This Friday Warner Brothers Pictures will release their latest sucker punch in the boxing match between DC and Marvel comic based films: “Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Since the release of Marvel’s “the Avengers” back in 2012 – which earned Disney Studios a record breaking amount – and the subsequent release of “Guardians of the Galaxy” a few years later, Marvel has been able to write its own ticket; Marvel Studios took some longshot risks, which paid off big and instantly pushed them to a frontrunner position. They have not only mastered the ensemble movies, they have audiences to go out on any far-fetched limb they say. Theatergoers willfully follow Marvel films throughout any suspension of disbelief, and then cheer for more. Meanwhile, other big budget studios – primarily DC Entertainment – have been breaking their backs in trying to play catch-up to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), seeing interconnected superhero movies as the new fountain of financial youth. Even though Warner Brothers has been producing DC superhero films since 1978, longer than Disney and way before Marvel studios was conceived, they too quickly have been bumped down to a mere sidekick role in the exploding golden age of comic book movies.
Columbia Pictures started off as the primary studio sporting comic book movies, with serials of Batman, Superman and The Phantom. Following the unignorably success of “Star Wars” in 1977, Warner Brothers bought in to release “Superman” starring Christopher Reeve. All the way up through the 1990s, Warner Brothers was the undisputed champ for superhero films (considering these films were not nearly as big of a draw back then). They released Tim Burton’s “Batman” in 1989, and that remained in consideration as the best comic book movie for over a decade. After the somewhat-surprise success of “X-Men” in 2000, multiple studios and distributions starting buying up rights to comic book franchises. Warner Brothers seemed to get lost in the scramble, and came out with only two superhero movies between then and 2005: “Daredevil” and “Catwoman” – Marvel and DC respectfully, both of which were not given the serious consideration other studios were putting into their scripts at the time (or trying to). Probably sick of falling behind, WB coined the “reboot” and put a ton of effort into something they had already produced; they struck hard with “Batman Begins.” “Batman Begins” really set the precedent for how superhero films would be from there on out. Their celebrating did not last too long though. The newly formed Marvel Studios released “Iron Man” in 2008, the first installment of a cinematic universe. DC Entertainment and Marvel Studios have really been in a slug match since then, each one pushing out the next big thing.
In a somewhat ironic perception, “Batman Vs Superman” is the perfect display of what has become of mainstream cinema: Two titans with extraordinary powers and impossible gadgets battling it out for superiority. With this, DC Entertainment intends to challenge Marvel for their ensemble title.
“Batman Vs Superman” opens this Friday.