I try to hold a fairly unbiased view of the entire comic book world. Certainly, there have been times that I have been known to go off on a rant or two but overall, I think I keep pretty even keel about it. Well, for a brief period I won’t do that.
This list throws it out the window.
I sat back one night thinking about all the flack the DCEU has received since its inception. From it, I’ve realized that its Universe has many merits that the Marvel Universe either simply doesn’t have or can’t have. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I have enjoyed a few of their movies more than I initially thought.
Wonder Woman was great. Man of Steel was great. Justice League (although a slight mess) was better than Thor: The Dark World and Iron Man 2 combined. As such, I felt compelled to create a list of 10 reasons that the DCEU is better than the MCU.
Oh, and just so you know, the list makes a mention of Superman’s mustache, however, don’t get your hopes up. It’s greatness is not one of the reasons. Anyway, enough rambling. Without further adieu, here are 10 Simple Reasons The DCEU Is Better Than The MCU.
1. Iconic Characters
Let’s face it, when it comes to all-time iconic characters, nobody does it better than DC. Not only does their list include The Flash, Green Arrow, and Green Lantern, it also includes Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman. These last three characters helped shape and sculpt the comic book landscape to where it is today.
Has the DCEU tried to use these characters in cinema in the past? Yes, and each has had varying degrees of success. The Christopher Reeves led Superman movies showed exactly what comic movies are capable of. Patty Jenkins Wonder Woman proved the world craves a female-led superhero movie. And Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy might very well go down as the best set of comic book movies to ever be made.
For these reasons, DC is the superior choice when it comes to their heroes and there is no denying that.
Superman is the quintessential hero. And I’ll tell you why.
He is universal. My brother and I recently returned from Ethiopia where we hand delivered 2,000 comic books to children in orphanages, schools, and hospitals. We did this as a part of our sister company and Global Not For Profit, Comics For Cause. While the children loved the books, one thing kept coming up.
“Superman, Superman. Do you have any Superman?”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. In a country that is on the rise, yet decimated by poverty, these children knew who Superman was. Not Spider-Man, not Iron Man, and not Captain America. Superman. S-U-P-E-R-M-A-N.
Superman is the most well-known and respected hero ever created. He stands up for what is right and has been a beacon of light for 80 years. And he belongs to DC.
3. Wonder Woman as a lead
The DCEU took a massive, proactive leap forward in 2017 when they released Wonder Woman. They became the first company to really give a female comic lead a chance and boy did it pay off. The movie, while not flawless, was brilliant.
Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman and perhaps to her acting demise, will forever be known as that. She exemplified everything that the character stands for and more. She was brave, fearless, smart, and more than capable of carrying the movie. The performance was so good that she showed that she is more than capable of carrying a franchise.
If the DCEU struck gold with the casting of Gal Gadot, then they struck Californium 252 with their director. Patty Jenkins did everything in her power to see Wonder Woman succeed and wow did it pay off. On a budget of $149 million, her movie earned $821 million. Marvel can’t say that any of their female-led movies have done that because, well, at the time of this writing they don’t have one.
From the perspective of equal opportunity, the DCEU is better than the MCU.
4. More adult tone
Disney makes Disney movies. And Disney makes family-friendly, parent-approved movies that the whole family can enjoy.
The parent company to the DCEU, Warner Bros., well, they don’t have to.
- American Sniper
- The Hangover
- The Matrix
- The Exorcist
- Mad Max Fury Road
Sure, thus far the experiment that is the darker DCEU has farmed mixed reactions, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to pack it in and start over. Instead, what it means is that the company needs to focus on what’s working and exploit that.
Adult tones work.
Personally, I like the fact that when I watch a DC movie, I don’t have visions of Mickey Mouse running through my head. As a man in his mid-thirties, I like it that the movies are a little more violent, sexy, and deal with more adult themes. The thing that I find most appealing is that through all of the heartaches that the DCEU has suffered through, they don’t:
b) continue with the same formula and
c) listen to the naysayers
I say they need to continue making adult-toned movies.
5. Better Rogues Gallery
Poll 100 people and ask them to name some comic book villains. Go ahead. I dare you. Almost assuredly, the Joker would come up. And he’s not the only DC Villain…The Penguin, The Riddler, Lex Luthor, and perhaps even Catwoman would appear too. Make no mistake, the list would include at least one or two Spider-Man enemies, Green Goblin and Venom come to mind, but without fail, it would be comprised of mostly DC villains.
