We're lucky enough to live in an era where a surprising amount of comic book movies are quite awesome. It wasn't too long ago where a vast majority of superhero films were mediocre at best, but as more and more properties are brought to the masses, more and more drastic alterations are made to the characters and storylines we hold close to our hearts. This should of course come as no surprise since a majority of these films are merely inspired by the source material and not a direct adaptation. There's no denying we comic fans tend to be a rather passionate group of individuals, but what changes can we roll with and which make us want to throw popcorn at the big screen?
Let's dive right into the big one: Deadpool. The immensely popular character was brought to theaters back in 2009, except it turned out to be nothing like anyone could have expected. Yes, all seemed fine and dandy when Ryan Reynold's was blocking bullets as Wade Wilson, but then the film took a drastic turn from the road we all thought we were traveling. Sure, Wade undergoes an experiment to become Deadpool just like in the comics, but in the source material, they merely gave him an accelerated healing factor. However, in the film, they added crazy long Adamantium blades on his wrists (ones which would make it impossible for him to bend his arms if they're sheathed, but I digress), teleportation (which he did via a device in the comics, by the way, so we can live with that one) and, get this, optic blasts.
The thought of having Deadpool in a film was thrilling. He's a character we love and having him brought in opens the door to using him more in the future. But this character simply wasn't Deadpool and the end result was an over the top individual created just for a boss battle which honestly wasn't even that great. This isn't us being shallow over changes. No, Cyclops' optic blast generating heat is a small change we're totally capable of being cool with. But this Weapon XI character was no longer Deadpool in the least. To make matters worse, he was being remotely controlled, too.
So that makes us wonder, what's the point of including a popular character (with future potential) if the end result is no longer the character at all? And now if they did want to use him down the road, they'd have to essentially ignore this film or find a way to write their way out of it. Then what's the point of doing that in the first place? He was clearly built-up for a final fight, but in doing so, it ruined the character's future and didn't even deliver that grand of a scene. To us, a change like that just seems unnecessary. Yes, the idea of Weapon XI is cool, but why not apply it to a new character in the film instead of wasting Deadpool's first feature film appearance?
A more recent example is Harada in The Wolverine. As many of you know, Kenuichio Harada is the Silver Samurai in the comics -- a fantastic Wolverine villain and sometimes even his ally. However, in The Wolverine, he's changed to a character who focuses on archery, mostly works for Viper, and then, to add insult to injury, gets impaled by mega adamantium Silver Samurai. We can't help but wonder... why not just give this archer a totally different name? We understand throwing references around to get fans excited, but if it's going to totally go against who the character is and bring nothing of value to the greater picture, why bother?
It goes without saying those are two big changes that we had trouble swallowing, but by far the most polarizing thing this year (at least with Marvel films) has to be Mandarin in Iron Man 3. Disputably one of Iron Man's most well-known villains and a character hinted at since the first movie with Tony Stark, we were all blindsided when Ben Kingsley's character turned out to be a total hoax. The man we all believed to be a fearsome terrorist was in a fact an actor and a total joke being manipulated by the true Mandarin, Aldrich Killian (a character who died super early in the Extremis arc).
The key difference here is unlike with Deadpool and Harada, we actually enjoyed this twist. Don't get us wrong -- we're not oblivious to the fact it was totally disrespectful to the character and shattered any potential of us ever seeing a true Mandarin vs. Iron Man encounter. It's because of this we understand why many of you are on the other side of the fence with this one, too. Not everyone laughed along and for many, this was the point that ruined the movie for them.
Why were we okay with it? To us, it was a hilarious, brilliant, and well-executed twist (yes, we're aware we lost many of you with that one). The pros it brought to the table outweighed the cons and we had a good laugh. It was a major twist in the plot that none of us saw coming, where-as Deadpool and Harada simply felt like wasted characters which brought nothing redeemable enough to counter the huge changes. When it comes to drastically altering a character's role or powers, we think it's only acceptable if it serves a much greater purpose (aka not just a mediocre fight scene). Otherwise, it's a totally wasted opportunity.
That said, it's worth noting the outcry over this scene wasn't massive. Yeah, it seems like a big deal here on the site because it's a subject we're all very passionate about, but the general audience mostly soaked it up. The film made a massive profit and has a mostly positive rating from both critics and audiences. Now, that's not saying you're wrong and you should feel bad if you think otherwise (you have every right to loathe the twist if you want to, after all), but it's worth noting that this is a change that Marvel Studios clearly sees as acceptable now that all of the figures and ratings are in. Regarding their less popular properties, we won't be surprised if we're hit with a few more drastic switch-ups down the road.
Equally polarizing was Superman crossing the line with General Zod in Man of Steel. Again, this is a case where being on either side of the fence is understandable to us and rightfully so. Heck, even here at Comic Vine we disagree on this one a whole lot. Compelling arguments can be made for why it makes sense given the circumstances, and equally compelling arguments can be made for why the scene didn't have to happen at all in the first place. However, unlike with Iron Man 3, the unexpected bleak turn of events left critics more divided and it's sure to be one of the most discussed moments in the current comic book movie era.
Another heavily discussed change is skin color. Just like everything else, this is a case-by-case basis. First and foremost, changes should never be made just for the sake of diversity -- that's just insulting and pandering. Instead, they should be made because the actor/actress is perfect for the role and an organic fit. Take Kingpin, for example. Obviously a white character yet portrayed by the very missed Michael Clarke Duncan. His skin may not be the same color as the character from the source material, but everything else was flawless and he was easily one of the best parts of the entire film. Because of that, the color of his skin is totally irrelevant to us. Kingpin isn't Kingpin because he's white. He's who he is because of his stature and personality, and Duncan was clearly the best man for the job. We feel this mentality should always apply when it comes to potentially changing the color of a character's skin. It should only be done if the person is indeed the best option for the role and if the character is not specifically defined by that aspect.
At the end of the day, we understand there will always be changes from the panels to the movies, but if they're not done well and/or have a positive impact on the narrative, then what's the point? In attempting to please the comic community by throwing certain elements and names our way, they're only doing the polar opposite when it's poorly executed (e.g., Deadpool & Silver Samurai). What do you think, Viners? What changes are you alright with and what makes you want to flip a table? Give the comments section below a polite piece of your mind.