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Rescued From The Scrappy Heap / Marvel Cinematic Universe

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  • His role in the MCU, combined with Matt Fraction's epic-length Invincible Iron Man run, rescued Iron Man from the horrendous Audience-Alienating Era he had been in since Civil War. On a larger scale, it lifted him from the B-list to being one of Marvel's flagship characters like Spider-Man or Captain America.
  • The same thing has happened for Maria Hill; originally hated in the comics for her Jerkass behavior towards the heroes and actions during Civil War, the MCU version has redeemed the character by making her a likable and badass S.H.I.E.L.D. agent that treats the heroes with respect. In the comics, Matt Fraction's Iron Man run also did work to redeem her in some fans' eyes as well.
  • The Hulk did this twice. After Ang Lee's Hulk underperformed and was criticized as being boring and pretentious, Marvel's The Incredible Hulk sought to make him badass and popular again. It only softened public opinion of the Hulk, but Edward Norton's portrayal was so well-received that he was expected to return in the role for The Avengers. When it as announced that Norton wouldn't return, fans were enraged, but then Mark Ruffalo's portrayal of him in The Avengers made the character the film's Ensemble Dark Horse and became a fan favorite since then.
  • Black Widow was a controversial character after Iron Man 2, as some liked her for being badass and others thought she wasn't important and showed little personality. That started to shift with The Avengers, which gave her a tragic and motivating backstory and made her central to stopping Loki and ending the final battle. Captain America: The Winter Soldier further continued that by making her the Deuteragonist and further displaying her skill, to the point that it wasn't unheard of for fans and the media to demand a Black Widow movie, which was eventually made and to be released in 2021.
  • While more of a Base-Breaking Character than a true scrappy, Scarlet Witch had a Never Live It Down moment to some fans due to her mental breakdown in House of M causing the mutant population to decrease significantly. Her portrayal in Age of Ultron gave her a well rounded personality, an excellent relationship with her brother, and being the first hero in the MCU to have powers like telekinesis and mind manipulation is definitely allowing her to regain her former popularity. It helps that this is one of the few portrayals that focus on her Avengers career rather than just being the daughter of Magneto.
  • Captain America; his treatment during the team-up for the first Avengers outing was given a pretty handy dose of flak by many - including Chris Evans himself. Considering that a majority of the best action sequences got handed off to everyone else, resulting in him looking rather plain or just not quite as useful make it understandable. Then Winter Soldier happened. Suddenly, Captain America is sharing center stage in promo materials with the franchise golden boy, Iron Man; and with Avengers: Age of Ultron itself, he gets to show off quite a lot more than he ever did in the first film.
  • Hawkeye got criticism in the first Avengers film due to the perception he was Overshadowed by Awesome and spent most of the film as an emotionless Brainwashed and Crazy Distressed Dude. Avengers: Age of Ultron, fixed this by giving him some great dialogue, character development, backstory, and a good number of awesome moments that showcase his Badass Normal skills. Basically, the film proves why the "guy with a bow and arrow" is on a team alongside gods and One Man Armies.
  • Betty Ross from The Incredible Hulk, while generally the least remembered heroine due to only showing up in that one film, has gained a new following for being one of the kindest characters in the franchise, the performance by Liv Tyler, and (the main reason) her relationship with Bruce being seen as better than Bruce's with Natasha in Age of Ultron. Many fans want her brought back into the films even if it meant a recast.
  • Erik Selvig in Avengers: Age of Ultron, by virture of returning to his original laid-back, intellectual characterization rather than the manic Cloud Cuckoolander that Thor: The Dark World had turned him into.
  • Hank Pym is derided by comic fans for his infamous Never Live It Down moment of hitting his wife in the middle of a mental breakdown and being Ultron's creator. Fortunately, Michael Douglas's portrayal of Hank as a Retired Badass who had no involvement in Ultron's creation and a single father who loves and misses his wife so much which also negated the infamous incident from the comics really won the hearts of fans. Many consider the movie's portrayal as one of the best since Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
  • Ant-Man is regarded by some comic fans as a lame superhero with boring superpowers and they much prefer Giant-Man instead. However, the movie proves that Ant-Man can kick your ass regardless how small he is and even defeated the Falcon. And then there's him becoming Giant-Man in Captain America: Civil War...
  • Karl Mordo in Doctor Strange (2016). A generic Evil Overlord villain in the comics, Film Mordo is a loyal friend to the Ancient One and Stephen until, disillusioned by their seeming hypocrisy in drawing on forbidden magic, leaves them and becomes a Well-Intentioned Extremist looking to prevent the potentially disastrous consequences of magic overuse.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • The Reveal that Grant Ward was Evil All Along ignited a lot of newfound interest in the character, even amongst viewers who'd previously dismissed him as The Generic Guy.
