DC vs Marvel: Why Marvel Has a Firm Upper-Hand
I recently had a conversation with one of my best friends about the Marvel and DC films that have come out and their expanded universe in television. One thing we both agreed on was the fact that Marvel has a firm upper-hand in their execution of their characters on film and television.
But, why? After all, DC’s two television shows, Arrow and Flash, have garnered big ratings. While it would be expected that Flash, one of the more prominent figures in the DC Universe, would be a success, Arrow has taken a much lesser-known hero and brought his story to the small screen with a rousing success. These shows, coupled with the success of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and Henry Cavill’s recent portrayal of the iconic Superman, should be a recipe for success for DC comics. However, the franchise has been harshly criticized by both the fans and critics alike.
The reasons for this are easy to see. While Marvel had fully integrated its top rated TV show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., into its big-screen universe seamlessly, DC has failed to do the same with Flash or Arrow. As a matter of fact, despite the success of the Flash television show, the big screen is getting a brand-new Flash. That’s right, despite the fact that Grant Gustin has played the role of the Flash for the better part of a year, Ezra Miller will be taking the Flash to the big screen. Fans were immediately critical of this decision by DC, stating that they would have loved to see Grant Gustin continue to play the character on television and on the big screen. Fans have also voiced their displeasure that more characters in the DC Universe aren’t featured on the television shows. As a matter of fact, DC is treating the television shows as a separate entity from their big screen ventures. This leaves fans in a tough spot. Arrow star Stephen Amell has voiced his opinion that he hopes that he can be featured along-side fellow Justice League members, whether it be on film or on his show.
Meanwhile, Marvel has done everything right since taking control of their characters. As most fans know, Marvel sold off the movie rights of Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. While it seemed like a good idea at the time, and even lead to some solid films, Marvel realized that by having a strong game-plan, they could take their characters to the big screen by themselves and make them bigger than ever. Starting with Iron Man, Marvel has made their characters, such as the popular heroes Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Nick Fury, household names. Marvel laid out their plan in three phases. In Phase One, Marvel re-introduced fans to their cast of characters through the stand-alone films of Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor and Captain America. We then witnessed these heroes team up in the Avengers film. This proved to be a successful formula as fans and critics deemed the Avengers one of the best films of the year. Marvel followed up with more solo movies of its major characters in Phase Two, but took a gamble by making the Guardians of the Galaxy film. The risk paid off, as the less than popular team from Marvel comics was a box-office smash, becoming the highest grossing film of the year. Marvel proved that fans would go to see any film with their name attached to it due to their past success. This will lead to an Ant-Man film, as well as Daredevil and Luke Cage series to be aired exclusively on Netflix.
So how can DC learn from their rival? First of all, they can incorporate their television series’ into their film’s universe, creating a continuity that fans could get behind. They can also create solo films with their characters that are rich with their characters’ personality. The Green Lantern solo movie was a flop in every sense of the word, due to a terrible script and a misrepresentation of the Hal Jordan character as a whole. By taking some characters such as Green Lantern, Cyborg and Martian Manhunter and introducing them through the Flash and Arrow series, this could drum up more excitement in them, making the transition to feature films something that fans would clamor to see. A Wonder Woman feature film, done correctly, would also help to expand the DC Universe. What we all want to see is DC put out some solid films. After all, all comic book fans want to see is everyone succeed.