It’s been a long time coming, but the release of Justice League is finally here. It seems like forever ago that Henry Cavill’s Superman took his first flight in Man of Steel and saved the entire world from General Zod and his forces. What’s surprising is that the movie was released in 2013, at a time when there was only one series on television devoted to characters published by DC Comics: Arrow. Soon after, though, The Flash would start, and a few years later, we would not only have Supergirl on television, but also a team known as the Legends of Tomorrow.
As more and more characters and series joined this universe, who would eventually come to be known as the Arrowverse, the DC Extended Universe would also grow, albeit in a slower manner with the release of movies like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Wonder Woman. Both universes started around the same time and, while they both feature the best DC has to offer, one is decidedly better than the other. Today, CBR hops backs and forth between the Arrowverse and the DCEU to list 15 reasons that the movie universe is so much better than the television one.
15. THE SUPERHEROES AREN’T NERFED FOR THE SAKE OF DANGER
From a Batman-like Green Arrow and the fiery wrath of Firestorm to the god-like super-speed powers of the Flash, the Arrowverse has quite a few very powerful DC characters in its arsenal that deliver super-heroics on a weekly basis. But, to keep the drama elevated, more often than not, these characters will be knocked out, left powerless or suddenly weak just for the sake of danger.
How many times have Professor Stein and Jax been separated, instead of forming Firestorm? How many times did Oliver Queen lose a fistfight he should have easily won? Arrowverse characters are constantly weakened to make a case for a certain threat, whereas the DCEU superheroes are always allowed to be their fully powered selves, from Wonder Woman in the Great War, to Superman taking on the forces of Zod in Metropolis.
14. NO POINTLESS RELATIONSHIP DRAMA
Week in and week out, characters from the Arrowverse go through many hardships of the heart. From Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak’s constantly on-and-off relationship to Barry Allen and Iris West’s complicated relationship that started out as surrogate brother and sister who fell in love (which then went through many complications before they were finally engaged), there is quite a lot of relationship drama to be found on any show. To be fair, that is the nature of the melodramatic beast.
On the other hand, the DCEU doesn’t feature any such complications. They allow their characters to fall in love, like Diana Prince and Steve Trevor, or Clark Kent and Lois Lane, but it never gets overly saccharin. There are no complicated ups and downs, just characters doing right by themselves and each other. No forced complications are introduced to push them apart for a time; none, that is, other than death.
13. VILLAINS ARE ACTUAL CHARACTERS, NOT PLOT DEVICES
The villains of the DCEU movies are just as important as the superheroes. In fact, not only did we already see the likes of Ares, Lex Luthor, General Zod and the creature known as Doomsday, we also got an entire movie dedicated to villains with Suicide Squad. Even Deadshot, Harley Quinn and to an extent Joker were complicated, three-dimensional characters with depth.
But whether you turn your attention to Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow or Supergirl, you will easily find many villains who were only given one episode to feature in – villains who barely got any depth. On top of that, bigger villains like Vandal Savage, Zoom and the Weather Wizard are mostly one-note, and never fully fleshed out. They are evil for the sake of villainy, and simply brought on to bring about a new threat for the heroes to deal with.
12. FILLER EPISODES; NO FILLER MOVIES
Admittedly, this is another “nature of the beast” thing, but it does speak to the inherent strengths capitalized by the cinematic medium. Each series of the Arrowverse has quite a few seasons under its belt, where each season usually deals with one long overarching story, like the Flash’s battle with Savitar, or Damian Darhk’s bid for control of Star City. But since each season features as many as 22 or 23 episodes, there are many filler episodes added in to pad what would have been an otherwise concise 12-episode season.
On the DCEU side of things, the movies simply don’t have that problem, because there is no time wasted. There is no need for filler movies, because every movie is one stepping stone that leads to another, from Man of Steel, to Batman v. Superman and Justice League. Despite some fans’ problems with them, none of the movies have been pointless, as each of them have given us new pieces to a puzzle that only gets bigger and bigger.
