It’s interesting how the rivalry between Marvel and DC eventually went from the page to the screen. This has, of course, been going on for decades. However in the last few years, superhero films have become the biggest money-makers for studios. As such, larger investments are made for each film, be it for casting, special effects, or quality scripts.
When DC launched what they call the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), it was believe that this would be the reboot which would allow the Justice League to compete with Marvel’s enormously successful Avengers. The groundwork needed to be laid out first, with both a Superman film, and a pseudo cross-over.
Unfortunately, while these new DCEU films were financially successful, they continue to illicit harsh critiques from reviewers and fans. Marvel remembered that it was telling a story about grown men and women in spandex, and has almost consistently used humour quite effectively in each of their films. DC chose a different path; one which comes across far too serious and aggrandizing.
The same can be said of Arrow, DC’s first series in what would eventually be known affectionately as the Berlantiverse (named after the show’s producer Greg Berlanti who eventually went on to produce The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl). However unlike Man of Steel, or Batman v Superman, you can still see hints of Arrow winking at the camera. They understand that they’re adults playing dress-up, even while trying to maintain their composure.
We saw flashes of this when Barry Allen guest-starred on Arrow before starting his own series (I apologize for that pun… but it was right there). The Flash never lost sight of the fact that it is based on a comic book series that delves into time travel, parallel earths, and talking gorillas. Between brilliant scripts, great actors, and a production crew that’s passionate about the characters, the show was bound to succeed… and it has.
Next came DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, followed by Supergirl, which started at CBS but made its way home to Berlanti and the CW for its second season.
The one genre where DC has almost consistently produced exceptional work is with their animated films and television series. During the course of this episode, we talked about Justice League Dark, Batman: The Killing Joke, The Lego Batman Movie, Batman: Bad Blood, Justice League Unlimited, Static Shock, and much more. We’ve a lot of love for DC’s animated work, and not simply because of fond memories from when we were kids. DC seems to respect their characters most when in animated form.
For this episode, Vince and I decided to invite our buddy Marty from All Comics Considered. We’ve worked together in the past, and had him guest on our retired Comic Book Informer podcast. Marty’s good people, with a passion for comic book characters, both on the printed page and on the screen.
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