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Are Marvel’s Netflix Shows Better Than Their Movies?

Maximus Rex
Maximus Rex Pulchritudo in Conspectu RegisThe EmpreyanMembers Posts: 6,354 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited October 2016 in Lights, Camera, Action!
The streaming branch of the MCU may be a greater achievement than the cinematic one

http://consequenceofsound.net/2016/10/are-marvels-netflix-shows-better-than-their-movies/

BY BEN KAYEON OCTOBER 16, 2016, 3:00AM


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Comics to Screen is a recurring feature in which Ben Kaye analyzes the constantly evolving leap from comic books to screens of all sizes. This time, he discusses why the MCU’s streaming branch may be even better than its movies. Note: Spoiler warnings for those who have yet to see Luke Cage.

Marvel has been on a winning streak for eight years now, ever since Iron Man hit cinemas. They’ve redefined superhero movies on their own terms while simultaneously creating the now much-imitated concept of an interconnected cinematic universe. But even as franchise series are popping up everywhere from Sony (Ghostbusters) to Universal (the Universal Monsters) to Paramount (Hasbro), Marvel is yet again a step ahead thanks to their television branch. Beginning with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC, Marvel’s TV projects have always been tied into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s their recent productions with Netflix, however, that have really taken their cross-medium storytelling to new heights.

In fact, what Marvel Television and Netflix are doing with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist on the way to The Defenders may be an even greater success than what they’ve accomplished with The Avengers.

It’s true that Iron Man was a fairly outsider character before Robert Downey Jr. put on the suit that launched the MCU, but as far as obscure superheroes go, the Netflix quartet take the cake. Marvel had at least some cultural cache to work with when they dug into Hulk and Captain America; for the most part, if anyone had even heard the name Daredevil prior to April of 2015, it was likely in connection to that failed Ben Affleck movie. And that was it. The fact that characters like Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are now part of the cultural discussion is an incredible feat. Marvel received heaps of praise for making Rocket Raccoon and Groot names people knew, and having established an entire series of series on the backs of relatively obscure characters is equally if not more admirable.

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Not only that, but the vehicle of serialized television has allowed them to develop those characters in deeper ways than their cinematic counterparts. Although Rocket is incredibly fun, let’s face it — we really don’t know much about him. A pitying glance from Star-Lord and a brief tantrum is about all we get to understand a deeper woe tucked inside the genetically modified raccoon. Over on Netflix, meanwhile, we’re given hours to build an understanding of these people that let us invest more fully into their stories than we ever could with say, Captain America. Sure, he’s a true-blue good guy, but that’s as far as it goes — which is why it feels a bit icky watching him make out with Sharon Carter just days after his one true love and her aunt, Peggy Carter, dies.

Flashbacks allow us to get a sense of the deep-seated motivations for almost every major player in Cage, and there’s quite a few. We get to watch anxiously as Matt Murdock slowly approaches a dark line on Daredevil and witness Jessica Jones struggle with post-traumatic stress in a very visceral way on her own show. These things don’t have to be force fed to us with quick scenes or telling bits of dialogue because the showrunners can invest the necessary time into revealing them through viable actions, reactions, and interactions.

Comments

  • Maximus Rex
    Maximus Rex Pulchritudo in Conspectu Regis The EmpreyanMembers Posts: 6,354 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2016
    Are Marvel’s Netflix Shows Better Than Their Movies? fin.

    This also allows the Netflix shows to accomplish something no Marvel movie has managed save for The Avengers: create a supervillain worth caring about. Do we even really remember Red Skull, Abomination, or Malekith? Who was Zemo again? The movie baddies are there to service plot more than provide an interesting antagonist in which audiences can invest. On the other hand, you reach a point in Daredevil where you actually agree with Kingpin or The Punisher. Kilgrave is terrifying, but watching his plot unfold earns that fear without Jones needing to constantly hammer it home. Luke Cage may be saddled with the least interesting adversaries, but at least they’re fleshed out well enough that we don’t simply write them off. In fact, I was almost disappointed to see Cottonmouth killed, only to find gratification in watching Black Mariah’s descent into pure villainy.


    marvel-badguys-netflix.jpg?quality=80&w=806&h=425

    Another asset of this sort of long-form storytelling is that the interconnectivity between the properties is far more manageable and unhurried. In the movies, having Agent Coulson pop in was the only way to bridge the pre-Avengers films. After that, there was a flimsy (but cute and fun) meeting between Ant-Man and Falcon to fold in the former, a quick mention of Dr. Strange in Captain America: Winter Soldier, and GotG still largely exists on its own. We’re left scratching our heads when no one but Iron Man intervenes when the freakin’ President of the United States is kidnapped and it’s up to Thor alone to confront what’s essentially an interdimensional invasion.

