Long live the MCU, right?
A small Iron Man movie that began in 2008 has slowly but surely expanded into one of the biggest film franchises in history. With them coming up on their 10th anniversary, Marvel Studios has cashed in on many of their heroes, from the heavy hitters to oddballs that nobody cared about.
The movies that come out are all crafted extremely well and receive (for the most part) a lot of praise from critics and fans alike. Because of how Marvel films are made, just about anyone can go to a new release and get something out of it (whether they’re familiar with the characters or not).
However, as someone who has gone to see all of the Marvel movies, I’ve noticed that they’re continuing to make some huge mistakes in the films. Once or twice would’ve been passable, but some mistakes that have shown their faces have appeared in multiple MCU movies. While they don’t kill the franchise as a whole, I would argue that they lower Marvel from the “cinematic perfection” that some people would make it out to be.
Need more proof? Here are 15 things the Marvel movies continue to get wrong.
Here is a complaint that needs little to no explanation. In a lot of Marvel movies, the villains leave a lot to be desired. That’s even when they draw from popular villains in the comics. Their representation in live-action is uninspired when everything is said and done.
This would be alright if one or two MCU films did this, but unfortunately, the majority of them do. The only three villains that stand out for me personally are Obadiah Stane (Iron Monger), Loki, and Ego the Living Planet. Other than that, I couldn’t tell you what Malekith, Ronan the Accuser, or even Ultron were all about. The problem here is that a lot of the bad guys are just there to give the heroes something to punch during the climax and nothing else.
14. COLOR PALETTE
This is one of those things where if you see it, you can’t unsee it (so tread carefully before reading any further). While a lot of people haven’t noticed this, it becomes more obvious the more movies that come out. My big point here is that a lot of MCU films are ugly because of the color palette.
While the movies themselves aren’t afraid to use a lot of different colors, it’s the overall contrast and saturation of said colors that really throws me off. Everything looks dull and lifeless, which shouldn’t be the case for a movie inspired by comic book characters. The blacks are all muddled where they should be deep. The reds are washed out where they should pop from the other costumes. It doesn’t completely destroy the films as a whole, but it’s something that is distracting. Thankfully, Marvel is already on the road to rectifying this.
I love a good joke. There are few things quite more enjoyable than kicking back while you laugh it away with friends or family. However, when a joke is poorly timed or comes at a rapid-fire pace, it loses its touch and people don’t laugh as much as a result. This is comedy 101, and it’s something that the MCU movies aren’t aware of.
The Marvel movies pride themselves in being accessible to children and adults. Unfortunately, this means that there are a lot of jokes firing on all cylinders in most of their productions. It gets to the point where much of the humor feels unnatural or forced. Furthermore, not all of the jokes themselves land. Instead, the audience is left glossing over an awkward quip or two just to see what happens next in the movie.
12. CLIMACTIC CGI FIGHT
This is something that didn’t bother me when Marvel first started. It goes without saying that there will be some kind of big CGI fight at the climax of the film because they’re based on superheroes. As time goes on, however, it starts to become old. Dare I say it’s even becoming a cliche.
Because of how many superhero movies there are these days, having a big CGI fight just doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s lazy and uninspired nowadays, and filmmakers have to think of better ways to handle it. Yet, the Marvel movies continuously feed us these big CGI set pieces that are really only there for eye candy. Doctor Strange and Captain America: Civil War avoided this trope, but most of the other films didn’t escape it. Hopefully,
11. HEAVY-HANDED REFERENCES
When Nick Fury showed up in Iron Man 2, how would people who didn’t read the comics or see the post-credits scene to Iron Man knew who he is? Other than a tease for The Avengers, what purpose did he serve? Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
The problem with a lot of MCU movies is that they contain a lot of references to future projects and other movies. Unfortunately, for the casual moviegoer, this isn’t going to add anything to their experience. They aren’t going to know who the Watchers are with Stan Lee or care about why Thanos exists in Guardians of the Galaxy. Apart from that, the bigger problem here is that having these references puts a massive pause button on the story at hand. Marvel movies need to focus more on the stories they’re telling currently rather than pushing for the next big conflict. It takes us out of the experience and that’s never fun.
10. USE OF MUSIC
I briefly considering placing “soundtrack” at the title of this entry, but felt that would incorrectly convey the problem. Understand that many Marvel movies have some excellent music that’s worth listening to. The issue is instead how the music is used in each film.
Apart from the main theme of The Avengers, is there another theme in the MCU that comes to your mind off the top of your head? Odds are that there isn’t one. That’s because Marvel movies tend to wash out their musical scores (similar to their colors) in favor of what’s happening on screen. The sad part here is that an epic theme adds an extra layer of emotion to the story being told, and audiences will always be missing something unless Marvel incorporates music much better into their films.
9. SIMILAR FORMULA
Most Marvel movies can be described in this manner: some selfish jerk finds that his behavior isn’t the best. This leads him to an unnatural situation where he can only respond by turning into a superhero. Then a villain sits in the background until the final act where they duke it out and the hero comes out on top. While that’s a very general description, it’s hard to deny that many MCU films are sitting on a formula.
Ant-Man, Iron Man, and Doctor Strange are all fundamentally the same film, but with different characters and settings. There are movies that escape this formula and do different things, but they’re few and far between. With movies like Logan and Wonder Woman taking the superhero formula and blending it (more noticeably) with different genres, it’s time for Marvel to do the same thing or they may risk losing their audience.
