Amidst the gawks and giggles of all the San Diego Comic Con shenanigans-- ranging from the Infinity Gauntlet to the Wonder Woman armor-- one crucial question went unanswered... Who is winning this cinematic war? Marvel and DC are putting their front lines in order, calling their reinforcements, and launching their first attacks in a long waged war; stretching since the First Avenger or even The Son of Krypton. But who, in this horrific bloodbath, is actually winning? Well I guess there is two schools of thought and I'm here to break those down.
DC is winning.
Many will passionately argue that DC comics are the kings of the industry. They came first and invented the modern graphic novel genre. They own the two most recognized superheros EVER i.e the father of superheros, the king and strongest of them all Superman; not to mention the most beloved hero of this generation and most relatable, Batman. Those two alone hold their own against anything Marvel can throw at them; the list goes on to others like Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and so many more. Bats and Supes have been bankable movie stars long before any Marvel members broke records.
The granddaddy of comic book movies, Superman, started the whole thing and The Dark Knight Trilogy revolutionized everything. In fact, Nolan's Batman films carry DC by themselves. No other comic book film series has been as critically acclaimed, universally liked, or breathtakingly made as Batman's latest cinematic adventures. It's an undeniable fact ('fact' being relative because sadly, it's just my opinion) that The Dark Knight is the greatest comic book ever made; might I add "easily" in there? It's one of highest rated movies of all time according to IMDB! Sure DC has had its weaknesses-- looking at you Green Lantern and Quest for Peace-- but the sheer magnitude of TDKT makes up for anything lacking in Man of Steel or Batman Forever. Simply put, Marvel has nothing on DC's quality filmmaking. They may have made fewer movies but most of the movies they have put their money into have been top quality as compared to Marvel.
Marvel is broken, it's a fractured machine split between 3 studios whereas DC is united under Warner Brothers which holds them strong and creates a solid universe that has no limit to it's expansion. Imagine if Batman and Superman couldn't ever exist in the same universe, what a cruel world that would be! Therefore, no matter how grand, even cosmic, the Marvel Cinematic Universe becomes, they will never be able to compare to what DC could be, given enough time. The Hulk will never fight Wolverine. The Civil War arc will never happen. Spiderman will not join The Avengers. But The Justice League, The Teen Titans, Darkseid, and all of Batman's rouges can and will be in endless films together. That in and of itself should count as a win. To have a united universe is far more important that being the first to make one.
As a part of that united universe, The Justice League (The freakin Justice League!) will be able to trump anything-- anything!-- that The Avengers could muster up. With their ALL STAR line up ready, DC will crush any B-Superheros that Marvel might have. Who ever cared about "The Mighty Thor" in the general public before the movies came out? No one. And Marvel can't put together their all stars because of their fractured universe. Maybe, just maybe, if Marvel had all their own film rights, there would be a competitive fight. But since-- as already pointed out-- Wolverine, Spiderman, Iron man, Mr. Fantastic, Daredevil, and Punisher won't ever be together, it's a losing battle from here on out. Actually, it's barely a skirmish.
Marvel is winning.
The comic book juggernaut is obviously beating a Feather Weight Champion such as DC. Marvel has released more films, more consistently, with more marketable characters and a bigger fan base. This is just an accepted fact at this point. Marvel doesn't have just one successful franchise like DC (looking at you Batman), it has X-men, Spiderman, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Iron man, The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, and now even The Guardians of the Galaxy. Little Batsy and The Blue Boy Scout can do nothing against the uncanny, astonishing, mighty, amazing, invincible, ultimate Marvel.
The money speaks for itself. Marvel rakes in the cash and, despite any Michael Bay catastrophes, it still is the king of the summer movie season. The Marvel films, even though they are owned by different companies, have mastered the comic book movie genre. The X-men Franchise made comic book movies serious, compelling, and filled with real world problems as well as Oscar-Nominated actors. Both Spiderman Franchises (Sam Raimi's being my personal favorite) have become landmark films in the genre as compared to failed DC properties such as Green Lantern. However, it cannot-- cannot-- be denied that The Avengers Franchise is the most lucrative, well-known, and beloved comic book franchise ever. Ever. Since the release of the first Iron Man movie, comics have gained mainstream acceptance as well as ridiculous amounts of revenue, fame, and have now become the headlining movie genre. Of course some of it's movies have struggled critically-- Thor Franchise, you'll hit your stride eventually-- but none have come up as anything but blockbuster smashes. Even with relatively unknown superheroes, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel has yet again exceeded expectations and piqued our interest. Can DC say the same? Where's our Shazam or Aquaman movie?
Come on Justice League, let's see if you can even step up to the plate against the Record-Breaking-Avengers; not to mention Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which was my personal favorite. DC doesn't have the fanbase, the charisma, or the universality that Marvel has and therefore cannot win against this movie empire.
My personal opinion? Huh. I thought I was supposed to be the unbiased observer... well I guess if I have to put money on it, here's my prediction. Marvel will win for a while. This entire generation of teens actually will remember the days where Marvel was top dog. But once DC gets started, which it already has, it won't stop. The punches will rain down on Marvel's little kingdom until The Hulk stops smashing and The Avengers stop assembling; in the end, The Justice League and all their universe will be supreme. Dawn of Justice will be the beginning of a beautiful war until DC's ever growing empire supersedes that of Marvel's.
But don't let me do all the talking. What do you think? Who's winning this war? Or should the companies shakes hands and finally let us see if Batman could kill Wolverine?