Both it Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Extended Universe have stacked boards for 2021, but which franchise is getting a better year? Marvel and DC’s age-old print rivalry has led to their big screen adaptations with their own respective cinematic universes in MCU and DCEU. Many have weighed into the debate given the difference in the success rate of the two film series. Humans involved in these expanding universes have long disproved the notion that there is evil blood between them. Still, there is no harm in a friendly competition as it motivates both Marvel Studios and Warner Bros. to raise the quality of their films.
Superhero movies have dominated the box office for the past few years, primarily thanks to Marvel Studios, which has released a total of 26 blockbusters since its inception in 2008. The MCU began with Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreaus Iron Man which became a great success. That motivated Kevin Feige and his team to continue building the universe with 2012’s The Avengers serves as its first culminating event. After more than a decade with Infinity Saga, MCU is rebuilding itself in phase 4. DCEU, on the other hand, had a late start and only debuted in 2013 via Zack Snyder’s Man of steel. Surrounded by controversy and production problems, it was harder to establish oneself. But now it seems that the DCEU has finally found its foothold.
The two biggest players in the superhero movie sandbox have a number of new releases planned for the next few years, with no sign of things slowing down. But 2022 is a particularly interesting time, as MCU and DCEU have a very different mix of movies for fans. Based on their respective boards, it’s exciting to research which franchise will have better releases compared to the other.
Each DC movie will be released in 2022
Warner Bros. has five DC movies in the program for 2022, following a slow 2021 with only James Gunns The suicide group release. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, their board has been reshuffled and changed a few times, but it seems that its schedule is finally holding. DC opens 2022 with the long-awaited Batman coming to the cinema on March 4; directed by Matt Reeves, the film will introduce Robert Pattinson as the next Caped Crusader. But while he takes over the project from Ben Affleck, who was to write, direct and contribute to it, the blockbuster takes place in a universe separate from the DCEU.
Warner Bros. follows it up with the animated film, DC’s League of Super-Pets, on May 20th. The film revolves around Superman’s dog, Krypto (pronounced by Dwayne Johnson), who gathers his own team to save the conquered Justice League. The rest of Warner Bros. ‘ films for 2022 are all available within the DCEU. On July 29, Johnson officially debuts as Black Adam in Jaume Collet-Serra’s Black Adam. After years in production limbo, the film is finally coming to cinemas, and apart from its titular character, it will also introduce the Justice Society of America.
Meanwhile, Andy Muschietti’s Lightning will see Ezra Miller repeat his role as Barry Allen in this time travel / universe jumping adventure that will also see Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck revisit their respective versions of Batman. Sasha Calle officially joins DCEU as Supergirl. Lightning is scheduled for a rollout on November 4th. Warner Bros. closes 2022 on December 16 with James Wans Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom starring Jason Momoa in Aquaman. Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II all return from the original film.
Every Marvel movie coming out in 2022
Like the DCEU, Marvel Studios’ MCU also had to change its board a few times due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now it currently has three films set for 2022 – and all are successors. Getting things started on May 6th is Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness directed by Sam Raimi and starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the franchise’s primary wizard. The film will also see the return of Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch, Benedict Wong’s Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofors ‘Mordo and Rachel McAdams’ Christine Palmer.
This is followed by Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder, a project marking his MCU reunion with Chris Hemsworth since 2017 Thor: Ragnarok. Marvel Studios is getting bigger for the fourth Thor film scheduled to premiere in theaters on July 8, bringing together a star-studded ensemble with Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and several actors from Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Meanwhile, Russell Crowe and Christian Bale officially join MCU through the film as Zeus and Gorr, the God Butcher.
Marvel Studios’ latest film from 2022 is Ryan Cooglers Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, moving forward after the premature death of the protagonist, Chadwick Bosemans, in 2020. The sequel, which is expected to hit theaters on November 11, will put more focus on the existing characters and a deeper exploration of Wakanda.
Who will win: Marvel Vs DC Movies in 2022
Looking at the large amount, DC is the obvious winner in this match-up. Warner Bros. offers five DC movies in 2022 compared to Marvel Studios’ three. But other than that, DC also wins in terms of variety, making their board more exciting overall. All of their five films are significantly different from each other. Batmaenn is technically starting a whole new universe outside the DCEU, with follow-up movies and spin-offs already planned. DC’s League of Super-Pets appeals to a much younger demographic given the film’s premises and storytelling format.
Although the last three films are in the DCEU’s primary canon, each film promotes the franchise in its own unique way. Black Adam debuts with a brand new hero, but perhaps, more importantly, it officially brings Dwayne Johnson, arguably the biggest movie star in Hollywood right now, to the franchise. Lightning, on the other hand, has a lot to do with it, with Keaton and Affleck’s return as their respective versions of Batman the most exciting. The Miller-led blockbuster is also solidly establishing DCEU’s multiverse, laying the groundwork for a larger and more comprehensive franchise that may eventually converge in the future. Finally, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom offers something familiar to those who are already engaged in the franchise and if it is able to achieve the same success as the original Aquaman the film did, then it is safe to say that it will be another huge hit for DCEU.
As for the MCU, its films still offer some sort of variation, but since they are all sequels, there are expectations from fans for them. Doctor Strange and the multiverse of madness really establishes the idea of the multiverse – something Spider-Man: No Way Home recently tackled. It will also serve as a kind of continuation of WandaVision‘s story given Scarlet Witch’s involvement. In the meantime Thor: Love and Thunder is the first fourth solo film in the MCU; focus on Jane Foster, who becomes Mighty Thor, will be interesting, and so is Valkyrie’s presumed current reign as King 0f Asgard. Bale’s return to the cartoon sandbox will also definitely turn heads; after playing Batman in the acclaimed The Black Knight trilogy by Christopher Nolan, he is now ready to play the Thunder God’s next villain, Gorr. Rounding off MCUs 2022 is Black Panther: Wakanda Forever which has been bound by challenges, but with its creative team mostly intact, not to mention the drive to honor Boseman’s legacy, fans are optimistic about Coogler delivering another hit.
How 2022 will change DC and Marvel’s film future
Based solely on the current 2022 movie boards for DC and Marvel, it could define the future of the aforementioned franchises, as some of their narratives create larger, overarching story lines. Maybe it could even change the way the public perceives them in relation to each other. It’s no secret Marvel Cinematic Universe is the number one comic book for a while now, primarily with regularly churning hit movies in the last decade. In 2021, it even expanded its knowledge by rolling out TV shows to Disney +. But with three well-known blockbusters next year, some casual cinemagoers and many may be looking for something else that DC Extended Universe can take advantage of given Warner Bros. ‘ varied slate.
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- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release Date: May 6, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release Date: July 8, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever / Black Panther 2 (2022)Release Date: November 11, 2022
- The Marvels / Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release Date: February 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release Date: May 5, 2023
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release Date: July 28, 2023
- The Batman (2022)Release Date: March 4, 2022
- The Flash (2022)Release Date: November 4, 2022
- DC League of Super-Pets (2022)Release Date: May 20, 2022
- Black Adam (2022)Release Date: July 29, 2022
- Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2022)Release Date: December 16, 2022
- Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)Release Date: June 2, 2023
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