    • Skye was a Base-Breaking Character from day one, with a very vocal portion of the fandom calling her Mary Sue for her incredible hacking skills and the fact that when she went against S.H.I.E.L.D., she got recruited instead of punished. The reveal that S.H.I.E.L.D. had been protecting her since she was a baby for unknown reasons (implying she had/would develop powers) didn't help. But character development in the latter half of the first season and the first half of the second season (her relationships with Ward and May being chief among them) and the revelation of her true name, Daisy Johnson, brought her popularity back up, to the point that even when she actually did develop powers in the winter finale of the second season, there was no outcry.
    • Jeffrey Mace was initially hated as a smarmy, smug hypocrite obsessed with bizarre and counter-effective teambuilding exercises, not to mention that he stole Coulson's job and was willing to work with an anti-Inhuman senator despite being an Inhuman himself. The reveal of the full nature of his deal with Senator Nadeer (he just lent her his top scientist for a day—while Nadeer's people weren't particularly nice to Simmons, that wasn't Mace's fault), and his reason for becoming Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the first place (he's not an Inhuman, but he accepted a Super Serum from the US government to capitalize on his popularity and help Inhumans) both helped redeem him. Not to mention the time he saved Daisy from jail or worse by pretending her vigilante activities were sanctioned by S.H.I.E.L.D. the entire time. Public opinion of Mace did almost a complete 180 from his status at the beginning of the season, to the point that his Heroic Sacrifice in the Framework is considered one of the biggest Tear Jerkers of the season, if not the whole show.
  • When Daredevil (2015) was adapted for Netflix, many people who only knew the character for the mediocre 2003 film were very skeptical. When it came out, it received almost universal acclaim for its clever and tight plotting, well-choreographed and brutal fight scenes, and in-depth character development and acting, and is regarded by many as the single best entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This had the effect of almost completely redeeming the character in the mainstream public's eye while kickstarting The Defenders (2017) franchise of Netflix shows.
    • For many viewers who weren't too keen on spending a lot of screentime with Foggy Nelson, and saw him to be a boring and pointless character who existed as a geek/nice guy trying to woo the hot girl in the office (Karen), "Nelson v. Murdock" gave more depth to his character and his relationship with Matt. Most of the critics were won over.
    • Season 2 managed to save Karen Page's character in the eyes of many people. In Season 1, she comes across as blindly leaping into danger without a parachute. Season 2 shows her meticulously researching and to be less willing to involve others in her investigation into Frank Castle.
    • After not one, not two, but three failed attempts to adapt the Punisher to the screen, many people had a low opinion of the Punisher as both pointlessly edgy and lacking in depth. Suffice to say, that Jon Bernthal's ferocious performance and the brutal action of Frank Castle's storyline was enough that he got his own spinoff show.
  • For the entire Netflix side of the MCU (Iron Fist, The Defenders, Luke Cage), Danny Rand is slowly coming into his own. In what was largely deemed a beyond-disastrous debut (the first season of Iron Fist is currently sitting at a paltry 16% on Rotten Tomatoes), fans has have slowly warmed up to him over the course of The Defenders and Luke Cage - to the point that in what is largely considered an excellent, superior second season of Luke Cage, many fans and critic cite Danny as being one of the best things in it - an almost 180 turn from Iron Fist's first season. A lot of folks are acknowledging Finn Jones's lack of time for preparation and Scott Buck's lazy turn as showrunner (who also ran Inhumans, further cementing him as someone who does more harm than good to the MCU) as the reasons why the first season was received so poorly. Following Jones's improved performances since the debut season and the major crew shakeup (showrunner, writers, directors, and stunt choreographers are all getting replaced) for the second season, for the first time fans and critics were actually excited about Iron Fist's future. And then the show was cancelled along with all the other Marvel Netflix shows.
  • Thanos. Before the release of Avengers: Infinity War, many fans were tired of the Arc Fatigue and felt that the continuous failure of his plans to obtain the stones made him incredibly ineffective. Infinity War showed him as an extremely conflicted and complex character with a wide range of unexpected emotional depth and, now that he was actually doing things himself, proved to be incredibly effective villain that ended the movie victorious.
  • The novel Infinity War: The Cosmic Quest Volume Two: Aftermath does this for Jane Foster, who had become widely disliked after Thor: The Dark World flattened her character, put her unconvincing romance with Thor ahead of more interesting things, and was played in a bored way by Natalie Portman. In Aftermath, Jane is explored as a character apart from Thor now that the two of them have broken up, is perkier and obsessed with scientific research like in the original movie again, and becomes more of a hero in her own right by accumulating knowledge on the Infinity Stones that might help in the struggle to reverse the damage Thanos has wrought with them.
