For years comic book fans have argued over which of the two top publishers is the best – Marvel or DC. And while that debate still rages in comic shops across the globe, plenty of fans have since turned their focus towards arguing over which studios are making the best movies based off of Marvel and DC’s properties.
In the case of DC, only Batman and Superman have successfully been featured in recent films and both under the Warner Bros. banner. Marvel, however, has seen more of their characters turned into movie stars, but in films that have been produced by three different studios: Fox, Sony, and the Disney-owned Marvel Studios. And it’s this distinction – the fact that a movie starring a Marvel character could come from one of three separate studios – that’s spurred yet another debate among superhero fans: which studio makes the best Marvel movies?
Surely, the simplest answer would be Marvel Studios seeing as they hold the film rights to most of the Marvel Comics characters. However, high profile and popular characters like Spider-Man and the X-Men have their film rights held by Sony and Fox, respectively. So who do you pick? And why? Do you choose Marvel Studios because The Avengers grossed a bajillion dollars, or Sony because Spider-Man is arguably Marvel’s most popular character?
Obviously, there’s no real answer because our opinions on superhero movies are inherently subjective, but Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Secret Service) is making the argument that Fox’s Marvel movies are just as good as the universally praised MCU of Marvel Studios. While chatting with Screen Rant at this year’s Comic-Con, Millar gave his two cents on where Fox’s MCU rates compared to Marvel Studios’:
“You grew up with the superhero market, and the superhero market is all about press, and superhero fans were down on Fox for years. Then like Fantastic Four movies, they hit – Elektra and everything – but then I always say, ‘Look how good the X-Men films were.’ Really, if you run through them X 1, X 2, The Wolverine, there’s some really high quality stuff there.
I’d say the hit rates are as good as Marvel’s. It’s better than Sony’s, better than Universal’s. I think Fox is spending the money. They are really getting the big directors and they are getting the big writers. I know they pay much more than Marvel or DC in terms of the talent they attach to the things. So I just think as a comic fan I love having that Fox stuff there.”
It should be noted that Millar is currently overseeing Fox’s Marvel films as a consultant so his opinion is clearly biased. As for Fox having as many hits with their superhero films as Marvel Studios? Well, that depends on what you consider a hit. X-Men: The Last Stand was for the most part panned by fans and critics alike, yet still earned more at the box office than any X-Men film before or since (though X-Men: Days of Future Past is on track to surpass X3 before it leaves theaters).
Comparing Marvel Studios or Fox to Sony also seems a little unfair considering that studio is now working with only a single character. Yet, if we compare box office earnings, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3 (a film that is consistently ranked as one of the worst superhero films) all earned more than any of Fox’s X-Men, Fantastic Four, or Daredevil films.
And for Fox having the bigger talent when it comes to writers and directors, that again is a tough point of comparison. Granted, the success of the X-Men films was in large part due to the vision of director Bryan Singer, but is he really more talented or a bigger name than Joss Whedon, Jon Favreau or Sam Raimi?
The debate over which studio produces the best movies based on Marvel Comics’ characters is a heated one. So much so that some fans suggest that things would be better were all the film rights held by only one studio. Millar, however, disagrees, and with good reason:
“You know, they’ll talk about Marvel, ‘Wouldn’t it be brilliant to have everything back under one roof?’ I always say, ‘You would have less movies coming out.’ People don’t realize this. No studio is going to bring out more than three or four movies a year. So you have Guardians of the Galaxy this year, you do Fantastic Four next year. So I think the system we’ve got right now is great. And I’m having a nice time with these guys [at Fox].”
There’s really no arguing with that logic. If you’re a fan who enjoys being able to see a Captain America movie, an X-Men movie, and a Spider-Man movie all in the same year, then there’s really no other option besides a multi-studio system. Sure, an argument can be made for quality over quantity (and I’m sure some readers will), but if less Marvel characters were appearing in feature films every year then you better believe Guardians of the Galaxy wouldn’t have happened as quickly as it did (if at all).
Millar’s comments are likely only going to stir up more bad blood between those fans faithful to one movie studio over another, but is there really any merit in comparing them? Would we be better off having only one studio making Marvel movies? Let us hear what you think in the comments below! (But please, play nice.)
Mark Millar’s Kingsman: The Secret Service opens in U.S. theaters on October 24th, 2014.