Marvel Movies vs. DC Movies – The Differences in Approach

Published 1 year ago by , Updated June 27th, 2013 at 6:14 pm,

DC Marvel Movies Discussion Differences Marvel Movies vs. DC Movies   The Differences in Approach

DC and Marvel are prepared to battle it out in movie theaters during coming years, with Man of Steel paving the way for Justice League against Marvel’s Avengers. It’s not hard to see that each studio has, to this point, taken a very different approach to adapting their comic book heroes, but with Iron Man 3 delivering humor over the more serious comic book source material, we’ve come to wonder: how serious is too serious for superhero movies? And where have the studios planted their flags on the matter?

Rather than simply distinguishing between ‘serious’ and ‘funny’ entries in Marvel and DC’s offerings, we believe the differences go much deeper than tone or believability, and make up two extremely distinct approaches to not only adapting comic book characters, but laying the foundations of a shared movie universe.

Although some claim otherwise, we’re not entirely convinced that writers on each studio’s side approach the issue of adapting comic book heroes by first deciding whether their movie will be depressing, or hilarious. Even so, comic book films to date can be filed into two rough categories, and how ‘funny’ a story or character can be is just the tip of the iceberg.

Read on for our extensive breakdown, or jump to any one section via the links below. You can also VOTE IN OUR POLL found on the last page of the article:

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The Marvel Approach

The Avengers 2 Scarlet Witch Quicksilver 570x357 Marvel Movies vs. DC Movies   The Differences in Approach

Let’s start with Marvel: a world where fantasy is the norm, and fantastic things happen, albeit with serious implications. Iron Man actually had quite a serious plot to begin with – terrorist kidnapping, the death of a close friend, and a call to defend those who had been victimized. However, by the film’s finale (Tony facing off against his mechanized-suit-wearing friend and partner), it was clear that Jon Favreau had chosen to cast off drama in favor of adventure.

Iron Man 2 picked up right where its predecessor left off, skipping over the serious in favor of maintaining tone. Whether it was a drunken Tony fighting his best friend – set to some thumping club music and played for laughs – or the infection slowly killing Tony being cured by S.H.I.E.L.D. in a heartbeat, the overall message was clear: Tony doesn’t have to deal with issues the way real people do. And that, dear reader, is what’s known as ‘escapism.’

Sure, fans complained at the time that Favreau had once again ignored the landmark “Demon in a Bottle” comic story (following Stark’s descent into alcoholism) for a quicker, shallower take on the idea of chemical dependence and self-destruction. But with hindsight, it’s easy to see that the world of Iron Man 2 wasn’t one designed to accurately portray – or pay respect to – addiction.

Iron Man Demon in a Bottle Marvel Movies vs. DC Movies   The Differences in Approach

Sure, addiction was hinted at in the film, along with Tony’s father’s own dependence on alcohol, glimpsed in a brief home video. Since Tony’s world wasn’t meant to be seen as the real one in any meaningful way, dealing with such a heavy-hitting issue would have broken the escapism, and seemed out of place among the film’s more “comic booky” tone.

In many ways, consistency is more important for success than the specific story or degree of believability decided upon; it doesn’t matter how serious a comic book movie the director chooses to make, so long as they stick to the decision (*cough*Green Lantern*cough*).

That’s why adapting any comic book story into a film, let alone an annualized franchise is so difficult. Any comic fan knows that for the most part, comic books don’t offer an accurate reflection of reality – not superhero books, anyway. There are commonalities, but with parallel universes, magic in surplus, and invading armies bent on exterminating the human race a monthly occurrence, the superhero genre is fiction through and through.

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NEXT PAGE: Marvel: The Fantastical over The Serious…

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TAGS: aquaman, batman, captain america 2, green lantern, hawkman, iron man 3, justice league, man of steel, suicide squad, superman, the dark knight, the flash, thor 2, wonder woman

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  1. Let the DC vs Marvel Thunderdome begin…

    • Hahaha, a prophetic post.

  2. DC does have it’s fair share of fantasy; the movies have just failed to show that yet. Hopefully in the coming of Justice League, people will begin to understand that heroes like The Flash can cause things beyond comprehension, specifically the events of “Flashpoint”.

    In the end, I think it all comes down to tone. Marvel is more light-hearted, DC is more serious

    • Fair enough, but only with Batman to go on, who’s one of the most serious characters in the genre, the idea is skewed a little. Look at ‘Civil War’ for instance.

      • That’s very true, Batman has become DC’s mascot.

        Like I said, I hope they venture far beyond Batman into other characters. While I am a die hard Batfan, there is plenty of other rich material to explore

        • Yeah like the Green Lantern

    • “Marvel is more light-hearted, DC is more serious”

      Yes, that was the premise of this entire article.

  3. I think Snyder said it best when he argued that DC heroes can’t be as relatable as Marvel heroes, they instead have to be larger than life – “Biblical” in their proportions.

    In the end, I love both, but I’m a DC fan at heart!

  4. Great article…… I think it could be summed up in one simple statement.

    Marvel makes great Movies, they’re fun and popcorn and spectacle…. DC (with the exception of Green Lantern) makes Films… They’re existential, they explore the emotions behind the characters, and they humanize iconic characters…. Both are great, both are enjoyable, but I really doubt you’ll see a actor get nominated for an Academy Award for a character portrayal in a Marvel film

    • If people can take out the connotations of ‘popcorn movie’ and ‘film,’ sure. Especially if both can be a ton of fun. Although, Man of Steel might make that comparison a bit more difficult, since it looks to be a popcorn flick as well.

      • I think MoS will be the best mesh of “popcorn” and “film” we have seen to date with CBMs.

        • Same here. How fans and critics react will no doubt provide fanboys plenty of ammunition.

    • THIS HAS TO BE ONE OF THE TRUEST COMMENTS I’VE READ ABOUT THIS WHOLE DC/MARVEL DISCUSSION. I AGREE FULLY WITH THE FEEL OF EACH MOVIE. MY MAIN ARGUMENT W/ NON COMIC BOOK MOVIE FANS ABOUT TDK TRILOGY IS THAT THERE NOT THE TYPICAL BATMAN MOVIE, THERE CLASSIC MOVIES THAT JUST HAPPEN TO BE ABOUT BATMAN. I FEEL THE SAME WILL HAPPEN WITH MAN OF STEEL. JUST BECAUSE WE CAN’T RELATE TO THE SUPER HUMAN ASPECT OF THE MOVIE DOESN’T MEAN WE WON’T BE ABLE TO RELATE WITH HIS HUMAN EMOTIONS.

