The most successful franchise of all time as far as the box office is concerned, the MCU seems to be a fan's dream come true. The most popular superheroes have their own franchises, in the same shared universe, at times even coming together in big ensemble movies. Even if it seemed impossible back when Bryan Singer's X-Men arrived, this is now a reality.
Even more, it’s a trend. All of the major studios have realized the huge financial potential of shared universes: the Mutant Universe has tried to expand via spin-offs, the DCEU has already released three movies, Godzilla and King Kong will meet in 2020, all of the Universal monsters will share the same universe, and so on and so forth.
And it is all thanks to the MCU.
Nonetheless, there are quite a few out there who aren't entirely satisfied by the movies released by Disney and Marvel. And while some of the complaints can be taken seriously, some others are actually ridiculous. Do you want to know which ones can be easily rebutted? Then check it out!
It cannot be said that the MCU villains are great in every movie. The best examples are Malekith the Accursed from Thor: The Dark World; Whiplash from Iron Man 2; and Yellowjacket from Ant-Man. Only Loki seems to be generally accepted as a good villain (mostly because of Tom Hiddleston's charisma and acting skills).
But is it really so? The same MCU also gave us The Winter Soldier (who, in my opinion, was an even better villain than Loki, while he remained a villain of course), Baron Zemo (who was brilliant with his plan, even if he relied a bit too much on luck), and even Obadiah Stane (who was the perfect counterpart to Iron Man).
And then there are also the Netflix shows, which have benefited from the acting skills of Vincent D’Onofrio (Kingpin) and David Tennant (Kilgrave). And, according to the reviews, next comes Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) in Luke Cage.
So does the MCU have poor villains? Of course - no franchise is perfect, from this point of view. However, it is a big stretch saying that just Loki is a good one.
It's all about the money
One of the biggest complaints out there is that the MCU has become too formulaic and that the studio doesn't want to risk too much with its project. So can it be said that Disney cares just for the money the franchise brings?
It can be said - after all, the studio must make some money in order to justify the existence of the shared universe. However, the movies are getting better and better, especially the ensemble ones. The acting, the action, the ideas, and everything in between are perfected with each and every outing in the MCU.
So yes - Disney may have been disappointed with the box office of Avengers: Age of Ultron. But, at the same time, it did manage to hire some of the best writers, directors, and actors in Hollywood in order to bring our favorite stories and superheroes to life.
So while this is a business for Disney, I don't see why anybody should be upset about that, as long as the movies are well above average.
Studio interference in the creative process
Being a business, Disney can't really give a blank check to its directors and tell them to do whatever they want. Everything needs to go according to a plan, for bigger box office successes, which in turn will justify even more expensive and entertaining movies.
The most obvious move of this kind was when Edgar Wright had to depart from Ant-Man for the studio to make the movie fit into the MCU. And, not surprisingly, some were pretty upset when that happened - especially since it was said that Edgar Wright worked for a decade on the movie and he was responsible for the awesome pitch that made the film happen.
But it all worked out, and Ant-Man became a success at the box-office and with the critics.
The second example is Joss Whedon, after Age of Ultron. And the movie turned out well enough to justify its big budget. And, quite frankly, there was no better introduction of a secondary character in the MCU than that of Scarlet Witch.
So why should anyone be upset? We had Civil War afterward and the Infinity War promises to be even better and bigger!
This being said"¦
You've heard this one plenty of time - Marvel and Disney have the tendency to overcrowd their movies with superheroes and supervillains. Each and every time a new casting decision is made official some people shout that there are already too many characters in a movie.
Leaving the ensemble films aside (Avengers, Captain America: Civil War), did you ever have the feeling that the movies were overcrowded? I didn't. The Russos did a terrific job with the second Captain America movie, juggling (for the first time in a solo franchise, at that time, not counting the terrible Iron Man 2) more than one superhero and more than one villain.
As a matter of fact, The Winter Soldier must be the best movie of the MCU!
As for the Avengers films, it can become pretty difficult finding enough screen time for every character. However, no matter how small a part an actor has, it is still vital for the film (Hawkeye, for example, in both of the Avengers flicks).
Guess what - Spider-Man: Homecoming won't feel overcrowded, even if it has three villains, an appearance from Tony Stark, and other possible cameos. It’s simple - it’s called fan-service (plus, it always helps having Robert Downey, Jr. credited for a film).
Falling under the weight of the Shared Universe
I guess I wasn't the only one to hear that Captain America: The First Avenger was just a long commercial for The Avengers. I might even have said it at that time - but this is what a shared universe might be. Since then, my opinion has changed, and The First Avenger can be considered the movie that started the current MCU.
If it weren't for this movie, we wouldn't have had a first Infinity Stone, we wouldn't have had a long history behind the current MCU, and we wouldn't have had the many characters that have appeared on the TV shows.
Of course, it may be tiresome at times when a movie is simply put on pause in order to hint at future movies. Thor's quest in Age of Ultron seems to be the biggest offender in this case. However, these scenes do have a point, one which will be revealed in the future.
So there is no fuss about it. And, thankfully, it really doesn't feel like the movie is on pause. The scenes just seem unnecessary.
Did anyone really believe that Steve Rogers was going to die when he fell from the sky with the Helicarrier? I guess not - after all, his contract didn't expire and he was already announced for other movies to come. The same can be said about the Iron Man flicks, the Thor movies, and basically all of the other solo franchises.
