The Marvel Studios Double-Standard

The Marvel Studios Double-Standard

Why is it that fans seem to be biased towards Marvel Studios films, while disparaging towards adaptations from other companies?

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By Viltrumite - 5/20/2012
Recently, I have noticed a trend on this site and others that I find legitimately confusing. Fans very rarely complain (extensively, at least) about changes made to films by Marvel Studios, particularly after release, but they tear apart films from other studios for making similar changes. Films from companies such as 20th Century Fox and Sony are called "not true Marvel films" for taking liberties from the source material, with fans claiming if they were in the hands of Marvel Studios, they would be handled with more reverence to the original stories. However, I find that Marvel Studios has made several changes from the source that are quite drastic, and yet they get a free pass. Take these incidences, for example:

-Marvel Studios used Pepper Pots as a love interest for Tony Stark, where she was originally linked with Happy Hogan.
-To my knowledge, Obadiah Stane never had a personal connection to Tony, and of course, was not responsible for the assassination attempt on him in the Middle East that led him on the path to becoming Iron Man (originally Vietnam).
-Ivan Vanko, the primary antagonist of Iron Man 2, is not a character that appears in the comics. He is a amalgamation of two Iron Man villains, Whiplash and Crimson Dynamo. His father's name, Anton Vanko, is the identity of the first Crimson Dynamo. Anton's backstory as a disgruntled Stark employee, combined with Ivan's partnership with Justin Hammer, is derived from Whiplash. The initial harness used is a callback to Whiplash, while the bulky armor he wears towards the end of the film is reminiscent of the Crimson Dynamo (sans color). This still does not justify the fact that he is not a villain or character that ever appeared in the comics; he is a creation of the film created by combining two characters.
-Justin Hammer was made much younger in the movie; around Tony's age. In the comics, he appears to be in his later 80s/early 90s. The personality is completely different.
-The Abomination looks nothing like his comic book counterpart. I recall little outrage at how much they changed his appearance, while every article involving the Lizard from the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man derides the lack of a snout, thought the design is reminiscent of the Steve Ditko original.
-Thor's Donald Blake identity from the original comics was done away with, referred to in a throwaway joke.
-Jane Foster is no longer a nurse or physician.
-Bucky was around Captain America's age. While this is a deviation from the original comics, the case could be made that they derived this from the Ultimate comics.
-The Red Skull had no ties to Dr. Erksine or the Super-Soldier formula. He also had no connection the to Hyrda organization.

I could go on further, but it would serve little purpose. Let it be known that I am in no way deriding the Marvel Studios films or pointing out reasons as to why I think they are bad films or poor adaptations. The Avengers is currently my favorite superhero film of all time, Iron Man my third. The other four are all within my top ten, and I am ecstatic to see where the MCU goes next. I do not believe that changes to the source material are necessarily a bad thing, as oftentimes they lead to a better, more exciting film. What works on the page does not always work on screen, and I encourage filmmakers to give us something fresh, even if it means altering the source material or combining bits and pieces of it in ways give fans something new and original.

The point I'm trying to make, is that fans are able to see past glaring changes to the source material with these films, while not with others. In fact, these changes are many fans' reasons as to why they consider them to be horrible films, even if they have yet to be released. X-Men: First Class was torn apart by many fans for ignoring the comic lore and making drastic changes to both characters and events. The Amazing Spider-Man is currently suffering the same scrutiny, mostly towards the Lizard's appearance, the rumored changes to Spider-Man's origin, and Peter Parker's modernized social status. Many fans still claim the Joker from The Dark Knight wasn't the "real" joker, as he wasn't acid-bleached with chemicals, while Bane and Catwoman receive the same amount of derision. Some claim that with the changes made to the Bane character, they should have named him something else, though the same could easily be said about Iron Man 2's Whiplash or The Incredible Hulk's Abomination. On the more nit-picky, OCD, basement-dwelling fanboy side of things, Catwoman receives flack simply for not wearing her trademark cowl in The Dark Knight Rises, while many seem to have gotten over Thor's lack of helmet after realizing it takes little away from the film.

The question I ask is, why does this double-standard exist? Is it simply because the MCU films are produced by Marvel Comic's own film studio? Is it the shared continuity? That would certainly explain why many use "give the rights back to Marvel" as an solution to changes made in non-Marvel Studios films, while pro-Marvel bias would lend itself towards the negative sentiments Nolan's Batman trilogy has been receiving on this site recently. What do you believe is the cause of this double-standard? Or, is there no double-standard, and I'm simply delusional? Leave your thoughts below.
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Supes17 - 5/20/2012, 12:12 PM
The only thing that pissed me off was that they made
the Abomination(reptilian in appearance) look like
a brownish-green version of DOOMSDAY
Ashes2Phoenix - 5/20/2012, 12:18 PM
You are not being delusional in the slightest. There is definitely a double standard when it comes to the Marvel films. Any Marvel film that is not being made by Marvel gets attacked whilst all the other Marvel films that are made by Marvel are accepted, no matter what the changes.

