How movies differ from comic books

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There’s no denying that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a pretty big deal. With such a massive target audience which sees fans queuing out of the doors for midnight cinema releases, film makers often have to deviate away from the original comic book content to make it work on the big screen, and in turn, ensure that they become the hit blockbusters that they are known for.

The question is though, what has been changed?

Plot lines

Plots often have to differ in order to make them more appealing on the big screen. However, sometimes they were tweaked without any real reason. If you look at The Amazing Spider-Man, several aspects of Peter’s life were changed. For example, in the comic, first release in 1962, his parents were dead, and he met Gwen in university. Fast forward to 2012’s movie portrayal and his parents were missing, while he met Gwen in high school. Other little changes, which don’t make any impact, included the appearance of Aunt May. In the comic form her white hair was always in a bun, but in the cinematic adaptation, it was only correct in the original 2012 Spider-Man film.

The movie version of Thor also had differences to the comic books. In the film, Hela is the daughter of Odin. However, in the comics, she is in fact the daughter of Loki.

How the characters appear

From the Avengers, Hawkeye was a character who witnessed a major outfit change between comic book and film. Originally donning a costume emblazoned with bright blue and purple fabric, by the time Jeremy Renner got into character, the bow-and-arrow wielding super hero had toned down his appearance to a rather bland and monotone suit.  Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver character also ‘benefitted’ from a dress-down. However, his change from a dashing metallic green comic-book appearance to the murky and dull make-under he received in Hollywood made several fans very unhappy.

It wasn’t just men who saw changes either. Female characters didn’t escape a new wardrobe. On paper, Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch is spotted wearing a devilish red skimpy number that looks more suited at a Halloween party. However, Elizabeth Olsen’s portrayal certainly had the character looking more reserved. And, to think, they say sex sells!


To the detriment of many a comic book fan, certain super heroes and villains have their powers diminished somewhat by the time they appear on our cinema screens. The Hulk, for example, was strong enough the crack the Earth in print, but by the time the character came to life his powers had depreciated, making him more human-like. While he was still extremely powerful, certain aspects had to be removed otherwise the filmmakers could have found themselves struggling for storylines that would work in film.

The character Ultron from the film Avengers: Age of Ultron is another prime example. By the time the character leapt from the comic books and into theatres he didn’t have mind control powers and didn’t hold as much strength. He was, however, still able to log into different levels.


Obviously, any vehicles in the comics can’t be an exact match on the big screen; the time in between both releases making it virtually impossible. However, that has fallen perfectly into big brands’ hands. Audi, for example, have used Marvel’s cinematic presence to launch several new models throughout the Iron Man trilogy. In 2015, with Tony Stark’s appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Audi introduced new models, including the Audi A3 Cabriolet, to the public. These reveals work well for both the movie and car manufacturers as it enhances the film aesthetics while also bringing new mobiles to the attention of potential customers, driving sales of the models. 

Though some changes may only be obvious to the most devoted comic book fans, others are more evident, although the adaptations don’t seem to have a major impact. With movie remakes and the comic-book era set to continue and rise in popularity, it will be interesting to see how directors will tweak the scripts going forward.

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