There’s a long tradition of the “big two” comic companies taking friendly swipes at each other; Marvel gently mocking the “Distinguished Competition” in it’s letters pages and “Bullpen Bulletins”, and DC pulling some similar stunts in their own, slightly more serious way officially (but being just as jocular unofficially). In the print world, it’s always been good-natured; with creatives and editors freelancing for both companies, it’s always been kind of a family/community business, with both companies understanding that the competition is good for both of them and the industry.
This friendly rivaly even extends to the TV world, where the Agent Carter and Arrow production teams routinely razz each other in interviews and online (it helps here that Carter executuive producer Tara Butters is married to Arrow exec Marc Guggenheim).
It seems like the folks at the major movie studio levels haven’t gotten the memo.
The Marvel guys (particularly the actors) tend to take the same sort of good natured swipes; but Disney and Marvel Films are mostly just going about their business making popular movies with an eye toward the balanced tone of the comics in the Mighty Marvel Manner™. DC and parent company Warner Bros., who have thus far fallen behind the curve in making their shared universe happen (though are working hard to make up the difference lately) are maybe trying a little too hard, with WB CEO Kevin Tsujihara dropping notes about how DC’s films are “steeped in realism” and “edgier” than Marvel’s slate.
I’d agree that the recent Batman films set the tone, and director Zack Snyder never saw a sepia-toned color palate he didn’t like, and then there’s that whole ridiculous (and false) “no jokes” policy that WB was supposedly enforcing for the DC films, but it’s hard to call Superhero flicks “steeped in realism” – they’re all, in their way, escapist fantasy, and the realism is often limited to allegory and metaphor. “realism” isn’t really the point, especially when “real” and “serious” is pretty much as meaningless as “grim and gritty” was in the 90s.
Oh well…this whole post was mostly an excuse to drop a reference to the following comment (from user SaiyanHeretic) I found in the latino review story about the WB CEO, which made me laugh:
DC movies are “serious” in the same way that a ten-year-old giving a lecture to his younger siblings about which is the best Pokemon is being “serious.”