Great Article ! This should be on main !
Supes17 - 5/20/2012, 12:20 PM
Yeah this should be on main....
Viltrumite - 5/20/2012, 12:24 PM
First time writing for this site, thanks for the positive comments.
Marvelfreek94 - 5/20/2012, 12:27 PM
Good article. I had heard that official the marvel cinematic universe is in fact another reality of the marvel U like 616,ultimate,noir, and even our reality.
dellamorte1872 - 5/20/2012, 12:37 PM
I KNOW YOUR PAIN...IM2 PISSED ME OFF FOR ALL THOSE REASONS YOU STATED. I CAN FORGIVE HIM NEVER DATING POTTS BEFORE. THAT CHANGE IS...PASSABLE. THE ABOMINATION THING I AGREE I WAS MAD ABOUT BUT I LOVE HULK SO MUCH I TRIED TO "MAKE IT" PASSABLE B/C OF MY LOVE OF HULK AND MY HATRED OF A.L'S VERSION. DIDNT KNOW ABOUT CAP (THOUGHT BUT WASNT SURE) NEVER A FAN. THE BIGGEST THING THAT PISSED ME OFF WAS ELBA I KNOW PEOPLE SCREAM RASCIST BUT, HE IS THE "WHITE" GOD. LOOK IT UP. THAT IS TOTALLY THE OPPOSITE OF HOW HE WAS REPRESENTED.
dellamorte1872 - 5/20/2012, 12:41 PM
ITS NOT EVEN KINDA LIKE IT. AND THAT ULT VERSION CAME OUT AFTER THE THOR FILM. LOOK IT UP. MARVEL HAD TO COVER THEIR ASS LOL
dellamorte1872 - 5/20/2012, 12:41 PM
PEOPLE BITCH THEY DONT RESEARCH!
Ghostt - 5/20/2012, 12:45 PM
well written article. I am not yet convinced of the phenomenon to which you are referring, but you make some good points. I see a whole lot of complaining about all CBMs, but from now on I will be paying attention to see if there is bias.
SHHH - 5/20/2012, 12:54 PM
Well Done...
antonio - 5/20/2012, 12:57 PM
An article worthy of main.
ToTheManInTheColdSweat - 5/20/2012, 1:01 PM
Reasons:
- Everyone is always gonna hate something (mine are snakes)
- Immaturity - infantile and churlish at best, kinda like "my dad can beat your dad/ my dad is cool, yours isn't ". Marvel studios is their sports team and they would rather die/hurl insults defending New York Jets, i mean Marvel studios.
- Rebellion; some fans just wanna be cool that they hate what others don't like OR their taste is not the same as the "masses".
- For some of these poor souls, it's SERIOUS BUSINESS.
AND

"Is it simply because the MCU films are produced my Marvel Comic's own independent film Studio" <- BINGO. There's the answer right there. Like returning a child to their rightful parent. Great Article, BTW. Kinda interesting to read two opposing articles within minutes of each other.
Supes17 - 5/20/2012, 1:11 PM
^ You're on a roll today, lmao but agreed..


But seriously, did anyone look at the Abomination and his bony protrusions and think..: "Doomsday"...
I was like WTF?
Viltrumite - 5/20/2012, 1:12 PM
@Equinox
Damn, you just made me realize there was a typo in that sentence. Unfortunately, I'm unable to edit the article because it isn't appearing under my account/article information.

And I agree, some take these things far too seriously. If entire childhood memories are ruined because of alterations made to characters and stories you read about in comics, your childhood probably sucked rather badly.
Viltrumite - 5/20/2012, 1:14 PM
@Supes17
Doomsday was the first thing I thought of. Which, truth be told, was a bit annoying as Doomsday is just about my least favorite Superman villain. Luckily, Blonksy himself was on screen most of the time, and Abomination at least talked during his 15 minutes of screen time.
Viltrumite - 5/20/2012, 1:23 PM
@Just1Superguy
I'm pretty sure if Marvel, in the comics, decided to suddenly make Iron Man a rapist when he got drunk, or gave Hawkeye the backstory of a former psychopathic serial killer, it would be considered bastardization, as opposed to Marvel doing what they felt like with their properties.
Marvel sold their characters to Fox and Sony. It was a fair, legal transaction. Marvel is technically making changes to their own characters for film profit, and Fox and Sony are making whatever changes they see necessary to characters whose film rights they own for profit. That's how the film industry works. It's not like Fox and Sony have an obligation to give Marvel their characters back now that they're making their own movies, that would be one of the single most idiotic business decisions in Hollywood history.
ScarSpeedster - 5/20/2012, 1:23 PM
Like the Article but I think we're forgetting the main reason for the double standard which is we want those characters in the avengers! I mean people,myself included, loved the old spidermans but other than that and possibly blade one, what have other studios really done well with? Ghost rider is an abomination, DD wasn't what is could have been, and FF one was barely passable. Again though the main reason is we want DD spiderman FF ect in an avengers movie.
Ha1frican - 5/20/2012, 1:23 PM
The thing is they preserve the heart of the characters. As long as you keep that, the changes made to continuity aren't a big dal as they are still the characters we know and love
jimoakley666 - 5/20/2012, 1:23 PM
Exactly.
Shadow101 - 5/20/2012, 1:25 PM
Agree with Just1Superguy. Nice article
marvel72 - 5/20/2012, 1:26 PM
marvel studios respects the source material more than the likes of fox & sony.

