When it comes to comics I am much more a DC guy. Sure, I like Wolverine, Iron Man, Hulk, Deadpool and the like but I’ve always favored the DC heroes and villains. Batman, The Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Green Lantern, even Captain Atom. It’s all a matter of personal preference. So why do I like Marvel movies better?
The simple answer is that Marvel seems to know better what they’re doing. And that kinda makes me sad. They started out with Blade and X-Men, both fun and well produced movies. This helped the launch of the comic book movie. Suddenly Hollywood saw these films as viable options again, more than ever.
Let’s talk about DC first. Since the 1970’s they have been making some good and bad choices. Superman I and II were great movies. Instead of following those movies with other big comic book characters they chose Swamp Thing. In 1989 they unleashed Tim Burton’s vision of Batman and audiences went crazy for it. By 1997 all if that fell apart thanks to Batman & Robin.
After the horrible Batman & Robin Warner Bros. was scared to be in the comic business, and rightfully so. Since they own DC that meant that we wouldn’t see another DC movie for a while. When they got back in the game they decided to go with lesser known properties outside of comic book circles – Constantine, V For Vendetta, and so on. When Christopher Nolan came along and revived Batman with his films DC was ready to try again. They stole Bryan Singer away from X-Men and tasked him with making a new Superman film. But he was more in love with the Richard Donner films than Superman himself and decided to pretend Superman III & IV didn’t exist and made a direct sequel to part II. Whether you like it or not audiences just didn’t go for it. That was DC’s first misstep of the new millennium.
DC went back to making lesser known characters into movies again. The Losers came out and underperformed. During this time they toyed with the idea of Jack Black starring in a comedy adventure version of Green Lantern to be written by Robert Smigel. Thank God that didn’t happen. They were also talking about a Justice League movie and Batman Vs. Superman. Nothing materialized. It seems like Warner and DC just didn’t know what to do to pull it together. But there was still hope on the horizon.
Green Lantern entered production and the hype was good. Fanboys were excited. The early pictures of Hector Hammond and Abin Sur made fans think things were turning around for the DC camp. Then the trailer hit and the bad buzz began. Now, I could write an entire blog on what was wrong with Green Lantern but now is not the time nor the place.
It seems that anything comic book related that is worked on by Christopher Nolan at Warner/DC is doomed. So will the new Superman movie work? It remains to be seen. I hope they get it right, just like I hope they get The Flash right. He’s one of my all time favorite characters and I really don’t want to see a movie tarnished that.
Now onto Marvel. How did they get it right? When New Line produced Blade they did so on a small budget and it worked. When Fox decided to make X-Men they made a big Superhero movie for $70 million and the budgets got bigger on both franchises after that. But they kept them relatively small for that type of movie at the start. They still do. Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America were all much smaller budgets than one would expect of a big tentpole summer movie. It wasn’t until The Avengers that we saw a budget of over $220 million. But Marvel could afford to gamble as they’d proven each character could open a movie separately. That’s much smarter than making Green Lantern for $250ish and having it look like it was made in someone’s garage. That’s why Marvel succeeds when DC fails. They understand the necessity of being frugal in the beginning and increasing the budget after.
I hope DC figures it out and makes some great movies with talented people that I won’t be ashamed to watch…not that I’m ashamed of my love for the genre.