‘Man of Steel’ Director Says DC’s Heroes Are ‘Purer’ Than Marvel’s – Do You Agree?

Published 2 years ago by , Updated August 5th, 2014 at 7:21 pm,

Superman Man of Steel Zack Snyder Man of Steel Director Says DCs Heroes Are Purer Than Marvels   Do You Agree?

With Man of Steel on the horizon, it’s hard to believe that there was ever a time when Superman was something to be laughed at or doubted. Zack Snyder’s reboot of the “king-daddy” of all superheroes is back with a chip on his shoulder, and already more anticipated by audiences than Marvel’s metallic front man.

That’s no surprise to Snyder, since he claims this is Superman’s world; we’re all just living in it. Including Marvel’s characters who have prospered in his absence.

Brief samples of Snyder’s interview with SFX Magazine spoke to how different his approach to every facet of Superman would be, from a more ‘violent’ flight to a crumbling Kryptonian empire. Now that the full interview has made its way online, the director’s clear preference for DC Comics’ heroes is sure to get some tongues wagging.

Man of Steel vs Iron Man 3 Man of Steel Director Says DCs Heroes Are Purer Than Marvels   Do You Agree?

Snyder was specifically asked how he hopes to bring something new and meaningful to a genre already dominated by the likes of Iron Man, Thor, and now the collected talents of The Avengers.

Not one to mince words, Snyder made his views on the current slate of Marvel’s heroes clear, and how he hopes Man of Steel will remind everyone which comic book character it was that started an entire medium:

“It’s Superman. If you get it right he’s kinda transcendent. The Superman shield is the second most recognisable symbol on planet Earth other than the Christian cross.”

“If you get it right, that’s the question you’ll be asking everyone else. That should be the question you’re asking Iron Man and Thor. How is it that you feel you can be making a superhero movie in a world where Superman and Batman exist?”

So what does Snyder make of the distinction (thus far) between Marvel’s more fantastic and ‘adventure’ superhero films, and the grounded, more contemplative likes of The Dark Knight? Anyone doubting that the two movie universes (one established, the other budding) are entirely divorced need look no farther than DC and Warner Bros.’ attempts to follow Marvel’s formula with their own Green Lantern (2011), resulting in nothing but embarrassment.

Justice League Movie Character List Man of Steel Director Says DCs Heroes Are Purer Than Marvels   Do You Agree?

That comes as no surprise to Snyder, since he sees DC’s most iconic heroes as existing on a completely different level from those currently enjoying the biggest box office takes:

“They truly are purer archetypes…They’re literally Biblical. If you get the DC characters right, they can be important, they can be about us. It’s not just a romp. That’s the fun, for me, of working on this movie. We got that it was important. We weren’t apologising for Superman, which I feel has happened in the past. It’s Superman, for God’s sake. He’s a thing to be celebrated.”

It’s not hard to see what Snyder is getting at, especially when considering Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns (2006). Singer has since explained that his take on Superman may have been a bit too romantic and nostalgic for much of his audience, but that doesn’t seem to be what Snyder is driving at.

Given what we’ve seen of Snyder’s take on Superman – in numerous promotional images and the latest action-packed trailer – a Singer-esque shot of a room full of reporters going doe-eyed or swooning over Superman seems ridiculous. Singer’s spit-curled Superman may have cracked a smile and shook his head whilst flying away from awestruck crowds, but Snyder’s is a whole different animal.

We’re inclined to think that DC fans will be glad to finally hear their own thoughts echoed by Snyder, but we’re sure Marvel fans would disagree. Either way, we can’t wait to see what Snyder will say if he actually gets to direct Justice League.

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Man of Steel will be in theaters on June 14th, 2013.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: SFX (via Man of Steel Community Page)

Follow Andrew Dyce on Twitter @andrew_dyce
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  1. DC heroes sucks. Batman, Superman, that’s it. Only good are their villians.

    stupid saturday morning cartooners

    • Yeah well you’re… naked!

  2. I think the real question on every ones mind is……. Harvey Dent, can we trust him?

  3. Why can’t we like both? Personally, Spider-man will always be my favorite superhero, but after him comes Nightwing, Batman, Flash (Wally West), and so on. Both DC and Marvel have great characters, they also both have horrible characters. But that’s no reason for quibbling over which is better.

  4. Well I like both so why don’t they ask which film will win the summer boxoffice. MAN OF STEEL or IRON MAN 3. I think MAN OF STEEL is going to surprise alot of people. Many online polls have MAN OF STEEL as the most anticipated movie of the summer. So we will see if that translates into MAN OF STEEL becoming the Summer boxoffice King of 2013.