    • I see what you mean, but part of me thinks that the distinction between “movie” and “film” is a bit snobbish…

      • A bit? It is extremely snobbish. There really is not a difference between a “film” and a “movie”.

        • not by regular old diction. but we’re trying to distinguish between deep movies and pure spectacles. The reason for the choice of diction is because “film” is more academic while “movie” is more casual. And you’re at a movie website where the distintion does make a difference.

  5. Good writeup. I’m glad to see the two houses take two different approaches. As the article states, so long as they are consistent within their respective visions. As a fan I enjoy both tones. I’m particularly partial to the grounded approach of DC’s Dark Knight Trilogy (and hopefully MOS) but enjoy the heck out of the more fantastical sequences of the Avengers and am looking forward to the next one.

    • Couldn’t agree more. What’s the use of two massive franchises doing the exact same thing? (down, Star Trek fans, down!)

      • petaQ!!

        :-D

  6. I dont have a problem with either side, marvel clearly goes for fun movies that everyone can enjoy. While DC is serious in there approach while establishing themes from within the hero and how everyone reacts to. Marvel is more straight forward with its adaptation of the comic (besides IM3) while DC is trying to make films not really worrying about the comics besides essentially. They are very diffrent and may be the reason superheroes wont ever get old because we dont see the same approach every film.

  7. I dont really like the whole not serious thing that is said about marvel movies, people act as if they have pillow fights in marvel.There is plenty of death and chaos in marvel movies. Im more of a DC fan but we”ve only really had batman so far and we dont know what MOS will be like

    • There really hasnt tho. Coulsan is the only death and he isnt even death. Chaos yes but with humor laced in.

      • Loki killed 80 people in two days this may or my not include Coulson and the eyeball guy (or the others killed when Loki first appeared in the Avengers) in The Avengers alone.

        I would not even try to guess how many people died in the invasion.

        Marvel appears to allows the audience to assume the deaths happen instead of having to show it to you.

        • @chris: I tried to say in the article that Marvel films are plenty serious on their own terms. Even if Coulson is coming back, tough things happen. But because Marvel is a fantasy world, it doesn’t ‘feel’ serious to an audience the way DC’s can, because relatability is paramount.

        • Yes, they said 80 people were killed, but did we see them? In the events of a narrative, if the characters haven’t been introduced to the audience and made us care about them, can you really say that their deaths were really impactful? I would argue no.

          In fact, aside from Coulson, who isn’t even really dead, you didn’t see a single human die in the Avengers at all. The guy Loki took the eyeball from was implied to be dead I’m sure, and really that’s as close as you get.

          I would argue that the casualties in Transformers: The Dark of the Moon were more gut-wrenching. You got more of a sense of doom with their alien invasion, and you actually saw humans being vaporized, and saw their skeletons and everything. Harsh images for what most would consider a kiddie film.

          • So, you’re unable to care about anyone unless you’ve been introduced to them beforehand? Way to go on the empathy level!

        • Loki may have killed 80 people but he looks like a girl. How can you take him seriously when compared to Bane? Disney is ok with killing Power Ranger rejects.

    • There may be serious aspects to the Marvel movies, but the fact is that they are not as grounded as the DC movies, besides GL. Which brings up something else. Nolan has stated time and time again that his TDK trilogy is a standalone and no other superheroes live in that world. His movies shouldn’t be compared to any other DC film because of that. Even though hes serving as a producer on MoS, it is not the same world that the Christian Bale Batman lived in. And, we havent seen MoS, so we really dont know exactly how things will play out in it. So, the only real DC film we have to go off of is GL. Im pretty sure DC wants to distance itself from that film. So really, we dont have any DC films to go off of. Only what we have seen from MoS.

      • Yeah, they kinda jumped the gun on this article. Since MOS is supposedly the first movie in DC’s “Phase 1″ or whatever you want to call it. After MOS comes out, I think we’ll all have a better idea of how to judge DC’s movie universe. But it won’t really be until they release another characters solo film that we find out how the larger story will pan out.

        • With so many b****ing about no “ground breaking news” from ScreenRant lately, maybe they are trying to please those people.

  8. As a comic fan (This is to say I don’t pick sides when it comes to the big 2) I thought this was a pretty good article. I don’t think I can call one side better than the other, but I think both companies would serve better to find something in between the two.

    I feel Marvel should move toward the more serious (while still keeping that whimsey)

    While, well basically DC needs to be alright making comic movies. I just can’t help but feel that DC movies (and the show Arrow) are ashamed of the fact that they’re about super heroes.

    As the article pointed out, Nolan isn’t a comic guy. He isn’t the type of person that wants to tell a Batman story and I think you need that no matter what company the character belongs to.

    Now I’m not attacking Nolan here, or anyone for that matter because that doesn’t get anyone anywhere. But watching those movies, I was just reminded that after all of the live action Batman movies; I still haven’t seen the world’s greatest detective. Bums me out.

    Now turnabout being fair play, the lack of “Demon in a bottle” was a blown call. The further they get “real” character pieces, the flaws, faults and depths of who they are the closer we get to essentially being big action figures.

    Both sides can do better, if they just move closer to the middle of those two styles.

    • Good points. I don’t know if I’d go to the word ‘ashamed’ for Batman and Arrow, but those properties definitely helped me realize what Zack Snyder meant when he said he wasn’t going to ‘apologize’ for Superman. He’s Superman.

      And I am completely with you on the ‘world’s greatest detective’ idea. Actually, after rewatching Batman Begins recently, he was definitely headed that direction. But got sidetracked by the whole….’Joker thing.’

      • I don’t know, ashamed feels right to me. It’s been said before (and eluded to by me but I was trying to tread lightly there) that Nolan’s Batman movies wouldn’t have been any different if they had nothing to do with Batman. Arrow is a much bigger offender, things such as not only not calling him “Green Arrow” but they actively made fun of the notion in an episode. I mean even changing the name of the city, what was the point of that exactly?

