The Marvel/DC Rivalry

Keilan Morrissey, Reporter

    DC or Marvel? An age-old question asked between geeks debating the best comic book company has a new meaning now. No longer are superheroes just on printed pages; they have been brought to life by the wonder of film and television. Marvel characters have become extremely popular lately due to appearances in cinema. Robert Downey Jr. has made Iron Man an iconic character, Chris Evans has become the face of Captain America, Hugh Jackman is half of what makes Wolverine awesome, and several actors have brought Spider-Man to life in recent movies. These actors combined with stellar effects and excellent screenwriting have turned millions of everyday folks into Marvel fans, regardless of whether they have ever picked up a comic book.

    I have been a DC fan since I was even able to comprehend stories. And while I have always liked the Marvel lore, I have found myself frustrated by how under-appreciated DC characters are due to their lack of quality movies. The Marvel Studios Cinematic Universe have given the public excellent films such as Iron Man, Thor, The Avengers, and many others. They have built up a phenomenal film franchise. And even those who are not fans of Marvel comics have become fans of these movies, even the obscure (but enjoyable) ones such as Ant-Man. Fox’s X-Men films and Sony’s Spider-Man movies have also provided Marvel enjoyment for everybody, blending comedy and fun with the serious tones and stories of some of these characters. There have been some hit DC movies such as The Dark Knight trilogy featuring Christian Bale as Batman. But DC has never had a universe as expansive and interestingly complex as Marvel. Until 2016 changed a few things.

    In 2013, DC collaborated with Warner Brothers to bring Superman to life on the big screen with a new movie called Man of Steel. The effects were state-of-the-art, the emotional acting was great and believable, and the story was on point. The movie was well put together, and was great for DC fans. However, critics and viewers had one absurd problem with this movie. It just was not a Marvel film. It was not the type of superhero movie that they had become accustomed to. It was gritty, raw, and heavy. There was some humor, but the story was focused on showing Superman’s struggle. It was highly accurate to the comics, given that it was directed by Zack Snyder, a serious comic book geek. The movie was controversial because it was so far from the Marvel movies, and it received a lot of hate. I believe it deserved far more credit. It had terrific messages, excellent filmography, and a wonderfully written script by Chris Terrio and David Goyer.

    Man of Steel may have gotten some backlash from the public, but it gained a huge base of DC fans who believed it was the exact kind of comic book movie they had always wanted, myself included. DC followed up this movie with a lengthy and high-budget movie called Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016. This film was even greater than Man of Steel in my opinion. It was epic, included some necessary elements of humor, maintained a gritty tone and accuracy to the comics, had a perfect plot that brought Superman and Batman together in one film, and lastly introduced several other main DC characters for the purpose of setting up future movies in this new franchise called the DC Extended Universe. Later in 2016, a film called Suicide Squad came along. It featured Batman, as well as a team of villains and criminals that were thrown together for the purpose of fighting a greater evil. It was the most humorous of all the DC movies yet, but it still managed to keep the same perfect tone, and continued the trend of great acting, writing, and filmography.

    These 2016 DC movies unfortunately received more backlash, and a lot of unnecessary hate from the general public. I found them to be stellar, and I actually consider Batman V Superman to be my all time favorite film. True fans of DC Comics will enjoy these DCEU movies. Those who are expecting these movies to be just like Marvel movies, with the same light-heartedness and humor, will be disappointed. I enjoy Marvel very much, but DC is far more up my alley. I think the story content is higher quality, and is extremely entertaining to watch.

    Marvel’s recent movies have been hits with close to everyone, and DC’s recent movies have been controversial but still awesome. Now we have entered 2017, and DC has two movies prepared for us this year. Coming on June 2nd is Wonder Woman. Marvel has never released a female-led superhero film, so this will be the first one in a very long time, and should be fun and epic. And on November 17th, we will be seeing Justice League, a team-up of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg. This film promises to be amazing, and I think it may top all of the others.

    Marvel has been building a successful movie universe for quite some time, and now DC has jumped in the game. I think that in terms of number of diehard fans, the two franchises are tied for the moment. While Marvel may have a larger general audience, DC is perfect for people looking for a movie very similar to a comic book story. The two companies will continue to be rivals for a while, since they each have two to three movies lined up to be released each year for the next half decade. I will forever enjoy Marvel, and forever love DC. I encourage everyone to give both a chance.