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Unfortunate Implications / Live-Action Film

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Keep in mind that Unfortunate Implications are unintentional. An intended offensive message (for example, a piece of Axis propaganda about Jews) does not belong here, nor does natter about the author's true intentions.

  • YouTuber Ethel Thurston from Essence Of Thought was extremely critical of Netflix's ostensibly feminist film Bulbbul's portrayal of mental disability/mental illness and, to a lesser extent, its gender politics. She became tearful when pointing out how the sole mentally disabled character in the film's main purpose in the plot is to rape the female protagonist (explicitly because of his mental deficiency), then be brutally murdered by his victim's vengeful spirit, despite clearly not having understood what he was doing and the implication he himself had been raped earlier. The film also supposedly undermines its attempts to be a feminist period piece by effectively placing all the responsibility for fighting for women's rights in 1880's India on a supernatural (i.e. not real) spirit that kills rapists and making the male protagonist's entire arc about learning to respect women culminating in him respectfully severing ties with the family patriarch, despite all that living men can, and have, done for feminism in India.
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  • The movie Christmas with the Kranks has the protagonists decide not to celebrate Christmas. The reaction this gets is pretty insane, to say the least, with the neighbors harassing the Kranks endlessly to celebrate it and put up decorations like the rest of the neighborhood. They finally give in when their young adult daughter decides to come home to visit. The very fact that not celebrating Christmas is seen to be some kind of unforgivable sin is bad enough, but then the film hammers home the idea that fighting against the established conformity — no matter how much you disagree with it — will get you nowhere and you should never do otherwise. Roger Ebert noticed.
  • Knives Out: Marta's storyline, where her rich white employer bequeaths his considerable estate to her, his hardworking immigrant nurse, because she was a good person, has attracted criticism for leaning into the "good immigrant" myth — the notion that immigrants deserve rights and privileges because they are good and hardworking, not necessarily because they are human. Marta is so transparently perfect (to the point she literally cannot lie without vomiting) that it can be argued she's less a character and more a collection of "good immigrant" traits. It also been noted for leaning heavily into issues of deportation and immigration in a way that may be offensive to Hispanic immigrants, especially considering that creator Rian Johnson is a white man who was born in America. It could be argued that Marta's mother being in poor health (and Marta wishing to avoid the stress and strain of a long trial or legal battle) could have been just as strong an impetus to cover up the supposed accidental overdose without leaning on tired stereotypes. The linked articles also note that the Running Gag about Harlan's family constantly getting Marta's ethnicity wrong merely draws attention to the fact her ethnicity is never actually identified, reinforcing the idea that all Hispanics are interchangeable.
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  • Roger Ebert criticized the Twilight movie New Moon for its portrayal of Native Americans as werewolves because it seemed to imply that they were savage animals who don't like to wear clothes.
  • Consider the creepy ephebophilic themes in The Phantom of the Opera talkie version, due to casting younger actors than usual in the roles. Erik poses as Christine's father's ghost, starting when she arrives at the opera house at a very young age — and continues posing as her father's ghost after attempting a romantic relationship with her. The stage version never specifically says when Christine came to the Opera and the Phantom started hanging around her (and it is generally assumed that, as in the original novel, she was a young woman by that point). The massive Electra complex overtones remain, though... As Phantom of the Opera in 15 Minutes says, "Daddy issues ahoy!"
  • Pop Culture Detective comments on the predatory behavior of Harrison Ford's characters in several films, including The Empire Strikes Back and especially Blade Runner. The video essay shows that the women explicitly refuse the advances of Ford, but his behavior is accepted just because the women actually wanted to kiss him. This brings the implication that when a woman rejects a man's sexual advances, she secretly wants them, and that being predatory is a legitimate way of flirting.
  • Many Costa Ricans have a love-hate relationship with Jurassic Park. Many people felt offended because the movie depicts San Jose City as a backwards coastal town with Mexican motifs, chickens, and... well, a generic Banana Republic, while in reality San Jose is located in the center of a valley and is a pretty cosmopolitan big city.
  • Star Wars examples:
  • The Last Duel: Multiple critics have called out that despite the film attempting to address misogyny, sexual harassment, and toxic masculinity, the film ultimately treats Marguerite as little more than a victim, denying her agency or dimension compared to the male characters of the plot; especially considering we don't get to see her point of view until the last third of the story. Given the charged subject matter, other critics have also stated the film lingers too much on exploitative elements of Marguerite's story, and the casting of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, who defended Harvey Weinstein after his extensive history of sexual assault was revealed, ultimately undermines the themes.
  • Anti-sex trafficking activists have criticized the Taken franchise for distorting the reality of sex trafficking. For instance, in reality most victims of sex trafficking are destitute women from poor countries being trafficked into richer ones, not the other way around; most traffickers are not violent kidnappers drugging women, but skilled manipulators; and the flashy slave auctions are mostly works of fiction.
