With the year being about half way over, we have seen both Marvel and DC release their big movies of the year. Both Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, and DC’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice have been highly anticipated by fans of both comic book companies. Sadly however, Dawn of Justice’s release did very little in terms of wowing fans. It was heavily criticized by both the audience and critics with the movie scoring a mere 27% on Rotten Tomatoes, while Civil War has been generally well received with the movie scoring over 90% by the same outlet. You may be thinking, what’s the point of mentioning this?
Both Dawn of Justice and Civil War are different films, but both share similar themes of security and freedom. In Dawn of Justice, Batman views Superman as a threat to the public that needs to be controlled. In Civil War, with the recent actions of the heroes, the government wants to keep a leash on the Avengers due to the havoc and destruction they bring. Iron Man is on board with keeping governmental control over the Avengers while Captain America believes that the Avengers’ independence from governmental influence is crucial.
The desire for security and the reason for it is represented well in both films. In Dawn of Justice, Batman’s concern over Superman is understandable. The level of destruction he is capable of and the lack of control over him are all worthy concerns. This animosity towards Superman from both Batman and the government is seen throughout the movie and tension builds up toward the final conflict between the two heroes.
In Civil War, the initial conflict between Captain America and Iron Man is hostile but not violent. This, however, changes as the story progresses and the conflict becomes more severe and violent. Though both films did a good job in portraying the themes, I believe that Civil War did a better job due to the breakdown of both Captain America and Iron Man’s relationship. We have seen these characters in countless films, and have seen their friendship grow because of it. At the start of the film we slowly begin to see that friendship break until the final section of the film, where that strained relationship is completely broken.
With Dawn of Justice, from the very start of the film, Batman was out for blood. He had no prior connection to Superman and as such, had no reason to be sympathetic. This execution of conflict would have been okay if the movie focused more on the development of Superman’s character. One of my biggest gripes was Superman’s inactivity with the plot. He barely did much in terms of communication with other characters and mainly just stood there when he was on screen.
I also believe what heavily impacted the development of Superman’s character was the forced introductions of other heroes. The main purpose for Wonder Woman’s character in the film was to speed up the process for the Justice League movie. This becomes even more apparent with the random and abrupt introductions for the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. These cameos were unnecessary and these characters had no impact on the plot of the film.
Civil War also features random superhero cameos, but these heroes played a part in the film. Spider-Man’s introduction into the film was random but his character was well used. His purpose in the movie is seen when Iron Man needs additional heroes to capture Captain America. I wished the film did a better job with the introduction of his character, but it is somewhat understandable because of the hoops Marvel had to go through to get his character in the film from Sony, who has the film rights for the character. With the final teaser at the end of the film, we get to more of Marvel’s Spider-Man and see his character fleshed out.
Again, the reason why I am comparing these two films is due to the similarities and how DC is trying to have a presence in the superhero film genre. If they really want to compete with Marvel, they can’t rush it. Dawn of Justice was a disappointment due to how obviously they are trying to rush the development of their universe. They should follow Marvel’s example, and expand their universe with movies for each character and develop them, so the audience has a sense of connection. It makes it more memorable that way, and it doesn’t feel cheap and rushed because of it. What is the point of catching up with Marvel, if the way you do it feels sloppy and mediocre?