The Battle of the Superheros shall be broken down into 4 Rounds…
Round 1 Live-Action Movies/TV Shows:
1. The Marvel characters are easier to relate to:
The majority of Marvel’s superheroes are human – think Iron Man, Spiderman, Wolverine – they are all human. There are some (like the X-Men) who, despite accidents which turn them into mutants, are still inherently human. When we look at Superman, the Flash and Aquaman, they’re not really thought of as ‘people’. They live their lives completely differently from us, and it’s really their job to be superheroes (I know Clark Kent is a journalist but that is just a clever rouse).
2. The (Live-Action) Avengers works better in the film industry better than the (Live-Action) Justice League:
This really stems from the first point; in the Avengers, the only ‘non-human’ (I say this because he is technically a God) is Thor, whereas in the Justice League, you have a lot of supernatural influence. The Avengers bounce off each other, and their team dynamic allows them to combat evil fairly spontaneously. The Justice League requires organization and planning – which is fine if you’re planning a tea party, but not to save the world. Also, the Justice League are all hypocrites.
3. DC characters are killed off too easily:
Both Marvel and DC have pretty poor records for killing off their characters, but when DC insist on having invincible Gods and aliens as superheroes, who are eventually killed off, it really defeats the point of them being superheroes.
4. We will never be able to take the DC Live-Action Movie characters seriously:
In a world where EVERYTHING is dark……. what is dark? In a world where EVERYTHING is violent, sad, brutal and gritty……… what are the stakes? The answer is…. nothing.
5. It’s the heroes who make Marvel, not the villains. In films for children and families, we want heroes, not villains:
When someone says Marvel, whom do you think of? Iron Man, Thor, Silver Surfer, Captain Marvel, the Hulk, Captain America, Wolverine, Professor X, Cyclops, Nicky Fury…the list goes on and on. When someone says DC, whom do you think of? The Joker, Bane, Lex Luthor, General Zod, and Penguin. These are all great characters, I do not doubt that, but the Marvel list is of superheroes, earth’s saviours. DC’s list is a group of rather exceptional but incredibly evil characters.
Round 1 Winner: Marvel
Round 2 Animated Movies/TV Shows:
1. The Flashpoint Paradox is a fantastic film that surpasses any marvel animation.
Perhaps the most fascinating of the bunch, “Flashpoint” is adapted from a comic written by Geoff Johns. Someone has traveled back in time drastically altering history, and Flash is the only one who knows the truth. In the new timeline, Batman is … different, Wonder Woman and Aquaman are at war with each other, and Superman is nowhere to be found.
The alternate-reality premise makes this one of the richest and most engaging DC storylines. This film can’t be recommended enough if you’re looking to explore a bit deeper into the DC comic universe.
2. Wonder Woman is a fantastic film that not only that superb action, but emotional depth… unlike Marvel films.
A precise and engaging telling of not just Wonder Woman’s origins, but the events before and after her becoming the warrior princess, Wonder Woman definitely makes the list for its masterful telling of what can be an enigmatic origin. This massively scoped epic incorporates nearly all of Wonder Woman’s greatest supporting characters, like Ares, Artemis, Hippolyta, and of course, love interest Steve Trevor. The villainous Cheetah even makes a cameo at one point.
As we follow Princess Diana’s journey to becoming Wonder Woman and venturing into the world of man, we see her develop from a skilled but naive woman into the layered and wise hero Wonder Woman. The film’s jam-packed but thoughtful storyline never lags for a second, hitting all the important beats with top-notch pacing.
For a hero as immensely popular as Wonder Woman, this animated film gives a faithful and exciting origin that does her character justice. We can only hope the live-action version is half as good as this.
3. Green Lantern: First Flight was a nice addition.
Nearly everything that the 2011 live-action Green Lantern movie tried to be — a superhero origin story crossed with a Star Wars-style space-opera — was handled much better two years earlier by the animated Green Lantern: First Flight. While telling the story of how test pilot Hal Jordan was given an all-powerful ring and initiated into an intergalactic police corps, First Flight also tracks the corruption of Sinestro, a veteran Green Lantern who’s sick of following the rules. The film works as an action-packed sci-fi adventure and as a study of the kind of policeman who’d rather protect his power than the public.
4. The Dark Knight Returns is a fantastic masterpiece that is better than all of Marvels animated movies/TV shows
Based on the now legendary Frank Miller series of the same name, “Dark Knight Returns” depicts a retired, crotchety Bruce Wayne deciding to become Batman once again, against the wishes of … well, everyone.
The political and social commentary is present just as it was in the comic, as is the conflicted relationship between Batman and Superman. Given that this takes place years into the future, the layers of history add a texture and depth to the characters that is lacking in “Batman v Superman.”
In summation, I don’t think it’s even remotely unreasonable for the major studios making these live-action DC films to look to the DC animated universe for inspiration and storytelling guidance.
