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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

DC versus Marvel

I have always been a bit of a comic nerd.

I haven’t quite been able to read every comic out there, but I do my best to read what I can get my hands on. When I can’t read a particular comic, I do whatever I can to research it and learn as much about it as possible.

I seem to lean slightly in favor of Marvel comics. The characters are amazing, the story lines are enthralling, and the overall variety of them is enough to captivate anyone. That’s not to say that DC Comics aren’t as good, because they are definitely of equal quality. The issue at hand is how well the comic brands are represented through other media sources (movies, television, and advertisements).

DC in Film

One of the most well-known DC characters represented on the big screen is Batman. The Dark Knight’s parents were killed when he was just a boy, forcing him into a life of crime fighting. We’ve seen this story played out dozens of times, whether is be Michael Keaton, George Clooney, or Christian Bale. The story is the same. The only main difference is the atmosphere.

Up until Christopher Nolan’s Batman, they have always been a little goofy. They make it as faithful to the comic books as possible, basically creating a live action comic book.

Another large DC on screen presence is Superman. The first Superman film was released in 1948, making it one of the oldest movie franchises in the game. Superman has been around since your grandparents were kids, and will be until your kids are grandparents.

The only issue is his movies are not good at all. They all start off with his cliché origin story and how he is Earth’s savior. They all lack a certain interest, which makes the movies near unbearable to watch. Even the newest one was a plot-holed disaster. But what it lacked in plot, it made up for in pure carnage and absolutely stunning cinematography.

With Batman and Superman being the two front-runners of the DC Cinematic Universe (DCCU), they cast a big shadow over their other DC buddies.

The Green Lantern, starring Ryan Reynolds, was probably one of the biggest DC superhero flops. His acting was good but it was the weak script and lack of supporting actors that really brought the movie to a subpar level. It’s cheesy attempts at comedy and lack of interesting characters really made the movie into a spectacular failure.

Also, Wonder Woman has been a feminist icon for decades, but has yet to have any big screen presence. It isn’t until Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that she came to life.

That is absolutely ridiculous. Higher-ups at DCCU claimed that a Wonder Woman movie wouldn’t make any money because the main target audience (men 16-30) wouldn’t want to see it.

Are you kidding me? What man wouldn’t want to see a beautiful woman kicking butt on screen for two hours? Not to mention women everywhere would be seeing it. It’s a guaranteed money maker.

All of these movies are leading up to the DC equivalent of the Avengers, the Justice League. I am a very big fan of the Justice League, but the way things are looking, I do not have a lot of faith in the creation of this.

Batman v Superman isn’t coming out until next year, which means that a Justice League movie wouldn’t be coming out until much later. If there’s one thing the U.S. movie audience hates more than the prices, it’s waiting. Also, the casting for the characters are insanely weak. Ryan Reynolds would reprise his role as the Green Lantern, as well as Henry Cavill for Superman. A very controversial decision was casting Ben Affleck as the next Batman after Christian Bale. This casting could be fantastic … or so bad that it ruins the franchise. DCCU needs to get organized and really step up their game if they want to be anywhere close to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Trailers for this film have been released and have received great reviews from the fans. If anything, the fans are upset that the trailers are giving away too much of the movie and hurting fan anticipation.

What DC lacks in live action films, they completely make up for in animated films. DC has some of the best animated superhero films I have ever seen. Their story lines are entertaining, the action is very well done, and they all have a sense of humor which is key.

This goes especially for the animated films based of the New 52 comics, which are Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox; Justice League: War, and Son of Batman. These cartoons aren’t exactly kid-friendly and are more geared towards the man-child adult type, but they are enjoyable nonetheless providing a somewhat gritty new look at the DC Universe.

Marvel in Film

Up until the early 2000s, the MCU was almost non-existent. Besides a few badly done Hulk movies, there was nothing out there for them. That is until Sony’s X-Men came out starring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier, and Ian McKellen as Magneto.