        I mean I’m not here to b****, or moan or go “worst…ever”! Just as an observer it feels like DC thinks they have to trick the audience into watching something about Super Heroes.

        But yeah, meet in the middle and all of our comic book movies should get better.

        Thanks for your reply.

        • You’re not wrong, for sure. In fact, I think you claim that DC/WB thinks they have to – or just prefer(?) to – trick, or sort of sidle people into watching a movie about superheroes is more true than I’d like to think.

          At least for Batman, without a doubt – that’s a Bruce Wayne story, not a Batman one at its core – how Superman is treated will be extremely telling. Maybe then we’ll know where Nolan stopped and Snyder began.

          • This is probably my favorite comment on the thread thus far, proportionally.

    • I wouldn’t say WB is ashamed of things being about superheroes, they just, as the article points out, have a different take on portraying the characters. Trying to make them more into character studies that happen to have really intense and engaging action I think is a good call.

      And sometimes “realism” isn’t about what is physically possible in this world, but more about how people would react to these types of “heroes” showing up.

      I really love what they’re doing with Arrow. To me, it makes sense that he’s not Green Arrow yet. If someone as obsessed as Ollie were really out there doing what he’s doing, there’s no way he’d stop to think of a cool vigilante name for himself. That’s totally beside the point of his mission. It’s not for attention, it’s for honoring his father’s dying wish and saving his city.

      And as the producers pointed out, he’s not even really a hero yet. He’s still very much a vigilante. He hasn’t “earned” the title of Green Arrow yet. They said as the series develops, you will see Ollie’s growth from murdering vigilante into a superhero. You even get a bit of that change in season one, I’d argue.

      As for Iron Man, I agree it’s a shame that they never really explored his alcoholism except in one scene in Iron Man 2. But really, movie Tony Stark is nothing like comic book Tony Stark. Or at least how Tony Stark was before 2008. Tony in the comics was never as wise-cracking as movie Tony, and he wasn’t as anti-government either. I can’t see movie Tony siding with the government over a superhero registration act, for instance.

  9. Lets not forget marvels success is leading WB to up their game. If DC becomes successful after Man Of Steel it will only lead to Marvel uping their game. Competition is a great thing

    • ^This.

  10. I think that the premise that WB/DC is aiming or struggling to get a Justice League movie into theaters is a foregone fact. Not as long as they are successful with individual hero outings anyway…

    • Correction: I don’t think the premise is a foregone fact. Slipping today…

  11. Marvel needs to be a bit more serious, and DC needs to be a little less serious. I rather laugh a few times than just stare at a screen emotionless.

    • There are other emotions besides laughing, you know…

  12. Here we go again.

    • Did you read the article?

      • I think that he was referring to the inevitable battle between DC and marvel fan boys.

    • Are you missing more cows? :-P

  13. Grew up loving Marvel as a child. Now older and more knowledgeable I have to say I love DC far more. I prefer the serious tones in both universes even in their fantasy atmosphere. Marvel movies are fine and so are DC’s I just watch like watching Nolan’s Batman trilogy more than the new Marvel movies, X-Men First Class aside. I hope that in the end the studios can continue to make movies worth watching and not become to greedy to low ball actors and replace them while hoping for the same success.

    • Well X-Men is owned by Fox (the movie rights anyway), so Marvel Studios has nothing to do with them.

  14. I’m a fan of both, grew up reading both Marvel and DC. I love both approaches, it’s different and feel as if I will never have a situation in which I would think to myself one movie is ripping off another because of it.

    I have enjoyed the marvel movies a little bit more because I feel I am actually watching a comic book movie. There was this scene in the Dark Knight, in the Mayor’s office in with the imposter batman is hung off the side of the building, in which I realized you could actually remove the batman character out of this and insert any generic action hero like something played by Tom Cruise and the movie would still work. I guess it a good thing on some level but made me feel like I wasn’t watching a Batman movie anymore, not like what I felt when I first saw Tim Burton’s Batman.

    On a side note I find it funny that Andrew’s the first mention of green lantern was within the Marvel write up and that follow up comments on GL made a reference to Marvel as well. I won’t read into to it any, just saying.

    The article was great and the analysis was great, keep up the good work. Maybe you can do a quick update after MOS is released, if it doesn’t pan out story wise the way we think it will.

    • You summarized it so well what actually “bothered” me just a little about Nolan’s Batman. It doesn’t feel like a comic book movie. I didn’t know how to put it into words why I enjoyed Burton’s Batman movies better, but this is exactly it.

      If Christian Bale wouldn’t have worn the Batman suit the movie still would’ve worked like a perfectly normal awesome action/drama movie.

      And it’s not like there’s anything bad about dramatic action movies, but comic books are in the sci-fi/fantasy genre for a reason. So it’s not like a bad thing, but yeah, sort of getting away from the genre in a way.

      • That is why I have always preached the “take it for what it is” attitude going into movies. No matter what genre it may, or may not, be.

        • Fair point, I usually keep an open mind too, but it still makes me prefer Tim Burton’s Batman over Nolan’s version. And that in the end is just preference.

          • Correct. My preference is a good movie being made. Whether that be a funny, light hearted, colorful, action packed movie, or a serious, dark, emotional movie. Whatever the crew making the movie is going to succeed more at is what I want.

            • Great observation about the need for Batman not being there. And I do remember sitting in The Avengers when that long shot from hero to hero happened and though ‘this is a comic book.’

  15. I enjoy the offerings of both companies. The big take away from this excellent article is that there IS a difference between the two strategies, something I noticed after having done the Avengers marathon and Dark Knight marathon at the release of Avengers and TDKR. Despite the fact that the Avengers marathon was longer and involved more movies, I was completely exhausted after the Dark Knight marathon. It was more of an emotional roller coaster. Is one better than the other? I don’t think so, it all depends on what you’re in the mood to experience. This is why I like the idea of both studios offering movies each year. You get fresh samples of both.

