Have you ever wondered what made Marvel Cinematic Universe [MCU] films so successful where other superhero franchises failed? Some experts might argue it lies in the inherent flaws of the characters. Marvel has truly forced audiences to reexamine what makes someone a hero and what defines redemption. Take a look at these five+ vices built in to Marvel characters.
Ant-Man – Recklessness & Petty Crime
In July 2015 moviegoers were introduced to plucky, well-meaning petty criminal Scott Lang. With his “rob from the rich to give to the poor mentality,” Scott turned to misdemeanors and burglary to make ends meet. This reckless behavior left him in some very hot water when one run-of-the mill breaking and entering infraction changed his life, and his height, forever.
James Barnes – Doubt
When you’re held hostage and tortured by Hydra, one of the most notorious criminal organizations ever to besiege the earth, trust can be hard to come by. James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes, Captain America’s resurrected and Hydra-brainwashed best friend, doesn’t know who to trust or rely on after being rescued in the ninth film of the franchise. Barnes lived in a constant state of fear and suspicion towards everyone he encountered, often resulting in uncontrollable bouts of anger.
Doctor Strange – Arrogance
When Doctor Strange debuted to audiences in 2016 he was an arrogant, egotistical brain surgeon from New York City. He boasted his superior intellect to anyone who was in earshot and showed complete disregard for peer advice as it pertained to terminal patient’s well being. When a near fatal car crash left his hands completely destroyed, the Doctor was forced to come to grips with his mortality and learn what it means to be a good man in today’s world.
Loki – Envy
You might not be directly made aware of the flaws superheroes possess – for instance, the gambling habits of Marvel characters or their tempers – but these vices lie comfortably in the subtext of the franchise. As a driving force of villainy in a majority of the films that make up the MCU it should come as no surprise that Loki is on the list. Based off the trickster god of Norse mythological fame, Loki holds true to his name by causing strife and mayhem across the universe. The envy and resentment over his adopted step-brother Thor’s rightful place as ruler over Asgard fueled every single calculated move made by this duplicitous villain. His desire to rule the kingdom eventually led to his defeat and imprisonment.
Tony Stark – Excess, Womanizing & Vanity
Some experts have said that Tony Stark’s name runs synonymous with the word vice. It seems that the man under the Iron Man suit hasn’t met a vice he didn’t choose to partake in at least once or twice. With tendencies toward womanizing, extreme arrogance and reckless behavior and vanity, this hero was introduced to us as anything but super. Growing up a billionaire playboy, Stark never heard the word “no.” Throughout the franchise we see these vices take more of a backseat to valor, courage and selflessness, though.
As a franchise, it’s easy to see why audiences demand more and more screen time from these beloved characters. In their flaws we find a little bit of ourselves that is relatable. We root for the little guy to overcome his shortcomings and rise up to be a hero because we all wish the same for ourselves in our own lives.