Two of the biggest box office cash-cows this year pitted beloved heroes against each other. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice jump-started the DCEU's ignition and the MCU finally delivered its long-awaited Captain America: Civil War.
Civil War set the bar high for the year, easily surpassing the $1 billion mark, while Batman v. Superman reeled in a still-impressive $872 million. The Captain America threequel received a much more positive critical reception, while DC's choppy Justice League setup pitted fans, critics, and the cast and crew at odds.
Dedicated fans of the long-running MCU know exactly where it's headed, as each new film is a stepping stone towards the eventual finale to this unprecedented cinematic Avengers lineup, Infinity War: Part 2. The highly anticipated event-film is set to hit theaters in May of 2019.
Interestingly enough, as Warner Bros. further develops its plans for the competing DCEU, we are also expecting the second part of the Justice League film, perhaps the light at the foreseeable end of the Dawn of Justice tunnel, to be released the same year. Is DC trying to play catch-up? Are they trying to beat Marvel to the end?
It certainly seems that way. The Batman v. Superman film we had been hearing about for years had two primary goals - to serve as a sequel to 2013's Man of Steel and to introduce the newest iteration of Batman.
While Ben Affleck certainly exceeded the average expectations of his portrayal as Bruce Wayne's Caped Crusader, neither he nor Henry Cavill's Superman were the most talked-about hero in the film. Rather, Gal Gadot shined across the screen as Diana Prince, (a.k.a. Wonder Woman) aiding the rivaled vigilantes through the formation of a new team and the fight against Lex Luthor and his hellish Doomsday creation.
Wonder Woman wasn't the only non-titular hero to be introduced in this film. Director Zack Snyder offered us small teases for the upcoming iterations of Aquaman, Cyborg, and the Flash. Surely, these characters deserve introductions, but why now? Why must they all be jammed into this film?
Because DC does not have the time to introduce each character via a solo film the way that Marvel did. Iron Man got the MCU off its feet back in 2008, and has since been followed by two sequels, three Captain America's, two Thor's, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, and two Avengers films. (And that's just counting what's already been released!)
The first film of the DCEU, Man of Steel, did not come along until 2013, when the MCU's long-term goals had already been established. The franchise had its Superman, but was forced to introduce a new Batman, as Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy had reached its end the year before and Christian Bale expressed no interest (at the time) in reprising the role.
So, along came Batman v. Superman, the film tasked with introducing as many major players for the upcoming Justice League as possible. Despite Affleck's involvement, the upcoming Suicide Squad is pretty irrelevant to the overall arch, and the Wonder Woman solo film is slated to be released in early 2017, with a trailer recently hitting the internet after its premiere at San Diego Comic Con. But the next film on the DC roster is, in fact, Justice League, which means the characters of which we caught glimpses in Batman v. Superman will be formally introduced in that film before earning their own solo outing.
The MCU certainly has its audience in the palm of its hands, as every year, a Marvel film or two makes it onto the highest-grossing list. Fans eagerly anticipate each chapter, looking forward to an eventual union of all the developed heroes in the Infinity War against the mad titan, Thanos.
But, where is the DCEU headed? Will the impending DC band of heroes gain the same level of popularity as their Marvel counterparts? Will the Justice League finale mirror Infinity War with a war against the rather comparable Darkseid?
Tell us what you think in the comment section below, and take our poll to see which cinematic franchise is truly building more hype.