    • Thank you very much for the kind words, and having done the same marathon, I completely agree. If a friend of mine says ‘I never saw Batman Begins/Avengers,’ I’m equally thrilled to throw it on, for very different reasons.

      • Yes. They both bring something different to the table. They are giving us cake and letting us eat it. Couldnt be happier.

      • same here. i recently watched the avengers with my 17 yo daughter. she has repeatedly expressed her dislike of “superhero movies”, as well as “actiony/explosiony” films. we had just finished watching person of interest (i dont have a dvr, i downloaded it. my pc is hooked up thru my tv, my desktop is the end of the 360 hero shot from TA, and she always calls the hulk “Oh, it’s the grinch who stole christmas.”) and i half jokingly asked if she ever thought of watching it, and she said she would, so i popped it in, and she laughed at all the jokes, i paused it to give some of the back story here and there, she seemed to like it, but said “it’s not my container of potato salad.” (…some of her references, sheesh!) but i got to watch it and dissect it a little and thats always fun. i don’t know if she would sit thru any of the DK “films”, i may try next time we are catching up on shows

  16. I prefer a good story, whether you have tons of CGI or action is irrelevant. That is the reason the early Star Wars trilogy was great and the last three were mediocre at best. The true test for a great movie is how many times I will see it again. The DK trilogy I have watched many times, while the only Marvel movie I have watched twice is Capt. America and X men one.

    • So you actually WANTED to watch Captain America a second time? Weird.

  17. Being a comic book fan in general, I’ll just say… “Give me good superhero films”. Having seen the Avengers, a little part in me always dreamt of witnessing Supes and Bats together in a film. Come on DC, make Justice League happen!

  18. At this point comparing the approach is inaccurate. At present, Marvel has several successful properties to DC’s one successful property.

    So really, in the present film world this is an unequal and unfounded comparison of Chris Nolan’s Batman VS. Jon Favreau’s and Shane Black’s Iron Man, Kenneth Branagh’s Thor, Joe Johnston’s Captain America, and Joss Whedon’s Avengers.

    Whatevah.

    Marvel and DC are both awesome, respectively.

    • EXACTLY! And the fact that Nolans DK does not live in the same world as any other superhero makes the argument pointless. There really is no DC films to compare to Marvels. Besides GL, and shortly, MoS.

    • Exactly. We have to see what they do with MoS and “Justice League” (if it really happens) and then we can make a comparison.

      I mean Batman stands out from other DC heroes a lot. Even in the comics he’s a lot more grounded and realistic than Superman, Wonder Woman or Flash.

      And considering that Nolan’s Batman won’t be in the possible JL movie, but they will do a Batman reboot, it’s even more inaccurate if we consider the future of DC movies. They can make changes in Batman to make him fit the other JL heroes more. We don’t know yet.

      • I won’t dispute the numbers, since it’s a fair issue to raise. But considering Warner Bros. backed Nolan’s vision, then brought him and his writer on to Superman, Snyder used the term ‘Dark Knight Superman’ in pitching the idea to actors and interviewers, and that it’s this character that will launch the universe, I think it’s clear they want to continue the same tone and approach that worked to keep them separate from Marvel.

        • ^This.

          Not to mention also that other films released under the DC brand- whether they be stand-alone films/stories of imprints or older film franchises- that the ones that seem to work better are the one’s in which the story is taken seriously whereas the film’s that are less successful are the more fantastical, tongue-in-cheek campy affairs. Not a solid rule but there is a trend.

          • Right, but again: you’re basically comparing the success of Batman to everything else.

  19. Cannot compare Extremist and Terrorist in Comic Book and Movies, to their real life counterparts.

    In the real world, no one is going to call “Cut” or do a re-write. When people die because of a terrorist attack, they are not coming back. So if you want to mention that, then you have clearly stepped over the boundary of fantasy and reality.

    No one thinks going to a A Comic Book Movie would result in the deaths of 20+ people and may more injured. No one thinks about going on a plane in the early morning hours for a business trip or vacation and know they are going to die hours later. That is where any comparison between reality and fantasy should ever cross.

    • I believe they are using the comparison as a way people can go “oh yeah this could happen”.

      So would it be comparable to say terrorist kidnap people? Terrorist set off bombs in some high profile areas killing civilians?

      The Extremeist virus can be associated with drugs or any other type of addiction that makes you feel more powerful but has adverse side effects.

      I believe though you were trying to convey some other message with your statement?

      • Still, the comparison should not have been in there.

        • i totally agree. Those batman movies took themselves way too seriously…They seemed almost depressing at times.

          • @Jeff W: I’m not really sure what you’re getting at with your comment. I think the implication is that Extremis is something that people wouldn’t see in day to day life, given the superpowers. In Nolan’s Dark Knight, the villains were ones that, sadly, do exist in our own world.

            • @Andrew

              The difference is. They terrorist in Batman do not exist on that scale in the real world.

              They are not going to go through some grandiose scheme and reveal the plot. They are going to brutally attack us, regardless of where we are, or what nationality we are.

              The only movie that comes close to sheer terrorism on that can compare on scale. The Siege.

              Superhero movies, you know the Superhero is going to win.

              Extermis soldiers, perhaps the explosion part compares, the other abilities, not so much.

              • I think I’d take issue with the notion that Batman ‘won’ in Nolan’s trilogy.

                He failed to stop Ra’s al Ghul’s plan to turn part of Gotham insane, letting Arkham’s inmates escape, and his theatrics brought the Joker into being.

                In The Dark Knight, he failed to save the love of his life, failed to stop Gotham’s ‘white knight’ from being corrupted, and made Gordon sacrifice his integrity.

                In TDKR he failed to stop Bane, and Gotham was plunged into chaos and a warzone.

                I think the fact that what’s shown in Nolan’s films is through a lens other than documentary doesn’t change the reality of what actually takes place. Batman Begins starts with his parents being killed, and their killer going free (briefly). That’s pretty realistic for an origin story.

                The Dark Knight has the villain not crazy – NOT crazy – just an anarchist. He kills people on-screen, off-screen, and attempts to take over a criminal organization through intimidation and doing twisted things others won’t. Again, he’s an extreme character, but his methods of terror aren’t outlandish or impossible to fathom.

