Ask anyone who’s a fan of comic books and comic book films – hell, ask anyone who likes films in general – and you’ll get a number of reasons as to why The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is ten times better than the DC Extended Universe (DCEU).
Sure, the MCU is not perfect; The Incredible Hulk and Thor: The Dark World aren’t great but those films aside, very early on, Marvel Studios – the film production company behind the MCU – nailed the fine art of producing brilliant films that seamlessly intertwine with other films in the franchise. They achieved this through subtle references and not-so-subtle cameos as well as the beloved end-credits scenes that hint at what’s to come.
Plus, most of the MCU films, are enjoyable as standalone films. Off the top of my head, I can name multiple MCU projects that are well-written, action-packed, witty, feature incredible performances from the cast and were well-received by BOTH critics and fans – Iron Man, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, WandaVision… Just to name a few.
Then, on the other side of the coin, we have the DCEU which began in 2013 with Man of Steel. Don’t get me wrong, Man of Steel is a good film but the films that came after it – with the exception of the first Wonder Woman film, which was awesome – really ruined what could’ve been a great franchise.
Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League, Aquaman… all these films have basic plots, barely likeable characters and are just clearly trying (and failing) to copy the MCU. In my opinion, Warner Bros. – the film production company behind the DCEU – should cut its losses, start from scratch and build a new DC extended or cinematic universe.
And they should do it with films like The Dark Knight, Joker and The Batman. Why? Because all of these DC film adaptations were extremely grounded in reality, had compelling plots, beautiful cinematography, phenomenal performances, thrilling action scenes and were wonderfully dark; which sets them apart (in a good way) from the fun and camp tone – that’s incredibly hard to reproduce – that most MCU films have.
Obviously, as The Dark Knight trilogy came to an end years ago and Todd Phillips, the director of Joker, confirmed that Joker was definitely a standalone film, Warner Bros. can’t incorporate these extremely successful DC film adaptations into a cinematic universe. It can, however, start one with The Batman; which was practically just released and is already more successful and well-received than any DCEU film.
Think about it; it’s already been confirmed that two television series that are spinoffs from The Batman are in the works and one will feature Colin Farrell reprising his role from the film as Pengiun and the other will focus on Arkham Asylum, where the Riddler ended up in the film. This instantly connects the two shows to The Batman and sets up somewhat of an extended universe.
Then Warner Bros. should release a dark and grounded Superman film that matches The Batman’s gritty tone and features a simple reference to Gotham or perhaps a cameo from Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman (maybe she fled to Metropolis at the end of The Batman?), and a solid film universe will have been created.
Warner Bros. then needs to slowly introduce more DC characters in solo films – that are all blends of the detective, action, horror and psychological thriller genres like The Batman – before bringing them together in a film; like the MCU did with The Avengers.
In all honesty, the current DCEU is a pale imitation of the MCU but if Warner Bros. created a cinematic universe filled with well-written films that all have that grounded, gritty and dark feel to them, they’d finally have a worthy adversary for Marvel Studio’s franchise on their hands.