The DCEU outshines the MCU, and here’s why

The Justice League of Zack Snyder's Justice League.

In 2023, the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) celebrates its 10th anniversary but also bids farewell, making way for the new DC Universe (DCU) under DC Studios co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran, debuting in 2025 with “Superman: Legacy.” Reflecting on the DCEU’s strengths that outshone Marvel, despite its overall struggles, here are seven significant aspects:

  1. Cohesive Narrative: The three DC films directed by Zack Snyder—Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League—presented a cohesive narrative, following the story of Superman from his emergence to resurrection. Marvel’s early films lacked the same tonal and thematic consistency until The Avengers.
  2. Wonder Woman’s Impact: Wonder Woman broke barriers for female superheroes, marking a significant milestone. Gal Gadot’s portrayal reclaimed Wonder Woman’s status, contributing to the character’s popularity and setting the stage for more heroines in the spotlight.
  3. Redemption of Aquaman: Aquaman, historically a subject of mockery, was successfully redeemed by Jason Momoa’s portrayal. The film not only repaired the character’s reputation but also achieved massive success, erasing the campy image associated with Super Friends Aquaman.
  4. First Latino-Led Superhero Movie: Blue Beetle, featuring Jaime Reyes, marks the first Latino-led superhero movie in contrast to Marvel’s absence of such representation. The film actively embraces Latino culture and family dynamics, providing a unique perspective.
  5. Peacemaker Series Integration: Peacemaker, a TV series created by James Gunn, seamlessly integrated DC movie characters, showcasing its own self-contained storyline without being a mere setup for future films. The series felt like a natural extension of the DC movie universe.
  6. R-rated Action: The DCEU embraced R-rated content with films like Birds of Prey and The Suicide Squad. While not blockbuster hits, these films demonstrated the potential for R-rated superhero movies, offering compelling action and narrative.
  7. Serious Tone in Early Films: Early DCEU films maintained a more serious tone compared to the MCU’s comedic approach. While later DC films shifted towards humor, the serious tone in initial films set them apart, providing a distinct identity for DC storytelling.
Jason Momoa and Amber Heard in Aquaman.

Despite the DCEU’s challenges, these aspects showcase its unique strengths. As the DCU emerges, it remains crucial to learn from both successes and failures to shape a compelling cinematic universe.

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