By Chaz McDonald
Marvel or DC? It is a question that sparks one of the most heated debates in all of geekdom. Each side has an army of fans that is willing to argue which one is better until they are blue in the face. The success of both comic book lines has led to a golden age of comic books films and television series. Marvel and DC comics have a very different approaches when it comes to building their cinematic universes. Marvel has chosen to connect their films and their television series into one vast universe known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or better known as the MCU. DC, on the other hand, has chosen to go a different route when it comes to their movie universe and their television universe, keeping them separate and more along the lines of a multi-verse. So which is better? Each has its own unique way of storytelling and connecting with the audience, and each has its drawbacks due to the fact that something might be missed and could potentially confuse audiences down the line.
The MCU is a network of interconnecting television shows that go along with the big screen films. Shows like Marvel’s Agents of Shield. and Agent Carter have brought a new perspective to the universe that they are set in. They help keep the MCU grounded by giving viewers a week to week glimpse into what is happening between the monumental events that is happened in the movies. It is a great way to keep fans entertained and to keep the universe alive while new films are being made. The Inhumans series, slated to begin in the fall of 2017, will be another welcomed addition to the MCU. (Edit: It was widely ignored or disliked)
Standard broadcast television is not the only place where the MCU reaches. Netflix has its own pocket universe where Marvel superheroes thrive. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist make up the team known as The Defenders. Each member of The Defenders has or will have their own series on Netflix by spring of 2017. (Edit: While not a member of the Defenders, The Punisher also had a show on Netflix) Netflix is introducing more characters and the interconnecting them separately from the other Marvel properties, but acknowledging the films at the same time. HULU is also getting into the action by releasing a new series into the MCU called the Runaways in the near future. The world building of the MCU is incredible and very well planned out. It helps to bring a realness to the fictional universe, but for those who don’t watch every single series, it can lead to something falling through the cracks. The movies stand on their own, but the series could potentially add something to the movies that would be lost on fans if you don’t watch the television series. A perfect example of this happening would be in season two of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Did anybody ever wonder where Nick Fury got a helicarrier so he could evacuate the citizens of Sokovia? The only potential downside, is you might feel like you can’t watch the new movies until you catch up on all the shows, which isn’t necessary.
Lets Go to DC
DC does something a little bit different. Their movies take place in a separate universe than their TV series. Even some of their TV series’ are in separate universes from each other. On the CW, fans are given an interconnected universe that takes place on different versions of earth. While Arrow, The Flash, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow all exist in the same universe, Supergirl exists on a completely different version of earth, but thanks to the magic of storytelling and DC multi-verse, Supergirl is able to interact with the other heroes making her part of their universe. This doesn’t even factor in Fox’s Gotham. Gotham has never had any interaction with the other DC shows and exists as its own standalone series. For those who don’t follow the intricacies of the DC-TV universes, it can be extremely confusing to keep everything straight. This might work better for the casual viewer because they don’t have to follow along with every single movie and show, but it can also cause a great confusion if you think DC is all connected just like Marvel is.
How Do You Like It?
Everybody is going to have their own preference. To pro and con the differences between Marvel and DC is an argument for the fanboys. Each franchise is going strong and in the end, we, the audience, are the ones that are coming out on top. It really is a golden age of superheroes, and we are getting the best of both worlds when it comes to movies and television, whether they are connected or not.