Director Joss Whedon set the benchmark on what a superhero team movie needs to be with 2012’s The Avengers for Marvel Studios and is wrapping up shooting on the follow-up, Age of Ultron. Meanwhile, DC Comics and Warner Bros. are attempting to build their own team-based superhero franchise starting with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is currently planned to release at the same time as Captain America 3. That puts the two comic book movie universes directly at odds with each other but Whedon thinks they are taking distinctively different approaches.
The director remoted in for Nerd HQ 2014 while recovering from knee surgery in England. During the Q&A session, one of the fans asked Whedon what DC should do to step up its game.
“I don’t think I would say that,” Whedon responded. “I think that would be a little presumptuous of me. I think that both studios have kind of different agendas, different ways of approaching the superhero genre, and the ethos of the thing, and the aesthetic.
“They go very dark and serious and sometimes it works amazingly, and Marvel tends to be a little lighter,” he explained. “Both have movies that I adore, and both have movies that I’m like… (Whedon gives an aggravated facial expression), including bits of my own. I would not want them to do what Marvel does. I like what they do when they get it right. When you get a Heath Ledger [performance], and Batman Begins, and those things that really grip you. That’s something nobody else is doing, and I like it. I want them to do what they’re doing.”
Marvel’s light-hearted attitude towards its roster of superhero films started with Iron Man and was punctuated this summer by the breakout hit, Guardians of the Galaxy. The Captain America films have possibly been the most serious of the bunch, but even Cap was given some great lines in The Avengers thanks to the comedic touch that Whedon has carefully cultivated since the days of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Meanwhile, it’s hard to disagree with Whedon about the tone of the DC Comic films. Batman tried to go campy after Director Tim Burton departed, but Christopher Nolan went serious once again with his Batman trilogy. Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel was also light with the levity. Nolan and Snyder had more pointed jokes, but nothing to the degree that Marvel has embraced the eccentric and comedic natures of its universe and characters.
Do you agree with Whedon on the opposing approaches that Marvel and DC Comics takes when it comes to films? Is there one that you prefer? Sound off in the comments below.