Comic Book Movie Showdown: Marvel vs. DC

I know most people will say that I’m biased when I rant about comic book movies. I love Marvel, most of the comics I read are either Marvel, Image, or something from a small publisher. DC titles usually don’t make their way into my pull. Movies are a different beast though. Being a movie geek too, I will watch just about everything. And even though titles like Green Lantern, Batman, and Wonder Woman aren’t on my normal reading list, I know enough about the character to know I like them. GL as a character and concept has always appealed to me, but I’ve never really gotten into any of the books. The same for Batman. I love the slant of the dark vigilante with the shattered family, trying to right the wrongs of his city. I just can’t get pulled into the comic. I feel that since I still enjoy these characters, that my opinion about the movies shouldn’t be biased against them.


So, now that my preface is done, I can get into the meat of the issue: what is wrong with movies based on DC comics? Marvel (and by that I mean Marvel Studios, not Marvel comics in general) has approached their movie universe vastly different from how anyone has made comic book movies before. Take Iron Man as an example. The first IM movie kept the core of the character intact with certain elements modernized, upgraded for the times. Instead of , Stark is caught by terrorists in . Aside from that, the changes were extremely minimal.

the way comic movies should be
the way comic movies should be



Over on the DC side of things we have Superman Returns. Bryan Singer, hot off his recent success of X-Men 2, was tapped to reboot the Superman franchise. The result of which gave us a crimson toned suit, a grossly underage Pulitzer winning , and an asthmatic illegitimate Superman offspring. I’ll let that sink in for a second… Okay, are you ready to attack this one now? I will be honest, I don’t know a ton about Superman, but just about everything from SR feels wrong. I’m not a huge stickler for details or expect filmmakers to stick to the source material so strictly, but why does so much need to change? Do they make these changes for fear of boring people that already know the story, the history of the character? With Iron Man, I knew the story. I was already a huge fan. I was entertained all throughout the movie. My wife on the other hand knows nothing about the character, and she loved the movie too. So if they had used a popular, well known story for Superman Returns, would the audience have been bored or liked it less? After Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, I seriously doubt it.


Batman character study
Batman character study

Simply put, Batman Begins is a great movie. However, there are some glaring issues that come up when I think back to this movie. Again, Bats is a character I know very little about, and with his long comic history the filmmakers could use the movie as a blank slate. Does anyone really know who the first villain Batman went up against was? It might have been Ra’s al Ghul and Scarecrow. Who he fought isn’t my main concern here, it’s that DC has opted for the “no powers” Batman movie universe. As decreed by the director Chris Nolan, his Batman will not overlap with any DC character with powers. Meaning the DC Trinity will never be in a movie together under Nolan’s guidance. Why? These characters have interlocking history. Key moments or character development has been based on each other all through their history.


Joel Silver has been trying to get a Wonder Woman project off the ground for a long time. My wife, having grown up watching Sharon Carter but never reading a WW comic, is pretty mad about the huge delay here. Finally word comes out that a new show is hitting the small screen soon. Wonder Woman is a successful executive by day, with normal cliché office romance and politics with comedy thrown in, while by night she fights crime. When has anything like that happened in the comic? Why does DC feel the need to change this concept so drastically? How awesome would it be to have a Wonder Woman movie similar to the Starz show Spartacus: Blood and Sand? (Minus the sex and nudity of course.) At the end of this Amazonian action flick, Wonder Woman goes to the mainland, the modern world. Perfect setup for something bigger, like the Justice League.

"Where's my movie?!"



If you sit down and watch every Marvel movie, you will see the connections in each, aside from the obvious cameos after the credits. Doing this creates a richer universe, a living mythos to sink into and get wrapped up in. It was awesome to see the Stark brand on the sonic weapons in Hulk. Its great that Howard Stark helped create Captain . I wanted to see more when I saw Thor’s hammer at the end of Iron Man 2. That’s a point as well. If interconnecting movies doesn’t create a richer story (which it does), at the very least it serves as a setup for the next movie, like a mini commercial within the movie.


Marvel has done an awesome job of keeping their characters intact, without deviating too far from the source material but still keeping it fresh and new. DC should take note of that success and attempt to copy to the best of their ability.