The comparison continues! With three successful Marvel films, (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Spiderman: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok) and two lauded DC films (Wonder Woman and Justice League) this year, the superhero universe experienced an all-time high.
2017 is finally coming to an end — carrying forward superhero storylines from previous years — and it proved to be a good year for both DC and Marvel comic-based cinematic universes. While 2016 can be credited for opening the gates for several other stories, 2017 can be called the first step into a whole new world.
From Spider-Man finally coming home to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), to Wonder Woman‘s spectacular debut breaking all records – superhero fans weren’t disappointed by either of the cinematic universes at large.
As the year ends, let’s compare the two cinematic universes to find out who owned the league this year.
Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2
Star-Lord and his team of rogues returned to save the galaxy, this time from Star-Lord’s own father – Ego. The open-ended and notorious franchise of the Marvel Universe took a soft, emotional turn in its sequel as blood-relations came to light and new families were formed. The fact that the film defies its own league of righteous superheroes, the Guardians are trouble-makers in a safe world while saviors in a troubled one. This oxymoron-ish placement of Star-Lord and his team makes this franchise a delight and thus was the perfect opener for superhero year. The series is also a necessary piece of the puzzle that will complete the Avengers’ final war with the ultimate evil, Thanos. With an important storyline, weaving in the future of Marvel’s Avengers, and some ruffian action courtesy Star-lord, Gamora, Drax and Rocket along with Nebula, and Mantis, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2 proved to be a fool-proof action-adventure. The film opened with a terrific response across the world and ruled the box-office for nearly a month.
She won our hearts with her debut appearance in the DC Cinematic Universe film Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, while in Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot bowled the critics as well as the fans. Gal Gadot’s portrayal of the daughter of Zeus, Diana Princess of Themyscira was one of the best performances of the year and Patty Jenkins’ direction gave it all the edge it required. A female superhero film without a male-perspective presented the feminist icon with full justification. The film achieved a milestone with its $ 100 million debuts, something no female-superhero film ever managed to do. Jenkins and Gadot surely broke the glass ceiling in the Heroverse with a well-intentioned, critically and commercially successful Wonder Woman.
Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield passed on their Spidey legacy to Marvel, which welcomed the web-slinging superhero back into their cinematic universe. Spiderman’s return to MCU won the votes of the critics and fans alike. Sassier, funnier, nerdier and a lot more relaxed than his predecessors, Tom Holland in a Spider suit was what a 15-year old superhero should be. We liked him when he snatched Captain America’s shield from his hands in Civil War, but fell in love with his awkwardness and naivety in the spin-off. This Spiderman had swag and that was the reason that film opened huge on the box-office with $257 million debut collection worldwide.
Now, this can be called as the game changer for Marvel this year. Giving a refreshing comic twist to the most lethargic solo series of an Avenger, Thor: Ragnarok, not only revived the forgotten series, but also joined the lighter yet impactful side of action. The short-haired Thor appealed to the eyes and the easy conversational humor just made this inter-terrestrial biblical story bearable. What worked most for the film were cameos from the Hulk, Doctor Strange and a few leftover bits of Tony Stark’s wardrobe. And while it’s not saying much, Thor: Ragnarok is easily the best of the three Thor movies, because it was relatable, neatly presented and full of fun. The film was also one of the best openers of the year and has earned more than $800 million till now.
What was supposed to be DC’s answer to Marvel’s Avengers and the one to carry on the success baton lit by Wonder Woman, Justice League fell short of it all. Though way more engaging and entertaining than its predecessor Dawn of Justice as well as spin-off Suicide Squad, the film had all the potential but the grandeur which was promised never showed up in an expected manner. Justice League lies somewhere between Dawn of Justice and ceiling-breaker (of notions and box-office) Wonder Woman. The film appeared like an act of franchise penance. It gathered up around half a dozen comic-book immortals and let them figure out the threat and form a team with bombastic action and old-school ‘great men’ humor. The superhero team-up had the lowest opening weekend of Warner Bros’ DCEU. Finishing its run in the neighborhood of $675 million would make Justice League the second-lowest earner of the DCEU, trailing just ahead of Man of Steel.
What started as a great year courtesy Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and DC’s Wonder Woman remained great until the end. The only hiccup being DC’s multi-starrer Justice League. To be fair, even the lowest wasn’t bad, and in fact, marked a good improvement from its predecessors. Now, if only makers in DC-verse let Wonder Woman and Patty Jenkins take charge and produce something entertaining and impactful. Till then, Marvel continues to lead the way.
Marvel- 3, DC- 1