The Ten Biggest Missteps In Marvel’s Movie History

There Was A Time Before Marvel Was Hollywood’s Golden Child

With critical praise and box-office success, Spider-Man: Homecoming is another success for the Marvel. Not just the MCU but for the brand as a whole. In theory, when one does well so do the others. But the same can be said about failures. Sometimes one major mistake can trickle down and hurt others.

This list will be a mix of entire films, franchises, or moments that stink up the joint. Buckle up because this will be a bumpy ride.

Howard The Duck (1986)


– Marvel’s first movie misstep is also their first theatrical release. It wasn’t until Blade in 1998 that the brand fully recovered. When Howard The Duck hit theaters in 1986, no one knew what to make of it. The animatronic suits and the puppets came off as unconvincing to the viewers and critics tore into the film. Both those negatives factored into a weak box-office and turning Marvel’s attempts at movies into a joke.

Oddly enough, Howard The Duck gained a cult-following with certain fans. Marvel isn’t sweating this film anymore as they’ve become a Hollywood starlet; they’ve even brought back Howard The Duck in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies.

Mandarin Change In Iron Man 3


– Placing the horrible Iron Man 2 is this position is almost too easy. While being another person to call out the Mandarin change is cliche, it’s just too bad to ignore. I’m never one for source material and believe an artist can change characters as they please, especially when it’s a filmmaker like Shane Black. Somehow this is all kinds of bad.

There are layers of horrible to this infamous Iron Man 3 moment. Ben Kingsley’s’ portrayal before the twist that he’s just an actor playing is just brilliant. With references to real American terrorism, it felt timely and needed within the genre. For me, superhero films should challenge how we look at society and force us to think. Instead, Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 decided to go the comedic route with Kingsley and turn Guy Pierce into The Mandarin. Not only did it change one of the most iconic Iron Man villains forever but it ruined any chance of a thought-provoking villain in the MCU.

Spider-Man 3 (2007)


– Personally, I don’t hate Spider-Man 3 as much as most fans. Being a fan of director Sam Raimi, this is the type of cheesy humor one would expect. Does it work for Marvel’s biggest superhero? Obviously not. Did this franchise need an emo Peter Parker dancing like a fool? No. Sadly, this became a big downfall for on-screen Spider-Man.

Spider-Man 3 contains a plethora of issues. One of the most glaring issues is the inclusion of so many villains. Something even Spider-Man: Homecoming didn’t fix. This movie has Venom, Sand-Man, and Green Goblin all trying to kill Spider-Man…it’s overkill! One villain can’t get over when you have another one you have to build. Add in the fact that nearly every character is cringy and you can see why this is so hated.

Losing Patty Jenkins/Edgar Wright For MCU Films


– The Marvel Cinematic Universe has an excellent financial track record. For the most parts, the brand also wins over the critics. But it’s been shown that some artists in the industry are not fans. It goes back as early as Ed Norton being re-cast as The Hulk or the Terrence Howard drama. Sadly, two of the biggest missteps is losing Patty Jenkins as director of Thor: The Dark World and Edgar Wright leaving Ant-Man.

Honestly, losing Patty Jenkins worked out for her as she landed the dream job of directing Wonder Woman. On the other hand, Edgar Wright’s removal from Ant-Man will live on as a sour moment in his career. His influence is still all over the project, but only die-hard fans will know to give him the proper credit. Imagine the state of the MCU if they let artist create what they wanted; they might still have Joss Whedon on tap.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)


– It’s hard to pinpoint the exact thing that made The Amazing Spider-Man 2 flop. Again, the movie suffers from too many villains and too much of a “cheese” factor. While Andrew Garfield delivers another memorable performance, it couldn’t help anything. This movie saw so much hate that it forced Sony to reboot the franchise again this year.

The worst offender in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is Jamie Foxx as Electro. Blaming the script is easy as everything here is garbage. But Foxx is known to elevate any weak material, so it’s sad to see him lost in the shuffle. Add in the fact that he’s the weakest villain out of any Spider-Man movie and it’s safe to say Jamie Foxx won’t be returning to superhero movies anytime soon.

