Why Doesn’t Comic Violence Transfer Over

With the rise in big, block-buster Marvel superhero films coming out in quick succession, many avid fans such as myself turn to the original source material to tide ourselves over until the next installment of the Avengers, or the next Captain America movie comes out. Unfortunately, there are several difference between the comics and the film adaptations, a notable one being the overall rating.

2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron secured $457.5M with a PG-13 rating (“Avengers: Age of Ultron”). The film, while showing fight scenes between the various superheros and and Ultron, the main villain of the film, there is a surprising lack of actual violence in the movie. Now, don’t get me wrong there is plenty of punching and kicking and epic fight scenes that last for 20+ minutes, but despite that, there is no actual gore. I mean lets be serious here, the Hulk is a giant mass of green fury yet no one he attacks in any film seems to get maimed, no broken bones, barely even a bloody nose. Black Widow fights using a combination of martial arts, guns and knives yet other than falling backwards, her victims seem fine. Take these clips for example:




I mean come on! Yes, the victims are hurt but like, shouldn’t there be broken bones? Shouldn’t someone be coughing up blood or have an eyeball pop out because their eye socket is shattered by Tony’s right hook?

Compare the clips to actual marvel comics:


The Thor that has no problem throwing down

(c) Marvel Studios
(c) Marvel Studios


Captain America killing the Colonel in the Avengers Ultimate Universe

(c) Mark Miller & Bryan Hitch, Marvel Studios
(c) Mark Miller & Bryan Hitch, Marvel Studios

Black Widow murdering Clint/Hawkeye’s entire family

(c) Mark Miller & Bryan Hitch, Marvel Studios
(c) Mark Miller & Bryan Hitch, Marvel Studios

Daredevil just being…Daredevil

(c) Marvel Studios
(c) Marvel Studios

Obviously the Marvel universe as shown on screen is much more toned down when compared to the comics. Now, what does that actually do the the characters, when the more violent aspects of them are not present? I think that it makes the characters less well rounded. The superheroes we see on screen are committing extremely violent acts, and yes some of them like Hulk and Captain America seem to struggle with the things that they have to do, yet when the extreme graphic aspects of the things they do are not present, it does allow the characters and the audience to brush over it and therefore find these characters likable. Whats the difference between Heroes and Villains in terms of what they actually do? Yes, heroes do what they do in the name of justice, but they hurt and kill people just as often as villains do in the comics. When superheroes are portrayed the way they are in the Marvel films, very cleaned up and nice, it allows morally ambiguous, violent characters be lovable in ways they were not intended to be.







“Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Rotten Tomatoes. Rotten Tomatoes, 2015. Web. 29 Aug. 2015.

  2 comments for “Why Doesn’t Comic Violence Transfer Over

  1. September 6, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    I hadn’t really thought about this before, but yeah this is a really big difference in tone, now that you mention it. Do you think it’s because Hollywood blockbuster movies have different audiences than comics? The latter being more willing to follow a morally complex character through all kinds of dark and ugly stuff before finding redemption, whereas the former needs all ambiguities to be resolved and for the good guy to win, all in 120 minutes?

  2. holyguava
    September 6, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    To me drawn blood and actual blood seem to get different reactions out of people. It brings it to close to home and people get grossed out by realistic blood. It may also just be a tone clash since the MU is treated as a more lighthearted movie so showing gore would be jarring. But the gore works for other superhero movies like The Dark Knight especially the creation of Twoface. The Dark Knight had dark themes and images that worked together.

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