The MCU has done justice to a lot of characters over the years. Sadly, some heroes and villains just don’t translate to a mainstream audience right off the page, so there needs to be some little tweaks here and there before they hit the big screen. Characters like Captain America, Thor, and even Ego the Living Planet have all seen some changes that benefit who they are and how they fit into the MCU. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, as Marvel has taken some creative liberties that just destroy everything that these characters were founded on in the first place.
Not many people have noticed these things, as a lot of the mainstream audience have never even picked up a comic book, so they’re not particularly well-versed with the source material. Those that have noticed aren’t necessarily okay with what’s been done. That’s not to say that it ruins the experience of the MCU overall, it’s just certain characters have been mishandled. If you want to know why we at CBR feel this way, then read on to learn about 15 great characters who were ruined by the MCU. We hope that Marvel doesn’t keep doing this in the future.
Whiplash was the main antagonist of Iron Man 2. He was a Russian scientist who came to the States to exact his vengeance on Tony Stark for killing his father and destroying his town (or at least his tech did). At face value, this origin is very similar to the comic version of the character but from there, many differences appear.
First of all, Whiplash’s design was much more intimidating. He was like an Iron Man suit turned into an assassin, featuring sleek armor and cool electric whips. He was so intent on killing Stark that even when Tony was proved to be innocent of killing his father, Whiplash still did everything he could to try and slay the Avenger. He would later appear on teams like the Masters of Evil in the comic, who we hope one day hit the big screen.
14. SCARLET WITCH AND QUICKSILVER
When Marvel sold the film rights to their characters, some specific ones were up in the air, like Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. They decided to use these two in Avengers: Age of Ultron while FOX used Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past. However, Marvel shot themselves in the foot with these two heroes because they didn’t have access to the biggest part of their origin: Magneto.
Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were the twin children of the X-Men villain and were evil mutants-turned-Avengers as a result. Furthermore, Scarlet Witch’s powers were so intense that she could change reality, create entire dimensions, and kill people with a mere thought. She doesn’t come close to that in the MCU, though she is still very powerful to a certain extent.
13. THE COLLECTOR
There are few beings in the Marvel Universe that have all kinds of power — more than anyone else can fathom. Among them is the Collector. Being one of the first creations in the world, he is an Elder of the Universe and has all kinds of abilities that help him transcend even the greatest of heroes. He even came to Earth and collected various Avengers just because he found them interesting.
In the movie, he was just a hoarder who had a love for all kinds of antiques. There was no hint of him being incredibly powerful, and he was even damaged by the Infinity Stone — something that he held with no problem in the comics. He is also the brother of the Grandmaster, who will be appearing in Thor Ragnarok. Because of this, there is a chance that the character could see some much welcomed changes.
12. THE MANDARIN
Yet another Iron Man villain makes his way onto this list. Because the Mandarin is Iron Man’s arch-rival, many people had high expectations for his appearance in Iron Man 3. Needless to say, the direction that Marvel took with this character was so inexplicably despised that they basically had to retcon the entire thing.
In the comics, the Mandarin, through the use of the Ten Rings (in this case literal rings), was a powerful mystical being who was strong enough to dismantle the Iron Man suit. In the movies, he was nothing more than an actor designed to put a face to the terrorist attacks that had been occurring in the world, when it turns out that Aldrich Killian was the mastermind behind it all. Killian labels himself “the Mandarin,” but it’s nowhere near the same as the comics.
When Guardians of the Galaxy came out, nobody knew who those characters were. This gave Marvel the creative freedom to reimagine them however they wanted and avoid purists trying to criticize them for changing the smallest thing. Of all of the members of the team, the most changes went to Peter Quill, Star-Lord.
In the comics, he was much more responsible and served as an intergalactic sheriff above everything else, all the way down to his uniform. In the films, he was depicted as a tortured outlaw who had everything bad in the world happen to him. Star-Lord also had to deal with the rulership of Spartax in the comics (due to the origin of his father), something that was not present in the films.
While I can’t fault Ant-Man for not focusing on Hank Pym, we can point out how they poorly handled Darren Cross, otherwise known as Yellowjacket. In the film, he was the apprentice of Pym, but after he showed signs of psychosis, Pym eventually put him at arm’s length. This turned Cross into a whiny villain who threw massive tantrums (typically involving killing people) when he didn’t get his way.
In the comics, Cross had a much better reason for going to war with Scott Lang. He had a bad heart and kidnapped a surgeon to fix him. However, Lang was looking for the same surgeon because his daughter needed a similar procedure. His daughter was saved, but in the process, Cross’s heart gave out and he was placed into cryogenic sleep. Eventually, he was revived and swore vengeance on Lang. Wouldn’t that have made for a much more interesting story?
9. ARNIM ZOLA
Hydra is arguably the most dangerous organization in the Marvel Universe, and they’ve been around since the way back when. They often had sinister plans that involved unique technology. The only man suited to build everything they needed was Arnim Zola. However, people don’t live forever, and Zola’s body eventually deteriorated. But that wouldn’t be the last that the world would see of the evil Hydra scientist.
Where Zola goes from there depends on whether you’re talking about the comics or films. His consciousness is preserved in a massive robot to destroy the world in the comics, but in the films, his mind is simply held in an elaborate computer system that is demolished seconds after he’s reintroduced. It’s a great disservice to an otherwise pretty entertaining character.
