Opinion: Why do DC movies produce Oscar sculptures and billions of dollars at Marvel cinemas?.
There are endless money bags on one side and gold statues on the other. And for us, both are really good.
Recently, it is hardly possible to find a Marvel film adaptation that would not cross the one-billion-dollar dream limit (last year, this bar was smoothly jumped by Avengers: Endgame, Spiderman: Alien and Captain Marvel), a real money press to upset the film’s superheroes, to wrestle a little. In contrast, serious professional recognition has so far been earned almost exclusively by films from DC Comics characters, most notably Nolan’s Batman trilogy and last year’s Joker. We’ve been exploring why he’s become a pretty slow Joker over the years Oscar-winning bad boy in comics, but it’s also worth talking about how different the two comic book giants are going, and what it means to us spectators that the most serious professional awards line up on one side and the pile of money towers all the way to the other corners. to heaven.
Comic book basics
For laymen, the comic book world of Marvel Comics and DC Comics may seem nearly similar. In both universes, superheroes trapped in colorful rags also chase costume villains in all shades of the rainbow, and at the end of adventures the world is always saved, and if a hero does bite the grass, he will be resurrected in some neck-wrapped way within a few years. This golden rule was not only true for a long time for Bvel Barnes in the case of Marvel and for the second Robin, Jason Todd in DC, but they are alive again today, so we can safely say there is no exception. However, if we dig deeper into the work of the two publishers, we can observe two different paths from the late ’80s. There are more serious-sounding stories about Marvel as well, but basically the publisher’s characters are still built on classic superhero topos. There is no problem with that, there is a need for more colorful, smelly stories (I underline once again, now it’s just the average, there are plenty of really deep and serious, thought-provoking Marvel stories too). In the case of DC Comics, the same is especially true for multi-character adventures, team-based comics. In the case of solo stories (and I’m obviously mostly referring to Batman’s comics here), a much gloomier worldview, a more depressing mood is dominant. In 1988, booklets such as And in The Works of The Killing Joke, or just A Death in the Family, Alan Moore and Jim Starlin, we don’t even have to go any further to see what I mean. Well, it is precisely these two strands that distinguish an average Oscar expectant from an audience-blasting box office success.
I would like to emphasize once again that this does not mean that a clear ranking can be established between Marvel and DC Comics, neither publisher is better or worse, it is based on personal preferences to decide which brand’s booklets and characters are closer to someone. For example, I much prefer to read Marvel publications, but that’s quite simply because they satisfy my everyday comic needs perfectly. If I crave a different style (and it’s still a decision between Marvel and DC, so I don’t pick up a Dark Horse or Image booklet), I’ll happily take a Batman volume off the shelf (maybe Watchment or a Sandman), but a after a long day, I rather need Spiderman to merrily swing the net and anoint many times the mouths of the wicked he has defeated a thousand and one times. And most people choose this way in the field of movies as well, but the capitalist profession, the Academy, doesn’t work that way at all.
The kings of drama
It is no coincidence that it is good to predict in advance which cinemas will reach the minimum Oscar nomination, and it can even be felt specifically when a film is (also) made to excel at awards ceremonies. The members of the Academy love drama and especially character dramas, and this is not some strange perversion, a desire for depression, but just that art, which is fundamentally difficult to quantify and measure, can emboss better on certain surfaces, and dramatic roles in the film industry. , in which an actor’s repertoire of abilities can be flashed the most, is a dramatic scenario where even writers can most easily (and here, put lightness in solid quotes) make a lasting impression. Nolan’s trilogy and the 2019 Joker were also a story of suffering, only the first, of course, rather Batman’s, who was tortured through three films as much as possible, and the latter is a calvary of a single sick man, an unlikely battle with an unjust, indifferent, mocking and evil world. What is it, but a perfect Oscar material? Even in 1989, Tim Burton’s Batman had more gloom (not just because of the Gothic scenery) and social criticism than any random Marvel cinema, and this has steadily escalated over the years.