  • In-Universe example with Tropic Thunder. Kirk Lazarus, a notoriously extreme method actor, was cast in the role of Sergeant Osiris. Because of this, he had to undergo extensive surgeries and makeup to appear as African American and adopt an accent similar to Ebonics to sell the effect. This leads to the only other major African American character in the film, rapper Alpa Chino, criticizing Lazarus frequently for the action, as well as a news report noting the controversy. What makes this absurd is that Alpa himself is a stereotypical character, and even gets slapped by Kirk for taking it for granted that he (Alpa) has N-Word Privileges.
    • Another in-universe example shows up in the form of Tugg Speedman's previous Oscar Bait title Simple Jack. It turned out that while middle America will happily gobble up a Glurge-laden story about an Inspirationally Disadvantaged young man, attempts to realistically portray mental illness or congenital disabilities will turn people off immediately. Kirk claims it to be a well known fact that " never go full retard!"
  • Star Trek Into Darkness attracted controversy for Race Lifting, that is, making Khan, an Indian Sikh character originally played by Hispanic actor Ricardo Montalbán, into a white character played by British actor Benedict Cumberbatch. This article goes into detail about the problems with this casting change. It's worth noting that the film's crew actually thought they were avoiding Unfortunate Implications with the casting choice. They thought casting an ethnic actor as a brutal terrorist would have the same outcome. Instead, ironically, their decision to give him a Race Lift was viewed as being even more racist than just sticking to his original ethnicity, as many, especially in the Sikh community who would have liked one of their own to get such a juicy role, complained that it was pointless "whitewashing" of an iconic villain and a lame excuse to cast Benedict Cumberbatch.
  • Although hardly the only flaw in Uwe Boll's series of BloodRayne movies, this article points out how Boll seemingly has "nothing but contempt" for the aggressive, sexually charged female lead character. The review points out how Rayne herself is trumped at every turn in the fight scenes by original characters, and how she is the more submissive partner in the inevitable sex scene.
  • Youtuber Atun-Shei Films made a video criticizing Gods and Generals's handling of the Confederacy. At best, the film leans heavily into the narrative of the civil war as a "tragic misunderstanding." note  At worst, it's Neo-Confederate propaganda. Among other issues raised:
    • Only two major black characters are featured in the story and both support the Confederacy, making it seem like most of the slaves supported the cause of the Confederacy (they did not).
    • There's a lot of whitewashing involving Jackson's views on slavery, making it seem like he opposed it, when most records said he supported it, or at the very least thought of it as a Necessary Evil, though it's just as likely he thought of it as a right sanctioned by God like many of his peers.
    • Talk of Confederates freeing their slaves to join the Confederate army is suggested in the film, which takes place in the early to middle part of the war, when in reality the Confederacy only started taking the idea seriously in the final months of the war when they were truly desperate, and only with the proviso that armed black slaves would not be freed but would remain slaves. Even then many opposed the idea as madness.
  • X-Men Film Series
  • Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is about a black doctor marrying a young white woman, and their efforts to get her parents' approval. The filmmakers deliberately made Sidney Poitier's character into a virtual demigod of perfection, to eliminate audience objections to their marriage other than those based on race. But this created other unfortunate implications. To quote Melvin Van Peebles in the documentary Classified X: "Equality. Never mind that the black guy was a scientist, a Nobel Prize candidate, a Pulitzer Prize-winning, butter wouldn't melt in his mouth type who could practically walk on water, and that she was only a pimply-faced nobody. They were equally matched because she was white. Right?"
  • The casting and portrayal of Tonto by Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger has attracted this from critics. From choice of costume, based off of a fantasy painting by a white artist (see here) to Depp's claim that he wanted to provide a "warrior" character for Native American youth to look up to (here), many people have stated that the film is a complete embodiment of this trope.
  • Grover's characterization in The Lightning Thief was such a nonstop barrage of black stereotypes that it led one person to liken it to a minstrel show.
  • During the 2000s, it became a trend for black actors to crossdress as women in movies for the sake of comedy. Martin Lawrence, Eddie Murphy, and especially Tyler Perry have all come under fire for their movies where they crossdressed as stereotypical fat black women. They've all been accused of reinforcing Uncle Tomfoolery and Modern Minstrelsy.
  • Tyler Perry's Temptation deals with the main character having an extramarital affair, putting her marriage on the line in order to get with a "bad boy." And by the end of the film, she's contracted AIDS from her affair, and this is depicted as her "punishment" for stepping out. Given the history of AIDS being painted as a just punishment for sinners, critics lit up Perry for this one.
  • Peter Rabbit contained a scene where the eponymous rabbit and his family chuck blackberries at Thomas McGregor knowing that he is allergic to them. One then gets into the poor gardener's mouth and he wheezes while struggling to get an EpiPen. This infamous scene has understandably infuriated parents with kids who have allergies and were then boycotting the film.