Over the years DC has done a phenomenal job of getting their villains into mainstream culture. From the television shows to the cartoons and movies, there isn’t a company alive that can compete with how well their villains are known.
The DCEU is better than the MCU simply because of this fact.
Their problem is that they haven’t done enough to tap into their own long history. If they find that magic touch and market their villains properly, the cinematic pendulum will swing.
6. The House of Mouse
Marvel is owned by a child’s company. DC is not. Marvel has guidelines and policies that keep their focus on family entertainment. DC does not. And Marvel has an image to uphold. DC…only kind of does.
Being owned by Mickey Mouse may seem glamorous but imagine the pressure you would work under, the constraints to work in, and the image that has to be upheld at all costs. Just writing this reminds me of the seven artist exodus to create Image Comics in the early 90’s.
…oppressed actors pushed into ridiculous contracts having to jump when told leave the mothership to find greener pastures….
Perhaps I’m being overdramatic but I can’t help but think to work for Disney must seem like having to sell your soul for a not so short while. At least with DC, the large contracts aren’t so daunting…or at the bare minimum, they don’t come across as such.
Remember, Henry Cavill’s mustache cost Warner Bros. more money than imaginable and it was because his DC contract didn’t prohibit him from being a human. Marvel? I can’t say the same because some of those contracts seem a little inhumane.
7. Easy to start over
Its been well documented that the DCEU has been a bit of a mess since its inception. From the reshoots of Justice League to the over promise, under deliver of Suicide Squad, the movies haven’t been what fans have expected. And that’s ok. The best part about not meeting expectations is that it’s easy to start over.
What’s the best part about starting over?
There is a rather large sample size of what not to do. Hey, each of us, including those calling the shots at Warner Bros. are human. As humans, mistakes are made. Because mistakes are made, we have the opportunity to learn from them. Most importantly, we learn more from mistakes than victories. Remember this…even the mighty Marvel Studios has made mistakes and isn’t perfect. It was they who gave us Thor: The Dark World. And from that mess came the highly acclaimed Thor Ragnarok.
8. Better individual stories
Don’t get me wrong, Marvel is no joke when it comes to storytelling. Annihilation, Secret Invasion, Kraven’s Last Hunt, and the Dark Phoenix Saga are all great reads. However, in the realm of all-time great stories, DC is the King.
In their long history, they have given the world Flashpoint, Blackest Night, The Killing Joke, The Dark Knight, Crisis on Infinite Earths, The Judas Contract, Kingdom Come, the Sinestro Corps, and so many more.
The DCEU is better than the MCU and will prove it if they begin to tap into their own history. Let me rephrase that. The DCEU is better than the MCU if they tap into their own history AND quit cramming multiple stories into one movie.
They need to take a story and retell it in film without adding so many moving parts. Watching Batman V Superman was like watching the entirety of the MCU in just over two hours. It was too much to take in. Too many characters, too many stories, and too many things that didn’t benefit the overall story. The DCEU needs to take an adequate amount of time to flesh out their characters and the stories that they belong to.
Instead of trying to force feed the audience, they need to let one of their many great stories develop organically.
9. Lower expectations
When you’re underneath a giant pile of…I leave it up to you to fill in the blank…the only way to go, is up. That’s where the DCEU finds itself.
- The underdog
- Cyclops to Wolverine
- The rest of the NBA to the Golden State Warriors
And it’s a great place to be. The underdog status breeds opportunity. No one sees you coming. No one expects anything from you. The underdog status allows an individual, or a company, in this case, to quietly build themselves back up to prominence. Then, while no one is looking, strike a deadly blow. They’ve done it once with Wonder Woman and they will do it again. They are too good of a company, they’ve been around too long, and their stories are just too good.
I often tell my son to make your mistakes while nobody is looking because one day the world will be watching and you will appear flawless. DC finds itself in a unique place where the world isn’t paying as much attention to it. The DCEU is better than the MCU because they don’t have quite as large of a spotlight on them.
10. Couldn’t get any worse
Not too much to say here. At the end of the day, the DCEU is better than the MCU because it just couldn’t get any worse. Marvel can always fall from its pedestal whereas DC’s pedestal is at ground level.
Thoughts? What do you think? Is the DCEU better than the MCU? If so, why? If not, why? Tell me below.