Fan Wars: Healthy Competition or Justice League Ex-Communication?

So it’s almost here. After over thirty years of cinematic irrelevance, the original superhero is less than a week away from climbing back to the top of the cinematic comic world. It’s no doubt that Richard Donner’s 1978 “Superman” is the DNA blueprint to all other superhero movies to come after it. What a great film. I remember watching it as a kid and just loving every minute of it; especially since it was my dad and Jerry Seinfeld’s favorite. The film is seriously great. John Williams’ score, Gene Hackman’s Lex. Christopher Reeve’s was just born to play Superman. Margot Kidder is so late-70’s hot, it’s beyond charming. And you can’t help but tear up every time Pa Kent kicks the bucket. It gets me every time. The film started DC’s long tenure on top of the film universe. From “Superman” to Tim Burton’s “Batman” and some over-saturated sequels, DC and Warner Brothers long dominated the market. Until X-Men, Spider-Man, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe came along.

Sorry, Hans Zimmer. This is THE superhero theme

Competition is good, though, right? I mean think about what the success of the X-Men and Spider-Man series did to Warner Brothers and DC. If Schumacher’s “Batman and Robin” wasn’t a wake-up call, then Marvel and Paramount’s success was. As a result, WB got their act together and to combat with the upcoming Disney Marvel Cinematic Universe, went out and got one of the best new filmmakers in Hollywood to create what’s now becoming the Chris Nolan DC Cinematic Universe.

    Just think: the guy who made this masterpiece also wrote “The Wiz” and directed “Tigerland”. Talk about range!

But the competition infuriates people. It has set a spark beneath the butts of the fans loyal to DC and the fans loyal to Marvel. All I see every day (when I am breaking internet rule numero uno: “Do not, under any circumstances, read comments”) on the “Man of Steel” or “Iron Man 3” trailers are comment wars. Who’s better, Shane Black or Zack Snyder? Chris Nolan or Jon Favreau? Joss Whedon or Jor-el? Could Iron Man beat Batman in a fight? Could Thor and Loki take Superman? “Marvel’s movies are just silly nonsense!” “Christian Bale’s voice sucks, Robert Downey, Jr. is way cooler!”

The rivalry has become extremely intense. Especially since both comic tycoons are flourishing at the box office, in recent years. 

And for why, I ask! Where do we draw the line on fan allegiance? When can one fanboy or girl just heed to another fan boy or girl’s franchise. Let’s face it. “The Avengers” is incredible. “The Dark Knight” is incredible! They’re fantastic films. We all love superheroes and comic books. Each franchise has its own style and voice. So why not join in on the fun, everyone? I once heard the great, powerful, awesome Stan Lee say that he was in fact friends with Batman creator Bob Kane. The two had a rivalry on the court, but were buddies in the club house. Man would I love to see those two guys hit it off at a bar. Those conversations must have been something. 

double supermen
              Henry Cavill can be jealous of my brother’s and my superjocks. He doesn’t get a pair in the new film.
           Look at that flow, though. Seriously. 

Though, while I encourage the Marvel/DC non-denominationalism , there’s some inter-fandom that can make even the casual fans cringe. I mean, sometimes you just can’t be a fan of both. Someone on twitter the other day told me she was a Cleveland Indians fan and a Red Wings fan. I was like whaaaaaat. I told her the way she was living her life was wrong and evil. Because it is. I mean you can’t do that. You can be a fan of James Bond and Jason Bourne, but you can’t be a fan of both Michigan State and that other school. You can dig The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, but don’t double dip by calling yourself a Nintendo Fanboy, but still wait in line for a PS4. And lastly, you can be a “Star Trek” and a “Star Wars” geek as long as you realize that “Star Wars” is the way superior franchise in all aspects of its game, and your fandom of “Star Trek” is merely an interest you have on the side. Here’s an awesome scene from “Fanboys” (2009, Kyle Newman) that illustrates how the Marvel vs DC rivalry doesn’t hold a candle to Trek vs Wars:

We should all love Marvel and love DC. No reason to choose one or the other. When I was a kid, I dug “Batman: The Animated Series” but also exceeded the recommended mileage of my X-Men action figures. It didn’t matter what company they came from, I was just down to see my favorite Superheroes in action. So when you go see “Man of Steel”, don’t compare it to “Iron Man 3” or “The Wolverine”, or root for one or the other. I bet even the die-hardest of hard DC or Marvel fans mixed universes when they were younger.

I can’t imagine a seven year old playing with a Spider-Man and a Batman action figure, and another kid comes over to play and he goes: “What are you doing!? You can’t have Batman fighting Spider-Man! They’re not in the same universe! Gotham isn’t even a real city!!!” Because, that would never happen. 

The best part about an Iron Man movie and a Superman movie coming out within a month of each other? We get to be that seven year old kid again, two months in a row! 

1993SpringKaleGmaSlide
Here’s me circa sometime-that-was-a-lot-more-fun-than-now (aka 1993). On the slide with my grandma. I am told I never wanted to take my Superman shirt off. Why would I? I look like a total B.A. here

And wow, I got through this whole blog without referencing Rodney King—-uh, oops.

About Kale

Kale is a proud MSU Detroiter with filmmaking and social media aspirations. Currently in Production Assisting Purgatory, Kale has two goals in life: (1) Have a million followers on twitter and (2) Never pay a mortgage. So help Kale reach one of those goals, follow him @kaledavidoff
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One Response to Fan Wars: Healthy Competition or Justice League Ex-Communication?

  1. Robert Phillips says:

    Great article, although Star Wars is to Star Trek what Gallagher is to Louis C.K. I couldn’t help reading that one paragraph with clenched fist and my communicator in the other hand yelling, “Kaaaalllleeeee!