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Phase One:

  • Iron Man:
  • Thor:
    • Though the first movie was well-received (although not quite as acclaimed as Marvel's films usually are), both it and its sequel were criticized over the amount of time spent on Earth, as well as the human characters like Jane getting more focus and screen time than most of the Asgardians. Additionally, Jane's romance with Thor proved to be divisive, with many people thinking it was very rushed and hard to believe. One of the first details released about Thor: Ragnarok was that very little of the movie would take place on Earth, and that Jane and her buddies were being Put on a Bus.
    • It's a common joke that Thor is one of the least interesting characters in his own movies, often being overshadowed by Loki or the other Avengers during team-ups. Director Taika Waititi has said that a lot of effort went into making sure Thor has an interesting arc in Ragnarok, and that he actually gets to be the badass his fans know he can be.
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    • The Infinity Gauntlet's presence in Odin's treasure vaults during the first film caused a Continuity Snarl as the movies began to feature the gems, and Thanos was also shown to be in possession of the Gauntlet. Thor: Ragnarok calls attention to this and remedies the issue when Hela dismisses the Gauntlet in the vault as a fake.
  • The Avengers:
    • The film received criticism for neglecting James Rhodes (War Machine), so the comic prequel to Iron Man 3 ended up explaining where he was, and Avengers: Age of Ultron gave him a truly epic Big Damn Heroes moment at the end.
    • Many fans and critics disliked the new costume for Captain America, so the outfit was completely ditched in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where Cap spends a good chunk of the first act in a new, darker stealth suit, then dons a replica of his better-received costume from Captain America: The First Avenger during the climax. It can be said that Spider-Man: Homecoming pokes fun at this, considering that the hokey instructional videos (as well as The Stinger) have Cap wearing the same "updated" suit from this film.
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    • The movie got a little flak from fans (and Chris Evans) for its portrayal of Captain America as underpowered or dull to watch compared to the other heroes. Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron therefore show him doing things like throwing motorcycles effortlessly into a truck full of mooks.
    • Fans complained Hawkeye spent over half of the film brainwashed, and had little time to showcase his personality or interact with the team. Avengers: Age of Ultron addresses this by giving Clint some background, a large part of the emotional story, and some great one-liners. He is also the only member of the original team to not be Mind Raped by Scarlet Witch at any point in the movie, and even gets to take her out with an Offhand Backhand when she tries it on him.

Phase Two:

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron:
    • The film was criticized over opening the movie with Tony back in the Iron Man armor with no explanation, even though Iron Man 3 ended with Tony destroying his suits and vowing to spend more time with Pepper. This is explicitly referenced in Captain America: Civil War, with Tony saying that he was unable to remain retired after the events of Iron Man 3 because of his Chronic Hero Syndrome. More significantly, it's revealed that Pepper broke up with him because of his inability to keep his promise to her.
    • Fans disliked the slimmer and more streamlined suit War Machine wore. His new armor in Civil War is essentially an amalgamation of the two previous War Machines, combining the more advanced look of the Age of Ultron suit with the bulkier and more heavily armed look of the Iron Man 2 suit.

Phase Three:

