Mark Millar’s Theory On Why Marvel Films Work And DC’s Don’t

Mark MillarIn a recent interview with Yahoo, Mark Millar threw in his own theory as to why Marvel films work and DC films do not.

In the interview, Yahoo asked the 48-year-old writer why DC has yet to match Marvel’s success in the films. According to him, the characters aren’t cinematic:

“I think it’s really simple. The characters aren’t cinematic. And I say [that] as a massive DC fan who much prefers their characters to Marvel’s. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are some of my favorites but I think these characters, with the exception of Batman, they aren’t based around their secret identity. They are based around their super power. Whereas the Marvel characters tend to be based around the personality of Matt Murdock or Peter Parker or the individual X-Men, it’s all about the character. DC, outside of Batman, is not about the character. With Batman, you can understand him and you can worry about him but someone like Green Lantern, he has this ring that allows him to create 3D physical manifestations and green plasma with the thoughts in his head but he’s allergic to the color yellow! How do you make a movie with that? In 1952 that made perfect sense but now the audience have no idea what that’s all about.”

He continued knowing full well what people might think of him after this:

“People will slam me for this but I think the evidence is there. We’ve seen great directors, great writers and great actors, tonnes of money thrown at them, but these films aren’t working. I think they are all too far away from when they were created. Something feels a little old about them, kids look at these characters and they don’t feel that cool. Even Superman, I love Superman, but he belongs to an America that doesn’t exist anymore. He represents 20th Century America and I think he peaked then.”

Ouch! From the sound of things, Mark Millar has dismissed the idea of DC having successful films outside Batman altogether. It is worth noting, however, that not everything he has said in this interview is entirely accurate. Green Lantern’s weaknesses have since been revised to make it more emotional based and DC stories just as often revolve around the man vs the mask conflict as Marvel. While Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Justice League and Green Lantern were critical disappointments, last year’s Wonder Woman became the highest grossing origin story film of all time.

It’s also worth noting that Superman has been successfully adapted into a film at least twice before and that DC’s characters have enjoyed continued success on television shows.  So perhaps the problem is less with the audience and more with the films themselves.

Mark Millar is an Eisner Award-winning writer who is best known for his works that have been adapted into films. Since breaking into the comic world, Millar’s work have either been directly adapted or been the inspiration for Wanted, Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass 2, Kingsmen: The Secret Service, Fantastic Four (2015), Captain America: Civil War, Logan, and Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

Source: Yahoo!

10 Essential Superman Comics You Need To Read

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Superman DC ComicsSuperman, the quintessential superhero, seems to get a lot of guff from fans. The world’s most powerful Boy Scout can be a boring character when he’s not handled properly, but when he’s being guided by someone who truly understands him and his emotional complexities, fans should expect an amazing story.

Yeah, Superman can punch his way out of simple problems, but when the audience gets to see him think or deal with personal vulnerabilities we develop a special bond with the character. To follow someone who has to be careful about sneezing in public in case they knock someone over or can’t help his friends move furniture in case it betrays his strength can be extremely interesting.

Superman represents hope and believing in yourself. While it might seem like Superman can do anything, his stories really teach audiences that if they believe in themselves their ability to do good is unlimited. Even the world’s most powerful person has emotional problems, and to see him try to overcome his pain serves as a nice reminder that all of us are strong, no matter how low we may feel in a particular moment.

Hit Next to find out more about 10 essential Superman stories!

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  • Matias Gagliardone

    I cannot disagree with him more, the best parts about DC heroes are not their powers, and him saying that after he says he prefers them over Marvel’s strikes me as odd since it proves he doesn’t understand them.

  • mrneddles

    The reason behind the DCU struggles: Ben Affleck 85%, Will Smith 10%, the weird Sorceress dance 5%. Casting and details matter.

