DC comics and Marvel comics’ origins date back to the mid-20th century. They have been battling it out on the pages of comics for many decades. But when it comes to live-action movies they have seen varying degrees of success and failure. Once the movies industry started growing, superhero movies started becoming a staple for the movie going audience. With this there was also an urge to make their movies distinct from one another. Presently these two comic book giants are more popularly known by their cinematic universe names, i.e., DCEU and MCU. MCU has been operating since 2008, while DCEU has been active since 2013. With that said, let us look at the list of differences between DCEU and MCU that set them apart.
10. Rights to the characters:
Both these universes have a huge number of characters, but there are some characters that the MCU cannot use because they were sold to other studios (e.g. X-Men and Fantastic Four characters are under 20th Century Fox). On the other hand, DCEU has hold over all its comic book characters. Marvel had to sell its characters because they were bankrupt and so characters such as Spiderman, X-Men characters were sold. Recently, with Spiderman Homecoming, we see the return of Spiderman to MCU.
9. Post-Credits and Mid-Credits scenes:
MCU revolutionised the idea of post-credits and mid-credits scenes and this has worked out well. Most of the audience in the theatres nowadays wait till the end of credits during an MCU movie to watch out for their favourite characters promoting the future movies. This has become a tradition with the MCU and there is no denying its popularity. Even many other movies are adopting this idea for promoting their future movies. Looking to the DCEU side, with the exception of Suicide Squad there hasn’t been a single post- or mid-credits scene. This seems to be a way in which DCEU wants to distinguish itself from MCU. Instead, Director Zack Snyder (of Batman v Superman) has said he will be using online platforms for promoting future DCEU films. For Batman v Superman, he released a clip online promoting Justice League.
8. Potential for releasing R-rated movies:
WB is the parent company of DCEU while Disney is the parent company of MCU. This information is enough to suggest that Marvel will never make an R-rated movie while DCEU can and will release R-rated movies in the future. Disney is a company whose target audience is composed of kids of all age groups. They will never make an R-rated movie at the expense of losing out on its younger audience. WB has produced R-rated movies in the past. When Deadpool created history for being the highest grossing R-rated movie worldwide, most of the other studios wanted to capitalise on this. But Disney will take a backseat in this particular situation. DCEU has already released a Batman v Superman ultimate edition which is R-rated. Right now it has planned for a Suicide Squad sequel which is to be R-rated.
7. Connectivity to TV universe:
Both DC and Marvel have been successful on the small screen too. DC has to its credit the Flash, the Arrow, Supergirl. Marvel has Daredevil, Jessica Jones. But the MCU is connected to its TV counterpart whereas DCEU isn’t. All of the Marvel TV series take place in the MCU. So, when something big is altered in the MCU, its effects are seen in the TV series too. This maybe a great way to promote the Marvel TV series but it leads to lacklustre TV shows such as Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
6. Background Score:
With the release of DCEUs’ Wonder Woman, many people changed their phone ringtones to the great Wonder Woman theme created by composer Junkie XL. Even some of the scores from Man of Steel and Batman v Superman were good. This goes to show that DCEU has had good composers who have come up with some of the best music in superhero music. Hans Zimmer, Junkie XL, Rupert Gregson-Williams have done a great job in the music department. Now with Danny Elfman taking over music for Justice League from Junkie XL we can expect some great movie scores. While the MCU movies are great they haven’t produced any noteworthy BGMs’ with the exception of Guardians of the Galaxy series.
5. Use of humour:
MCU movies are known for their ability to be quippy and even crack jokes in the most serious of situations, like, in the climax face-off in Guardians of the Galaxy. This goes to show how humour is and will always be a part of the MCU movies. Characters such as Tony Stark, Rocket, Peter Parker, Drax, Scott Lang and many more are well known for their humour in the MCU movies. DCEU movies are gritty, humourless and dark. Even in the Suicide Squad movie, which was supposed to be funny, apart from Captain Boomerang and Harley Quinn, there isn’t much humour.
4. Road plan for future:
MCU has most of its slate figured out and has laid the road to future instalments. They have a greater story arc under which all the Standalone movies, sequels and team-up movies occur. The whole MCU universe will culminate at the Avengers Infinity War movie. Even beyond this point their universe is well figured out. This is due to the vision of one particular person (Kevin Feige) and all the others come under this greater vision. DCEU started off abruptly and doesn’t have its long term goals laid out. They have lots of conflicting visions and ambitions and they seem to be in a hurry to catch up with the MCU. Nevertheless, they seem to be right on track now with the success of Wonder Woman and the hype created by Justice League. It may be a rocky start but maybe they’ll create some great movies down the road. Only time will tell what DCEU has in store for us.
3. Importance to female characters:
MCU has been around for about 9 years now. They have produced many good movies and some of them were huge box office successes. There have been 16 movies from the MCU so far. Their most famous female characters are Black Widow and Scarlet Witch. Yet, MCU hasn’t produced even a single movie with a female lead. They have only one female led movie in their slate, which is Captain Marvel that is under pre-production. DCEU is just 4 years old and they have already produced a female led movie Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman has gone on to become a huge success both critically and financially. Not only this, DCEU has plans for many more female led movies in the future such as Gotham City Sirens, Batgirl and an untitled sequel to Wonder Woman. Patty Jenkins also became the first female director to direct a major superhero movie.
2. Colour Grading:
MCU movies use lots of colours. But most of the MCU movies have the same look and feel to them. On the other hand DCEU movies use lesser colours but they have a visual brilliance to them. Why is this so? This is because of Colour Grading. The Wikipedia definition for Colour Grading is as follows: “Colour Grading is the process of altering and enhancing the colour of a motion picture, video image, or still image electronically, photo-chemically or digitally.” DCEU movies use Colour Grading to perfection. This is the reason DCEU movies standout visually while MCU movies look bland with the exception of Guardians of the Galaxy.
1. Action Sequences:
For any superhero movie, the most important element is the action. Both the universes have created some superbly choreographed action sequences which are jaw dropping, innovative to some level and they make use of their surroundings properly. In the DCEU movies the action sequences are on a grand scale. They are brutal and have great hand-to-hand combat sequences worth mentioning. The smallville and metropolis faceoff between Superman and General Zod in Man of Steel, the warehouse scene in Batman v Superman, the Knightmare scene in Batman v Superman, faceoff between Wonder Woman and Ares in Wonder Woman are all epic and brutal. MCU movies’ action sequences are less brutal but more innovative and also show us how each member of the team can complement the other with their skills. Some great examples are: airport scene in Captain America: Civil War, Hulkbuster scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron, climax fight scene in the Avengers, Sanctum battle in Doctor Strange and many more.
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