Why is the Marvel Cinematic Universe so overrated in comparison to the DC Cinematic Universe?
It's three reasons: (1) People seem to love Marvel humour and light-heartedness, and that keeps the audiences coming, and (2) Marvel develops their crucial characters well without just expecting it to just unfold all on its own in the scenes (3) DC's legacy of superior cartoons, comics and video games may have made DC too cocky.
I've seen a decent number of Marvel movies and almost all DC movies. Needless to say, Marvel loves its humour, and so do its viewers. When you watch a Marvel movie, and there's a funny moment, you hear the whole cinema laughing. With a DC movie, it's relatively rare, because DC likes it dark.
The humour makes it more entertaining for MOST people, which is why, as you may have noticed, Marvel decided to just overdo the humour in their last couple of movies, like Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers Infinity and even Spiderman: Homecoming, for that matter. The humour is so excessive but people laugh and so that's one potential reason they might just like the movie, even though it's not exactly some work of near perfection like The Dark Knight Trilogy. When you think about it, Spiderman: Homecoming had so much humour it was kind of distracting from the main idea which was Spiderman's evolution as a hero. And Marvel won't stop that because it gets them the money.
DC understands that superheroes don't have an easy life even with godly powers. And, as you noticed in Wonder Woman and Justice League, they don't overdo the humour, and less humour, less laughter, less fans, less anticipation. Additionally DC doesn't execute its ideas well. They try to compete so hard with Marvel that they'll rush into everything and throw too many characters in one movie and not focus enough on each character.
Frankly, I believe DC has better characters, but DC has made mistakes in the process of relying on how well their characters have been received on cartoons and other media. This is what I think happens:
- Because they have great characters, they're bound to just rush into them and not develop them enough because they mistakenly think the viewers will just sort of assimilate everything and feel them and be able to engage with them. Like they'll show the dead Robin's suit, the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, the destruction of Metropolis and they'll expect that the audience will just understand Batman and Superman, which is a WRONG assumption. Look at Christopher Nolan's take on Batman. They don't just assume that a scene where Batman watching his parents die will just explain why he became Batman. There are more thorough explanations, like his conversations with Ra's al Ghul. If you noticed, Batman's evolution is so coherent and continuous in all the Nolan movies, that you never felt like there was even a need for more films than the 3 we got, and it was divided logically between the films.
- When all your comics and video games and cartoons have been so successful, the standard already becomes high by default. If you're gonna have some of the most loved and iconic villains (Joker, Luthor, Deathstroke) and superheroes (Batman, Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Superman etc.), people will just walk in with high hopes. They'll really expect something Nolan-level thrilling. And because DC has had that successful legacy, they tend to rush the whole process of making their films.
- They forget that a successful superhero film focuses on one significant aspect and does everything to assert that aspect's role, even sometimes ignoring other stuff. Nolan's Batman did not care excessivley about the detective, the scientist, the Plan B guy, or even the shrewd businessman Bruce Wayne is in the comics, it was only about what Batman was as a symbol and what it meant to be that symbol (going through hellish training, taking on dangerous thugs and almost getting burnt, losing the love of one's life to a clownish psycho, taking the blame for a DA's crimes to keep the city's hopes for a better tomorrow up, breaking a spine, building it back and escaping a pit after failing two times painfully, almost dying in a neutron bomb blast, etc.)
- They won't try coming up with any drastically new idea because Nolan already did that (by cutting out the scientist, detective, contingency guy, and adding Rachel Dawes and changing Two-face's story) and he set a ridiculously high benchmark for it, so they are scared to disappoint.
- They forget that godly characters are harder to grasp, and it takes a lot of work to make them easier to grasp. Marvel doesn't have too many godly characters. Iron Man, Spiderman etc. all talk and interact as if they are just your characters across the street, making jokes and all, just with a little more script and less spontaneity, so people relate to them well. The godly characters need to be written to a level where people can relate to them well. Although Man of Steel and Wonder Woman did this well, Batman v Superman and Justice League did not.
This is why DC movies are underrated and Marvel movies are overrated. Marvel does that one crucial thing right, then overdoses the audience with humour and gets their love and DC forgets the most important rule of film-making, which undermines anything else they do right, according to viewers.
I'd love to hear other ideas in the comment box.