The blockbuster films of Batman, Spider-Man, and Superman have cemented these characters' origins in the minds of audiences around the globe. At this point, multiple radioactive spiders have already bitten multiple cinematic Peter Parkers. Many more Marvel heroes have had their stories adapted to the silver screen, but one can always count on comic book continuity to be more complicated than that of a mainstream movie franchise. This has led to several Marvel origins being watered down before hitting the big screen - with some being downright sanitized.
Though some of the Marvel heroes' origins portrayed in the movies have been pretty horrifying, they pale in comparison to what their comic book counterparts had to go through to obtain their superpowers. Casual fans may be surprised to learn that their favorite cinematic protagonists have suffered some of the most harrowing experiences to ever hit the four-color page - adding a whole new perspective to "Whatever It Takes."
What Happens In The Comic: Victor von Doom does not have a happy childhood. Born as a Romani peasant in Latveria, Doom is the son of a witch who makes a deal with Mephisto, the devil of the Marvel universe. When the deal goes wrong and Doom's mother ends up trapped in Hell, the young man dedicates his life to learning everything he can of both magic and science in order to rescue her. Becoming the dictator of Latveria along the way is just a small part of his overall plan. When an accident scars his face and forces him to don his metal mask, the true Doctor Doom is born.
What You See In The Movie: The origin of Doctor Doom has been retold in cinematic format each time the Fantastic Four have been rebooted, and each time it has been misconstrued. Both mainstream Hollywood adaptations of the story simply place Victor von Doom as the fifth member of the FF’s ill-fated voyage into cosmic energies and link his powers to those of his rivals.
What Happens In The Comic: Sam Wilson grows up on the tough streets of Harlem, where violence first claims the lives of his parents and then forces him onto a dark path. He eventually finds himself on the island of Exile, where he encounters the Red Skull and is subjected to genetic experimentation and memory manipulation. The experiments leave him with the ability to communicate with birds. When Captain America also winds up on the island, he and Wilson become fast friends. They team up to take down the Red Skull and find a way home.
What You See In The Movie: Sam Wilson’s Marvel Cinematic Universe origin is about as mundane as a superhero’s backstory can get. Wilson is a retired Air Force pilot who once took part in a high-tech program involving personal wingsuits. When he gets roped into dusting off his wings and helping out the fugitive Steve Rogers, the Falcon is born.
What Happens In The Comic: Natasha Romanoff starts off as Natalia Romanova, a child living in the pre-WWII era. When her family perishes, she ends up being raised by troops and becomes involved in the conflict, meeting both Captain America and Wolverine in the process. In her late adolescence Romanova becomes a premier ballerina, which leads to her being inducted into the Soviet Red Room program and trained to become a spy. While there, she is subjected to medical experimentation, which results in enhanced longevity, super strength, and stamina.
What You See In The Movie: In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Widow is still a Soviet-trained spy that defects to the services of S.H.I.E.L.D., but she’s definitely not an octogenarian. There’s also been no indication that the MCU Natasha has any superpowers or enhanced abilities of any kind. She’s just very skilled at what she does.
What Happens In The Comic: After a lengthy career as a non-powered supporting character in the Marvel Universe, Carol Danvers is caught up in a conflict between her on-again, off-again Kree lover Mar-Vell and his alien rival. An ensuing mishap involving the Psyche-Magnitron, a Kree device capable of reshaping matter, imbues Danvers with a litany of superpowers - but also severe brain damage. Initially, this results in a split personality. Danvers becomes a women’s liberation writer by day and the superhero Ms. Marvel by night - but doesn't realize she’s leading a double life until years later.
What You See In The Movie: Captain Marvel’s cinematic debut keeps the alien device aspect of her origin, but throws the rest of it out. This allows Danvers to move right into her superhero prime instead of spending a chunk of her backstory as someone who doesn’t know she spends her nights punching bad guys in her underwear.