8. GHOST RIDER
Ghost Rider is an incredibly dark character, which is why it was shocking to many people that his debut in the MCU would be on Agents of SHIELD, arguably one of the lightest projects in Marvel’s continuity. Because of this, there were some creative changes made to his origin that were a little maligned.
In the show, Robbie Reyes is given the Spirit of Vengeance by Johnny Blaze. However, in the comics, he never had the spirit. Instead, he is possessed by the dead soul of a Satanic serial killer. The spirit that lives inside Robbie can also take control at times. Robbie is not motivated by vengeance in the comics as much he is in the show, and that’s primarily because of how differently each version of the character was handled.
Out of the initial superheroes who formed the team shown in The Avengers, who was the most interesting of the bunch? We guarantee you didn’t say Hawkeye. The truth is that Clint Barton has been severely screwed over in the MCU, especially when you consider how he has contributed to the team in the comics.
For starters, he used to be a circus performer who was later inspired to become a hero. He was originally accused of being a thief by the Avengers, but he eventually joined their team. However, even while working with them, Hawkeye clashed often and chose to do his own thing rather than act on orders. He even took over Hank Pym’s identity as Goliath for a time. Unfortunately, we’ll never get that Hawkeye in the movies.
Only the biggest of comic fans would’ve recognized Brock Rumlow’s appearance in Captain America: Winter Soldier. That was the man who would later become Crossbones, one of the biggest Captain America villains to date. However, his time was short in Civil War, as he would commit suicide (with a little bit of help from Scarlet Witch) early on in the film just to give a reason for the Sokovia Accords.
In the comics, the character was much more powerful. He was a skilled and powerful fighter, equipped with plenty of weapons to take his foes out. He was also a renowned assassin who was so good at his job that he was actually part of the plan that killed Captain America at the end of the “Civil War” comic event. His MCU version is far cry from who he is in the comics, and we couldn’t be more upset.
When it was announced that the second Avengers movie would be called Age of Ultron, many fans got excited. After all, Ultron was one of the most sinister villains that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have ever faced. Being a ruthless AI that constantly upgrades himself, Ultron was brilliant enough to not only take over the world but destroy many heroes with extreme prejudice.
In Avengers: Age of Ultron, we got a quippy yet powerful robot created by Tony Stark. While it wasn’t the worst thing ever put on screen, it doesn’t hold a candle to the comic book version. There was no development to his villainy and he didn’t look nearly as terrifying as he normally does. Again, do we need to point out the amount of jokes he made?
4. DOCTOR STRANGE
While the Doctor Strange film wasn’t bad, it wasn’t exactly memorable either. It was another origin story that showcased an immature Stephen Strange learning how to use magical abilities and become the Sorcerer Supreme. However, he not only learned to become a selfless hero, but also how to utilize these new powers responsibly.
In the comics, Doctor Strange’s origin was much more defined. People died on his watch, he blamed himself for it, and became colder as a result. In the movie, it’s just assumed that he’s cold because he thinks he’s a hotshot. Furthermore, Doctor Strange was renowned because of his tendency to pop in and out of other Marvel Comics adventures, something that the film wasn’t able to explore because it was an origin story.
3. IRON FIST
Danny Rand was a child that had a lot of unfortunate circumstances happen to him (something not very surprising for a superhero origin story). His parents died in a plane crash and he only lived because the monks of K’un Lun took him in, gave him a home, and taught him how to fight.
This story was consistent through the MCU version and the comics, but the reason Iron Fist is on this list is that the show doesn’t explore any of it — everything exists only in name. Never do we get to see time spent in the mystical city, nor do we see him taking part in his legendary battle with the dragon Shou-Lao. Furthermore, perhaps the greatest travesty of the show, we don’t get to see him in his trademark Iron Fist costume. Shame.
2. IRON MAN
Believe it or not, the MCU’s take on Iron Man was drastically different from what the comics proposed. In the pages, Tony Stark was a fairly successful businessman who had his life turned upside down when shrapnel crawled closer to his heart. Fairly recognizable so far, but after that event, he became extremely depressed and alcoholic.
While both versions of Tony Stark had some pride issues, the movie version took it to much greater extremes. He would often put others in danger just so he could live out his vision. In the comics, he showed much more concern for other people and had a much better time becoming a team player. Newer comic readers wouldn’t know this though, as Marvel changed Iron Man’s personality to fit with the MCU version.
1. MALEKITH THE ACCURSED
The MCU has a consistent problem with making their villains uninspired and lame. That goes for Malekith the Accursed as well, the villain of Thor: The Dark World. In that movie, he was simply a bad guy to fight. He was the leader of the Dark Elves who waged war on Asgard thousands of years in the past and was after an Infinity Stone.
In the comics, Malekith was sold as a child by his mother and was trained in the Dark Arts, which established him as a formidable villain. He often struck deals with Loki and Surtur to destroy the Asgardians. Later on, he even went on a rampage to slay all of the Dark Elves that didn’t follow him, and the rest pledged their allegiance out of fear. Yet, in Thor: The Dark World he was just a mindless bad guy that needed to be fought.
Which other MCU characters do you think have been drastically changed from the comics? Let us know in the comments!
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