Comic books have been around since the 1920s when many iconic characters were created such as Batman, Captain America and Spiderman. Hollywood continues to have a unique relationship with these characters through film and television.
The two biggest comic book publishers, Marvel and DC, have been splitting fans for years. When live-action movies based on characters from each company started to be released, fans became even more divided on a never-ending battle of which one is superior.
DC produced two Superman movies in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Batman had two successful outings with “Batman” and “Batman Returns” only to be followed by the panned “Batman and Robin.” It was then questioned if the comic book genre could work on the big screen.
Then, in the year 2000, director Bryan Singer’s “X-Men” was released. Its success inspired confidence for more superhero films to be released.
After the commercial success of “X-Men,” the floodgates opened. Three very successful “Spiderman” movies were made, two X-Men sequels were released and Hollywood created a multitude of films featuring popular Marvel characters such as The Hulk, Daredevil, The Punisher and The Fantastic Four.
While all of these films were based on comic book properties, there was something missing. In 2008, Marvel Studios released “Iron Man” characters and as a result, created the Marvel cinematic universe.
One small after-credit scene would later create The Avengers, which became wildly popular. It surpassed the $1 billion mark, which made it the third-highest grossing film of all-time.
DC rebooted Batman through director Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, which was financially successful. The company is trying its cinematic universe with plans for “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” in 2016.
Both Marvel and DC saw the potential of this genre to the extent that both studios planned their films into 2020. There are more than 40 DC and Marvel-based movies being released in the next six years.
Queens College freshman Jorge Vaelasquez believes that one of the most important things about these films is making them real.
“Marvel had an up period and then a down period but now they’re coming back up with their movies because they are making it seem as if these things can actually exist in this world,” Vaelasquez said.
There is much excitement surrounding Marvel and DC films such as “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Justice League Part I and II.” Having those planned years in advance is both good and bad. The positive side is the announcements build momentum years in advance. On the other hand, audiences may experience comic book movie fatigue.
Sophomore Claude Noriega believes this is a problem and should be avoided.
“After a while, [the movies] all start to look the same with the same story structure and style, which is not a bad style but it starts to feel a little overdone,” Noriega said.
There is one way of avoiding this problem. It starts with deciding who is in charge of the project.
“I think they really just need to focus on making sure the best filmmakers possible are brought in to really keep the momentum going,” Noriega said.
Marvel recently hired many directors who are familiar with the source material. They have directors such as James Gunn and Joss Whedon. DC did the same by hiring Zack Snyder to direct “Justice League.”
The sudden explosion of comic book films to the mainstream audiences has brought nerd culture into the public eye.
“I like that nerd culture and comic book culture is seeing a rise from stuff that no one wanted to talk about and was supposed to just stay among its basements,” Francisco Lakoz, junior, said.
Marvel and DC fans around the world should end their years of debating and simply enjoy. It could not be a better time to be a comic book fan.