Here we are in 2016, one major comic book movie down (the brilliant Deadpool), in a year in which no less than six movies based on Marvel and DC properties will be hitting our cinema screens.
Of course, the two biggest this year are undoubtedly Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War – and it’s those two that happen to be next up for release.
Batman v Superman is just a couple of weeks away and Civil War is just a couple of months away. Inevitably, the two movies will be compared with each other – especially since Batman v Superman had its release date moved to avoid direct competition with Civil War.
In this article, we’ll take a look at ten aspects of each movie that will inevitably be compared. We’ll also look at what they will have to offer in terms of each entry on the list.
The cast management
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War will boast two of the largest ensemble casts ever seen – not just in comic book movie history, but in movie history.
Dawn of Justice will see the likes of Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Diane Lane, and Jason Momoa fighting for screen time. In Civil War, cast members Chris Evans, Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Martin Freeman, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, and William Hurt will be doing the same (note that there are far more top actors in both movies than those listed here!).
Managing such large casts will be decisive when it comes to the success of these movies, and ensuring the movies aren’t over-crammed will be essential. You do get the feeling, however, given the seemingly rushed nature of the franchise’s expansion, that the DCEU offering will come off worse in this regard.
And now for the first characters who will be compared from each movie.
Both Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War will feature multiple villains. In Batman v Superman, Lex Luthor and Doomsday will appear and, in Civil War, Crossbones and Baron Zemo will appear.
The likes of Heath Ledger’s Joker and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki have proven that villains can be every bit as popular as the heroes in superhero movies. If Luthor, Doomsday, Crossbones, and Zemo can have anything like the kind of impact those two had, Batman v Superman and/or Civil War could be even more successful than we expect them to be.
If there’s one thing the Marvel Cinematic Universe has consistently failed at, it’s the presentation of its villains. Loki and a couple of others aside, they’ve been poor. Malekith, Ronan, the Mandarin/Aldrich Killian and Whiplash, for example, have been terrible, so Batman v Superman could edge out Civil War in that regard.
Of course, the villains won’t be the only characters compared in these two movies.
Both Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War will feature an abundance of superheroes. Batman v Superman will have Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, and the Flash, while Civil War will feature Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Vision, Black Widow, and many more.
Ten years ago, if you’d said Batman and Superman were in the same movie, you’d expect that movie to thrash anything Marvel could muster up but, since then, Iron Man’s popularity has soared, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become a veritable phenomenon, and Spider-Man has joined the fray – this one will be a close-run thing.
In fact, the greater number of heroes in Civil War might just give it the edge over Batman v Superman. Either way, this particular comparison will be one that lots of people will be talking about – what a cinematic battle we have in store!
Remember though, each movie is just a part of a huge universe.
The potential for expansion
If there’s one thing that both Warner Brothers and Marvel Studios have been criticized about, it’s the way they have gone about expanding their respective comic book movie universes. In Warner Brothers’ case, they’ve been criticized for rushing their universe to catch up with Marvel; in Marvel’s case, they’ve been criticized for isolating some of their movies – e.g., Captain America: The Winter Soldier took place in a universe in which so many other heroes could have helped with the situation, but they didn’t.
With that in mind, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War will have to go about their universe-expanding activities in different ways. Batman v Superman will have to try not to cram too much expansion material in. Civil War will have to both refer to previous movies in the MCU and provide a jump-off into several other movies, e.g., Spider-Man, Black Panther, and the Avengers: Infinity War movies.
Essentially, each movie should link to its wider respective universe, but it needs to happen in the most efficient way possible, given each franchise’s current stage.
And what about the potential for laughs?
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is famous for its humor. The likes of Tony Stark, Peter Quill, Darcy Lewis, and even Loki have all provided laughs galore since the franchise was established back in 2008.