  5. I love both. Both sides have their positives and their negatives. Both sides have advancement in different styles of media. At the end of the day I will always choose whatever is offering a better (and well-produced) story.

    Now on Snyder’s comments…
    In “purer Archetypes”, I believe Snyder is referring to the essence of these DC characters. Snyder says that if you get them just right, people will care about these characters and invest in their stories. It does not matter that Marvel Studios has found success and an audience, only if he gets this film right. If he does the question will be spun around. Snyder makes a point that the Avengers, no matter how successful, can still face competition from DC- all it matters is how they are handled.

    Now what is this essence? Well some of these DC character were created years before other DC and Marvel characters (among others). In essence, these characters served as the model and fundamental mold that will lead to the expansion of either universes. They served as purer archetypes in the Comic Book World. Much of comics owe their success to the success of characters such as Wonder Woman, Batman and especially Superman.

    This does not seem like a hate on Marvel, just a reflection of what these characters represent to the comic book world, whether you are a fan or not.

    • Couldn’t have said it better. Superman is the original super hero. That means something. I get people saying that Marvel characters are more relatable, but rarely do people ask “What it means to be a super hero.” I think Superman and DC characters in general answer that question.

      • Christine I disagree. I think ‘what does it mean to be a superhero’ is embedded in human frailty. In that category Marvel has DC beat by a long shot.

        Remember, when you create characters that conform to provincial archetypes you are making them less human and not more.

        • I disagree. If you look at Marvel’s heroes, their “realism” is mostly thrills. That’s why they appeal to younger people more than DC Comics – because of their sense of fantasy and escape. DC, on the other hand, has a much more grounded approach. I believe that when Snyder refers to DC heroes being “purer” than Marvel’s characters, he’s referring to their capacity to be introspective. The stories behind many DC characters often examine issues that are actually quite important to human nature.

          • This is kind of weird to hear being said about DC characters instead of Marvel characters. I’ve actually always thought the Marvel characters were more introspective in this respect, whereas the DC characters came off as being godly.

            To each their own opinion, I guess.

        • I see what you mean. But I guess what I’m trying to say is that DC delves more into these characters and their ideals and Marvel focuses more on the story and adventure. An example of this is Batman and Superman’s “no kill” policy, which is not something most Marvel characters adopt. Again this is all subjective and to each his own.

        • @ Christine

          Thank you. I think that is what DC is mainly about. Not to say there is character on Marvel that does not ask that question because there are such as Captain America and Spider-Man. Also not to say that all DC heroes ask this question because I am sure there is characters that do not relate that question. But DC fitting that archetype makes sense given the history of DC and Marvel.

          @ Umm Yeah

          I understand your point of view and agree on a level of it. Human frailty does beg the question “What does it mean to be a (Super)hero?”, however we form archetypes that are easily recognizable and direct, and simplified in order to answer that above question in a human context.

          The archetype is supposed to be easily human and relatable. If archetypes are less than human, why do they predominate many years worth of storytelling? Archetypes are able to distill the very essence of psychology and behavior of man kind, given a particular context of that archetype, in order to reach a fundamental answer or lesson.

          I apologize if this seems like an incoherent rant. Hopefully I explained myself fine.

  6. We should all be rooting for both Marvel and DC.
    They both have their flaws and their genius (characters and movies alike).

    • I second that notion.

  7. DC had a fantastic universe prior to their “New 52″ where they tried to insert an Image comics sensibility into the DC spirit. The result has been an abomination that should be destroyed by fire. Flashpoint was the beginning of the end, although brightest day was pretty awful as well.

    Where is Roy Thomas? DC needs his mind stat.

    • I agree about the new 52… :( DC actually had a very good thing going with what they were doing prior to the new 52… They had successfully reinvigorated interest in both the Green Lantern and the Flash. They had wrapped up most if not all the loose ends and plot holes that previous events had created (JSA, Hawkman, and so on). And then they just decided to… start all over again.

      I think it may be one day considered the biggest blunder ever in the history of comic books.

      • It’s going to be in the top 10 no doubt, but no where near the biggest. It didn’t tank the entire industry unlike the comic book crash of ’96. Most of the redesigns suck because they all suffer from the same problem, they over design the sh*t out of them. Still, not as bad as the Injustice game. Whoever did the character designs for Injustice needs to be taken out behind the barn and shot.

        • +1 for the Injustice comments. Couldn’t agree more.

      • To be fair Green Lantern continues as it did before the New 52 and from what I hear the new Flash series is also pretty good.

