In 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.
10 Essential Superman Comics You Need To Read
Superman, 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 (I’m looking at you Snyder), 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!