This year we saw the launch of DC Comic’s Extended Universe with the release of Batman VS Superman: Dawn of Justice. Whether you loved the film or agreed with its somewhat unshining critical acclaim, it is DC Comics flagship that aims to compete with Marvel’s well-established movie franchise by introducing us to a few of the characters which DC will bring together for their Justice League Movies. Along with Suicide Squad, which will hit movie theaters on August 5th of this year, DC is aiming to introduce us all it’s vibrant world of villains and superheroes.
Late to the Party
But is it too late for DC to catch up? Marvel’s Extend Universe began in 2008 with the release of Iron Man and they have released a new character-centric movie every year since 2010. Some years we’ve gotten several movies with our favorite Marvel superheroes.
Marvel’s Extend Universe established the characters of Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, and Captain America well before their release of the release of The Avengers. We, the audience, already knew who these characters were before The Avengers was released. Marvel made us care about these characters years before. That is part of the success of The Avengers and the rest of Marvel’s Extended Universe Movies. Some of us only watched it out of a sense of loyalty to our favorite characters; we needed to get our fix like a bunch of comic junkies.
DC’s Extend Universe only had Superman to call on for that movie character appeal and audience loyalty. Man of Steel, while successful if we just look at its budget and gross returns on the movie, didn’t engender that type of loyalty and favoritism that Marvel’s pre-Avengers movies have fostered. Batman, who became popular from Chris Nolan’s reimagining and Christian Bales portrayal, has a whole new Batman played by Ben Affleck. We didn’t get to see Ben Affleck’s version of Batman as an individual character, we didn’t have a chance to build a relationship with this onscreen Batman. Which I think is a part of what has made Marvel’s EU so popular.
Better Late Than Never
Even though DC is introducing their extended universe in the reverse of how Marvels has, there are many reasons for why this is a good thing. Group Action movies like Batman VS Superman and Suicide Squad can quickly throw you into the action and plot; this places the character under stress, forcing them to make quick decisions that show us the raw quality of their personalities. This emotionally raw factor is a part of what has set Marvel and DC comics apart; while both universes deal with harsh and upsetting personal situations, they handle them in slightly different ways. Marvel is, in general, more fun loving in their characters while DC tends to be more down to earth and serious.
There are hundreds of characters and comic story lines for both Comic producers which cross over and negate that previous sentence, but in general, as we see in these two movie franchises: Marvel is “witty” and DC is “dark”. When DC gives us group movies first which allow them to be a tad more “playful” with intense action, I think it’s their answer to combating Marvels well-established character movies. In these group movies we can find our favorites and DC can tailor their future movie productions to what is popular with us so that we see what we want to see of DC’s Extended Universe.
The Fan Experience
While DC might never catch up to Marvel, that doesn’t mean they aren’t producing good movies about a characters that we love and enjoy. Whether you just enjoy the comics books or you have a favorite character you cosplay at your local comicon; DC and Marvel are taking characters from worlds that we love and putting them on the big screen so that we can see them in all their glory.
We all have favorite superheroes and our favorite storylines. Some of DC and Marvel’s cinematic storytelling choices are not our favorites, sometimes what they show us on the silver screen is nothing like what we read in the comics, but these are comic book superheroes. You shouldn’t look at DC and Marvel’s motion pictures as the end all be all of your favorite superheroes. Superman has died several times in DC, as has Batman and the Joker. Marvel has killed off their most popular superheroes and then brought them back the very next year in a whole new story line when the change writers. Sometimes we like it, sometimes we hate it, but we do enjoy the adventure of watching our favorites fight the good fight and we come back for more every year.
If you like the comic book characters, either from reading the comics yourself or from animation, you will be able to find something to enjoy in the movie franchises. It’s time to stop think about this being DC vs Marvel and time to think of these movies as just motion capture comic books. Have fun and enjoy the ride.