The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has, in large part, done its due diligence bringing comic book characters to life. Most interpretations pay homage to the source material while taking creative liberties to account for legalities and the differences between the written word and the screen.
Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark was a work of pure perfection — the disposition, the look, the journey away from egotism. Everything about Stark was on point. The same holds true for Captain America; Chris Evans perfectly embodied the righteous, morally upstanding character, and even made him more likable than many expected him to be. Us humans — living in the gray — can’t always relate to such altruistic heroes. However, not all MCU characters have received equal treatment.
When analyzing the value certain characters bring to the Marvel comics, the fascinating origin stories they retain, the dynamics they contribute to, and or the narrative journeys they endure, Marvel Studios has dropped the ball a few times. In short, many would agree that the MCU has failed the three primary Avengers listed below.
In the comics, Clint Barton (Hawkeye) fights on multiple teams — and does not always fight for the prototypical good guys. In other words, his moral compass does not always point towards heroism, and his complexity deserves more focus than a moment in Avengers: Endgame.
In Avengers: Endgame, he becomes Ronin — embarking on a dark journey defined by murderous tendencies. And, though fans thought this would be the moment the character finally received some complexity and value, he quickly returns to fight alongside the Avengers. And, all his former friends seem unphased by his recent outings as a vigilante on a killing spree. There was room for character drama here, and it was amiss.
Hawkeye also deserved a standalone installment — one that would dive into his origin story and his life as a father and husband. While fans will receive a Disney+ series, it will likely serve as a way to pass the bow and arrow on to Kate Bishop. Hopefully, the show dives into Barton to compensate for his lack of exploration up to this point.
2. War Machine
War Machine virtually serves as a sidekick to Iron Man in the MCU. He wears a suit similar to Tony Stark, has similar capabilities when flying around in it, and lacks typifying qualities and personality traits to make him anything more than another hand in a great big battle.
A War Machine movie was almost greenlit by Marvel; however, considering the character has largely failed to pique curiosity among the MCU fanbase, such a movie would have likely been an attempt to redeem a mistake, as opposed to an effort to develop a character. War Machine is not an individual with clearly defined personal motivations in the MCU, but in the comics he is.
A decorated marine and former pilot in Vietnam, War Machine even becomes the Field Commander of the Superhero Initiative. He is a leader and a man whose courageous history defines his ascension to the superhero world. However, such facts do not receive adequate exploration in the movies, lending way to a character who exists solely with the purpose to support, showing up only when needed.
While Marvel Studios was doing pretty well with Hulk, managing to establish an arc despite the legalities preventing an origin story, it all fell apart in Avengers: Endgame. In Avengers: Endgame, the character became a joke — a dabbing Professor resilient to use his counterpart’s strength when needed.
Not to mention, Professor Hulk is supposed to represent Hulk and Banner’s mutual coexistence. However, the illustration provided left Banner in control of Hulk’s personality, while donning his green body and size for Instagram. Not to mention, the Professor Hulk story was explained away in a matter of moments, and the character — throughout the saga — became the Worf. In other words, the guy everyone destroys in a battle to prove how powerful they are. Hulk is an immensely powerful character vital to the Marvel world, and the filmic landscape reduced him significantly.