DC and Marvel: two behemoths that have been fighting a war for decades. With the rise of superhero movies and TV shows, it seems that this feud will be going on for a long time, thanks to the passionate fans of either side. This battle has torn friendships apart and even turned masses of people against credible review sites. The emotions run rampant, and in the end, it’s the well-being of the fans that pay the price.
Having gotten that out of the way, we at TheRichest love to play devil’s advocate. It’s been said many times that Marvel has better movies and TV shows. However, just because Daredevil was one of the greatest shows of all time doesn’t mean that you can simply write off DC. Their partnership with the CW has led to some of the most entertaining comic book shows of all time, with even more on the way!
DC gets a bad rep for Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad, and we would like to remind you that the company is still in the game, especially with their TV shows. Anyone who has been keeping up with the CW knows that the superhero shows are doing really well. For this reason, we’ve put together 15 reasons why the DC TV shows are better than Marvel shows.
The purpose of this article is not to give bias, but to get you to think from both sides of the coin.
15. Learn from Mistakes
When Marvel started making TV shows, people were on board almost instantaneously. The reason for this is that they have had such a great success and critical acclaim with their movies that people were all too willing to jump on the Agents of SHIELD train. Then with the success of Daredevil, Marvel was willing to construct another universe that includes the heroes of Hell’s Kitchen. The problem with Marvel hitting so many home runs is that they don’t often learn from their mistakes, which makes them crumble with their own pride at times.
DC, on the other hand, has clearly had some hiccups over the years. Before Arrow began their TV universe, they weren’t doing great when it came to media. Green Lantern was a flop and Man of Steel was fairly divisive. This meant that when they began creating shows, they had to ensure that they were going to be excellent. While they haven’t always delivered, it’s clear that DC is learning from their mistakes going forward and their shows are gradually improving as a result. It seems as if Marvel doesn’t always do that, considering that their Netflix shows all have a similar vibe.
14. Recognizable Characters
Marvel has film rights all over God’s creation, and this can make it difficult when they develop their TV shows. Because many of their biggest characters are also tied up with movies, they have to rely on somewhat unknown superheroes like Cloak and Dagger and the Runaways for future projects. While it’s nice that smaller characters will be getting their own spotlight, this can hinder rather than help Marvel in the long run. People tend to prescribe to something familiar, and when superhero shows are a dime a dozen now, they will likely avoid the ones that they are unfamiliar with.
DC has a step up in this department. Right off the bat, you have characters like Green Arrow and the Flash headlining their universe. While Legends of Tomorrow isn’t based off of recognizable characters from the comics, the majority of the heroes have already been introduced in other shows, making it very familiar to viewers. Once people see a yellow bolt of lightning, they know that Barry Allen is surely close by. The heroes for DC’s shows are recognizable, and gives a level of familiarity that motivates people to watch the shows.
The MCU (TV shows included) is a great machine of well-constructed products. Unfortunately, the problems that they do have seem to occur over and over again. One of the ones that has been bothering me more lately is the color palette. The MCU movies aren’t very bright or eye-catching. They’re rather kind of dull. This was especially true in Captain America: Civil War. The movie was excellent and the fights were beautiful, but there wasn’t anything vivid that drew my eye. The same is true of the shows. Daredevil’s suit is cool, but that washed out red not only makes it difficult to see, but uninteresting.
Even including their movies, this is something DC has no problem getting right. The colors pop and are distinct from one another. If you watched the Invasion! crossover, you’ll remember the heroes all standing next to each other, all of their different and bombastic costumes on display. This is prevalent throughout each show. The right colors stand out and make it much more appealing to the eye. The show that does this the best is easily The Flash. Having different speedsters with different lightning is a colorful treat for the eye to see.
12. Their Own Universe
As stated before, Marvel can often collapse under the weight of their own ambition. While I heavily appreciate how every project they put out is all connected in the MCU, that does come with its own set of issues. For example, the TV shows are all limited in scope because they have to exist in the rules of the MCU. We’ll likely never get Spider-Man hanging out with Daredevil because he’s tied up in the movie department. We’ll never see Thor help out the Agents of SHIELD for obvious reasons. You get the point.
This is another trope that DC avoids by separating their movie and TV universes respectively. While this made some people upset at first (and there definitely are ways that they could have blended them together), it still works to the benefit of the shows that they are ultimately different. This gives the writers creative freedom to build the Arrowverse however they want, with whatever plot points they feel are necessary. This also gives them creative freedom to (mostly) use whichever DC characters they want. Two different versions of the Flash exist in the shows and the movies. It is probably for the best that this move was made.
