We feel it’s necessary to point out that we greatly love the MCU. As a matter of fact, there are several times where it gets a lot more hate than it deserves, but when anything becomes so culturally prevalent like a massive series of blockbuster movies releasing year after year, it’s bound to gain more criticism as time goes on. With that preface, it’s important to note that this article isn’t us saying that the MCU is bad.
More specifically, we’re referring to the fact that many changes had to be made from the source material to the big screen (many of them necessary) so that the stories could translate better. That having been said, many of those said changes weren’t well-received by comic fans. Nothing is perfect, after all. The MCU has done a lot of justice to its unknown characters, but they’re not above making an alteration for worse rather than better. Massive comic book fans will know exactly what we’re talking about as we discuss 15 ways the MCU ruined the Avengers for them. It’s important to keep in mind that this is a look at the changes that upset fans of the genre rather than an objective statement of us trashing the movies.
15. ORIGINAL AVENGERS LINEUP
When The Avengers were getting ready to hit theaters, everyone was excited to see how Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Hawkeye would all work together to save the day. They knew these characters and were ready to see them interact on the big screen for the first time.
Many comic fans had a bit of a different reaction. In the original comic, the team consisted of Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man, and the Wasp. Leaving two of those crucial characters out was a low blow for the avid comic readers. It stings a little bit more when you remember that there were plans to do an Ant-Man movie much earlier, but plans kept falling through to prevent us seeing Hank Pym with the Avengers.
14. HULK NOT SPEAKING
The Incredible Hulk has been portrayed several different ways, once as a Jekyll/Hyde persona, and other times as a being who can talk and think for himself. While audiences were enamored by Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal of the radiated Bruce Banner as depicted in the MCU, there were some who were less than satisfied.
There’s a lot of potential characterization that’s lost when Hulk is just relegated to smashing things up. He himself has been connected to meaningful stories that led to memorable moments in the comics. Thankfully, as time went on, the Hulk became more autonomous to the point where we have a fully functional Hulk with the release of Thor: Ragnarok.
13. BLAND COSTUME DESIGN
Numerous articles and video essays have been done on how the colors in the MCU have been fairly drab. Going hand-in-hand with that is how some of the costume designs are handled. Granted, this isn’t true across the board, as several costumes in these movies are works of art (Spider-Man, Star Lord, and Ant-Man are just some of the highlights).
Where comic fans get a little jaded is the fact that some of the characters don’t look anything like they did in the comics. Hawkeye was understandably changed from his purple design, but the fact that his Ultimate costume wasn’t used is fairly perplexing. Furthermore, Quicksilver was just a dude who wore Under Armour clothing, and Doctor Strange didn’t pop or stand out as much as he did in the comics.
12. ULTRON’S CREATION
When the robot Ultron was first created, it was the result of Doctor Hank Pym putting together artificial intelligence. Imbuing it with a piece of his own mind, Ultron gained autonomy and was able to think for himself. However, having too much of Dr. Pym, Ultron started to become insane and genocidal to turn into one of the greatest Avenger villains of all time.
In the MCU, Ultron is instead created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. While the potential was there to have a similar outcome, many fans have pointed out that a quippy and mentally unstable robot isn’t close to the levels of terror he inspired in the source material. The latter is what was promised in the trailers for Age of Ultron, but we didn’t get it.
11. DOCTOR STRANGE INTRODUCTION
This is a bit of an odd point that will take a bit of explaining. In the comics, Doctor Strange was close to an omniscient presence who was focused more on popping in and out of other character’s stories, as he was the Sorcerer Supreme and the mystical protector of Earth. He only showed up when there was an issue that demanded his attention.
Because nearly every MCU character has a solo film before being integrated into the universe, Doctor Strange was given one as well. It felt very run of the mill at face value, and many comic fans have stated their desire to ignore the movie altogether. Some have even stated that if Strange’s first appearance had been in his Thor: Ragnarok cameo, that would’ve been much more accurate.
10. EMPHASIS ON SETTING UP
For the most part, the MCU movies can all be watched on their own without having to see any of the previous films to know what’s going on. They tell standard stories that can easily be followed. That said, the cinematic universe has been guilty of taking too much time to set up future projects rather than focusing on the narrative they’re supposed to be telling.
This is an issue that has appeared in Iron Man 2, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and a few others. With such a wide appeal to general audiences, Marvel wants to ensure that crowds will be invested in their future projects. However, with the specificity of the comic world, the same approach isn’t necessarily needed. We understand why they do it, but that doesn’t make it any more effective.
9. QUICKSILVER AND SCARLET WITCH
Any comic reader knows that a fundamental aspect of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch’s characters is that they’re mutants. Originally working as X-Men villains, they eventually became heroes and joined the Avengers. The biggest twist here is that they are the twin children of the villain known as Magneto.
In the MCU, it’s not possible to include those key parts of the characters. Marvel has no rights to mutants, Magneto, and anything related to them. Because of this, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch felt fairly directionless, being fairly devoid of the main draw that caused comic readers to care for them in the first place (this idea is further enhanced by the fact that Quicksilver died in the same film he first appeared in). At least with Scarlet Witch, she was given more weight in Captain America: Civil War.
