Generally speaking, we expect our superheroes to be super good people. They always fight for the well being of everybody and they have our best interests at heart. Not only that, they never make mistakes. But hey, if a character in a movie never makes a mistake, they would be boring. So basically everybody in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is flawed in one way or another, and they frequently make mistakes.
As a result, we often see our heroes doing unheroic things. Maybe their back is against the wall and they think they have no choice. Maybe they think that in the end, their choice to do the wrong thing is done for the right reasons. Maybe they just get super pissed off and and lash out. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier recently showed us that even those with the greatest intentions are capable of terrible things. Here are a few times that the heroes of the MCU were slightly less than heroic.
Tony Stark Creates Ultron
It's been something of a trope in comic books, and in comic book movies, that the heroes actually create their greatest enemies. But in Avengers: Age of Ultron, that's literally what happens. Ultron literally would not have existed if Tony Stark hadn't plugged the Mind Stone, which he didn't fully understand, into a computer. The result was a super intelligent being that had the voice of James Spader, and you know that means trouble. By creating Ultron, Tony Stark doesn't simply create an enemy to be defeated. He ultimately sets in motion the events that lead directly to Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. Maybe it wasn't a great plan.
Star-Lord Causes The Snap
It's a moment that a lot of people were talking about after we all saw Avengers: Infinity War. On Titan, our heroes put together a plan to take Thanos down and obtain the Infinity Gauntlet, thus saving half the life in the galaxy, and it worked. They swarm Thanos and very nearly pull the glove right off his arm. And then Star-Lord finds out Gamora is dead and loses his shit, and everything proceeds to fall part. To be sure, Peter Quill's complete breakdown is understandable; I sympathize with his situation. We all could have made the same mistake in that situation. Still, if it weren't for him, the Snap might not have happened.
Basically All Of Civil War
When heroes are fighting heroes and friends are fighting friends, you know something has gone horribly wrong. That's what happened when the Sokovia Accords were introduced and all of Earth's Mightiest Heroes had to pick a side. They either joined the new order of things and came in line with world governments, or they could try to remain free and potentially become enemies themselves. We're not here to pick a side, but Captain America: Civil War potentially paints everybody as at least a little bit wrong. And if you're fully committed to one side or the other, than clearly the other side is being pretty unheroic, even if we can all disagree about which side that is.
Hawkeye Becomes Ronin
As with Star-Lord's freak-out in Avengers: Infinity War, I'm not sure anybody would ever blame Clint Barton for going off the bloody deep end when every member of his family was snapped out of existence in Avengers: Endgame, but he was not. However, his particular reaction was perhaps a tad extreme, and certainly not heroic. He goes full-on vigilante, becoming judge, jury, and executioner for every manner of low-life who was somehow lucky enough to not be snapped out existence. Catching the bad guys is fine, but generally heroes are willing to put their faith in the legal system. But when Hawkeye becomes Ronin, that all goes out the window. Exactly how many people were killed at the end of his blade, we don't even know.
Nick Fury Manipulates Everybody
Choosing a single moment when Nick Fury is being unheroic is actually tough. While Fury finds himself one of the "good guys," he's not exactly a good person, like, ever. Nick Fury completely manipulated the Avengers in order to get them to do what he wanted, and that was just one example. He lies to anybody or goes behind their backs when it suits his purpose. Nick Fury will do whatever it takes to get the job done, and while there's certainly value in that, he's also willing to build flying battle tanks to patrol the world if that's what's necessary.
Wanda Mind Controls A Town
The initial setup for Marvel's first MCU Disney+ series, that Wanda Maximoff and Vision were, for some reason, trapped in a seemingly endless series of sitcoms, had an obviously humorous premise. However, the reality of the series was anything but funny. Wanda was hurting in a big way, and in her grief, she inadvertently began to mind control an entire town. It doesn't seem that Wanda did any of this intentionally, and she ultimately did the right thing and let everybody go. However, she was given more than one chance to see the truth and refused, somehow knowing she'd done something terrible. Her grief was understandable, but her actions were ultimately not those of a hero.
Odin Wipes Hela From History
Odin was never an Avenger, but he was presented to us as an ideal hero throughout most of the life in the MCU. Thor and Loki both saw their father as a great leader, and they only wanted to make him proud. Which is why it came as a great shock to them both to discover that Odin hadn't always been the paragon of virtue he appeared to be. He became the ruler of the Nine Realms through a massive war, and when his daughter Hela, with whom he did his conquering, became too much of a problem, he imprisoned her and tried to remove any mention of her from history, not even making his sons aware they had a sister. He fabricated history to suit his own ends.
Doing something bad doesn't make you unredeemable. The truth is that even our greatest heroes, real and fictional, are not perfect. In the end, their flaws are what really make them relatable, and how they overcome those flaws is what truly makes them heroic. At the same time, while we might forgive our favorite MCU characters for their worst moments, we, and they, probably shouldn't forget them.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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