    That sense of “where the heck is everyone else” doesn’t exist on the Netflix side of things mainly because of scale. You’re not calling in the Avengers to stop a gang war, no one really believed Kilgrave was real, and the Luke Cage drama was very much Harlem-based. Yet, still they’ve managed to connect all those shows to each other and the MCU without shoehorning. Hell’s Kitchen is in the state we see it in during Daredevil because of what happened in The Avengers. “The Incident” is everywhere, especially in Luke Cage (the Judas bullets and the street salesman in particular). Introducing Cage as a secondary character who’s intimately (in more ways than one) connected to Jones is the type of world expansion that hasn’t been accomplished yet in the movies; everyone has always been separate first. (We’ve yet to see how successfully Black Panther and Spider-Man transition to their solo films, though.)

    Claire Temple, the common thread to each series, has also proven to be a better Coulson than Coulson. She has true function within each story, helping to develop the main characters by her relationship with them. Instead of feeling like an outside force asserting influence, she plays an integral role. Hell, she even slyly bridges Luke Cage to Iron Fist: That martial arts flyer she sees at the end of Cage? It’s for the dojo of Colleen Wing, a primary ally of Danny Rand/Iron Fist.

    ]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBZtM8q2Z1g
    

    Beyond character, perhaps the biggest advantage Netflix has had over the films is the deeper commentary they’re able to make. There’s meat on these bones, not just superhero splendor. Both seasons of Daredevil wrestle with the true meaning of justice in an unjust world, as well as tackling the concept of vigilantism in a much more grounded way than the politicizing that occurred in Captain America: Civil War. Jessica Jones deftly handled topics like 🤬 , PTSD, and sexuality with intense honesty, all from a feminist perspective that never felt heavy-handed. The timeliness of Luke Cage can’t be overstated, as a profoundly complex black superhero who hates being called a “🤬 ,” struggles with the police, and strives to protect his neighborhood could not be more pertinent to today. We might see characters like Captain Marvel and Black Panther address similar topics in the near future, but these Netflix heroes got there first.

    Of course, the shows aren’t without their flaws. Daredevil season two struggled with the same overstuffing as things like Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Luke Cage occasionally stumbled trying to reach its own lofty ambitions. (As far as I can recall, Jessica Jones was perfect television.) A few miscues aside, what Marvel Television is accomplishing on Netflix can be seen as the dream of the Marvel Cinematic Universe realized more completely than ever. The scale may be smaller in terms of spectacle, but it exceeds the films’ limits in almost every other aspect: story, character, and depth. With fully developed primary protagonists more varied and tonally disparate than the Avengers, it’s going to be extremely interesting to see where Netflix and Marvel take The Defenders; wherever it is, it’s going to be a story worth watching.
  • Maximus Rex
    Maximus Rex Pulchritudo in Conspectu Regis The EmpreyanMembers Posts: 6,354 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Why Marvel’s TV Shows Are Better Than Its Movies
    http://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/why-marvels-tv-shows-are-better-than-its-movies.html/?a=viewall
    Jeff Rindskopf
    August 06, 2016

    Sometimes an intergalactic space battle featuring enormous mechanical aliens and a bright green Hulk isn’t quite as exciting as one masked man fighting a dozen criminals in a cramped hallway.

    The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has carved out its own niche in Hollywood for providing lighthearted superhero capers. Despite some variation between films, allowing Guardians of the Galaxy to ape Star Wars while Captain America: The Winter Soldier recalls a Cold War thriller instead, Disney’s interconnected Marvel films are undeniably streamlined by their production studio, made to certain mainstream specifications.

    Heroes always have time for a lighthearted quip. Villains are secondary and usually astoundingly forgettable. The plot includes at least one or two distracting shout-outs to upcoming films with the MCU. The action is driven by a fancily-named space MacGuffin like The Avengers‘s Tesseract. Bright colors and expensive CGI battles abound. Marvel’s two Netflix original series, however, stand apart from their big screen offerings. In fact, both Jessica Jones and Daredevil deftly correct most of the major flaws of the MCU.