8. TAKING THE STORIES TOO LIGHTLY
When comic book fans read stories like “Civil War” and Planet Hulk, there were serious stakes at hand there. The drama was on full display, leaving little to no room for anything remotely resembling comedy. With a different medium, a lot of that resonance hasn’t quite managed to come to the MCU.
When you compare Captain America: Civil War to the Civil War comic in terms of emotional weight, there’s almost no competition whatsoever. That being said, the movies are taking a different approach to remain relevant for the general audience. That does leave room for the comic fans to be a little upset, as they want to see more dramatic storytelling, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
7. CHANGING COMIC CHARACTERS
Remember the times when Tony Stark was just a really intelligent person in the comics? How about when Thor was nothing more than a Shakespearean god who only spoke in old English? The fact of the matter is that many of the MCU characters, while being adapted from the comics, don’t quite resemble the source material. Marvel has instead taken the creative liberty to re-imagine some of their characters.
Many fans have been quick to point this out, as the Tony Stark in the movies has now changed what Tony Stark is like in the comics (the same can be said of Star-Lord). Love or hate these changes, it’s safe to assume that we’ll see more characters altered in the MCU going forward. After all, they’re trying to appeal to a much larger target market this time around.
6. HULK AND BLACK WIDOW
Part of the reason that Avengers: Age of Ultron wasn’t as well-received as its predecessor is that the movie was trying to do a bit too much. On top of trying to set up many phase three films, there were also a few subplots that the movie could’ve done without. The one that most comic fans immediately point to is the relationship between Bruce Banner and Black Widow.
Not only is this relationship not seen in the comics, but it just happens sporadically and we’re meant to accept it as the audience. You could argue that the relationship developed because she was always the one to bring him out of the Hulk persona, but there’s no way to know for that for certain (as we only see her do it once before they start falling in love).
5. HULK AND IRON MAN
The “science bro” duo of Bruce Banner and Tony Stark was something that made The Avengers feel satisfying. After seeing these characters come together and interact, fans were desperate to know how they’d relate to one another. Tony and Bruce happened to find a lot of common ground in their lives and love of science, so they became fast friends.
Avid readers of the comics didn’t quite like this transition as much. Stark and Banner were never great friends in the comics. As a matter of fact, they had different outlooks on life that they’ve even fought to kill each other in the past. Again, this comes down to context and how different the environment of comics is versus how the MCU works.
4. HAWKEYE’S FAMILY
Hawkeye is easily one of the least interesting characters in The Avengers. Apart from shooting arrows (with a weapon that’s extremely obsolete by that time period), there’s not a whole lot to him. Marvel took notice and gave him more to do in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Not only did he act like a surrogate father figure to Scarlet Witch, but he was also given a secret family and barn that S.H.I.E.L.D. kept off the books.
That particular aspect of Hawkeye’s character was fairly divisive. People either connected with his new family or hated it. Many comic fans have stated how it was a drastic departure for the character and others pointed out how it makes the MCU version mean something a little more. It all depends on your perspective.
3. SPIDER-MAN IS IRON MAN JR.
There’s no denying that Spider-Man’s suit in the MCU is awesome and well-realized. Clearly, that suit would see a welcome return in the following Spider-Man: Homecoming. Where the suit gets a little too formulaic is the AI baked within. Being something coming from Tony Stark, it seems logical that there’d be an AI to help Peter control the advanced suit, but it does present a problem in the film.
The issue is that Spider-Man seems like a mini version of Iron Man because of the AI and technologically advanced suit. While there’s a lot of reason as to why the suit was done this way, many comic fans have pointed out how it was definitely an MCU thing and heavily criticized it as a result. It’s not all bad and it’s not all good, but the point of Spider-Man being Iron Man Jr. still stands.
2. NO MORE AVENGERS TOWER
The Avengers’ headquarters in the comics has always been a noticeable facility that gains the attention of everyone in the area. The Avengers Tower is a marvel (pun intended) of architecture and it’s a great place for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to gather for their next mission. It showed up in the MCU, but by the end of the second Avengers movie, it was done away with and we definitely missed it.
What is left in its place? A nameless, unimaginative facility in upstate New York. Comic fans are noticeably upset, as the Avengers Tower was memorable and identifiable, whereas this new location isn’t nearly as interesting. Even though it’s appeared in several movies, like Ant-Man, Civil War, and Homecoming, it still doesn’t leave a great impression.
1. JARVIS INTO VISION
Tony Stark’s advanced AI that controls basically everything he owns that runs of electricity is Jarvis. This little computer is one of the most intelligent systems ever created. We’ll ignore the fact that his existence alone is drastically different from the comic version, who was an actual butler for Stark. What many comic fans have been disgruntled with is the fact that Jarvis is essentially who became the Vision.
The Vision was created by Ultron to fight the Avengers, but instead of being loaded with a sinister design, Stark fed Jarvis into him. Vision has the voice (and actor) of the AI when he comes to as a result. Again, this is another one of those “love it or hate it” decisions, as Vision is also the bearer of one of the Infinity Stones, which is an attribute that went to Adam Warlock in the comics.
Which of these ruined the Avengers more for you? Let us know in the comments!
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