The List: Things Marvel Got Wrong With The First 2 Stages Of The MCU

Ok, gonna try a different kind of list this week. Instead of doing a top 10, I'm going to go through each of Marvels Stage 1 and 2 films and find the problems. This is going to be interesting.

Iron Man: Very stupid terrorists

So, can someone explain to me how Tony Stark and Yinsen managed to build a near 7 foot tall suit of weaponised armour without anyone noticing. Yes I get that they were hidden from the camera, but did no-one think to go and, I don't know, check on their progress every once and a while. Did the guy who brought them food even bother to open the door? Because if he did, he must have been pretty blind or not even walked into the room. I know that this origin is practically the same as in the comics, only set in a different war, but still...

The Incredible Hulk: Sequel baiting

Lesson to Marvel here, don't sequel bait unless you actually follow through. In this case, don't show Samuel Sterns becoming The Leader, unless you are actually going to have another Hulk film. What we now have is a cliff-hanger that is unlikely to be resolved, unless he shows up in Agents Of Shield, in which case the majority of people still aren't going to see it resolved because not as many people watch the TV show as would watch another Hulk film.

Iron Man 2: What is up with Marvel's villains?

So, there is a worrying trend in Marvel films that started in The Incredible Hulk and has continued to this day (with one or two exceptions), but this film is where it really gained traction. They just aren't very good. Ok, Mickey Rourke is pretty good at the start of the movie, but he ends up being just another guy in a suit and his death was pathetic. However, the real problem here is Justin Hammer, who, in the comics, is a pretty real threat to Tony Stark. In this film however, he is a one note joke that isn't funny. He's so much "not on Tony Stark's level" that he isn't even on Pepper Potts' level, which is sad considering the comics book character.

Thor: Physics does not equal chemistry apparently

Ok, so I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in saying that Natalie Portman isn't all that great as Jane Foster. She is easily the weakest link out of all of the characters in this film (although, to be honest, this film does contain Loki, so the bar is pretty high). The story she and Chris Hemsworth have to tell is so hideously crammed in that it has little to no impact and the two have very little in the way of on screen chemistry to make what story there is worth the audience investing in.

Captain America: Character arc. What character arc?

Anyone else notice that Captain America peaks half way through the film? In terms of the character, his whole character development is going from a scrawny outsider to a symbol of leadership and freedom. This all wraps up after the prison break, meaning Steve Rogers entire character arc is done after an hour. After that it's just a case of waiting for the inevitable plunge into the Arctic sea, meaning that the climactic battle with Red Skull doesn't feel as climactic as it should.

The Avegners: So, explain Loki's plan to me again?

Look at this mans face. This is the face of a troll. What this man basically does throughout this entire film is wing it and make everyone believe he has a plan. Because he obviously doesn't otherwise we wouldn't still be arguing over what it was years after the film came out. So he wanted to be captured so he could destroy the Avengers from within before they really got started. But then all that did was bring them together, so that was a great plan. But then did he plan that as well, so he could escape Thanos and get back to his main objective, Asgard? No, now you're reading too much in to it. What it actually is, is that Joss Whedon really needed a good reason to unite the Avengers so he used Loki and made up a half baked plan that kinda made sense and filled the rest of the film with so many explosions and jokes to make sure nobody noticed.

Iron Man 3: You already know what's coming here.

Ok. Who honestly thought that this was a good idea? You take the recognised arch-nemesis for the superhero you are making a movie for and you turn him into a front, an out of work actor who is just playing a role to cover for another persons personal vendetta against said hero. Yes it was a legitimate swerve, but then you get a fan reaction so bad that you have to retcon the whole thing afterwards. You done messed up there guys.

Oh and while we're on the subject of Iron Man 3, whose idea was it for Tony Stark to have surgery to remove the shrapnel and, for all intents and purposes, give up being a superhero at the end of the film? Did they all forget they had another Avengers film coming up? What was the point?

Thor 2- Dark World: Well, this movie wasn't much good was it?

This film had all of the problems that its predecessor had, a tepid story, no chemistry between the two leads, and then added more problems on top, a really bland villain played by a great actor who was obviously only doing it for the pay check and then misusing a great supporting cast member by making him run around a historic monument in his underwear. Of course, Loki was easily the best thing about this film, but even he got less screen time and was limited by the story they were trying to tell. Still, great Cap cameo. That about sums that one up really.

