Marvel: Avengers vs X-Men Part 2

Screenshot of Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’. Copyright goes to Marvel Studios and Disney.

Hey! Hallie here!

I have recently come to the realization that there are way more connections I can make between the Avengers and X-Men characters. Because of that, I’m back with another post in this series! In this series I put characters from the X-Men and Avengers films up against each other based on their similarities. The winner is decided by which character is written better in their respective film series. Depending on which characters win, I will declare either the Avengers or the X-Men the winner by the end of the post. With that explanation out of the way, let’s look at today’s competitors.

Quicksilver vs Quicksilver: These two have been paired together for very obvious reasons. They’re the same character just portrayed in very different ways. They even have different names, Pietro Maximoff and Peter Maximoff. Despite the fact that these two are the same character, each studio went to great lengths to make their variation stand out.

Let’s look at Pietro first. Pietro doesn’t get much characterization. There’s one scene that didn’t make it into the final movie that demonstrates how mischievous Pietro is, as well as how he’s a bit of a ladies man, but the scene doesn’t really make much of a difference in the long run. Pietro is the older sibling but Wanda’s a bit bossier and more strategic. As such, he usually follows her lead in most things. He likes messing with people, as seen in his constant teasing of Clint Barton, and he’s much more carefree than Wanda. When Wanda silently urges those in Sokovia to evacuate before their fight with Ultron, Pietro realizes a simple warning doesn’t really cut it and ends up telling people to get off their asses. When fighting Thor he attempts to steal Mjolnir simply because he thinks it looks cool. Aside from that, Pietro shows a deep love for his sister and a respect for Clint Barton. These ties are the reason the audience cares about his death. His obvious closeness to Wanda makes his death heartbreaking, and the fact that he sacrifices himself for Clint is telling in how much their relationship progressed. But his own characterization isn’t really the reason you care that he’s gone.

Peter Maximoff is a completely different story. Firstly, the demonstration of how his powers work is far more interesting here and does more for his character. In both versions of Quicksilver, there’s a feeling that he is annoyed by how slowly everyone else is living their lives. However, the running scenes in X-Men demonstrate this much better. While Pietro can cross a room in a second and catch something while it’s flying in midair, Peter is fast enough that most things don’t look like they’re moving at all. He can change the trajectory of a bullet while it’s inches from someone’s face. He can run several people out of the same room individually without even a second having passed. While this might seem like praise of the movie itself more than the character, it actually does effect Peter’s character. The audience can understand why he speaks so fast and why he’s so easily frustrated by other people. Peter is a pretty good guy, overall. While he does show indifference to some characters, he does care about almost everyone and tends to have a more optimistic outlook when it comes to the people he meets. He also has a really interesting dynamic with his powers, which is that despite his quickness, he is always too late. This is especially true of his relationship with his father, Magneto. He’s slow to figure out Magneto is his father after he meets him, and by the time he realizes, Magneto is already gone. When he goes back to the institute to speak to Magneto, he misses him by a few seconds. It’s a really interesting dynamic and it adds a lot to his character.

Winner: Peter Maximoff. Not only is he a more likable character, he stands on his own without relying on a sibling dynamic. He does have a younger sister who is hinted at being a version of Scarlet Witch, and he does care for her, but she’s much younger and gets very few scenes. Peter is one of the most entertaining characters in the X-Men series. He also gives the audience a much better look at what it would be like to have powers like his.

Scarlet Witch vs Jean Grey: These two are pretty easy to pair up. Both have stints as evil characters, and at least one of those occasions for each of them is attributed to their insane amount of power. Both are incredibly intelligent but don’t know exactly the extent of what they can do. These two have character arcs that rely on the fact that they can be extremely caring and extremely dangerous, often at the same time.

Once again, let’s go for our Avengers candidate first. Wanda is paired off with her brother in Age of Ultron, but her character is given a much bigger spotlight than his. At first her main goal is to make Tony Stark regret inadvertently killing her parents, which involves creating a lot of bleak visions to torture everyone on the Avengers (except for Clint), and, at one point, causing the Hulk to go insane. However, once she uses similar mind manipulation powers to see the plans of destruction Ultron is putting into his new body, she instantly switches sides. Afterwards, she admits that the entire situation is terrifying to her, but she chooses to join the Avengers. Even after her brother dies she develops a good relationship with a few of the people on the team, especially Vision, and decides to stay with them as a permanent member. She gets quite a bit of characterization at this point. At first she accidentally causes a deadly explosion with her powers and has to grapple with her own fear of herself. Then she falls in love with Vision and rediscovers what it feels like to want to protect someone. And then Vision dies and she has to grapple with anger and grief. If ‘WandaVision’ is our frame of reference for how she’s coping with that, she’s not doing too good. Wanda, from the beginning, is empathetic and emotional. She connects with others very easily and has a desire to help everyone as best she can. But she doesn’t quite know how to deal with her emotions, especially because they’re so interconnected with her powers.

Moving on to Jean Grey, she doesn’t start out with the same villainous connotations. From the beginning she’s shown to be a really thoughtful and kind person. She’s also Charles Xavier’s favorite student. He favors her because her powers are connected to her mind, like his, which makes him feel partially responsible for her and eventually, causes him to think of her as his daughter. Unfortunately, Jean Grey’s entire character is reliant on a love triangle plot line in the first X-Men films. She’s not a useless character, but she doesn’t serve much of narrative purpose other than to make Logan soft and also to make him jealous of Cyclops. She also forfeits her personality entirely when the last of the X-Men movies gives her a villainous role with the only explanation being that her powers changed her entirely. When she returns in the later movies, now as a younger character, her kindness and intelligence is back. She also is allowed to be her own character without any major romance plots hindering her genuinely interesting personality. However, even then Jean’s character is focused more on her abilities than on her emotional and intellectual reactions to her abilities, unlike Wanda. In ‘Dark Phoenix’ we see her grapple with her powers a bit more, but the movie does so many other things wrong with her character that it doesn’t even matter.

Winner: Scarlet Witch. Despite the fact that Vision does become a major part of her story, her character isn’t reliant on that romance plot. She also gets a lot of time to grapple with her powers and her own emotions without sacrificing other aspects of her character to do so.

This post is a tie. While X-Men obviously win the Quicksilver competition, they didn’t do so well with a lot of their female representation, especially early on. The MCU doesn’t have a ton of good female representation either, but Wanda is one of their rare well-written female characters. Aside from her costuming, she doesn’t suffer from the male gaze issue, and she’s allowed to be feminine while still being one of the most badass characters in all of Marvel. Jean could have done the same if she hadn’t been there exclusively for Logan half the time.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: