The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a mega-blockbuster. In fact, it is such a successful franchise that almost anything made by Marvel studios is almost guaranteed to be a hit. And it all started with Iron Man in 2008. Since then, every major production company has tried to copy Marvel’s success recipe with varying degrees of success.
But the reason why none of them have been able to achieve that level of success is because they don’t have one major ingredient. And the same has been the case even with their distinguished competition DC comics.
So let us explore why the Marvel Cinematic Universe is so successful whereas the DCEU or DC Extended Universe isn’t.
The reason why no other company has been able to achieve Marvel’s level of success is because they often set up their first installment without a proper and satisfying payoff.
This is mainly done in the hopes that people will be interested in the mythology enough to continue watching more of the universe being set up. But that rarely works. A great example of this is the DCEU movie that launched that franchise- Man of Steel.
In various interviews, director Zack Snyder had said that he was setting up a Superman that will become the classic hero we know down the line. And we did get a version of that in Zack Snyder justice league that was released.
But that was way too late, and the general audiences weren’t interested anymore in the characters as well as the mythology that the DCEU was trying to set up.
However, this isn’t to say that no other attempts have been successful. DCEU is obviously still thriving and attempts to give the franchise a lighter tone have been appreciated by audiences.
However, it can’t be denied that the franchise hasn’t found a firm creative direction till now.
Apart from the DC universe, The Conjuring universe succeeded, but Sony’s ambitious Amazing Spider-Man plans didn’t, and neither did Guy Ritchie’s six-film King Arthur series. Another project that failed was the Power Rangers reboot.
But David Goyer has another theory about MCU’s success.
In a recent interview, Man of Steel writer David S. Goyer who also contributed to the Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice movie, explained why the MCU is more successful than DC in the shared universe area.
“I think one of the issues is that Marvel’s had consistent leadership for the last fifteen years or more, whereas DC hasn’t. There have been all of these changes in terms of who is running DC. That is fundamentally very hard. It’s hard to make any headway when leadership is changing.”
He continued saying:
“One of the other things that’s made Marvel incredibly successful is all of their adaptations are true to the source material. Ant-Man feels like Ant-Man. The Hulk feels like the Hulk. They don’t try to change things up. I would say, try to hew closer to what was the original intent. So, it’s having a consistent universe, having consistent leadership, and staying true to the source material.”
In essence, Goyer is right. Kevin Feige is ultimately the one who has the final say on every Marvel project. He also plans it all. In fact, he has planned the next multiverse phase as well. In contrast, the DCEU has certainly undergone a tonne of changes over the years. There have been changes in creative leads, layoffs on the comics side of things, and plenty of personal reshuffles as well.
At various points, Zack Snyder, Geoff Johns, Toby Emmerich, Jon Berg, Walter Hamada, Jason Kilar, and Ann Sarnoff have controlled the direction of the DC movies. This has lead to the movies sometimes being sub-par and controversial. The infamous Justice Lague of 2017 comes to mind.
But the DCEU still hasn’t given up. The universe is moving ahead with new movies, and they are introducing new characters at a faster pace than ever before. A lot of these movies are already in production, like The Flash, The Batman, Black Adam, and more.
But right now, they don’t seem to be interconnected apart from being under the overall DCEU banner. This is because a lot of them are making their own mythology. However, there have been rumors that DC is moving their new projects ahead at a breakneck pace because they want to do the famous Crisis on Infinite Earth crossover onscreen.
But will these all connect somehow? That remains to be seen.