11. KEEP IT STREAMLINED
Before the Arrowverse, there was just Oliver Queen and his crusade. Later, the Flash would be introduced. Then the Hawks, Firestorm, Black Canary, Wild Dog, Atom, Heatwave, White Canary, Citizen Steel, Wally West, Guardian, Mister Terrific and the Elongated Man. While it’s great for DC fans to see so many characters hit the small screen, the truth of the matter is that the Arrowverse is cluttered with heroes and villains.
Nowhere is this more obvious than on The Flash and Arrow, where so many other superheroes operate alongside the main characters. While the DCEU is also working to introduce new heroes to its universe, it does so in a more streamlined approach, without adding too many all at once to take focus away from anyone. Each character introduced serves a purpose, and they get their time to shine.
10. THERE IS NO NEED FOR “TEAMS”
Supergirl works alongside her sister, Winn and the Martian Manhunter for the DEO. The Flash works at S.T.A.R. Labs alongside Cisco, Caitlin, Wells and the rest of his family. The Green Arrow also has his team, with Felicity, Diggle, Black Canary, Wild Dog and Mister Terrific, who all provide support and backup. For some reason, all of these superheroes need their respective teams to be operational in the city they protect.
This simply isn’t the case for any hero in the DCEU so far. The Superman we have seen in action is one who works alone. The same can be said for Batman, who outside of Alfred doesn’t have any other allies left. And while Wonder Woman had help in the Great War, she didn’t need anyone to defeat Ares – she did it all by herself. The DCEU is a place for heroes to find themselves, before uniting together.
9. THE DCEU NAILS THE PANTHEON VIBE
In the comic books published by DC, the entire pantheon of superheroes have a legendary quality to them. They are bigger than life, and they truly feel like gods who walk among men. In the DCEU, the characters feel appropriately epic, like they were lifted straight from the comic book page. The way they are portrayed, from Superman and Batman to Wonder Woman and Aquaman, truly is grand, like living icons.
For all of the characters the Arrowverse has brought to the screen, the television shows were never able to convey that same god-like feeling, even with characters who have great power, like the Flash and Supergirl. Mostly, they feel like down-to-earth people with extraordinary abilities, and while that is perfectly fine, they should always feel like legends, inspiring beacons to the world that could have statues made out of their likenesses.
8. A DIFFERENT KIND OF DARKNESS
On television, the original difference between The Flash and Arrow was that the Scarlet Speedster’s series was the brightest of the two, while the Emerald Archer’s own show was the darker one, that took place in a more violent city with more dangerous and gritty criminals. But while even The Flash would fall into darker territory, it was always nothing compared to the levels the movies could go to.
DCEU movies like Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad didn’t go out of their way to tell us they would be dark. Instead, they plunged us into a heavy world that was critical and fearful, a world that was brutal and violent, and that would throw everything at you to try and defeat you. These movies weren’t heavy-handed in their darkness – it was a mood and a reality that was ingrained, something that is inherently DC.
7. THE HEROES ARE ACTUALLY HEROIC
In the Arrowverse, heroes like the Arrow and the Flash have proven to be quite villainous on more than one occasion. Although the two refer to themselves as superheroes, one has been on a killing streak for quite a long time, while the other hasn’t hesitated to play around with time in order to obtain what he wanted — consequences be damned — to the point that he was as bad as any villain he had faced.
In the DCEU, the heroes are actually allowed to be heroic – even the villains (looking at you, Suicide Squad). Sure, Superman might be darker than his comic book counterpart, but he killed Zod because he had no choice, not because he could, like the Arrow. Wonder Woman brought hope to the entire world by defeating Ares and even Task Force X team managed to defeat the Enchantress’ evil machinations.
6. THEY CAN PULL OFF DARKSEID
As the DCEU built itself toward Justice League, as Batman v. Superman set the pieces on a board for the invasion of Earth, we realized that the forces of Apokolips were coming. With the Parademons and Steppenwolf as the antagonists of the superhero team-up movie, the big screen was the only place where Darkseid and his forces could be done complete justice – no pun intended.
