DC vs. Marvel – Media Play News
January 24, 2022
Narrated by Kevin Smith. With Lance Henriksen, Patrick Warburton, Brandon Routh, Sean Gunn, Martin Starr, Tim Blake Nelson, Laura Benanti, Peter Facinelli, Jon Barinholtz, James Wolk, Clark Gregg, Helen Slater, Ray Wise.
This documentary series executive produced by the Russo Brothers focuses on the decades-long rivalry between comic book publishers Marvel and DC.
The series was originally made for Quibi, which is why the 10 episodes are only about seven minutes long each. It eventually ended up as a Roku Channel Original, where it was kept in its episodic form rather than assembled into a single, longer feature.
The documentary covers many key moments in the rivalry, mostly involving the creation of key characters. The retrospective includes a mix of interviews with actors and creators involved in the companies or starring in films based on the comics. Key events are presented in the form of re-enactments featuring well-known actors.
The series kicks off during World War II and the creation of Captain America. Other episodes look at how the two publishing companies tried to outdo each other with marketing efforts and big storylines, such as DC’s 1990s “The Death of Superman” which later led to the clone storyline. Marvel’s “Spider-Man” gone awry. controlling when sales were so good that the writers weren’t allowed to end it when they planned.
Several shows also deal with the companies’ attempts to crossover, whether surreptitiously through subtle references to common events, or an epic team-up between Superman and Spider-Man. In the 2000s, Marvel legend Stan Lee wrote a line of books for DC in which he reimagines DC heroes as if he had created them (although, more likely, Lee lent his name to the promotion and gave general ideas that were fleshed out by DC regular writers).
The historical vignettes are fun, and fans of these characters will revel in discussions of aspects of the rivalry, some of which they are familiar with and some of which they may not have been aware of.
However, the short running times mean that many potential presentation topics are not covered, especially when it comes to characters translated into movies and TV shows and the rivalry that extends to these mediums, to which the documentary barely hints otherwise.
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