Ben Affleck Gets into the Marvel vs. DC Debate

     July 6, 2015


I like that Marvel and DC aren’t approaching superhero movies the same way. I think superheroes, like any other subject, are open to a variety of interpretations and one isn’t inherently superior to the other. What makes one better than the other at this point in the current blockbuster landscape is that Marvel has a plan and Warner Bros./DC is rushing to catch up but still doesn’t have a clear vision beyond being “not Marvel”.”

But the non-Marvel approach agrees with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice star Ben Affleck, who recently gave his thoughts to the print edition of EW [via ComicBook] on how DC and Marvel differ:

“It is more mythic, it is more grand in that way, and it is a little more realistic,” said Affleck. “Just by their nature, these films can’t be as funny or as quick or as glib as Marvel movies.”


Image via Warner Bros.

I agree that DC movies are “mythic”, but only in the sense of involving gods, not in building a mythology. DC doesn’t have the market cornered on building distinct universes with extended, interconnected narratives. Also, Affleck’s trying to have his cake and eat it too: the films are more mythic and grand, but also more realistic, which tends to be the opposite of grandiosity.

That’s the line Man of Steel tried to walk, and I found it baffling: why are you trying to ground a story about a man who can fly? The story of fallible gods is interesting, but it can also leech away joy or even serve as an apology for stories about men in capes.  I’m also a bit annoyed by his presumption that because something is “realistic” it can’t be funny, or that Marvel movies are somehow glib because people have the audacity to crack a joke.

I would say the “nature” of the DC movies is they can’t be like Marvel because they’ll be accused of plagiarism. They have to stand in direct contradiction and say “Our way is better,” even though no one should walk into Man of Steel with the expectation of seeing how it compares to The Avengers. I don’t think Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice should need to be like Marvel movies, but it doesn’t need to take potshots at them either, especially when one studio has been making hits for seven years now and the other is already rushing to get all of its superheroes on screen ASAP.


Image via Warner Bros.

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