Why is DC so far behind Marvel in terms of movies?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by The Overlord, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    See the problem with that is, when DC was at its height, they only had one franchise going on and several DC franchises have never been adapted to film.

    From 1978 to 1987 it was just Superman related films and that is it.

    From 1989 to 1997, it was mainly just Batman films, the main exception being Steel.

    We still have not seen a Flash movie or a Wonder Woman movie. Pretty well every major Marvel character has gotten a movie and now Ant Man and Guardians of the Galaxy are getting movies before Flash and Wonder Woman. That is the problem I have, even when DC was on top, they did nothing with a lot of characters, just focusing on their two big franchises.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Maybe, but the point is that making blanket judgments based on the current state of affairs is unwise, because there's no telling what's fundamental and what's just a temporary convergence of factors. I'm using the example of the past as a cautionary tale about perceptions -- because if you'd asked anyone back then which comics company fared better in movie adaptations, nobody would've thought Marvel had a clue. And a lot of people no doubt mistook that contemporary state of affairs for a universal, eternal truth, because people often fail to consider the big picture and realize how much things can change in the course of a decade or two.
     
  3. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Major by CW standards, maybe, but while I haven't seen the show, would it be fair to say that Starling City is more or less TDK's Gotham?



    Ah, but you don't need modern CG effects to do a Batman or Superman movie. (Which, correct me if I'm wrong, were the only live-action successes DC movies had before our modern era.)

    But how do you show Spider-Man swinging through skyscraper canyons without CG? How do you show the Iron Man suit blasting around and firing rockets without CG? How do you make a ten-foot, photoreal Hulk share a poignant moment with a human costar without CG? How do you do epic mutant-on-mutant battles without CG? You just don't, not in live action, at least.

    You may say it's a coincidence that Marvel movies started getting good pretty much exactly when the technology to do their characters justice became available. But I think it's just as likely that, Supes and Bats aside, modern CG created a fair playing field... and that's exactly why Marvel movies are making DC look like the guys the Harlem Globetrotters run circles around. ;)
     
  4. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    Maybe I am just spoiled by the last decade, but I still think its a huge shame that a lot important DC franchises have not gotten movies yet. Since the new millennium, pretty well every major Marvel character has been adapted to the Silver Screen and DC has allowed some its major players to be sidelined.

    So even when DC was on top, it wasn't like they took as many chances as Marvel did in the last decade, it was just one or two characters and that is it. There is still no Wonder Woman or Flash movie announced. I know there was some growing pains in terms of super hero movies developed and Superman I was a trail blazer that was necessary for a lot of the modern super hero movies, but I would look more fondly upon DC's "golden age of films" if it was more then just one or two characters.

    There is still tons of concepts that could make for good films, just not being used and have never been used, its a waste.


    See I think it have been possible to do a Flash or Wonder Woman movie before CGI, their powers are very straight forward. I think WB trying to create a cinematic DCU and using Green Lantern to launch it was a mistake, they have gone with someone who was easier to adapt.
     
  5. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    I've never seen the word "dud" applied to a financially successful film that had a spin-off. "Disappointment" perhaps, but "dud"?!?
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Umm, yeah, that's pretty much my point: that Arrow is an attempt to do a Nolan-style superhero show for television.


    Like too many people today, you're giving CG far too much credit, and forgetting how much great stuff filmmakers in the past were able to do using miniatures, stop motion, cel animation, live stunt work, and other techniques. Keep in mind that the Marc Webb Amazing Spider-Man relied less on CGI and more on practical stunt work than the Raimi films did. Superman 2 did an awesome hero-villain battle without a trace of computer intervention. RoboCop 2 did some fantastic action sequences for a hero in metallic armor using stop-motion intercut with live stunt work. The 1990 The Flash television series used the cutting-edge video effects and motion control technology of the day to do some pretty impressive renderings of the Flash's speed.


    Green Lantern had CG out the wazoo, but that didn't make it a better movie. Come on, we've known for generations that cutting-edge special effects won't save a movie if the story and characters aren't engaging.


    The word "dud" has long been a slang synonym for failure in many contexts. It has never been limited exclusively to financial failure. It originally meant a person in ragged clothing (as in "duds"), then evolved to mean something fake and shoddy, then to mean something useless or ineffectual, and in World War I it began to be used to refer to an unexploded shell or missile, leading to its current vernacular meaning of a costly failure of any sort.

    So a critical failure can be called a dud as well as a box-office failure or indeed any kind of failed undertaking in any context whatsoever.
     
  7. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    While its reviews were decidedly mixed, Daredevil wasn't a critical failure either, at least according to Metacritic, and assuming that "critical failure" means overwhelmingly negative reviews, just to set the record straight.
     
  8. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Don't shoot the messenger, hombre. I'd love to see those techniques employed a lot more, but I don't think compositing in a miniature stop-motion Hulk would have produced the kind of ticket purchases CG has.



    Uh... no. The main villain was CGI, remember? And the fact that Webb used more stunt work than Raimi doesn't change the fact that he needed modern CG, including a digital map of NYC built in part by the earlier productions, and that he wouldn't have been able to make nearly the same movie around the time Burton made his Bat-flicks.



    But amigo, that's exactly my point! CG was available to both Marvel and DC for space/earth superhero origin stories in 2011's Thor and Green Lantern, and the critical and financial winner was clear.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I still say you're giving CG too much credit. There were still awesome special effects in the days before CG. Audiences today might find the FX in older movies inadequate, but audiences at the time, including myself, found them truly impressive and spectacular. Granted, a lot of things would've been harder to do, a lot of FX and action sequences would've had to be somewhat more limited than they could be now, but the movies would work around that. Frankly, modern CGI often makes it too easy for filmmakers to take FX sequences to the level of excess, to the detriment of the story. Limitations are often a good thing for the creative process.

