Go anywhere on the Internet and you will probably find someone arguing about something. Whereas Marvel and DC are certainly not the first franchises to have warring Fan-Factions, they’ve certainly caused the most feuds lately. While Star Trek and Star Wars are finding Star Unity with J.J. Abrams, Marvel and DC seem to be drifting further and further apart, which makes no sense!
Liking DC and Marvel is not mutually exclusive. You can enjoy both. In fact, you should! The days when people felt shy about discussing Superheroes and Comics out in the open are over. In many ways, this is the Golden Age of the “Nerd” where more and more people are discovering they joy of comics and heroes. 2016 alone will give us Batman vs Superman, Deadpool, Captain America: Civil War, Suicide Squad, and X-Men Age Of Apocalypse – not to mention the plethora of other great films and video games. So why do some people choose to argue rather than just embrace all the incredible stuff that is coming out?
Maybe this goes back to childhood when you could only pick one type of comic to read, and as you grew you remained loyal to that one brand. But times have changed, and now you have access to all these great stories that are being brought to the big screen! Though rather than give the other side a chance, many would rather throw the same old used-up accusations. That is why I’m setting out to disprove all of the usual ‘Marvel vs DC’ arguments and show why each property deserves a chance – at least to “coexist” peacefully.
I know this won’t convince everyone, but if this article helps just one person I’ll consider it a success. And as for those of you who already enjoy both Marvel and DC, I applaud you and hope that I am able to put into writing what you have been feeling all this time.
Inaccurate Argument #1 – “Marvel Is Not Realistic Enough & Needs To Be Darker”:
How many times have you heard someone say “Marvel movies are for kids”, “They’re not realistic enough”, “DC is better because their films are darker and thus more realistic.” or something along these lines. They think that just because DC films are more dark and brooding that immediately makes them more realistic and better. Hell, even Ben Affleck (who plays Batman in the upcoming Batman v Superman film) expressed these beliefs in an interview recently. Now anyone is allowed to favor one film or the other, but relying on this as your argument honestly paints a very sad and – ironically – unrealistic view of the world.
They might say DC is more realistic because it’s darker, but that’s not the case at all. Life ISN’T all darkness and brooding. There are humorous moments and some people have a gift for finding humor when all is lost. Life isn’t black and white, and there needs to be a balance in all things. So when DC’ers claim that “DC is more realistic because it’s dark and not light-hearted”, the only thing they are doing is proving that Marvel is in fact more realistic than DC.
Sure some Marvel films might have been more over the top/light-hearted than others, but look at Captain America: The Winter Solider. That film was less a ‘superhero film’ and more of a political thriller that had VERY serious moments and problems, and yet still found time to find the light in things. Even Guardians Of the Galaxy – a film with a talking raccoon and tree – found numerous times to be VERY serious. Heck, the film even started with one of the most emotionally moving moments ever; but it still was able to take time to be humorous.
Life can be tough and it can beat you down, but you can’t forget that life also gives you a lot of moments to be serious. It is this balance of humor and serious that makes Marvel more realistic than DC. And if you want grit, look at Marvel’s Daredevil – a show that is by far the darkest thing Marvel has ever done – and yet even there we had some laughs. You are free to ‘prefer’ DC or Marvel, but don’t make up half-minded excuses about how light-heartedness makes a show any less real or “good”. And if you still don’t believe me DC’ers, just look at The Flash, which arguably the best superhero show on TV right now! And yet surprisingly – or unsurprisingly – , this is where some die-hard Marvel fans throw the exact same ‘excuse’ at DC’…
Inaccurate Argument #2 – “DC’s Shows (The Arrow-verse) Are Too Campy”:
Much like how die-hard DC fans claim that Marvel films are too light-hearted and over the top, die-hard Marvel fans claim the exact same thing about DC’s TV Universe (aka the Arrow-verse). Now Arrow started with a good balance of humor and grit, but this past season seemed to go full dark – and as I just discussed above, never go full dark. Though it is The Flash that this argument is usually thrown at; and whereas the first few episodes of The Flash seemed a little formulaic and campy, the midseason finale changed all of that.
What started as a silly and happy go lucky show suddenly got a ton of gravity to it as The Flash finds the man who killed his mother. Similarly, the characters in the show even acknowledged how they took the ‘superheroing gig’ too much like a cartoon. It’s because of these self-referential moments, light-hearted – and yet serious – tone that The Flash had the greatest Season Finale of 2014-15 Season, leaving us completely satisfied while also waiting eagerly for the next season. And with news of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – which looks amazing! – arriving next year, these half-witted accusations of ‘campyness’ will continue. Though no matter how over-the-top and full of one-liners Legends of Tomorrow might be, remember one thing: “Cast a stone at DC TV, and you’ll also have to cast one at Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the entire Marvel Universe.”
