In March of early next year, right around the same time of year Trump is securing his conservative nomination, another important race will be heating up, the race to see who the largest Superhero movie franchise. Whether or not you care about seeing Donald Trump achieve his dreams of glory is irrelevant, because on March 26th, the worlds eyes will be very much on the movie screens as Batman and Superman begin their dick-measuring competition, which will ultimately be won by Batman, of course, and around three fortnight’s later, Marvel’s own Superhero battle will begin in Captain America: Civil War pitting Tony Stark’s Iron Man against America’s Captain. This mini-battle is the most important because ultimately, it will show which Comic-Book Giant will gain the edge in the Cinema.
Superheroes are one of the most lucrative genres world-wide, and the dueling companies are looking to approach the genre is vastly different ways. Marvel began their revamp of past movies and created the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) in 2008 when the first Iron Man was released. This movie was a huge success and served as the springboard for the Marvel Master Plan to push forward. Their universe slowly but surely expanded with the release of The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Iron Man 2, and Captain America until the major players in their new Avenger’s team had been introduced and praised. A key reason for this praise was the style of their movies. They were accessible to everyone. Kids loved them, because superhero movies are dope, dads loved them because superhero movies are dope, and moms loved them because there wasn’t to much violence or confusing inner conflict for their kids. The mom’s reason has proven to be what looks like the crucial difference between the franchises—Marvel will fight and kill thousands of aliens, robots, clowns, anything, but in the end, everyone’s ideologies will line up, the superheroes will obviously win, and inner conflict will dissolve in a cloud of dust. DC Comics seems to be taking a better-rounded view of their superheroes.
Man of Steel, DC Comics’ own start to their franchise, was not anywhere near the success of its parallel—financially or critically. Much of this was due to the third act, in which Superman and General Zod destroyed the majority of Metropolis, seemingly without a second thought, before tears were pouring down Superman’s face as he killed Zod to end the violence. What the movie gained in the first two acts, filled with examples of ZACK SYNDER’s classic oversaturated scenes, it lost in its final, at least to moviegoers—the destruction was too much without any real thought to the consequences. Ultimately though, that third act, and the appearance of tears on Superman’s face as he had to kill the only other survivor from his home planet will be what sets the DC Comic universe apart. From early looks at the Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice trailers, the film will revolve around the differing ideologies of Batman and Superman. But the tears at the end of the first Superman film are what will bring the two together in the end. Batman saw Superman as a god, one who could destroy and entire city (aka Metropolis) without a second thought. Batman, as we all know, can’t fathom killing anyone, (a characteristic that actually didn’t appear until the early 90’s) and so the loss of thousands of lives seems unconscionable.
This difference, while small in theory, we know Superman didn’t want to kill people, it just happened because he knew that if action wasn’t taken against Zod, the entire population would be lost. Superman saw the forest over the trees, while Batman, usually stuck in the small city of Gotham, can’t ever get past the trees, losing one tree is just as bad as the forest.
While the violence in the MCU will undoubtedly be matched in the DCCU, the inner conflict and political consequences of that violence are what will set the DCCU apart and set it ahead. Superman immediately felt the repercussions of his actions in Man of Steel (as evidenced by the tears) and in the early parts of Batman vs. Superman (see: Superman in court taking responsibility for the lives lost in Metropolis). There is a whole different depth to the DCCU that Marvel’s more “kid-friendly” universe. Iron Man and Hulk demolished an entire city in Africa, and in the end no real consequences ever arose—sure Mark Ruffalo continued to think the Hulk was terrible—the violence was simply for entertainment’s sake. The lack of consequences has worn on people, and nearly every successive Marvel movie since the first Avengers has begun to gain more negative reviews on amount of unresolved violence.
Basically, the DCCU is going to be in a whole different ballpark than Marvel. People will realize that movies that could have been directed by Michael Bay aren’t anything more than the loosest definition of entertaining—they are showy, which is great, but lacking conflict and consequences simply takes too much away from the movie. The DCCU is addressing this head-on with their next movie, and continuing it through their franchise, following up Batman vs. Superman with Suicide Squad, a movie run by villains, something the majority of Marvel villains (comics-aside) simply don’t have the depth for.
DCCU is going to be grittier, darker, deeper, and just better than the MCU, you can bet on that, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the race I referenced in the beginning will end in DCCU victory. Sometimes people just rally behind ideals of being more flashy, that entertaining at face value is more worthwhile than the alternative—a more realistic and holistic view of Superheroes in society that travels far past entertainment. Which is why the same time Donnie Trump will be gaining his nomination, Marvel will have won, at least financially, the Box Office Battle.