If there is one filmmaker who is no stranger to comics and their adaptations, it is Joss Whedon. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator has not only had a hand in superhero films and televisions series, but has also served as an author on various comic books, most notably, Astonishing X-Men. And while Kevin Feige (Marvel Studios’ President) may be the mastermind behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe (“MCU”), much of the franchise’s success can be attributed to Whedon, who had the arduous task of bringing the Avengers together for the first time on the big screen.
Joss Whedon followed up his record breaking turn as The Avengers‘ director, by serving as a creator and executive producer on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and returning to direct the Avengers follow up, Avengers: Age of Ultron. Since the release of Ultron, Whedon has taken a step back from the MCU, but that does not mean the illustrious filmmaker does not have any opinions on the state of the MCU and its rival, the DC Extended Universe.
Whedon recently sat down with Complex, where he discussed, among other things, the rivalry between the MCU and DCEU, and his thoughts on Wonder Woman (a project to which he was once attached). In response to a question about the culture of the superhero genre and the fact that “Marvel seems to be killing DC,” Whedon had this to say:
“I did not see Suicide Squad. I saw Batman vs. Superman. Everybody’s got their own method. I think Marvel has been more successful systematically. DC has been more cinematic—their stuff looks amazing—but I feel like Kevin [Feige, President of Marvel Studios] is a really good storyteller. He really cares about coherence, and I feel like style never defeats substance at Marvel, but a little style creeps in. Ant-Man had some, Doctor Strange might be funky, and they are doing very fun things on TV. The Marvel-Netflix thing is working really well. DC’s decision to have their shows on TV with different actors playing the same characters at the same time as their movies, is a little interesting.”
Whedon was also asked how he felt about Wonder Woman finally getting made, to which he replied:
“I want it to be good. The trailer was just wonderful. I’ll probably be disappointed, me more than anybody else, because I’ll be like, “Wow, my version…” or whatever, but I can still get myself up for it. The trailer had her shield and her fire hammer and yep, I’m good, this will be fine, everything is good. Such an image.”
Back in 2007, Whedon was attached to a Wonder Woman project at Warner Bros., before the parties went their separate ways. So, it is understandable that the director may have some mixed feelings about the upcoming Gal Gadot-starring film. And as a filmmaker with pride in his work, it is not surprising that he may feel like his version would have been great. Still, as an artist with the respect Whedon has for the genre, it sounds like he is still excited to see Diana Prince lead her own film; even if it is helmed by someone else.
As for Whedon’s thoughts on Marvel vs. DC, his response is similar to the view of many (though certainly not all) fans. It is clear that the DCEU (under Zack Snyder’s guiding hand) has a much different stylistic approach than the MCU films, which place less focus on visuals, and more on cohesive storytelling. It is hard to argue over Marvel’s success in creating one far reaching, cohesive universe, whereas DC’s attempt has felt a bit rushed. Still, with the MCU and DCEU now both in full steam, it will be interesting to see how the two franchises stack up to one another. We’ll get a taste next summer when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Wonder Woman all hit theaters.
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