The Marvel cinematic universe has a pretty great track record. Over the last decade, we’ve been given many hours of quality movies starring characters we never dreamed would have their own feature films. Who thought Guardians of the Galaxy would become one of Marvel’s biggest franchises? It’s hard to imagine now, but there was also a time when an Iron Man movie would have been considered a risk, but Robert Downey Jr. came along and not only sold the leading role to us in such a strong way, but the success of that movie actually spawned the shared universe that we now know and love.
They aren’t all winners though. Iron Man 2, Thor: The Dark World and The Incredible Hulk are considered the lowest points, and that’s just in the MCU. Step outside of Marvel Studios productions and you have films like X-Men: The Last Stand, Ghost Rider, Elektra and many more Marvel stinkers than any of us care to admit or even remember. Throw in the fact that Marvel comics hasn’t been considered on the top of its game recently either, and you’ve got a company deserving of a little roasting. Here then, CBR has found 15 absolutely savage memes that we’re sure Marvel wouldn’t want you to see!
It’s pretty strange to think that the Marvel Cinematic Universe now has two actors who have previously played Johnny Storm in unsuccessful Fantastic Four movies. Sure, it feels like a lifetime ago that Chris Evans played the Human Torch in 2005’s effort, and since then he’s come to embody Captain America to great success, but it was only two short years ago that we saw Michael B. Jordan play Johnny in the terrible Fantastic Four reboot (mockingly referred to as Fant4stic because of the poster design).
Black Panther looks great though, and Jordan looks awesome in it, so hopefully, he’ll be able to cast off the painful memories of his bad first Marvel experience. To be fair to him, and to Chris Evans, they both played Johnny Storm really well. It’s just a shame they were let down by bad movies.
14 STUPID IRON FIST
Iron Fist felt like a failure in more ways than one. It has its fans, but the Netflix series was generally regarded as the weakest of the four series leading up to Defenders, which is why it’s surprising that the Team-up series relied so heavily on the mythology established in Iron Fist. Had the producers known that it was going to flop with fans they might have steered away, either that or they loved it more than we eventually did.
When compared to Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, it’s clear where the quality lies, and it’s not just the fact that many considered Danny Rand to be miscast. A disturbing trend with the Netflix shows is just how dark they are. DC seems to be punished for the grim and gritty in its movies, so maybe it’s time for Netflix to follow the Marvel movies, and lighten up?
13 BAD TECHNIQUE
When it comes to speedsters, there’s no real comparison. To be fair to the Quicksilver we saw in Avengers: Age of Ultron, he had some stiff competition. Not only do we have The Flash starring in his own wildly successful TV series on the CW, but we already have a version of Quicksilver in Fox’s X-Men movie franchise (there was a confusing rights issue that allowed for Pietro Maximoff to be in both universes).
Thanks to the great performance of Evan Peters in X-Men: Days of Future Past, fans were treated to a big screen Quicksilver they could really enjoy. The scene where time slows down and Pietro takes out a room full of goons is iconic, and compared to Aaron Taylor Johnson’s dodgy accent and unnecessary death scene, there’s a clear winner.
12 TOO SOON?
Ouch, this one still hurts. The death of Gwen Stacy is one of the most important storylines in Spider-Man comics, and one of the defining moments of Peter Parker’s life to date. It’s unfortunate that the “fridging” of a female character has come to be so important to the Spidey mythos, but it’s still a well-done storyline, mostly for the fact that it’s unclear just how she dies.
The script implies that Gwen was already dead when the Green Goblin tossed her off the bridge, but the artwork has that ominous “snap” sound effect by her neck as Spider-Man stops her fall so suddenly with his webs. Either way, there’s one thing that’s certain, the 2014 movie recreation in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 did not do it justice, and for that alone Marvel deserves a roasting.
11 LIGHTEN UP
The DC movie universe has taken a bit of a beating from fans because of its dark and gritty portrayal of its superheroes. It’s understandable with characters like Batman, but Superman is meant to be a beacon of hope and justice, which is perhaps why so many were disappointed by his neck-snapping portrayal in 2013’s Man of Steel.
Despite that, fans have also pushed back at the Marvel movies for being too light-hearted. 2017’s Thor Ragnarok was perhaps the perfect example of this opinion, as criticism for that movie is that it sacrificed real depth and drama for the sake of a few more laughs. It’s for this reason that the fans that accuse DC of being too dark are opposed by those who now say that Marvel is too light. Maybe you can’t really win?
10 SPIDER-MAN IS A JERK
J. Jonah Jameson -- Editor in Chief of The Daily Bugle -- has been saying it for years, but the wall-crawling superhero is a menace! Ok, so these examples in the meme aren’t the best at proving the point, as Tom Holland’s portrayal of Spider-Man is nothing short of awesome, but let’s look back at his previous big-screen efforts, shall we?
In Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 from 2007, Tobey Maguire’s portrayal of Peter Parker acts like a real idiot. You can claim it was because he was taken over by the Venom symbiote, but the implication is that the black suit only brought out a side that was already in him all along. Then there was Andrew Garfield’s version in 2012’s Amazing Spider-Man, who willfully ignored the wishes of a dying man and put Captain Stacy’s daughter in danger just so that he could date her! What a jerk.
9 BAD BAD-GUY
We’ve only seen a few minutes of footage from the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, and of that only a few seconds were devoted to the movies biggest bad guy, Thanos, but that hasn’t stopped fans from making the funniest memes about the Mad Titan, especially when it comes to how he looks.