5. Batman: Mask of The Phantasm is a fantastic masterpiece that is better than all of Marvels animated movies/TV shows
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was DC’s first attempt at a full-length, animated feature film, and it was an absolute home-run. Considered by many to be DC’s greatest animated venture, Mask of the Phantasm tells an amazing Batman story, unlike any before and after it. A film centered around a case of mistaken identity, romance, and classic Batman action, this film is a blast from start to finish. While as action-packed as they come,Phantasm focuses more on the storytelling than spectacle, keeping in line with the widely successful and award-winning Batman: The Animated Series.
Thanks to the potent combo of Bruce Timm’s direction and Paul Dini’s incredible writing,Mask of the Phantasm stands a cut above the other magnificent animated films from DC. If you haven’t seen this film, or if it’s been a few years, don’t worry — it holds up. Do yourself a favor and watch it immediately.
6. Batman Beyond: Return of The Joker is an amazing, emotional rollercoaster with a fantastic musical score.
There are actually two versions of this film, a rated and unrated version. Both are great in their own regard, but the unrated version takes the film to a whole new level, with added violence and more intense dialogue. Without a doubt one of the most emotional stories told by DC, including their live-action ventures, Return of the Joker continues the large overarching story of Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond. It shows the everlasting struggle between the Bat-Family and the Joker, by showing not just flashbacks but finding an interesting way to bring the Joker back into the fold, long after his supposed death.
The way in which the Joker is brought back is intense, horrifying, and deeply personal for all involved, making for a film too good not to mention on this list. Also, keeping in line with the established story arc from the animated series, legends Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill came back to finish the story as both Batman and the Joker, providing some of their finest voice work to date.
This is a brutal, dark, scary movie…
7. Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo is a great end to the Teen Titans series, which boldly, innovatively invented Western Anime.
The Teen Titans are a teenage group of superheroes with masterpiece-level storytelling in terms of comedy, action, drama, subtle foreshadowing, and allusion. This is a movie based on what is possibly DC’s best, most popular TV Show!
8. Batman: Under the Red Hood is a fantastic masterpiece that is better than all of Marvels animated movies/TV shows
Batman: Under the Red Hood tells the most compelling and heart-wrenching Batman story, making it DC’s most enjoyable animated film from start to finish.
Adapting the Death in the Family and Under the Hood storylines from the comics, this movie takes us on a Batman journey like no other, as he’s forced to confront his greatest mistake as a crime fighter: the death of the second Robin, Jason Todd. Not only do we follow Batman through the grief of dealing with his partner’s death, but we are right alongside the Caped Crusader as he must fight the menace known as the Red Hood, who’s later revealed to be Todd in disguise.
Watching as Batman struggles to try and rehabilitate his ex-partner and deal with the guilt associated with letting Robin descend into madness makes for some of the best storytelling you’ll see on film, animated or not. THIS IS TOTALLY AWESOME AND AN ABSOLUTE MUST WATCH!
Also, DC’s Animated films are light years ahead of Marvels Live-Action films, so we’ll say that DC beats MARVEL in terms of overall Movies/TV shows.
DC’s Animated Film’s are praised as Masterpieces whereas Marvels Live-Action Movies, although very good, sometimes great, can never really top the master itself.
Round 2 Winner: DC
Round 3 Literature:
There is really nothing to say here. DC’s comics are consistent works of amazing art whereas Marvel comics are generally mediocre. Marvels shallow plots and over the top action work extremely well within the world of film, but sadly does not carry enough depth to make to a good read. On the other hand, DC has crafted famous genre-defining masterpieces such as: The Killing Joke, Superman Doomsday, Batman: Hush, Teen Titans, Red Hood and the Outlaws, All Star Superman, The long Halloween, For The Man Who Has Everything, Fables, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, Knightfall, etc… The winner is easily DC with no competition. Marvel, I love ya, you may be unstoppable in the world of film and the box office, the DC is unbeatable in the realm of comics.
Round 3 Winner: DC
Round 4: Final Round Video Games:
Marvel has awesome stuff such as:
Marvel Ultimate Alliance
MUA applied the simple, addictive formula of Gauntlet and Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance to Marvel’s heroes. Focused on action and teamwork with light RPG elements. Featured dozens of playable heroes and villains.
Spider-Man 2: The Game
An open world Spidey game that many consider to be the pinnacle of the franchise. Loosely follows the events of the film, but most gamer’s ignore the story line in favor of swinging through Manhattan.
The open world Spidey game that was the ultimate culmination of all the past Spidey games in one awesome game!
However DC had exceeded expectations and eliminated the competition by giving the gaming industry revolutionary genre-defining masterpieces that changed the scope of all games that came after it such as:
The Wolf Among Us: An award-winning noir, detective game in a fairy tale world with Fables like The Big Bad Wolf, Snow White and many others. This game re-invented the adventure game genre (alongside The Walking Dead) and is praised for it’s innovation.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
One of the best fighting games of all time
The best fighting game of all time (Furthermore, this game revived fighting games from the dead and brought them back to life)
Most importantly, DC crafted what is conceivably the best video game trilogy of all time and presumably the most revolutionary. A Trilogy that changed nearly all games that came after…
THE BATMAN ARKHAM TRILOGY
Batman Arkham Asylum
Batman Arkham City
Batman Arkham Knight
It began in 2009 inside the claustrophobic corridors of a madhouse and ended in 2015 on a rainy night in Gotham City, and in the six years in between, Rocksteady changed the face of gaming with the Batman: Arkham trilogy.