  • A recurring complaint in MCU films is that the villains tend to be Flat Characters. The writers of Doctor Strange (2016) took this to heart, and while the film's villain Kaecilius remained fairly one-dimensional, he was revealed to be a pawn for The Man Behind the Man, Dormammu, and focus was instead placed on Mordo with the goal of making him a more nuanced villain in future films. Likewise, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has won over fans with its layered depiction of Ego the Living Planet and, to a lesser extent, the Sovereign, treating them as more fleshed-out, if still evil, characters. Spider-Man: Homecoming features the Vulture as a working-class villain with fairly understandable and almost sympathetic motives, and Black Panther's Killmonger is a very intricate character with a deep and personal connection to the main character. Finally, Thanos himself is practically the Villain Protagonist of Avengers: Infinity War and gets a great deal of screentime devoted to his background and motivations, as well as exploring his extensive emotional depth. And to anyone afraid that they won't be able to top Thanos or go back to dull villains, Ant-Man and the Wasp has Ghost with a very sympathetic reason to turn to criminal activities and even having a Heel–Face Turn and being forgiven by the heroes.
  • Phase Three movies specifically address the lack of diversity in the cast and crew of previous MCU entries. Black Panther and Captain Marvel got their own solo movies and the films with white male leads were given more diverse supporting casts. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 brought in Mantis and increasing Gamora and Nebula's screentime. Spider-Man: Homecoming featuring a diverse setting (with major supporting characters like Liz Allan and Flash Thompson being played by non-white actors). Thor: Ragnarok not only features the debut of Valkyrie (played by a black actress), but also that of Hela, the MCU's first leading female villain. Furthermore, the movies also have more diverse behind-the-camera crew with Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther both having non-white directors (and in the case of Black Panther the director, producer and writers are all African-American).
  • Captain America: Civil War:
    • Kevin Feige's statements as soon as the movie was announced that the movie would not revolve around the subject of unmasking and secret identities, which marks a significant point of divergence from the original Civil War comics, as most heroes in this verse don't actually have a secret identity to begin with. And the preview released at D23 seems designed specifically to assuage several fan concerns:
      • Captain America is clearly the central figure throughout, alleviating fears that the movie would be a Cap film in name only and that he would be overshadowed by all the other superheroes. At the same time the others do appear to be more than just glorified cameos.
      • Bucky will be a prominent figure in the plot, for those worried that he would be Demoted to Extra again and that the movie was going to pull a 180 on the previous film's Sequel Hook.
      • Iron Man has a clear and more understandable stance here developed from his experiences in Age of Ultron, suggesting that he'll avoid the situation in the comics where he was a Strawman Political with a Jerkass Ball.
      • The first trailer went further to please anyone concerned about source material, as it indicates that the main source of conflict has been changed from opposing political views (which would require a big Conflict Ball to make them take up action against one-another), and more about what to do with Bucky (who is a wanted man due to the crimes committed by the Winter Soldier), and Cap willing to go against the law to protect him, which gives both sides much more grounds to stand on.note 
      • The first trailer also eased many of the worries that this was a Captain America film In Name Only. Prior to this, it had become commonplace for fans to dub the movie "Avengers 2.5" (a joke which Honest Trailers actually used), and there were rumors that it was effectively an Avengers movie. The Russo brothers even mentioned that the trailer's strong emphasis on Cap and his supporting characters was meant to convey that no, this is not another Avengers sequel.
      • Marketing example. There was a lot of outcry over the lack of merchandise for Black Widow and Scarlet Witch in Age of Ultron, to the point that it got coverage on mainstream news outlets and even Clark Gregg and Mark Ruffalo criticized Marvel over it. The big announcement for Civil War licensing made sure to mention that characters like Black Panther, War Machine, Black Widow, and Scarlet Witch would be heavily featured in the marketing and merchandise, seemingly going out of its way to highlight the fact that the female and minority heroes wouldn't be left out this time around.
      • Though his Badass Longcoat in Age of Ultron was better received than his Ultimates inspired initial look, Hawkeye's costume choices still got criticism for not being like his comic look, which was made worse when Jeremy Renner confirmed he wouldn't wear a mask and appeared somewhat reluctant about the idea. This quickly died down when his look for the film was unveiled, showing a new costume with a stronger purple coloring that greatly resembles his comic outfit, but with the MCU's aesthetics. Fan response has been rather positive as a result.
      • Likewise, a number of fans disliked the War Machine Mark II armor from Age of Ultron since they felt the slimmer, more streamlined suit was a poor fit for a character known for his bulky armor and insane amount of firepower. The new Mark III armor has gone over well with fans since it once again sports a bulkier, more heavily armed design closer to the one Rhodey wore in Iron Man 2.
      • There is very little romance in the movie, and Natasha still acts like a professional despite Bruce's departure. The Black Widow/Banner romance was one of the most polarizing and heavily criticized aspects of Age of Ultron. The relationship is only hinted at in a few lines of dialogue, and Steve and Sharon have The Big Damn Kiss in the midst of the movie far from main events.
      • In Iron Man 3, Tony destroyed all of his suits and vowed to quit the superhero business. Then in Age of Ultron he was back to being Iron Man as if it never happened, which a lot of viewers accused Marvel of engaging in Canon Discontinuity. In this film Tony not only explicitly acknowledges his backtracking, but reveals that the broken promise severely damaged, if not outright destroyed, his relationship with Pepper.
      • Scarlet Witch's "Sokovian" accent is heavily toned down compared to her previous appearance in Age of Ultron, likely in response to criticisms that it was too over-the-top and Narmy. Some viewers have praised the fact that her voice sounds like an actual person this time around.
      • Wanda is made an outcast and called a public menace for causing the deaths of several aid workers, in response to viewers who saw Wanda as a Karma Houdini in Age Of Ultron who was allowed to join the team despite essentially being the mastermind of the villain's plot. The deaths are also accidental on Wanda's part and she is shown to feel genuinely guilty afterwards, addressing viewer complaints that Wanda's lack of remorse for the deaths she caused in Age Of Ultron made her harder to root for.
      • Phase 2 was criticized for straining to justify Superman Stays Out of Gotham. The situation at the film's end will likely make all of Phase 3's cases of this much easier to swallow than the first two could get.

Phase 4

  • Continuing on Phase 3's trend of increasing diversity in the MCU, this is one of the stated goals of Phase 4. In addition to planned sequels to both Captain Marvel and Black Panther, the Phase 4 announcement includes a currently-undated Blade reboot (with Green Book star Mahershala Ali as the titular character), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (with a primarily-Asian cast both in front of and behind the camera), and Thor: Love and Thunder (which is confirmed to feature Jane Foster as female Thor). They also confirmed that LGBT+ representation (something the MCU has been heavily criticized for lacking in a number of circles) is finally being introduced to the MCU, with particular confirmation that Valkyrie (whose bisexuality from the comics was infamously cut from Thor: Ragnarok) would be shown "looking for a queen" in Thor: Love and Thunder.
  • Following on from the infamous Mandarin twist mentioned above, it was officially confirmed that the real Mandarin would finally appear and take center stage as the Big Bad of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

TV Shows:

  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • The first few episodes were heavily attacked by Marvel fans for mostly using Canon Foreigner characters instead of actual Marvel heroes and villains, as well as the use of Red Skies Crossovers with other MCU properties (Thor: The Dark World being the most notorious) rather than direct involvement. The latter half of Season 1 subsequently began using actual comic characters like Deathlok and Blackout, while also doing a heavy multi-episode arc dealing with the aftermath of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The producers also made sure to announce that more comic characters like Mockingbird, Absorbing Man and Al MacKenzie will be appearing in Season 2. Season 2 also revealed that Skye was a Canon Character All Along.
    • Fans of the MCU would decry the franchise for taking heroic comics characters like Sitwell and making them HYDRA agents. Season 2 reveals that some HYDRA agents actually were loyal SHIELD agents who were brainwashed into becoming evil.
  • Fans who were becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of reference to the TV shows in the mainline Marvel movies were thrown a bone when it was revealed that Marvel considers the Disney+ shows to be full installments of the MCU that will be directly tied into the movies and vice-versa (with the plots of WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness being directly connected to one another).
    • YMMV on this however, as several people see it as proof the TV shows will never interact with the films as the Disney+ series are being made by Marvel Studios, not Marvel Entertainment as all the past series were made.


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