Out of all the rivalries at the box office, it’s the one that exists between Marvel and DC that seems to spur the most debate, discussion and arguing between fans. It’s always been that way and always will be, with supporters of the former feeling that all of their output is pure gold while those who back the latter happy that there’s an alternative to the MCU, which has become a bit cookie cutter in recent years (though that does look to be changing, thankfully).
At the end of the day, though, what simply cannot be argued is that Marvel Studios usually does better financially, with almost every single one of their releases meeting and in most cases, exceeding expectations. That’s a trend which looks set to continue, too, and now, comic book scribe Mark Millar has weighed in on the debate, offering up his thoughts on why he thinks the House of Ideas triumphs over DC.
While you may not agree with what he says, Millar is a respected voice in the industry, known for his work on titles like The Authority, The Ultimates, Marvel Knights Spider-Man, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Civil War, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Wanted, Chrononauts, Superior and Kick-Ass. In other words, when he speaks up, people tend to listen, and rightfully so.
In a recent interview with Yahoo!, the writer explained that at the end of the day, it just comes down to the characters and whereas Marvel’s heroes are based around their personality, DC’s are more based on their powers.
“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,” Millar said. “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.”
Continuing on, he gave a few examples to illustrate his point better.
“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,” Millar said. “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.”
Finally, he noted that though people may not agree with him, the evidence is there and that’s something which can’t be argued with.
“People will slam me for this but I think the evidence is there,” Millar said. “We’ve seen great directors, great writers and great actors, tonnes of money thrown at them, but these films aren’t working. I think they are all too far away from when they were created. Something feels a little old about them, kids look at these characters and they don’t feel that cool. Even Superman, I love Superman, but he belongs to an America that doesn’t exist anymore. He represents 20th Century America and I think he peaked then.”
Millar makes some good points here, to be sure, but the problems with DC’s recent output – Wonder Woman excluded – run a lot deeper than just what he mentions. And though films like Justice League, Suicide Squad and Batman V Superman have all failed to impress, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to make compelling movies featuring DC’s catalogue of heroes. There’s a reason they have so many iconic characters, after all.
And besides, as the old saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats, so the fact that superhero movies continue to rule over Hollywood’s calendar ought to be celebrated – regardless of whether you align with Marvel or DC.