15 Times DC Successfully Ripped Off Marvel's Ideas
Ever since Man of Steel was launched through DC Extended Universe in 2013, the film franchise has struggled to achieve the same amount of commercial and critical recognition as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which successfully had a five to seven-year head start.
With no reason to separate universes and let fan bases co-exist peacefully, it seems impossible to not think of the two franchises as rivals. The two companies have been duking it out on the comic book stands long before superhero movies were considered mainstream.
DCEU is understandably at a severe disadvantage, having the difficult task of differentiating itself from the highest-grossing film franchise of all time, while trying to recreate the success that Marvel has enjoyed. Although we cannot fault DC for creating their shared universe, we can't help but notice plenty of DCEU story arcs that are surprisingly similar to MCU storylines. Many of these seem to overlap the elements that first appeared in the comics, and it's impossible to dismiss the fact that Marvel was the first to bring them to the big screen. So let's have a look at these comparisons and let you decide.
15. Men of armor
If it was a safe assumption that Kryptonite was going to make its debut in DCEU, based on the title Batman vs Superman, then the Caped Crusader would have given the Man in Steel a run for his money. But Bruce Wayne not only had the radioactive element on his side, but he also had a specialized suit of armor, which was designed to protect him against the increased threat. Now, where exactly have we seen this before? In Age of Ultron, we learn that Tony Stark has created the Mark XLIV, which was better known as, his Hulkbuster suit.
If Hulk ever went crazy and decided to go out on a killing rampage, this suit would come in handy. This new upgrade included rockets, a uni-beam, and a punch-repeater. While both upgraded armor sets have been seen previously in the comics, we can quickly draw a comparison between the two scenarios on the big screen. For example, when Zack Snyder went out of his way to emphasize that the Mech Batsuit doesn’t make Bruce Wayne more powerful, as it only protects him from Superman's strength.
14. The flying Steves.
These two characters are from Wonder Woman and Captain America. They both share the same first name, and both happen to be elite American soldiers at the frontlines of a World War against the Germans. The events surrounding their “deaths” are similar as well. At the end of the film, Steve Trevor decides to sacrifice himself by hijacking a German bomber and flying it to a safe altitude before the poison gas discharges.
This entire scenario is identical to the end of The First Avenger, where Cap boards Red Skull’s aircraft and flies his weapons of mass destruction into the Antarctic. The only significant difference is that Steve Rogers is brought back from the “dead” after 70 years on the ice, while Steve Trevor meets his death. Rather than being a hero, Steve Trevor is the love interest of the film.
13. Billionaire casanovas.
Marvel perfected this tactic, even though the post-credit scene was around long before the MCU. This resulted in audiences waiting around anxiously in the theater, to get a sneak peek of things to come. While this was happening, DCEU were hesitant about employing post-credit scenes of their own, to avoid drawing a comparison to Marvel. However, they aired one credits scene from Suicide Squad, which was sadly a massive letdown.
Apart from disappointing the fans, it gave the audience no new information and was strikingly similar to the scene at the end of The Incredible Hulk. Two superheroes meet with a less than enthusiastic government official to offer the idea of getting a team of superheroes together. The main difference is that up until this point in the MCU, the audience were dreaming about a possible Avengers movie. Instead, fans of the DCEU had already known that the Justice League movie was well in the works.
12. Joss Whedon.
Joss Whedon was put in charge of finishing the Justice League film in time for its November 17 release date after Zack Snyder stepped away following a family tragedy. Warner Bros affirmed that the film is still Snyder’s, with the addition of a screenplay credit, but rumors swirled about lengthy reshoots. How extensive was Whedon’s influence in Justice League?
Despite MCU and DCEU being two entirely different universes, they were looking for someone to take over the reigns for their biggest film to date, and the studio decided to take on Whedon. He proved himself to be fully capable of filmmaking after the first two Avengers films, and this was a step in the right direction for him. He achieved great success with his MCU outings but declared that he was disappointed with his creative process.