The DC Extended Universe, although still in its infancy, is not at all known for its humor, and the people behind it have specifically stated that it will be avoiding massive amounts of humor to differentiate it from the MCU. That being said, there are elements of humor in the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailers – such as when Superman asks Batman, “Is she with you?” when Wonder Woman appears, or how Lex Luthor is generally quite clownish – and Captain America: Civil War looks to be the darkest MCU movie to date.
It will be interesting, therefore, to compare these two movies in terms of laughs. Could there be a complete flip in comparison to what we expect?
And then there are the things we aren’t actually expecting in these movies.
Given the almost endless numbers of stories, concepts, and characters that DC and Marvel can pluck from their vast comic book histories, there are inevitably surprises in every DC and Marvel movie these days – and we can’t wait to see what surprises Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War have in store for us.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has been criticized already for giving too much away in the trailers – Doomsday, the potential coming of Darkseid, etc. – but the people behind the movie insist there are more surprises in store. Captain America: Civil War, on the contrary, has been kept relatively secret as they build up to it – heck, the fact Spider-Man was seen for the first time only in the most recent trailer is remarkable.
Hopefully, both movies will surprise us. Will Darkseid actually make an appearance in Batman v Superman? Will Civil War see the return of the Red Skull to the MCU? What else will each movie have in store? We shall have to wait and see, but the more surprises each movie has, the better each movie will be!
Of course, we also want these movies to look spectacular, which takes us on to our next point.
The special effects
Comic book movies are full of incredible special effects, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War will, of course, be no different in that regard – and which movie’s special effects look the best could go a long way towards determining which movie gets the better reception.
There will be explosions galore and a lot of fantastic powers being thrown around – the number of super-powered characters in each movie ensures that this will be the case – so Warner Brothers and Marvel Studios will be hoping to outdo each other when it comes to how spectacular that all looks through the use of modern CGI.
Special effects technology these days is utterly incredible, so both movies are bound to look great, given their huge budgets. However, if one edges out the other on that front, it could be key to its success.
Of course, movies aren’t all about visuals, and this next point emphasizes that.
These days, comic book movies aren’t always merely mindless fighting and no substance, they can actually have great stories and plots – and we’re hoping to see a great battle between Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War when it comes to the quality of the stories they have to tell.
The likes of The Dark Knight and Captain America: The Winter Soldier have proven that comic book movies can be great movies that transcend the comic book genre. Here’s hoping Batman v Superman and Civil War can replicate the story-telling quality of the likes of those movies.
With Batman and Superman coming to blows and then coming together to form the basis of the Justice League, DC potentially has a great movie on its hands – and with the Civil War concept originating from a popular comic book arc, so does Marvel. Let the story-telling battle commence!
But this next point explains what we really want to see from each movie.
If the truth be told, the one thing fans really want to see in comic book movies is the kind of action that has them sitting on the edge of their seats – and both of these movies have the potential to provide some of the best action ever seen in a Hollywood production.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice pits the two most iconic heroes in comic book history against each other, then brings them together with another – Wonder Woman – to fight Doomsday and goodness knows who else. Captain America: Civil War puts two teams of superheroes against each other in an outright war. The action in both of these movies is going to be epic – it’s as simple as that.
It’s the one part of the movies themselves that will be compared most frequently by both critics and fans. Both had better be awesome!
And now we come to our final point, which isn’t about anything in the movies, but more about the movies’ potential financial earnings.
The worldwide grosses
Of course, the one aspect of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War that will be used as a basis for comparison is their success at the box office.
Both movies are strongly expected to earn well over a billion dollars globally both have real potential for breaking some serious box office records.
There’ll be a real rivalry when it comes to this particular aspect of the movies’ success, and it’s anybody’s guess which one will come out on top. Batman and Superman are undoubtedly the two most popular heroes in comic books, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the biggest movie franchise on the planet and the popularity of Captain America and Iron Man is nothing to be sniffed at. Add Spider-Man to the mix, and there’s a real battle on.
One thing’s for sure – we can’t wait for either of these movies!
What do you think? How will these movies compare, one against the other? Which one will be better? Have your say below!