Long Live DC
Back in 2008, at the dawn of the MCU with Iron Man, DC Comics released The Dark Knight, arguably their finest film. Both movies were incredibly influential in their own ways: Iron Man for starting the highest grossing (and yes, perhaps most ambitious) franchise ever and The Dark Knight for redefining the superhero film as something more than entertainment for 13-year-olds (and also for jumpstarting the whole “dark and gritty” trend).
It’s funny to think about these two films coming out within three months of each other because with the very strong riff that seems to exist between Marvel and DC fans, it’s almost as if the two films were asking audiences to choose which path to follow. Most people chose Marvel it seems. I chose DC.
Though I was raised on DC heroes and villains, and give full credit to The Dark Knight for starting my obsession with cinema, I won’t say that my love for DC knows no bounds. I very much dislike Suicide Squad and am not a big fan of Justice League either.
Surprisingly, I love Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and very much like Man of Steel. Watching them is sort of like wrapping myself in a warm blanket, even with three-hour runtimes and more than a few poor filmmaking decisions. I don’t often use the term “guilty pleasure” because I’m usually not ashamed of liking something, but those two films are about as “guilty” as my film tastes get.
I like DC films not because they’re all good, especially those directed by Zach Snyder, which have questionable quality, but rather because the multiple successes and failures within a single film provide so much room for discussion. It seems that Marvel films (at least in Phase One) all have the same feel to them. DC films on the other hand are all wildly different from each other and aren’t as concerned about fitting a shared plot line or tone. This isn’t to say Marvel films are bad. There are several films in that franchise I would even term “great,” but they can feel very cookie-cutter sometimes.
I respect DC films for taking risks and failing because it not only creates conversations for useful critique about narrative and filmmaking, but also isn’t a failure story more interesting than a success story?