The Marvel Cinematic Universe is by far the largest cinematic brand in the world. These movies (and now the shows) have dominated the global film landscape with such authority for nearly a decade and a half that it’s now considered too big to fail. Even after several lackluster entries in terms of critical reception and even box office returns, the crazy popularity of the MCU remains intact. The so-called ‘Marvel Formula’ perfected over a decade by Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige and company is so recognizable around the world that when one utters the phrase ‘Marvel movie,’ the others in the conversation often know what kind of movies they talk about.
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They are usually flying superheroes, building debris, one-liners, camaraderie, and superpowers manifested by all sorts of things like technology (Iron Man), some serum or chemical (Captain America and Hulk), bug bites (Spider-Man) , experiments (Wanda Maximoff) a MacGuffin (Vision, Ms Marvel and Shang-Chi), or just good training in the case of Black Widow and Hawkeye.
Since the MCU is so dominant, it’s easy to forget that these movies are riddled with bugs, plot holes, and logical leaps. Here we list 6 of them. Make no mistake, I think the MCU is amazing. A cinematic universe so intricately plotted and written with dozens of superheroes, supervillains, and several thousand supporting characters inhabiting a world that feels inhabited is in itself an achievement. But due to the scale, there are bound to be issues and inaccuracies.
1. Why are superheroes not assisted by other Avengers in solo movies?
Poor Spider-Man was left to fend for himself in ‘No Way Home’ and only Doctor Strange came to his rescue. Where were the others? When Strange had to face Wanda and the fate of the entire MULTIVERSE, not just one universe, hung in the balance, where were the others? Why were the Eternals the only ones to fight the Deviants when the latter attacked global cities? Where were the others to help them?
We know the real-world reason for this: actors demand a salary to act, and an independent film’s budget can’t go beyond the mandatory mark. So if the teams happened every movie, Marvel Studios would go bankrupt. But there must be an in-universe explanation for other heroes not coming to help their friends in need. The problem will only get bigger as the MCU gets bigger too.
2. Why do characters without superpowers drop to their knees and just walk away?
Yes, it’s a superhero cinematic universe, and one has to suspend disbelief with this sort of thing, but gosh, sometimes the MCU doesn’t make any sense. Tony Stark wears armor and can fall on his knee without hurting himself. The same for Steve Rogers or Captain America, who was strengthened with a special serum and Bruce Banner was exposed to gamma waves that turned him into the Green Goliath called the Hulk. But what about Natasha Romanoff, better known as Black Widow? We’ve been watching her casually land in a way (see image) that would break the kneecaps of every flesh and blood human being, no matter how well developed her muscles are.
3. Superheroes feel like different people in different movies.
It’s a huge challenge for Feige and others pulling the strings to keep the tone of the MCU balanced and events should matter and the character shouldn’t feel different from movie to movie in the hands of different filmmakers. And they don’t always succeed. For example, Thor in the movies before ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ didn’t have much of a sense of humor. In ‘Thor,’ ‘The Avengers,’ and ‘Thor: Dark World,’ he was funny to the extent that his Asgardian forms were funny to other characters. But in ‘Ragnarok’ he became a prankster, almost becoming an alternate universe version of Thor. Yeah, we loved the movie, but tonally that Thor doesn’t mesh well with the superhero we knew from before.
Also, Odin told Thor in ‘Ragnarok’ that his power is innate and he doesn’t need any magic hammer (Mjolnir) to use his powers. “Are you a god of hammers?” smiles Odin as he dies. And sure enough, Thor made quick work of Hela’s resurrected warriors and even challenged Hela for a time. But in the next movie, ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ he went on to forge another weapon for himself, the Stormbreaker? Why? Was Odin wrong? Thor can’t manifest his powers without Mjolnir? Or what we saw in ‘Ragnarok’ is not canon?
4. Representation of marginalized communities in MCU
MCU has been dominated by white men for the most part. Every member of the OG Avengers was white and only one was female. Indeed, there has been a course correction. We now have women-centric movies, a movie about an African superhero, and a show about a Muslim superhero from South Asia. While many criticize this as political correctness, others point out that Marvel Studios’ parent company doesn’t further the cause of progressivism the way its projects do. The media giant has been in trouble for its ambiguous approach to LGBTQ issues.
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He had removed a gay kiss scene in Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’ until there were protests and strikes by employees. It has also removed black actors from cartels in China to satiate that country’s alleged preference for white colors. For example, it made British actor John Boyega’s face less prominent on the ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ posters. Perhaps fans would take Disney more seriously if it practiced what it preaches.
5. Why always the United States and why almost always New York?
It seems that all aliens, monsters, warlords and entities from another universe have problems with the Big Apple. Whenever an alien power attacks earth, they mostly choose New York for some reason. And the unlucky residents of America’s financial capital have to die or flee their homes. More often than not, the city becomes one big pile of rubble, renewing the deeply buried and traumatic memories of those MCU fans who lived through 9/11.
Of course, this isn’t an issue just for the MCU, but it seems that New York, at least in the movies, is the first and often the only target of anything hostile outside of our solar system. And if it’s New York, then it’s somewhere in the United States. The rest of the world, it seems, is invisible to the aliens.
6. Thanos’ crazy plan
Now we come to the biggest logical leap the MCU has ever taken and that’s not saying anything. Thanos, played by Josh Brolin, was the Big Bad of the MCU until 2019’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’, which ended the so-called Infinity Saga. His latest plan was to acquire the Infinity Stones, the most powerful objects in the universe, and place them in his Infinity Gauntlet, which would then allow him to snap his fingers and do whatever he wanted. He could shape reality in any way. But he chose to wipe out half of all living things in the universe? Why? Because he was on a Malthusian quest to reduce the load on the universe, so that the remaining half of living things would be prosperous.
But the more you think about it, the less sense that plan makes. And yes, the writers want you to sympathize, at least a little, with Thanos. He is portrayed as a fairly reasonable character who does not kill indiscriminately. It is accurate with his words. Now, what are those ‘resources’ that the Mad Titan was talking about? Aren’t plants and animals also resources for humans and other people who inhabit the universe? Will they not die too? Also, suppose a plane pilot goes missing, the rest of the travelers will also die on that plane. What about them? Over the centuries, research has shown that the problem is not population, but the distribution of resources. Some have it all and some have nothing. If only Thanos had solved the hunger problem, we wouldn’t be in this mess.