ByJames Ingram, writer at
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James Ingram

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the biggest film franchises ever, and it is still expanding. However, there were times where even the most dedicated fans became unsure. Sometimes Marvel made decisions which seemed iffy, or downright wrong. But, Marvel have turned themselves into the masters of the turnaround, with many decisions that should not have worked - yet somehow did. This article will count down some of Marvel's decisions that had many questioning if they'd lost the plot.

Rebooting the Hulk

Poor Eric Bana
Poor Eric Bana

The Decision: After the failure of 2003's Hulk film, Marvel decided to use their second film in the universe to reboot the green rage monster with Ed Norton in the starring role. Was 5 years too soon to reboot after such a dismal failure? Things were looking bad when Norton had to re-write much of the script after being unimpressed with the original.

The Turnaround: The Incredible Hulk certainly isn't the best film in the MCU, but it is still entertaining (and better than any non-batman film DC have churned out since Superman II). Ed Norton was serviceable in the role but it was the special effects that stole the show here. The movie's fights were incredible to watch and William Hurt was expertly cast as General Ross. Incredible Hulk may be the lowest grossing film in the universe, but it's hard to imagine what the Avengers would have been without him.

Thor, starring Chris Hemsworth and directed by Kenneth Branagh

Thor director Kenneth Branagh in Wild Wild West
Thor director Kenneth Branagh in Wild Wild West

The Decision: After the first two Iron Man films and Hulk, Marvel introduced Thor into mainstream culture. Thor is a mystical Norse God from a magical realm, not the easiest film to pitch. Adding to that was the casting of a then unknown Australian, Chris Hemsworth in the title role. Kenneth Branagh, known mainly for directing Shakespearean films, seemed an odd choice for a superhero film.

The Turnaround: Nobody really knows how Thor worked, because it really shouldn't have. The two leads had only 5 feature films worth of experience combined before the film (Hemsworth - 3 (including Star Trek) and Hiddleston - 2). Yet both turned in some great performances and are now mega-stars. Branagh placed emphasis on the relationship between the two brothers and the film was all the better for it. Sure Natalie Portman was a bit underwhelming as Jane and Kat Denning's character was very annoying, but the film on a whole worked, somehow. 10 years ago, the sentence, "Thor, starring Chris Hemsworth and directed by Kenneth Branagh" would have been unthinkable but in 2011, that happened, and it worked.

Tom Hiddleston's Loki as the main Avengers villain

Hiddleston did not panic
Hiddleston did not panic

The Decision: Making Loki, a character with no proven track record as a character, played by Tom Hiddleston, with almost no feature film experience as the villain in the first Avengers film was certainly a risk. Especially when you consider that he was announced as part of the film in June, 2009, way before the his successes in Thor.

The Turnaround: Have you seen the film? Hiddleston gives an awesome performance, holding his own against - or even surpassing - the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey Jr, Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson. The performance was one of the best parts of the film and has installed Hiddleston straight into pop culture history.

Resurrecting Coulson

His name is Phil
His name is Phil

The Descision: Phil Coulson's death was a major turning point for the Avengers. Many were apprehensive when it was announced that Coulson would return in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The Turnaround: Whilst season 1 of the show was below average, Coulson provided it with a bit of familiarity. The show has improved immensely in season two and Director Coulson has been a huge part of that success.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Audiences were hooked on the feeling
Audiences were hooked on the feeling

The Decision: 10 years ago, the X-Men were Marvel's most famous team, then the Fantastic Four, then the Avengers, then 4 or 5 others, then the Guardians of the Galaxy. Very few people had any faith in this film to be a good one. It had an inexperienced director, an unproven property and its two biggest stars were in the voice-over booth.

The Turnaround: The trailer came out, then the film. The refreshing tone and playful characters produced one of Marvel's best efforts. Chris Pratt and Dave Bautista silenced their doubters whilst Rocket and Groot became the breakout characters of the year. It was a very risky move at first, but now, we are Groot.

Unresolved Decisions

Whilst Marvel has turned around some decisions that seemed bad at first, there are some moves which have yet to really pay off.

Giving Hawkeye Nothing to do

I love Hawkeye, in the comics and on the fantastic Earth's Mightiest Heroes cartoon he is my favourite Avenger. But in the films, he is yet to find his niche in the team. He runs around as a bad guy for half the film and then does almost nothing as a hero. Furthermore, he is nowhere to be seen in any Phase 2 film. They are probably going to have to throw in some "training in remote place" lines in Avengers 2 to explain why he didn't help Iron Man or Cap. Hawkeye is sarcastic and quick-witted, he knows he isn't the heaviest hitter but he gives it his all. Hawkeye seems, at the moment, to be the Avenger most likely to die. Killing him before letting him shine would be a horrid waste of the character.

Putting Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver in Age of Ultron instead of... anyone else

This was an odd decision. Marvel doesn't really seem to gain anything from introducing these characters.They can't really make a solo film because Fox owns all of their bad guys, oh, and their dad by the way. They also don't have the fan base that several other Avengers have. Age of Ultron may very well give us great versions of these characters, but for now their inclusion feels confusing.

Ant-Man Changes

If you had to name three facts about Ant-Man, you may well say: His name is Hank Pym, he invented Ultron and he was one of the original Avengers. None of this will be the Ant-Man we see in the film. Scott Lang will instead carry the mantle whilst Pym will be a mentor. Taking away the best known parts about the character will certainly affect the film, but will it be positive or negative?


The Marvel Cinematic Universe is an amazing feat of cinema. Along the way Marvel has made many decisions which have helped to shape the universe. Marvel has taken risks, most of which have eventually paid off, leading to the belief that Marvel can do no wrong. Their creative heads have managed to turnaround some decisions which seemed risky, or even downright awful at first. Going forward Marvel will have more tough decisions to make, but they have shown what they do should not be judged on face value.

In Marvel we trust!


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