MARVEL/DC Movies ~ Would You Rather?

MARVEL/DC Movies ~ Would You Rather?

Ever wonder what the world would be like if things had gone differently? Not in an important way, like your parents not meeting, but something like, what if the Marvel Cinematic Universe had been DC's idea, and vice versa? Find out which world you'd rather live in after reading about the alternate universe where just such a thing happened!

This is a glimpse into a world where all of the films made within the Marvel Cinematic Universe were actually made by DC, and where the Warner Bros. / DC movies that were/are candidates to be a part of a shared movie universe were made by Marvel. Everything that happened prior to June of 2005 (the release of Batman Begins) still happened. All the X-Men (Fox) films, all of the Spider-Man (Sony) movies, Fantastic 4, etc. remain unaffected. *{The only exceptions are Superman returns and The Green Lantern, because nobody thought for one second that the universes presented in those films might be the same one as the universe presented in Batman Begins…} So read about this reality, notice the fun/odd parallels to our own world, and decide for yourself…

Which world would you rather live in?

Instead of Batman Begins:
In 2005, the first ever live action Iron Man film is released, an origin story placing a relatively gritty lens on the wealthy playboy who turns his excess money into a weapon to right wrongs following a near death experience. Tony Stark / Iron Man first grapples with Marc Scarlotti, aka Blacklash, who stole a portion of Stark’s technology. He later grapples with one of his business associates, Obadiah Stane. Stane feels he has been responsible for creating Tony’s success, wealth, and fame and seeks to reclaim it as his own. His first attempt to do so was facilitating Blacklash’s access to Stark tech. Eventually, Stane puts on his own version of armor, and Iron Man defeats the Iron Monger, who is killed by his last ditch effort to destroy Iron Man. Fans love Iron Man and hail it as a rebirth of the superhero genre.

Instead of Iron Man:
On May 2, 2008, the DC Movie Universe was born with the release of The Batman. This take on Batman most closely matched the Batman/Batman Returns tone and did not succumb to any of the pitfalls of its predecessors. It also handled the origin of Batman in a linear fashion, unlike any of the previous Batman films. The film leaned heavily on Year One and sought to spotlight the Batman / Gordon relationship, while utilizing the Red Hood and Carmine Falcone as the primary villains. While the Red Hood escapes before being identified, Batman brings Falcone to justice. Overall, the movie struck a chord with hardcore fans, those who gave up Batman after the Schumacher debacles, and everyone in between. In an end credits scene, Amanda Waller closes a file with a slightly out of focus photo of Batman and takes it and a few other files in hand puts in in a binder titled OMAC before angrily walking down a hallway. DC fans rejoiced.

Instead of The Incredible Hulk:
Just a month later, Aquaman made his big screen debut. In a film that was, from all accounts, a risk, everything melded well enough to have audiences buy into a man who washes up on shore with no memory of his past, yet feels compelled to protect the oceans as he realizes he can communicate with the animals within them. His actions include freeing captive sea mammals and destroying offshore drilling ventures. This runs him afoul of several international agencies and the American military. Aquaman uses abilities that were selectively plucked from different eras of the comics while slugging it out to a stalemate in a Naval battle. Near the climax, Aquaman taps into his limited ability to manipulate humans (since they evolved from marine life) and as such, the military stands down, seeing him as a potentially powerful ally. In an end credits scene that elicited much excitement, Bruce Wayne is seen in the Batcave using his computer to view the governments files (hacked from the OMAC files, the audience is shown) on the incident with Aquaman and the words Justice League appear on one of the computer monitors. Aquaman was generally viewed as an average film with an okay box office, but in large part due to this scene, DC fans go ape.

Instead of The Dark Knight:
But Marvel would have its moment in the sun! In July of 2008 Iron Man 2 premiered with Masi Oka offering a career-making performance as the Mandarin. Though his casting was widely criticized, he played against type he had embodied in TV’s Heroes and proved to be a screen presence that was cunning, dangerous, and persuasive. The Mandarin waged war against Stark’s technology and America’s love of opulence, looking to replace it with with a culture of reverence and above all else, honor. With his ten rings, which he believed were powered by the spirits inhabiting the valley where he found them, the Mandarin kills Pepper Potts during one battle and later brings Iron Man to his knees. Having faith that the rings are not magic and must be technologically based, Tony uses and EMP, sheds his now-useless armor, and is able to bring the Mandarin down in a hand-to-hand fight, which drives Mandarin to kill himself “with honor” rather than live on after being defeated in battle. However, Tony’s faith in the very world and culture he was protecting is shaken by the loss of Pepper, and at the film’s end Tony is seen drinking heavily and, in a stupor, staring at one of his many armors. Beyond brilliant special effects to bring all 10 of the Mandarin’s ring-based powers to life, the film is regarded as having everything else a superhero film could ask for, and is nominated for several Oscars.