Captain America- The Winter Soldier: Time to nitpick

captain-america-the-winter-soldier-nick-fury

Ok, I am going to be really nitpicky about this film, because I can't think of too many problems. However, there is a problem that both this film and Agents of Shield share and that is that they've fallen into the trap that the comics have, which is resurrecting characters without any decent explanation. Both Agent Coulson and Nick Fury die (or are presumed dead in Fury's case) in the films and are later resurrected (Coulson literally). Now, there is a way they could have done this that would have kept with the comics without needing to resort to the Jean Grey method, and that is Life Model Decoys. For those of you who don't know, LMD's are exactly what they say on the tin, they are decoy robots for Shield Agents, specifically those high up in the organisation like Director Fury. And before anyone says that's too outlandish or unrealistic, they have a Helicarrier. How is a flying aircraft carrier any more realistic than a robot? Both are certainly more realistic than someone being stabbed through the chest and being revived.

Guardians Of The Galaxy: Nova Corps nerf.

Ok, ok, Ronan was terrible, probably the worst MCU villain after Malekith, but I've said that most of the MCU villains aren't all that great, so rather than reiterating the point, lets talk about the Nova Corps. Why did they make Xandar a galactic superpower to compete with the Kree? The Kree hate the Skrulls (although, who'd want to save them from annihilation, plus Fox probably have the rights to them) and Xandar is just the home to the Nova Corps, who are Marvel's rip off Green Lantern corps, not a planetary police force. They encompass numerous alien species, much like the GLC, and aren't solely made up of humans. Plus they have amazing helmets (as in the protective head gear, not the other thing). Why they had to make this alteration is beyond me, because Nova, the character, is one that they could have brought to the screen at some point, maybe in a future GotG film or in a TV show, but they can't now because it wouldn't make sense for the Nova Corps to enlist a human from Earth when they've got all the humans on Xandar.

Avengers- Age Of Ultron: Shipping

There are a few problems with this film. There is the fact that Ultron's plan would have actually caused the global destruction he was aiming for (according to scientists who know about these things) and the whole Hawkeye's family thing doesn't have any real basis in the comics, but those aren't really big problems and don't detract anything from the film. However, the relationship they try to get going between Hulk and Black Widow does detract from the film. It is good to see the two characters develop, but it feels forced, like it's only there to get the characters to develop and feel more human, rather than because it was a natural progression from where they were at already. This probably isn't helped by the aversion Marvel have to doing another Hulk film, but Black Widow was in Captain America 2, so she had appeared since Avengers. Sure she wasn't the main character, but she still got development. All of the character development in this film that wasn't Tony Stark just felt like it was tacked on because they didn't develop these characters much in the previous Avengers film.

Ant Man: "Comedy" sidekicks

Can someone explain to me why this guy was in the film? Please. I'd love to know, because all he did was be annoying. The other two guys weren't much use either. Their only reason to be there was to be the catalyst for Scott Lang to break into Hank Pym's house and steal the Ant Man suit. After that they weren't needed, but they still just hung around, spouting unfunny jokes in a really annoying fashion. I can't say I enjoyed this film all that much when compared to other MCU films. It's probably only just above Iron Man 3 and Thor 2. And the comedy sidekicks are the reason. They didn't bring anything to the film and the film would lose nothing if they weren't in it to begin with.

 

JR19759

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5 Responses to The List: Things Marvel Got Wrong With The First 2 Stages Of The MCU

  1. I did wonder how the criminal cronies to Ant-man got to spend any time out of jail . . . they were an interesting narrative technique, but, yeah. How did they survive ‘juvie?’

  2. I agree with some of your opinions, but disagree with some others. Some I agree with, but think there are bigger problems worth mentioning.

    Iron Man: It has been so long since I’ve watched this one, it’s the only one that I don’t really have an opinion for.

    The Incredible Hulk: I’m still holding out hope we get to see the Leader show up at some point, so I don’t really count it against the movie. I rewatched it recently and I really liked it. Holds up well. It’s a bit weird seeing Ed Norton in the role in retrospect, but he does a good job.

    Iron Man 2: I 100% agree about Whiplash, but I’m a big Sam Rockwell fan. I’ve never gotten into Marvel comics much, so I have no basis for comparison. I’d have honestly liked to have seen more of this character.

    Thor: I pretty much agree.

    Captain America: You’re right, but I think there’s something bigger that has always bugged me. Pre-super serum Steve is an absolute moron. I get that he’s got heart, but he does absolutely nothing to try to mitigate his physical short comings. Carry a weapon, take self defense classes, do ANYTHING to help out in all the fights that you can’t help but get yourself into.

