film himself. Josh Trank even posted on Twitter: “A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would’ve received great reviews. You’ll probably never see it. That’s reality though.” Ouch. When the director of the film implies it’s horrible, you know you’re in for a crap fest.
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