8. BUTCHERING CHARACTERS
A lot of Marvel fans are quick to say that the MCU does a lot of justice to their characters. While I won’t deny the success they’ve brought to the likes of Captain America and Thor, the MCU has butchered a lot of their big characters as well.
Take Tony Stark for example. Everybody recognizes him as a selfish philanthropist that enjoys being with women, drinking alcohol, and cracking the jokes. He wasn’t entirely like that in the comics before the film came out. Then there’s the whole deal with how much they changed the Guardians of the Galaxy just to make a more entertaining movie, and don’t even get me started on how they handled The Mandarin. While you can’t expect them to faithfully adapt every character, the treatment they give some of their properties is inexcusable.
7. POST-CREDIT SCENES
This one took me a bit of thought before I put it on the list. When Iron Man had that first post-credits scene teasing what was to come, it was exciting, mysterious, and amazing. However, it also inadvertently started the trend of every single MCU film having a post-credits scene, for better or worse.
I’ve settled on the conclusion that a post-credits scene should only be in a film if it’s deserved. Iron Man deserved it. The Avengers deserved it. Thor: The Dark World and the Civil War tease for Ant-Man did not. The problem here is that it motivates a lot of people to stay in the theater much longer than they originally want to. Marvel should be more selective with their post-credits scenes in the future. A lot of times I’ve stayed past the credits to be horribly disappointed with the little clip I got to see.
Remember those big trailers that had everybody excited for Iron Man 3? They promised something amazing, earth-shattering, and bigger than the film that had come before it. Yet, we all know that the end result wasn’t anything close to what we were promised.
The reality with this is that Marvel has done this several times. They’ve built up hype for particular films for years only to leave us in the dust after they release. My concern here is that they’ve been hyping Avengers: Infinity War for such a long time that it would be difficult for them to deliver on it. While it can get people interested in a new film, it can also lead to the biggest disappointments among the fans. DC can tell you that’s never a good thing.
5. PHASE 4 AND BEYOND
For all of their problems, you have to give Marvel credit for planning out their Cinematic Universe so many years ahead of time. Unfortunately, this scope can also be a method of shooting themselves in the foot, as they’ve planned for Phase 4 after Avengers: Infinity War.
The problem with this is that they’ve already begun setting up a sequel to Doctor Strange, which has yet to be formally discussed as well as Guardians of the Galaxy 3 and whatever sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming they come up with. By having people think so far ahead, they’re not going to be invested in what comes next and are going to start getting burned out by all of the future plans. By continuously cranking out films after Phase 3, Marvel may also themselves get burned out and start lowering the quality of their productions.
4. MANUFACTURED CONFLICT
Movies aren’t short these days and require several beats in order to keep the runtime moving. This can be a scuffle between a hero and villain or a conflict between people on the same side. Whatever the issue may be, a lot of these beats are very manufactured just to lengthen the overall film.
Take The Avengers for example. A lot of the film was just the heroes arguing amongst themselves due to Loki’s tricks. Fast forward to Age of Ultron. A lot of the film was just the heroes being tortured and arguing amongst themselves due to Scarlet Witch’s tricks. Much of the conflict in these films seems like an afterthought to the effects and CGI climaxes. It’s just a sad aspect of otherwise entertaining and fun movies.
3. NO REAL STAKES
This is a complaint that I receive from a lot of people about the MCU. Despite the fact that the movies deal with world-changing events, there are no lasting effects or real stakes in regard to them. Captain America: Civil War might be the only exception to this issue.
This also feeds into the idea that they all follow a similar formula for their storytelling. There is no tension in these movies because we never get the sense that the heroes are going to pay any consequences for their actions, as everyone is just going to be fine and dandy by the end of the day. Even Arrow season 5 managed to incorporate real consequences into its show and they had some painful moments before then. This gives us hope that Marvel can still do the same.
2. SIDE CHARACTERS
Many times, in a Marvel movie, I ask myself why a particular character is there. What does Luis and his compadres add to Ant-Man other than comic relief? What purpose do the Warriors Three serve in the Thor films? While there are some excellent side characters in Marvel movies (Falcon, Black Widow, Yondu), the reality is that a lot of them don’t add anything to the story.
Many of them are simply there because they’re relevant to the comic origins of said characters. At the end of the day, you won’t remember their names (I even had to look up Luis’s name) and they’ll fade away along with many of the MCU movies. If Marvel wants us to care for the side characters a bit more, they need to be better incorporated into the stories and serve a purpose in the narrative.
1. BUILDING A MASSIVE CONTINUITY
The worst part about working from home is working from home. The same can be said for building a massive continuity (the worst part about building a massive continuity is actually building a massive continuity). Many casual moviegoers aren’t going to care enough to follow which MCU film follows the last one and ties into whatever television show.
By having everything connected, Marvel does give their universe an unprecedented amount of familiarity, but, with it, also dissuades anyone from getting invested in it. Only the people that really care about the universe (i.e. the comic fans) will be able to give you all of the information about it. Everyone else isn’t going to follow what goes on and will likely stop caring once Avengers: Infinity War passes through its theater run.
What aspects of the MCU are you most frustrated about? Let us know!
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