BySam Keller, writer at
My interests mostly relate to superheros in film and TV, but may write on related and different topics. I hope you enjoy what I write!
Sam Keller

Everyone talks about if DC or Marvel movies are better based on tone. Yes, Marvel obviously has a light-hearted tone, whereas Snyder is going for a darker tone with Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. People base those tones as the defining reason for which is better.

For me, I see a common problem with the two. Marvel tries so hard to be funny and DC tries so hard to be serious that both forget substance. Too much emphasis is being put on the tone, when the focus should be put on making an engaging, coherent, and well-developed story. From Man of Steel and the trailers that came out from SDCC, the DC movies are trying show how much how gritty and realistic their world is , but it forgets to show personality with their characters, and uses exposition to build up how high the stakes are instead of letting the characters show it. Marvel, especially the Avengers movies, want to water its story down because the public is enjoying the humor. For me, they can clearly show stakes and the humor and delve in the characters/plot more deeply without deviating from the tone.

I can't say too much about the DC Extended Universe (I prefer the name DC Cinematic Universe in all honesty) movies because Man of Steel is the only released film, and the only other material I can go by are the trailers for Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad. Man of Steel suffered from trying to building Superman up as a god. We get it, he's an alien with superpowers. We do not need to spend two hours hearing from the Kents on how the world is going to react to Superman. That's exposition, and no one has conversations like that. The Nostalgia Critic did most of my job pointing this out, but it should still be pointed out in this article. Let Henry Cavill show Clark Kent's personality. The over-analysis doesn't make the movie look smart, but pretentious. Being a Batman fan growing, and enjoying Bruce Timm's Justice League Unlimited, I want the movies to do well, but very skeptical at the moment.

With Marvel, I far from hate the movies. I am amazed on how in seven year, Marvel made a gigantic and ever-expanding universe of superhero movies, television shows, short movies, and comic books, all tying into one another. The MCU films has some strong works like Iron Man, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the brand new Ant-Man. Yes, they are lighthearted (with the potential exception of Winter Soldier's serious storyline of the falling of S.H.I.E.L.D) but still have engaging stories, with lovable and memorable characters. Then there is something like Iron Man 3, my personal worst in the MCU. It saw how people loved Robert Downey Jr.'s schtick in Avengers, and really milked it. The trailers promised pushing Tony Stark to his limits, but instead we get a lot, and I mean a lot of forced jokes that distract from the already boring central plot, and the movie was weak as a result.

The MCU's best told story thus far is Marvel's Daredevil, a beautifully shot, written, and acted TV show where Charlie Cox and Vincent D'Onofrio did amazing jobs as Matt Murdock/Daredevil and Wilson Fisk/Kingpin. Yes, it contrasts starkly from the movies and the ABC MCU shows in it's much darker and somber tone, but what make this my favorite is how the plot unfolded itself naturally. The somberness is balanced out with Elden Henson's Foggy Nelson, the comic relief of the serious show. However, the humor is at appropriate times and it comes out naturally as a result. As a result, the show is complex, not having too much of one mood, but the comedy and drama in harmony with each other.

My argument is that story should come first, and tone is simply how you present the story through writing, directing, and editing. The two franchises are doing the opposite, wanting to go for a specific tone, and working their way around that, which results in a lot aspects of the movies that come out forced. By focusing on tone, the movies lack naturally chemistry and engagement with the audience, and the superhero movies feel less heroic.

What do you think? Are the movies balanced? What do you think will happen with the emerging DC Cinematic Universe? Are you happy with Marvel's current status quo? Please comment, I am really interested in hearing your opinions!


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