11. Incredible mentors.
Captain America is often slated as the official leader of the Avengers. The first few films of the MCU, Tony Stark, seems to be doing all the legwork by scouting talent and recruiting teammates. Even up until Civil War, when the Avengers break into separate teams, Tony has apparently kept his eye out for new blood, as seen when he brings Peter Parker under his wing. Since Tony Stark is one of the few members of the Avengers who doesn’t have any superpowers, it makes sense to give him the additional role of recruiting and strategizing.
We see this in DCEU with Bruce Wayne, and ever since Bruce witnessed the death of Superman, he’s promised to gather a team of superheroes using Lex Luthor’s top-secret intel. Bruce reaches out once again to Diana, in Wonder Woman, while we see the Justice League trailers where he has recruited both Aquaman and the Flash. These are similar to how Stark helped assemble the Avengers with Nick Fury’s help.
10. The gang of misfits.
James Gunn’s 2014 entry into the MCU introduced more complicated and bizarre comic book characters and made one of the most beloved and well-reviewed movies in the genre. Two years later, DCEU released a similar scenario was circling in a group of anti-heroes and misfits, they were forced to band together against their will.
Suicide Squad proved to be a mass of essential relationships, unlike the Guardians of the Galaxy. No amount of humor or catchy soundtracks could make feel any empathy for Captain Boomerang or El Diablo in the same way we connected with the members of the Guardians, keeping in mind that it’s better to serve the source material, rather than try to recreate what’s worked for audiences before.
9. World War II battles.
Here’s an example Marvel's notorious villain problem: MCU were not the ones who got in there first, but they still managed to do it better than the DCEU. In The First Avengers, Johann Schmidt, the primary antagonist, played by Hugo Weaving, is the head of Hydra. He works for Hitler, and his face is literally a red skull, not to mention that all good villains need a mad scientist sidekick, and that's where Arnim Zola stepped in.
Wonder Woman, however, not only leads you to believe that General Ludendorff is Ares in disguise, but his mad scientist partner, Doctor Poison, is an interesting villain in both appearance and personality, but none of that mattered by the end of the second act. The audience was forced to refocus their hatred on Sir Patrick Morgan, who was secretly Zeus’s corrupted brother, Ares the entire time.
8. An incredibly lighter tone.
DCEU is known for its overly dark and brooding tone. Not all superhero movies are comical, but if you're looking for gritty, more realistic movies with action, Christopher Nolan's fantastic Dark Knight trilogy is one to be remembered. Due to the widespread criticism of Batman vs. Superman, extensive reshoots were in order.
Suicide Squad was rather unsuccessful when it underwent these changes, which served to be more of a disorganized mess. At least Wonder Woman succeeded by bringing some color to the screen, but the biggest test will be to see if the Justice League can successfully balance these versatile styles of light and dark.
7. The Gods have a sense of humor.
DCEU decided to lighten things up a little with Wonder Woman, which found the goddess leaving her homeworld of Themyscira, and trying to adapt to life in 20th century Europe. We watch in amusement, as Diana deals with ridiculous fashion trends, and how she is unable to accept that women are treated as second-class citizens.
This same tactic was previously employed in the first Thor film, where yet another godly superhero must abandon their homeworld with no hope to return. Thor finds his Asgardian wardrobe to be far less absurd than everyone thinks and seems to be lost when it comes to proper common behavior. While Thor has continued to be a bit of an absent-minded joker throughout subsequent films, Diana has long gotten her bearings after living in Man's World since the end of World War I.
6. Post-Credit sequences.
The post-credit scene was around long before the MCU, and it’s hard to deny that Marvel perfected the tactic, which emerged in almost full audiences anticipating the sneak peek of things to come. DCEU has been reluctant when it came to using post-credit scenes of their own, likely to dodge attracting a comparison to Marvel. However, their only credits scene from Suicide Squad was not only a massive letdown, as it lacked providing the audience with new information, it also resembled a similar scene at the end of The Incredible Hulk.
