Black Adam’s Dwayne Johnson On The Marvel Vs. DC Rivalry

Black Adam star Dwayne Johnson comments on the “rivalry” between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe. After the mind-blowing spectacle of Avengers: Endgame, which saw the culmination of over 20 films, three phases, and a decade of superhero stories into one highly-anticipated cinematic event, the MCU has changed its focus. Though several important films have come out during Phase 4, many live-action television series have been released as well, allowing for the potential of many new stories and characters to take center stage in lower-stakes productions that don’t require as much knowledge of the extended universe.

In contrast, the DCEU is currently focused on continuing to build out its cinematic universe of superhero movies after several more independent projects that don’t seem to make up a larger universe such as Joker and 2022’s The Batman. Recently, 2021’s The Suicide Squad and spin-off series Peacemaker have renewed audience enthusiasm around the DCEU, which also includes the Wonder Woman films, Shazam!, Aquaman, Man of Steel, and Justice League. Johnson’s upcoming Black Adam film has teased massive changes for the DCEU, generating hype that could see the DCEU rise to Marvel’s level of spectacle in the next few years, if that’s what DC is aiming for.

In an interview with AP, Johnson offered a response about the Marvel/DC rivalry. His nuanced take states simply that there is room for both Marvel and DC to create different kinds of projects without having to compete directly. He expressed admiration for the MCU and Kevin Feige in particular, acknowledging the franchise’s massive impact on the entertainment industry and saying that DC is more interested in building its own brand than existing in Marvel’s shadow. Check out his full quote below:

“And do I think we’re gonna take any kind of bite out of Marvel? The answer is unequivocally, no. Because to me, as we build out the DC universe, ushering in a new era of the DC universe, that to me is not our lead foot, it’s not our goal, to take a bite out of Marvel. What they’ve done is incredible, what Kevin Feige’s done is incredible. And by the way, I love those guys, you know, [they’re] my friends. And they are largely responsible for the economic drive of our business for almost two decades. So, we don’t want to be Marvel. We want to be DC. And how we do things. So that’s what I want. I don’t want to take a bite of that apple, I want to grab a new apple. [Laughs] And I want to create from there.”

Johnson later elaborated on his response in a tweet, hyping up his film and the DC universe more as he stated that the DC universe and its characters “don’t chase anybody,” calling Black Adam and his compatriots “trailblazers & disrupters.” See his follow-up point above:

Can Black Adam End The Marvel vs. DC Debate?

Johnson’s take on the Marvel vs DC debate shows deep respect for both the MCU and his own work in the DCEU in equal measure. The Black Adam star clearly believes that there is room for both superhero franchises in the film industry, so they should take advantage of and celebrate their differences in order to offer audiences a greater variety. It’s unlikely that Black Adam will settle the Marvel vs. DC rivalry once and for all given the sheer volume of distinct projects that the MCU currently has to offer compared to the DCEU, though of course, both universes are continuing to expand.

However, with fan reactions to the MCU becoming increasingly divided throughout Phase 4’s run and some viewers exhausted by the many MCU projects to catch up on, it’s likely that Black Adam will attract the appeal of viewers less interested in the MCU’s content of late, giving the DCEU a wider audience as it continues to grow. Additionally, more superhero projects that explore new styles, themes, and characters are a win for all fans of the genre regardless of their preference between Marvel or DC, proving Johnson’s point that there is room for everyone in the industry. With the buzz Black Adam has been generating so far, it’s certainly set to make waves upon its release this month, giving theaters a much-needed boost in box office sales before Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Avatar: The Way of Water’s releases near the end of the year.

Source: AP Entertainment, Dwayne Johnson

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