DCEU vs MCU: Who Did It Better?

Joseph Gioeli Joseph Gioeli
May 1st, 2017

ComiConverse Expert Contributor focusing on film and television.

While critics – and most fans – have been caught up in the MCU hysteria, the DCEU is truly not far behind in terms of creating their own cinematic universe. Our Joseph Gioeli deciphers who has built a better universe and how that will play into the future of comic book films.

DCEU vs MCU: Who Did It Better?

Note: I will not be counting the 2008 version of The Incredible Hulk. Even though it technically counts towards the MCU, as it offered no future value to the franchise and Bruce Banner was recast for future adaptations.  

Over the past decade, the MCU has been the poster child for comic book adaptation films, but throughout the past few years, DC has created their own rival universe and to the surprise of many, they’re catching up. This judgement will be based on three main factors: Critical acclaim, long-term stability of the universe and future opportunities.

Critical Acclaim

Since its very first film in 2008, the MCU has been dominating critic reviews. In a previous article, I wrote about how the MCU has created the perfect formula for developing comic book adaptation films. Even solo films for less popular characters, such as Doctor Strange or Thor, create an enormous amount of revenue and glowing reviews. Simply looking at the Rotten Tomatoes scores for each universe’s first three films, the MCU averaged an 81% with Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), and Thor (2011), while the DCEU averaged a 36% between Man of Steel (2013), Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), and Suicide Squad (2016).

Regardless what either franchise does, this is the category I see the MCU dominating for years to come.


Stability describes how solid the foundation of the franchise is set. For this category, I’m going to have to give it to the MCU again, but it is not nearly as concrete as the critical acclaim. The MCU is basically built on the Iron Man trilogy and with Robert Downey Jr. rumored to be stepping down after the fourth Avengers movie in 2019, it looks like they will be recasting the centerpiece of their entire franchise. It is also rumored that Chris Evans will be leaving his iconic role as Captain America around the same time which is another huge blow to the MCU. The DCEU has a very shaky core with Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman, but if they can capitalize on the MCU’s minor disarray in post-Downey and post-Evans life, they can make huge strides in the right direction, especially with rumors of the entire “Bat-family” being put on the silver screen at some point. The DCEU has been nearly picture perfect in their casting of Superman (Henry Cavill), and older and more bitter take on Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and if they can continue casting this way, their future looks very bright.


Working off of the previous criterion, the DCEU has immense opportunity moving forward. They are in the early stages of building their cinematic universe and have the advantage of seeing how the MCU trail blazed their way through their cinematic universe. They also have already established several protagonists (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman), antagonists (Lex Luthor, Joker, Harley Quinn) and significant role players (Lois Lane, Alfred Pennyworth, Amanda Waller) throughout their first three films. As much as critics want to disregard anything Warner Bros. puts out, they are on the same path the MCU was on in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

The other main reason many fans prefer MCU films over DCEU films thus far is the dark feel of “hopelessness” in the DCEU, mainly from director Zack Snyder. The majority of the complaints came from Batman v. Superman as many fans were not accustomed to Batman killing people and not really caring for his foes as much. Although this is a valid complaint. In the Dark Knight Trilogy, Christian Bale’s Batman had an average kill count of roughly 14.5 people per movie. In Ben Affleck’s one film (that was not even a solo film) his kill count reached about 21 people.

Final Verdict

Marvel: 2

DC: 1

Yes, Marvel has built the better cinematic universe to this point (hopefully that wasn’t a surprise), but I can absolutely see the DCEU taking the crown from them sooner rather than later.

Regardless who has built the better universe, the real winners will always be the fans that get to experience some of their favorite childhood superheroes hit the silver screen for the first time.



Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below


Joseph Gioeli is a ComiConverse Expert. Follow him on Twitter @joegioeli

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