Instead of Iron Man 2:
With the fanboy universe still fawning over Iron Man 2 as it passed the worldwide billion dollar mark and won the hearts of the Academy voters in 2009, 2010 brought the sequel to Batman, this time called The Dark Knight. Early in the film the Red Hood from the first film is revealed to the audience to also be the Joker. Batman does some of his patented detective work and is able to ascertain this, but not before plenty of chaos has been created within Wayne Enterprises and in Gotham through the Joker’s manipulation of Bruce’s employees and criminals freed by the Clown Prince of Crime. In the film’s second act, Batman uses Wayne tech to create Cyborg after he was seriously injured by The Joker, but Cyborg is too panicked by his new non-human body to be of any immediate help. Therefore, in the final climax, it is just Joker and The Bats. As we would hope, Batman outwits the Joker, but he lives to see another day as Batman refuses to kill him and become what he hates. An end credits scene set in the late 70’s shows an enormous tsunami and the receding wave bring a tiny purple, roughly star shaped ocean creature ashore. It affixes to the neck of an unknown male’s body, someone crushed by the wave, and the body begins to untwist and heal before his eye opens and the screen cuts to black.

Instead of Thor:
In 2011, Wonder Woman was released and did solid box office numbers, as well as being generally well received by audiences. It gave us a Wonder Woman who is the daughter of Zeus and a human woman. Utilizing the notion that the Greek gods and goddesses were not merely stories but a real race of other-worldly people, the film takes viewers through Princess Diana’s homeworld, as well as her time on Earth as she is attempting to protect several illegitimate, yet innocent children spawned by her prodigious father because they are being threatened by Zeus’ jealous wife Hera and her many minions. Wonder Woman uses her powers to do espionage work as well in overt combat, and succeeds in forcing Hera to stand down and confront Zeus as the true source of her anguish. The film concludes with Amanda Waller visiting the site of one of “Apollo's Gates,” where, earlier in the film, Wonder Woman had appeared via the sudden appearance of a black yet glittering space, followed by a blinding flash of white light. Waller motions for her team to analyze the dark charred soil that stands testament to her arrival. She says to herself, “Looks like we’ve got another Krypton on our hands.”

Instead of Captain America:
Later in 2011, The Man of Steel entered theaters and continued DC’s string of success. This film was a complete retelling of the origins of the Blue Boy Scout. As was true in the Donner classics, the bumbling Clark wins the hearts of the audience and they cheer him on as he dons the cape and faces Lex Luthor’s maniacal plans. At no point in the film does Superman ever cross a line where the audience could argue that he is not living up to his comic-book origins, as he represents Truth, Justice, and the American Way right up until the final scene with the Stars and Stripes waving in the background. The end credits scene shows that Amanda Waller was aiding in Luthor’s plans, and has been planning to deal with Superman in the decades since discovering the fortress of solitude, stifled by the fact that her organization only limited access to its technological treasures until Superman opened it. She and her associates felt the government should play its hand carefully since Superman is both the most powerful and most well liked of any of the known super-humans. But now, with an OMAC hacking the Fortress of Solitude, she tells Luthor it is time to focus their development of “Plan B.” Though it was the last of the Summer of ‘11 superhero films, it did the best box office. DC fans were extremely geeked because they all knew what was next--

Instead of The Avengers:
In May 2012, The Justice League is released. Levels of both hype and anxiety are at an all time high for fanboys. Will this movie get it right? The answer was a resounding YES. Did every character get his/her moment in the spotlight? Yep. Did anybody panic because Green Lantern wasn’t in the film? Nope. Was The Flash brought in with minimal need for origin/exposition, just a law enforcement scientist whose body became able to travel at super speeds during an accident that doesn’t even take place on camera? Affirmative. Did the initial battle against Waller’s OMACs (robots specially designed to counter the abilities of metahumans) provide exciting visuals and help the plot by knocking Aquaman out of commission since he would have easily dealt with the purple sea creature problem? Uh huh! Did the climactic threat of the “Starro” creatures creating re-animated, rapid healing “zombies” honor the comics and keep the drama and action at just the right levels? You betcha. Was there a funny after-credits scene featuring humorous dialogue between Batman and Supes? Naturally!
The film is a slam dunk. It makes all the money. DC fans think they have gone to heaven, and even Marvel fans and people who think comics are “meh” find something to like about this movie.