slight changes are fine but fox takes the piss.
Viltrumite - 5/20/2012, 1:26 PM
The article made it to main, I just want to say thank you to everyone who took time out of their day to read it.

I agree about preserving the heart of the characters, but The Amazing Spider-Man appears to be doing that, and it can't seem to catch a break on this site.
2gold - 5/20/2012, 1:26 PM
It's not like X-Men and X-Men 2 were hated. I think when the movie does something terrible to an orgin, there is hatred. Minor things, the fans will forgive. Major? Such as killing Cyclops and curing Rogue? Yeah, that causes some flip outs. And first class, I think gets some because they changed the first class so dramatically. Of the actual X-Men First Class and the one in the movie, there was what? One of them? I think that is too severe a change and it wasn't something many of the diehards could overlook.

How much is changed and what is changed is how much the diehards can forgive. If you change too much? Doesn't go over well.
CaptainObvious - 5/20/2012, 1:26 PM
I've been saying this for years. Even Marvel Studios takes liberities with the source material.
nld3 - 5/20/2012, 1:28 PM
I'm not happy about both. Marvel couldn't get around Captain Americas COSTUME otherwise they would have changed that too. These studio's are embarrassed by their own history & creations yet they fail to realize thats what made them rich.
AC1 - 5/20/2012, 1:28 PM
So glad to see an article like this on main, most of people's arguements are so stupid. The only thing that the MCU benefits from that the other studio produced films dont is the shared universe. I agree that I'd love to see Spider-Man, The Fantastic 4 and others on screen with Iron Man, Cap, Thor, Hulk, etc, but I'm not going to bitch and moan about them not belonging to Marvel. The Amazing Spider-Man looks like it'll be the best Spider-Man film ever made, and it certainly reminds me of X-Men First Class in the sense that aspects were, and some of the tone was, changed, but that it'll be a fantastic movie nonetheless.
The only ones I would really like to see go back to Marvel now would be Fantastic Four and Daredevil, because they've been idle for so long now that Marvel could probably do more with them than Fox (same for Ghost Rider's awful history with Sony).

In a perfect scenario, Marvel would regain all the rights, and continue from The Amazing Spider-Man and X-Men First Class series', integrating them into the MCU instead of rebooting them, so we could see some amazing cross-over stories. But it's not vital to the quality of those films, their success is derived from the creativity behind them, not the studio they belong to. And I'm perfectly fine watching them no matter who they belong to, as long as they're continually great movies. That's the most important thing.
Mechagino - 5/20/2012, 1:29 PM
Am I the only one who thinks Abomination looks like something from Resident Evil?
CrowPirate1 - 5/20/2012, 1:30 PM
Good article Viltrumite.

I agree with most of it. I do think any change will be greeted with "some" resistance from people that are hard liners. and those are the people that will post more often than others.

also, I agree with the point being made that people really do want to see all of the Marvel universe go back to Marvel.

But they would not have had the money to do all that they are doing now if they didn't loan out Spiderman, and the X-men.. It helped them get together their studio for Iron Man.

[shrugs]

I am just glad to see, up on the screen, my heroes from print. In Real Life. These new movies have made me as excited as I was when I first got my first comic book. That means alot.
AC1 - 5/20/2012, 1:32 PM
The thing people miss is that these are movies, not comics. They may be based on comics, but they're not the same thing. Going into that theatre and watching as a film fan before watching as a comic fan really allows you to filter out the crap, and accept the changes made if they benefit the film. I'd rather watch a great X-Men movie with a different team (like First Class), than an awful one with a team more aligned to the comics (like The Last Stand).
ColonoscopyKid - 5/20/2012, 1:32 PM
The answer is simple. Marvel fanboys are ASSHOLES!
coopshep39 - 5/20/2012, 1:33 PM
dude really well written... and i totally know what ur saying but i think that the difference is that mcu is making better changes and smarter changes unlike spidy who's changes look like their for worse, also mcu gives us cool stuff only that us geeks can understand like cameos.
95 - 5/20/2012, 1:33 PM
I am not one of those who complain about creative changes-- Disney, Sony, Fox, Warner Brothers-- I let the filmmakers have liberty of reinterpretation. However, I believe fans are more loose towards Disney's Marvel Studios because they are approaching their films as a new medium of telling their stories. They're less adaptations and more comic books told on film. Plus, Marvel appears to operate differently-- they don't hand off projects to a production team-- Marvel makes the movies-- they're 100% involved, creatively. And aren't most of the screenwriters and story-developers experienced comic book writers? Joss Whedon is a solid example.