        In the end the New 52 did improve sales by a fair bit. Though I’d have preferred them to just use Marvel’s ‘Ultimate Comics’ approach if they wanted a new universe.

  8. Now for these DC characters that are less iconic or not one of the first, what does purer archetype then signify? What about beyond the comic book community?

    Well, the roles of who are the more grounded, realistic, and relatable have switched over the years. DC characters from their inception were fantastic individuals dealing with relevant issues, while Marvel characters in that age were more grounded characters facing more fantastical subjects (eg. Monster Tales).

    DC then played up the “perfect” fantastic, ‘Gods Among Us’ shtick with ever increasing ridiculous and over the top camp during the Silver Age, while Marvel had Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Co. which aimed to make their characters relevant, relatable, and grounded. At this point DC heroes seemed to be perfect in morality, while Marvel are anything but. DC heroes had origins which made their powers simply explain (Wonder Woman is an Amazon and thus have powers), while Marvel characters have origins which nowadays must be updated to fit a more plausible explanation (Gamma rays surely do not do that)–DC just established fantasy concepts exist in this reality while Marvel tried to recreate reality with fantasy stemming from it. Marvel heroes were their own weakness, while DC had external weaknesses for each of their heroes.

    At this stage, it is noticeable that DC does fit one plane and Marvel fits another. Marvel had heroes that stemmed for reality. DC had archetypes that can never be realistic and were easily explained and easily defeated. Both offered inspiration but Marvel knew better. Marvel was not cynical but mature as opposed to DC still holding on to naivety of another generation.

    However, how can this be what Snyder means? How can Snyder consider concept of archetypes be the key to success for DC?

    Well, as time went on both sides emulated each other, “ripped off” each other, differentiated each other, and of course both sides took notice of what folks wanted. Eventually Marvel’s subtle outrageous fantasy caught up with their heroes and DC finally realized their heroes needed to be stopped depicted as jokes. Marvel already having fleshed out their heroes took pride in offering up bigger scales to their stories. DC dialed back and made their characters distinct from one another and tried to get rid of their gimmicks and ridiculousness that has plagued them.

    Currently Marvel has been more fantastic, while DC has delved deep into the essence of their characters and what they served. While Marvel is playing around with their status quot, DC is restarting fresh and at the beginning.

    So if you take what the archetype of the hero is but then go deep inside and discover the essence of that hero, you can create the ideal the character represents while forming a relatable investment from the audience. This is different from Marvel. By making the characters flawed, what is the ideal? The “purer” archetype is mostly within DC, and demonstrated by comic arcs such as Death of Superman or Knightfall, which tried to replaced the top iconic figures of DC with more gray moral heroes. They failed.

    Marvel of course has iconic figures that are ideal in their own way, but the concept of refining the Gods Among Us of DC universe into a relatable context, then DC are purer literary archetypes.

    “Biblical” is just a term that is utilized by Snyder to allude to the purer aspect of the archetype as opposed to “Tragedy” of Marvel’s archetypes. That and I am guessing also as reverence to characters such Wonder Woman, Batman, and especially Superman

  9. DC are “Purer” in the sense that Superman(June 1938) and Batman(May 1939)are two of the first, two of the original hero characters. They opened the door for later comics such as Iron Man(March 1963). ALL Are Awesome. Hoping that Man Of Steel is a huge success so that Justice League can be made and it to be a major success like the Avengers. Competition between DC and Marvel makes the comic book world go round. If both try to outdo one another and make good quality films the real winners are all us comic book/movie/ fans. WIN WIN FOR ALL!!!!!!!

    • For the record, Captain America #1 released in March 1941 by Timely Comics(the predecessor to today’s Marvel Comics).

  10. I just hope Man of Steel doesn’t buckle under its own weight in trying to establish Superman as the new “king-daddy”.

    • You mean “re-establish”

  11. Personally I don’t like all of the crazy super powers or invincible characters. I mean, how “heroic” are you really if the only reason why you fight bad guys is because you know that most likely you will not die? I prefer the mortal ones, the ones that are human, or so close to human that death is right around the corner but they go at it anyway. Batman, Iron Man, The Punisher, and even Captain America. And most of these types of super heroes are on Marvel, so…

    • I don’t blame you. That’s why to me I look at DC being more of an epic, with the best stories being the ones where these invincible gods fight other invincible gods or master manipulators, otherwise it’ll just get boring.

  12. Sorry for the long rants, hopefully they each make sense or at least get the message across with minimal confusion.

    I would also have to ask if Snyder is comparing all of DC characters to all of Marvel characters or just those produced by Marvel Studios?

