9 ways the ’90s Marvel movies are better than the MCU movies (& 5 they’re worse)

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In addition to changing the cinematic landscape, the MCU has redefined comic book film. Before the inception of the MCU, people viewed comic book movies as trivial, despite their viability at the box office.

RELATED: 10 Marvel Comics Every MCU Fan Should Read At Least Once

One of the reasons superhero movies carried this stigma was because of the Marvel movies themselves. In the ’90s, Marvel made several attempts to showcase its properties on the big screen, and with the exception of late-decade entries, most can’t hold a candle to their MCU counterparts. That doesn’t mean the ’90s Marvel movies don’t do some things better than the MCU ever could.


ten ’90s movies are better: Marvel movies were more experimental than the MCU

1990 Captain America movie

The Marvel films of the 90s were aimed at attracting as many potential fans as possible. As a result, the films of the day took some interesting risks with the source material. Not all revisions, like the filmmakers who turned Red Skull to Italian in the 1990 version of Captain America, weren’t always successful, but they themselves provided a level of entertainment.

Fans never had a clue what would be changed and what elements would make the cut. ’90s Marvel still has an unpredictable feel that the MCU doesn’t.

9 MCU movies are better: Accuracy of ’90s Marvel movies doesn’t hold the candle in the MCU

Freewheeling revisions to the classic character myth have entertainment value, but films that accurately represent the ideas presented in the beloved comics are vastly superior. The MCU is successful because of its ability to appeal to casual audiences and die-hard fans. Finding success with this latest installment of fans is the MCU’s primary concern.

By tweaking subtle aspects of their films to streamline the experience, the MCU Movies welcome die-hard comic book fans with pleasant opening day surprises instead of weird revisions to the source material.

8 ’90s movies are better: not having an interconnected universe allowed’ 90s Marvel movies more freedom

Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther} on the battlefield in Avengers: End Game

Maintaining continuity in the MCU, while fun and rewarding, is kind of a chore. Marvel Studios even understands it, as Disney + offers several Marvel movie playlists for casual fans. The ’90s Marvel Movies feature a no-obligation take on superhero movies.

Instead of the intimidating and elaborate web of characters and events in the MCU, the ’90s Marvel movies feature stories designed to be accessed in one viewing. This style of production allows each film to have the finality of a Avengers: Endgame.

7 MCU Movies Are Better: The MCU Universe Is What 90s Marvel Movie Fans Wanted

The cast of Avengers: Age of Ultron

The 90s Marvel movies can be frustrating. Due to the fact that different studios own the rights to many of Marvel’s most prestigious characters, the ’90s Marvel movies offer no connectivity between characters. Part of what makes superheroes such a compelling genre is the number of characters that inhabit a universe.

RELATED: Rick & Morty: 5 Marvel Heroes Rick Would Love (& 5 He Would Hate)

This notion is even more applicable to Marvel superheroes since most of the comic book characters live in New York City. When watching a ’90s Marvel movie, comic book fans can’t suppress their desire to see disparate characters interacting.

6 ’90s movies are better: they could focus on darker subjects

angry blade movie

Disney has helped the MCU tremendously since House of Mouse acquired Marvel in 2009. Providing the financial backing to realize the MCU’s greater vision, Disney is one of the most powerful parts of Marvel’s secret formula. Disney has a few drawbacks.

Being associated with a brand inextricably linked to children prevents MCU movies from reaching their full potential. On the page, Doctor Strange and the horror genre are synonymous. In the MCU, Doctor Strange goes into joke contests with his cape on.

5 MCU Movies Are Better: The MCU Has The Biggest, The Best Budget

In the 90s, the Marvel films forced fans to make several concessions. First on the list of concessions was the quality of costumes and special effects. 90s moviegoers attended shows like Jurrasique Park achieve previously unfathomable levels of realism in special effects, while Marvel fans have achieved The Fantastic Four by Roger Corman.

The film is infamous for the multitude of shoddy special effects that puzzles the film. The film attempts to replicate Mr. Fantastic’s stretching powers with a broom and rubber glove at the end.

4 ’90s movies are better: they didn’t carry the burden of living up to other movies in the genre

By the end of the decade, the Marvel movies upped their game in the ’90s. The level of subversion that Blade and X Men were able to correlate with low audience expectations for superhero movies.

The MCU movies, on the other hand, have to be side-by-side with the best movies in the franchise. The prestige of the MCU is so pervasive that every movie tries to outdo itself with diminishing returns. For fans of the ’90s Marvel movies, just getting a good movie was cause for celebration.

3 MCU Movies Are Better: MCU Can Turn Dark Heroes Into Familiar Names

Doctor Strange movie artwork

Nobody saw guardians of the galaxy coming up, not even comic book fans. With the level of branding the MCU has, Marvel is free to anoint its most underrated characters at will. The ’90s Marvel movies only focused on the most prominent names the publisher had to offer.

RELATED: 10 Lowest Rated MCU Movies, Ranked

Now the MCU can take the risk of creating properties with more representation by focusing on obscure characters for review. Additionally, by focusing on obscure characters, Marvel can highlight the often lesser-known creators responsible for their creation.

2 ’90s movies are better: they didn’t turn every property into an action comedy

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.  2 Movie

There is a unique and influential mix of action comedy that defines the MCU. Not all properties should brag about the action comedy that is Marvel’s current calling card, however. In the ’90s, the Marvel movies were allowed to be divergent from each other, offering versions closer to the source material than the MCU.

As of writing this list, the MCU is preparing to adapt Blade-a property defined by its rugged and horrific violence. Under the MCU banner, Blade will be a tame action comedy with more jokes than killings.

1 MCU Movies Are Better: MCU Created More Superhero Movie Fans

King T'Challa as Black Panther and Shang-Chi with the ten rings

Despite its flaws, the MCU’s status in pop culture is useful for all comic book fans, creators, and publishers. The fact that Hollywood and the public look at comic book characters with reverence allows industry heavyweights like Robert Kirkman, creator of The walking dead and Invincible-to have an easier time adapting their work.

The ’90s Marvel movies could never offer the opportunities or cheer that even the weakest MCU movie does. If Marvel stuck to its’ 90s formula, the current pop culture of the superhero renaissance wouldn’t exist.

NEXT: MCU: Every Character As Strong As Spider-Man, Ranked

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