  • The Ultimate Gift is a relatively normal glurge-y film about a man who must improve himself in the hopes of getting a reward. You'd expect that said award to be the improvement itself, but the movie actually awards him 2 billion dollars. DVD Talk points out the glaring flaw in this ending:
    "Um, hey, how about this instead: you make an inspirational movie about healing and growth, and at the end, the gift is something internal, like being nice to people or not being a jackass anymore. That's a message worth hearing. Having your hero wind up a billionaire suggests we should all do good things solely in the hope of landing a monetary reward. Ugh."
  • In his review of Shame, Kyle Kallgren of Brows Held High took issue with the depiction of the scene when protagonist Brandon has sex with a gay man. While Brandon's compulsive sex addiction is shown to be destructive in every instance, the gay sex is treated as "rock bottom", as the scene is shot under red lighting and then is followed by another scene where Brandon is beaten up by a man on the street.
  • In the 2000 film Rules of Engagement, American Marines open fire on unarmed Yemeni civilians at the American embassy in Sana'a (Samuel L. Jackson's character, a Marine colonel, gives the order to "Waste the motherfuckers!"), killing 83 civilians and injuring over 100 more. When Jackson's character is put on trial, the story then turns to find out if his claims are substantial. In the end, though, it turns out that the civilians were no better than terrorists themselves — everyone, even a four-year-old girl, fired on the Marines first. This article has more info.
  • Spring Breakers' climax involves two white girls donning masks and shooting down a bunch of black people... in Florida... and the film began production shortly after Trayvon Martin was killed. In fact, of all the gangsters in the film, the one who the protagonists trust is white. Addressed by Kyle Kallgren of Brows Held High, who proceeds to criticize this as well as the rampant Male Gaze in his review. The implications of people being shot down in Florida certainly haven't gotten any better over the next few years.
  • The Freudian Excuse of the villain in Rock of Ages is that she was seduced and then abandoned by a rock star, inspiring her to begin her crusade to lobby the government to ban rock music. The thing is, she is presented as an entirely negative character, while her ex is portrayed relatively positively, even joining the protagonists' band at the end, even though it was he who both made the first move in their relationship and left her. As the Musical Hell review points out, the only reason she's a villain and he isn't is Slut-Shaming.
  • Roger Ebert was extremely critical of The Siege because of what he believed was a poor attempt at subverting the anti-Arab/Islamophobic attitudes typically found in other movies. Not helping matters was the fact that it came out three years before the 9/11 attacks.
    "I'm not arguing that The Siege is a deliberately offensive movie. It's not that brainy. In its clumsy way, it throws in comments now and then to show it knows the difference between Arab terrorists and American citizens. But the prejudicial attitudes embodied in the film are insidious, like the anti-Semitism that infected fiction and journalism in the 1930s — not just in Germany, but in Britain and America."
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was heavily criticized for the characters of Skids and Mudflap, who many people viewed as racial caricatures of black people. The Twins are depicted as ebonic-spewing, bickering idiots who can't read and only serve to be comic-relief in a film that's already full of comedic side-characters. It doesn't help that Skids is depicted as having a Gold Tooth for no particular reason.
  • Some biblical films often tend to white-wash the characters despite the stories taking place in the Middle East. For instance, the cast of Noah is entirely white (although the actress portraying Noah's wife is part-Jewish) despite the characters being the ancestors of all races, which wasn't helped by the screenwriter claiming "white people are stand-ins for all people while people-of-color just represent themselves". Also under fire is Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings, which casts black people only in the roles of servants and crooks, and even makes the Great Sphinx statue look white.
  • Seven Pounds concerns Tim Thomas, a man who had accidentally killed seven people in a car accident. At the film's climax, Tim commits suicide and donates his organs to seven people who need them, which is portrayed as a Heroic Sacrifice and a redemptive act for him. Mathew Buck of Bad Movie Beatdown took the film to task for this ending, believing it sends the message that there are situations where committing suicide is justifiable, and moreso the implication that there are people who have screwed up their lives so badly that suicide is the optimal course of action. (This is also Values Dissonance, as certain cultures would actually agree with that message.)
  • In his review of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Film Brain objected to the torturous death given to the promiscuous Bailey; she is first tied up, then raped, then has her teeth pulled out, and finally has her throat cut with a pair of dull scissors. As the rape was deliberately shot to resemble a scene of her having kinky but consensual, sex earlier in the movie, Film Brain took it to mean the filmmakers felt she deserved this gruesome fate.
  • 300 drew criticism for its portrayal of civilized European-looking Greeks fighting against monstrous and dehumanized Persians, several of whom were played by African actors. Not helping matters is that the movie can be seen as a militaristic analogy to the War on Terror. Sources: the Slate, the Guardian, History news Network.
  • 300: Rise of an Empire drew criticism for similar reasons to the first. As once again all the heroes are a group of blue-eyed supermodels speaking in British accents, all the villains dark-skinned Persians speaking in Middle Eastern accents, and this time the only sympathetic or competent Persian so happens to be the only Greek (i.e European) woman within their ranks. Sources: Time
  • Avatar is often criticized for using Mighty Whitey/White Man's Burden plot devices in a high-budget science fiction movie. The main character is a human who becomes the hero of the alien tribe (based off of Native Americans) and gets The Chief's Daughter in the end. This video illustrates using clips of other movies with similar themes how exactly it can be seen as a colonial view of "natives". These articles go into further detail about the controversy.