He may be pretty menacing in the trailer, and certainly appears to be giving multiple superheroes a beat down, but there’s also the fact that he looks really, well, purple (even though that's how he has always been in the comics). That and the fact that he isn’t wearing his usual headpiece, drawing comparisons to everyone from Bruce Willis to Homer Simpson, and you’ve already got a villain that has a lot of work to do to reclaim his crown. Plus, you know, we’d like to see him literally reclaim a crown, as that bald head just looks silly.
A valid criticism of 2017’s Spider-Man Homecoming movie is that there were a lot of times where it felt like less of a Spider-Man movie and more like Iron Man 4. It never went so far as to make Tony Stark the real hero, but he came to Peter’s rescue more times than fans were expecting.
Perhaps it’s the consequence of a shared Marvel universe (something we’re not used to from our Big Screen Spidey adventures) or maybe it’s that this version of Peter is still so young, but we’d have liked Spider-Man to have been more independent in his own movie, and less reliant on Iron Man. Plus, Tony literally made his heroic career by being in a suit, where does he get off taking Peter’s away from him?
7 TOO MANY PETERS
Outside of Batman and maybe James Bond, it’s unusual to see so many actors take on the same role in such a short space of time. There are just nine years between Toby Maguire’s last outing as Peter Parker and Tom Holland’s first, with two Andrew Garfield movies in between.
It must suck to be Andrew Garfield, who missed out on a spot on the Avengers roster by only a year or two. The rights to the character hadn’t been arranged at that point, so the actor was consigned to two average stand-alone movies instead. There’s no denying that the character can support his own movie universe, but Sony’s efforts had been mediocre at best (aside from Spider-Man 2 which is still great), and his inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has produced some fantastic movie moments already.
6 NO ONE CARES
One of the biggest moments of 2017’s Thor Ragnarok (a moment spoiled by the trailers, but still) was when Hela returned to confront Thor, only to prove her might by destroying the mighty Mjolnir, a feat we never knew was possible (in the movies) until that moment. It’s a powerful scene and one that sparked a whole series of memes about the much-missed Asgardian weapon.
Cut back to 2015, and another Marvel movie that had an emotional death scene: Avengers: Age of Ultron. There’s no denying that Quicksilver’s death in that movie was unexpected (the movie did an effective bait and switch with the red-herring set-up of implying Hawkeye was going to die) but it’s hard to argue that it was more emotional than the “death” of Mjolnir. The hammer is certainly missed more than Pietro is.
Stan Lee has got it made. One of the fathers of the modern Marvel comics universe, Lee has not only helped create some of the most iconic superheroes in the world but has had a cameo in almost every Marvel movie to date. If you look for the old guy having a comical moment in a Marvel film, chances are it’s Stan. Excelsior!
As the writer of almost every Marvel book in the early '60s, as well as co-creator, Editor and one-man Marvel hype machine for decades, Stan Lee is deserving of all the praise and recognition. There are plenty of creators that didn’t get the recognition they deserved in their lifetime (cough, Jack Kirby, cough) but that shouldn’t detract from the unique and important contribution Stan Lee made to the success of the company.
4 EXPECTATION VS REALITY
It must be extremely difficult for an actor starring in a CGI heavy blockbuster. Don’t get us wrong, we’re sure the paycheck helps, but photos similar to this meme show us just how little the stars have to work with, and how different it is to what we see in the final product. The worst offenders were perhaps the Star Wars prequels, or the Sin City movies, the behind-the-scenes photos of which were nothing more than green screens with a few (mostly green) props.
It’s only when you see those revealing photos that you understand the importance of movies like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars: The Force Awakens, that relied on as many real special effects as possible. Fully realized locations, makeup, puppetry and genuine props all help the actors get into the role and undoubtedly bring out a better performance.
3 AVENGERS, WARS, INVASIONS
Over the past decade, Marvel Comics has had no less than four event books with the word Secret in their title, as well as multiple books called Secret Avengers and Secret Warriors. Secret Invasion, Secret War, Secret Wars and Secret Empire all rely on the importance of that one word in their title, but why is Marvel so obsessed with the word Secret?
It all goes back to 1985, and the very first major Marvel Event and actually the first comic book event of its kind. Then Editor in Chief and writer Jim Shooter was approached by the Mattel toy company to produce a comics series that would tie into a new toy line, and their focus groups concluded that the two words kids loved the most were “Secret” and “War.” Thus, Marvel Superheroes Secret Wars was born, and the company has never looked back.
2 POINTLESS EYES
Since he’s had so many big screen portrayals in such a short space of time, it was clear that when Marvel Studios regained the rights to use Spider-Man in their movies, it had to make him stand out from the rest. His Homecoming was still a year away, but in 2016, Spidey made his debut in Captain America: Civil War to much fan applause.
From the webbing under the arms (a throwback to his earliest comics appearances) to the Stark-funded high tech gadgets, the new Spider-Man was vastly different from what we’d seen before. A surprise seen in the trailer, however, was the eyes, that seemed to react to Peter’s expressions. Just how exactly they work isn’t really explained, but their inclusion in the design was certainly unique, even if a little divisive amongst fans.
1 BRUCE SAYS HELLO
There hasn’t been a better time to be a fan of superhero movies. There are more coming out every year than ever before, but the more movies that are released, the more opportunities there are for fans to declare definitively once and for all who is better: Marvel or DC.
Sure, it seems like Marvel is dominating DC when it comes to its movies, with films like Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers, Iron Man and Thor: Ragnarok doing so well and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad and Justice League being considered critical flops. Let’s not forget, however, that DC has had a wildly successful female-driven movie in Wonder Woman, while Marvel has yet to put a female superhero in her own movie. Throw in the fact that Marvel has had its own failures (Thor: The Dark World, anyone?) and the race isn’t over yet.