    [img]http://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Daredevil-Charlie-🤬 -1024x680.jpg?6bf829[/img]
    Daredevil | Source: Netflix

    Both display a singular focus on character above anything else. Matt Murdock and Jessica Jones are fully-realized heroes with clearly defined powers who grapple with their problems and their past as often as they deliver lighthearted quips. We see the world they live in, a world of urban decay far more recognizable than the high-tech government jets of The Avengers. Even when they do nod to other Marvel properties, it feels like an authentic piece of the world rather than a distracting piece of marketing. Audiences are allowed to follow along in their everyday lives, both set in a gritty alternate-reality version of New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen, and see the leg work of their heroism that, more often than not, bears a striking resemblance to detective work.

    Krysten Ritter’s performance as Jessica Jones is especially effective for simultaneously conveying both a cynical, guarded exterior as well as a mess of vulnerability beneath it all. As with the noir films both shows clearly pays homage to with its music and visual style, our protagonists’ strengths lie in their troubled pasts, and their attempts to confront it in dealing with their enemies.


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    Source: Netflix

    Speaking of enemies, both Daredevil and Jessica Jones boast villains that easily outdo Marvel’s movie villains, with the possible exception of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. In Daredevil, we get to know the ideals and past traumas of uber-powerful Machiavellian kingpin Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio), who firmly believes himself to be the hero of his own story. He’s more than a power-hungry costume 🤬 after the latest MacGuffin — he’s a person with his own feelings and convictions, as well as a worthy metaphor for urban corruption that straddles the line between public and private interests.

    Far more terrifying, however, is David Tennant’s slimy Kilgrave in Jessica Jones, who’s blessed with the striking power to control others for long stretches of time. He uses people like puppets to do his bidding, making him into a sort of omniscient and untouchable criminal. The extended control he exerts over Jessica and dozens of others before the events of the series, taking a real emotional and psychological toll on his victims. The 🤬 undertones are obvious throughout the series, but by the time we see Kilgrave first exerting his will over our physically and emotionally powerful heroine, it’s as truly disturbing as it ought to be. There’s nothing quite like these unapologetically dark themes in the MCU, because it might run the risk of alienating sensitive audiences, even if it did make for a more compelling story.

    The scope may be smaller, but the stakes feel far higher than they do in The Avengers — thanks to both the character-building and the brilliantly realized action sequences, which dispense with the standard CGI in favor of creative fight choreography. In the greatest moment in Daredevil‘s entire first season, Matt Murdock assaults a hideout full of Fisk’s goons in a vengeful rage, dispensing with more than a dozen men in a single long-shot.


    kingping-daredevil-1024x575.jpg?6bf829
    Source: Netflix

    Disney has turned the MCU into a brand, churning out easily digestible blockbuster after easily digestible blockbuster, and they need people to trust that brand in order to keep their box office receipts. The similarities among MCU films are perfectly understandable, from a financial perspective, even if it’s disappointing from a creative one to see that Disney is unwilling to experiment with more challenging or unique comic book films.

    Thankfully, we have the small screen to deliver where the big screen has failed. By sidelining two of its most interesting experiments in superhero storytelling into Netflix original programming, Disney reaffirms the creative advantages of modern television over modern film. Daredevil and Jessica Jones have time to explore the complexity of their characters. They don’t have to dull the impact of super-villainy to make sure they snag a box office-friendly PG-13 rating. They don’t have to rush through their world-building in order to cram in new characters and tease the next Avengers film.

    It’s amazing to see superhero stories handled with such skill. It’s just a shame Marvel doesn’t trust audiences enough to try developing something like Jessica Jones for the big screen — at least, not yet.
  • Recaptimus_Prime360
    Recaptimus_Prime360 Earned my Masters and Ph.d in Phat Booty-ology Members Posts: 64,801 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Let me just say I enjoyed the Marvel movies that has came out over the years. Some more than others. But enjoyed them nonetheless. With that being said...the Netflix shows are better.

    One of the main reasons imo...they're uncut. Which is why I don't understand the studios had hard time wanting to make Deadpool Rated R, when Marvel has been successful making their Netflix shows that way. I understand marketbility, but not every character has a bubble gum background.

    Another thing I like is how they're giving these "unknown/unpopular" charcaters some shine. I gotta give CW credit for this as well. They got muthafuccas doing background research on some these characters orgins. At the ones who aren't comic book heads.
  • jono
    jono Right fist = power, left fist = unity Members Posts: 30,280 ✭✭✭✭✭
    D'Onofrio is the best villain in the MARVEL CU outside of Tom Hiddleton but no. Not yet
  • K_Fisher
    K_Fisher Members Posts: 2,285 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Its not just Netflix shows , the quality of Tv shows has risen over the last couple of years and eclipsed Hollywood movies. I guess maybe because unlike Movies , Tv shows can capture the same size of audience if not more and keep them locked in every year.e.g. Game of thrones. Also tv shows can cycle writers now and then who can offer fresh creativity and keep show interesting.
  • Splackavelli
    Splackavelli I'll getchu bitch!!! Somewhere drunk off my ass.Members Posts: 18,806 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I think their equal but Marv el Netflix is for mature audiences. I think of the Netflix series as the marvel knights cinematic universe
  • Revolver Ocelot
    Revolver Ocelot Members Posts: 3,393 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The Netflix shows can develop more character and story.