Instead of The Dark Knight Rises:
Then in July of 2013, Iron Man 3 comes out. The trilogy's finale features Tony as a recovering alcoholic who has spent years unable to deal with the loss of Pepper. He must fight his demons as well as a completely new threat in the form of Ghost, a mercenary who specializes in sabotaging corporations. His latest boss has upgraded all of his technology, including a device that allows him to become intangible. This proves to be a huge advantage against Iron Man, who is overwhelmed as it is. Ghost’s employer reveals himself only after Iron Man is able to finally bring down Ghost. It turns out it is Ezekiel Stane, now all grown up. He felt like his dad cared more for Tony than him, and has decided there is only one solution. Kill Tony and, without anyone knowing, use physical reconstruction tech to replace him as head of Stark enterprises and Iron Man as well. His inheritance was spent to make this a reality, but he fails in his goal in the final all out battle. Tony Stark’s perception of himself is altered by his encounter with Ezekiel, as he realizes that his life is enviable and worth reclaiming. He decides to retire as Iron Man to take the time to figure out his personal issues which can’t be done if he is trying to live two lives. A crescendo of self-destructing Iron Man suits punctuates the film’s closing scene. Many people love the film, but others say it had an over-stuffed narrative. This does not stop it from making a billion worldwide box office dollars.

Instead of Iron Man 3:
In May 2013, the conclusion of the Batman trilogy, Legends of The Dark Knight makes its way into theaters. Batman is still fighting the good fight, making Gotham safer each day, not just by his actions but by the now wide-spread stories about him (and his fellow superheroes). This has inspired a young man named Jean-Paul to tail Batman in the hopes of becoming his sidekick, but he is unsuccessful. The world at large is recovering from the knowledge that aliens are real, but Batman must focus on the brutal killings of several mob bosses and enforcers in Gotham. Through detective work, Batman determines it is a mysterious mercenary known as Bane, trying to get the Batman’s attention. Bane battles Batman and severely damages our hero’s spine, which Jean-Paul, who was used and tricked by Bane, witnesses. Bane proceeds to turn the mafia world on its ear. While all of this is going on, the matter is complicated by someone calling himself The Riddler making it quite clear that he knows Batman is Bruce Wayne. While Batman at first thinks The Riddler may be the Joker, it turns out that Bane was also The Riddler and had created him as a puppet entity to create a two-front “war” for Batman/Bruce to fight. Although Jean-Paul takes up the mantle to the bat in his own home-grown, unpolished way, he is only putting himself in danger, in general. He provides just enough of a distraction in the final showdown once Bruce is fully healed, but the final battle leaves both Batman and Bane near death. Jean-Paul gets Batman back to the Batcave, and at the end of the film Batman appears to be contemplating retirement as Jean-Paul trains inside the Batcave. Fans are divided over the sidekick storyline, Batman acting out of character at times, and the fact that The Riddler wasn’t at all what he was in the comics. The film does very solid box office numbers, making more than any of the previous Batman films but not quite as much as The Justice League.

Instead of Man of Steel:
Lastly, in June of 2013, Captain America made his first live action appearance since the 1990 debacle. It told Steve's story in a more grim manner than fans had seen before, and audiences were shocked at how he readily accepted casualties of war as he battled the Red Skull and his forces in the 1940's. additionally, when Cap awakened in the present day, he did not side with the "American Way" as he researched past and present military conflicts. Most audiences were unfamiliar with a Captain America that didn't always feel loyal to his country's leaders, and even comic book fans had to admit it was not what they'd been expecting. A final complication was that nobody could be certain whether or not this was a film universe that fit with the established Iron Man trilogy. Both were gritty, sure, but where would things go from here in a sequel? After making half a billion dollars worldwide, fans new they would find out, but did not know how short the wait would be.

-- Wow. What a long strange trip it’s been. And that’s not even to mention the films that are yet to be released, as the DCMU moves into their highly anticipated Second Stage and Third Stage films: Wonder Woman 2 with Diana’s sister Nubia causing trouble, Superman 2, which will feature Lex creating Bizzarro, a Teen Titans movie (who would have thought THAT would ever happen!) and of course the sequel to The Justice League, which is going to feature Waller and Lex’s “Plan B”-- Brainiac. Oh, and don’t forget The Atom coming out after that, and an in-continuity S.T.A.R. Labs drama is coming to TV this fall. It is an exciting time to be a DC fan.

But Marvel fans take heart!
An Iron Man / Captain America crossover film is coming in 2015! Early details indicate that it will be centralized around the Civil War comic book storyline. So Captain America's disillusionment will fit into the plot quite nicely, which has intrigued potential audiences. But, as we all know, there has been a lot of controversy due to the recent casting of Ryan Reynolds as a young Tony Stark / Iron Man (rather than continue the established, older, battle worn Tony from the trilogy…) After all, his track record in superhero movies isn’t very good.

Okay, folks. That’s the world as it might have been, and if you believe some scientists, just such a world does exist. Would you rather be a part of it than the one we reside in?
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