DC V Marvel: Why DC Will Win
DC’s Cinematic Universe is poised to outshine the Marvel Cinematic Universe for three very important reasons.
1. DC learned some hard lessons in the 90’s about taking source material too lightly. George Clooney’s Caped Crusader in the 1997 campy Batman & Robin nearly killed the hero in a way the Joker never could (note: George Clooney has repeatedly apologized for his Batman). Flash forward to Christopher Nolan’s 2005 Batman Begins. Nolan had a whole new approach to the super hero genre: he took it seriously and made a great film with solid storytelling. It made all the difference in the whole. One could point to Marvel’s 2000 film X-Men and 2002’s Spider-man. Both movies were great and made bold steps forward for super hero fans, but both fell apart in their disjointed sequels.
Zack Snyder’s 2013 Man of Steel, the beginning of DC’s shared cinematic universe, continues Nolan’s approach of taking the source material seriously. The film emphasizes Superman’s science fiction roots with broader social and political themes. There is a darkness to it that we’ve never seen in a Superman film before. Unlike recent Marvel films, there was a noticeable lack of laughs. An article on SCREENRANT reports that Kevin Feige, head of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, has no plans to go dark and that “humor is in the DNA of the movies.”
2. DC has better heroes. Superman is the granddaddy of all superheroes, the mold. Before him, there were heroes, but no superheroes. No genre. He is one of the most recognizable fictional characters: reportedly, Superman’s S-shield is the second most recognized symbol in the world, surpassed only by the Christian cross. Sure, Thor was a god in an actual religion, but the Christianization of Scandinavia took place a millennium ago. And Batman was a billionaire playboy decades before Tony Stark had his first hangover. Stark is a brilliant scientist, but Batman is an old school, hard-boiled, grim and gritty detective.
3. Villains. Think of the quintessential superhero villain. Picture him. The ultimate bad guy. Who do you see? Green Goblin? No way. Magneto? Hmm, probably not. Thanos? Come on, even I had to look him up. How about the Joker. Boom. Yes. Lex Luthor, boom again. DC simply has better villains. I’ve seen and enjoyed all the Marvel films, but I can never really remember the villains. Even the big bad from Avengers 2 was a bit lackluster. Ultron is the best bad guy you trot out for one of the biggest films ever?
Of course this is all contingent on execution. What do you think? What is important to you in a superhero film? Team Dark or Team Humor?