A Marvel Superfan On Why The Vision (and Other Avengers) Are Weaker In The Avengers: Age Of Ultron Vs. The Comics

05/21/2015 01:11 pm ET | Updated May 20, 2016

Why is The Vision much weaker in The Avengers: Age of Ultron movie than he is in the comic books?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.


Answer by Thaddeus Howze, Superfan of the MCU

Weaker? In comparison to what?


This isn't the first time I heard that complaint about the Vision appearing to be weaker than he is in the comics. I had to think about it and realized he isn't so much weaker as different than he is in the comics. As so many writers will remind us the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Earth-199999) is not the same place as the Canon Marvel Universe (Earth-616, which no longer exists after the events of the new Secret Wars-2015) and thus things may be a bit different between the two.

As far as I can tell, all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe versions of the characters suffer from media transference reduction, an expression I coined when I began to notice how different superheroes tended to look when they went from the comic to the screen.

  • When superheroes are transferred from comics to live action, they tend to be less powerful (and less destructive) than their comic counterparts. Part of this is based on the limitations of their visual FX budget, part of it on how viewer who aren't comic readers might react to citywide scenes of destruction.
  • The superheroes also tend to appear less capable because it is difficult to shoehorn all of their skills commonly seen over decades into a two hour blockbuster movie. This makes them look one dimensional in comparison to their comic depictions.
  • The only people who notice this reduction in power/capabilities are the fans who have followed them from one media to the other. They are also the most unforgiving when a superhero is scaled backed from their comic grandeur.

Let's compare the comic Avengers to their Marvel Cinematic Universe counterparts:

  • Thor in the comics is far more powerful than his MCU iteration. In the comics, he is arguably more powerful than all of the Avengers including the Hulk. He has a far wider range of powers and Mjolnir is a more terrifying weapon by far. He's no weakling in the MCU either, but I can't say I have ever really seen him cut loose and be as destructive as he is capable of being.
  • Iron Man is also less capable overall, his armors lack the range and diversity of his comic suits. But the VFX are always great to watch! To his credit, he does seem far more stable (and has a much better sense of humor) in the MCU than he has for many years in the comics. JARVIS (the interface) was a great straight man.
  • Captain America and Hawkeye seem comparable to their comic iterations, both in terms of skill and overall effectiveness. I find the MCU Hawkeye much more mature emotionally, as well. This is because they don't need to be scaled back as much. In fact, when they are with the Avengers, the writers have to work to make a reason for them to be hanging out with Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk who almost make them superfluous when it's time for thrashing the bad guys.
  • Black Widow as she is written in the MCU is less capable both in spycraft and martial ability than in the comics. And in the comics she has MUCH better gear. Scarlet Johansson plays the character as best she is able and when they give her decent material, she delivers. Over four movies, the character of the Black Widow has become an Avengers favorite.
  • Hulk is far less powerful, though his destructive capacity doesn't seem diminished at all. Bruce Banner on the other hand is far more interesting as a character in the MCU than he had been for decades in the comics.
  • Nick Fury is unchanged. Mean as hell and just as manipulative.

As for the Vision, his powers didn't seem all that diminished or different from his comic canon version.

  • He displayed his powers of density control and manipulation; he phased through walls and through Ultron's minions, ripping them in half with aplomb.
  • He used the Mind Gem in the same fashion as the solar jewel in the comics, to project energy and destroy Ultron's minions quite effectively. It was also a nice visual effect.

  • He clearly displayed superhuman strength and while we didn't see him lifting a whole lot, in the comics at his most mobile density, he comes in at about 50 tons. Most convential things he wants to move, he can.
  • He flew and displayed significant control over his flight. When Thor throws him across the room, he halts his forward momentum flawlessly. He later fights flying and does not appear to need to reduce himself to intangibility to do so (kinda new for the character).

We know what fans really wanted

The Vision was a new Avenger, one of the first we've seen in a while and people wanted him to have more screen time. They wanted to see him being awesome, immediately. The movie was about the Avengers, though and he certainly needed the setup, the origin shuffle and the debut where he joins the team.

The writers had to take a whole lot of Avenger history and creatively mash it up into a story. They debuted:

  • Ultron, mad machine with "daddy issues." He wasn't created by Hank Pym, instead Tony Stark gets the blame. [Avengers #55 (1968)]
  • The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver (though not by name) [X-Men #4 (March 1964)]
  • They confirmed the Mind Gem existence in the Chitauri scepter. [Captain Marvel #45 (July, 1976)]
  • Oh, and they created the synthezoid technology which would explain why the Vision existed (introducing Dr. Helen Cho)
  • They also managed to explain how the Vision came to be a product of Ultron's "creation" keeping with the original comic story. [Avengers #57 (Oct. 1968)]

They had to do a lot. We were lucky to SEE the Vision for more than five minutes...
You can't expect him to be as awesome as he was during John Byrne's run on the Avengers when he helped bring down a supercharged Count Nefaria, who had the entire Avengers on the run until the Vision delivered "Death from Above."

If you are looking for him to display moments of awesome, you have to remember, he is a member of a group of very powerful beings who, though they are watered down in the MCU, are still forces of nature and he will have to grow into his powers and abilities. Remember he was only ONE day old and was fighting alongside the Avengers and holding his own.

How about we give the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Vision a chance to impress us before we decide he's not all that interesting or powerful?

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