But this is what a shared universe is. Moreover, this is what movies based on comic books are. Most of the people already know the stories, and most of them already know a thing or two about the contracts of the actors. Sure, a bit of magic is gone when you already know the outcome (good always wins, although Civil War contradicts this).
It’s all about the path the movie takes to that end. And for that, Disney hires some of the best writers and the best directors (who specialize in various genres). Thus, even if at times the movies feel a bit formulaic, they’re still a blast! And Disney can do that (hire the very best), with all the money the MCU has brought"¦
Similar third acts
Whenever I see a comic book movie, I expect action. And most of that – at its most intense – comes in the third act. So, from this point of view, I already know that the villain and the hero won't fight until the very end (or, if they do before that, the villain will have the upper hand). And then it all ends, with the villain obliterated (most of the time).
So I shouldn't even mention this - but it is still something some naysayers complain about. And while some of the issues deserve an explanation, it seems a waste of time with this one.
Nonetheless, here it goes. So all the destruction comes in the third act, when the hero battles the villain. But, even so, the writers and the directors always find a way to own that fight. Ant-Man is a great example for this. For that matter, even Thor: The Dark World was amazing, with all that hopping around between worlds.
So while this is a general rule for all the movies (to have the big fight in the end), the endings of the films are in no way similar.
Heroes fighting heroes
Especially in the ensemble movies, the MCU cannot be without some fighting within the team, between various heroes. Thus, whether it is Iron Man vs. Hulk, or Thor vs. Iron Man, or Captain America vs. Iron Man, some say that maybe Marvel and Disney should steer clear of this. Is it because the fights are predictable? I guess I have already covered that.
Is it because these fights seem a bit artificial, without any reason behind them? This may be it. However, the reason is pretty obvious (the exception being Civil War) - the heroes are characters with their own personalities. And clashes are inevitable.
At times it might become tiresome seeing Thor lifting Tony Stark up in the air. But there is a big pay-off in the end. Whether strengths and weaknesses are found, or the characters become even better friends, it’s all the same.
Coming back to the Civil War - it can now be said that the ideological disagreement between Stark and Rogers was hinted at since the first Avengers movies. The Civil War was the pay-off for their first verbal clashes. I’m satisfied and I'd like to see Thor in the mix next time.
The movies are too light
I guess you've heard this one numerous times until now - the MCU is for the children. But is it really so? Sure, the movies are PG-13, just like most of the superhero movies out there. And, for some time now, it is always mentioned during the action that there were minimum casualties (now, this is a reason to complain).
But the movies are in no way light and they juggle with some pretty excellent ideas, ideas that are actually current. The Winter Soldier wasn't a superhero movie as much as it was a political thriller. Iron Man 3 dealt with PTSD. Civil War dealt with loss and revenge. Ant-Man was about the father-daughter relationship.
So the ideas the movies present are in no way light. What are people complaining about? I have no idea.
And, of course, I should also mention that this issue became even more obvious for some when the DCEU kicked off. It must be the palette of colors then"¦
This is, partially, a concept better known as fridging, according to which the female characters are there to be saved by the hero. And, for the better part of the franchise, the MCU did have poor female characters, even if Black Widow arrived as early as Iron Man 2.
But things are changing now. Captain Marvel will soon arrive (2019 is closer than you think), we have Scarlet Witch, everybody is crying for a Black Widow movie, and Pepper Potts saved the day in Iron Man 3 (and kind of ruined it for me).
Yes, the female characters are still underwhelming. And some great actresses are still cast in token roles (hopefully, this won't be the case with Tilda Swinton). But the future looks brighter than ever!
Whitewashing and comic book sources
You've heard this one as well - especially when Tilda Swinton was cast as an old Tibetan guy in Doctor Strange. The Ancient One is now a Celtic woman, who is about 600 years old. Problem solved, right?
Well, it wasn't for some. And those people shouted that Marvel also fell into the same whitewashing trend of the recent years. And those same people were probably the same ones who felt disappointed (to say the least) when Idris Elba was announced as Heimdall. Or when it was announced that Ben Kingsley would portray the Mandarin.
But guess what - sometimes these changes are needed. Especially when they can be seen as offensive as, for example, the Mandarin (a Chinese clichÃ©, similar to the Russian villain from Hollywood during the Cold War).
Basically, some people complain that the comic book sources are not respected. But that is impossible from the start, given the numerous cameos in any story out there. Plus, some of them are outdated and need to be changed.
Just as it happens with any adaptation.
Whitewashing and no diversity? Not at all. Just take a look at the cast of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
No Black Widow
Basically, this complaint concerns not just one character. However, she is at hand right now - why didn't Black Widow receive a spin-off? The character has been quite successful, so maybe Disney should invest in her.
Is it because of sexism?
Well, not at all. The thing is that Marvel has a plan and it sticks to it. The first three Phases of the MCU worked like clockwork exactly because of that. Black Widow will have her movie (allegedly), but only after the Infinity War story (which is, basically, the entire MCU thus far) is over.
Sure, some say that Warner Bros. had more courage when it announced the production of a Harley Quinn movie. But let's be honest - what would have happened if Marvel changed its course to make a feature film about, say, the Howling Commandos? Did we really need a spin-off/prequel of what happened in Budapest? Do you really want to see how Scarlet Witch was created?
Basically, this complaint is about Marvel actually having a plan. And this is mind-bending.
What do you think? What other underwhelming complaints about the MCU should be added to this list?