  • Monster Hunter (2020) drew controversy for a joke made at the beginning of the film, where an Asian soldier asks a white soldier to look at his knees and the white soldier asks the Asian soldier what kind of knees he has and he responded Chinese, alluding to a racist schoolyard rhyme used against East Asian people. The film was immediately pulled from the Chinese screenings afterwards to have the offending scene edited out of all subsequent releases, and the actor who made the joke apologized on his social media feeds.
  • Skyfall: Some viewers have called this after watching Bond's seduction of Severine. Given Severine's background, there's a strong possibility that when Bond initiated sex, she may have felt like she had no choice in the matter. Cinema Sins hangs a lampshade on the discomfort and even Honest Trailers asks: "Isn't he sort of raping that former child prostitute?"
  • M. Night Shyamalan's take on The Last Airbender was heavily criticized for giving a Race Lift to the protagonists, making all three of the main heroes (two of whom, Katara and Sokka, were vaguely Inuit-looking) white and the villains Indian (when they were actually among the paler characters in the show). The Ability over Appearance excuse used falls flat considering the very wooden acting of the leads.
    • The Agony Booth calls out an apparent sexist tone in the film, pointing out that a number of important moments female characters had in the animated series (Katara's speech to the imprisoned Earthbenders, Yue realizing she can sacrifice herself to restore Waterbending) are given to male characters instead. The writer specifically mentions how the film's climax inverts the outcome of the battle of Katara and Zuko from the cartoon, with Zuko being the winner rather than only getting a second wind after the sun rose.
  • Sacha Baron Cohen‘s film The Dictator was criticized many times for portraying negative stereotypes of Arabs as many people felt that Sacha Baron Cohen’s character as the Dictator was highlighting the stereotypes against the Arab community, while comparing the performance to modern day Minstrel Shows.
  • American Sniper:
    • There are a number of controversies regarding the film's depiction of the Iraqi War, with plenty of accusations of racism directed at the depiction of Iraqis and further accusations of washing over Chris Kyle's glorification of war, racism, and moral absolutism, being utterly dismissive of those who didn't serve and being extremely proud of his deeds.
    • Other critics attacked it for perpetuating misconceptions, false pretenses and propaganda about the war. Specifically, the film shows Kyle and his unit being deployed to Iraq immediately after 9/11, and also shows the US Army fighting Al Qaeda right from the start, implying that Iraq was responsible for 9/11, the War in Iraq was a war against Al Qaeda and the invasion was a justified and appropriate response to 9/11.
    • One commentary by an Iraq combat veteran claimed that the film's depiction of Kyle as a One-Man Army, and relegating ordinary soldiers and Marines to background players to be saved or simply be in awe of Kyle gave the impression that elite operatives like Navy SEALS were the only components of the US Armed Forces who were effective and useful.
  • Before it even began filming, Adam Sandler's Ridiculous Six movie got bad press for racism and sexism, with a Native American cast walking out on him.
  • One of the reasons why Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill was so heavily panned by the critics was due to how Mexican Americans were being portrayed in this film. One of the biggest criticisms regarding this was how Felipe, the family’s gardener, was making self-deprecating jokes about Mexican Americans throughout the film, which includes jokes about immigration.
  • Sandler's 2015 film Pixels was heavily criticized for being sexist. For instance, Michelle Monaghan's character is a decorated military officer, but nevertheless spends most of her screen time moping about her husband leaving her or making moon-eyes at Sandler's character, a down-on-his-luck repairman. Josh Gad's character's love interest is the protagonist of a fictional video game come to life; she never speaks and is explicitly referred to as a "trophy" (i.e. an achievement in a video game) at one point.
  • In one scene in Lucy, the titular Lucy shoots a perfectly innocent Taiwanese taxi driver, for no other reason than because he doesn't speak English... while she's in an Asian country after being kidnapped there. Many people have called the film out on this.
  • was critical of the sexual politics of the films of John Hughes in an article they wrote shortly after his death in 2009. In Sixteen Candles, the male lead casually jokes about raping the Alpha Bitch while she's drunk; he doesn't do this, but the Alpha Bitch and the local nerd have a sexual encounter of Questionable Consent later on which is treated as okay because she liked it. Both the male characters here are supposed to be sympathetic. As well, in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the character Cameron pretends to be unconscious at one point so he can watch his best friend's girlfriend naked. The same article also mentions Revenge of the Nerds (though not by Hughes, it's from the same time period and has many of the same themes), which features an extremely uncomfortable scene where the nerd hero has sex with a woman while pretending to be her boyfriend... and when she finds out, she's thrilled, as he was way better in the sack.
