For the last decade, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ruled theaters and there has been a near constant online debate about who is better: Marvel or DC? Personally, I hate this comparison. DC might be competing with Marvel, but it doesn’t seem to me like Marvel has ever been competing with them, or anyone else. They’ve simply had their eye on building this franchise with one solid, and sometimes game-changing, installment after another. Meanwhile, over the same ten year period, another franchise has been having crazy success only in their case it was on the small screen.Yes, I’m talking about the Kardashians. Now, hear me out before you dismiss this. On top of being around for ten years and launching massive franchises that have spawned countless merchandise, spin-offs, and raked in a sh*t ton of money, there are also some clear parallels in the stories.
Tony Stark and Kim Kardashian
Let’s start from the beginning. Ten years ago, there may have been hopes and some plans for an empire but both the MCU and the KTVU started with one main character. Tony and Kim are both cocky, enigmatic, and photograph really well. They were clear characters with clear goals to posses anything shiny they can get their hands on while still having a philanthropic side.
The similarities continued over the years. Both would be overshadowed by the characters that followed them and both Tony and Kim would take big swings that didn’t make much sense. We ALL saw the flaws in Tony’s thinking that gave us Avengers: Age of Ultron. It wasn’t like him, it didn’t make any sense, but that storyline was forced on audiences anyways, much like the marriage between Kim and Kris Humphries. We all knew those vows were garbage, but that spectacle of a wedding, much like the battle in Sokovia, was very much a spectacle and both franchises took a good amount of time recover from the fall out.
Now, Tony’s role in the MCU is very much a mentor and “steady” guy, engaged to Pepper Potts who we really didn’t see that much but have just accepted that they work together. Kim has a similar maternal role in her family, guiding and supporting her sisters’ brands while maintaining her own, and appearing the only “steady” one in her still-going-strong marriage to Kanye. I’ll stay away from comparing Pepper and Kanye further than that.
Nick Fury and Kris Jenner
I’d argue the amazing momager that is Kris Jenner is a hell of a lot better at her job than Nick Fury. Both are happy to use plenty of the latest technology to upgrade their work and home lives, but do you think anyone would get as close to taking out Jenner as Fury almost was in Captain America: Winter Soldier? Hell. No. If Jenner was running the MCU, Thanos wouldn’t be getting to Earth. She would’ve squashed that sh*t years ago (unless he was dating one of her daughters, in which case, I guess you just get a lot of hall passes.). Regardless, both run the show and neither universe can be unified without them.
Thor and Kourtney
This one might seem like a stretch but I think it might be the most fair. Thor was the second introduced Avenger, and while Kourtney is older than Kim, because Kim was introduced the media first, Kourtney arrived publicly on Keeping Up with the Kardashians. This gave the impression of her being a “second”, slightly smaller version of Kim (which is odd considering Kim is pretty petite already). Both Thor and Kourtney were always fun to watch, but they were both much more interesting in their latest incarnations after they ditched their significant others, Jane Foster and Scott Disick. Currently, both Thor and Kourtney have never been funnier or more exciting than in Thor: Ragnarok and KUWTK‘s most recent season.
Captain America and Khloe
This is the most obvious one right? They are both so freaking lovable. No matter what happens, we will always root for both Cap and Khloe. All we want is for them both to find love and contentment in their lives (I’m not going to compare Agent Carter/Lamar or Agent 13/Tristan because those women are amazing and Khloe’s counterparts are disgusting). Both Cap and Khloe have also been the lead in the moments that first redefined their franchise. For Cap, it was Winter Soldier.
Now, the first Avengers was a fantastic film and showed that this franchise could really build on itself, but how would it keep that going? Following Avengers there was Ironman 2 and Thor: The Dark World, neither of which could compare to their initial installments. Winter Soldier not only broke this trend by topping its predecessor, it’s arguably still one of the best installments in the universe. For Khloe, it was her wedding to Lamar. Forgetting everything that followed in their marriage for a second, the wedding episode was truly great and set an incredibly high bar that, like Winter Soldier, installments that followed struggled to match. Season one was just about the family and their at-home antics, but the wedding centered on everyone’s favorite “character”, gave everyone a tremendous ticking clock of “nine days” til the wedding, and ended with a phenomenal set piece. These days it looks like things are winding down with rumors of the end of Cap in Infinity War and Khloe finally getting her dream of being a mom. No matter what’s next they’ll probably still be our favorites though.
Other Roles, Phase 4, and Beyond…
Kylie is Black Widow. Who would’ve thought this would be the outcome? Natasha Romanov arrived in the fun-but-sloppy Ironman 2 and was a standout. Now everyone’s begging for a standalone and it looks like it’s finally going to happen. Meanwhile, Kylie may not have had a hit in her own show but has found insane success with young women in her make up, clothing lines, and other ventures.
Kendall is Scarlett Witch. This was the toughest one. Kendall was seemingly poised to be everyone’s favorite but she seems uninterested in being “too involved” in her family’s television narratives. Wanda (aka Scarlet Witch) arrived in Age of Ultron and we’ve since seen her in Civil War, but now she appears to take on a bigger role in Infinity War. Maybe this will finally be her chance to shine, but so far it seems like the character is happy to assist in narratives more than drive them on the big screen.
Rob is Hawkeye. Hate to say it. Both universes keep trying to make these guys work, and they definitely have their fans… but there’s a reason Rob’s spin-off didn’t take off and that people haven’t been clamoring for a Hawkeye movie.
As for what’s coming… who knows. I’m not about to start pairing up the next generation of Kardashians with more recent additions to the MCU (even I’m not that rude). Most of them aren’t even old enough to know their ABC’s, but they’re popping out almost as fast as new Marvel films so who knows how long it’ll be til they have their own spin-offs.
Seems like both worlds are going to keep going for as long as people keeping paying to see them, no matter how many complaints of “fatigue” there are or how many parents blame them for “dumbing down” audiences. No matter what, I’m loving the hell out of both of them.