Many have blamed the DC film universe, the biggest flaw in the DCEU, for clinging to a dark mood, and in some cases it didn’t really work. I don’t think you want to drama a League of Truth movie, don’t turn into a melancholy with a team cinema with so many colorful characters. I think Aquaman or Shazam is good precisely because he threw away that cramped attachment, and because to be cheerful and humorous so that their title characters demanded it, because we also knew them as just such characters on the pages of comics.
Batman and Joker, however, are different, if they started spinning the joke wheel with them, it would probably be all viewers running out of the cinema, right.
In light of all this, it is not surprising which DC cinemas have been awarded by the profession, nor is it any wonder that these films have performed superbly financially anyway; produced more than fifteen times the Joker’s cost of shooting (brought in $ 1.072 billion), the more modest Batman: It’s starting! and after that, the second and third parts of Nolan’s trilogy, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight – Ascension, have already crossed the $ 1 billion dream mark (even if only a little). A dramatic dramatic work imbued with some pop culture (after all, it’s still about comic book adaptations) will surely attract viewers. However, there is a much easier way (imagine the size quotes again here) and, more importantly for the production studio, a much more lucrative way.
The Marvel recipe
Since 2008, the Marvel film universe has surprised its fans with a total of 23 comic book movies, this year that number will rise to 25 with the Black Widow and the Eternal. However, they can’t really boast more serious accolades. Most of Marvel’s films were nominated solely for technical awards, breaking all world records with a total of $ 2.797 billion in Revenge: Endgame received a single nomination at the 2020 Oscar for Best Visual Effects and was also taken away from it in 1917. The exception was Marvel Of the offerings, only the Black Panther counts, which also won three Oscar statuettes, all of which were awarded in technical categories, but were also nominated for the Best Film Award, which in itself is a huge accolade. Let’s face it, it’s hard to judge the true weight of the film as a European man, and the Oscar is still an American awards ceremony. American viewers have a completely different attitude towards this cinema (it is no accident that they earned the majority of their revenue, exactly 52% exclusively in the USA) than, say, we Hungarians.
The average Marvel cinema is in almost every way a sharp contrast to the Oscar recipe we dissected earlier.
Ordinary spectators, on the other hand, are not put together like members of the Academy. The genre of superhero film is an epoch-making trend, as in the past, action movies, and before that western adventures, attracted everyone to cinemas and TV screens. Now we just want to stare at superheroes, and what else should we relax than that Hulk slaps everyone in the face, Iron Man goes a little cool, Thor steals women’s hearts, Captain America serves as a moral compass, Black Widow men don’t remain indifferent, Hawk .. is there with the others. Obviously I’m a little wicked right now, but just look at this for me just because I don’t reveal a big secret to the fact that I love these movies myself. They lined up here on DVD and Blu-ray, I watched them countless times, and if I saw one of them not in a press screening, I rushed to the cinema for it the first day. It’s off, spectacular, and most importantly endlessly fun for almost all of them. Not incidentally, they have built a cohesive cinematic universe with them that has never been seen before, and I especially love that, with the little little pointers, carefully placed connection points, and of course the comic flashes that can take me by the pound. And see a miracle, many millions of people think in part or in whole the same way as I do.
And I would turn back to the fact that although I really like DC comics, I prefer to read Marvel at home in the evenings. This is also the case with movies. I was very impressed with the Joker, I think it’s a brilliant film, but stick with it: I won’t watch it too many times again, at most if I rarely crave a movie experience that’s specifically like that, because other people’s sufferings (even if only on the screen) aren’t necessarily enjoyable again and again. to look back.
So let’s face it, DC isn’t better or worse than Marvel film (as is Marvel or DC comics), and at the same time, the tastes and needs of the Academy and the ordinary viewer are no more important or poorer, they’re just quite different. There’s a movie that Uncle Oscar is knocking on, and there’s one for which the world’s money is given away by cinema visitors. It is clear which one is which.