The DC and Marvel rivalry has got cinemagoers and even movie professionals behaving like idiots. Save the fighting for the bigscreen
There’s something in the air in the world of superhero movies right now. After several years of beating up bad guys, we're getting two comic book blockbusters in quick succession based around the idea of superheroes punching seven shades of hell out of one another instead.
First up was DC's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Not only does this epic caper let fans watch the Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel going at it hammer and tongs, it lays the groundwork for the brand’s shared cinematic universe, introducing us to the likes of Wonder Woman and Aquaman.
Just as the dust starts to settle from that brawl, the tail-end of April brings us Marvel's Captain America: Civil War (pictured), in which government efforts to legislate superheroes lead to clashing ideologies best expressed by Cap repeatedly smashing his shield into Tony Stark’s smug face.
As you’d expect, Batman v Superman... is a dark and angst-ridden affair, full of barely contained vitriol from characters cinema audiences are more used to seeing as friends than enemies. The trailer for Captain America... suggests something similar. And, weirdly, the same sort of thing can also be said about the majority of the people discussing these films online. As I've discovered, it's impossible to read the comments on any 'net story about either flick without finding yourself amidst people arguing the merits of DC over Marvel and vice versa.
If it were only adolescent fanboys making all the noise, it might be easier to look beyond it. But the craziness has also started to infect the people involved with the DC and Marvel features themselves. Aquaman actor Jason Momoa arguably fired the first (cheap) shot last March when he signed a poster of himself in costume with the legend 'F*** Marvel'. That's really mature.
More recently, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice director Zack Snyder got in his own dig at Marvel while replying to a comment made by Steven Spielberg that the superhero genre will one day go the same way as the Western. Snyder thought that it wasn’t really a problem for Batman and Superman; they 'are transcendent of superhero movies in a way'. Not content to leave it at that, he put the boot into Marvel's rosters of screen stars. 'They're not just, like, flavour-of-the-week Ant-Man. Not to be mean, but whatever it is. What is next? Blank-Man?'
Before long, Marvel was firing back. The Winter Soldier himself, Sebastian Stan, went after Snyder with both barrels, reminding him that he's only filling the shoes vacated by the director of the Dark Knight trilogy: ‘I would say we’re still making something very original in our own way… not trying to mimic a better Christopher Nolan movie or something like that.’ Then actress Jaimie Alexander (of Thor and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ) made it clear the reason she preferred working for Marvel to DC is that 'they start with a character first. All the explosions, the glitz and glam, are secondary to who the actual character is deep down. That’s something I haven’t really been able to find with DC Comics. I know that’s a bold statement, but it’s been my experience.'
Am I alone in thinking this is all completely crazy? Why do we have to side with one studio over the other? As far as my home cinema is concerned, the more action-packed blockbusters, the better. So come on guys, let's try giving peace a chance and leaving the fighting on the bigscreen.
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