    The Avengers: Eh, you’re not wrong, but it never really bothered me. Same for the Joker in TDK. It’s more about the result than the concept for me I guess. A bigger thing for me, and it wasn’t that big, was the fight early on with Thor and Iron Man. It just felt like something included because people wanted to see it. It didn’t earn it the way Civil War did.

    Iron Man 3: I agree and disagree at the same time. It was a neat twist and overall I enjoyed the movie. The big problem is oddly that Ben Kingsley was just so awesome with his Mandarin. On paper, I think the movie works perfectly, but Kingsley just brought so much to the fake character.

    Thor 2: Bingo.

    Captain America 2: No. They pulled a switcheroo, but it’s not like he was ever actually dead. You’re idea with the body doubles isn’t bad though. Can’t think of any nitpicks. It was so good it made the first movie better.

    Guardians of the Galaxy: I have no previous experience with the Nova Corps, so that didn’t bother me at all. I felt like it was really odd tonally though. Starting out with the mom dying of cancer was so weird for this wacky space adventure. I also disliked any time Quill had to give like a hero speech. It just didn’t seem to fit.

    Age of Ultron: I don’t disagree with what you said, but really the problem with this one is that it fell under its own weight. It had to lead to too many things down the road and the movie suffered for it. It’s kind of surprising it turned out as well as it did, given the circumstances.

    Ant Man: I actually like this character, but I can completely understand people that don’t. My biggest nitpick with this one is that the plot felt played out, like I’d seen it before. It was well executed with some great action scenes and creative use of the powers. With that in mind, part of what I liked about that character (forgot his name) is that he helped differentiate it from similar movies.

  3. @Jake- I wouldn’t hold your breath for The Leader to show up again, you’ll end up suffocating yourself. If they ever do make another MCU Hulk film, it isn’t going to be until after Stage 3 is done and you’re talking 2019 at the earliest there. I agree that the film actually holds up a lot better than people give it credit for, it’s just it didn’t get the critical reception or the financial return the other films did, so…
    With Captain America, you’re right, but that’s kind of the point. He gets knocked down and keeps getting back up, wanting to make it on his own without outside help, because isn’t that meant to be The American Way (although, that begs the question, why did he take part in the experiment, but film logic).
    With the fight between Iron Man and Thor, they could have made more of it, but it does make sense. Thor doesn’t know, nor does he care, who these people are, he just wants Loki, and Tony Stark is Tony Stark (The Robert Downey jr. version), so he’s going to annoy the guy with the large hammer as much as possible. The real question about this bit is, Loki didn’t even try to run away?
    Agree on the fact that heroic speeches didn’t really fit Peter Quill in GotG, he was just too good at being a bit of an A**hole. But he only had to do it once or twice, so not as much of a problem as Ronan or the Nova Corps IMO. And his mother dying is completely different in tone to the rest of the film, but I don’t think that bit was setting up for the movie it was in, I think it was setting up for the sequel.
    One of the biggest problems with the MCU currently is that the villains are very samey. They’re always the exact opposite of the hero. The Iron Monger, rich guy who builds an armoured suit and is high up in Stark industries, Abomination is just evil Hulk, Whiplash is Iron Man with no money and Justin Hammer is Tony Stark with no talent, Red Skull is Cap’s Nazi counterpart, the guy from Iron Man 3 is evil Tony Stark and Yellowjacket is evil Ant Man. No wonder the plots feel played out.

  4. JR19759:
    @Jake- I wouldn’t hold your breath for The Leader to show up again, you’ll end up suffocating yourself. If they ever do make another MCU Hulk film, it isn’t going to be until after Stage 3 is done and you’re talking 2019 at the earliest there. I agree that the film actually holds up a lot better than people give it credit for, it’s just it didn’t get the critical reception or the financial return the other films did, so…
    With Captain America, you’re right, but that’s kind of the point. He gets knocked down and keeps getting back up, wanting to make it on his own without outside help, because isn’t that meant to be The American Way (although, that begs the question, why did he take part in the experiment, but film logic).
    With the fight between Iron Man and Thor, they could have made more of it, but it does make sense. Thor doesn’t know, nor does he care, who these people are, he just wants Loki, and Tony Stark is Tony Stark (The Robert Downey jr. version), so he’s going to annoy the guy with the large hammer as much as possible. The real question about this bit is, Loki didn’t even try to run away?
    Agree on the fact that heroic speeches didn’t really fit Peter Quill in GotG, he was just too good at being a bit of an A**hole. But he only had to do it once or twice, so not as much of a problem as Ronan or the Nova Corps IMO. And his mother dying is completely different in tone to the rest of the film, but I don’t think that bit was setting up for the movie it was in, I think it was setting up for the sequel.
    One of the biggest problems with the MCU currently is that the villains are very samey. They’re always the exact opposite of the hero. The Iron Monger, rich guy who builds an armoured suit and is high up in Stark industries, Abomination is just evil Hulk, Whiplash is Iron Man with no money and Justin Hammer is Tony Stark with no talent, Red Skull is Cap’s Nazi counterpart, the guy from Iron Man 3 is evil Tony Stark and Yellowjacket is evil Ant Man. No wonder the plots feel played out.

