Leave a Comment
Who has the better villains, Marvel or DC? This is just one permutation of a never-ending fandom debate like Star Wars versus Star Trek and Lord of the Rings versus Harry Potter. And as old as the properties themselves are, the rivalries show no signs of slowing. In superhero movies, both Marvel and DC have iconic villains to their credit. With the recent release of Ant-Man and the Wasp, more new villains were brought to Marvel's Cinematic Universe. But for one of the film's actors, it is actually DC that has the better villains. David Dastmalchian, who plays Kurt in the film, recently spoke about his take on Marvel versus DC, saying:
In the Marvel Universe, I found my favorite heroes. In the DC universe I found my favorite villains.
David Dastmalchian is splitting the difference here speaking to CNET, but I tend to think that he is not alone in this opinion. He has a unique perspective on this debate too, having played parts under both the Marvel and DC banners. In Ant-Man and the Wasp he plays the hilarious X-Con worker Kurt, opposite T.I. and Michael Peña on the hero side. Though his first comic book movie role and first feature film credit was in The Dark Knight as one of the Joker's henchmen who was interrogated by Harvey Dent. He's been on the hero side for Marvel and the villain side for DC, but I think he speaks to the prevailing wisdom about the two companies.
With long histories in the comics, each company has memorable characters to utilize, but Marvel has had more success with its heroes, while DC is focusing more on its villains. One of the biggest critiques of the MCU is that they often fall short in the villain department, with the antagonists being fairly boring and one-note. Kevin Feige has even acknowledged that Marvel generally focuses on the heroes, which is why fans like David Dastmalchian connect with those characters so much. Ant-Man and the Wasp actually doesn't even have a traditional villain (although that's not necessarily a bad thing). There are exceptions though; villains like Loki, Killmonger and Thanos have shown that Marvel can deliver complex and memorable bad guys.
As far as DC goes, there are few villains in pop culture historically with as much name recognition as Lex Luthor and the Joker. Warner Bros. seems to know the strength of DC villains too as multiple villain-centric titles have been announced, including the Joker origin movie. Much of the criticism lobbed at DCEU films has been related to how the heroes are portrayed, with some taking issue with Superman and Batman's more lethal methods. So part of liking Marvel's heroes and DC's villains more could stem from what each company is currently excelling at, but there is great villainy to be found on both sides.