  • Daniel

    The comment that the DC films aren’t cinematic is baffling. To me, the MCU Marvel films look like TV movies—very flat and visually banal (the non-MCU Bryan Singer-directed X-Men films, especially X2, are the most cinematic Marvel films). The DC films—particularly those directed by Zack Snyder, Christopher Nolan, Bryan Singer, Tim Burton, Richard Donner, Patty Jenkins—feel extremely grand and cinematic and visually glorious. So that comment sounds like it’s coming from someone who doesn’t actually understand what the word “cinematic” actually means.

    When Millar says “I love Superman, but he belongs to an America that doesn’t exist anymore. He represents 20th Century America and I think he peaked then,” I don’t necessarily disagree with him. And that’s why I think the Snyder approach to the character in MoS and BvS was so brilliant. It actually updated him and made him relevant to a modern, contemporary audience. Those calling for a return to a version of the character more in line with Christopher Reeve or Curt Swan are fooling themselves. That version of the character was of its time, and that time is no longer relevant to most people in the audience.

    And that’s why the comic book version of the character struggles so much. Because DC is so cautious with their premiere property that they’ve encased him in amber and neutered him to the point of being dramatically inert. Superman in the comics hasn’t been interesting since John Byrne was writing and drawing his adventures 30 years ago. He wasn’t afraid to shake things up. He wasn’t afraid to give the character a bit of swagger. That’s what Snyder did, too. Unfortunately, the fundamentalists wouldn’t shut up, and so the really interesting version of the DCEU that Snyder and team were doing is now dead. It’s a pity.

    • Marquis de Sade

      Yeah well dceu’s b.o. performance says otherwise, huh Daniel? – Cuz the audiences of today ain’t respondin’ to Zack’s updated “WOE IS ME” version of dour superman…You need to stop floundering in that river of denial, son.

      • Daniel

        Thanks for your incredibly intelligent and well thought out response.

        • Marquis de Sade

          Hey, what can I say? – You prefer your long drawn-out pretentious pseudo-intellectual screeds, while I prefer my straight-to-point Cliff Note-like responses.

      • KungFuCthulhu

        And Zack Snyder created a three-movie story arc in which Superman becomes a superhero, faces doubt with his responsibilities, and then decides to become someone who represents the best of people. Which was the intention from the beginning. Were there places he could have done significantly better with the character? Of course. But you have to look at the whole instead of the sum of its parts.

        Box office numbers aside (which I think is a silly argument considering that Marvel had way more exposure on film in the past twenty years than DC), that’s a more interesting story arc than what Thor got in his entire trilogy, which is just a generic “becoming a king” story that Black Panther did better in a single film. (And I actually *like* the Thor movies.)

    • Matias Gagliardone

      I’m speaking for myself here so you can disagree with me but about your last point I completely disagree, Superman never was one of my favorite heroes and I didn’t think he was interesting at all until I read Rebirth, the way they’re handling his new status as a father makes him way better than he was before so I would say the modern take on Superman is actually really interesting.

  • Marquis de Sade

    Black Panther (in its second weekend) has surpassed jla’s global $657 million to the tune of $704 million! – Now that’s CINEMATIC!

  • KungFuCthulhu

    He’s saying that Marvel’s superheroes are based around secret identities, and while this is true in the comics, Spider-Man is the only one who bothers keeping his identity a secret in the movie division of the MCU. Meanwhile, none of DC’s movie superheroes have public identities, and the world at large doesn’t even know that the Justice League exists. That argument makes no sense.

    Also, the whole “Superman doesn’t represent America” anymore makes absolutely no sense when you could make the same, still-incorrect observation about Captain America, who if anything is more way more tied to the concept of being an American superhero. Mark Millar should just stick to writing shock-value comics.

  • Max Irons

    “The (DC) characters aren’t cinematic” – Mark Millar
    not “DC films aren’t cinematic is baffling” from Daniel in a comment below.

    “Marvel characters tend to be based around the personality” – Mark Millar
    not “Marvel’s superheroes are based around secret identities” from KungFuCthulhu in a comment below.

    People, try to read this more attentively before commenting.