The title may seem like I intend to pick a fight, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. With the recent release of Batman vs Superman: Dawn Justice came a great deal of bad reviews. A bothering portion of the reviews stemmed from the fact that critics and fans were often comparing not DC to its comics but to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is serious problem as both are very different in what they often bring to the table.
If you’ve seen a super hero within the past eight years, odds are it was a Marvel film. Sense Disney’s acquisition of the franchise, movies have been pumped out every year. They are often funny, action packed and light in nature and, due to DC’s lack of cinematic presence, have set the sort of super hero narrative audiences grown to expect from the genre. This is definitely one of the reasons the new DC movie received such harsh reviews.
DC is in one word: dark. The stories are often gritty and riddled with often painful story lines that really run its heroes through the ringer. Within the DC world too the word ‘hero’ doesn’t fit nearly as cleanly at times as it does with Marvel either. The characters are usually scarred by some traumatic event, much like Marvel. However, their reaction to the event tends to take on a darker edge than Marvel ranging from brutal revenge to becoming a vigilante that kills with brutality on par with Marvel villains. They are more likely to be called anti-heroes and fit the bill seamlessly. Batman is probably the most well-known DC vigilante and contrary to his multiple versions within movies, he is a brutal fighter, compassionate person and a hapless billionaire. In some ways it would be easy to compare him to Iron Man but that wouldn’t do either parties justice.
In comparison to Marvel, DC’s movies tend to move at a slower pace while Marvel gives you one explosion after another and some witty banter for good measure. There is banter in DC as well, but it is usually wrapped within a narrative that runs much deeper. There is often symbolism within phrases and the content of the film while one could take in a Marvel film easily without much need to over think the lines or imagery because they often are exactly what they mean to be. The pacing in DC next to Marvel can be stifling but both have their own differences for a reason. They move to tell their own distinct narratives that carry weighty thoughts of their own and are executed differently because they are different. Yes they both may be super hero franchises but, when it comes down to it, that’s the strongest tie they share and have in common.