Now this film was a success, so when there is a successful film, what do most movie industry companies do? Make a sequel. By doing this, Marvel helped create one of the first on screen comic book universes. There were obviously going to be some bumps along the way; X-2 was a great movie, but X-3 was a disaster. To clean up that mistake Fox Studios (the owner to the rights of the X-Men) had to create X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past to revamp the universe. After X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the direction they wanted to go seemed a little vague, but I believe they did a fantastic job cleaning it up and leading this series to a whole new level.

With the original success of X-Men, Sony wanted to give their shot at a superhero movie a go. By doing this, they created one of the best superhero movies of all time: Spider-Man. This movie had it all: a fantastic villain (Willem DaFoe as the Green Goblin), Toby Maguire as an awkward teenage Peter Parker, and a sequel that was just as good (if not better) than the original.

Spider-Man 1 and 2 were both cinematic superhero masterpieces. They captured the ideal Spider-Man perfectly. Doctor Octopus, who was played by Alfred Molina, was captured perfectly. Sony also owns the rights to the Fantastic Four, but we like to pretend those movies didn’t even happen.

With the rights of the Marvel characters being split up, the main contender in the battle of Marvel vs. DC would be Disney’s MCU. Disney acquired the rights to Marvel in 2009, well into the first phase of the MCU. The first phase of this universe began with the 2008 smash hit Iron Man starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. This movie not only perfectly jump-started the first phase; it was actually a very well done movie. To follow this was The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, and eventually the third highest grossing movie of all time, The Avengers.

And that was just phase one. Phase two has already finished up with the release of Ant-Man earlier this year, but I won’t get too heavy into that.

The main issue with Marvel is that multiple cinematic universes come from different companies owning different rights. Everyone would love to see Wolverine fight the Hulk, but some companies aren’t willing to share, and would rather mindlessly reboot a film to keep its rights from a different company (I’m looking at you Fox).

But what Marvel excels at in live action films, it lacks in animated films (almost the exact opposite of DC). I have barely heard of any good animated Marvel films, let alone seen them. I guess they figure they make enough money off the movies, so why bother with the animation?

Television Presence

The two main prime-time shows competing for the title “best superhero show” on television are DC’s Arrow and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (AoS). Both of these are excellent shows, really. I highly recommend watching both of them if superheroes and comics are your thing.

Marvel’s AoS is the first show of its kind, linking the Disney MCU with a primetime television show. Whatever happens on the big screen directly affects what happens on the little screen, meaning that to understand the show, you have to see the movies. Given, this does sound like a cheap marketing ploy, but damn is it worth it.

The show takes place after the events of Iron Man 3 and Agent Coulson has been “resurrected” from the dead to lead a team of SHIELD operatives to help take down potential threats around the world. The revolves around Agent Coulson learning about his mysterious resurrection and his team member, Skye’s, origins.

As more movies come out, more interesting things happen in the show. After Captain America: Winter Soldier, where it was revealed that SHIELD has been taken over by Hydra, the show takes a dramatic twist. With its third season halfway finished, and Agent Carter starting its second season, Marvel is keeping pace with its television presence, not to mention two Netflix originals, Daredevil and Jessica Jones, both connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

DC’s Arrow is a smash success. It is the origin story for the hero Green Arrow that incorporates many of the other DC heroes and villains. Being halfway through its fourth season, the show has created multiple spin-offs, like The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. What makes these shows great are the characters and their interactions with one another. I don’t usually find myself getting wrapped in the romances of people on television, but watching this show you can’t help it.

Where there are great heroes, there are great villains. All of these shows are jam-packed with absolutely lovable villains, none more popular than Slade Wilson, or Deathstroke. Bearing his orange and black mask and a super serum called Mirakuru, Deathstroke proves to be a challenging adversary to the Green Arrow in his team.
Overall, I would consider it a tie between them. There is too much to love and such a wide variety of ways to enjoy my favorite superheroes.