This is the summer of versus movies, what with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War being released just a month apart. Both films had a similar premise - their two biggest characters would meet on the field of battle, there's ideological conflict driving them both, and a mastermind villain pulling strings in the background.
Despite how similar these movies are, there are massive differences in execution. Marvel built up to Civil War over the course of eight films. The foundation for this structure was carefully laid, brick by brick. DC only had the very weak foundation of Man of Steel, a film with a mixed reaction.
And on that foundation, they didn't carefully lay down another part of the structure, but instead tried to dump everything on it at once. The result is the conflict in Civil War feels organic and makes sense, whereas the conflict in BvS comes off as forced.
And the results are very telling. A large amount of early reactions to BvS were extremely negative, with only a few positives and despite a strong opening, experienced a steep audience drop-off. On the flipside, Civil War has been met with near-universal acclaim by critics and fans alike.
So what happened? How did Marvel succeed where DC failed? Read on and find out.
Percival Constantine is the author of several novels and short stories, including the Vanguard superhero series, and regularly writes and comments on movies, comics, and other pop culture. More information can be found at his website, PercivalConstantine.com