  • Spy is a comedy about a downtrodden woman succeeding in a man's world, specifically espionage. According to the Daily Telegraph, however:
    But the film needs Susan to be a bit useless along the way, or it’s in danger of not being funny. And herein lies a slight problem. It’s hard to upend the sexism of the spy genre while also laughing at the unlikeliness of a female spy – especially one played by the magnificently shambolic McCarthy – filling Bond’s boots. The funnier the film gets, in a way, the more it shrugs and admits this is fundamentally a boy’s-own business.
  • Mysterious Skin is a very hard-to-watch movie that faced a lot of controversy from Moral Guardians because of its graphic depiction of the grooming and sexual abuse of a young boy by his baseball coach. There's been some criticism that Neil's life as a prostitute isn't shown to be destructive or dangerous (or even all that abnormal, since he cares more about the sex than the money) until he takes his business into the big city, and because the coach is shown through the gaze of a little boy who has a crush on him, it lessens the impact of the coach as a sexual predator. Then we find out that the coach sexually abused Brian and Neil together, and Brian's life has been very obviously ruined by it. The implication ends up being not that All Gays Are Pedophiles, but if a gay man does happen to be a pedophile then it's no big deal as long as he targets gay kids.
  • Jurassic World has been criticized by some for its characterization of Claire, making her look like a frigid woman who is in the wrong for not having any children as explained here. This actually gets Invoked at one point. Hoskins is discussing how to control the Velociraptors and brings up not allowing the disloyal ones to breed. Barry, a French-African paddock employee who is present when he says this, gives a bitter Never Heard That One Before laugh. Hoskins doesn't get that he just unwittingly referred to one of the historic strategies of African slave owners.
  • Ace Ventura: Pet Detective has a major plot point where the main villain turns out to be a Creepy Crossdresser (who's possibly also transgender), and is subsequently slut-shamed and mocked for it. This review provides an Alternate Character Interpretation that points how cruel the narrative treats said villain, while this one points out that the narrative not only punishes Einhorn for kidnapping and murder, but also for being mentally unstable, "sexually deviant", and presenting as female. Even in 1994, the film was derided for its homophobic implications.
  • Before it was even out, Stonewall, a film about the 1969 Stonewall Inn riot that was one of the founding incidents of the LGBT rights movement, ran into criticism for casting a fictional White Male Lead as its main character despite many of the most important figures in the actual historical events being women, minorities, and transgender people, the person who is commonly credited with having begun the protest, in fact, being all threenote .
  • Discussed here about a change in Divergent from the book to the film — in the book, Tris's fear of intimacy is her third fear, which gets changed to a hallucination of Four attempting to rape her in the film. The post points out that the change (and by extension having Tris conquer the fear with a Groin Attack) opens up a can of worms:
    "...Aren't we just putting the impetus on preventing sexual assault back on the women? So if someone not as strong as Tris is unable to fight off her attacker, is she not responding "appropriately"? Then, aren't we just saying she didn't do everything she could, and thus, it's partly her fault?"
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Iron Man 3, the Mandarin's henchmen are all U.S. military personnel who have had amputated limbs regenerated by Extremis. There's a line in the film that implies they're helping the Mandarin create a never-ending war on terror because soldiers can't get jobs after they come home. Noah Antwiler of The Spoony Experiment pointed out how ridiculously offensive the thought that such a large number of U.S. servicemen and women would willingly and knowingly coordinate attacks against American citizens and even help the Mandarin kill the President is.
    • In general, the MCU has tied itself in knots trying to avoid this trope with the Mandarin, who's a central Iron Man villain but also a Yellow Peril stereotype. They wound up splitting the difference three ways: The Yellow Peril Mandarin was a character (played by actor Trevor Slattery) meant to hide the white villain Aldrich Killian, but Killian was claiming the identity of the real person who led the Ten Rings- Xu Wenwu, who really is Chinese and doesn't call himself 'Mandarin'. Wenwu also fights the Chinese hero Shang-Chi instead of the White Male Lead Tony Stark.
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron:
      • The toy tie-ins for the film seemingly eliminated Black Widow figures, which became surprisingly rare. Boxed sets that supposedly included all the Avengers would have Iron Man, Cap, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye, even Ultron...but not Widow. The Quinjet-motorcycle set, which is based on Widow's big action scene speeding through the streets of Seoul, replaced her with different characters like Cap or even Iron Man, who doesn't even need a motorcycle. Mark Ruffalo himself voiced his displeasure with it on Twitter.
      • One scene has the heroes try to lift Thor's hammer, Mjölnir, which would allow them to become the ruler of Asgard if they succeed. Tony claims that when he takes over Asgard he'll "re-instate prima nocta". Detractors state that regardless of whether or not Tony was kidding, casual rape jokes are a serious problem, and Tony is never called out on this by his friends.
      • Although in full context Black Widow was commenting on her Tyke Bomb history and Training from Hell as a whole, the scene in which Black Widow connects with Bruce Banner over their shared inability to have children was criticized due to the implications that women who can't have children are monsters. Plenty of viewers have pointed out that Natasha likely meant that her handlers stole her ability (and more importantly, her choice) to have kids because they wanted her to be nothing more than a killer (an idea Nat strenuously objects to), that's not always obvious on first viewing.
