In the past week or so, I’ve explained to three different people that when I say I love DC more than Marvel, I’m not referring to the DCEU. So I figured I might as well write a whole post explaining my reasons for liking DC above Marvel, what I actually mean by ‘DC’, and slipping in any other random thoughts that come to me. Hope you enjoy. (And I’m always up for a good Marvel vs DC conversation in the comments!)
First, a disclaimer.
I have not read any Marvel or DC comics. Every character or plot line I talk about in this post will be based on the various movies, TV shows, and novels I’ve watched/read that are based on the original comics.
DC vs DCEU
I actually find it kind of embarrassing that people thought I preferred the DCEU to the MCU. I’m sure there are some who do like the first more than the second (and I don’t mean to diss you if you do) but, in my opinion, the the MCU is vastly, objectively superior to its darker cousin.
Sure, the DCEU is just getting started (compared to the MCU) but it hasn’t really even started to lay the groundwork for the kind of enormous, magnificent universe that could compete with the MCU. Besides Wonder Woman (which is in my top five, possibly top three, favorite superhero movies), DCEU hasn’t found its footing yet.
So when I talk about DC and loving DC, I’m talking about a bunch of different things/mediums. I’m talking about Batman Begins (best superhero movie ever, IMO) and CW’s Arrow and The Flash. I’m talking about The LEGO Batman Movie and Wonder Woman and the tiny snatches I saw of Gotham (the TV show, you know). I’m talking about Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu and Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas. The DCEU holds little to no interest for me but I love patchwork quilt of DC works that do have my heart.
DC is darker – for the win.
This is completely subjective. A lot of people prefer humor to gritty, depressing tragedies and I totally get that. But for me personally, the darkness of DC is My Thing. The villains are a little more twisted, the superheroes battle fear and corruption and black hearts both in themselves and out in the world, and there are betrayals and heartbreaking backstories galore.
Okay, that all kind of sounds bad. But I just find DC to be a little more realistic and less ‘out there’ (in certain aspects) than some of the Marvel movies I’ve seen. DC feels completely grounded in the real world, whereas Marvel has always felt a little like sci-fi fantasy? It’s hard to explain! (The Winter Soldier and Captain Marvel are two exceptions to the fantastical vibe. And I totally get that superheroes are, in themselves, fantastical. But DC seems more real, to me.)
To illustrate my point: you know how so many die-hard Marvel fans actively dislike/hate Avengers: Age of Ultron? Well, I actually loved it. Really epic, awesome movie (except for that gag-worthy ‘romance’ between Natasha and Bruce) and after giving it some thought, I think I know why I enjoyed it when so many other Marvel fans didn’t. (And, yes, I still totally consider myself a Marvel fan.) It’s because AoU almost felt like a DC movie. The color palette, the creepy villain, Wanda and Quicksilver as villains-turned-heroes…it was so DC (to me anyway).
On the flip side though, I feel that I disliked Aquaman because it was trying so hard to be cool and funny the way Marvel movies often are…and it fell short. Really short. DC should stick with what they know. (Wonder Woman wasn’t so dark and grim, I admit, but it had its moments.)
Unlike many superhero fans I’ve met, I don’t watch/read superhero stuff to escape reality so much as to find ways to interpret reality. To be reminded of both the darkness and the light in this world and how people – even superheroes – can’t always be the best, most perfect versions of themselves. But they can still do heroic, noble, sacrificial things. (And YES Marvel does say similar stuff – like in Thor’s conversation with his mom in Endgame. But I prefer DC’s take.)
Although, yeah, there’s a little escapism too. 😉
Love the characters (Marvel), love the movies (DC).
Okay. I adore/admire/love to hate Marvel’s heroes/side characters/many of the villains. There isn’t a single Avenger that doesn’t have a super special place in my heart and I stan (no pun intended) so many minor characters in the MCU. Even some of the villains are very cool.
But here’s the thing: I don’t always like Marvel’s movies as much. I find more than a few of them boring, especially on rewatches (Captain Marvel for one *cries*) but I do rewatch them because I love, love, love the characters.
Like, in Captain Marvel I actually find a lot of it quite boring (sorry!) but because I think Carol is cool and her and Fury’s banter is funny and TALOS IS THE BEST FOREVER AND EVER, I’ll watch it a bunch of times. Same with the first Avengers movie or Civil War. The main plot might bore me, but I will forever love the characters so I tolerate the dull parts.
Then there’s DC. I find that, overall, the DC movies and TV shows that I’ve watched have been able to grip me every time (+ multiple rewatches). Super interesting and intense. (Exceptions would be Aquaman and a couple older Superman movies.) And, I mean, I totally love a lot of the characters as well but I feel that Marvel has way more truly amazing heroes and heroines – just not as many awesome plots.
However, I will say that DC has Marvel beat when it comes to great villains. Obviously, there are some DC villains that aren’t so good (and there are Marvel villains that are wickedly great) but I’d say that overall, DC is pretty on point with their bad guys. And since I’m rather obsessed with villains – well, it’s just another reason for me to appreciate DC.
Marvel is brilliant. Infinity War and Endgame blew me away like no other film experience ever has (and I’m not just saying that). I can’t express how much I love so many of Marvel’s beautiful characters and I’ll always be indebted to the MCU for introducing me to superheroes in the first place.
But DC – the broad, messy, unique-to-me version of DC – does something for me that Marvel doesn’t. It’s my kind of aesthetic. So many of their films, books, and TV shows hit all the right notes for me, for what I personally enjoy in stories. DC captures my attention and imagination even more so than Marvel does and, yeah, I’m just a huge fan.
Do you prefer Marvel or DC…or is it impossible to decide? (There are times when that’s almost the case for me, tbh.) Let me know in the comments!