Two superheroes meet with a less than enthusiastic government official to suggest the idea of getting together a team of superheroes. The main difference here is that up until this point in the MCU, the audience was only dreaming about a possible Avengers movie. On the other hand, fans of the DCEU had already known that the Justice League movie was well in the works.
5. The side-kick wannabes.
Even though we’ve only seen a handful of clips with Bruce Wayne interacting with Barry Allen, their relationship already feel strikingly similar to Tony Stark’s relationship with Peter Parker. In both Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming, we watched Tony bring Peter into the team. Recruiting the quirky new teenager to align himself with his crew of Avengers.
Duties included training him to be responsible and owning his powers, using them only when necessary. Barry Allen seems to be alike in a situation, never doing battle before, while Bruce Wayne reflects on dealing with the recruit who is both immature and inexperienced. By the looks of it, the similarities will continue to rise, once the Justice League hits theaters.
4. Sibling rivalry.
General Ludendorff and Doctor Poison have already reminded us of Red Skull and Arnim Zola. When Ares finally made an appearance at the end of Wonder Woman, we couldn’t help but feel nostalgic when it came to the ongoing conflict between Thor and Loki. While Loki is secretly planning to overthrow his adoptive father and brother in Thor, Sir Patrick Morgan is also cooking up a storm to destroy humanity by getting others to do his bidding.
When both adversaries’ evil intentions are revealed, they’re forced to battle with their super siblings, with Thor defeating Loki on the Bifrost Bridge. Wonder Woman destroys Ares after learning that she is indeed the “Godkiller,” as well as his half-brother, and Ares fails at the attempt at owning the iconic villain rank that Loki has in the MCU, especially now that he is apparently dead.
3. A case of De Ja Vu.
It's a bad idea to borrow from another movie, but if the moment serves the story, and doesn't draw too much attention out of the film, you can overt plagiarism. When it comes to the dancing scene from Wonder Woman, this seems to be the case. Steve Trevor teaches Diana how to slow dance in the real world, and shows how Wonder Woman marvels over snowfall for the first time. Look familiar?
Even though it's a heart-warming scene, it distracts us from the action and makes connects with the characters, which is something the DCEU has been severely lacking. Guardians of the Galaxy had a similar scene, where Star-Lord teaches Gamora how people dance on Earth. This type of scene has become a cliche for decades, but we tend to ignore its redundancy, as long as its execution doesn’t feel forced.
2. A Romance ending in tragedy.
From the beginning, we knew that Diana would be in a relationship with Steve Trevor, and this would turn out to be a similar love story to Steven Rogers and Peggy Carter in The First Avenger. Both films show that Captain America and Wonder Woman would eventually be brought up to the present timeline, mainly since we previously saw Diana throughout Batman vs. Superman.
This meant that their relationships in the past were already doomed from the start. In the case of Wonder Woman, things were already heading downhill in the beginning, because she considered her extended life and status as a god. These love stories always deviate at the end, and Steve Trevor ultimately sacrifices himself, leaving Diana utterly heartbroken, as opposed to Peggy mourning Steve Rogers.
1. An idea of a shared universe.
Now we come to the last concept. DC is launching a shared universe after the monster success of the MCU. While DC previously attempted to unite Batman and Superman on the big screen back in the early 2000s, those plans gradually fell through, along with the idea of making a Justice League film with George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road) associated as a director.
While MCU maintained in gaining momentum, DC produced some standalone disappointment, which included The Losers, Jonah Hex, and Green Lantern, and after Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy wrapped up in 2012, DC finally launched a shared universe of its own. For the comic book fans, this was exciting news, regardless of brand loyalty. DCEU’s attempt to separate itself by diving headfirst into a shared universe has had its good and bad days, and Justice League will undoubtedly be its biggest test to date.
With all this knowledge, we can only imagine what you must think, and what the fans must be contemplating. Did you notice any other similarities between DCEU and MCU? We hope you enjoyed reading this inciteful comparison as much as we enjoyed sharing it with you. Remember to share this with your friends and family, and stay up-to-date with us for more superhero madness when we bring you the latest scoops!