                The scale might change (even though there are plenty of examples of the kind of warzone or police state Bane created all over the world now, and in recent years), and for an average Gotham citizen in Nolan’s films, you’re as likely to fall victim to riots, corrupt cops, or masked gunmen as any grandiose scheme.

                In Marvel’s movies, innocents aren’t the star, origin stories are the stuff of fiction, and the scale is removed from reality, as are the means.

                • “Again, he’s an extreme character, but his methods of terror aren’t outlandish or impossible to fathom.”

                  i’d have to disagree, especially the outlandish part. there’s no way in hell someone would get hundreds of barrels of gas/whatever wired to blow like that on 2 ferrys like in DK. same for the attack on the stock exchange and having the motorcycles hidden in the building. hijinks.

                  • Do you seriously think it would be impossible for someone to blow up some boats?

  20. I see DC is serious and more down to earth yet then people say they read the comics….

    While they do have (as does Marvel) serious story lines and the such they are each still very comparable in the books with regards to the fantastic and unbelievable. When I read a DC book I dont think that could EVER happen in my life time or my sons, sons lifetime. It is escapism.

    To relate what happens in the (DC) books I would just ask why do they think they have to be so real/serious? Just to be different? They are not in the books.

    I hope it (MoS) works, but works on the level of a Comic book movie not a drama movie or as some other people seem to call it a ‘film’.

    • Well, TDK trilogy was shot on film, so it would be correct to call them that. And technically it wouldnt be correct for the Marvel films (please correct me if I am wrong). But we really have nothing to go off of for DC. TDK trilogy doesnt count, because it is not part of a larger shared universe. Its not the starting point for anything bigger. It is a beginning, middle, and end. So who says the DC movies HAVE TO BE real/serious? Superman, in no way shape or form, is “real”. Before we judge the direction DC is taking, we must wait for MoS.

      • No some people think there is a difference between a movie and a film regardless of the method in which it is recorded.

        • Well, those people would be wrong. Commonly, people will refer to something of more substance as a “film”, whereas more of the blockbuster, popcorn flicks will be referred to as “movies”. But really, they are in the same category as one another. The only way to differentiate those two would be the method of recording.

        • they just like to project their d-baggeryness by making such ridiculous/elitist comments, but fine. i will watch my collection of “films”, and enjoy a nice “carbonated adult beverage”, whilst consuming mass quantities of various “fried consumables.”

          • Hahahahaha

    • “To relate what happens in the (DC) books I would just ask why do they think they have to be so real/serious? Just to be different? They are not in the books.”

      You’ve clearly never read a single DC story arc then. Serious tones and implications, as well as themes that parallel reality and make you question the world around you are all throughout DC’s stories.

  21. I have only ever had an interest in Marvel comics the DC heroes were always just too bland and boring. Zero personality in all there characters, same goes for the adaptations of DC. You really see a difference, marvel has humor and action that can live up to its comic book source because it doesn’t take itself too seriously which I love. Other than Iron Man 3 which was a total rip off of Batman 3 but done much more poorly. They wanted to focus on the man and not the suit just like they did in batman 3. Watching that idiot out of his suit the whole film and dealing with the demons of “the man makes the suit” climbing out of stupid wells and facing off against bane who was a mix of brains and brawn not to mention the whole twist involving who the real antagonist was…sound familiar? But other than the horrible IM3 movie I think Marvel has done great recently while DC has only found success with the dark knights which I’m not sure why…I always hated batman and somehow they managed to make Bruce Wayne even more boring than he is in comics. I just can’t stand that concept of a guy with Zero actual superpowers just buying a bunch of gadgets and tools. Iron Man is at least a genius who builds his own tools batman is just a rich boring jerk. Superman is overpowered and Flash is the only DC hero with a sense of humor. I’ll stick with marvel lol

    • If youre that against the DC characters, why does any of this even matter to you?

    • Your post lost what little credibility it had due to your obvious bias.

      Two things: Batman in not a “rich boring jerk” and IM3 was not a “horrible” movie. Batman is one of the all-time great comic book characters, and that’s coming from a life long Marvel fan. I won’t even get into the whole IM3 argument again, for fear of starting a flame war.

      • Actually,IM3 was a horrible movie.I love the Marvel movies and that was just trash…..

        • Only in your opinion. IM3 is controversial for sure and I understand why some Marvel fans hate it, but in no way is it horrible.

    • Have you ever actually read a single DC story arc?

  22. Random thought. Caps suit in The Avengers was extremely “douche-y”. This shouldnt really be a DC vs. Marvel conversation. It is more of a debate about the tone and direction CBMs should take. I am not so sure that DC is going to have extremely “grounded” stories in the future. Superman is not very “grounded” at all, seeing as how he flies and everything. DCs future movies could have a more serious tone than Marvel’s movies, and that is fine. I take the films for what they are. I watch TDK trilogy for good storytelling, well shot scenes, and the emotional roller coaster you are put on. I watch Marvels films to be entertained and to see a bunch of action and colors and funny quips left and right.

    • They usually refer to grounded as a way of saying it is not done with tongue in cheek sort to speak or he does stuff because he can. For example I am sure there won’t be a scene in which Superman would change time by flying opposite the Earth’s rotation and ultimately changing the Earth rotation. Or memory-erasing kiss. It would be grounded in the sense that although the powers or abilities shown on screen will fantastical make sense given the context they explain and feel plausible even if we know it is not.

  23. That pic of Stark looks like me the day after a long night of partying!

    Marvel needs to keep doing what they’re doing. They had a plan, just don’t change a thing and see that plan through. DC, on the other hand, needs to step up their game as far as movies are concerned. Sure, the Batman movies were good to great, but that was because of Nolan and the character of Batman itself. But as far as a cohesive movie universe, I think DC has a LONG way to go. MOS may get them on that path, but that has yet to be seen.

    • MoS would have to be a start of their “shared universe”. That leaves them years behind Marvel, in that regard. I wouldnt say they need to step their game up, just give them time to show you their “game”, and I am sure they will.

      • Step up their game in terms of creating a cohesive, shared universe.