    Because they last for 13 episodes.. that's 13 hours, and technically we get 13 different stories.. where with the movies, we get 1 story over maybe 2 hours.

    It's two different playing fields.

    C/S. A show has the advantage of flushing out the characters story, both past and present, more than a movie, without making it feel rushed.

    BTW every Marvel movie is better than Jessica Jones. Kilgrave saves that season, 🤬 by the end I was more interested in homeboy Trish was 🤬 and them military people.
  • StoneColdMikey
    StoneColdMikey mikeyismod CHITOWN THE BEST TOWNMembers, Moderators Posts: 33,543 Regulator
    The Netflix shows can develop more character and story.

    Because they last for 13 episodes.. that's 13 hours, and technically we get 13 different stories.. where with the movies, we get 1 story over maybe 2 hours.

    It's two different playing fields.

  • KingFreeman
    KingFreeman Way UpMembers Posts: 13,731 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'd take what we've got out of the Captain America films in 7-8 hours over what we get in 13 from any of those netflix shows.
  • northside7
    northside7 Members Posts: 25,739 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • Beta
    Beta #FastFamily Members Posts: 65,596 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'd rather watch thor 2 over Jessica Jones
  • Kairo
    Kairo Members Posts: 942 ✭✭✭✭
    When its all said and done the Netflix shows will likely surpass the films, especially if the success of the shows continue and they expand to include more characters than what's on their slate. Granted, the next phase of films has all the ingredients to be GOAT. I think the villains are the selling point of the shows being better, as the article points out.
  • ChillaDaKilla
    ChillaDaKilla Retired * In between some thighs Members, Banned Users Posts: 7,082 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Beta wrote: »
    I'd rather watch thor 2 over Jessica Jones

    according to the author of the story.......Jessica Jones was better than Daredevil season 2 and Luke Cage
  • Beta
    Beta #FastFamily Members Posts: 65,596 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Beta wrote: »
    I'd rather watch thor 2 over Jessica Jones

    according to the author of the story.......Jessica Jones was better than Daredevil season 2 and Luke Cage

    6044977_pens-and-erreything-else-september-10th_t8837a950.gif
  • CeLLaR-DooR
    CeLLaR-DooR Members Posts: 18,880 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Beta wrote: »
    I'd rather watch thor 2 over Jessica Jones

    Lol
  • CeLLaR-DooR
    CeLLaR-DooR Members Posts: 18,880 ✭✭✭✭✭
    What do you guys wanna see after the Defenders? Blade? Ghost Rider?

  • ChillaDaKilla
    ChillaDaKilla Retired * In between some thighs Members, Banned Users Posts: 7,082 ✭✭✭✭✭
    What do you guys wanna see after the Defenders? Blade? Ghost Rider?

    Moon Knight or Misty Knight and Colleen Wing
  • CJ
    CJ Members Posts: 15,312 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • Maximus Rex
    Maximus Rex Pulchritudo in Conspectu Regis The EmpreyanMembers Posts: 6,354 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Marvel do something with it's Western properties or something with those New Universe characters.
  • eyes low
    eyes low Members Posts: 3,614 ✭✭✭✭✭
    One clear advantage the shows have is being able to develop great villains. The movies don't give enough time to villains and for the most part they all just want to destroy the planet. The villains on the show have better motivation
  • northside7
    northside7 Members Posts: 25,739 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I think their equal but Marv el Netflix is for mature audiences. I think of the Netflix series as the marvel knights cinematic universe

    C/S the bold. Mofos prefer that cgi kiddie 🤬 lol.
    eyes low wrote: »
    One clear advantage the shows have is being able to develop great villains. The movies don't give enough time to villains and for the most part they all just want to destroy the planet. The villains on the show have better motivation

    C/S. Give me Fisk, Stryker and Kilgrave.
  • DNB1
    DNB1 Still nigga... Members Posts: 19,704 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'd personally like to see a Captain America Netflix series. Black Panther the whole lot.