    • Doctor Strange (2016): Screenwriter C. Robert Cargill explained that the casting of the Ancient One was an "unwinnable one". They cast Tilda Swinton, who isn't Tibetan or of Asian descent at all. However, making her from Tibet would lead the movie to be Banned in China due to political problems between the two countries and making the character of any other Asian descent would open up even more cans of worms.
    • Black Panther (2018): Several critics noted that Killmonger, the film's most notable African-American character, whose stated goal is to help oppressed black people, is portrayed as a violent sociopath who lacks a coherent political philosophy and just wants to see everything burn, with one review describing him as "an American stereotype of unparented African-American hate."
    • Despite the franchise's considerable clout, the MCU has been criticized by many for its lackluster depiction of women. Both Gamora and Black Widow were excluded from the merchandise line despite being core members of the Guardians and Avengers lineup. Furthermore, several female characters are treated as little more than generic love interests, bland supporting characters, or the butt of misogynistic humor. Most damningly, Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter refused to green-light a female-led superhero movie, going so far as to defend his rationale with an argument that was seen as a sexist double standardnote . Even MCU head Kevin Feige agreed with such criticism and, upon gaining full control of the MCU, he promised to have better female representation in subsequent movies, starting by greenlighting Captain Marvel.
    • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: A number of critics have lambasted the film for turning Wanda into a stock villainous Unstable Powered Woman, especially after she'd already undergone Character Development in WandaVision. It really doesn't help that her main reason for doing so (wanting her kids back) was based on Avengers Disassembled, which received similar criticism.
  • Disability advocates are criticizing the movie adaptation of JoJo Moyes' Me Before You because of its ending suggesting that quadriplegic's lives are not worth living and that committing assisted suicide is, for them, a Heroic Sacrifice that can only benefit their abled loved ones. It doesn't help that the story the movie and book follow is the able-bodied female lead's and not the quadriplegic character's, who ends up as an underdeveloped Disabled Love Interest, or that at the end the female lead, Lou, actually is rewarded by Will with a congruous inheritance that makes her able to finally follow her dreams, making Will nothing more than a plot point Lost Lenore.
  • Apocalypto has been criticized on its portrayal of the Mayan people as savages, some scholars have said that the final scene of the Spanish conquistadors arriving sends the colonialist message that the Mayans were so vile and barbaric that they deserved to be "saved" by the white Europeans.
  • Passengers (2016) has the female lead brought out of suspended animation early in an interstellar voyage and trapped on the ship, alone with the male lead for the rest of her life. It was criticized in multiple reviews for revealing that the male lead inflicted this on her intentionally to avoid going mad from the isolation (and because he thought she was cute) and presenting it as a surmountable relationship hurdle that he can badger her into forgiving — essentially portraying "captivity fantasy and victimization" as romance. It also didn't help that the film had an extremely misleading trailer that implied both characters' awakenings were accidental.
  • The Reveal at the end of the already-controversial Ghost in the Shell (2017) that Scarlett Johansson's character was originally a Japanese girl before being turned into a Caucasian cyborg has been criticized for unintentionally reinforcing the idea that European beauty is superior to all others.
    Jen Yamato: “Ghost in the Shell” sent a clear, cold message to me as an Asian woman that I am not as worthy of owning my own identity. It’s a dehumanizing concept to sell so cheerily to mass audiences.
  • Atomic Blonde picked up a significant LGBT Fanbase before it was even out thanks to the promises of the main character being bisexual and her primary love interest being a woman. Many of them were disappointed to discover that the love interest character is brutally murdered by the villain toward the end.
  • The film adaptation of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood has received some negative reviews that argue that its central storyline of the protagonist reconciling with her abusive mother after being told about the latter's own Dark and Troubled Past sends the message that abusive parents should not be held accountable for what they do to their children as long as their own past is sufficiently tragic.
  • Daredevil: In his The Nostalgia Critic review of the film, Doug Walker took issue with Matt and Elektra's first meeting, which involves them fighting in an open playground when he won't stop trying to get her name.
    NC: Okay, so...where do I begin with this? First of all, I think she's making it pretty clear she's not interested in your stalker ass. If she wanted, she could call the cops on you for being a creeper and grabbing her. But, nah, it makes much more sense to fight him, which leads to the second and most obvious problem: she's fighting a blind guy! She doesn't know he has super senses and neither does anyone else, so, really, what is there to gain? If you lose, you got beaten by a blind guy. Pretty pathetic. But if you win, congrats, you beat the shit out of a fucking blind guy. How does anyone come out looking good in this scenario?
  • Bright: In her video essay, Lindsay Ellis points out that along with the film's many other tone-deaf ideas, the film tries to tie the in-universe racism, both fantastic and mundane, to real-life historical events where the persecuted people were the aggressors. She notes that this insinuates that racism can be based in logical and rational reasons when in truth that isn't always the case and, more troublingly, notions like that can fuel and enable bigots.
