9 issues that affect both the DCEU and the MCU

As two behemoths of comic book content, it’s no surprise that the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe are regularly compared – and Marvel seems to be leading the way. Iron Man, and the resulting MCU launch, is often credited with elevating the genre of superheroes to the level it is today (although the original X Men film series also deserves some of this credit), his films are more regularly praised, and his universe often seems more cohesive and carefully planned.

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However, neither the MCU nor the DCEU are perfect, and when it comes to the bigger issues with these franchises, many of the big issues are the same for both comedic universes. There seem to be some difficulties neither of them really knew how to handle, and others that are true for more than the world of comic book movies.


Balancing accessibility and a wider universe

One of the biggest issues that comes up over time is the ability to keep individual movies engaging and accessible to new fans – who haven’t seen all of the previous movies and may not want to watch for hours. of films to catch up. Each of the films in these universes has a connection to each other and (especially in the MCU) is built into teams and big bad guys battles. However, new fans may find the story off-putting and don’t want to have to do “homework” to understand and enjoy a movie. Getting these films to stand alone and fit into a larger universe at the same time is no easy feat.

At the moment, it looks like Marvel is doing a reasonable job of keeping a lot of films accessible and connected, but the DCEU is doing a little better at fixing this, potentially because their universe is even smaller. However, creating a DC multiverse helps, and with Loki now introducing an MCU multiverse, it may become more manageable for Marvel as well.

Fatigue of superheroes

Captain America Chris Evans No Fatigue in Superhero Movies

While there is no doubt that superhero movies are still incredibly popular, and the box office numbers show no significant decline in their popularity (given the effect of the pandemic), it is still true. With the growth of the superhero genre, audiences want more than just a super-story.

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Simple origin stories leading to great fights are less popular than films with a more unique angle, and now that most of the leading comic book characters have had at least one movie, Marvel and DC need to dig deeper into their own. chests and use lesser-known characters to continue to expand their universe.

The bad guys problem

Ultron vs Thanos who would win in an Age of Ultron Avengers Endgame fight

Marvel and DC are both known to have a “villain problem,” with villains who aren’t as engaging, thoughtful, or complex as the heroes. Marvel has come under heavy criticism for two-dimensional villains who are easily killed, while DC has a similar issue with forgettable and ill-suited villains. Doomsday, in particular, was hated by fans and critics, while other films like Aquaman and Suicide Squad barely have any bad guys that audiences find it hard to care about.

Both Marvel and DC would benefit from fewer throwaway villains, who are killed on a first outing, and setting up more multi-movie arcs for their heroes and villains. The comics, of course, do it well, and the villains have stories and stories just as interesting as the heroes – something that should translate well on the big screen.

Lack of diversity in superhero tracks

Henry Cavill as Superman

It took Marvel almost a decade of consistent releases to finally produce a female superhero film (Captain Marvel), and while DC was much faster with the release of Wonder woman, both universes are primarily ruled by straight white male characters. Of course, part of this can be seen as an issue with the source material, as many of the biggest names in comics are white male heroes, but this is still an area that needs to be addressed in both universes. .

Fortunately, things change for both – after Captain marvel, Marvel has released the highly anticipated Black Widow film, as well as Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings. In the DC Universe, Harley Quinn and Wonder Woman are two major pillars of the franchise, although fans would love to see more POC superheroes take the lead with solo films (Beyond Aquaman, played by the native Hawaiian Jason Momoa).

Struggle against continuity

The Incredible Hulk Edward Norton

One issue that’s almost guaranteed with franchises of this size is that of continuity – especially as bigger baddies and crises threaten Earth. It’s getting harder and harder to keep every detail and timeline crisp, and to explain why superheroes weren’t joining the big fights of the previous films. Additionally, issues with actors leaving (like Ben Affleck leaving Batman, or the first Hulk, Edward Norton, leaving the franchise) can cause continuity and consistency issues for fans.

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Marvel and DC are starting to play around with the multiverse, which will go a long way towards this, as new stories may just take place on a different Earth. DC is also much less concerned with Marvel’s tight continuity, which fans are happy to accept. However, some of the cracks here are still starting to show up, with situations like the upcoming Eternals movie having to write down the reasons why these powerful characters disappeared during the battle with Thanos – reasons that seem a bit shaky.

Creative struggles between directors and executives

Zack Snyder Justice League Snyder cuts HBO Max numbers

With such huge franchises and so many directors and actors working towards one universe, it’s no surprise that there are communication and collaboration issues. Whether the trial between Scarlett Johansson and Disney on Black Widowthe line output of, the pressure for the Snyder Cup, or the dismissal and rehiring of James Gunn for guardians of the galaxy, there has been a lot of clashes behind the scenes of these worlds.

It doesn’t always have to create problems for audiences, of course – and in Gunn’s case, that led to his availability to create The suicide squad, which can only be considered a good thing – but it often is. Problems with creative differences can lead to jerky or confusing films, abandoned plot points, and disappointing adaptations. Of course, these are issues that aren’t limited to superhero movies, but the sheer size of these projects often exacerbates the effect.

A coherent vision

Shazam with Superman and Wonder Woman in the DCEU

DC and Marvel seem to have taken very different approaches in trying to maintain a cohesive vision across a massive connected universe. While Marvel maintains a strong grip on its creative vision and produces movies and TV series that have the same essential feel, DC has chosen to create a very different lineup of films. by Snyder Justice League movies are much sadder, darker, and grainy than the daring playfulness of The suicide squad and Shazam, for example.

However, both approaches also have their own pitfalls. By keeping such a clear and consistent style from movie to movie, Marvel is limiting its audience to those who appreciate the light and colorful style of action movies (that doesn’t hurt their box office numbers!). DC, meanwhile, has created a universe that is canonically connected, but that seems disjointed.

Bring together existing properties

Venom 2 beat MCU Tony hard against Mutants XMEN

Marvel certainly has a harder time with this than DC, thanks to the fact that it was only recently able to reclaim the rights to the X-Men, Spider-Man, and Fantastic Four in a number of ways. However, DC must also decide whether or not to incorporate the very popular characters from the Arrowverse or other DC films. Either way, the Multiverse comes to the rescue again, with these franchises choosing to explain various discrepancies with softer reboots, different universes, and more. Of course, Marvel hasn’t officially integrated any mutants yet, but with Loki leading into the Multiverse of Madness, it is assumed that this will be the way to do it.

COVID delays

Photo of a person administering a COVID-19 vaccine

Certainly not limited to superhero movies, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on movie releases and, therefore, box office numbers. The suicide squad, despite being the most aired DC movie on HBO, was a box office failure, failing to recoup the production budget. Black Widow, despite being a movie fans have been clamoring for for years, was released on Disney +, breaking the contract, leading to a lawsuit and disappointing box office numbers. While Shang-Chi suggests that this is slowly starting to rebound, it is clear that the delays and disruptions in the filming and release will have had a significant impact on both universes, and an impact whose true lasting impact may not be fully visible in the years to come. future.

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