Arts & Entertainment

DC fell behind MCU: How can it catch up?

Main DC superhero roster versus main MCU superhero roster (Photo: Graphic made using Canva by Max Mwaniki, The Puma Prensa)

by Max Mwaniki, web editor

Which is better, Marvel or DC? This battle has been going on since I was a little kid reading my first comics on the library floor. These two organizations have been creating comics and movies for fans since their creation back in the 1930s. However, in recent years, the true winner of the battle has undisputedly been Marvel. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, MCU, has taken over theaters and streaming with four movies in the top 10 highest grossing features of all time and the number one Walt Disney movie worldwide. Their movie run started in 2008 and has since gained them a ton of traction and an influx of superhero fans, yet DC has not seen the same love in the movie industry despite starting their run even earlier. The highest grossing movie of the DC Extended Universe, DCEU, was Aquaman in 2018 making $1.148 billion, which is still lower than the MCU’s eighth highest grossing movie, Captain America: Civil War, which made $1.153 billion. When it comes to the numbers, DC is barely scratching the surface compared to Marvel, leaving it not only in the shadow of Marvel but leaving the DC fans disappointed and wondering why their favorite superheroes are not getting the same attention as Marvel.

But things may be looking up for DC fans. On top of the new Batman, their soon-to-be-released five movie lineup could create a high potential for the DCEU to make a strong comeback, but there is something they are going to have to do right.

Consistency is what the DCEU lacks, especially in comparison to the MCU. Since before the first Iron Man film, the MCU planned out a story arc for their movies and stuck to it, which is one of the main factors you can credit for their success. Yet DCEU has not done the same thing, and this is despite having more plot avenues than Marvel because of their complex comic stories on which to base movies. A prime example of their undecidedness is the Justice League versus Zack Snyder’s Justice League, also known as The Zack Snyder Cut. Zack Snyder was a director for DC who has openly expressed his plans for DC to start a main plot line for the universe, similar to Marvel, but was unable to because of management problems. The first Justice League disappointed because it was very clearly a stand-alone movie with little to no allusions to other storylines or movies, and it just lacked anything significant within the movie itself, too. Then Snyder’s version was released, and it was phenomenal in comparison. Even in the trailer, you could see the inclusion of hints and easter eggs to things DC fans could spot and look forward to, building excitement for the movie. Along with that, the actual movie had a substantial plot line that left room for more than one sequel and paths that DC could take for single-hero movies that would tie into a main plotline. Snyder showed easter eggs for characters’ origin stories like the Flash’s Flashpoint story and included vital characters to DC like Darkseid that were never mentioned before. The key message Snyder’s movie sent is that the DCEU absolutely can make a main plotline work, but because of internal issues and disagreements, they are being held back. And it’s ruining them. 

The same series of events transpired with Suicide Squad and The Suicide Squad. They made a bad movie, got backlash and released another version that is better in every way possible. The driving point is that the potential is there and they are so close to living up to it. If the folks behind the DCEU can put their heads together, come up with a plan and put it all into the franchise, then I think they can make a successful comeback. 

Now the beaming light of hope is back with the recently released The Batman, the announcement of the Black Adam movie, The Flash movie and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. What’s even better is that they could potentially all be linked in a single plotline, but for now that is just speculation. After Justice League, almost none of DC’s movies were generating any excitement at all unless it was a rerelease like the retakes on Justice League and The Suicide Squad. Now I am seeing people talk about these new movies coming up, which is leading to an upward trend for DC, for now. Nonetheless, I am very excited to see where things go, and as a fan, I am genuinely hoping they do things right.

The last thing we want to see is a superhero fail on the big screen

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