Everybody loves comic book films because they are a super hit with fans. However, sometimes that means all superhero films are never as good as they should be.
One of the more recent and larger issues to strike a chord in the comic book community is the on-going feud with the two major comic book companies, Marvel and DC. Marvel comics has been the biggest contender for DC comics. One of the major areas that they have fought in for several years now has been the movie business. In my opinion, Marvel has been able to triumph over DC. This seems like a ridiculous claim, since DC has some of the best and most recognized heroes ever. However, this happens to be true. DC, unlike Marvel, has not been able to keep up with Marvel’s tactics of their game plan.
But why is that? Well, so that I don’t offend any DC fans, I will state that not every single Marvel film has been perfect. But, Marvel has been planning the conception of their universe, starting with “Iron Man.” Marvel knew that they wanted to build up to the major ensemble of the Avengers movie. Not only then would they have double the profit, but they would also be hailed by their fans for putting so much effort into their movies. Marvel also worked on several other projects that would help build up to their endpoint, and help with the world building of the universe that all the Marvel movies share. After the “Avengers,” Marvel has continued this strategy of world building and releasing films. DC, on the other hand, has been rushed and sloppy with their deliverance of their recent films. Ever since the release of the “Avengers,” DC has been scrambling to one-up Marvel by jumping straight to their big comic book ensemble, “Justice League.”
The second thing Marvel has done differently compared to DC is the characters. No matter what recent film of the DC-verse you watch it’s blatantly obvious how bland the characters are. When it comes to writing compelling characters, DC happens to completely glance over any defining character traits. Superman should be interesting to watch. We should be able to feel Superman’s struggles of fitting in, controlling his powers, and becoming a hero. Instead, watching Superman is like watching paint dry on a wall. Now you could blame this on the actor, Henry Cavill, but if an actor has nothing to work with for their characters in a story, then the performance will fall flat. Meanwhile, Marvel has been able to make their characters like Captain America seem as everyday people. With Captain America, we see in the “Avengers” how he struggles to adapt to modern life after waking up about fifty years after he crashes and landed in ice during a mission during World War II. We see Captain America not only struggle with adapting to modern life, but him mourning the loss of everyone he ever knew. In the DC films, we never see any deep, emotional story arcs or even emotional performances from the majority of the characters at the level that Marvel has.
Another thing that Marvel does better than DC is style. Zack Snyder, the director of all of the recent, and future, DC films such as “Batman V Superman” and “Justice League,” has a few particular techniques and traits in his movies that just strike the wrong note for a lot of critics and fans alike. The first mistake, as mentioned before, is that the origin stories are never told in chronological order. This is a particular problem in “Man of Steel.” While taking the Memento style of storytelling isn’t a bad trait to derive from, it is when there’s not really a story being told. This goes back to how the characters are portrayed in the films. In the first half of “Man of Steel,” we see Superman go through a bunch of crucial moments in his life– like hitchhiking across America and him developing his powers as a child- then it jumps back to present day to a whole new batch of characters. In all of that screen time, the only thing developed is how powerful Superman is, but not what he thinks, believes, or feels, so the audience never gets to know Superman on a personal level.
Overall, it’s obvious which studio company has their movies in better shape. I still have hope that maybe DC will be able to create movies for their characters that they deserve. There is still promise with the release of “Wonder Woman” this June. And who knows, maybe DC is learning that story and character is more important over style.