YouTuber Nerdwriter1 recently posted a video essay titled “The Problem With DC Action Scenes.” In this 7+ minute video, he breaks down a few key action scenes in the DCEU films and sites what is wrong with them. And naturally, he shows what the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done in comparison.
The three main issues that Nerdwriter brings up are Physics/Power Levels, Creative Use of Powers, and Character Moments.
For Physics and Power Levels, the criticism is that basically every DC hero in the films does the same thing, they punch things really hard. It’s what Superman does, it’s what Wonder Woman does, it’s what Aquaman does, and so on. So, based on this video, it’s hard to gauge each hero’s power. The video compares this to the opening scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier using Cap fighting normal henchman to gauge his power level.
For Creature Use of Powers, the criticism, mostly aimed at Superman, is that he solves most of his problems by punching things despite his vast array of powers. I guess I watched a different fight versus Zod when super speed, invulnerability and heat vision all played a part. The video again compares to the MCU, showing Hawkeye trick Iron Man with his arrows or Thor accidentally powering up Iron Man’s armor, among others.
Lastly, the Nerdwriter thinks that the DC films need to incorporate more dialogue and “character moments” into their fight sequences. The Marvel films have a bunch of quips and one liners sprinkled into their fight scenes, allowing for the scene to “breathe” and maybe get a laugh or two. DC doesn’t really have a lot of that.
While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I don’t fully agree with what the Nerdwriter is saying. Scenes like Wonder Woman’s No Man’s Land scene or Batman’s warehouse scene in Batman v Superman are two of the best action sequences in any superhero film to date.
I don’t think that every DC fight sequence is perfect, nor do I think that everything Marvel touches is gold. Each universe has some fantastic fight scenes and each has some duds. Let’s take the battle between Batman and Superman in BvS for example. I thought this was overall pretty disappointing for the hype that led up to it. But I had no issues with the dialogue in it.
At first it was Superman pleading with Batman. Then Batman intimidating Superman after he gets hit with Kryptonite. Then Batman talking to Superman after he defeats him. There are plenty of character moments there. This scene is meant to be brutal and adding one liners wouldn’t feel right. The fight itself could’ve been improved upon, along with the events that lead to it. But in the context of what we got, I have no issues with the dialogue.
There’s no question that DC has a lot of work to do to improve their films and that Marvel is killing it overall. However, this video’s argument regarding the action sequences doesn’t really hold water for me. There’re plenty of great action scenes in DC films, but I do agree that some of them need work.
What do you think? Do you agree with Nerdwriter’s stance?