It’s soon going to be open season in movie theaters. Left Right Up Down and Centre. Its gonna rain superheroes and super villains. With Marvel set to release Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther and Infinity War(gooooosebumps) in the near future, DC is prepping itself for the mother of all superhero franchises – The Justice League and, if rumors are to be trusted, getting the DCEU ready for assimilating the origin stories of its titular characters a.k.a Batman, Aqua man and The Flash. The stage is set for a massive clash between the two comic book powerhouses. But in the DC vs Marvel fight for survival, neither of the juggernauts is without its flaws.
What MCU Got Right :
The single primary reason MCU has a greater fan base is because it left the starting learn early. The first movie to be released was Ironman in 2008. 5 whole years before the DCEU launched its first movie Man of steel. 5 years is a long time. Long enough for marvel to launch two more iron man movies, a hulk movie, along with Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor. Marvel is more profound now as it took ‘the early bird catches the worm’ much more seriously.
When the makers announced a Guardians of the Galaxy movie I thought maybe marvel was getting a little too ahead of itself. When I came out of the movie theater I couldn’t be more wrong. Not only did marvel score a homerun then but also did it make sure to let fans know it too can dabble into the unknown to use characters unheard of and keep stupefying us.
Iron clad Continuity:
While MCU was born almost a decade ago, the creators and planners planned things in advance up to such a radical extent that if you look back you may think the creators were just overconfident (or maybe Jedis looking into the future). The legendary status MCU has acquired over the years is maybe all due the tremendous trust the creators had in the franchise. As a great man once said, all good things are either born of fate or faith.
The greatest weapon in Marvel’s Inventory is its witty one-liners and funny as hell comebacks that leave us all rolling on the floor. Spidey’s amusing antics during the Civil War Fight at the airport or Tony’s verbal savagery in, well almost all movies starring him are prime examples of Marvel tickling your funny bone. And since humor as a tool has universal appeal, MCU has found global recognition among a larger fan base without being limited to a certain age group.
What Marvel Got Wrong:
Too many chefs spoil the broth and too much humor can kill the (marvel) behemoth. Just like my sorry excuse at poetry, the humor in marvel movies has been starting to sound forced and unnecessary on more than one occasion. The villains and the heroes – not everything, every time needs to have a goofy side. Marvel must realize that the all encompassing humor caramel that it employs to sugarcoat its movies can’t always make them easier to swallow and will one day make its own fans diabetic.
Lack of Character Back-story:
The only notable exceptions are The Winter Soldier, Ironman and to some extent, Dr. Strange. In every other movie marvel has ever made, the origin story goes something like this: shrewd guy who doesn’t give a damn about the world but himself is suddenly thrust into the machinations of an evil guy/associate from work which then immediately turns the hero into this graceful messiah who ends up saving an entire ship, building, city, the world or the entire universe. What Marvel’s consistent factory made formula of superhero origin stories does at the end is make the franchise diluted and the next movie predictable.
This is where Marvel has consistently faltered. An extremely well known franchise with 16 movies, all of them masterpieces in their own right should have had a plethora of acclaimed musical scores by now. The sad truth is it doesn’t. The only music composition to strike a chord was Alan Silvestri’s The Avengers (still have it on ringtone 😉 ). The other scores have been received with a staggering amount of lukewarm responses. Considering the fact that the first movie of MCU – IronMan had Ramin Djawadi, the same guy who gave us the immortal Game of Thrones title sequence, its surprising how marvel has been way behind in this area with respect to its primary competitor – the DCEU.
Ah, the Achilles heel of The MCU. Marvel has always found a way to water down its most popular fan favorite villains into something laughable and/or forgettable. One prime example is Yellow jacket in Ant-man and Whiplash in Iron Man 2. Both awesome characters that Marvel somehow managed to ruin. But what was truly atrocious was the way Marvel turned the Mandarin, one of the most amazing villains it had at its disposal, into a blabbering idiot with a case of acute diarrhea. There are so many other examples as well – Red Skull, Ronan the Accuser and Abomination. The only saving grace MCU has is Loki. Let us all hope that the Mad Titan can give Marvel a shot at redemption.
