I got into a discussion with someone on Facebook about DC vs Marvel movies. DC has been trying to match Marvel step for step, and so far has largely failed. Things may be lining up however, for DC to become the Master of the movie theater. In these articles we will look at why DC has failed, and how they may be on the brink of taking back the box office crown.
In this new age of Comic book movies, Marvel is the undisputed king of the big screen. They churn out movie after movie with seemingly no bad seeds. DC has attempted to match Marvel, but has sputtered and seemingly failed at nearly every step. Whatever they try, DC just cannot match what Marvel and what they do.
Question is – should they even be trying? The answer is in fact no, and DC may be stumbling onto that very answer. In no longer trying to match Marvel step for step, DC may in fact be poised to take over king of the box office, leaving Marvel to the dust of second place.
DC Was Set To Fail
Back in 2008, with the addition of what would become a Marvel staple, Marvel changed the course of comic book movies for good with the addition of one little post credit scene. Nick Fury walks out of the shadows of Tony Stark’s home and says “Mr Stark you’ve become part of a bigger universe. You just don’t know it yet.” The MCU was born.
Marvel proceeded to release a string of single character origin movies that by themselves were really good, but it was that few minute post credit scene(s) that would outline a much larger story and a much bigger picture that was approaching. Four years of build up and anticipation later, we would have the first of four accumulations of this ramp up – The Avengers.
This was not only a huge success for Marvel, but it set a bar that nearly every studio and production company has tried to emulate. Universal tried it with their monster movies, but that failed miserably. Everyone releasing new movies tried to say this was the first in a new movie universe that would expand into an epic movie series. All failed.
DC of course would attempt to copy Marvel, but like the other studios has had problems doing so. The problem lay in part with the very nature of the attempt. DC abandoned its very strengths in its attempt to match Marvel. DC was a running team that decided to try and pass the ball like Marvel. Bad idea.
Here we really need to stop and examine the two universes as they exist in the comic book world. Look at the titles of Marvel – Fantastic Four, X-Men, Avengers. DC has titles such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash. While there are exceptions to some small degree, Marvel is largely based on teams and families where DC is largely built on individuals and their titles.
Marvel was playing into its strong suit. Pre-MCU no one knew who Ironman was outside of the comic book industry. He was a lesser hero in the larger world, but not only did Marvel make a great movie, driven by a man born to be Tony Stark, they began the process of playing to their strength. Every future hero movie that came out tied into a bigger narrative and a forth-coming team-up. They played the group card, so now people had to care about the next Marvel movie whether they cared about that hero or not. You do not imply skip chapters of a book.
DC had been succeeding in the individual movie world since 1978 with the release of the original Superman. They were not new to comic book movies. However after 40 years, Marvel changed what was being done. DC now felt the pressure to make its own movie universe even though it was not in any position to do so.