Maintaining fidelity to their source material is usually a point in favor of the on-screen versions of our favorite characters who first began their lives on the page. Sometimes, though, changing a plot point is not only a necessity; it's a good thing.
In some cases, for instance in the rapidly overlapping TV and book versions of Game of Thrones, some diversion is necessary. Sometimes, however, there's a very clearly set out story, that the movie-makers choose to ignore. So what makes that a good choice or a bad one?
A Kinja discussion about some of the best examples, and what made them work, began in response to this post on Joss Whedon's explanation for some of the changes he'd made in the cinematic Avengers from the comic predecessors. (Spoilers ahead!):
Considering the intelligence we've seen JARVIS display during the movies Stark really is the only logical person presented to create Ultron. With JARVIS he has practically almost made Ultron already! JARVIS ran multiple Iron Men in combat and is making jokes, being witty... basically I'd say he is almost sentient and would blow away the Turing test. Off the top of my head, in Avengers Tony asks Jarvis if he has heard the story of Jonah as Iron Man is about to plunge into the maw of one of those flying snake things and Jarvis replies that he doesn't think Jonah is a good role model. That would take QUITE the AI to piece together all that.
It was a good idea when GoT used Tywin instead of Bolton for a lot of scenes, and its a good idea here to use Stark instead of someone else. I'm sure Ant-Man will be a fine character, but its a more interesting story to have Stark be responsible rather than having Stark come in and clean up someone else's mess.
Other commenters pointed out that flipping through different continuities wasn't even a new phenomenon. It was, in fact, in keeping with the history of how comics had always worked.
Exactly. The movies have their own continuity, cherry-picking from fifty-some years of comics continuity. The Black Widow, Captain America, and Hawkeye were not founding members of the Avengers in the comics, but who cares? It worked for the movie.
I mean, if we're going to insist on remaining faithful to the original comics, then the first AVENGERS movie should have featured the Hulk juggling elephants while disguised as a robot clown—just like he did in AVENGERS #1 way back in 1963.
Replacing Pym with Stark seems simple and elegant to me.
Keep in mind that about the only reason Hank Pym created Ultron was because at that point in Avengers history (1968), Cap, Thor, and Iron Man had temporarily left the team and the focus was on B-players like Hawkeye, Giant-Man, and Wasp, and newer heroes like Black Panther and Black Knight. Lee was afraid that the presence of the "Big Three" would cannibalize sales of the solo books, so during this period he'd instructed series writer Roy Thomas that they could only show up in the event of a semi-annual world-threatening emergency. If Tony Stark had been on the team, he might have been responsible for Ultron's creation.
What do you think? Tell us your thoughts, along with some of your favorite examples, in the comments now.