Fox’s ‘Fantastic Four’ Film Franchise


– Originally this spot went to 2015’s Fantastic Four film but the entire franchise is a massive misstep for Marvel. The 2005 movie and its 2007 sequel came at one of the worst time for comic book movies. This era is known as the dead zone for the genre with blunders like Elektra, Ghost Rider, and Catwoman hitting theaters. With a 2015 reboot, Fox hoped that Fantastic Four would finally work. If only they didn’t hire a Josh Trank as director, maybe they could’ve had a chance.

Conversationally, I’m not in support of sending the Fantastic Four franchise to Disney. These characters just don’t translate on-screen. Some properties or characters that are popular with comics fans will not work in a cinematic sense. The four heroes have had a light-heartened attempt and a darker reboot; neither worked. Just let this franchise die peacefully and don’t try another reboot.

Blade: Trinity


– Remember how I mentioned earlier that Blade saved Marvel. Well, this third installment in the franchise started a steep decline in the product. Blade 2 isn’t as polished as the first movie, but it is nowhere near the level of Blade: Trinity. Honestly, this movie suffers the most from being a product of the horrible mid-00’s

Wesley Snipes infamously hated Blade: Trinity as well. From reportedly smoking marijuana on-set all day to calling Ryan Reynolds a “cracker” on multiple occasions, Snipes wasn’t feeling it. All that drama stems from a change in the director that Wesley Snipes protested heavily. As he is the producer and lead actor, it’s a legitimate complaint. Sadly, the ones who suffer from this are the fans and the film itself.

Marvel Cinematic Universe Villain Problem


– Sixteen movies in and the Marvel Cinematic Universe produced one famous villain. Loki is carrying the franchise on his villainous back after a strong debut in Thor. The villain problem goes back earlier than that film though. The villain in Iron Man is forgettable, and we only remember Whiplash from Iron Man 2 for how bad he was. The Incredible Hulk started the trend for a somewhat decent villain killed off unceremoniously. Phase 1 of the MCU introduced Red Skull only to dump him into another world and re-used Loki as The Avengers’ villain. Phase 2 continues with forgettable names like Yellowjacket and Ronan The Accuser. Can you even name Robert Redford’s character in Winter Soldier? The current MCU era, Phase 3, isn’t much better.

For me, Marvel suffers from the problem of trying to make their heroes look so badass and marketable that it hinders the villain. With being a brand aimed at a younger audience, it’s common, and something I believe hurts WWE as well. Hopefully, all the MCU building toward Thanos will pay-off with the best bad guy in superhero history!

X-Men Origins: Wolverine


– This spot could have easily gone to X-Men: The Last Stand but X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a beast worthy of discussing. Once this franchise stumbled with The Last Stand, it tripped again with this movie. Trying to find things to praise X-Men Origins is nearly impossible. The script is weak and filled with even weaker characters. All of the CGI looks unfinished and like a parody of itself.

The only positive thing to come from this film is comic fans got their first glimpse of Deadpool. Though the filmmakers covered his trademark mouth, it launched enough nerd rage to get a solo Deadpool movie in 2016. So look, I said one nice thing!

Selling Off Film Rights


– If you told me to pick only one of these missteps, this is my choice. Looking back at all of the issues on this list, selling off the film rights can be considered as the root to a lot of problems. Not saying that Marvel didn’t need to do this. No, the company was on the verge of bankruptcy when it decided to sell off the rights to characters. It was also long before Marvel Studios would find a home at Disney. So yes, it makes sense on why they did this, but it doesn’t stop it from being a major misstep.

Many fans wish to see every Marvel character under one roof. It’s something that has helped DC Comics as they’ve always worked with Warner Brothers. Marvel doesn’t have that luxury as Paramount, Fox, Sony, and Disney can all make Marvel movies. For fans of the brand, this means a lot of classic comic stories won’t work because the characters are all over the place. Spider-Man’s inclusion into the MCU is the first step to correcting this misstep, but that still sees some criticism from fans.

What do you think of this list? Did I miss a major mistake in Marvel movie history?

Let me know in the comments below!

EJ Moreno
EJ Moreno
Who is EJ Moreno? Is he a trained physician? No. Is he a former Miss Universe contestant? Possibly. With a bachelors degree in film and a love of pop culture, he brings an alternative view to the world of pop culture journalism. Follow him on Twitter @EJKhryst and check out his film work at