The year 2017 was possibly one of the biggest in comic book-related entertainment on the big and small screens. It was the first time the Marvel Cinematic Universe delivered three movies instead of its usual two, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok. We also got two massive releases from the DC Extended Universe of movies, one of which, Wonder Woman, broke financial records and was almost universally acclaimed by fans and critics alike. On the television side of things, never have there been more Marvel and DC live-action series gracing our screens, from The Gifted to the ever-expanding Arrowverse.
But with this added number of productions, both beloved and highly-anticipated, there comes a very big caveat: quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality. Sometimes, these movies and television series took turns that greatly upset their respective fanbases. Some twists took place, and they didn’t sit right with many. In this day and age of Twitter and social media, fans are quick to voice their disappointments and concerns about whatever they are watching. Nowhere is this more true than with comic book-related movies and television series. CBR revisits 2017 in its entirety, to list the 15 most controversial moments that took place in Marvel or DC live-action productions.
15. DANNY RAND ISN’T EXACTLY A LIVING WEAPON
There was a lot of excitement surrounding the release of Iron Fist. The character was always a fan-favorite in the comics and, on top of that, as the last Defender to be introduced on Netflix before the team-up series, there was a lot of hype surrounding it. Many Marvel fans tuned in hoping to see a series whose action would rival the likes of Daredevil and yet, many felt ultimately disappointed.
Danny Rand was a far cry from the character he is in the comic books, and many fans felt that he didn’t live up to the mantle of the Immortal Iron Fist. Apart from saying that that was who he was, Danny failed to convince these fans that he was a living weapon when they saw him fight in action sequences that had a tough time living up to the precedent set by Daredevil.
14. SUPERMAN’S NON-MUSTACHE
Justice League was DC’s biggest release of the year and regardless of how people felt when the movie was done, whether they loved it or hated it, almost everyone agreed that, for half of his scenes, Henry Cavill’s Superman looked super weird. The mustache that Cavill sported for another role while Justice League filmed re-shoot segments had to be digitally removed, and the results were absolutely frightening.
Part of the reason why this happened is allegedly because WB didn’t want to delay the release of the highly-anticipated film, but everyone can confirm that they would have been better off waiting. What should have been a timeless interpretation of Superman on the big screen was sadly turned into something that many will ridicule for a long time to come.
13. THE X-MEN ARE DEAD, BUT YOU WON’T FIND OUT HOW
High Jackman’s Wolverine swan song Logan generated a lot of buzz when it was released. Critics and fans both loved the movie, praising the dark tone, the performance of the actors and the movie’s R-rating. But one thing that didn’t sit well with many fans was a lot of unanswered questions. Mainly, everyone wanted to know what exactly had happened to the X-Men.
The story of Logan took place in a future where there were only a handful of mutants left on Earth. The X-Men were dead, leaving only Professor X and Logan as the team’s sole survivors. Many were hoping to see exactly what had happened to the legendary team of superheroes, but alas, they never did. This is one case where the controversy wasn’t in what unfolded on-screen, but rather, what didn’t.
12. NAZI SUPERVILLAINS IN CRISIS ON EARTH-X
The big crossover event of 2016 between Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow saw the titular superheroes team-up to thwart an invasion by an alien race known as the Dominators. To keep things interesting for 2017’s big crossover event, “Crisis on Earth-X,” The CW, as well as the series’ producers, opted to go a different route by having the heroes face off against their evil doppelgängers.
But these were no mere dark doppelgängers – these were nazified version of everyone’s favorite characters. After a difficult year that saw a return of white supremacists and neo-nazis on the news, fans of all four series took this to be in poor taste, especially when the announcement was made, and when many didn’t yet understand that these villains hailed from an alternate reality.
11. ALEXANDRA IS KILLED BY ELEKTRA
The Defenders was one of Netflix’s biggest series of the year, eight episodes of superhero goodness that would see Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist team-up to save New York City from The Hand. But these four superheroes needed a powerful villain to face, a threat too big for any one of them to handle. Sigourney Weaver’s character Alexandra was brought in to fill that role – or so we thought.
The miniseries built up Alexandra as the main threat of the season, which is why everyone was left absolutely shocked to see her die at the hands of Elektra in the middle of the season. The character’s mystery had a lot of people intrigued, and many were left disappointed to see the character pushed to the side in favor of a more robotic, terminator-like Elektra.
10. THE FLASH RETURNS AS SOON AS HE WAS MISSING
When Barry Allen was taken into the Speed Force in the season 3 finale of The Flash, comic book fans everywhere thought that they would be getting a partial adaptation of a comic book story that saw Wally West step up as the one true Flash of Central City. Many thought that the series would use at least a few episodes to showcase Wally’s growth as a solo superhero.
However, those who were hoping to see The Flash take a few risks were quickly disappointed. After an opening segment that showed Wally and Cisco working together as a superhero duo, Barry Allen returned from the Speed Force almost as quickly as he had disappeared, in the first few minutes of the season 4 premiere. Until Barry put his scarlet suit back on, Wally was shown to be a lesser Flash.
9. ZENDAYA IS MJ
There was definitely a bit of controversy before Spider-Man: Homecoming was released. Teen actress Zendaya was cast in an unspecified role, and many fans took this mysterious casting as confirmation that she would be playing Mary Jane Watson. But everyone involved in the movie was adamant about the fact that Zendaya wasn’t playing Mary Jane, but a new character named Michelle.
As it turns out, they were sort of right. Instead of following the classic elements of the comic books, Homecoming introduced Liz Allen as Peter’s love interest, only to reveal at the very end that Michelle was also called MJ. So Zendaya might not have been playing Mary Jane Watson, but she is most definitely playing the MCU’s version of the character, who has the same initials in her name.
