Both filmmakers and executives have taken their respective opportunities to explain what makes DC Comics movies different from Marvel movies, and vice versa. Only now,. however has the new Batman, Ben Affleck, weighed in on the contrast, and he's said that the real dividing line is a certain sense of scale, realism, and tone.
For their most recent issue, Entertainment Weekly had the chance to speak with the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice star, and during the interview took the opportunity to have him weigh in on the Marvel vs. DC debate. Viewing things from the DC Comics perspective, Affleck offered,
It is more mythic, it is more grand in that way, and it is a little more realistic. Just by their nature, these films can’t be as funny or as quick or as glib as Marvel movies.
This statement partially echoes recent comments from Greg Silverman, president of creative development and worldwide production at Warner Bros., who justified the darker, more brooding DC movies by noting a greater intensity and seriousness inherent in the characters. Ben Affleck certainly seems to have captured this in his new version of Batman, as all of the footage we've seen of the character from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice thus far has made him appear solemn and aggressive. (a tone that really continues from Christopher Nolan's work with the superhero in the last decade).
All this on the table, one can hope that there will at least be some lightness, humor and, most importantly, fun present in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, letting audiences actually enjoy themselves while watching the giant blockbuster. At the same time, though, having DC Comics be a bit darker and more serious than Marvel films will probably wind up being a good thing for comic book movies going into the next few years. The only reason why the genre could end up collapsing is if all of the features from all of the different studios wind up feeling exactly the same, so having DC Comics and Warner Bros. deliver a different flavor than what we see from Marvel and Disney will ultimately be key in seeing these projects continue to thrive and succeed.
Obviously variety is also important internally for the studios as well, but that should be easy to deal with so long as new and different characters have their stories told in their own unique ways. For example, movies based on DC Comics going forward may mostly strike the same kind of tonal chord, but it's hard to imagine that Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Justice League will all be the same visually and narratively (and let's not forget that the studio is also developing Shazam, which has been described as having a tone unto itself).
Looking at the approach that DC has taken with their growing DC Cinematic Universe, do you think that Ben Affleck is right saying that the characters can't be as funny as Marvel? Or do you think that a course correction is needed in the near future? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.