I recently overheard someone say something so stupid, I decided I had to address in its own article. “Looks like Marvel just ripped off Dawn of Justice and put their own ‘superheroes fighting each other’ movie together to compete.” Well, actually, I have to go on record to say the Civil War story line played out MANY YEARS AGO in Marvel comics, exactly how it looks on screen. Cap fighting Iron Man. So really, if anyone ripped ANYONE off, I would be so bold as to say DC read the story line and almost immediately threw together a (frankly, shoddy) film. But the question has the right to be asked. Are Marvel’s Civil War and DC’s Dawn of Justice the same movie?
I can tell you why they are not.
Okay, so we can point out the obvious first. Yes, Dawn of Justice and Civil War may look the same on the surface. Two of the publisher’s biggest heroes, meeting up and battling. Yes, someone looking in from the outside may think they are the same, and that mistake is easily made. They do look similar. But if Marvel does this right, you will see just how different the movies actually will be once Civil War comes out.
Having seen Dawn of Justice and having read Civil War in its entirety, I believe I can fill you in on the key differences between Civil War and Dawn of Justice.
Civil War, though it may not be set up in film the same way it is set up in movie, has the same themes running through it as Dawn of Justice. Superheroes with unregulated strength can pose a threat to humanity. In DOJ, it is Superman who has held up as the example. In Civil War, a major tragedy causes the government to kick in a hero registration, meaning any mutant or hero with powers needs to register themselves.
Kicker is, those who are anti-registration get locked up. They are considered threats. This is where Marvel took a real turn, in a good (but dark) way.
Civil War Changes EVERYTHING in the Marvel U
While you would ASSUME it would be the other way around, Captain America is ANTI registration and Iron Man (who is normally anti-authority) sees it as a good thing. This was a HUGE tonal shift for fans who always thought Iron Man was cooler and Cap was kind of a narc. Cap sees how un-American it is (very NSA) and refuses. Thus starts the two warring sides. Those who accept the registration and those who see it as a slap in the face to the heroes who have saved everyone countless times.
The other thing that makes it so dope is, it is not two heroes fake fighting to set up a Justice League movie. Civil War will be the kick-off to Marvel third tier of films, which will get darker in tone as a result. Some of these heroes are no longer friends after this.
Hell, they do this right, some of these heroes are no longer ALIVE after this.
Dawn of Justice Was Just A Two Hour Justice League Set-Up
My problem with Dawn of Justice was the simple fact that it felt, well, forced. This particular story played out nowhere in the comics (though bats and supes have fought MANY TIMES in the comics) and it was nothing but a major set-up for the Justice League film. Even that makes no sense, though, as SPOILER ALERT FOR DAWN OF JUSTICE how do you start a Justice League with a dead Superman? (I know, I know, he’s not dead. Further proof the story was just kinda limp). Yes, Civil War and Dawn of Justice may have the same thematic tension running through them (we fear the powerful and want to cage those we don’t understand) but the core of the two stories could not be more different.
Civil War will forever change how we look at certain Marvel characters (if they do the movie right). It literally changes the entire tone of the universe it takes place in. We can tell by Dawn of Justice, that was just a fight scene shoehorned into a Doomsday movie so they could fill seats. I cannot blame them for rushing DOJ out to compete with Marvel (who have been owning the movie scene for last five years, easy), but the story should have been tighter, should have played out as its OWN story, and should have felt like more than a two and a half hour Justice League prequel.
Keep in mind, I have not seen Civil War yet and have only read it, so who knows? Marvel could completely screw this up, too. Only time will tell. But to answer that one geek’s stupid comment. No, Marvel’s Civil War movie is not the same as Dawn of Justice.
Thank God, because I cannot go through that twice.
Side note, not just a Marvel fanboy. You look up some pieces I wrote on here from last year, I was actually predicting Dawn of Justice to be the superior looking movie. I was wrong and will accept that. I was hugely disappointed, and am praying Marvel doesn’t drop the ball as well. And to be fair, Marvel had 8 years to set this up, and DC had one movie. Just being impartial to make a point. It could still go either way. We will find out soon enough, and as Axl Rose once so delicately said: What’s so civil about war, anyway?