        • Right, give them time to do that. They havent released a string of movies leading into a JL movie. They havent even started their “shared universe” yet. MoS is coming out soon, and should be the start of that for DC. We cant judge their “shared universe” because they do not have one currently. It is extremely harder for them to do because of the success of Nolans DK trilogy, being that they cannot take those exact ideas and mesh them into a shared universe. Marvel didnt have those obstacles to overcome. Nolan did DC a huge favor by making them a ton of money, but he also burdened them with these obstacles.

  24. Well, here is a point we see in Marvel universe that we dont in DC
    Marvel takes place in real cities and a world very similar to ours, just with a lot of different circumstances (New York, los alamos, etc)
    DC takes place in a very different world in cities that resemble ours but are better or much worse(gotham and Metropolis)

    • Good point. I prefer Marvel using real locations.

    • Excellent distinction, mando.

    • Good point. To me, that just goes to show the direction that DC COULD take going forward.

    • @Mando

      Excellent Point. I can find New York on a map, Metropolis not so much.

      Which also confused me, Gotham is New York. As evidenced by a Statue in Gotham harbor that looks like the Statute of Liberty.

      Now the flip Side, Superman is in Metropolis, and if anyone recalls Superman, exactly what CITY IS METROPOLIS suppose to be?

      • Something that “looks like” the Statue of Liberty, isnt necessarily the Statue of Liberty. Gotham is supposed to be sort of a “rip off” of NYC, was it not? If it was NYC, they would call it “NYC”.

        • I thought Gotham was more like a Chicago? I could be wrong.

          • So Gotham would be a take on Chicago, and Metropolis would be a take on NYC. All right. Makes sense, I think Nolan filmed a lot of TDK in Chicago.

            • In the Nolan movies, Gotham seems to be an amalgam of NYC (specifically Manhattan) and Chicago.

              Yes, you are correct that a lot of the filming took place in Chicago. Some of the filing also occurred in NYC. The big fight near the end of DKR was shot on Wall Street.

              • Oh yeah, I knew that about TDKR. I was referring to The Dark Knight, not the trilogy as a whole.

                • Yes, most of tdk, which is my favorite of the trilogy, was shot in Chi town.

                  • I had a friend who won a contest to be an extra in TDK while it was filming in Chicago. Needless to say, I am still jealous of that.

                    • That’s awesome.

      • Well, Jeff, in the comic book, Metropolis was supposed to be like NYC.

        • Although, canonically and all, Metropolis is in Delaware on the Delaware Bay, and Gotham is in New Jersey on the opposite side of the Bay.

        • Metropolis sure as hell isn’t like Cleveland. Just because Siegel and Shuster created Super Man while living there doesn’t change that. The only time. However, I found that when they were trying to get sell SM as a comic strip to Cleveland newspapers, they set in Cleveland. Obviously, in the comic books, Metropolis resembles NYC a lot more than Cleveland. The damn Statue of Liberty is in one edition from 1950.

          As for the canon, that has changed over the years. In super man 2, it was specifically mentioned that metropolis was in ny. But, in the 70s, one source said it was in Delaware. So, there are different correct answers. But, I think that my answer, NYC, is the best one.

          • Well, because they are silly made up cities, there is no “right” answer. But Gotham and Metropolis can’t both be NY, and yet both are.

            • Well, there is definitely a wrong answer: Cleveland.

              • Nah, I like Cleveland for a superhero. Superman ought to jump rather than fly, and live in Cleveland. That’s a Superman I could get behind.

                • Haha, you might like Cleveksnd, but it’s incorrect to write that S and S modeled Metropolis on Cleveland.

                  • Certainly NYC has been more of a model than Cleveland over the years for Metropolis; but as the Archetypal City, it’s hard to pin down. Heck, based on Smallville on TV, Metropolis appears to be in Kansas! :D

                    • This was going to be my interjection. There was an episode where Chloe says that Metropolis is a 6 hour round trip from Smallville Kansas. All those cities aren’t 3 hours away.

                    • Haha, I was just referring to the depiction of Metropolis in the comic book, not in other mediums.

      • In the Dark Knight films, Gotham was that world’s New York. The President even referred to it as “our greatest city” in The Dark Knight Rises. Usually in the DC Universe, that title is reserved for Metropolis, since it’s much more stable than Gotham. But in Nolan’s Dark Knight movies, there is no Metropolis. It’s only Gotham. So it makes sense.

        That’s also why Gotham had a stock exchange. Our stock exchange is in New York. In Nolan’s Dark Knight movies, there is no New York.

    • AMando: Very odd, but something I noted too. Spider-Man takes place in New York, Superman in Metropolis. There’s a massive argument that could be had over the ability of using the exact city to represent itself, and using a symbol of that city to communicate things about the place indirectly, but….

      Yeah. Great addition.

      • Using real cities is great in making instant connection with the audience. Fictional cities can serve as more exaggerated symbols of real-life cities.

        Marvel initially used real cities- mostly New York- because their stories were more grounded and set to be relatable to the readers. DC used fictional cities in order to recognize these people or events could not exist and to distinguish the world of one hero from another.

        I never understood how in the early years of Marvel all the heroes were based in New York- of course that is where the writers and artist were living in and working- but as much as heroes would meet each other and cross paths etc New York was still ravaged by different villains lol.

        While I preferred Marvel comics set in a real world as there stories were initially more relatable I have also come to appreciate DC’s fictional city because each city served as a mythological bases to their heroes. While New York is on the map a young reader would not find news of Magneto or Spider-Man, but with DC cities feel intimate with out world yet feel alive and have its own tone and serve a larger impact in the story in which anything can happen.

        It really is funny how the two companies seem to have switched roles/directions in comics which is represented by films and tv series

        • “of course that is where the writers and artist were living in and working”

          Stan Lee has explicitly said that is the whole reason.

  25. Marvel everytime!

  26. Funny how the movies is different from the comics, Marvel is supposed to be more reality based (hence real cities etc) and DC is more fantasy… yet Batman is supposed to be more grounded?

    That should change as we get to more of both universes in cinematic form.

    • Batman was only supposed to be grounded in Nolans Batman universe. It was never meant to be a bigger part of any DC picture. Do people not understand that?

      • I think people forget about that fact because those was the only movies by DC that people remember form the last decade.

