The rivalry between Marvel and DC fans has been increasingly bitter over the last few years. The two comic book publishers had always been in a state of friendly competition, but now superheroes are blockbuster film franchises, and each is judged by the light of the other. Many Marvel fans triumphantly point to box office hits like Thor: Ragnarok, which have accrued remarkably strong critical responses (at time of writing, the film has a score of 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). In contrast, DC fans have complained that the nascent DC Extended Universe is under-appreciated by critics, offering a darker window into the superhero genre.
Marvel visionary Kevin Feige isn’t impressed by all this. Speaking to Crave Online, he’s called for a truce between the rival fan communities.
“But I think it’s ridiculous. I think movies are awesome and people should go out and support awesome movies, and I go support those movies and I thought Wonder Woman was awesome. I can’t wait to see what Geoff Johns and Joss [Whedon] and the gang has done with Justice League. I guess people like rivalries, I guess? I don’t know. But I’m seeing Geoff Johns in a couple weeks for dinner. We went to this Dick Donner event together. Dick’s Superman is still the best archetype of superhero films. So yeah, just go see cool movies. What are you fighting about?”
Superhero fans often fail to appreciate that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” It’s in the best interests of all studios to ensure that the superhero genre is in a healthy state. As a result, Feige has been outspoken in his praise for Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, and he’s expressed his support for Joss Whedon now the one-time Avengers director is working for DC Film.
The comment comes at a critical time. Thor: Ragnarok released in the U.S. market on November 3, with Justice League due to release only days later, on November 17. For the first time, the two superhero franchises will be in direct competition at the box office.
Justice League has had a troubled history, with controversial director Zack Snyder stepping down due to a family tragedy. He’s been replaced by Whedon, and star Ben Affleck has described the film as “an interesting product of two directors.” Disturbingly, Warner Bros. has set the review embargo for just over a day and a half before the film’s release. Studios usually set this kind of restrictive embargo when they’re not particularly confident of the movie’s success, and are attempting to limit the damage of negative reviews. Mashable conducted an analysis that suggested there’s a direct correlation between late embargoes and poor reviews, going so far as to predict that Justice League will be scored only 33 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Given this context, it’s clear that Feige is a little wary that the old rivalry is about to blow up again. The fractious nature of the superhero fan community has earned a lot of attention recently. One critic even had to involve the FBI when he received threats after reporting Justice League’s runtime. Both Marvel and DC are very much aware that this kind of extreme reaction has earned superhero fans something of a bad reputation, and are eager to see that come to an end.
[Featured Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]