Marvel Just Admitted To The 6 Biggest MCU Criticisms


Warning: SPOILERS for She-Hulk episode 9.During the fourth-wall-breaking She-Hulk: Attorney At Law finale, Marvel Studios has directly acknowledged various problems the MCU has been criticized for. Superhero comic books have always been filled with tropes such as absent parents, tragic backstories, and reversible deaths. The popularity of superhero movies only translated these motifs to live-action, and many of them can often be seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


With almost 40 titles across movies and Disney+ shows, the MCU is bound to have certain tropes and clichés that become more evident with each installment that includes them. From character relationships to VFX issues, She-Hulk is aware that the MCU still has many aspects to improve on, and her visit to Marvel Studios has made it clear that the company is willing to do it. After all, Jennifer Walters’ talk with KEVIN in the She-Hulk: Attorney At Law finale accurately described many of the MCU’s problems, including endings always feeling the same, characters having the same motivations, and even there being too many crossovers.

Related: She-Hulk Ending Explained (In Detail)

Marvel’s Finales & Endings Are Always The Same

Superhero movies are synonymous with action-filled spectacle, so it’s natural to expect a high-octane conclusion at the end of every installment, especially when it comes to the Avengers movies where the main draw is seeing Earth’s Mightiest Heroes assemble and defeat the villain together. However, explosive endings have become predictable, as they tend to follow the same pattern: every hero in the movie returns at the end to defeat the big bad and their army of minions. Of course, there are exceptions such as Captain America: Civil War, which ends with a very personal battle between Iron Man and Captain America. Still, smaller-scale movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Black Widow, and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings keep ending with loud, VFX-heavy battles that clash with the tone of the rest of the movie, and their third acts seem like an imposition rather than a natural conclusion to the story.

Apart from the scale of the MCU’s final battles, a recurring trope is that heroes will fight their dark counterparts, who steal or copy the protagonist’s superpowers out of envy or greed. Just like Todd stole She-Hulk’s blood to turn himself into a Hulk and fight her, Iron Monger fought Iron Man with a knockoff armor, Abomination fought Hulk after stealing his blood, Yellowjacket fought Ant-Man with a similar suit, and Killmonger fought Black Panther after stealing a suit as well — just to name a few. The hero will also appear to lose for a moment, but immediately take advantage of the villain’s overconfidence to earn a bittersweet victory where the hero sacrifices a personal wish for the greater good — a theme that is often reflected by the gradual change from nighttime to dawn (or daytime to dusk). This is a trick that worked well throughout the Infinity Saga, but it has become fairly obvious. Thankfully, Phase 4 has offered fans quite clever endings. For instance, Loki ends with a conversation and the villain leading the heroes to kill him, and She-Hulk: Attorney At Law ends with the protagonist coming out of the screen and convincing the creators to change the ending.

The MCU’s Crossovers Can Be Way Too Much

The possibility to see She-Hulk, Hulk, and Daredevil share the screen seemed impossible just a few years ago. However, it’s easy for the MCU to rely too much on cameos and guest appearances. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man shared the spotlight with Iron Man, Nick Fury, and Doctor Strange throughout his MCU trilogy, which has led some to miss the independent, smaller-scale adventures of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Men. Similarly, Thor: Ragnarok had to crunch Thor’s Ragnarök and Hulk’s World War Hulk storylines into one single movie, and Doctor Strange has only had one solo adventure away from his four team appearances and one shared story with Scarlet Witch. This heightened interconnectivity also results in unrealistic fan expectations, which constantly focus on the character who may or may not make a surprise cameo instead of the actual protagonist and their current story. If the MCU fulfilled those expectations every time, individual stories would be a thing of the past, and every movie and show would become a team-up event.