        Once MOS comes out (and then another solo movie featuring another character set in the same shared universe) the public will have a lot more info to go on.

      • @Traps:

        Yes… that’s why I said it would change as more DC movies come out. But even with Man of Steel, there is a more “realistic” tone to it, as some other poster put it, rather than “grounded”, more “serious”.

        I prefer humor in comic book movies, and hopefully Justice League will bring that as old school JL comics were on the more humorous side.

        Here’s a question, which movies are “safer” for kids (10 and under), Marvel or DC? I’ve taken my kids to Spiderman (reboot), Captain America and Avengers… they still haven’t seen TDKR.

        • I dont agree that Marvel is supposed to be more “reality based” because they use real city names. There is not much that is realistic about The Hulk, or any of Marvels movies. Marvel put very unrealistic characters in a real place. DC took very unrealistic characters and created their own world/s.

          I think my point was that the tone and whatnot of DCs movies wont change because we havent really gotten any of their “shared universe” movies yet. My prior comments were just clarifying that Nolans Batman movies have no business being in this conversation. They are completely separate from any other movies.

          And while I would say that Marvels movies are “safer” for kids than DCs (Spiderman is not Marvel by the way), The Avengers did have points that would be as “hard” for kids to watch as in TDKR. Batman and Iron Man both “sacrificed” themselves for the greater good. But I would say that TDK trilogy is heavier than Marvels movies.

    • In the films, if The Dark Knight Trilogy serve as the foundations of tone and direction as Man of Steel seems to convey as the article suggest, then there is a bit of reversal. But the premier of Man of Steel and future films will define that fate more solidly.

      In terms of comic books, yes there has been a reversal. Although I am only 21, I have read the first books (and own quite a few) of both Marvel and DC. Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and the other creative talents in Marvel during the Silver Age aimed to go in a opposite direction of DC Comics focusing on making the characters less perfect and more believable and relatable to people. Their goals was not that much different from the initial direction of characters of Superman and Batman decades earlier but over time DC found comfort in making silly, ever-increasingly tongue in cheek stories while Marvel took a much mature route for its audience.

      Marvel heroes may not have been realistic but were plausible in a sense , given the context, as the heroes origins were based on headline news such as the space race, radioactivity, technology expansion, and other science-fiction elements. The heroes and villains were treated as real humans, flawed, and sometimes tragic. Marvel dealt with themes or scenarios readers can identify with such as stories of outcasts, prejudice, self-image, dysfunctional family, and so on. So in essence, Marvel had a bit more relatability and grounded fantasy as opposed to DC and thus explaining why most people enjoyed Marvel over the years.

      However over time DC finally caught on it did not have be silly to fit under the comics code (and sooner or later gave up on it just as Marvel did) and retroactively went back and developed their characters. For the public, some characters such as Wonder Woman and Aquaman are still viewed as the campy, silly characters from the 1960s and 1970s. Batman- and now Superman- managed tear off some of its sillier depictions in the public’s mind’s eye. DC and its various imprints decided on taking risk and backing stories that had something to say about either their characters or the world we live in- through a fantastical lens.

      As DC decided on becoming more serious and darker and mature, Marvel began taken advantage of the science-fiction concepts and expand and cross lines of pure fantasy. DC in recent times is aiming to ground their characters into their essence and make each personality strong and diverse, while Marvel is now embracing fantasy to change their face of the universe.

      The films seemingly are following suit of the most recent comic book directions- and what has worked on screen before (consistency).

  27. Oh brother, here we go again……..

    • haha

    • Haha, stark. Dyce out the chum in the water and the sharks have arrived….

      • @ Justin J Pop…..

        Right. It makes for some good reading though in the comments section! :)

        • Haha, indeed. Get your popcorn ready.

          Btw, some of my friends call me J Pop.

        • Haha, indeed. Get your popcorn ready.

    • No Traps like Bane has a point! WB/DC hasn’t come out and said they intend to do anything more with Nolan’s Batman universe than what has already been done. They also haven’t made any statements that they will produce a Justice League movie in the near future or build to one. This is what a certain segment of the fan base desires that’s all. What they plan to do hasn’t been clearly revealed yet and what they will do remains to be seen…

      • Thank you. I still think that we will see AT LEAST 2 MoS movies before we see a JL movie. Maybe even an entire trilogy. By the time numbers 2 and 3 are being released, you possibly can have rebooted GL, released a solo Flash movie, even rebooted Batman. All of those things leading into a JL movie. By the time The Avengers is getting old and stale, DC can jump in with a new and fresh CBM universe for the fans.

      • What you wrote doesn’t have anything to do with what stark wrote (and, frankly, neither did stark’s to bane). Stark, vlad and I were all referring to the fact that this article, undoubtedly, led to a DC vs Marvel fan boys battle.

        • I was merely replying to the old mans comment. And while his comment may not have anything to do with you three’s, he poses solid points.

          As far as the Marvel/DC war that was started, why cant we all just enjoy both and take them for what they are?

          • I was replying to the old man.

          • I actually agree with both of you in regards to the DCU. DC/WB should take its time to develop the DCU.

            It’s not really fair to compare DCU to MCU, imo, since MCU launched with IM in 2008, five years before MoS (which I think will launch, in some way, the DCU).

            • Exactly. The comparison is easy to make between the IM trilogy and the DK trilogy, but really, as far as the shared universes go, the IM trilogy will more closely compare to the MoS trilogy, that will almost for sure happen.

        • @ Justin J Pop…

          EXACTLY!

          My comment was toward the article, not any one individual.

          • It was obvious to me. But, after all, I am a genius ;)

          • Indeed. I thought that it was obvious :)

  28. Will you hard-core comic book guys please just stop it with the “Demon in a Bottle” obsession?! The fact that you bemoan those “corporate” forces that won’t show the realistic, gritty and grown-up story is inane. And it reflects badly on you, not those “corporate” bad guys. Your yearning to tell this supposedly grown-up story reflects on your insecurity that comics are not taken seriously enough. Ironically, to do justice to a story like this would require at least one movie of Iron Man ruining peoples lives (and with his powers probably murdering or accidentally killing some)and hitting rock bottom. Any hint of a heroic ending within a two hour movie is not “serious”. Or absent that, having Tony Stark drink a bit too much rather than be a full blown alcoholic is also not being “serious”. Lot’s of people (including some of the greats in history) drank too much. That is not the same as an alcoholic, but even if you think it is the same, you can see where the story would have to toe an extremely tiny line to get it just perfect.It’s taking a serious problem for many people and turning it into a joke. Making Batman into a child molester or Spider-Man into a crack head, may make for some “realism” into the comic world, but it is also idiotic.