The films certainly have their campy and over-the-top moments – I’m looking at you in particular Thor – but any Marvel fans who take issue with the Arrow-verse’s way of doing things need only look to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. At first glance, AOS might seem like one of the campiest shows on TV; and sometimes it is. But all of its moments are leading to a bigger reveal and lesson. The exact same thing is true of the Arrow-verse. Similarly, AOS started off very formulaic too, but when the Captain America: The Winter Soldier tie-in episode “Turn, Turn, Turn” happened, everything became epic – sounds like The Flash right!
So remember, anything can have its campy and over-the-top moments, but that’s not a bad thing. Over-the-top villains and story ideas are kind of the foundation of comics. Further more – when applied to live action adaptations – it’s what the shows/films do with those moments that make them truly great. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Flash both started off a little exaggerated, but it all led to them becoming the incredible shows that they are today. We might not see it in the moment, but there is a larger glorious plan at work. All you need to do is give them a fair chance! You’ve done it for one, so why not the other?
Inaccurate Argument #3 – “Marvel Is Too Simplistic & Has No Depth”:
Another half-minded accusation is that Marvel films have no depth and rely too much on destruction and fighting. For starters, this belief is ludicrous considering the only DC film thus far – Man of Steel – had an entire city needlessly destroyed. Now sure Snyder and the Batman v Superman team claim that they are doing something unique by having this new film deal with the repercussions of this battle while The Avengers didn’t; but again they are overlooking some tremendous facts.
For starters, the battle in The Avengers was a lot less destructive than the one in Man of Steel as many Avengers focused on ‘containment’. Though despite these containment attempts there was still destruction, which was explored extensively in Marvel’s Phase 2. We saw how Tony developed PTSD, how S.H.I.E.L.D. got more power in light of the catastrophe and allowed for Hydra to make a move, and how all of these losses culminated in the fears and steps that led to Ultron’s creation. Though as far as the “physical” destruction of New York, that was the set up for Marvel’s Daredevil where we saw how the Battle of New York actually turned the thriving Hell’s Kitchen back into the shady crime-ridden neighborhood it was decades ago.
At the end of the day, you have to realize that all of these superhero films have put a lot into their writing. So whether you like it or not, there is depth to each film. Do some have more than others? Sure, but they all have depth, whether it be themes, character developments, emotional tones or powerful metaphors. Again, take Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which had tons of depth with Steve and Bucky’s relationship, Falcon’s role as the new Bucky and the notion that Steve originally ‘died’ for nothing. This film hit hard and had so much depth and repercussions that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the entire path of the MCU changed because of it. Whether or not a viewer took the time to see these complexities was totally up to them – to which I say they should have read my article 😉 .
And Marvel fans, before you throw the same accusation at Man of Steel, hold up a second. Yes, I did just point out that Man of Steel did rely a lot on fighting, BUT I never said it didn’t have depth. It might not be the best Superman film, but there was still some very well executed thematic veins – such as the conflicting views of humanity accepting or detesting Clark. Further more, Clark snapping Zodd’s neck might have seemed very out of character; BUT remember what happened directly before and after this moment. Zodd left him literally no choice, and after he had killed him, Superman broke down. This was still the same ‘good boy Superman’ and the fact that he just had to kill someone – no matter how evil he was – tears him apart. So again, Marvel and DC both have tons of depth in their films as long as you don’t turn a blind eye to them.
Inaccurate Argument #4 – “Besides The Dark Knight, DC Has Nothing That’s ‘Good’”:
As you’ve probably noticed by now, there’s a lot of ridiculous arguments thrown around the Marvel/DC rivalry; but few are as preposterous as the notion that DC has done /does nothing of quality. If you’re lucky, they’ll sometimes acknowledge Nolan’s The Dark Knight, but they’re still turning a blind eye to one of DC’s greatest legacies – The Animated Series of Bruce Timm.
Before there were Cinematic Universes, DC brought us the Animated Universe and it all started with the iconic Batman: The Animated Series. With multiple seasons, films and Spin-offs, Bruce Timm’s animated universe manages to tie together Batman, Superman and multiple Justice Leagues while also traveling far into the future for the groundbreaking Batman Beyond. To ignore accomplishments such as these is borderline blasphemous. Even if you can’t enjoy Batman v Superman, you still have to love World’s Finest – the quintessential Batman & Superman film. This interconnect animated universe spanned well over 10 years and represents a longevity that even the Marvel Cinematic Universe has yet to achieve!
Though if Bruce Timm’s animated universe is too old an example for you, then look at the Arkham game series. Superhero video games have never been an easy endeavor and there have certainly been a lot of atrocious failures – an article for another time – but the Arkham series by Rocksteady Studios has truly been a role model. With various entries, stunning gameplay and an overall shared universe, this series has excelled where other superhero games have failed – for both DC and Marvel!
