It’s the age-old debate: who is better DC or Marvel? Fans can (and will) argue all day about which comic powerhouse is better. DC fans will argue that Batman and Superman are the most popular superheroes, while Marvel fans will argue that Iron Man is better. Most of this entire argument is based on opinion, but there is one easy way to decide who is better. And that is by looking at the numbers.
In the U.S. alone, Marvel movies have brought in over $8 billion ($8,089,113,953 to be exact). DC movies have brought in a bit under $4 billion ($3,636,765,881 to be exact). That is still a disgusting amount of money. But internationally, Marvel reigns supreme with $19.8 billion vs. DC’s $7.1 billion. Marvel certainly has had more of a head start in this race to break the box office, so it’s not surprising that it has the high numbers to back up this argument. Yet, DC had great success with Christian Bale‘s Dark Knight trilogy, so DC isn’t entirely new and unarmed in this race.
Just to compare in 2016 alone, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice opened to a great weekend in the box office ($166 million), but it got lackluster reviews from critics and fans. Captain America: Civil War hasn’t even opened in the U.S. (May 6, 2016) and it opened to $200.4 million internationally already. Critics of BvS have called it “the most incoherent blockbuster in years”, whereas fans were split. They liked Ben Affleck, but they were upset that the fight between Batman and Superman lasted for one scene and ultimately had no real build up to that moment. Plus, most will say that the whole “Martha” scene was moronic. It’s been said that Zack Synder made the film he wanted to with BvS and that his 3+ hour director’s cut is the film he really wanted to release but was forced to cut it down. Whereas critics of Captain America: Civil War are saying, “is essentially a third Avengers movie – it’s also the best one yet”. As critics are human, their reviews are obviously tainted by bias, so if a Marvel fan saw a DC movie, they may not want to admit it was good and vice versa, but those numbers don’t lie.
While Marvel has put out some lackluster films in their Marvel Cinematic Universe (The Incredible Hulk), each film fits into a puzzle. We couldn’t have had Avengers without Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Thor. DC attempted to do the opposite here, basically saying their strongest on-screen Batman (Bale) is not the version of Batman that will appear in BvS and The Justice League – Part One. They attempted to mount this mega-verse to compete with Marvel, but they only had Man of Steel before we got BvS, and it was already 3 years old by then. Whereas Marvel released a film almost every year leading up to Avengers. You got a new puzzle piece each year, preparing for the big show. DC has a very long list of movies coming out that they had hoped would be a line of successes after BvS, but after that hot mess express, we’re nervous to see what their standalone Flash, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg films may bring. The only film on their slate that truly looks promising, given what we’ve seen so far, is Suicide Squad. Marvel has several very promising films that will be released in the next two years, including Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and much more.
DC, take it from Marvel, you need to lay the foundation before you can tell the epic tale. Avengers did so well in the box office, and with fans, because it was culmination of many stories. We didn’t have all these questions on who was who, because Black Widow was in Iron Man 2 and Hawkeye was in Thor. You need to tell fans and critics what version of these comic book heros we’re watching before you release the epic fight movie. Nick Fury himself agrees here, saying, “I think Marvel has figured out a way to make those movies accessible to the public that DC hasn’t.” Mic drop.