The Biggest Marvel Controversies Fans Won’t Forget

One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) most impressive feats has been getting through 23 films and counting with very few major controversies. You have to delve into the nitty-gritty details to get to points that got a lot of talkbacks — points that most casual fans would neither know nor care about. For the most part, the movies have pleased the majority of the fans.

Probably the biggest controversies up to this point have been the dissolution of the Sony/Disney agreement that kept Spider-Man in the MCU, and the James Gunn firing/rehiring. But there are some other controversies that the MCU has dealt with.

Marvel needs better LGBTQ representation

Tessa Thompson at the premiere of Marvel's "Thor: Ragnarok."
Tessa Thompson | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Marvel has danced around the edges of including a gay character in its movies, but that’s just what has people upset. All they’re doing is dancing around the edges. As a result, when Marvel does try to up the ante on representation, it comes across as clumsy. 

Yes, Tessa Thompson declared that Valkyrie wasn’t straight. But that was Thompson saying so at Comic-Con and not Valkyrie openly declaring it or reflecting it in a movie. There have been all kinds of fan theories that Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) only has eyes for her best friend Maria Lambeau, but Marvel has neither confirmed nor denied this. 

Joe and Anthony Russo surely meant well by including a gay character in a support group scene of Avengers: Endgame, and by having Joe Russo play him. It’s a sincere gesture, but some fans complained that the MCU’s first openly gay character was relegated to a bit part destined for the IMDB Trivia section. 

Does death mean anything in the MCU anymore?

Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame had so many deaths and resurrections that some people, like movie analyst John Campea, said that Marvel now is the MCFDU: Marvel Fake Death Cinematic Universe. A Marvel favorite just died? No problem! Just invoke some Dr. Strange magic or some time travel, and boom — everything dead is alive again!

Marvel has gotten away with it so far because Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame cleverly played with the rules. Tony Stark’s death had weight because we assume it’s going to stick: There’s no coming back from it. If Marvel overplays the resurrection game, that could strain suspension of disbelief to the breaking point. 

However, those who complain that Black Widow’s death got short shrift have a point. And if the Black Widow prequel makes $1 billion, who’s to say Marvel won’t finagle some rationale to keep her alive and to keep those coffers overflowing? 

How about a good Hulk movie? 

While we’re on the subject of Black Widow, let’s talk about her one-time love interest: Bruce Banner, also known as The Hulk. The MCU has never really and truly done right by him.

It should be noted that historically, most Hulk films have been a miss. Whether people agree or disagree that the Edward Norton Hulk is better than the Eric Bana Hulk, it’s clearly the low movie on the Marvel totem pole, having made $134 million. That’s less than half of what Avengers: Endgame made on its opening weekend. Even adjusted for inflation, Ant-Man outgrossed it, and some considered Ant-Man a lucky fluke.

Yes, the big green guy has had his moments, but especially with an actor as good as Mark Ruffalo, it’s hard to believe that Marvel either can’t or won’t try another solo movie. Fans will be getting She-Hulk on Disney+, and that is amazing, but it would still be nice to have a Hulk movie that measures up to the MCU standards.