The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a powerhouse that slows no sign of slowing down. People have applauded the studio for making highly entertaining films that more or less faithfully adapt the spirit of the comic books in ways that are generally accessible to the everyday public. Most of the Marvel Superhero movies are based on the comic books, but not every storyline is adapted page for page. Marvel often finds it necessary to tweak and alter events so they play out differently in the films. Storytelling restraints, time management, and outdated ideas are all reasons why Marvel likes to change things up in ways that both fit the story and entertain audiences.
But sometimes, Marvel makes changes because the original comic book story was way too brutal to bring to the big screen. Marvel films mostly try to be a family-friendly venture, so events like the Red Skull mutilating his own face or Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch's incestuous relationship don't really fly on the silver screen. Below is a list of Marvel movie scenes vs. Marvel comic scenes that show how much Marvel has changed in their storylines.
Hank Pym's History of Domestic Violence
When Marvel made Ant-Man, they made a bold decision to not focus on the original version of the character, Hank Pym. Instead, they chose to focus on the lesser-known Scott Lang. Hank Pym was still in the film, played by Michael Douglas, but one of the most infamous moments from his comic history was unsurprisingly left out. Out of everything he has done, the comic book version of Pym is perhaps most remembered for hitting his wife Janet out of anger. It's been an unfortunate stigma on the character since it happened, and while the movie mentioned that Pym had a temper, it never suggested that he resorted to domestic abuse.
Civil War's Inciting Incident
In Captain America: Civil War, the plot really kicks into high gear after one of the Avengers' missions go horribly awry. Scarlet Witch turns Crossbones into a human grenade and sends him flying into a building filled with civilians. This event (adding on the collateral damage caused by the other movies) is what leads to the idea of government registration. In the actual comic, the inciting incident is much more brutal.
In the comic books, a group of barely-recognized heroes called the New Warriors attempt to take down a powerful villain named Nitro. Being unable to stop him, Nitro unleashes a powerful blast that kills over 600 civilians, many of them innocent children. It's a much more violent opening that you probably won't see ever in Marvel's popcorn-fluff films.
50 people just voted on The Red Skull's Backstory
Marvel has a tendency to make their heroes fight darker, mirror-versions of themselves in their films, and the first Captain America movie is no different. In Captain America: The First Avenger, Cap faces off with his arch-nemesis the Red Skull, who is revealed to be created by the same serum that turned Captain America from a shrimp into a beefcake. Although his rhetoric and demeanor matches more closely with the original character, his power level and origin matches more closely with the Ultimate version of the character. In that world, Steve Rogers has an illegitimate son who's taken and raised by the government. He has the same powers as Captain America and seems polite and kind, but on his 17th birthday, he reveals himself to be a true psychopath, butchering over 200 people and slicing up his own face in a way that makes him look like a Red Skull. This is way more brutal than anything Marvel would want in their films, especially when it was still trying to launch its cinematic universe.
Tony Stark's Alcoholism
Has there ever been a superhero casting decision more perfect than Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark? Anyone with a shred of common sense will tell you absolutely not: Downey IS Iron Man. He imbues almost every aspect of the character perfectly. Unfortunately, Marvel's family-friendly guidelines may make one of Tony's greatest storylines impossible to show on screen. That, of course, is the famous Demon in a Bottle storyline - which shows Tony grappling with alcoholism.
In Iron Man 3, Tony deals with anxiety, panic attacks, and a fake Mandarin, which seems like a perfect way to address his drinking habits. In fact, in an original draft, the screenwriters revealed that they did indeed include a subplot relating to Tony's alcoholism, but Marvel deemed it too dark. It's a shame, too, because given Robert Downey's past struggle with alcohol and drugs, he probably understood how to play the part perfectly.
Daredevil Murders Bullseye over Elektra's Death
Before Disney got their hands on the character, the rights to Daredevil belonged to Fox, who quite infamously released a film adaption starring Ben Affleck. Time has not been good to that film - it's become a punching bag of sorts. Though in a lot of ways, it was loyal to the comic on which it was based, right down to the villainous Bullseye killing Elektra. In the film, when Daredevil and Bullseye have their final fight, Daredevil pushes him out of a church where he lands on the hood of a car, injured but alive. In the comic, that scene plays out differently, with Daredevil intentionally letting Bullseye go so he would fall to his death.
Instead of Disappearing on His Own, the Marvel Heroes Shoot Hulk Into Space
Before Avengers: Age of Ultron was released, there was massive speculation about what would happen to the Hulk by the film's conclusion. Trailers depicted the Hulk going insane and forcing Tony Stark to fight him, which lead many to believe Marvel was setting up for its famous Planet Hulk storyline. In that event, Marvel heroes deemed the Jolly Green Giant too dangerous and shot him into space so they wouldn't have to deal with him anymore.
Of course, that didn't happen, and the film ended with Hulk stealing a Quinjet and disappearing somewhere in the world by his own free will. He's entirely absent in Captain America: Civil War, but knowing he'll show up in Thor: Ragnarok means he winds up off-planet any way. Marvel is choosing to send Hulk into space in a different way than having his friends betray him, which makes sense, but robs the plotline of some of its emotional heft.
Captain America's Death
Marvel movies have been criticized in the past for being unwilling to kill any major characters (Quicksilver barely counts, stop acting like he does!) so when a movie adaption of Civil War was announced, more than a few eyebrows were raised. The comic ends with the assassination of Captain America in a brutal sniper attack, but as long as Captain America brings in cash (and Chris Evans has movies on his contract), it seems unlikely that Marvel will him off in a movie.
A few people thought that Captain America's death would be 'transferred' to another character, but that turned out to not be the case. Nobody died in Civil War (the movie) and the only character who suffered any long-term consequences was War Machine, who ended up with a broken back. Edgy stuff, Marvel.
Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch's Incestuous Relationship
This example may not be as brutal as others on this list, but it's pretty upsetting. When they were introduced in the film Avengers: Age of Ultron, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were shown as siblings who deeply cared for one another. In the comics, that relationship was taken to the extreme when one storyline had them become lovers as well as siblings. That's something you'll likely never see in the family-friendly Marvel Universe.