    I think the Hulk could've been done pre-CG with animatronics and prosthetics, and stop-motion for the bigger action stuff like huge leaps and tossing tanks. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen did its Hulk-like Mr. Hyde with prosthetics, only using digital effects to increase the actor's apparent size. Good prosthetic makeup can be amazingly convincing. And it has the advantage over CG of actually being physically real and occupying its environment. (I once went to a museum exhibit of special effects, and one of the displays was a Rick Baker-created ape mask from Greystoke or some such film, and in repose it looked uncannily lifelike, even up close and in person.) The transformations would've been harder to do, but they'd probably have fallen back on the tried-and-true techniques of cutting between closeups. Baker did some impressive work with prosthetic transformations in An American Werewolf in London, Wolf, and other projects.

    CGI makes special effects easier, lets them be taken farther. That doesn't mean they're impossible without it.
     
  10. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    To be fair, there was a live-action FLASH television series launched immediately in the wake of the 1989 BATMAN movie. And BIRDS OF PREY and THE HUMAN TARGET and LOIS & CLARK and, of course, ten years (!) of SMALLVILLE. And now ARROW.

    Granted, those were TV, not movies, but it's not as though DC was letting the rest of its list go fallow. They just seemed to be focusing more on the small screen than the big one.

    (And how many live-action Marvel TV shows were there during that period?)
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Greg's right. Marvel may be doing better in movies, but for a generation, DC has had the decided advantage on television, both in live action and animation. In the past 30 years, Marvel's live-action TV output has consisted of three revival movies of the Bixby/Ferrigno Hulk, two of which were failed backdoor pilots; more failed pilots for Generation X, Power Pack, Nick Fury, and Man-Thing; a lame Glen Larson series based on Malibu's NightMan; the mediocre X-Men knockoff Mutant X; and the short-lived Blade: The Series.

    In the same period, in addition to the seven shows Greg mentioned (there were actually two versions of Human Target), DC's live-action output has also included the syndicated Superboy and Swamp Thing series, as well as several unaired pilots (JLA, Global Frequency, Aquaman, Wonder Woman).
     
  12. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    One little problem, I think generally super heroes don't work on the small screen and I think most of those shows were garbage.

    Really Flash and Birds of Prey didn't last past one season, Smallville was pretty and it had the reverse problem, it went on way too long to the point that Clark faced and defeated most of his rogues gallery before becoming Superman.

    The problem with live action super hero TV shows, it seems they have to make things less epic and more mundane just to make things work on a TV budget, that's why we got that lame smoke demon Darkseid on Smallville.

    I think if they tried to X-Men on the small screen, it would end being like the Mutant X TV show, if they tried to do Justice League on the small screen, it would end up like the Justice League TV movie from 1997. Arrow is okay, but that is its more straight forward concept, no one really has any super powers, so its easier to make that stuff work on a TV budget.

    I would rather see a Flash movie and Wonder Woman movie, then another attempt at a Flash TV show and Wonder Woman TV show, especially after that bad Wonder Woman pilot.

    Frankly I even think the cartoon shows based on super heroes generally do a better job at capturing the spirit of the comics then the live action TV shows.
     
  13. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    60 year old Charles Xavier wanted to shtup his 16 year old student Jean Grey (issue One, page one. It happened.). Charles repressed these feelings until the pressure of all that resentiment, that he was too classy to be a paedophile manifested (Split personality, you dig?) into the Omega Level threat "Onslaught".

    The first time I saw the cartoon, in 1980, my first magnicient utterance was "Holly shit! That fucker can talk! I thought Spidey was mute!"
     
  14. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    It's great, though, especially for a kids cartoon. It's where my knowledge came from as well. It's faithful to the comic and successfully captures its themes and characters. I would even go so far (as off topic as this is) to recommend that you check it out.
     
  15. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You just have to get through the first season and wait for their stupid made up character which the focus groups declared that the kids would swell around dies.
     
  16. Nightowl1701

    Nightowl1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Sorry, I should have clarified that. I was referring to the whole "Flashpoint/New 52" mess where they rebooted the whole DC comic universe itself (and totally botched it).
     
  17. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    So what was Fantastic Four's excuse for Galactus? ;)
     
  18. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    Incompetent screen writers and the fact that Fox is kinda of cheap? Its not like Galactus would have been better on a TV budget. Don't get me wrong putting a comic book in movie form doesn't in of itself make it truer to the comic, but from my experience the movies tend to be truer to the spirit of the comics then the live action TV shows.

    This many not be a fair comparison, but I don't think Smallville ever came as close to capturing the spirit of the comics as the first two Superman movies did. Plus Smoke Demon Darkseid is almost as bad cloud Galactus.
     
  19. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You make a good point though, Marvel have 'spun' their characters well.

    Mind you, I'd rather try to sell even Antman over The Martian Manhunter or Hawkman...
     
  20. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I'm the complete opposite here, I really that TV would be a better home for superheroes. You might not have as much of the spectacle, but it would give you more time to really display the depth and history of the characters, and the universes that they inhabit.
    As for why Marvel has been more successful than DC, I really think they've been lucky enough to get people who seem to have a better handle on the characters than DC has.
    I love the Nolan Batman movies, but even they aren't really that great of a representation of the Batman comics. Sure the comics do have more realistic characters like Joker and Two-Face, but they also have fantastic characters like Clayface, Poison Ivy, and Man-Bat.