VERSUS! Marvel vs DC

Elyse Guziewicz, Opinion Writer

Ah, the age-long debate! Marvel Comics and DC Comics have been rivals since their inception, but never before has that been so clearly displayed as in today’s superhero movie mania. Let’s start by making one thing clear: there is no disputing the fact that movies based on Marvel comics and heroes are performing much better than current DC movies. Do not stop reading yet! If you are like me, you are wondering why that is — and you are in luck. Here are three reasons Marvel is outperforming DC on the big screen.

  1. Marvel comes out with twice as many movies.

This might seem a little obvious. Since January, there have already been four Marvel movies — Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man II, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Guardians of the Galaxy — all of which have been critically acclaimed. In contrast, the only DC movie we have seen this year is Man of Steel, which received mixed reviews. The reason? Marvel has three different studios producing films based on their characters: Marvel Entertainment (Sony), which produces the Spider-Man movies; 20th Century Fox, which owns the rights to X-Men, Deadpool, Cable, and the Fantastic Four; and Marvel Studios (Disney) which produces all other films. In contrast, all DC films come from one studio: Warner Brothers. The DC Universe is only capable of producing a few films a year.

  1. DC is less willing to take risks.

In the last 60 years and through 23 movies (we are not counting Watchmen for this, as it’s not part of the DCU), we have only seen four movies that are not based on Superman and/or Batman. Out of those four, only two have been commercially recognizable, and neither had a positive audience reaction. In fact, Catwoman won an award for the worst movie of the year — and Halle Berry came to pick it up! Now, let us take a look at Marvel’s track record: over the last 60ish years, there have been 40 films featuring 16 different characters or groups. While DC fears the risk of a Wonder Woman movie, Marvel has released a movie featuring an anthropomorphic raccoon and a talking tree.

  1. DC movies take on the same tone.

Take a look at all of the recent DC movies. With the exception of Superman Returns, every one has been a dark, gritty take on the characters. With Batman, it was understandable and even well-received. However, the advent of Man of Steel brought naysayers, which questioned the decision to make America’s golden boy an angsty, destructive force. Marvel takes a different route, including both dark and light movie moments. The beginning of the first Iron Man movie is hard-hitting and relevant, but the rest is sprinkled with light moments to break the tension. Some movies do take a darker tone — for instance, many of the X-Men movies — and others have a much lighter atmosphere, like Guardians of the Galaxy.

Put these things together, and it spells disaster for DC. Marvel knows how to give the audience what they want without getting stuck in a rut. All in all, the major reason DC has not reached Marvel’s level is the fact that they are still playing catch-up. After The Avengers was released, the comic book universe was abuzz with the question, “When are we going to see a Justice League movie?” The answer? DC was then and is now woefully underprepared for a film of that scope. Although the Batman movies served as a good foundation and they are really making an effort to put more characters on the big screen, they continue making major mistakes such as refusing to canonize the live-action television shows and questioning the need for a stand-alone Wonder Woman movie. What will happen in the wake of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice remains to be seen, but I will leave you with this — it is going to come out in the wake of not one, not two, but three new Marvel movies, which will be featuring one reboot (Fantastic Four), one new standalone (Ant-Man), and Avengers: Age of Ultron. That’s right, DC. The second Avengers film, and you are still on Batman and Superman. If DC wants to catch up to Marvel, they better call The Flash, because right now, they’ve been left in the dust.