Everyone has their theory about why the DCEU is lagging. They’re handling the characters wrong. Marvel is part of a fast, far-reaching conspiracy. People are dumb and have bad taste. But then, not all of the people offering theories have had piles and piles of their creations turned into piles and piles of movies. Comic creator Mark Millar offered his theory on the gap in a recent interview with Yahoo! Movies this week while talking about the newly-launched reboot of his Kick-Ass comic series.
“I think it’s really simple,” he said. “The characters aren’t cinematic.”
Millar noted that he’s a “massive DC fan,” and says he prefers DC’s characters to Marvel’s.
“Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are some of my favorites, but I think these characters, with the exception of Batman, aren’t based around their secret identity,” Millar continued. “They are based around their superpower. Whereas Marvel characters tend to be based around the personality of Matt Murdock or Peter Parker of the individual X-Men; it’s all about the character.”
“DC, outside of Batman, is not about the character. With Batman, you can understand him and you can worry about him, but with someone like Green Lantern, he has this ring that allows him to create 3D physical manifestations and green plasma with thoughts in his head, but he’s allergic to the color yellow! How do you make a movie with that?”
“People will slam me for this but I think the evidence is there. We’ve seen great directors, great writers, and great actors, tons of money thrown at them, but these films aren’t working. I think they are all too far away from when they were created. Something feels a little old about them. Kids look at these characters and they don’t feel that cool. Even Superman. I love Superman, but he belongs to an America that doesn’t exist anymore.”
When it comes to comic book movies, few single comic writers can boast as big a Blu-ray shelf as Millar. His stories have taken to the screen in the form of Wanted, Kick-Ass, the Kingsman movies, Logan, and parts of the MCU, including Captain America: Civil War and pieces of the Avengers films.
His point seems especially appropriate when looking at the rumors coming ou about the upcoming Flashpoint movie, based around DC’s scarlet speedster.
Recent rumor has the Flashpoint tale being adapted for screen without the central villain of the tale, Reverse Flash, in the mix. I’m a total nerd for Reverse Flash, but when I have to explain my shirt – a yellow shirt with a black-and-red lighting-bolt logo – or the same logo emblazoned on the back of my laptop, they look at me like I’m a space alien when I talk about Reverse Flash. He’s a fun villain, but there’s no doubt he sounds downright silly in today’s environment. It’s hardly surprising that someone, whether an executive or a writer, balked at the idea of putting him on the big screen (much to my personal chagrin).
The rest of the interview talks about his new Kick-Ass comic, a new story set in the same universe as the original but featuring a new protagonist, as well as who he might want to see play her in a potential movie adaptation, among other things. The interview is worth a read if you love comic-book movies and want to hear from someone who can take credit for so many of them.
Marvel’s next chance to prove itself comes on May 4 with the release of Avengers: Infinity War, while DC is waiting until December 21 for the release of Aquaman.