With exceptional visual effects and an array of some of the greatest characters created in the history of fictional characters, superhero movies are currently a juggernaut at the box office. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is considered one of the best superhero comic-book franchises ever with nearly 20 movies and a number of TV series like Agents of Shield, Iron Fist, and Daredevil. But a lot these MCU characters that we see on the screen is remarkably different from their printed counterparts in the comics.
Here we have a list of differences between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the comic books. Some related to the character, some to the plot, some huge, & some not so much (but mainly huge). Let us start with the fairly small variances which don’t really make all that much of a difference.
Some of the minor differences include the nominal (or sometimes vast) changes in the character costumes. These include Captain America whose costume was a bit bluer and brighter in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as compared to the comic books, or Quake from Agents of Shield whose onscreen costume is a lot less shiny and much more leather-like as compared to the comic representation. Other members in this league are Quicksilver, who had a rather short part to play in the MCU, Yondu, and Black Panther.
The Real Ant-Man
Ant-Man on the cover of one of the marvel Comics for The Avengers
Now, moving on to the bigger differences, we can safely say that there are a lot. Let us start with Hank Pym. He had a huge role to play in the comics. He was the original Ant-man, and also one of the core members of the Avengers. But in the movies, we only see him playing a secondary character. The movie mainly follows Scott’s journey as Ant-man, although it does reveal that Hank Pym was Ant-man during the Cold War, which is a clear indication of the character’s legacy as Ant-man in the comics.
Luis- Scott Lang’s Best Buddy
Another major difference related to Ant-man between the comics and the MCU movies is Scott’s best friend Luis. Michael Pena plays the character beautifully in the movies. But the thing is, he wasn’t really a part of the Marvel comics until recently. In the comic books, he also has a suit that runs on Pym Particles and allows him to become the new Giant-man
Hawkeye’s chemistry with the Mockingbird in the comic books is clear over here
The fact that Hawkeye had a family in Avengers: Age of Ultron came as a huge surprise to all those who followed the comics before the MCU came along. That is because, in most of the comic books, Hawkeye was depicted as a ladies’ man. He’s had failed relationships with heroes like the Black Widow, Mockingbird, Spider-Woman among others in the comics. In addition to that, he also has a brother and an apprentice. Had the MCU taken more of an inspiration from the comic version of Hawkeye, he probably would’ve garnered much more attention.
The S.H.I.E.L.D. logo
Another huge difference between Marvel Comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is SHIELD itself. In the MCU, it stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division. But on paper, what the acronym actually stands for differs from comic to comic. SHIELD in the comics has had a number of varied origins ranging from being a mysterious global organisation to being an age-old organisation dedicated to protecting the world. On the other hand, in the movies, we’ve had the same old SHIELD over the years.
The Vision’s origin stories in the movies and the comics are hazily similar, but they still have their own remarkable differences. In both, the movies and the comics, Vision was an android and Ultron had created him. But in the movies, Vision is simply programmed by JARVIS. Whereas, in the comics, it’s much more complicated than that. Vision has a whole synthetic brain made for him which is actually constructed from the brainwaves of another superhero.
Thor, or Donald Blake?
We don’t see a certain Dr. Donald Blake in the movies. On the paper, Donald Blake is Thor’s alter ego. He spends a considerable amount of time on Earth, not knowing about his origins and being mortal. The MCU just disregards this part and instead choose to show him as a God stuck on Earth in a mortal form. Although, it does make for a better introduction to his powers in the movies, given the time limit. But I’m also sure we would love Donald Blake just as much as we loved Thor if we saw him onscreen.
Origin of The Falcon
The origin story of The Falcon in the movies and the comics is strikingly different. In the movies, he’s a former USAF ranger and rescue pilot, and a dear friend to our beloved Cap. But the comics tell us a much more complicated version. It’s so complicated, it’s almost confusing. It includes him becoming a gang leader, the Red Skull, and the Tesseract, among other things. In the comics, he also takes on the mantle of Captain America. Now, if that happens in the movies or not, we’ll just have to wait and watch.
Good Thanos, and Bad Thanos
Lady Death revealing herself to Thanos in the Comics
In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos almost seems like a saint in a twisted way. He commits intergalactic genocide and makes personal sacrifices just to create balance within the universe. Thanos in the movies is also quite similar to Galactus, what with committing genocide and striving to create balance. But Thanos in the comics is conspicuously different. He has worshipped Lady Death from a young age and has been obsessed with her ever since. He’s in love with her. In the comics, that’s the main reason he goes on a conquest to wipe out half of the universe’s population. Thanos, in comic books, is rather conspiring, twisted, and dark.
The printed version of Civil War was way more complicated than the movies
Civil War in the movies and Civil War in the comics was dramatically distinct. The events of Civil War were altered conveniently according to MCU’s overall synopsis and to better fit it’s characters. In the comics, it is the disputable actions of the New Warriors against a supervillain which leads to a lot of destruction and deaths, including their own. In the comics, the conflict is also on a significantly large scale considering it is between every Marvel superhero ever. Whereas, in the movies, we see this conflict taking place between a handful of Avengers split into two teams. Another pronounced difference is that Zemo had absolutely no role to play in the happenings of Civil War in the Marvel comics.
Drax The Destroyer
The printed and cinematic versions of the powerful and comical of Drax are evidently divergent. In the comics, Drax is a human, who dies, and is resurrected by the Eternals; one of them being Thanos’s father. The main purpose of this resurrection is to kill Thanos. His human name in the comic books is Arthur Douglas. Conversely, in the movies, Drax is the only survivor with his family being killed by Ronan, The Accuser. He is the only one other than Gamora and Nebula to have (sort of) ties with Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.1.
And there we have it, folks. These are some of the major differences between the comic books and the MCU. As different from the comics as the MCU is though, it’s still got everyone more than excited for the movies.