Is the Marvel Method Right?
This year we saw the release of two movies, both of which had a budget around 250 Million Dollars. They both had very similar themes. Both involved a pair of well known, easily recognized heroes, one a billionaire with no actual powers but a suit filled with high tech gadgets and the other a paragon and symbol of America. For reasons explained in the film, these men decided to fight each other. There were a number of other heroes shown in these movies as well, and the anticipation of another fan favorite hero that’s never been seen on the big screen with these other heroes was what people anticipated more than the fight between the main characters. One of these movies made 871 Million Dollars, which doesn’t sound like a bad thing, until you realize the other one made 1.132 Billion Dollars. 871 Million doesn’t sound like much anymore, does it?
These movies were, of course, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War. With the recent Blu-Ray release of BvS and the upcoming Blu-Ray release of Civil War, we look back on these two block busters.
What happened that made Batman v Superman a failure compared to Civil War? Some could blame any number of things, from directors to producers to writers, but the universal consensus seems to be that it was rushed. Civil War had 3 to 5 movies to set up the animosity between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. From the moment these two were on screen together, there was tension, mostly based on their personal approach to heroics. All this came to a head when the Government decided that Winter Soldier, aka Bucky Barnes and Cap’s best friend, needed to be captured. Other events occurred during this movie, but the main narrative revolved around Cap and Iron Man.
Batman v Superman, on the other hand, seemed more about the big payoff of having their two biggest stars fight than actually coming up with a logical reason for them to do so. Perhaps the motivations were lost to the cutting room floor, and we’ll see them in the extended edition, but I’ve only seen the theatrical version. Instead of establishing Batman, they simply tell audiences “He’s been around already. Don’t think about it.” The logic behind the fight was also along the lines of “He’s an Alien and I don’t like that.” Or “He’s this dark vigilante that breaks the law and I don’t like that.” Completely dismissing any logical reason for them to fight. It all turns out to be the manipulations of Lex Luthor, all along, and neither of these heroes could see through it.
At this point, you could assume I’m a major Marvel Fanboy, which I am, but that’s not to say Marvel’s method is without flaws. The biggest criticism that most people have is that movies feel like they’re little more than previews for the next big Marvel project. The movies tend to throw so many references and Easter Eggs in that people spend more time seeing these, laughing at these, or discussing the next movie that they don’t even have time to properly enjoy the movie in front of them. This insistence on building on the universe as a whole at the expense of the movie you’re currently watching is not the best approach either.
But, really, between the two, I’m going to have to say Marvel movies are still superior to DC movies.
Unless we’re talking Animated movies, then DC massacres Marvel.