So Many MCU Characters Have Daddy Issues

Jennifer Walters laid it out gracefully in the She-Hulk: Attorney At Law finale: Tony Stark, Thor, Loki, and Star-Lord are some MCU characters who clearly have daddy issues. Tony Stark’s relationship with Howard Stark was limited, to say the least; Thor and Loki (and Hela) suffered the consequences of Odin’s detached fatherhood. And Star-Lord was only close to Yondu shortly before his death, which came right after Ego revealed that he had killed Peter Quill’s mother. The daddy issues don’t stop there, however: Hope van Dyne resented Hank Pym after Janet’s disappearance, Thanos tortured and manipulated Nebula and Gamora, Ultron rebelled against Tony Stark (in turn, Vision had to kill Ultron), and Red Guardian abandoned Natasha Romanoff. These stories are inherited from the comic book medium, where parents are often dead or absent, which is also why Spider-Man, Daredevil, and the Maximoff twins are orphans. Yet, there are a couple instances of positive father-son relationships in the MCU — Tony Stark sacrificed everything he had to leave a better world for his daughter Morgan, and Scott Lang has expressed his immense love for his daughter, Cassie, since the beginning.

Related: She-Hulk Episode 9 MCU Easter Eggs & References

The MCU Has Overused The Super Soldier Serum

If the previous complaints weren’t enough, Jennifer Walters’ criticisms of the ever-present super soldier serum storyline convinced played a major part in KEVIN’s changes to the She-Hulk: Attorney At Law finale. The super soldier serum was a major plotline even before Captain America was officially introduced, as 2008’s The Incredible Hulk made both Hulk and the Abomination two monstrous variations of the original super soldier. In 2011 came Steve Rogers’ iconic transformation in Captain America: The First Avenger — which also introduced the failed super soldier Red Skull — followed by Bucky Barnes in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Zemo’s super soldier experiments in Captain America: Civil War, and the explosion of readily-available super soldiers in Falcon and the Winter Soldier. This is excluding Aldrich Killian’s Extremis and multiversal super soldiers like Captain Carter. The search for another Steve Rogers is understandable, but it has become too repetitive by now.

The MCU Has Some Major CGI Problems

KEVIN himself addressed the MCU’s recent VFX problems, saying that it was too expensive to show She-Hulk’s transformation on-camera, as “the visual effects team has moved on to another project, which was Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. This tongue-in-cheek nod at the MCU’s VFX shortcomings hides a serious issue, as Marvel Studios’ huge increase in yearly releases have spread the VFX teams too thin, which in turn impacts the quality of the visual effects. As successful as the MCU is, and as talented as the VFX teams are, there is simply not enough time to provide each project with its proper visual quality. Many movies and shows are in production at the same time, and a single project’s delay can cause the whole franchise to shift. Hence, it’s more common to see poor effects such as Thor: Love and Thunder‘s infamous floating head, or avoid VFX sequences altogether, which is what happened with She-Hulk’s off-camera transformations. A slower pace in the MCU’s 42+ movie slate would help the VFX teams allot the necessary time to each project and set a proper working environment.

Female Characters’ Intimate Relationships Are Skewed

Jennifer Walters’ wish to bring Daredevil back for the She-Hulk: Attorney At Law finale is a personal whim, given that “a woman has needs.” But KEVIN’s comment that “we’ve been light in that department” is a reminder that the MCU hasn’t given its female characters the same treatment as the male heroes. For a long time, most fictional media has been written from the man’s perspective. All too often, the main female character is part of the male protagonist’s list of rewards, which is best reflected in the saying “the hero gets the girl.” And in the MCU, female characters like Pepper Potts, Peggy Carter, and the late Jane Foster were initially the male heroes’ romantic interests first and foremost. Thankfully, the MCU has been fixing hit issue by giving them their own stories and heroic personas. But still, the female character’s intimate lives aren’t as developed as they should be. Valkyrie’s promise to have her own Queen remains unfulfilled, and Jane Foster barely got to depart Thor’s shadow before she died. So far, Scarlet Witch has been the female MCU character with the most developed romantic autonomy, and She-Hulk: Attorney At Law has made great strides with Jennifer Walters’ exploration of dating and her decision to stay with the person she feels comfortable with, which happens to be fan-favorite Matt Murdock a.k.a. Daredevil himself.

Next: She-Hulk Episode 9 Post-Credits Scene Explained

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