This or that: Marvel versus DC

Unpacking the DC versus Marvel universe debate

DC offers character complexity, while Marvel offers character and plot crossovers.

Justice (League) for DC

The DC Extended Universe has been a source of joy and fangirling material since I was old enough to sneak down after bedtime to watch TV with my dad. I spent countless nights marveling at the names and abilities of the characters, learning their motives, and being captivated by their backstories.

Marvel versus DC? The question is always asked, and often answered incorrectly.

“Marvel has better live action movies,” is often a defence, but when you’re asked to think of a superhero, would you say anyone other than Superman?

Superman is one of the most powerful superheroes in the DC extended universe. Although some call his character flat, what makes him so interesting is his unyielding moral compass. He chooses every day to defend the planet when he could easily destroy it.

DC has better characters. The villains in DC are as complex and scintillating as their enemies. Just hearing the phrases, “why so serious?” or “we live in a society,” is enough to summon images of a maniacal grin and bone-chilling laughter.

The characters are often riddled by the impossible task of defining what separates them from the villains. Batman clings to his no-kill rule and is troubled with the guilt of keeping a family, yet understands they’re the only reason he holds on to his humanity.

The Flash runs so fast he can change the past, but every time he does so, he runs away from his family and all he knows to be true.

DC is also filled with strong female characters. Wonder Woman is a hard hitter of Justice League and a warrior in her own right, landing herself a spot in the Big Three. She’s present alongside The Birds of Prey, Harley Quinn, Raven, Starfire, Miss Martian, and countless other women who have well-developed, captivating, and empowering backstories.

Some Marvel fans argue the superiority of their characters over DC’s legends, proudly noting their favourite red and blue hero as Spider-Man. Here's a humbling fact: Spider-Man is a DC character that was sold to Marvel.

If you ask me, the E in DCEU stands for epic.

Alexis Ejeckam, BIPOC Advisory Board Member

Marveling over the MCU

Marvel is the leading platform for our superhero and fantasy fixes. Its plethora of superheroes and corresponding villains are complex and colourful, and help you get lost in their world and struggles.

The Marvel universe provides fans with many lovable, relatable, and powerful characters whose storylines are compelling and whose plights we’re empathetic towards.

Marvel retains a competitive edge over DC primarily due to its larger volume of characters. This allows them to do more world building, storylines, and timelines. These aspects all provide the bonus of crossovers and appearances of other characters from separate storylines.

These crossover events cultivate curiosity and excitement from audiences across the entire Marvel universe. Fans are frenzied and enthused by the idea of two or more of their favourite characters joining forces to fight a bad guy or even being in the same room.

Examples of these large-scale crossovers include the films featured in the Avengers trilogy, Captain America: Civil War, and the potential for crossovers between other universes, like the X-Men and the Avengers.

DC doesn’t hold this same character and plot depth due to the lack of content buildup to develop their characters.

Furthermore, the trends and themes of Marvel are more uplifting, whereas DC movies exhibit darker themes. Uplifting and even humorous tones in the Marvel universe—like the banter between Bucky and Sam or Tony Stark’s sarcasm—appeal to a broader audience age range.

The darker tone set by DC limits them to a more specified audience of older young adults and lacks the comedic relief and lightheartedness viewers enjoy. The characters in the Marvel universe have a more opportunistic outlook on their struggles; DC is much more pessimistic.

Overall, Marvel has a greater spread of character and plot diversity that appeals to a greater audience. Remember that the next time you head to the theatre.

Claire Schaffeler, Social Media Coordinator

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