Comics Creators

Box Office Mojo


If you have to ask the question…


What makes the Avengers model so successful isn’t any kind of narrative momentum, the fact that each movie somehow inherently links to each other, because by and large they don’t, even within related movies, with some exceptions. It’s that each movie tells a complete story (again, with some exceptions). What makes them work cumulatively is that there’s also the awareness that they do exist, demonstrably, in a shared universe, and obviously we just saw them heavily collide. But even Infinity War is a stand-alone movie to a certain extent. It’s Thanos setting about and accomplishing something. You don’t need to have seen any of the previous movies to understand him, but it helps to appreciate his opposition.

What DC massively miscalculated was that audiences want the big moments as soon as possible. In Star Wars you can do a big moment every movie, as long as it can conclude two movies later. In James Bond you can have a big crisis every time. In the Fast & Furious shared universe, once you have the whole team assembled it’s really the same thing as it is for the Avengers, finding that relevant story to the team’s narrative. DC kept putting the focus mainly on Superman, so it seemed odd to continue throwing a bunch of other superheroes at their stories, unless one of them (Wonder Woman) happens to get a genuinely separate, inspiring movie of her own. And the Universal Monsters gig, that was doomed to ridicule from the start, an obvious attempt to throw everyone at the screen without any narrative reason to care. Merely having Tom Cruise at the center and casting a bunch of famous faces around him…To make that work, Cruise would’ve had to be the mummy, not the guy chasing it. Make him unexpectedly sympathetic, relevant.

Robert Downey Jr. created an Iron Man whose appeal had very little to do with the armor because of that armor, the fact that as cool as the armor looks we don’t really get to see Downey in it; it covers his whole face. So he had to be, as Tony Stark, charming enough so we wouldn’t care, charismatic enough so that he wasn’t just another superhero but a guy we liked to watch outside of the armor, too. And boom! instantly you had a new dynamic, a new template. Whether you knew about these characters previously or not, you were going to care about them because they were presented in an entirely new light. And of course all of this drew on the original ‘60s model, where unlike at DC if you wanted to see them team up it was the Justice League or Superman and Batman or nothing at all (except Brave and the Bold), while at Marvel you could randomly see superheroes coming across each other all the time. And eventually in the movies you can have cool things like future Avengers show up, or Ragnarok, with a whole bonus hero bundled directly into the story, not to sell a concept but because it’s possible, and it feels completely natural.

But it always returns to those solo adventures. Short of recruiting uncanny or fantastic replacements, the Avengers seem to be giving way to the solo movies as the driving force after next year. It’s worked really well so far.


Let’s be honest, we would think less of you if you didn’t.

When the movie was over, did you tell the children what Groot’s last words meant? Doing that would have really sent them over the edge.


I don’t agree with that. Marvel only had 5 movies before Avengers and Hulk barely counts. DC had 4 before Justice League. The rush wasn’t very different like the internet narrative suggest. They’d also had a trilogy of Batman movies just before this new wave, something Marvel didn’t have to worry about.

DC just made some unsatisfying movies. And the internet went to town on them, something they couldn’t turn around. You could tell the exact moment Warners lost their market, it sounded like a neck snapping.



Rather than Justice League I think a lot of people consider BvS as DC’s attempt to ape the Avengers formula, given that it unites Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman as well as featuring loads of other cameos like Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman.

Given that it only had Man of Steel to set it up (and MoS didn’t feel like it functioned as a setup for a shared universe like even the earliest MCU films did), I think that’s why it felt forced and rushed to a lot of people.


But even Batman v Superman counts as rushing ahead, and that was the second one. It’s a classic comics story, but as a movie, as the second movie of a series, and the introduction of this particular Batman, it asks too much.

I get that the general response to DCEU movies is that they’re either hard to like (Man of Steel) or terrible (everything else), and so their relative or perceived box office failure is earned. I have a different take on the quality, but I won’t talk about that again.

I do think the less you ask of an audience, the better the response. If all you give them is something cool, a spectacle, that doesn’t have any egregious moments ripe for ridicule (whether deserved or not), you get a free pass. You can even look at something like Blade Runner 2049. That was a movie I know was popular here, but for audiences at large, it just asked too much, and really its appeal was already limited, so there weren’t a ton of people going out of their way to see and/or criticize its choices. So the result was a pretty small box office, and it’s still generally thought well of.


Iron Man 2 combined Black Widow and Iron Man. Thor combined Thor and Hawkeye. The internet narrative is implementing double standards in the Marvel vs DC comparison, but then it’s eager to shit on DC and praise Marvel.


Except Iron Man didn’t fight Black Widow, Thor didn’t fight Hawkeye.


Well, that will happen when one company’s product is generally shit and the other’s is generally praiseworthy…


Yeah that’s a bit of a false equivalency. Hawkeye is a glorified cameo in Thor and Black Widow is a supporting character who has less screen time than Happy or Pepper. The stars of Thor and Ironman 2 are Thor and Ironman while Batman and Superman are the clear co-stars of BvS.


It’s not that much of a false equivalency though…

I mean, imagine for a second that the MCU hadn’t happened… and we happened to get MoS and then BvS, without the MCU as a reference for wether “it was rushed” or not… would people still think that?

