Why Marvel Movies Work Better Than DC’s, According To One Comic Writer

Age of Ultron and Justice League's posters

There are certain rivalries that feel like they'll last forever. There's the Yankees and the Red Sox, Coke or Pepsi, and Marvel vs DC. The two comics book competitors have been trying to outdo the other for years, and it's now translated to their respective shared universes. But while the DC Extended Universe attempted to play catch up with big ensemble projects like Suicide Squad and Justice League, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has remained the top dog in the genre. Comic book writer Mark Millar, who has worked with both studios, seems to have a reason why.

I think it's really simple the characters aren't cinematic and I say this as a massive DC fan who much prefers their characters to Marvel's. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are some of my favorites but I think these characters, with the exception of Batman, they aren't based around their secret identity they are based around their super power. Whereas the Marvel characters tend to be based around the personality of Matt Murdock or Peter Parker or the individual X-Men, it's all about the character.

It looks like the heart of the matter is that Marvel's characters are simply more human and relatable. This can help audiences feel connected to the studios' movies and TV shows. Meanwhile, the DC heroes are a bit more simple and primarily focused on saving the day. That is, except Batman.

Mark Millar's comments to Yahoo Movies points to Batman as the exception to this rule. The Dark Knight's superheroics is rooted in his deep personal pain, after seeing his parents gunned down as a child. Bruce Wayne constantly struggles with letting his alter ego take over, while also holding himself to a strict moral code. Batman's internal struggles are what makes him so fascinating and beloved.

When Stan Lee was creating the various characters from Marvel comics, he placed a focus on creating flawed figures. The X-Men, while superpowered, were ostracized from the world due to their mutant abilities. Conversely, the Justice League can operate in plain sight, with the entirety of the planet thankful for their contributions.

It's because of this disconnect that Mark Millar thinks DC's character simply aren't relatable enough. He went on to say,

DC, outside of Batman, is not about the character. With Batman, you can understand him and you can worry about him but someone like Green Lantern, he has this ring that allows him to create 3D physical manifestations and green plasma with the thoughts in his head but he's allergic to the color yellow! How do you make a movie with that? In 1952 that made perfect sense but now the audience have no idea what that's all about.

He makes a fair point. If its expected to thrive, the DC Extended Universe is going to have to find ways to make its heroes vulnerable and relatable. Finding quirks and flaws will allow its comic book movies to strike a personal chord for viewers, and hopefully help the shared universe get to place that DC Studios wants it to be.

Marvel's Black Panther is in theaters now, and the DCEU's next installment will be James Wan's Aquaman on December 21, 2018. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.