The Marvel and DC rivalry has existed for decades. For most of its history, the rivalry has consisted of playful jabs between creators and fans. In an era in which superhero movies dominate the box office and social media conversations, however, things have taken a much nastier turn and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige simply doesn’t get it.
Feige recently sat down with Crave Online to discuss Thor: Ragnarok (spoiler warning, if you click on the link) when he was asked about the feud between fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe. The Marvel Studios boss doesn’t see any reason for fans to come into conflict with one another.
But I think it’s ridiculous. I think movies are awesome and people should go out and support awesome movies, and I go support those movies and I thought Wonder Woman was awesome. I can’t wait to see what Geoff Johns and Joss [Whedon] and the gang has done with Justice League. I guess people like rivalries, I guess? I don’t know. But I’m seeing Geoff Johns in a couple weeks for dinner. We went to this Dick Donner event together. Dick’s Superman is still the best archetype of superhero films. So yeah, just go see cool movies. What are you fighting about?
Whatever animosity may exist between Marvel and DC fans, it clearly does not carry over to the people in charge of actually making the movies. Feige and Johns, the co-head of DC Films, are longtime friends who met while working for Superman director Richard Donner. They cheer each other on and not just because they’re decent people, which they are.
As far as the broader perception of the movie industry is concerned, all superhero movies get lumped in together. That’s why the phrase “superhero fatigue” is used far more frequently than “Marvel fatigue” or “DC fatigue” when people try to predict, or just hope for the end of the genre. As a result, the success of one superhero movie is a success for all superhero movies. A failure of one is also a failure for the genre, bringing that “superhero fatigue” argument back to the forefront of blockbuster movie conversations.
No matter how effective each studio may be at branding its comic book movies, there is no escaping this broader link. They are tied together and the rising tide raises all ships.
This is the second time in recent weeks that a prominent Marvel Studios figure has addressed the feud between fans. Guardians of the Galaxy franchise writer/director James Gunn asked fans to stop fighting and be kind to one another in a Twitter thread a few weeks ago.
It is highly unlikely that the friendly co-existence of the people who actually work at Marvel Studios and DC Films will be enough to stop any and all nasty behavior between fans. It is worth hoping, however, that the message will get through to some. There is room to watch and enjoy both Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League this month, as Kevin Feige and Geoff Johns plan to do.