OPINION: Marvel’s strong-going decade has pushed the DC Universe out of the spotlight


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The worlds of Marvel and DC are often debated and fought over.

After ten years of strong film production and storytelling, Marvel has created a cinematic universe which rivals even Star Wars or Harry Potter in terms of fan base and gross. Even outside of the direct Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), as in “The Avengers” or “Guardians of the Galaxy,” their 20th Century Fox movies, such as “Logan, receive high ratings and acclaim.

Somewhere else in the world of comics lay the pitiful DC franchises which receive hate equal only to Marvel’s success.

As opposed to Marvel’s last decade, a majority of DC’s released films have been both negligible and forgettable. At times they were simply bad, apparent with the 2011 “Green Lantern” movie which prominently featured neon-CGI super suits and a literal space-cloud as the villain; it was so bad that Ryan Reynolds had to switch sides and become Deadpool instead of Hal Jordan.

While the DC Existing Universe (films released since “Man of Steel” in 2013) is not at that level of abject horror, the only movies which have not been a complete disappointment were “Wonder Woman” and the ultimate edition of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which was not shown in theatres. Otherwise, there has been nothing besides a string of overhyped movies with nothing to show for as evident with the low substance “Suicide Squad.”

With DC’s failures, however, it is hard to remember their successes. In 2009, they released Watchmen,  which succeeded in showing the reality of a superpowered world but because it wasn’t filled with big names, people often forget. More recognized are the films part of the Dark Knight trilogy; IMDb scores of 8.0 or more on three films, one of which being a nine and the highest rated of any Christopher Nolan film (among titles such as “Interstellar” or “Dunkirk”). And then, of course, “Wonder Woman” was a hit in 2017.

Along with that, DC has been releasing a steady stream of well-made animated content for years; something which, frankly, Marvel has not even been attempting to compete with. Cartoons such as “Batman: The Animated Series”, “Teen Titans” and “Young Justice” are just some examples that show this divide through their critical acclaim. In terms of films, there are 31 which are a part of DC’s Animated Universe (DCAU).

Up until 2000 and the release of “X-Men”, DC held almost a complete monopoly on live-action superhero films; while their franchise quality deteriorated over time, the original Superman and Batman films were extremely popular at release. As time went on, internal directing issues, reshooting and an overall inability to meet audience demands led to the state in which DC finds itself now; with a pile of movies that don’t really seem to amount to anything even resembling what the MCU has built.

Nobody with half a mind is going to argue that a movie like “Justice League” is better than “Avengers: Infinity War” or that the MCU produces horrible movies; the numbers definitively show otherwise. Still, it is unfair to say that DC, as a whole, is significantly worse than Marvel without taking these factors into account. Instead, both supporters and critics alike should first look at the company’s other strengths and its few films which did end up becoming blockbusters.

Furthermore, with new productions like “Shazam!” in the works and no reports of multi-million dollar mustache removals, hope for a brighter DC future seems unavoidable.