What the Spider-Verse Does Better Than the MCU

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Tom Holland as Spider-Man, Across the Spider-Verse background edit

Credit: Sony, Marvel Studios

Comparing the Marvel Cinematic Universe to Sony Animation’s Spider-Verse is practically apples and oranges, but we’d be lying if we said there wasn’t at least some overlap. Both variants utilize the presence of a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to keep vigil over New York City, but one handles his story in a more true-to-form fashion.

Jake Johnson, Shameik Moore and Hailee Steinfeld in 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse'
Credit: Sony Pictures Animation

Both Into the Spider-Verse and Across the Spider-Verse were gorgeous adaptations of the comics, taking home some serious acclaim from critics and audiences alike. However, the Spider-Verse is doing one thing that the MCU still struggles with, recognizing that Spider-Man is a comic first and a movie second.

The Spider-Verse is Marvel Comics Done Right

Miles Morales Spider-Man in 'Across the Spider-Verse'
Credit: Marvel Studios / Sony Pictures

If you’ve followed the MCU recently, you’ll know that they’ve been in something of a fatigue period. With the exception of the wildly-popular Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Marvel’s live-action material has been somewhat hit-and-miss. By trying to take a more cinematic approach, Marvel has too many irons in the fire and is starting to feel the heat.

Related: ‘Across the Spider-Verse’ Commits Marvel Cinematic Sin

Enter the Spider-Verse series with it’s stylish and intentionally comic-book-inspired approach to its presentation and storytelling. So many frames of both movies would be right at home in the panels of a comic book; they even rely on comic devices like narrative captions explaining things for those unfamiliar with the medium. Needless to say, it sets the bar pretty high for Disney, Marvel, and the MCU.

Tom Holland as Spider-Man in 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' (2021)
Credit: Marvel Studios/Sony Pictures

That all being said, it’s grossly unfair to compare an animated film to a live-action cinematic universe spanning 32 films. However, the MCU should learn by Sony Animation’s example and utilize more comic book elements when adapting their material.

The problem most superhero movies have today is that they try to be too realistic with their on-screen representation. Why should they? The reason movies like Guardians of the Galaxy work is that they are bright, colorful, and over-the-top, just like a comic book. It’s less about being story-accurate and more about capturing the emotion and momentum of the medium.

Related: Miles Morales’ Next Villain Is Anxiety in New ‘Spider-Verse’ Short

The Spider-Verse movies are comic book movies in the literal sense of the term. They feel exactly like a comic book brought to the big screen, and they make no attempts to hide that fact. The way Sony has utilized the artistry and formula of their inspiration would make Stan Lee proud.

Are you more in favor of the Spider-Verse or the MCU? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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