    • While still a matter of a Broken Base like it was in the comics, Jane's reception has improved even more with The Reveal at SDCC '19 that she would return as the female Thor in Taika Waititi's Thor: Love and Thunder, a decision that was likely the reason Natalie Portman chose to return to the MCU and thus caused Jane to make appearances in the aforementioned Cosmic Quest novel and Avengers: Endgame. The fact that Portman's surprise appearance on stage when this announcement was made was met with thunderous applause further proves that this trope is in action with her.
  • While certainly not hated, Gamora was considered by many to be the blandest of the Guardians in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie because of her role as the Only Sane Man and the only female in the team. The second movie warmed up fans's reception toward her by revealing that she is just as flawed as everyone else in the team (most notably her relationship with Nebula) while her role as The Heart is handled much better and more integrated into the story. This ultimately culminates into Avengers: Infinity War where she is perhaps the second most praised character in the film after Thanos and her death is a major Tear Jerker moment and Signature Scene of the movie.
  • Star Lord gained much hate from the fans during Avengers: Infinity War due to accidentally ruining a plan to stop Thanos that many fans thought would work. Though after Avengers: Endgame, much of the hate had died down as Thanos was finally defeated. It also helps that he gets a few Take That, Scrappy! moments.
  • In a similar vein to Gamora above, Thor (following Hawkeye's rehabilitation mentioned earlier on the page) was considered to be the least interesting among his Avengers teammates and even in his own movies was considered to be a less compelling character than his brother Loki. Not helping was the mediocre reception of Thor: The Dark World and how he was Out of Focus in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Even his actor Chris Hemsworth was unhappy with the direction his character was taking, finding him rather boring to play. However, when Thor: Ragnarok was released, he started regaining his stride due to having a more fleshed out personality and meaningful character arc. Avengers: Infinity War only increased this sentiment even further by making him a Tragic Hero, winning over fans who didn't like his comedic portrayal in Ragnarok. Unfortunately, Avengers: Endgame broke the base on him again due to attempting a balance of the two styles, with questionable results (probably depending on who you ask anyways).
  • Darcy Lewis had a mixed reception in Thor, became a full blown Scrappy in its sequel, and returned to being divisive in Infinity War: The Cosmic Quest Volume Two: Aftermath by being the POV narrator of what is clearly Erik Selvig's story. Her introduction in the fourth episode of WandaVision, however, was well received due to her witty observations of what's happening without veering into too much silly comedy like her second appearance. She also scores points for being the only person who manages to figure out what exactly is going on inside Westview, which not even S.W.O.R.D was able to do at first. The fact that ten years have passed between the events of The Dark World and WandaVision also helps, since Darcy has enough experience to be called a doctor in her field. Nevermind being Older and Wiser than she was since then.
  • Sharon Carter's portrayal in the Captain America movies was widely criticized for being little more than a bland, boring Designated Love Interest to Steve. It didn't help that a majority of her more interesting character traits from the comics were given to Peggy Carter and Black Widow (the former of whom became a famous Breakout Character). Falcon And The Winter Soldier has fully rescued her due to her Fallen Hero characterization and The Reveal that she is the Power Broker. Even those who may not approve of her Face–Heel Turn at least consider it to be a much more interesting direction for her to go.
  • The Mandarin (AKA Trevor Slattery) in Iron Man 3 was a Base-Breaking Character at best, widely derided for being built up as the Big Bad, only to be revealed as a comic relief henchman who served as a front for the supposed real Mandarin Aldrich Killian. His appearance in the film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was much better received, however, as not only had he fully embraced his status as Plucky Comic Relief, but managed to help Shang-Chi and his allies enter the mystical land of Ta Lo. It also helps that the actual Mandarin, who was hinted at since the one-shot All Hail the King, serves as the main antagonist of Shang-Chi, and was likewise very well-received.
  • Nobody much cared for the Inhumans TV series. Anson Mount reprised his role as Black Bolt in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness to much better effect. His costume in this film is faithful to the comics complete with the tuning fork on forehead, but he still looks imposing in it. Just a few closeup shots of Anson Mount subtly shifting his facial expressions manages to give you an understanding of his character. His only words in the film - "I'm sorry" - are also his only full use of his powers, uttered when he remorsefully kills his reality's Doctor Strange. Those two words convey the full weight of the decision and him acting as the executioner.
  • America Chavez in the comics is an extremely polarizing character amongst readers due to her often abrasive, Brutally Honest, Jerkass personality. While many of those detractors still don't consider the film's version of America to be a great character, they find her to be, at the very least, a vast improvement over her comic counterpart. Due to her being far less abrasive to others, her Deadpan Snarker attitude being of the friendlier variety, and having a heartwarming, almost father/daughter-like bond with Doctor Strange.
  • Darren Cross was not exactly popular in Ant-Man, perceived as a rather generic villain with the same powers as Ant-Man. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania brings him back as M.O.D.O.K., now The Dragon to Kang and a Laughably Evil Large Ham with a far more diverse powerset. As such, he became far more popular amongst audiences.