11. Frequent Crossovers
One thing that makes comic books so special is how characters often cross over to other books. This has brought some of the greatest team-ups of all time, such as Wolverine and Deadpool, Iron Man and Hulk, etc. This aspect would be amazing if effectively translated into movies and TV shows. Marvel is headed this direction with their movies, but apart from The Defenders, hasn’t really established this in their TV shows, which is quite a shame. I would love to see Daredevil pop in with the Agents of SHIELD or Jessica Jones working with Black Widow. They’re just limited by the rules of the MCU.
This is part of what makes the DC shows so special. Want to see Green Arrow team up with the Flash, Supergirl, and Citizen Steel? You got it. Because the shows are all connected, the writers love to have the characters cross over numerous times. Recently, Flash appeared in an episode of Arrow for a split second to help the team out. The little moments like that are the most meaningful, and it’s nice to see how the shows make reference to one another and can cross over in each world.
10. Started Strong
When it comes to any facet of humanity, people will tend to remember the first and last elements. This is especially true in a speech, which makes the job of presenters very difficult. The introduction and conclusion are paramount to the perceived success of a presentation. This also affects TV shows. While Marvel gained a great following in their movie department from the first Iron Man film, their television department didn’t fare so well. The first show from them was Agents of SHIELD, and it was disliked by many people. This made many viewers hedge a little as the company announced more small screen projects.
DC started strong with their new universe. When they kicked it off with Arrow, the dynamic changed greatly. While there were many comparisons to Batman, the first two seasons of Arrow were heralded as the greatest seasons in the entire show and set the bar for what small screen superheroes could be. By the time they introduced The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, many fans were already on board with the CW/DC universe because of how well Arrow turned out. While this factor may not be so important now, it is vital every time a new show is introduced. Considering that Iron Fist isn’t off to a great start, this is something to think about.
9. Suitable for All Audiences
Here is where the movie comparisons are made again. Marvel has done very well with their movies, making them both excellent and accessible for just about any viewer that would walk into a theater. Agents of SHIELD followed this formula. Then there were the Netflix shows. While Daredevil and Jessica Jones were both really good in their own right, Marvel immediately limited themselves by making the themes in those shows a bit more adult (particularly the latter). It’s unfortunate because the shows are true to the source material and establish the characters in the MCU fairly well. But you won’t see little Billy turning either of them on anytime soon.
This is where DC has another strong component. What is nice about the Arrowverse is that each show doesn’t shy away from the more mature themes, but doesn’t make it so intense that kids can’t watch it. I’ve seen all kinds of people talk about watching The Flash and Supergirl. Just about anyone can watch one of the DC shows, and most parents aren’t going to have a single issue with it (unless you had strict parents like me).
8. Doesn’t Require Netflix
Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage are all good shows and remain true to the characters they’re representing. While each has their own flaws (the first show was about as close to perfection as you can get), they’re still worth a view by any self-respecting Marvel fan. However, you’re out of luck once you realize you don’t have a Netflix subscription. While it’s not a huge deal, because most people have access to Netflix, the growing prices on the service make it less attractive with each passing month.
This is where DC again breaks the mold and outperforms its competitor. While the shows are available on Netflix, that is not the only way you can watch them. You can purchase them through Google Play or iTunes, or you can record them with your DVR (which most people have). However, if you like to stay away from services like that, you still have access to these shows for free. All you have to do is go to the CW’s website (or download the app), and you’ll be allowed to watch past and current episodes of each show. You’ll have to sit through a few ads, but it’s more than worth it.
7. Adapt the Comics
Marvel’s TV shows do remain true to the characters they represent, but that’s where the similarities with the comics end. Marvel, apart from a few exceptions, seems to be putting modern spins on classic arcs that we know and love. It all feels real and gritty, which isn’t a bad thing by any means, but it does leave a lot of the bombastic events and joy found in most comics absent. People are ready to accept seeing the wacky and crazy things from the source material onto their television sets, and Marvel still has a ways to go in the TV department.
DC does not. While the Arrowverse started out all gritty and modern, it has since felt like a comic book at every turn. The writers aren’t afraid to give the characters bright costumes that are almost perfect adaptations of their comic counterparts. They don’t shy away from using crazy villains like Gorilla Grodd or the Trickster. Even Arrow had their share of comic bliss with the addition of Ragman. But the greatest comic moment for this universe was the Invasion! crossover event.
6. Easier to Follow
Marvel has a lot of different properties wrapped up in a lot of different companies. Because of this, it becomes extremely difficult to keep track of which show takes place when and who is allowed to appear in it. The Netflix shows are all allowed to mingle with each other, but they can’t pop in Agents of SHIELD. Then there’s the upcoming Cloak and Dagger, The Runaways, and Inhumans series. What rules will they abide by? When are they coming out? Will any of them cross over with each other? It’s a lot to follow, and can do damage to Marvel if they don’t find some way to make the continuity easier to understand.
