Total Nerd

Here's What Hardcore Comic Book Fans Don't Like About The MCU 

Zack Howe
Updated April 16, 2020 23.7k votes 3.2k voters 85.2k views 15 items

List Rules Vote up the reasons the MCU doesn't live up to its comic book origins.

The MCU is lauded by many as the shining example of a comic book universe brought to the silver screen, but have you heard what comic book fans hate about Marvel movies? Comic book loyalists can be a tough crowd to please; not even the best entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are safe from the criticism of die hard fans. After all, some comic book storylines are just too out-there to bring to the big screen (Captain America was basically a Nazi in 2017, for example), which is why there are such crazy fan theories about Marvel comics floating around the internet.

To be fair, there are some legitimate complaints about Marvel films, often related to diversity or the lack thereof, unfaithful character adaptations, and the messed up timeline of the MCU. That's not to suggest, of course, that fanboys getting angry about costume colors are illegitimate, but perhaps that stuff is a bit more trivial. Here's what haters say about the MCU, and you have to admit, they can make some pretty solid points. 

The Mandarin Was All Kinds Of Wrong
The Mandarin Was All Kin... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Here's What Hardcore Comic Book Fans Don't Like About The MCU
Photo: Iron Man 3/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

When fans saw Ben Kingsley playing the Mandarin in the first Iron Man 3 trailer, they were a little confused, but perhaps willing to give it a try. Then the movie came out, and many people felt cheated. It turns out Ben Kingsley wasn't the Mandarin at all, but rather an actor named Trevor Slattery playing a character. That most certainly is not the Mandarin fans knew from the comics. 

"[Director Shane] Black (and Marvel) also sufficiently wiped their ass with decades of Iron Man history, reducing Shell Head’s lone significant adversary to a punchline," wrote Sean O'Connell of Cinema Blend

Jim Littler of ComicBookMovie similarly (but more diplomatically) told Yahoo! Movies, “The comic-book purists, the ones who know the comic books, they did not like the Mandarin twist mainly because that’s Iron Man’s biggest villain.”

Is this a problem in the MCU?
The Warriors Three Were Cut Down With Little To No Fanfare
The Warriors Three Were ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Here's What Hardcore Comic Book Fans Don't Like About The MCU
Photo: Thor: Ragnarok/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Thor: Ragnarok was one of the best entries in the MCU (evidenced by a 92% Rotten Tomatoes score), but that doesn't mean comic fans didn't take issue with the film. Some fans were simply outraged at how the Warriors Three were killed off in almost an instant. While Hogun (Tadanobu Asano) got to have a slightly more heroic downfall, Volstagg (Ray Stevenson) and Fandral (Zachary Levi) were pretty much slaughtered the second they popped on screen.

Even though two of the actors had changed since the first Thor, this still felt like somewhat of an unceremonious end for these characters, not to mention Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander), who didn't even get to appear in the movie. At least she avoided an anticlimactic death.

Is this a problem in the MCU?
Marvel Made A Tibetan Monk A White Lady In 'Doctor Strange'
Marvel Made A Tibetan Mo... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Here's What Hardcore Comic Book Fans Don't Like About The MCU
Photo: Doctor Strange/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

In Marvel's most public case of whitewashing, they cast Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One, a Tibetan monk and sorcerer who trained Doctor Strange in the mystic arts in the source material. Marvel defended the move, saying the original design of the character was thought to be "outdated and racist," which is certainly true; Doctor Strange was created in 1963, and the Ancient One was a miasma of "Eastern" stereotypes. That said, some feel they overcorrected by giving the role to a white person.

As Variety reported, Media Action Network for Asian Americans president Rob Chan said,

“Given the dearth of Asian roles, there was no reason a monk in Nepal could not be Asian. Had [writer/director Scott] Derrickson cast an Asian as the revered leader who guides the main character to become a better human being and to develop his sorcery powers, it would’ve given a big boost to that actor’s career. While actresses deserve the kinds of bold roles usually reserved for men, white actresses are seen onscreen more than Asians of any gender. And Tilda Swinton can afford to turn down roles.”

Is this a problem in the MCU?
The Mantis In 'Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2' Is Nothing Like Mantis In The Comics
The Mantis In 'Guardians... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Here's What Hardcore Comic Book Fans Don't Like About The MCU
Photo: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2./Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Steve Engelhart, the creator of the character Mantis, said of Ego's "pet" in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, "That character has nothing to do with Mantis... I really don’t know why you would take a character who is as distinctive as Mantis is and do a completely different character and still call her Mantis."

He did go on to say that he didn't necessarily dislike the character, but said she was just wrong. But some vehemently disliked the character.

"It’s not just that the Mantis we got is a vastly different character from the Mantis in the comics," wrote Clara Mae. "It’s that [director James] Gunn also saw fit to strip Mantis of everything that makes her a positive character - her strength, her fiery determination, her support of other women - and replace all that instead with an abused, submissive, and infantile Asian woman stereotype." There's the rub. It's one thing to get a character wrong; it's another thing entirely to turn a strong female character into an offensively submissive stereotype.

Is this a problem in the MCU?