Top 10 Times Superhero Movies Were Unfaithful to the Comics
Top 10 Times Superhero Movies Were Unfaithful to the Comics

Top 10 Times Superhero Movies Were Unfaithful to the Comics

VOICE OVER: Callum Janes WRITTEN BY: David Foster
Hey, they can't all be faithful adaptations, right? For this list, we'll be looking at the biggest and boldest changes between these films about costumed heroes and their source material. Our countdown includes "Spider-Man", "Black Widow", "The Dark Knight", and more!

Top 10 Times Superhero Movies Were Unfaithful to the Comics

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 times superhero movies were unfaithful to the comics.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the biggest and boldest changes between these films about costumed heroes and their source material. Since we’ll be talking about major storylines, a spoiler warning is in effect.

Were these shifts good examples of artistic license or horrible misfires? Let us know in the comments.

#10: Organic Webbing

"Spider-Man" (2002)

Peter Parker is widely accepted as one of the smartest people to become Spider-Man. While his wall-crawling, spidey-sense and agility are great, his big brain is his most useful asset. However, director Sam Raimi still didn’t think Peter was clever enough for one thing. Although the young Spider-Man typically builds his own web shooters, Tobey Maguire’s webhead had organic webs. The director made this change because he was concerned audiences might not buy that Peter could build functioning wrist devices at his age. It’s funny that a teen swinging across rooftops after a spider bite was more believable than one building an incredible invention. Fortunately, this all natural change didn’t make Peter feel any less fun to watch.

#9: Loki & Hela's Relationship

"Thor: Ragnarok" (2017)

“Thor” stories like taking tales from Norse mythology and putting a Marvel-ous spin on them. Despite making liberal changes, the comics generally kept the Thor family tree intact. But the movies decided to majorly change Hela’s place in Asgard. Although she’s still known as the Goddess of Death, her father is now Odin. In the comics, Hela was actually Loki’s daughter. Since the god of mischief and goddess of death don’t spend a whole lot of time together in “Ragnarok”, it’s hard to grasp how much this family tree shakeup changed their dynamic. It could’ve been interesting to see them play father and daughter. And if the movie would’ve been really accurate to the myths, Fenrir would’ve joined that family reunion as Loki’s son.

#8: Sam Wilson’s Powers & Backstory

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (2014)

Sometimes it’s 100 percent clear why screenwriters changed something that was in the comics. No one knows that better than Sam Wilson. In the source material, Steve Rogers’ trusted friend was a man who kept a falcon named Redwing as a pet. After falling foul (pun intended) of Red Skull, Wilson somehow gained the ability to telepathically communicate with birds. He decided to put this strange power to use by fighting crime as the Falcon. The movies cleaned this strange origin story completely by making Sam a former soldier who was given the wings during his service. The films also completely dropped the telepathic powers. For fans who really missed Sam’s comic backstory, the MCU made a small compromise by later making Redwing a drone.

#7: Barbara Not Gordon?

"Batman and Robin" (1997)

There is plenty about "Batman and Robin" that is worthy of derision. We could go on and on about the over-the-top costumes, bat credit card and hokey dialogue. However, the most distracting change involved Barbara. She’s typically the daughter of Commissioner Gordon throughout most “Batman” media. Growing up with him as her dad usually helps motivate her to become Batgirl down the line. So, it was baffling to see Barbara’s last name changed to Wilson and learn she was Alfred Pennyworth's niece in “Batman & Robin.” While this switch-up serves some parts of the story, it does nothing to make her character more interesting. Making Barbara a “Wilson” is something that should’ve been tossed out at first draft of this infamous film.

#6: Drax the Human

"Guardians of the Galaxy" (2014)

It turns out that Drax the Destroyer wasn’t always an alien. In the comics, he was originally a human named Arthur Douglas whose life changed when he went on a drive with his family. When Thanos attacked the car, the man lost his wife and his daughter was taken from him. Arthur’s soul was then put into an alien body in the hopes that he would slay the mad titan. While the way he became Drax the Destroyer was undoubtedly tragic, it might’ve been a little too weird for general audiences to accept. The first “Guardians” kept the part of his backstory where he loses his family without the soul transferring. At least casting the musclebound Dave Bautista made the live-action character look comic accurate.

#5: Ultron's Creation

"Avengers: Age of Ultron" (2015)

When the MCU named Ultron as the next “big bad” after Loki, fans went wild. The comic-book version of the android was certainly a match for the might of the newly assembled Avengers. However, the way they intended to introduce Ultron raised a few eyebrows. In the source material, the evil robot is created by Hank Pym AKA Ant-Man. The inventor and machine’s complex relationship was the heart of many fascinating and thought provoking stories. But the MCU didn’t plan to introduce this hero until after “Age of Ultron” debuted.“Age of Ultron” got around this issue by having Tony Stark and Bruce Banner build the AI. While this change was necessary, it came at the cost of Pym and Ultron's historic relationship.

#4: Will the Real Mandarin Please Stand Up?

"Iron Man 3" (2013)

What happens when you take an Academy Award-winning actor and a character who has an extensive comic book history and put them in a twist that no one sees coming? Well… you get a generally mixed opinion. For the majority of “Iron Man 3”, Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin was a scary dude. It seemed like Tony Stark was facing a threat he couldn’t overcome...until it turned out that the villain was a bloke called Trevor. What made the reveal that he was a fake even more controversial is that antagonist Aldrich Killian claims he was the Mandarin too. After all these plot points divided fans, Marvel revealed there was definitely a real Mandarin out there.

#3: Not Our Doomsday

"Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice" (2016)

After the Caped Crusader and The Last Son of Krypton had their title match, Lex Luthor started another fight. He used Kryptonian technology and DNA to create the hulking Doomsday. However, this is quite the departure from the source material. Luthor typically has nothing to do with the monster that’s infamous for slaying the Man of Steel”. Doomsday was originally a genetically engineered Kryptonian creature originally called “The Ultimate.” After this monster lands on earth, Booster Gold dubbed the villain Doomsday. Despite “Batman V Superman” stepping away from this story, there are still hints of the creature’s origins in the movie. The computer Lex uses suggests someone else may have created a being like Doomsday before. Is there another terrifying creature waiting in the DCEU?

#2: Taskmaster’s Personality

"Black Widow" (2021)

2021’s “Black Widow” allowed audiences the opportunity to say farewell to Natasha Romanoff with her own solo film. It also promised to finally give comic fans a live-action version of The Taskmaster. In the comics, Tony Masters is a dangerous foe because he can mimic the abilities of other heroes. He’s also known for his brash and cocky personality. While the movie kept the Taskmaster’s ability to copy techniques, Antonia Dreykov was under the mask this time around. Her version of the character was much more serious and didn’t have a distinctive personality. While Antonia’s version of the villain worked within the “Black Widow” story, fans were disappointed that this Taskmaster didn’t have the charisma they were expecting.

#1: The Dark Knight's One Rule

A Ton of Live-Action “Batman” films

Everyone knows that The Dark Knight makes a point of not assassinating any of his opponents. He fears that if he crosses that line and takes a life, he’d potentially be just as bad as the criminals he fights in Gotham. Although this character trait is a huge part of the Batman mythos, screenwriters often seem to forget about his one rule. In the Chrstian Bale films, there are instances where he literally gets away with murder by indirectly creating fatal situations. We saw Keaton’s dark knight smile while disposing of a goon in “Batman Returns”. And Ben Affleck’s caped crusader clearly had no problem with taking lives in 2016. Hopefully, we'll see Pattinson stick to Batman’s big rule.