    The question seems to revolve those attached to the Avengers. In that case then Snyder arguments is much simpler to dissect.

    The Marvel Studios line-up of heroes is mostly comprised of lesser known heroes that make up the B List. Of course that is changing with the success of the Phase 1 films and mostly the Avengers. Only Iron Man of all the Phase 1 films (not even the sequel Iron Man II) really made popular culture mark until the Avengers. The first Iron Man and the Avengers was good films that reach out world wide. The others served the purpose of introducing the characters and setting the table but did not really make a mark. It really all depended on the Avengers.

    While DC character beyond Superman and Batman and maybe Wonder Woman, are not as known as to main audience either, they are not B list heroes in the DC universe. They have exposure due to Super Friends and Justice League cartoons and animation.

    Marvel Studios is working hard getting their lesser heroes off the ground- and succeeding– but maybe Snyder is referencing that DC (or WB for that matter) may not have that issue if they do a good job too.

    Also, keep in mind that all these comment revolve ultimately on Superman. If Batman could do great with the Avengers in cinema, why wouldn’t the Man of Steel do great? Especially if they delved deep into his essence.

    • I read yours and a few others on here. I enjoy it every time. + a whole bunch!

  13. I read both growing up, but even as a child I thought Marvel’s characters were too childish. Favorites: Batman, Superman, Flash (Barry Allen), Martian Manhunter, Atom, Hawkman, Green Arrow, and Green Lantern.

  14. DC Rocks! Marvel…………

  15. When it comes to which company has more books i am likely to read, marvel wins out big time. while snyder might be right in saying DC has ‘purer’ heroes, its also their downfall. Marvels heroes are more about the everyday average person bestowed with immense responsibility and DC is more about exceptional people with god like powers and thats hard for relate with but easy to idolize. Also, DC tends to be the more braggy company but doesnt really back it up outside of using their big guns of batman and superman, while marvel never boasts but backs up thier quality in spades, i mean, look, they took iron man, cap and thor and made them all household names. those characters are second tier marvel heroes at best, marvels big gun is spiderman and he isnt even part of the marvel movie universe. if marvel were to intro him into the avengers/marvel films it would be monumental. meanwhile DC, outside of batmans TDK trilogy has failed at delivering with GL or superman returns, and from the looks of it superman will hopefully deliver. I personally see all comic book movies since i love the medium and want all the films to do well and be good, but marvel does have an good advantage over dc, comic and film wise IMHO

  16. Snyder is bang spot on! DC by FAR have the best superheros and Villians, DC have the two hardest hitters with Superman and Batman, These two are a force which started it all, Without them there wouldnt be any, Marvels charactors do nothing for me at all, Its not some fan boy thing, Ive just never been into them, Spiderman is the only one I probably like from Marvel but after the last one they put out, That lost me as well, I thought it was aweful! DC all the way and Man of Steel will show lame ass Ironman how its done!

  17. “It’s Superman. If you get it right he’s kinda transcendent. the Superman shield is the second most recognisable symbol on planet Earth other than the Christian cross.”

    ACTUALLY… I’m pretty sure the McDonald’s Golden Arches and the Coca-Cola emblem BOTH have Superman beat.

    • Funny and true! Especially in this “super-size it” country!

  18. I like both.
    My favorite

    The Flash
    Silver Surfer

  19. The comparisons with Christ should be left well alone, its a little offensive, I love DC and Superman dont get me wrong, But to compare him to the son of God is outrageous, Jesus is the greatest hero of all, Superman is a comic book hero, thats it.

    • Yeah, it is a little offensive… When “holier than thou” Christians tell everyone else that Jesus is the greatest hero of all punctuated by a self-righteous “that’s it.” No doubt that Jesus was an extraordinarily enlightened and “evolved” individual but then again every religion on the planet has their own starting line-up… Religious tolerance is as specious and expedient as the argument that posits the “purity” of DC vs Marvel. Sheesh!

  20. I always said Superman is the “weakest” super hero in terms of bringing him to the screen. Best DC character is Batman, all the rest belong in the comics. Although marvel have some pretty lame characters too …

    who is the most powerful super hero?


    • thats bull, the most powerful would be Dr Manhattan.

        • naa hes a clown. Dr Manhatten has got superhuman strength, telekinesis, teleportation, control over ALL MATTER at a subatomic level, and near-total clairvoyance. He perceives the past, present and future as happening simultaneously. no one can really F with him. he can turn you into a carrot if he wanted. dude controls matter. its game over for everyone else.