    • Besides your faux outrage, I think that you make some good points, However your last sentence was totally unnecessary.

      • Haha. You beat me to it!

      • I appreciate you saying that I had some points. I just want to say that my “outrage” is not “faux”. I grew up on comic books and love them. But I realize from “Demon in a Bottle” and other conversations among comic book fans that I do not fit into the hard-core base. My criticisms come from that premise. I have (we all have) been hearing about the “importance” of Iron Man’s alcoholism from the very first day it was announced that Marvel was going to make the first movie. I am just saying it is not important to anyone but the certain type of comic book fans that think they themselves are important. A movie based on the “Demons in a Bottle” story would almost certainly be horrible and I was just pointing out a couple of reasons why. I never said I was “outraged”, however I do find the topic annoying and that I think it reflects poorly on us comics fans.

        • If Christopher Nolan made an Iron Man trilogy, I would be willing to bet that it would successfully tackle, at least a portion, of “Demon in a Bottle”.

          Maybe that will cause some “outrage”.

        • Haha, fine. But, with the inclusion of the exclamation point and the long post, you did come across, at least to me, as a little angry. Not Kofi on the podcast talking about IM III though, hahahahaha.

    • well said, similarly named dude!

      • how many jeffs are on here regularly? seems to be a few of us.

  29. My pet peeve is overuse of the word “grounded.” Relating to any superhero movie the word should be banished. All of the movies mentioned in the article above are pure fantasy, Marvel AND DC films. Batman’s high tech gizmos (batpod, hoverbat…. etc) are just as far fetched as Iron Man’s technology. Superman breaks more laws of physics than any other super hero. Talking about making MoS “grounded” is just dumb.

    What is different about Marvel and DC movies is where the wit is to be found. In Marvel the jokes come from the heroes. Iron Man’s sly one liners, Spiderman’s sarcastic banter during fights…. even Marvel’s angriest protagonist the Hulk had some really funny bits in Avengers. The antagonists in the MMU on the other hand are serious as a heart attack.

    In DC the wit comes from the villains. Even the baddies names are a giveaway. The Joker, The Riddler….. etc. If you go back and watch the Christopher Reeves Superman movies, it was always Lex Luthor (played by Gene Hackman) who had all the one liners, and Otis too, his bumbling henchman. The heroes are not only super, but they’re super serious too. Nolan’s Batman for instance. His only super power was being super grim. Vacillating between quivering rage and deep depression. Heath Ledger’s amazing take on the Joker was a benchmark in witty dialog. And Anne Hathaway’s Cat Woman had funny lines until she turned into a protagonist at the end. Then she lost all sense of humor.

    Using the word grounded in place of serious is wrong.

    • All great points.

      • I liked this article. I’m a comic book fan, I love comics if well-written no matter who they come from, be it Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, even CrossGen at one point so I don’t have a ‘favorite’ universe or a dog on this race as it were.

        Both movie universes are being thought up differently and that’s fine. I love Marvel’s take, with big spectacle and high adventure if not an extreme worry to try and make everything more realistic. I don’t care who you are, the scene in The Avengers where the camera pans and focuses on each Avenger as they take down some baddies with a cool move [Iron Man reflecting a chest RT into Cap's shield to fry some aliens and Thor and Hulk taking down a space slug with a shrapnel to the head/lightning combo] had to have given you goosebumps at least. It was a double-page spread come to life in front of your very eyes!

        DC has a different approach with a more serious tone and gritty realism. Now, I know some of you are saying Nolan’s Batman trilogy shouldn’t count as part of DC’s shared universe because of things Nolan has said about his films being stand-alone and so the serious tone and gritty realism go out the window since those are the only films we’ve seen so far and GL was not gritty in any way. MOS will be the first of the shared universe if you follow this line of thought and so we can’t say for sure what DC’s stand will be… Still, I think DC has a good chance of not only incorporating Nolan’s Batman into the shared universe along with MOS but taking the more serious approach and doing it well. Andrew has hit on something with this article that I think has either already crossed the minds of whatever group is running the show over at WB or I hope it will eventually. You can keep the tone serious but not make every hero’s story the same story. Seriousness can run through all of DC’s films, but focus on what makes the character who he is: Batman’s darkness, Superman’s hope, Green Lantern’s fearlessness, Wonder Woman’s courage, Flash’s compassion, etc., will be a winning formula for DC in the long run. I am, of course, ignoring the first outing of GL [that was a god-awful movie], it doesn’t jive with the ‘epic’ feel DC seems to be running with.

        All in all, comic and movie fans are winning.

        • Well said. I completely agree.

          • Yep.

        • i agree except for trying to incorporate the nolan films into this shared universe.

    • Excellent points. I agree with everything you said. It’s like the words “gritty” and especially “grounded” are thrown at CBMs constantly lately. Of course mainly in DC context.

      Loki had a few jokes in “Thor” at the beginning, then he went mad (and turned into a villain) and he stopped the funny quips, we could only laugh AT him after that (like when he got Hulk-smashed). The rule is very much intact.

    • That’s a pretty interesting observation. I agree on the term “grounded”. I get what they mean by the term, but just seeing that word pop up all the time is getting old for me.

    • I couldn’t disagree more. “Grounding” a film in “reality” does not mean taking away everything that makes the character that character when translating from comic to movie.

      All it means is presenting the character in such a way that is believable. Basically, it means focusing more on character so you relate to them more. What they’re doing with Man of Steel seems to be the way I’ve always thought of Superman. Yeah, he’s really powerful, but underneath all that he’s probably the most human superhero out there, from the way he’s written in several of his stories. I really love that.

      For Superman, THAT is what “grounding” him means.

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