What was once debated in the playground is now being debated outside cinemas, in offices and practically anywhere human life is.
For a long time, I would’ve suggested Marvel was better – their cinematic universe had the potential to be expansive, innovative, and pioneering within the industry – but the key word there is ‘potential’.
Each and every character in the Avengers has the potential to be amazing. Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Bucky are all great characters, but all not utilised enough.
At the end of Phase One, Marvel were facing a crisis of what to do. Their plan to make roughly 30 films hit a brick wall when they realised that roughly all 30 films had exactly the same plot. I don’t even need to explain it because you know exactly what it is. The result was a tonal crisis.
Guardians of the Galaxy was hilarious; they absolutely nailed it as a ‘separate’ franchise from the Avengers. It was funny, witty and gripping, and provided a lovely balance to the regular super hero film. Then Captain America: The Winter Soldier was surprisingly tragic, which was odd, but it somehow worked. After that Thor: Ragnarok was apparently also hilarious? Which didn’t make sense. Thor had somehow gone from humourless oaf to sarcastic genius in the space of precisely zero films.
Any depth that characters had was destroyed at the expense of cheap gimmicks; Loki seemingly now just aimlessly betrays people to no aim, despite him being one of the most intelligent characters in the universe, and Hulk is now apparently ‘always angry’ and out of control, yet perfectly capable of cracking jokes? Marvel sold out.
DC, on the other hand, have stuck successfully to their roots and elaborated on them. They can boast the most extensive, elaborate, and explorative super hero movie to date in the form of ‘Watchmen’. A film which explores emotional struggle, actual morally grey problems and an amazing Bob Dylan based soundtrack.
They can also boast the Joker – arguably one of the greatest villains to date, and certainly better than Loki, the best Marvel has to offer. Ra’s al Ghul, Bane and Mr Freeze all have actual motives, some of which are incredibly sympathetic (looking at you Mr. Freeze) – Ultron just wants to destroy things? Cool. Apocalypse literally wants the end of days – creative.
Marvel had the potential to redeem themselves with the X-Men, but they chose not to elaborate on that as much as the Avengers, and one franchise certainly isn’t enough to tackle DC’s consistency.