As a longtime Marvel fan, I have noticed a worrisome trend within myself. Although Marvel’s superhero films have brought me joy for over a decade, I now find myself far more excited for upcoming DC movies. You might think this is strange as DC has worked tirelessly over the years to ruin their live-action reputation with very few of their films anywhere near those of Marvel in quality. However, I have realized this is the reason I anxiously await DC’s new releases.
When the new Disney+ show She-Hulk was announced as a comedy, my first thought was, “What else would it be?”
Hear me out, the Disney-Marvel formula is fun to watch, and they know it. They have raked in billions of dollars by giving viewers colorful and often lighthearted films that manage to hit all the right notes. Their blend of humor and action is a successful formula, which is why they don’t seem to feel the need to change it. When a new Marvel movie comes out, we know exactly what we will get: an epic film with a snarky hero, a goofy sidekick, and an often weak third act that devolves into CGI insanity. Even Marvel films that seem to try something new, like the Eternals or the second Doctor Strange, find themselves tangled in the expectations of this formula.
On the other hand, DC has no successful formula, quite the opposite. This forces them to behave like a grad student writing a paper worth fifty percent of their grade. They throw everything at it, hoping something sticks. Their films run the gamut from the Marvel-like Shazam to the ominous noir thriller The Batman. The morbidly hilarious R-rated Suicide Squad has nothing in common with the animated kid’s film Super Pets except branding. No genre is off limits from DC in their desperation to catch up to their rival.
And this desperation is why I’m slowly becoming a DC fan despite myself. While by now you know whether you are a Marvel fan or not, DC can still surprise you. Marvel works, and I still love their films, but they rarely tell a story I have not seen. On the other hand, you are bound to be surprised going into a DC movie because the film is either so much worse than expected or it actually blew you away with a unique premise. When watching these films, there is undoubtedly a risk (unless you are a cinematic masochist like me and can enjoy bad movies), but there is also potential for a great reward.
Of course, this all comes down to the viewer’s preferences. Some viewers do not even like comic book films, and I forgive you for that. Still, I am finally beginning to understand how my long-suffering DC loving friends have been able to hold onto their hope. The renowned adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies to media companies, but if it is very broken and everyone knows it, then there is a chance for improvement. Until they find a winning formula of their own, DC can be expected to be unexpected, which is endearing in its own little way.