    I’d have agreed with you before General Ross came back. Just because they aren’t looking to do another Hulk movie doesn’t mean they aren’t using the characters. Thor Ragnarok is supposed to have him as a big part of the movie. Given how few villains Marvel really has, it’d make sense for them to use as many as they have. Also, they’re going through them super quickly.

    It’s not about getting knocked down that I take issue with for Captain America. It’s the utter lack of any sort of foresight or hindsight. Learn from your experiences. If this didn’t happen to him all the time, I’d be down. But Bucky says it does. When you’re weak, constantly get into fights, and have no plan for victory, you become a liability.

    I get that they have justification for attacking each other in Avengers, but what did it really add from a story perspective? Going in, you know they aren’t really going to hurt one another since every poster shows the Avengers assembled. Honestly, it slowed down the story a bit, but people wanted to see them fight, so they did.

    The saddest part about Ronan for me is that Lee Pace is actually a really good actor. They really could have done better with him.

    I agree for the most part about the villains. I think another big part is that they don’t get enough time. I liked the hints of backstory that we got for Yellowjacket, how he pretty much had nothing to do with Scott Lang, his whole “wanting to make Hank Pym proud” thing, and that that’s what Pym disliked about him. There’s some solid character bits there, but he just didn’t get enough time. If they’d start setting up more villains for recurring roles, I think they’d find the audience enjoys them more. They do this a bit, especially Loki, but they need more.

  5. The Atomic Punk

    I concur with a lot of what you said. No need to go over the “budget and time constraints” that cause movies to cut corners and re-write characters. The MCU takes story ideas from the comics but re-works them to what they think will fit into two / two-and-a-half hours and gross $100 million over the opening weekend. Problem is, yes, the MCU cuts a few too many corners to the detriment of the story.

    To Jake’s point, I think Marvel should have more recurring villains. If the movie can’t fully explain their backstories, then invite them back rather than killing them off. The writers simply assume that the fans already know these details from the comics. So they skip the formalities. To me, that’s an egregious error. In the comics, Marvel villains are just as complex and conflicted as the heroes.

    Iron Man was near perfection. They kept his origin intact. Tony Stark was able to build the first suit by disguising it as the missile that the terrorists wanted him to build. It shows his ingenuity. As Obadiah Stane astutely noted: “Tony Stark built this in a cave… with a bunch of scraps!”

    Agree 100% about Iron Man 2. I actually loved the Mandarin twist in 3. Though it completely destroyed any chance for a love-hate relationship. I guess the surgery was symbolic of Iron Man’s “retirement”. It seemed to me more of the MCU saying: “These are not the same heroes as the comics.”

    Thor had a decent opening. “The Dark World” was completely forgettable. Captain America did fizzle but was still satisfying. Again, because they kept the classic origin. “The Winter Soldier” was the better movie.

    No complaints about The Avengers. Except, couldn’t they have sent Scarlett Johansson to a voice coach even for a hint of a Russian accent? Haven’t seen “Age of Ultron” or Ant-Man yet.

    I didn’t like either of the Hulk movies. They screwed too much with his origin. The Hulk worked in The Avengers because he was pure muscle. Of course, Avengers was just an all-star shoot-em-up. If any character development, it was between Iron Man and Captain America.

    Guardians of the Galaxy was fun. I blame Nova Corps on sheer laziness. I don’t think that Marvel expected such a warm reception and huge box office receipts. If they had, they might have thrown in some more aliens (or at least pointy ears and Kryolan). This particular story, they underestimated the fans while trying to make it more accessible to the general public.