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Commentary

Marvel and DC : the Montague and Capulet of cinema

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

News flash: Americans will find anything to be divided about. 

Whether this is politics, sports or if pineapple belongs on pizza, we tend to get up in arms about our beliefs here in this country. Some of these divisions cause hilarious arguments we have with our friends, and some of them lead to legitimate violence. Say what you will about the American people, but we are stubborn and strong-willed, for better or worse. 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that divisions will often come up when we talk about pop culture as well. How many arguments have you had with your friends and family about which movie is superior or which band makes better music? I can’t tell you how many people I’ve ticked off by making the bold claim that “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is a bad movie. 

Now here’s a question I’m sure everyone around my age has asked.

Who makes better movies: Marvel or DC?

For years, this question has been at the center of the Superhero film era. Fans from each side have vehemently defended the studio they think is better. Heck, this question has even infiltrated the studios themselves, with both Jason Momoa (Aquaman) and Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang) both publicly saying “f*** Marvel.” 

There’s no questioning the fact that Marvel has ultimately been more successful than DC. It’s surprising when a Marvel movie doesn’t surpass a billion dollars at the box office. Two of the top five highest-grossing movies of all time (“Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Avengers: Endgame”) are Marvel properties. Plus, comparing the story that they built from “Iron Man” all the way to “Endgame” to what DC accomplished in that same time period… well, let’s just say we all know how “Suicide Squad” and “Justice League” turned out. DC’s world-building was absolutely putrid and disorganized compared to what Kevin Feige and Marvel had set up. 

So in that sense, I say that Marvel wins this debate, if you’re looking at overall success. But today, DC has something that Marvel doesn’t: the audacity to keep their universes separate.

Marvel has essentially made themselves King Midas; everything they touch turns to gold, and they’ve surrounded themselves with all these billion-dollar properties. Their main problem is that they’re incorporating so many new characters and arcs into one story. They achieved it once before with the Infinity Saga, but that was less oversaturated and more cohesive than what we have now. Kevin Feige has so many characters, storylines and even universes to balance now into one big pot we call the MCU. The puzzle pieces don’t seem to fit nearly as well as they did pre-“Endgame.” 

DC, on the other hand, is unapologetically making separate universes that don’t interact with each other and honestly, I think they have more promise in their future slate of movies and visual entertainment in general. They do not care that there’s different Harley Quinns, whether that be Margot Robbie’s, Lady Gaga’s or Kaley Cuoco’s in the animated series. I legitimately think that the new “Spider-Verse” will introduce a live-action Miles Morales, all in the name of getting more characters in Kevin Feige’s overcrowded story. 

The same applies to Batman – they are having Ben Affleck and Robert Pattinson play separate Batmans and they don’t feel the need to bring them together or connect their story somehow. Michael Keaton’s Batman is coming back in “The Flash,” and I’m excited to see him. And honestly, I like that because DC is keeping their stories separate and not writing themselves into a corner because of that. 

I’m not saying that I dislike what “No Way Home” or “Multiverse of Madness” did. I think it’s fun to bring in old faces and see them interact with the new ones. However, Marvel is trying to contain their story into one giant universe. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some cool aspects of it. But Marvel is seeing the need to make it all connected. DC, for the most part, doesn’t. Things can be separate and just as engaging, something that Marvel doesn’t seem to understand. 

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