It’s safe to say that Marvel Studios has re-framed the way tentpole movie franchises are viewed today. In addition to seemingly every studio rushing to create their own “Cinematic Universe,” many franchise films (and film advertising campaigns) are aiming to ape, or directly contrast, Marvel’s crowd-pleasing blend of character pathos, quirky humor, and colorful action. Most noteworthy of these is are the directly analogous super-films of the DC Extended Universe. As is the case with any fandom rivalry, sometimes the vitriol between “superfans” of the Marvel or DC brands can get nasty.
Nick Fury himself, Samuel L. Jackson has been around since the foundation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His appearance in the post-credits stinger for Iron Man as the then-S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Fury wasn’t just groundbreaking. It was the glue that tied all the disparate Marvel franchises together once The Avengers rolled into town.
While promoting his role in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Jackson spoke to Collider about his feelings on the current state of the Marvel/DC rivalry. “Success breeds contempt,” Jackson said candidly, in an attempt to explain the Marvel haters. Though he seemed to share no hatred for his DC rivals, responding to his interviewer’s positive assertion that Man of Steel was a great movie:
“Hopefully, Wonder Woman will be great too. A friend of mine trained her. I hope it’s good. I think there’s room for everybody to exist out here. The fact that it’s not working or doesn’t work or people want a specific thing… I mean that’s what makes movies the movies, and what makes audiences audiences. Hopefully, [DC will] make one of those movies these days and it’ll be as big as a Marvel movie.”
Since the three DCEU films release to date – Man of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad – have all posted significant numbers at the box office, Jackson is assumedly using “big” to refer to their successful cultural impact – that is, both commercially and critically-speaking. While he seems to have no concerns about Marvel’s state of affairs, his sentiments seem to reflect those of Marvel Studios’ head honcho, Kevin Feige: there is room for more than one studio to make great superhero films in Hollywood.
Hopefully, fans of superheroes will follow Jackson’s lead and recognize the futility of rooting against their less preferred publisher. The more legitimately good superhero films hit the market (be they of the Marvel or DC variety), the better it is for the health of the entire genre.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming– July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Untitled Avengers – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.
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