The rise of modern superhero movies has been nothing short of meteoric. Though they were once considered somewhat niche, superhero movies have become among the most bankable at the box office. However, there remains a sizeable divide between the two main comic book companies – basically, DC movies always seem to be much worse than their Marvel counterparts.

DC have the likes of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. However, Marvel have Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Captain America. Each have built their own shared cinematic universes for their heroes to interact in, and each have made a staggering amount of money at the box office.

Even so, Marvel’s movies have found far greater success than DC’s. The MCU has enjoyed its status as the most profitable film franchise of all time, while the DCU has struggled to please critics and fans alike, and continues to languish in a state of near-constant crisis. Strangely, there does seem to be an explanation for this, and it’s far simpler – and dumber – than one might think.

DC Movies Are Worse Than Marvel Because Their Stories Are More Fantastical

Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in Justice League (2017)

The answer is relatively simple, all things considered: the DC universe is far more fantastical than Marvel’s. Though both have characters with various types of superpowers, some of DC’s biggest heroes are aliens, gods, or otherwise fuelled by some sort of magic. Though there’s no issue there in a narrative sense (these are superheroes, after all), that does present a unique problem when it comes to live-action movies.

With a franchise built on alien technology, magic, and mythicism, DC is forced to rely heavily on CGI. The likes of Superman, the Flash, Green Lantern, and Shazam would all be impossible to bring to life without heavy use of visual effects, and they all form a large part of DC’s wider narrative. It’s an issue, and it’s one that Marvel doesn’t have.

Marvel’s heroes are typically just a little more grounded than DC’s – figuratively speaking, of course. Plenty of Marvel heroes rely much less on the use of CGI, which allows the audience to connect better with their stories. What’s more, there’s a more human tone to Marvel’s movies, because its heroes are… well, human.

How CGI & Alien Stories Have Held DC Movies Back

DC movies worse than Marvel - Henry Cavill as Superman in Man of Steel (2013) and parademons in Justice League (2017)

From its beginnings in Man of Steel, the DCU has struggled. As DC’s most recognizable hero, the franchise has been built around the character of Superman. However, this comes with an innate reliance on CGI, as the use of computerized effects is unavoidable when it comes to bringing Superman’s godlike alien powers to life.

What’s more, the outlandish nature of DC’s stories even hurt its more grounded heroes. Batman is DC’s other heavy hitter, and it’s been proven that he works best when approached with realism (think The Dark Knight or The Batman). However, when he’s forced to appear alongside an alien zipping around in spandex, all realism goes out the window. It’s a problem unique to DC, and it’s been a huge hurdle to cinematic success.

Of course, on paper, there’s very little to separate the potential of DC’s films from Marvel’s. Both companies have the capacity to make incredible films that tell epic stories of good versus evil, but only one seems to have repeatedly fallen short. Maybe things will look up for DC in the future, but for now, it seems that their films are perpetually living in the shadow of their Marvel counterparts.