Thor: Ragnarok’s destruction of Asgard divided fans, with some finding Korg’s humor during the devastating moment inappropriate. Spider-Man’s altered backstory, with Tony Stark replacing Uncle Ben as a mentor, was a controversial choice for some fans. The all-female heroes moment in Avengers: Endgame was seen by some as virtue signaling, while others celebrated it as an important spotlight for the franchise’s female characters.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is known for its epic action moments and lighthearted humor, but the franchise has also seen its share of controversial moments that divided its audience. The movies of the MCU have established it as one of cinema’s biggest and most successful franchises of all time. Its popular adaptations of the characters and stories of Marvel Comics have earned the MCU one of the largest fanbases in existence, bringing several previously obscure characters to the fore of pop culture in the process. Unfortunately, not every aspect of the MCU is considered perfect by every member of its audience.

Over the years, the MCU’s timeline of movies has polarized fans, with some reacting more strongly than likely expected to specific creative choices. Some of them stem from moments that eschew the traditional narratives established in the comics, while others are simply the result of character moments that some fans perceived negatively. Here are 10 controversial MCU moments that divided fans more than any other.


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10 Asgard’s Destruction

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Thor: Ragnarok’s ending saw Thor realize that his only hope of defeating Hela was to allow Surtur to destroy Asgard and her with it, choosing instead to save his people rather than his home. It was a defining moment for the hero, but one element of Asgard’s destruction significantly divided fans. Though Korg was one of Taika Waititi’s best comedic additions to the Thor movies, some felt that his emotionless commentary of Asgard’s demise was inappropriate. Others found it an excellent example of the MCU’s use of levity, making it one of Thor: Ragnarok’s most controversial moments.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

The cast of Avengers: Infinity War brought all of the MCU’s many heroes together to fight Thanos, but one particular moment saw a newer character have a controversial interaction with a key MCU hero. Upon arriving in Wakanda, Bruce Banner meets Shuri, who promptly offers a criticism of Banner and Tony Stark’s work creating Vision, seemingly belittling them by saying she’s sure “they did their best.” There were some who felt the line was a condescending insult to MCU royalty, while others saw it as a simple joke that established Wakanda’s technological superiority.

8 Spider-Man’s MCU Backstory

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

One of the MCU’s most controversial decisions was the way in which the franchise altered Spider-Man’s backstory and the general characterization of the hero. Instead of the traditional origin story, the MCU opted not to feature so much as a mention of Uncle Ben and instead made Tony Stark his mentor and role model. Many felt that Spider-Man’s role as something of a sidekick to Iron Man undermined a classic Marvel hero, while others simply enjoyed the fresh take on the well-known story.

7 Star-Lord Attacks Thanos

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Another of the MCU’s most divisive moments came at a pivotal point in Avengers: Infinity War, after Star-Lord learns of Gamora’s death. Confronting Thanos, Star-Lord grows emotional and attacks the Mad Titan, allowing him an opportunity to gain the upper hand and defeat the Avengers. Some fans felt that the moment was poorly written, and an uncharacteristic mistake from Star-Lord only included to suit the plot. However, others understood Star-Lord’s emotional reaction and considered it an organic piece of character development, making it a particularly controversial choice.

6 The Maximoffs’ Non-Mutant Origins

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Though the Scarlet Witch’s character was later explored (and subtly retconned) in the MCU TV show WandaVision, the manner of the Maximoff twins’ introduction in 2015 proved controversial. The characters destined to become Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch were brought into the MCU despite the rights to Marvel’s mutant characters belonging to Fox at the time. As a result, the MCU instead had their powers be written as the result of HYDRA experimentation involving the Mind Stone. Introducing the Maximoffs as non-mutants was seen as a fundamental failing of the characters by some, whereas others understood the necessity from which the decision stemmed.

5 Endgame’s All-Female Heroes

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

There were very few moments in Avengers: Endgame that divided fans, but one minor creative decision made about the Battle of Earth wasn’t received well by everyone. After Captain Marvel’s arrival, the MCU’s female heroes band together to support her assault on Thanos. However, many considered the all-female moment thinly-veiled virtue signaling in response to criticisms regarding the lack of significant female heroes in the franchise at the time. Others had no issue with the scene and simply considered it an important moment in which the MCU’s female heroes were given a chance to be in the spotlight.

4 Steve & Sharon Carter’s Kiss

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Of the MCU’s many heroes, Steve Rogers is undoubtedly one of the least divisive. Steve’s Captain America arc is often celebrated as one of the MCU’s foundational narrative elements, but Captain America: Civil War actually saw a brief moment of controversy involving the hero. Shortly after the death of Peggy Carter, Steve seemingly begins to pursue a romantic relationship with her niece, Sharon. The kiss between the pair was viewed by some as an uncharacteristic betrayal of Steve’s ongoing love for Peggy (especially after their reunion in Avengers: Endgame). However, some felt it showed Steve embracing a new way of thinking, making it a minor but divisive MCU moment.

3 The Mandarin Reveal

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Perhaps the biggest twist in the history of the MCU is also one of the franchise’s strangest developments, and it also divided fans at the time. Iron Man 3 introduced Tony Stark’s nemesis from the comics, the Mandarin, although the film later revealed that the character was simply an actor paid by Aldrich Killian. The revelation that the Mandarin seemingly didn’t exist in the MCU was considered by many as disrespectful to the Iron Man mythos, whereas some considered it an interesting twist that set the MCU apart. The notion was later retconned, retroactively dispelling much of the controversy.

2 Sam Wilson Getting Cap’s Shield

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

The ending of Avengers: Endgame brought many big MCU moments, one of which was Steve Rogers choosing his own successor. However, the scene in which Rogers passes his iconic shield to Sam Wilson proved divisive, as there were many fans who felt that Bucky Barnes deserved it more. The argument for either character becoming the MCU’s new Captain America was strong, but skipping over Bucky entirely didn’t sit well with many, making the moment decidedly controversial with some fans.

1 Black Widow’s “Monster” Line

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Perhaps the most controversial line of dialogue in the entire MCU came in Avengers: Age of Ultron when Black Widow began describing her training to Bruce Banner. The insight offered was about how Romanoff was rendered infertile as part of her training, which she then goes on to explain makes her a “monster.” Many felt using such language about infertility was incredibly insensitive, while also somewhat offensive while talking to a character who transforms into a literal monster. However, others recognized the emotional impact of Romanoff’s words, overlooking the potentially harmful nature of the dialogue. Even so, the moment remains one of the most controversial in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Key Release Dates

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 The MCU occasionally divides its fans.  Read More