          • Eddie Blake was the most powerful. He just fell victim to time.

  21. Imo, all DC has is Superman and Batman. And imo, Batman is their best. Their other best are I guess Green Lntern,Flash,and Wonder Woman. That’s it imo.

    Marvel hs way more imo…Iron Man,Captain America,Spider-Man,Hulk,Wolverine,Cyclops,Storm,Deadpool(yea he’ like a anti-hero I know)Thor,Fantastic Four,Doctor Strange,Black Panther,The Punisher etc I can go on.

    DC does have their great villains though I’ll give them that; there’s a reason their villains are always overshadoing their heroes.

    • So Green Arrow, Nightwing, Martian Manhunter, Birds of Prey, Jonah Hex, Hawkman, Lobo, Etrigan, Captain Marvel, Captain Atom, Dr. Fate, Suicide Squad, Deathstroke, and Swamp-Thing are all not DC’s best?

      • Almost all the charcaters you just named were crappy imho. Only good ones there are Arrow and Nightwing. Deathstroke is not a hero; he’s a villian and he’s awesome like I said, DCs villians are awesome.

        • Martian manhunter would crush almost everyone in the marvel universe. And he’s far from lame.

          • I’m guessing Martian Manhunter would have quite the problem with the Human Torch.

    • how much do u charge for logo design?? if you can get bk to me on my twitter i’d be most grateful. @Redskullbeats

  22. There’s a two ton gorilla in this story and its name is “IF”. So far, only the last batman trilogy worked and in my opinion was more about Bruce Wayne than Bats.
    My 2 cents only, but speaking of realistic or pure (whatever that is) I always look at the motivation between Bats and Spidey. Why do they do what they do.

    “With great power, comes great responsibility” has always seemed to be a better reason to be out kicking culo than “my parents got shot when I was 6″.
    Why? One hero screwed up and it cost him and he has a constant reminder of that in Aunt May.

  23. Dude..I reckon youll be eating your words once MOS is out, This Superman film will be epic, and will smash Ironman..

  24. It’s funny, but I do hope that the Man of Steel movie is good enough that we will have even more debate on the matter.

    As a kid, I never thought I’d see the day where Hollywood would be so eager to deliver so many superhero movies, though. I remember my own childhood when all we had were the Christopher Reeve movies and the Batman movies. I am happy for our generation of kids that they get to grow up watching so many cool movies.

    • Yeah the competition hopefully allows them both to bring their best to the big screen.

  25. It is true that D.C has created the superhero “archtype” mainly with Superman. D.C. created the quintessential “superhero” which unfortunately has sort of become outdated in some ways within this era. Marvel created the “Anti-hero/Superheroes”(Namor), and characters that have personal issues that the average person can relate to on a daily level, such as trying to pay their rent, or get a job, being homeless, domestic violence, self esteem issues, dealing with racism, etc. Not saying that some of these issues have not been addressed with D.C. but they HAVE ALWAYS BEEN MORE EMPHASIZED WITH MARVEL. D.C. usually has always dealt more with the BIG picture at hand not the intricacies and nuances of the characters looks, stories, and personalities.

    Mostly D.C. heroes are almost the default superheroes(Batman,Superman,WonderWoman,and Flash), while also most if not all of D.C heroes have been tall and handsome with the “heroic” face and frame. Marvel on the other hand has heroes who are short, not so attractive, have a lot of body hair, are skinny, have grey areas in personality, have also been bad guys, alcoholics, handicapped, and more. Marvel’s characters reflect more what people see in people in the REAL world everyday and with intimate personal issues that are written within the stories. Neither one is better it just depends on the taste of the reader or viewer. It is true however, that D.C.’s characters are more LARGER THAN LIFE, “Golden Age”, and ICONIC while Marvel’s characters are much more relatable and grounded to the average person in the “real world”.

  26. Although I lean towards Marvel for the comics, and definitely because of the movies (I liked Green lantern, did not like the Superman and Batman ones, altho the new Superman one looks like it could have possibilities), there are a few movies I want DC/Warner to get going on: Green Lantern #2 (with RR as hal Jordan again, but without the cornball humor and bad script. The Flash. Dr. Fate and Hourman team-up. Maybe a team-up between Hawkman, The Atom, and Martian Manhunter. And of course eventually the JLA & a Legion of Super-Heroes movie.

  27. What else is Synder going to say, he is directing a Superman movie and probably trying to drum up support for something else down the line. Tomorrow they should run an article with Joss Whedon saying the same thing about Marvel characters…..