What DCEU Got Right :
No one can top the way DCEU portrays its villains in their movies. General Zod will always stay at the top of the charts. His next outing as Doomsday may have been an undercooked stew but it still took fans by excitement. Harley Quinn, made popular by Margot Robbie’s terrific portrayal, will always be a part of every guy’s wet dream. Suicide Squad was critically panned but Deadshot ( a loving father/gifted marksman caught up in the wrong side of the business), Captain Boomerang(cocky yet lovable burglar with questionable loyalty) and Amanda Waller(cold hearted women with Machiavellian approach to justice) are trophies worth keeping and are probably set to return in the future.
Man of Steel was, is, and shall always remain Snyder’s underrated masterpiece. It not only turned the guy most optimistic about life into a murderer but also made the fans realize that in the clash between idealism and realism, realism prevails. In Dawn of Justice too, fans were surprised at the way the plot was handled in an unpredictable fashion. In Wonder woman, the manner in which the story unfolded to reveal that the ultimate villain is not Ares as per what was led to believe but human nature itself is a concept that left us at the very least, dumb-founded. Leaving questions here and there throughout the plot has been DCEU’s strongpoint.
In today’s world of terrorists, molesters and mass murderers, believing that a guy with actual superpowers will stay a Jedi and not even think about The Dark Side is ridiculous. At one point or another, reality soon catches up and what we thought was impossible for until then would be, at that set moment of weakness, made possible. While Marvel made sure that its movies gave its viewers a happy ending, DCEU did the exact opposite. It made us see the dark underbelly of superheroes struggling to sanctify their moral compass. The Visuals, the Musical Score, the plot all were magnificently designed to support DCEU’s twisted take on a gritty, dark world.
Where DC truly scores is the way it explores new and different themes in its Universe. It was the first shared universe to release a Female lead superhero movie although Black Widow had been introduced into MCU since 2010, 3 years earlier than the first DCEU movie. Suicide Squad – a superhero movie that made viewers see the supervillian’s take on things, first of its kind was a failure but cemented DC’s status as people who are not scared of avant-garde experimentation. With Flashpoint coming up somewhere in the future, the people there show no signs of taking off their lab coats anytime soon.
What DC Got Wrong:
Let us all face it. BVS had somewhat of an unorthodox storyline not easy to grasp on the first try. It took me twice to finally get a grip on the movie. With superhero movies being somewhat straight forward since the dawn of time, Snyder’s take was divisive to say the least. SS had its MAJOR share of flaws owing to the fact that it wasn’t one big story but a mixture of multiple plots with a shoddy sense of direction. It’s a wonder how the directors couldn’t point it out. The acting maybe good but if the plot continues to be this thick than I too would prefer Marvel’s baby formula than DCEU’s concrete paste.
Mundane action sequences:
The best superhero action sequence for me would be Andrew Garfield’s Spiderman saving all those people from electrocution while fighting Electro in The Amazing Spiderman 2. While MCU has good fight scenes, DC movie fights have always been a mixture of blurs and beams with little to no close quarters. A welcome exit was BVS’s Batman fighting all those goons to save Martha Kent. A damn pure gold action sequence. But a majority of fights have been bogged down by the director’s reliance on CGI rather than agreeing to get there hands dirty.
The iconic avatars of Harley Quinn and Wonder Woman have not been spared their fair share of criticism. When Wonder Woman was declared the UN Female Empowerment Ambassador, feminists around the world roared in unison to resist. Their Complain was a scantily clad swimsuit wearing white buxom woman draped in the American Flag does not have the right to be the face of Women worldwide. Similarly, Harley Quinn’s portrayal in Suicide Squad has been criticized for its overly sexual undertones where most of the screen time was allocated to her buttcheeks and cleavage. Marvel may not have a female centric movie… yet but atleast it hasn’t shown women in such a draconian fashion.
Half-baked introduction to iconic characters:
When DCEU announced Ben Affleck was gonna be batman and Gal Gadot to play Wonder Woman, I was somewhere up there singing and dancing in the sky. When they said all of them are gonna be in the same movie instead of starring in their own movies, I came crashing down. In the race to compete with Marvel’s cinematic accomplishments, DC rushed into the scene with an Avengers esque movie which was no doubt successful but could have been better if fans had the fortune of knowing the characters in their stand alone productions first rather than rushing them to play Team Up. DCEU is at it again. Hurrying the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg along with the Bat and WW into an all to familiar game. Lets hope the Justice League survives this acid test.
**No matter the pros and cons, both universes are set to astound and amaze their fans and break new ground. Heres hoping both franchises do well and keep emptying our pockets 🙂 **