Long story short-- Marvel Studios makes Comic Book Movies-- not movies based/inspired by Comic Book characters.

Although, when DC gave Batman to Nolan for a trilogy-- that's the greatest decision/move they've ever made.
Bojac - 5/20/2012, 1:34 PM
Because Marvel Studios films have yet to suck, while every non-Marvel Studios Marvel Superhero film series eventually (or in most cases, right out of the gate) sucks.
WyattLayne - 5/20/2012, 1:34 PM
@Viltrumite Great article! I think that fans are sometimes less critical of the changes made by marvel studios because they can tell how passionate they are about the characters that they're making movies out of. That's not to say that the directors and producers working with/for other studios aren't passionate about their characters/movies, but I think the fact that they were purchased by another studio makes some hardcore fans have a "built in" suspicion about the studios' intentions. Where as when they're with Marvel, fans tend to have a "built in" assumption that the people working on it are passionate about the source material (which may not always be true).

Personally I don't think you can base a movies success or failure soley on the fact that it was or was not made by marvel studios. Great movies have been made by other studios. At the end of the day, I think some fans who are disappointed just need a faceless organization to blame, and the hope that Marvel studios would handle the property better is comforting.

P.S. -Cool pic/username. I freaking love Invincible! When are we gonna get an Invincible movie huh? Haha.
AC1 - 5/20/2012, 1:35 PM
I actually didn't think Abomination looked too bad, making him reptilian wouldn't have made sense based on how he was created in the film, as a sort of exaggeration of the Hulk enhanced by the Super Soldier serum. Making him reptilian would've made no sense. I thought he looked pretty badass.

As for Whiplash, I think some of the changes were great, but some were so stupid. Giving him the energy whips made him a more threatening opponent for Iron Man than a guy with regular whips, but making him Anton Vanko's son and a rip off of Crimson Dynamo at the end was a bit of a cop out, and it also ruined the chances of seeing Crimson Dynamo in a future film.
prettynuclear2 - 5/20/2012, 1:35 PM
Marvel is brand that people want to be associated with.
Viltrumite - 5/20/2012, 1:35 PM
For the record, I can understand why fans would want all the Marvel properties under one shared universe, but I don't think that reality currently being impossible is any reason to want the non-MCU films to fail. If MS is putting their effort into the likes of Spider-Man and X-Men, characters like Doctor Strange and Black Panther will never see the light of day. I'm perfectly content with both those properties being at Sony and Fox respectively, as long as the films they make are quality. Sony is 2 for 3 with Spider-Man, with TASM potentially making it 3 for 4, and Fox is 3 for 5 with X-Men. Those are pretty good track records for both series.
Although, in all honesty, I would prefer the Fantastic Four be made by Marvel Studios. Daredevil, I don't care who, as long as the film is good. Ghost Rider I've never particularly cared for.
AC1 - 5/20/2012, 1:36 PM
Marvel has a better track record, but who cares as long as the movies are good?
Knightrider - 5/20/2012, 1:38 PM
Completely agree, I have noticed the same thing, people seem to think if Marvel makes the movie it is perfect, and yeah are happy to explain away changes and problems as acceptable whereas if the same film been made by another studio those same people would moan about the changes.

To say they care about the source material more is probably a bit fairer to say, but that doesn't mean the films are better.

I like some Marvel films, don't like others and same is for major film produces movies too, changes have to be made to make a CBM, something's just don't work in a movie, but yeah to find changes acceptable by one company, but not another is unfair.
Goldboink - 5/20/2012, 1:38 PM
When a movie works and is entertaining the fanboys don't complain quite as much. When they suck we squeal. The first two spidey's, the first two x-men were hailed as successes. The 3's of both series sucked and they were attacked from all directions. FF, please. Daredevil, please. Attacked from all angles including innecessarry changes in the source material.

To date, Marvel Studios hasn't made a stinker. IM2 could have been better but was still an entertaining move that held together. When Marvel makes changes they explain themselves and, ya know, it's thier material and they understand and respect it. Other studios make changes because they neither understand or respect the source material and they screw it up. All we want is a Galactus who is a huge guy with a funny looking helmet. Respect the source. who cares who is sctupping who, as long as the relationship works.

Marvel get's a pass because it is making good movies. Others get the knife when they screw it up.
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