Spread across three titles and two console generations, the studio had the unenviable task of taking one of the biggest icons in pop culture and translating 75 years worth of history onto the console. The studio not only exceeded expectations, it also forever changed the way fans and developers view video games.
Arkham Knight may still be less than a week old, but the legacy of the entire trilogy is already beginning to coalesce in the minds of fans as we start to look back at how the series has impacted the industry.
From revolutionary gameplay mechanics to the rebirth of the licensed game, let’s see how Rocksteady’s Batman saga reshaped, rethought and reinvented the medium.
Love Of The License
It was hard to get too excited about Arkham Asylum when it came out in 2009. The buzz was subdued, and there were only brief—yet hopeful—glimpses of the game in trailers and screenshots in the months before its August release.
For many, it seemed like yet another superhero game coming out to piggyback off the success of a movie. After all, how could a no-name studio possibly match in a video game what Christopher Nolan put on the screen the year before in The Dark Knight?
Then fans finally sat down to play the game—and expectations weren’t just exceeded, they were obliterated.
By staying true to what makes Batman who he is, Rocksteady brought authenticity to a license that had languished in video game anonymity for decades. Arkham Asylum made players feel like Batman, as opposed to so many licensed games before that stuck to a generic action formula with a superhero skin slapped on top of it.
Everything, including the mood, the music, the voice acting, the easter eggs and the combat/stealth mechanics screamed Dark Knight. This was a game that stuck true to the license with almost a religious fervor. This wasn’t just a job; you could feel the love Rocksteady had for Batman’s world, which was rare for licensed games at the time.
For comparison’s sake, just look at Marvel’s offerings from the previous year:The horrible iron Man Game from SEGA and Incredible Hulk titles — these games had blockbuster licenses sitting there for the taking, and instead fans got low quality, terribly written games that barely resembled the superheroes on the box art.
By distilling Batman down to his pointy-eared essence, Arkham Asylum turned a night in a madhouse into the first shots in the licensed gaming revolution.
Absolutely Awesome Gamplay
As a character, Batman has always been just as cerebral as he is forceful. For every brawl, there’s a puzzle to solve; for every car chase, there’s some detective work to be done. Rocksteady took note and crafted a game that combined all of these abilities into a cohesive package.
The fighting system in the Arkham series, in particular, is what its biggest in-game legacy might be. Taking a few pages from Assassin’s Creed, the game relies heavily on counter-based combat, which allows Batman to easily fight off several foes at once.
It’s incredibly simple, yet so effectively done here that it’s amazing no studio had perfected it sooner. Now games like Shadow of Mordor, The Amazing Spider-Man andSleeping Dogs have taken notes from Rocksteady. Even the Assassin’s Creed games—which actually influenced Arkham in the first place—now follow Rocksteady. Why else do you think Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate relies so heavily on fisticuffs and a grappling hook?
It remains to be seen how long the Arkham influence will last—the engine was imagined for Batman specifically, after all—but it’s impossible to deny that both fans and developers recognize just how smooth these games play.
A Story Worth Telling
Most game developers try to tout their stories as a “must-see,” but how many of them really live up to it? Admit it, you’re skipping through more cutscenes than you care to admit, but there’s something different about the Arkham games. Whether you’re hallucinating to some fear toxin, coming face-to-face with Ra’s al Ghul or reliving the night Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered, the stories have always been just as important as the boss battles and gameplay.
Rocksteady has managed to captivate audiences with an incredibly dense story stretched across three games, multiple comic book series and an animated movie.
Batman: Arkham’s legacy might not even be the video games themselves, but everything that went along with them. DC/Warner Bros. doesn’t see Arkham as a game series, they see it as a spin-off franchise of the Batman brand itself, complete with its own separate mythology and fan following.
Rocksteady didn’t just change gaming with this series; it fundamentally changed the Batman brand forever by adding this new splinter universe that is just as recognized—perhaps more so—than the Nolan movies and the comic books.
A Video Game Landscape Changed
Look at the three points above: devotion to a license, incredible gameplay mechanics and emotional, perfectly paced storytelling. It seems so simple, but how many other game franchises have achieved Rocksteady’s feat?
Whatever you think of the Arkham series—and I’m sure there are some haters out there—you can’t deny that it pushed the boundaries of what a superhero/licensed game should be. Hell, it pushed the boundary of what any game should be. And when you set out to do that, you’ll have a legacy worth bragging about.
Round 5: Legacy
OVERALL WINNER: DC
DC WON DUE TO THE FACT THAT ALTHOUGH MARVEL HAS DONE BETTER THAN DC AT LIVE-ACTION MOVIES, DC BEATS MARVEL IN EVERY OTHER MEDIUM.
Now don’t get me wrong, DC and Marvel are BOTH fantastic within their respective mediums and I am a massive fan of both of them. However, DC will stand the test of time, while Marvel, although great, relies heavily on trends and fads rather than crafting true masterpiece. The issue with Marvel is that nothing they create will be remembered. In short, Marvel constructs products whereas DC crafts art.