DC might have a slow start to the Cinematic Universe game, but that’s no reason to think they have nothing to offer. I for one LOVE Marvel’s Avengers Assemble and Ultimate Spider-Man, but it still can’t take away from DC’s animated legacy. Seriously, we all need more Bruce Timm in our lives! And that is why when it comes to animated series and video games, DC owns the competition in terms of quality, longevity and overall critical reception. Competition or not, you must respect your opponents strengths – which brings us to our final half-witted argument/ claim.
Inaccurate Argument #5 – “You’re Move Marvel!/ DC Has The Best Cinematic Universe Around!”:
There has been an odd trend lately where certain media sites will post a random thing about the DC Cinematic Universe – ie: Suicide Squad line-up, The Rock being cast as Shazam, etc – and then caption it simply with “Your Move Marvel”, as if DC is issuing a challenge to Marvel. There are so many things wrong with this statement that I don’t even know where to start – so let’s go to the facts.
Marvel has been working on a Cinematic Universe for over 7 years and considering they currently hold the honor of Highest Grossing Film Franchise ever, I don’t think they’re too worried about anything DC is planning just yet. Is DC’s potential there? Hell yes, but it still has no bearing on this issue. In fact, let me illustrate this problem a little differently.
Saying “Your Move Marvel” is basically the cinematic equivalent of Chris Pratt putting on a fedora and saying, “Your move Harrison Ford!” Now I know what you’re thinking: WHY did I say Chris Pratt? Do I have something against him? Why not Shia LaBeouf? Simple, because – and I never thought I’d say these words but – DC is NOT Shia LaBeouf in this scenario!
Harrison Ford is a legend – understatement. Whether you liked the films or not, there is no denying that Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade are two of the most iconic action, adventure films of all time. Regardless of any Crystal-themed modern-day follow-ups, you still have to give the man credit. As of the moment, Chris Pratt is not playing Indiana Jones. Could he one day? Hopefully! Would he be great? Absolutely, but as of this moment he hasn’t done any Indiana Jones films. He’s played characters similar to the charming treasure hunter, but that doesn’t make it an Indiana Jones film. Though even if Pratt does one day become Indiana Jones, we would still give Harrison Ford the respect he deserves as the man who started the craze and made the franchise what it is.
Now let’s apply the above metaphor to Marvel and DC. Again, regardless of what you think of the films, Marvel has brought the Superhero genre into a new age. The idea of branching out an interconnected universe through film was something they started way back in 2008 when Nick Fury first told Ironman that he became part of a bigger universe. Marvel is clearly Harrison Ford in the scenario; and as I said before, DC is Chris Pratt.
Does DC CURRENTLY have a realized Cinematic Universe? No. They have Man of Steel, which initially was just a singular work. Nothing was in that film that directly screamed ‘this is the start of a larger universe’. Will DC one day have a Cinematic Universe? Yes, and 2016 is that year! The Cinematic Universe might take a drastically different approach and sometimes seem a little unorthodox, but they have every possibility to get it right and form a brilliant Cinematic Universe of their own. Some of the stuff coming out for Suicide Squad looks really interesting and in years to come we might find that DC did just as much for the hero movie genre as Marvel originally did. Though at the end of the day, it’s still The Veteran vs The Newcomer – and whatever success the DCCU might have, it still doesn’t take away from what the MCU has already achieved.
BONUS – Inaccurate Argument #6 – “The Feud Is Good And Makes Them Work For Us”:
A couple of people have expressed the idea that “ending the feud” would result in a monopoly. They say that the Feud is good because it makes Marvel and DC fight over us and strive to make better content so we don’t “go turncoat” on them. *facepalm* Allow me to redirect you to the first section of this article: “Liking Marvel and DC ISN’T Mutually Exclusive”!
Marvel and DC aren’t two competing types of cable providers, phone services, etc. You can have both and this idea that ‘you can only like one’ is the problem. Liking Marvel and DC isn’t akin to you having an iPod in one pocket and a Zune in the other – yah, I went there. Liking Marvel and DC simply means you’re a ‘superhero fan; and thus anyone who makes ‘superhero’ content – ie: Marvel or DC – would have to keep their quality levels in check because you (the reader) are aware of everything on the market. Competition and Feud are NOT the same thing, and I think a lot of people forget that. Thus an end to ‘the Feud’ doesn’t mean an end to ‘competition’.
I don’t expect this article to stop the Marvel/ DC Fighting all together, but if this can help even a few put aside their pitchforks and come to respect the other side, then that is as good a start as any! The truth is that there are so many incredible stories told within each property, that the only way to loose is by not acknowledging the other.
Everyone is allowed to ‘prefer’ whichever property they want, BUT please skip all the needless flame wars and irrational bashing of the other side. There are much more pressing matters in the world to deal with. Superheroes and comic books are meant to bring us together and think about a better tomorrow. So if we – fans, filmmakers, stars and media outlets alike – could all stop perpetuating these fights and instead start working together, then that would be TRULY heroic! #MarvelDCUnited