DC vs. Marvel: The Verdict on Each Cinematic Universe's First 3 Films
Was 'The Incredible Hulk' really better than 'Batman v. Superman'?
This article bills itself as a film-by-film comparison but it falls into the “M.arvel is better because it’s M.arvel” trap that more and more commentators have been falling into since the release of Suicide Squad. For the first 2 out of 3 films, the DCEU movie brought in more at the worldwide box office than its M.CU counterpart (the third DCEU movie being Suicide Squad, so we don’t know yet how much it will ultimately bring in). And yet the article’s writer, Aaron Couch, proceeds to claim that The Incredible H.ulk was somehow a better film than Batman v Superman despite bringing in a fraction of the money precisely because it was forgettable. It basically casts Hul.k as a low-profile embarrassment while BvS was a high-profile embarrassment. Couch writes,
“Is it better to burn out or fade away? It’s all a matter of perspective. Though BvS earned more than $600 million more than The Incredible Hulk, it also caused undeniable damage the DCEU brand. The Incredible Hulk was shrugged off as “acceptable” and then not thought of again, while the sins of BvS will not quickly be forgotten by fans.”
In what is either a moment of clarity struggling to break through all this ridiculous noise, or a spell in which this article’s lack of self-awareness reaches a peak, Couch unknowingly highlights his own double standard: the idea that M,arvel messups are forgivable whereas those of DC are not.
Perhaps even more absurd is his verdict on Iron Man 2 vs. Suicide Squad, which reads,
“Advantage Iron Man 2. While complaints with Iron Man 2 could be glossed over thanks to goodwill generated by the original Iron Man, as well as the promise of The Avengers, Suicide Squad does not have that luxury as it’s the third in a string of divisive and dismissed films for the DCEU.”
His declarations of who the “winner” is have very little to do with the quality or commercial success of the individual films, and more to do with a tendency on his part and that of a lot of other reviewers to give sub-par M.CU movies a free pass because they happen to be in the same cinematic universe as The A.vengers. Some could argue that in the M.CU, the whole has proven greater than the sum of its parts. But to say this requires an honest assessment of the parts themselves, which this article doesn’t really give. With the exception of the first I.ron Man movie, Couch doesn’t seem to genuinely believe any of the M.CU movies he writes about were good films, only that they’re better by virtue of being in the M.arvel Cinematic Universe. And if you’re resorting to such broad strokes about a certain universe being better without being able to pinpoint a whole lot of what makes it better, well, why does your argument warrant anyone’s time or attention?