Whether you prefer the Marvel Cinematic Universe or watching Netflix originals of Marvel shows, it’s pretty obvious that Marvel is slowly trying to dominate the world. One of the certain effects of Marvel encroaching onto both the big and small screen is that there are now three breeds of people. Those who only watch Marvel in the cinema. Those who only watch the TV shows. And those who are obsessed enough to binge on both.
But the ultimate question is. . . which is better? Because both forms definitely have their pros and cons!
Bigger names + bigger explosions = bigger draw!
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is full of big names, both in terms of the comic book universe and the movie world in general. If you’re a fan of the franchise, you’ll keep your eye out for Stan Lee during each film and you’ll know that not only is Chris Evans playing Captain America currently, but he also played Johnny Storm.
The MCU is jam packed with names like Robert Downey Junior and Ryan Reynolds, people who arguably don’t just like their characters, they ARE their characters in a lot of ways. I don’t think anyone is ever going to dare tell Robert Downey Junior that he isn’t Iron Man. Hell, according to one article I read, he threatened to quit if the other actors of the Avengers didn’t get a pay rise. . . and it’s pretty obvious that there isn’t anyone stupid enough to try and replace him.
One of the great beauties of Marvel on the big screen is that in around two hours or more, it wraps up humour, violence and some great asses in spandex. The marketing campaigns are usual awesome and it brings a voice to the comic book world that maybe otherwise wouldn’t have been heard before.
Most people who watch the movies have probably never picked up a comic book in their lives, but that doesn’t mean that they enjoy the films any less and it certainly doesn’t make them any less of a fan. I mean come on, people can be OBSESSED with this franchise. I’d know… I’m one of them!
The Great Marvel/DC War
In comparison to the movies, Marvel’s television shows can certainly feel a lot less flashy. In comparison the special effects can be a little ridiculous, but that’s because you know they’re working with a significantly smaller budget!
I think it’s safe to say that Marvel has started to get the edge over DC in terms of the big screen. After the success of the Dark Knight trilogy, DC has only had flops like Man of Steel, whereas Marvel has finally found the financing and the fan base to churn out Iron Man, Captain America, The Avengers, Ant-Man and on and on and on. But in terms of the smaller screen, the war as for who does it better is very much ongoing.
Who knows, people will always have their own opinion about which they prefer. Arrow or Jessica Jones? Gotham or Agents of Shield?
It feels like it’s only recently that Marvel has really started to break out into TV more. With the Netflix original series like Daredevil and Jessica Jones and ABC bringing out Agent Carter alongside Agents of Shield, their definitely plenty to watch.
Bridging the gap!
One of the real benefits of these television shows is definitely that whilst we can be waiting years for the next Iron Man or Captain America film, in the meantime we have TV to keep us keen. It’s a new culture of binge watching nowadays. I know I for one devoured Jessica Jones in two days.
Having all the episodes at once makes it almost like a film in itself, just a hell of a lot longer.
And isn’t that the great thing? It’s longer!
The films may have the bigger names and the better special effects, but Marvel’s television shows allow for an actual expansion on the characters. One of the things that I will always be happy about is that we got to see a more about Peggy Carter’s story in Agent Carter. I loved the woman as soon as she threw that punch in Captain America: The First Avenger! So the fact she now has her own television show is awesome!
The television shows are great because they give the background characters more screen time that they otherwise wouldn’t get! Case in point: Peggy Carter, Agent Coulson, Jessica Jones. People had heard of Daredevil before the Netflix series, but had they heard of Miss Jones?
Now, don’t get me wrong, the films are great for creating well rounded and likeable characters in the time that they have, but one of the benefits of the television shows, despite the smaller budget that they have is that they have the freedom to completely play with everything. They can stretch out tropes and plots over a whole series and they can provide you with a greater understanding of a character’s quirks and personality so much more easily.
One of the great things about Jessica Jones was that over the season, we successfully – or at least on my part – got to root for this broody, angry, often unlikeable character. Sure, Iron Man can be hard to love at times, but I think Marvel really nails characters on TV.
You don’t have to be a Marvel fan!
Yes, you read that right!
The sad fact of life is that there are some people who don’t obsess over Marvel’s film franchise, or even like them at all. Everyone is
entitled to their opinion. (Even if they’re wrong!) If you’re not a Marvel fan, then you probably won’t be reading this article and let’s face it, you probably won’t be watching Agents of Shield or Agent Carter really. But in terms of Jessica Jones and Daredevil, Netflix has given Marvel the platform to reach out to a bigger audience.
It’s so easy to click through on Netflix and watch ‘just one episode’ of a random television show. So I think a lot of people might start watching Jessica Jones or Daredevil without realising its Marvel, or at least not actively thinking about it, because why not.
Whilst one of the great things about Marvel’s Agents of Shield and Agent Carter is that they tie in with and help to explain things that happen in the films, it does mean that unless you’re willing to completely immerse yourself in the Marvel culture, you’re probably not going to be that interested. Jessica Jones and Daredevil don’t really tie in with the movies in any way.
Sure, if you read the comics you’ll know how they may do at a later date, but let’s be real. The two shows hardly tie in with each other like you would expect. In order to watch either one of the shows, you don’t have to have prior knowledge of the Marvel universe.
Which, you totally do for the films.
Take my step mother for example. In a fit of ‘family bonding’ she decided to accompany us to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Has she seen Captain America: The First Avenger? No. Has she seen any other Marvel movie? No.
Cue two hours of, “Who’s that?” “Is that the bad guy?” “Who the hell is Bucky?” “I don’t get this bit…” Well of course you don’t get it, you haven’t seen any of the other films! Just the other day my Dad took her to see Deadpool, which she actually en joyed? Why – because it’s not one of the films you need much prior knowledge to watch.
Don’t get me wrong, for someone who is a big fan of Marvel, how everything is interconnected and influences other films is GREAT. But I can imagine that for someone who isn’t a fan really, Netflix has provided them a way to enjoy just a little of the Marvel universe with minimal stress.
So which is better?
Honestly, I prefer the films, but when it’s laid out in front of me I don’t have much of a justification as to why. I like the hype, I like the way it all ties in. I like the anticipation. But that isn’t to say at all that I don’t also love Marvel’s television shows, because I do.
I think at the end of it, it comes down to a person’s own preference, but one thing is definitely clear, both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the television shows have their own benefits and for someone that watches everything that the franchise has to offer? Well, in that way Marvel is completely set up to both make and ruin your life.
Seriously. . . sometimes it feels like I watch nothing else! But don’t take my word for it, let me know! Which do you prefer?