  • Under the Rainbow, being a 1980s comedy about the 1930s, isn't exactly the most politically correct movie out there. But even by those standards, it has some pretty horrific things to say about non-straight, white, able-bodied males. The Japanese are not only almost all portrayed as photographers who mix up their R's and L's and have a photography club called JAPS, but it also has them all dying horrific deaths that are basically waved off as hilarious by the movie itself, to the point where when a group of them are shot, a white guy in the elevator's response to it is just "I would've held the door open for you, y'know". Not only that but, at one point, one of the Dwarfs in the movie, who are the good guys, gets ready to rape a bunch of distraught women and it's seen as being hilarious in the context of the movie. Worse, the film basically portrays every character with Dwarfism as psychopaths that will ruin any place they go to just for the hell of it. Not only that, but many of them have very childlike personalities because, apparently, just because someone is the size of a child means they are a child. To say some critics weren't exactly amused by the movie's portrayal of little people is putting it mildly.
  • The children's film Show Dogs fell under fire for a bit where the talking dog protagonist has to have his genitalia inspected to be part of the show. Despite showing obvious discomfort, he's simply told to "go to his zen place," at which he imagines himself dancing while he's being groped. Many people were disgusted with the Black Comedy Rape implications, feeling that it essentially normalized sexual grooming. The film's distributors responded by quickly pulling the film and re-releasing it in an edited version that removes two scenes prominently relating to this subplot — the National Center on Sexual Exploitation still took offense at the re-cut because it still retained some genital-inspection scenes.
  • Ready Player One (2018) drew criticism on top of what the book got for a virtual Race Lift, of the protagonist's in-game best friend Aech. In the book, the avatar Aech is a white male, but the film makes him an orc-like creature. The book made a significant reveal out of the fact that the person behind the avatar Aech is a black woman, noting that she picked this to avoid sexual and racial harassment on the Internet; essayist Ayo Norman also notes the fact that in-universe the virtual world of Oasis is an escape from a Crapsack World. This reveal loses quite a bit of power in the adaptation.
  • In World War Z, Israel built a massive wall to keep the zombie horde out, and when the Palestinians are allowed within its confines, everybody cheers as the conflict ends since both peoples celebrate the fact that they are alive. Soon after, all hell breaks loose as the zombies hear the sound, and Zerg Rush the wall, make it over, and Israel is destroyed. To some, this sounds like a justification of the Real Life wall on the edge of the Western Bank, with the implications that if the wall is torn down, and if the Palestinians are allowed to become part of Israeli society, the state, and even the concept, of Israel will be destroyed.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Justice League: The theatrical cut of the film came under heavy fire, especially when accusations by Ray Fisher came to light, for cutting several characters of color out of the film (including Iris West, Calvin Swanwick/Martian Manhunter, Dr. Ryan Choi, and Elinore Stone), yet adding in white characters such as the burglar and the Russian family, as well as cutting a large part of Cyborg's (Fisher's character) backstory and motivations. It speaks volumes that when Zack Snyder was allowed to finish his cut of the film, all of those roles were restored as originally filmed. This article covers some of the mistreatment Joss Whedon had undertaken, not just on this film, but on the Buffyverse as well, showcasing that some of the director's behavior may have played a part in this.
    • Wonder Woman 1984:
      • Diana consummating her relationship with the spirit of Steve Trevor, though he's possessing another guy. This is treated as a sweet, romantic moment despite it being sexual assault and/or rape since the guy that's been possessed cannot consent, as a number of viewers have pointed out.
      • The film has also come under fire for its regressive, orientalist, and even racist depictions of Arabs and the Middle East, as seen here, here and here. The film's Egyptian characters are a mishmash of Middle Eastern traits, and the film depicts the region as poor and war-torn.
  • Ghostbusters (2016) has been criticized on its portrayal of male characters, as according to an editorial by Andre Einherjar from Midnight's Edge every single male character in the movie is either inept, incompetent, an idiot, an asshole, or some combination of all of the above.
  • In Bird Box, seeing the creatures makes people go crazy and suicidal; but somehow people with mental disorders are not affected by it and instead force everyone they encounter to see the creatures. Jeremy on CinemaSins pointed out how this helps to perpetuate the stigma of mental illnesses and the people who suffer from them.
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu has received criticism for its handling of the villain with a disability as well as for suggesting that all disabled people want to be cured rather than try to live with their disability.
  • Loqueesha is a 2019 comedy film, in which the white male protagonist pretends to be a Sassy Black Woman on the radio and becomes a hit sensation, has been slammed by critics who decried its main premise as both racist and misogynist.
  • The Test (2012), another comedy film with the same actor and director as Loqueesha, is about a man who is about to marry a beautiful woman, but fearing that she might be a Gold Digger, he puts her through a series of humiliating and abusive Secret Test of Character to prove to him that she truly loves him. Several reviewers have balked at its inherently misogynist premise, and how we are supposed to root for the male lead.
