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Twilight VS Fifty Shades: Which is Better?

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Timothy MacAusland
One spawned the other, and now we’re going to see which reigns supreme in The Twilight Saga vs. Fifty Shades. We’ll be looking over the plots, romance, and other aspects from both of these popular franchises. A spoiler warning is now in effect, not to mention a mature content warning, because, you know ... MsMojo pits The Twilight Saga against Fifty Shades of Grey. Which franchise do you prefer? Let us know in the comments!

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One spawned the other, and now we’re going to see which reigns supreme. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re pitting The Twilight Saga against the Fifty Shades series.

Since we’re delving into fine details from both franchises, a spoiler warning is now in effect, not to mention a mature content warning, because, you know ...

Round 1: Plot

It’s a tale as old as time. Girl meets boy, girl falls for boy, boy turns girl into a vampire. The attraction was instant between star-crossed lovers Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, sparking a relationship that threatens to upheave the natural order. This human-vampire coupling doesn’t sit well with the vampires of the world, even more so when their union results in a hybrid child. Bella must stand firm with her newfound family if she wants to protect her future with Edward. It’s a dynamic story arc, easily earning the term “saga” as it delves into the clandestine world of vampires and werewolves alike, and with heavy stakes to go with it. Pun intended.

Fifty Shades on the other hand features a much more internal struggle involving its lead characters. It follows literature student Anastasia Steele, as she’s thrust into a wild affair with the affluent, enigmatic Christian Grey. As their love blossoms, Ana must come to terms not only with his rougher nature and predilection for BDSM, but also his sordid past and the skeletons in his closet that seek to destroy them. As an erotic romantic drama, rather than a romance fantasy like Twilight, the principal conflict in the series comes from within the characters themselves, and less from outside influences.

While Fifty Shades is able to dredge up plenty of strife for its characters, the sheer amount of moving parts that make up the Twilight Saga’s plot can’t be denied. It spins such an intricate web that it’s easy to see how Twi-hards got sucked in.

Winner: Twilight 1 / Fifty Shades 0

Round 2: The Female Protagonist

The catalyst for all the chaos that transpires throughout the series, Bella Swan may have started out as a human, but she more than proved herself able to run with the wolves - literally. While somewhat reserved by nature, Bella is highly intellectual and mature for her age, always willing to fight for what she believes in. It’s through her love for Edward that she’s able to muster the strength to defend her future with him, even if it means changing her entire world. When the day finally comes that she makes the transformation into a vampire, she more than measures up, proving herself a natural.

Anastasia Steele takes a little bit more time to adjust to the lifestyle of the man she loves, but let it not be said she doesn’t make an impact. Starting their relationship as a virgin, Ana may have had her limits tested and taken her fair share of heartache, but never did she let it break her. On an individual level, she is incredibly independent and career-driven, putting her literature background to good use. Say what you will about the circumstances surrounding her promotion, her abilities to fill those shoes cannot be denied.

Since both franchises are geared towards a female demographic, they equally live or die on the backs of their female protagonists. With both characters so captivated by their love interests, and with similar resolve in the face of obstacles, we find this round too close to call. So we’re calling this round a tie!

Winner: Twilight 2 / Fifty Shades 1

Round 3: Romance

Twilight would never have become the mega sensation it is today if it didn’t have romance up the wazoo. From their slow dance at prom to their sweet moments in the meadow, Edward and Bella have no shortage of tender scenes in the series. Their love for one another crosses all boundaries and obstacles until they finally earn their happy ending. Their chemistry even transcended the screen, as stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson dated for several years. While it wasn’t meant to be for the actors, it was for Edward and Bella.

Fifty Shades, on the other hand, is nothing if not filled with passion. While one could contend it’s more about lust than love, we’d say that in their case it became one and the same. While Ana and Christian didn’t have to fight actual demons to solidify their bond, they did have to overcome the ones from their past, and the ones inside themselves, which is meaningful in its own right. That said, if there was one critique many had with the series - more on that later - it was the lack of a spark between leads Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, something that’s a must if you want your movie romance to stand the test of time.

As such, we’ve gotta go with the franchise that made millions of teenage girls swoon in one fell swoop. These vampires may be cold-blooded, but they sure got our hearts pumping.

Winner: Twilight 3 / Fifty Shades 1

Round 4: Eroticism

Unlike its competitor in this versus series, the Twilight films are rated PG-13, and so are naturally less explicit. But that doesn’t mean they’re by any means tame. From the mere instant Edward meets Bella, he has to suppress his vampire instincts, so much so that by the end of the first movie it takes all his strength to focus when sucking the venom from her arm. While the act wasn’t technically sexual, it certainly had an air of eroticism. And if we’re talking sex, Bella and Edward’s honeymoon is about as intense as it gets - even at the expense of the headboard.

That said, you can’t think about Fifty Shades without your head going to some sexy places. Thanks to Christian’s dominant sexual nature and inclination towards BDSM, we knew it was going to get pretty kinky pretty quick. From the furtive, naughty foreplay in a crowded elevator to licking ice cream off some private spots, there’s few places this series won’t go. They’re kind of like superhero movies might be, if instead of having a fight scene every fifteen minutes, they had sex instead. Yeah, sufficient to say these are not safe for work.

While Twilight may pack more punch in any single steamy scene, we have to go with Fifty Shades on this one, if only for the sheer quantity of it all.

Winner: Twilight 3 / Fifty Shades 2

Round 5: Critical Reception

Love it or hate it, it’s fair to say that the Twilight Saga has had a fairly mixed reception across the board. Even though general audiences are more fond of them than the critics, they do appear to agree on which ones are better. Namely, the first and last installments, which boast audience approval ratings on Rotten Tomatoes in the low seventies, and forty-nine percent on the Tomatometer. It’s the even-numbered entries that have drawn the most ire from critics, with New Moon and Breaking Dawn - Part 1 scoring in the twenties. Nonetheless, the franchise has grossed $3.3 billion worldwide, for an average total of $669 million per film.

Meanwhile, the Fifty Shades franchise hasn’t enjoyed the sporadic success the Twilight films have, earning low marks from both audiences and critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, all of the films have audience scores below 50 percent, and critics were scathing, with the second and third installments bottoming out at a paltry twelve percent. Speaking of numbers, they’ve made far less than the Twilight Saga, with an average of $441 million per film. Even the director of Fifty Shades of Grey, Sam Taylor-Johnson, has expressed regret after taking on the project, saying she’d be quote, “mad” to go through it again. Yikes.

At the end of the day, the numbers do not lie, as the Twilight Saga has been more favorably received across the board. Naturally, this was an easy call.

Winner: Twilight 4 / Fifty Shades 2

So there you have it, Twilight trumps its sister franchise Fifty Shades by a score of 4 to 2.

Did we make the right choice? Go ahead and debate your pick in the comments section, and be sure to subscribe to MsMojo for more heart-pounding versus videos.

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