8. STEPPENWOLF’S BY-THE-NUMBERS VILLAINY
After the events set up in Batman v. Superman, DC fans were eager to see Batman and Wonder Woman team-up with the Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg to repel an invasion from Apokolips. But to go up against the likes of these superheroes, surely the movie needed a villain worthy of standing next to any single one of these characters. While many were hoping for Darkseid, we got his general instead: Steppenwolf.
But many fans felt that the movie version of Steppenwolf had no depth. He wasn’t compelling, nor was he someone you would love to hate. He was just sort of “there,” and his villainous turn was very straightforward: Evil? Check. Wants to take over the world? Check. Vague monologuing? Triple check. Steppenwolf proved only to be an obstacle, a reason for the Justice League to team-up — and not much else.
7. SUPERGIRL AND MON-EL’S RELATIONSHIP
Not every fan of a movie or television series can be 100% onboard with a love story. With social media, fan ships have become sort of the norm, and any character who arrives on the scene to squander the hopes of those people can stir up quite a bit of controversy. Such was the case with Mon-El, the Daxamite who was introduced in the second season of Supergirl to become Kara’s new love interest.
However, many Supergirl viewers weren’t fans of this particular pairing. Many still wanted to see Kara with James Olsen, and others with Lena Luthor. The only thing that most of them agreed on, however, was that Mon-El’s faults and quirks meant that he wasn’t the right choice for Kara. For that reason, the character of Mon-El spent the better part of the season hated by fans.
6. SAVITAR’S TRUE IDENTITY
The Flash spent the better part of its third season concealing the identity of its big bad. Although Savitar made his presence felt very early on in the season, it took a very, very long time for viewers to find out who exactly was behind the mask. Since the wait was so long, theories were flying left and right, with many people having enough time to piece the mystery together.
While many had theorized for a long while that Savitar was Barry Allen from the future, the reveal was made all the more underwhelming when Savitar confirmed that he was from the future, but not the real Barry Allen – only a time remnant, a disposable duplicate. This revelation was disappointing to many, with fans wondering why the series didn’t simply opt to have Savitar truly be the real Barry Allen.
5. BRUCE WAYNE’S PROTO COSTUME
On Gotham, viewers have watched as Bruce Wayne’s evolution into Batman was put on the fast-track. As the fourth season of the series began, not only were there more Batman rogues than ever before, Bruce himself was also taking a very big step forward into becoming a vigilante crime-fighter. Season 3 ended with Bruce wearing a ski-mask to fight a bunch of criminals, but season 4 took it even further.
To start his war on crime, Bruce Wayne would be given a prototype costume by Lucius Fox, and this Batman 0.0.1 suit became a bit of a source of controversy in its design. The suit was nothing more than a leather jacket (that supposedly cost millions of dollars to make) and the mask looked very silly – not exactly what one would want when one hopes to strike fear into the hearts of criminals.
4. FELICITY AND OLIVER’S WEDDING
“Crisis on Earth-X” managed to be a crossover event that lived up to expectations. Almost every fan agreed that the two-night, four-episode event was an absolute thrill to watch – save for perhaps the last minute of the last episode, when Barry Allen and Iris West decided to have the smallest of wedding ceremonies to make their love official.
Most Barry and Iris fans were glad to see these two finally have their special moment. Alas, this moment was essentially stomped on by Felicity Smoak, who stopped her friends mid-ceremony to propose to Oliver Queen and have some sort of double wedding. The moment was infuriating to Flash fans, and many thought that this was something that a close friend would never do during one’s wedding, as part of basic social etiquette.
3. MANTIS IS DRAX’S PUNCHING BAG
There was a lot of hype surrounding the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The first movie became an instant hit, and everyone was looking forward to what the sequel would bring to the table. The Guardians’ ranks have always been filled with many fan-favorite characters, so many comic fans were looking forward to seeing Mantis make the jump from the page to the screen.
However, much to the dismay of many (the character’s creator included), Mantis was very different from her comic book counterpart. For the better part of the movie, she mostly played second fiddle to Drax, who didn’t hesitate to ridicule the character at every turn. Many didn’t appreciate the way Mantis was handled on-screen, stating that she deserved better than to be treated as the receiving end of many, many jokes.
2. INHUMANS: THE WHOLE THING
Before we saw footage from Inhumans, before even a picture was released, the only thing everyone knew was that a movie had been scrapped in favor of the series, and that it would be co-produced and financed by IMAX. With only eight episodes, fans of the Inhumans comics truly believed that they would be getting a cinematic experience to rival Game of Thrones.
However, all of these hopes were squandered with a single picture, and it only grew so much worse from there. Fans were quick to point out that the costumes, wigs and sets looked cheap and fake, and that the series itself was free of excitement. The series launched to unfavorable reviews, and it only lost viewers with each subsequent episode to the point that its cancellation is almost a certainty.
1. THE HUMOROUS RAGNAROK
Thor: Ragnarok managed to stir up a lot of controversy among fans when the movie was revealed to be nothing more than a comedy. Gone were the more serious tones of the previous two Thor movies. In its stead, we got a film that was big on laughs, and very short on dramatic moments. For example, the Warriors Three, Thor’s friends and mainstays in his solo movies, died rather unceremoniously in the film, without barely speaking a word.
Although the movie did manage to have its quieter moments, many fans were let down by its humorous approach to almost all of its big emotional beats – mainly, the utter destruction of Asgard, the Ragnarok, something that should have been devastating and horrific, was mostly just cut with jokes. While the movie was popular, its humorous tone stirred up quite the controversy for Marvel fans hoping for a serious film.
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