  • This video discusses the "abduction as romance" trope present in The Terminator, V for Vendetta, Passengers, and several others. Quoted below is the film's analysis of Kyle Reese trying to save Sarah Connor, despite the fact that she doesn't want to go with him.
    "The storytelling here is trying to set up an elaborate scenario in which a woman's perfectly reasonable and rational resistance to male violence seems like a naïve mistake. And that framing is not accidental. It's a specific kind of male fantasy where a man taking away a woman's freedom and fundamental rights is presented as something done for her own good, which results in situations where she becomes dependent on her abductor for survival."
  • Idiocracy: Director and writer Mike Judge swears up and down that this wasn't his intention, but as more than a few critics and viewers point out, it's way too easy to interpret the beginning sequence of the movie as an endorsement for eugenics. Said critics also point out the very classist elements in said sequence as well, where the film essentially seems to be blaming poor people for their own lack of birth control and low levels of education, all the while conflating class and wealth with intelligence, and that the poor are to blame for the state of society (despite having little to no control over the circumstances of their lives) and that success comes from "common sense" (rather than the chance circumstances of health and education a person is born into). This is remarkably mean-spirited for a film which allegedly wants to aspire to a better world.
  • Red Sonja: The Encyclopedia of Fantasy accused the movie of being morally dubious as far as the portrayal of homosexuality is concerned. Gedren is portrayed as a lesbian whose rivalry with Sonja is based partly on the fact that Sonja once rejected her sexual advances. It also portrays her sexuality as being one of Gedren's evil aspects (rather than simply not taking "no" for an answer).
  • The Invention of Lying has been criticized by the Bad Romance podcast in this episode, where Jourdain and Kyle address the problematic insinuations of how the film handles its premise of a man learning to lie in a world where no one has before, such as equating honesty on what you desire in a romantic partner to being pro-eugenics and appearing to imply that convincing a suicidal person that life is worth living qualifies as lying to them.
  • The 1997 live-action adaptation of Mr. Magoo was savaged by blindness advocates, saying that Mr. Magoo's characterization was highly insensitive to those with visual impairments. Roger Ebert also felt that the movie was one long blind joke in running time. The movie was pulled within weeks of its release, and it sent the franchise into remission for quite some time.
  • Red Sparrow has been criticized for being exploitative, misogynistic and in poor taste. There are over a hundred reviews pointing this out, and a few of them can be found here. Director Francis Lawrence and Jennifer Lawrence attempted to defend the film by arguing it is about female empowerment, but the general reception has been the exact opposite of that.
  • The HBO Max version of The Witches (2020) has been criticized by disability advocates for its depiction of the titular witches' deformed limbs (which differ significantly from the book and previous film). HBO Max and Warner Bros. apologized in light of the backlash.
  • Maleficent: The film has been criticized as turning one of the most powerful female characters (albeit evil) in the Disney canon into a lesser version whose story arc is mostly centured on Aurora, with the sequel perceived as only making this worse.
  • One movie poster for Power Rangers (2017) was lambasted by long-time fans for being insensitive to Thuy Trang, the original Yellow Ranger. The poster depicted the Yellow Ranger, now played by Becky Gomez, standing on her Zord accompanied by the text "Driver's Ed not required." Trang was killed in an auto accident in 2001, and the movie's official Twitter account was swamped with tweets pointing this out. The poster was later pulled, with both Lionsgate and Saban Brands apologizing as a result.
  • Sia's film Music (2021) was met with backlash from the autistic community almost as soon as its trailer was revealed, which did not die down after the film's release:
  • When Dear Evan Hansen was made into a movie, Rachel Leishman at The Mary Sue spelled out her objections to how the titular character is treated sympathetically despite his dishonest, self-serving behavior and sexist attitude toward his mother.
    During the crux of Evan’s problems with his mother Heidi (Julianne Moore) and the reveal that he was lying to the Murphys all along, Evan sings the song “Words Fail.” The lyric that truly sends me into a fit of rage is when Evan sings that, unlike Connor, he had “No mom who just was there ’cause mom was all that she had to be,” since his mother is a busy, working single mom.

    Yeah, that bit starts out as a complaint about his dad not being there but takes a weird turn into crapping on not just his working mom but the concept of mothers working in general. The show is just Evan constantly putting his problems and his worries and his mental health issues at the forefront and disregarding anyone else around him. He doesn’t recognize his mother is struggling, he lies to a grieving family, and he manipulates Connor’s sister into liking him under false pretense. Evan Hansen is a villain.
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022) makes a villain out of Peter Pan, making him a Former Child Star who after losing job opportunities due to growing old turned to a life of crime. While it's not clear if it was intentional or not, a not insignificant amount of people are disgusted at how this unfortunadely has some resonance with the life of Peter's voice actor Bobby Driscoll, who indeed saw puberty end his child actor career working for Disney (and it kicked in right after Peter Pan, no less), leading the poor actor into a downward spiral until his unfortunate death in 1968 at the age of 31, due to a drug overdose.