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Marvel vs DC: A Clash of Franchises

In 2008 a universe was born; a few months later, a grim clown terrorized Gotham City. Between Iron Man and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight, it looked like both film houses were gearing up to create unstoppable super-powered blockbuster franchises. Both were great films in a time when superhero movies were campy and awful. Every fan wanted to see Marvel and DC start producing quality movies. Over the next eight years Marvel made twelve wonderful films with relatively obscure and sometimes laughable superheroes. Meanwhile, DC hasn’t made a successful film that doesn’t include Batman or Alan Moore. Green LanternMan of Steel and Jonah Hex have proven that DC/Warner Brothers are incompetent at making superhero movies.

Now, fans are getting both Captain America: Civil War and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the two films seem suspiciously similar. Two powerful heroes disagree and somehow pull everyone around them into the fray until the two unite in order to defeat a common enemy. The main difference being, Dawn of Justice is dark and gritty while Civil War is brightly colored and filled with heroes. Marvel’s dark and grim Jessica Jones exists in the same universe as the colorful Guardians of the Galaxy. Greyscale is just a single shade in Marvel’s vibrant color wheel. DC should learn from this because their new universe will need a splash of color from time to time.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has earned the title Civil War through eight years of solid movie making and character building. We have seen Captain America and Iron Man stand side by side, struggle to look past their personal differences, and develop as characters. Marvel has taken the necessary time to show its audience why Tony Stark is in favor of the registration of superhumans and why the WWII veteran Steve Rogers is against government control. This franchise has taken risks to slowly introduce movie viewers to historic but relatively unknown Avengers such as Falcon, Ant-Man, Scarlet Witch and The Vision.

Meanwhile, DC has proven they don’t like making serious superhero films. In fact, they even feel the need to excuse the “S” on Superman’s chest and turn a Green Lantern film into a two-hour Hot Wheels commercial. And now, DC has decided to construct their cinematic universe around a Superman who spent the second half of his only film helping a bad guy destroy Metropolis. To make matters worse, the Dawn of Justice trailers have shown fans the entire plot. The film is dark and gritty, save for Lex, he is as campy as they come. Batman holds a shotgun at the end of the second trailer because Batman loves kneecapping baddies. And now, there is even speculation that Darkseid will be in this film based on the appearance of some of his minions in one of the trailers (relevant Cinema Blend article). And that is a very bad decision, DC.

Darkseid’s is the most dangerous character for DC to introduce in their new film. I am not saying that he is a threat to Superman or Batman but rather to superhero movies in general. Sure he was invented by Jack Kirby three years before Thanos. But Thanos, with his unrequited obsession with Lady Death, is the more complex of the two identical characters. Darkseid is just Hitler in space. He is Thanos Light and his appearance may reveal DC’s evil plans for their future movies. What if DC decides to start replicating every film Marvel makes? If Marvel makes Infinity War then DC will make Final Crisis and release it the same year. Is DC trying to be the RC Cola of superhero franchises? Why do they treat making a superhero movie like a chore when they own the two greatest superheroes ever made?

I want quality superhero films regardless of the franchise. DC and Marvel are both important to comic fans and they both have characters who deserve good, enjoyable films. But over the years, I have become disgusted with what DC does in their attempts to create a cinematic universe and I worry that Batman v Superman will make non-fans annoyed, confused and sick of superheroes. This summer, I know which side I’m on.

Do you agree with this article? Will I put my foot in my mouth? Let us know what you think on Twitter and in the comments.

About the author

Aloysius Martin

Aloysius Martin studied writing at Savannah College of Art and Design.