You could argue that DC is a bit confusing with shows like Preacher, and Gotham, but the rules there are clear. Any DC show that isn’t a part of the CW (unless stated otherwise) does not exist in the same universe and cannot crossover with any of the other shows. This makes everything much easier to follow. Considering that the episodes also air just one day apart makes keeping track of them a simple task. Supergirl on Monday, Flash and Legends on Tuesday, Arrow on Wednesday. Because they all exist at the same time and are still current means that people will be more motivated to keep up with it all.
5. Listen to Fans
This goes right back to the success of Marvel. While their products are generally quite awesome, we fans have been complaining for years that they aren’t perfect. However, despite our qualms with their projects, we haven’t seen any big changes that indicate that they are listening to us. Instead, they have a plan they want to follow and just go with it, come Hell or high water. While they have proven to be effective with this method, it gives a sort of disconnect between Marvel and their fans.
DC doesn’t seem to be going down this road (in the TV department, that is). Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been for their benefit. Fans demanded that Oliver and Felicity begin a relationship, and we all remember those dark days. However, they stated that they wanted to see Arrow return to its roots and we got just that. We also asked for Legends to dump a lot of the unnecessary relationship drama, and we got that as well. We asked for more Vixen, and we got it. It feels that the writers are actually hearing what the fans have to say and altering their stories as a result.
4. The Multiverse
One thing that the comics do that is so outlandish is the Multiverse. Never in a million years would I have expected something like this being placed in a TV show. It is nice for Marvel to have all of these connected properties, but at the end of the day, there is only so much they can do. And, they will never be connected to past live-action shows like Lou Ferrigno’s Hulk and more. It’s fine the way that they’re doing things, but it’s something that you don’t miss until you have it.
That’s where DC swoops in and gets a one-up on their rival. In season 2 of The Flash, they sent Barry to other dimensions. As he traveled, we got pictures of various other realities that gave connections to Supergirl and the old Flash TV show starring John Wesley Shipp. By taking this approach, DC has established a connection to other shows and leaves the door wide open for all kinds of crazy crossovers. The possibilities with a multiverse open up so many possibilities, including them adapting something like Crisis on Infinite Earths.
3. Stunt Work and Choreography (Mostly)
I have to be careful when I talk about this. Daredevil has the best choreography of any superhero show in my opinion. Period. However, there isn’t much to be said about other properties like Iron Fist and Agents of SHIELD. A lot of times the choreography seems to be going through the motions. Then the stunt work also isn’t much to write home about in regards to some of the shows (again Daredevil takes the cake here as well). The reason I bring up this point is so that we don’t confuse the superb choreography of one show with choreography of all of them.
DC, while they’ve struggled in the past, has since upped their game in regards to the choreography (particularly Arrow). The fight scenes feel much more real, and seeing the Green Arrow take on multiple bad guys is as fun as it used to be. Even The Flash makes excellent use of the speed powers to enhance the fight choreography. In regards to stunt work, it’s mostly Arrow that triumphs in this area, but the other shows have their standout moments as well. It’s not better all the time, but when placed against every show Marvel has to offer, I believe it just edges out.
2. Special Effects
Something that Marvel has shied away from with their Netflix shows are the special effects. Granted, the directions that they take the projects in don’t require a lot of them (save for Agents). It’s more of a stylistic choice, and it’s one that a lot of people can respect in an age full of CGI explosion-fests dominating the theaters. However, there is something list with superhero shows losing some of their over-the-top elements in favor of telling more grounded tales.
Just like they’re not afraid to adapt the crazier things in the comics, DC is also not afraid to use special effects in their shows. One episode in Legends pitted a giant Ray Palmer against a powerful giant created by Vandal Savage. The Flash used a well-crafted model of King Shark to fight the Scarlet Speedster. Even Arrow uses these effects to effectively portray Oliver’s trick arrows. While the budget is fairly low on the CW, the special effects are still incredibly fun for what they are. They are welcome additions in shows where magic and interdimensional travel are daily aspects of life.
1. Motivated for Better Quality
This is the one thing that DC will always have hot on their heels. They are constantly under criticism for their movies or some aspect of their TV shows. However, they are working tirelessly to create stories and projects that remove these perceptions from viewers everywhere. Because of the scrutiny, they are motivated more than ever to have better quality. People are all too willing to abandon them when they make a misstep, which means that they always have to be on their A game. Fortunately, this is good news for the rest of us, because they will always trying to outdo themselves with each episode.
Going forward for the shows, it’s difficult to know for sure what this entails, but based on the information that we do know, it seems that they’re going to be less afraid in telling the stories that they want to tell. In Arrow, the seeds for season 6 are already being laid halfway through season 5. The writers and producers know that they have to deliver, and unless the new Black Lightning show backs up those desires, there’s plenty of reason to believe that they will.