Why DC Will Never Beat Marvel's Cinematic Universe
The constant battle between DC and Marvel has been an argument that has existed for what feels like the length of time, but it has excelled massively, of late, when Marvel created it’s Cinematic Universe 10 years ago. Marvel has without-a-doubt created a money making machine within cinema today, so why is it that Warner Bros. have struggled to get their DC Universe off the ground, especially when they have had huge advantages over Marvel? Such as owning all the heroes within DC Comics as well as having, arguably, two of the most popular heroes, of all time, within this catalogue - Superman and Batman.
So why is it that DC are struggling to recreate the success Marvel are currently enjoying? For me the answer is simple; Marvel have never focused on competition, they do not worry themselves with beating anyone, and nor do they let failure sway them off course. They simply focus on providing their fans with the best and truest experience as possible. Some may think Marvel have had an easy ride with every film they have released being a success. This isn’t exactly true. Sure, Marvel have never turned out a flop, unlike DC, but they certainly had a bit of a rocky start to their journey. Iron Man was a brilliant film, and a great first step towards their overall goal, but their 2nd film The Incredible Hulk was not extremely well received, and nor was their follow-up to Iron Man. With the release of the first Thor movie, they were back on track, and even though Captain America seemed slightly rushed, it was still a point in the right direction. What kept their success going, was the message they were conveying behind these films, and this message is what people were on board with. Marvel then went on to release the first Avengers movie, and, in turn, introducing a whole new concept of movie making, changing cinema forever.
The question I imagine a lot of people ask is that - it was clear the concept Marvel were heading towards, why did WB take so long to get their universe off the ground? Well in 2008 when Iron Man was released, WB had released The Dark Knight, the gold standard off moviemaking, and arguably the best superhero film ever made. WB had Christopher Nolan in the bank. At this point Marvel were small fry compared to the mighty Nolan, and with a 3rd Batman in the pipeline, what did they have to worry about. Little did they know, that when the 3rd Batman was released, The Dark Knight Rises, Marvel would go ahead and break box office records with Avengers, putting DC behind by 4 whole years!
Due to The Dark Knight Rises being Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan’s last Batman film, this left WB with nothing but the view of Marvel’s incredible success. WB, of course, wanted a piece of this cake, and by rights should have been able to do it better, as they had no hold-backs like Marvel, as I mentioned earlier. Sadly, unlike Marvel, WB put their business hats before their creativity which has forever been their downfall (I say this, but they did get off to a good start in my opinion, just clearly not theirs). To kick-off their Universe, WB chose to launch it with my favourite hero, Superman. I doubt this would have been their first choice, but with it being so soon after the end of the incredibly successful Dark Knight Trilogy, Batman needed time to settle before recasting. So there came Man of Steel, the first film of the DCEU. It certainly was a rocky start, but was mostly well received by fans and has matured very well. MoS went on to gross $668m, over 100 million more than the first Iron Man, but sadly this was not good enough for WB. They have seen the success of which Marvel had now reached and weren’t happy with what they’re 2nd most popular superhero had earned them, forgetting the fact the last Superman film, Superman Returns, was an absolute disaster, so it was always fighting a losing battle.
With Marvel now onto phase 2 of their Cinematic Universe and WB with their business hats on, the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) went down a path it was not going to come back from. This path being Batman v Superman. BvS was created in order to jump several steps in WB universe building, introducing a whole new Batman, played by Ben Affleck, as well as introducing a new Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot. Even though I am a fan of this film, I cannot doubt the mess of which it has caused within the DCEU. Marvel took time to build each character before merging them together, it allowed you to understand these heroes as individuals, therefore it not being required within the team up film, allowing the film to focus on the story rather than the character building, as it would be near impossible to do so with some many big names. WB wanted to give it a crack though, and obviously failed miserably, critically and financially.
Sadly this downward trajectory kept on going and couldn’t be saved by the glimmer of hope which was Wonder Woman’s standalone film. The release of Suicide Squad and Justice League took DC to an all time low and now seems like the refresh button is being hit. Hopefully with the recent success of Aquaman and Joker shaping up to be something special, WB can hope for a bright future for DC, but sadly, they will forever be sat in Marvel’s shadow.