But if we are to turn to the Arrowverse, there is simply no way that these shows could even come close to using Darkseid in a convincing manner. Simply put, while the saga of the New Gods is something that is at the heart of the comic books, it’s something that is simply too big for the Arrowverse to deal with. The Dominators were the biggest threats Flash, Arrow and Supergirl have faced yet, and we don’t see it getting any bigger than that.
5. SUPERIOR ACTION SCENES
When it began, Arrow was a series that prided itself on its inventive action scenes. But as the series progressed beyond its second season, it became increasingly obvious that the show was now just retreading old ground, with many more characters added to the mix to blur the lines and take away from the excitement. As for fight scenes involving The Flash or even Supergirl, they never take up a whole lot of time and end up being pretty lackluster.
But time and time again, the DCEU has given us movies that have featured the most amazing and exciting actions scenes befitting of superheroes. On the big screen, Superman’s battle with Zod was devastating. Batman’s takedown of an entire ring of criminals in a warehouse was hard-hitting in a way we had never seen, and Wonder Woman was allowed to prove how god-like she really was. This, of course, has something to do with the bigger budget of the films, as well as the bigger names attached, but it absolutely constitutes a huge reason for the movie universe’s superiority.
4. COMIC BOOK-WORTHY SUPERHEROES
On The CW, the Arrow may have gotten his own series, but Oliver Queen’s superhero alter ego was more in line with Batman than his own comic book counterpart. Similarly, Barry Allen’s Flash acted a lot more like Wally West. Even characters like Captain Cold and the Atom were far cries from what they are supposed to be in the comics.
However, when we consider the superheroes featured in the DCEU, we can see that they very closely resemble their comic book counterparts. Sure, Superman may have started out darker, but he is getting there, becoming who he was meant to be in a world that fears him. The same can be said for Batman. As for Wonder Woman, her portrayal was so spot-on that she managed to redefine the character entirely.
3. WONDER WOMAN: THE QUINTESSENTIAL FEMALE LEAD
It might have taken a little while, but the DCEU finally found its most enthralling and hopeful lead character in Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. With a single movie, the character, as well as the actress, shattered records and expectations, proving herself worthy of the role, all while coming to the head of the pack as the universe’s most engaging and popular character.
Diana Prince has become the quintessential female superhero lead in a genre that has far too many male characters in leading roles. Sure, Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl might come as a close second as the female lead of the Arrowverse, but her character is still no Wonder Woman, a character who has proven herself to be a true leader — one who can easily order the various members of the Justice League around.
2. NO LIMITS FOR SCALE
Whether it’s the invasion of Metropolis, an all-out brawl between Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and Doomsday in the port of Gotham, the destruction of Midway City, an entire country at war in 1918 or the arrival of the Parademons, there is simply no limits to the scale the DCEU movies can reach. But the superhero proceedings in the Arrowverse tell a much different story.
In fact, many times over, whether on The Flash, Arrow or Legends of Tomorrow, the various series have proven that they are very limited by their budget and the reach of their stories. This isn’t to say that they have not proven to be ambitious, but the Arrowverse will never be able to truly deliver the gigantic scope of the superhero antics that the DC characters truly deserve.
1. THEY HAVE BATMAN
In Batman v. Superman, Bruce Wayne was introduced to the DCEU to become one of its most important characters. He would next appear in Suicide Squad in a cameo capacity, then in Justice League, as effectively the character who seeks to put a team together. In this universe, we truly got the depiction of Batman we have always wanted, one who can be brutal when needed, as well as hopeful as to what his friends can do.
Batman is not only one of the most important characters in the DC Universe, comics or otherwise, he is an all-around fan-favorite. The simple fact that the character isn’t a part of the Arrowverse is a shame, considering that even Superman has appeared on Supergirl. The character may have been name-dropped, but sadly that doesn’t mean much. The DCEU has a tried and true Batman. A caped crusader. A dark knight. That’s all that matters.
DCEU or Arrowverse, which universe do you prefer? Let us know in the comments!
- Ad Free Browsing
- Over 10,000 Videos!
- All in 1 Access
- Join For Free!