Marvel or DC?
Marvel or DC? Tough question? Maybe, maybe not.
There’s no doubt I’m a huge Marvel fan. I’m not a comic reader, but I can re-watch the movies and TV shows over and over. I usually see a Marvel movie the day it comes out, and get it on DVD as soon as it’s released. I write to the soundtracks and have named several characters in my writing after characters from the Marvel universe. No doubt about it. I’m a big fan of Marvel. DC… They’ve got a lot of competition with Marvel. DC tends to be hit or miss, whereas the Marvel movies of the past decade have been almost all hits— with both critics and in terms of box-office grosses. It’s true, Chris Nolan’s Dark Night trilogy raked in over well over $2 billion at the box office. And they are great, great films. Man of Steel did well at the box office, but not so well with the critics. Green Lantern flopped, despite not being a bad film. Smallville was a huge hit and ran for 10 seasons. But DC are still trying to catch up with Marvel.
To date, the Marvel movies (movies that fall into the Marvel cinematic universe) have collated over $7 billion at the box office. That isn’t counting the X-Men movies or the Spiderman movies. Both of which are owned by Fox and Sony respectively. Marvel also fare better (Nolan’s Batman movies aside) with critics and audiences.
So what is DC doing wrong?
Maybe they’re not embracing the comic book essence as much as Marvel is. DC movies seem to be sombre, not lacking in humour but certainly short of it when compared to Marvel. They also seem disjointed, whereas Marvel have built an entire world for the dozens of heroes and villains that populate their universe. A problem which DC are rushing to solve. With the sequel to Man of Steel, Batman vs Superman, closing in, and a Justice League movie in the works, DC have clearly seen the benefits of a single universe and are rushing to catch up. I’m unsure if they’ll be successful. Whedon got it right on the money with The Avengers, giving the heroes enough screen time each that it felt like they were a team. Will DC be able to pull off something similar, or… better? I can’t even guess. Affleck could make a pretty good Batman, and Henry Cavill wasn’t a bad Superman. But DC needs to take a harder look at Marvel, at more than just the single universe. What makes Marvel so successful is how much they embrace the comics they are based on. They’re not always solemn and drained of colour (cough—Superman), they’re packed with humour (Guardians of the Galaxy) and they’re never overlong, over serious, and never boring. DC needs to lighten up. For a movie about a guy who can fly and shoot lasers from his eyes, Superman took itself very seriously. DC needs to loosen up, look harder at the comics their movies are based on and take a leaf from Marvel’s book.
Marvel isn’t perfect. Not even in the eyes of a big fan. While most of the movies are well plotted, they all climax in pretty much the exact same way. A face off with the villain. The formula works, but how long will it continue to work? It has to be said for DC that they do things a little differently. Each of Nolan’s Batman movies was very different from the its predecessor. And unlike most Marvel movies, I couldn’t predict what was going to happen at the end of each one.
The decision between Marvel and DC will always be an easy one for me. Marvel wins hands down. You come out of a cinema after a Marvel movie with a grin on your face, humming the soundtrack and planning your next trip for a re-watch. Will Marvel always hold the crown, or will DC’s upcoming movies take it?
What do you think? Are you a bigger fan of Marvel or of DC, and why?