Probably not. Also, non-nerds might not even see it that way tbh…

MoS & BvS are long and difficult movies, sure, but a lot of the comparaison areguments don’t really work because they’re nerd-narratives. I mean, it’s okay for us to nitpick that kind of stuff to death, but let’s also have some perspective =P


Saying Marvel deliberately playedit slow is crazy. As soon as they saw Iron Man was a hit they put their production companies into high gear. That takes 3 years. Now they’re releasing a movie every 3-4 months.


People didn’t like those though. It was obvious at the time that Hawkeye parts of Thor were completely superfluous, and Black Widow wasn’t used well in Iron Man 2 at all. Until she got that set piece where she beat up a bunch of guys in Avengers, she wasn’t well-received at all.


Nah, a film with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg in it feels a lot more like an attempt to do a Justice League level story than the Black Widow and Iron Man team-up feels like an Avengers one. They’re not on the same scale at all.

As for Hawkeye, a lot of people who watch Thor still don’t realise he’s in it. :smile:


Nah that’s double standards… in BvS the 2 mains are Batman & Superman… it’s there in the title… WW has about as much screen time (or less) than Black Widow in IM2… the rest are just quick cameos.

Anyways, the amount of characters is not important… It seems Warner was going for the reverse MCU in that they were planning on doing JL first, then spin off from there, instead of build on the solo movies first.

Thing is, people just didn’t give it a chance because they said “oh they’re trying to rush a Marvel”, when you could argue they were not really (though to be fair the JL computer files was a stupid idea).


I think the conversation probably isn’t really going anywhere because the Avengers/BvS/Justice League comparison is apples and oranges really. I also don’t think it’s particularly illuminating in terms of what we’re talking about here.

BvS may not have been a full-blown Justice League film but it was clearly a lot more than just a regular solo superhero movie, and also clearly showed DC’s intent to jump into a full-on shared universe as soon as possible.

Whereas Marvel built it up more cautiously with more minor team-ups, and kept their powder dry (in terms of bringing together their big solo-movie heroes) for Avengers.

I don’t think any of this is particularly controversial or disputed.

I wonder if the half-measure of BvS was part of the problem for Justice League, regardless of the films’ quality. If Marvel had put out a “dawn of Avengers” movie with just Iron Man and Thor and maybe a few scenes of them finding and defrosting Captain America, before building up to Avengers, it would have rather blown the novelty, and I doubt either would have got the kind of rapturous response Avengers did.


I think you guys are also missing the point of the single-film experiences of the Avengers movies, where DCEU kept assuming you knew and and wanted more of the last one. And even on that score, the fact that DCEU made any appreciable money out of all these mostly unwanted sequels is astounding given that they keep getting rejected for one reason or another. They’re some of the most lucrative flops in film history.

The fact that the Avengers movies keep their stories pretty self-contained means each movie can make as much or as little, relatively speaking, as it does without rattling the concept of all of them seeming like a hit concept, and they can either be warmly received or not without affecting each other, because the next movie is doing its own thing rather than depending on what you thought of the last one. The next movie literally stars someone different every time. The only time they had back-to-back was Iron Man and Iron Man 2, and even then technically there was Incredible Hulk between them. And tellingly the second and third movies in this three-film sequence were not well-received. If the fourth and fifth and sixth in this sequence hadn’t been First Avenger, Thor, Avengers, we wouldn’t even be talking about an MCU. It was the quick transition into different properties and the promise of that first payoff that made everything work out as well as it did. And even then, if Avengers hadn’t worked, you still at that point had a legacy of really only one movie that had true breakout status (Iron Man), and the rest of them existed on the back of a nonexistent behemoth. Then Avengers puts all the toys together and there are a lot of funny moments, and MCU becomes something else entirely. Iron Man 3 is bulletproof despite widespread complaints, and the existing framework drops into a comfortable and lucrative routine.


Yeah, they moved forward at a pretty breakneck speed. I think the reason it looks slow and meticulous is that they made everything reasonably loose and fluid enough to back pedal if something went wrong.

Six or seven years ago they were manoeuvring towards Inhumans… They moved forward in such a way, though, that as soon as they realised that was a road to failure, the snaking, ever-modulating plan shifted away from that. At another point, GOTG’s success meant the snake shifted towards the cosmic a lot harder and fsster than I’m sure they were considering after the success of Iron Man.

Marvel take so much more into account outside of what Warner would see as relevent. If Warner had the same fluid, forward thinking, we would already be seeing a Harley Quinn film, Lobo dropping and Booster Gold, probably the three properties that would out do Marvel right now in entertainment value.


By the time Avengers hit they were already at high production levels and Guardians working allowed them to expand even quicker. Count how many times since 2012 we haven’t had Thor, Cap or Stark in a movie each year. Hell, we still have people saying Civil War wasn’t an Avengers movie. Disney have done great in controlling the Internet narrative, and I’ve mentioned before that they’ve Stan Lee’d Feige into this mythical movie genius. They even dog Thor 2 so everyone has something to knock.