Since Superman: The Movie hit movie screens in 1978, essentially creating the modern superhero movie, DC characters have appeared on screen in 21 films. In these 21 films, we’ve had 6 Superman movies, 2 Superman spinoffs (Supergirl, Steel), 7 Batman movies, 1 Batman spinoff (Catwoman), 1 Watchmen movie and 4 movies based on Swamp Thing, Jonah Hex and Green Lantern. Now, Superman and Superman II are classics, as is Tim Burton’s Batman (and Batman Returns which I have soft spot for.) The Dark Knight Trilogy is arguably the greatest comic book series of all time. Watchmen and Man of Steel are debatable films, as a lot of comic book fans are divided on these. But the rest of DC’s filmography? Absolute garbage.
Meanwhile Marvel, who has not been in the movie business nearly as long DC, after some major missteps with Howard the Duck and an unproduced Fantastic Four, have managed to release 29 films in about 15 years. And it’s not top heavy on two franchises like DC is with Superman and Batman is. You have the obvious ones like Spider-Man (4 movies) and Wolverine/X-Men (6 movies), but Marvel also took B-List characters and made them A-List. Don’t believe me? No one cared about Iron Man ten years ago. Now? 3 enormous movies that have grossed over 2 BILLION dollars together. Captain America? Thor? Those guys are kinda corny, right… oh, they both had succesful features? And they have sequels coming out in the next year? Oh. Well, that first Hulk movie sucked! Yeah, but the second one was decent and it was part of a 5 movie plan to bring together Marvel superheroes in the FIRST EVER cross-movie team-up that led to the record-breaking Avengers, legitimately the 3rd biggest movie of all time.
Have there been stumbles along the way? Of course. Daredevil, The Fantastic Four, The Punisher and Ghost Rider have not had the success (critically or financially) as some of their other Marvel brotherhood. But hey, at least there ARE Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Punisher and Ghost Rider movies. This is my point. Marvel isn’t afraid to take their properties and try to cinematize them. Sometimes you get The Avengers and sometimes you get Elektra. But more often than not, the results are good. Coming down the pike we have the afore-mentioned Thor and Captain America sequels, Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men Days of Future Past and Guardians of the Galaxy. GAURDIANS OF THE GALAXY! A team with a talking tree and a racoon with a gun. Plus the planned Avengers sequel, Ant Man and a Fantastic Four reboot. Avengers created an opportunity for an Agents of SHIELD TV show and characters like Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Deadpool, Justin Hammer, Nightcrawler, Bucky and Silver Samurai have all appeared on the big screen.
Over at DC, what do you have? A planned Superman/Batman team-up film. OK, admittedly that’s awesome. But it’s more of the same. Where’s Wonder Woman? The Flash? Green Arrow? Aquaman? The JLA? Martian Manhunter? Booster Gold? The Teen Titans? The Atom?
The fact that ROCKET RACCOON has a movie before Wonder Woman is complete insanity.
In the comic book movie wars, even though DC has heavy hitters like The Dark Knight trilogy, Marvel has clearly taken the lead. DC/Warner Bros. need to embrace their deep character history instead of being embarrassed by it. You can only do Superman and Batman so many times before fans want to see what else you got.
MORE COMIC BOOK MOVIES:
Batman on Film: Part 9 – The Dark Knight (2008)
Batman on Film: Part 8 – Batman Begins (2005)
Batman on Film: Part 7 – Batman: The Animated Movies
FORCED PERSPECTIVE, Ep.31 – Iron Man 3 review, plus a look at the history of Comic Book Movies
FORCED PERSPECTIVE, Ep.18 – A Review of The Avengers
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