After Marvel successfully proved that a cinematic universe could be achieved, DC knew that they wanted to get in on the action. After all, they had been attempting it for years and it fell through each time. Now that the concept was taking off, it was an opportune time to give it another go. Kicking off with Man of Steel, it didn’t start on the greatest note, but was solid nonetheless. However, the two films that came after it divided fans of all ages to the point where people either love it or hate it now. Thankfully, with the recent Wonder Woman film bucking the trend and the upcoming projects looking promising, there’s a lot that the DCEU is doing right.
That said, further inspection of these films has caused us to raise an eyebrow in suspicion. There are several moments throughout their released films and trailers that give us a moment of deja vu. We’ve seen a lot of these things before in the MCU more or less. While it’s difficult to define which moments are “rip-offs” per say, there are plenty of times where the DCEU bore an uncanny resemblance to the MCU, and we can think of 15 examples.
15. ARMORING UP
When emulating The Dark Knight Returns, it’s hard to have the iconic Batman vs Superman battle without giving the Caped Crusader the armored Batsuit that he made just for that very occasion. What most people will point out is that it’s extremely similar to the conflict that occurred in Captain America: Civil War, but that’s not a fair argument. Batman V Superman was announced first and Marvel changed their plans later.
That said, the idea of a brilliant mind creating a specific suit or armor to defeat an incredibly strong foe was already done in Age of Ultron when Tony used the Hulkbuster Armor. Both fights showcased the heroes destroying scenery around them as well as both suits of armor getting severely damaged by their opponents.
14. A CHRIS ON A PLANE
Even with Wonder Woman, the best of the DCEU has some striking similarities to the MCU. Most people will point out that the film is strangely similar to that of Captain America: The First Avenger. This isn’t just because both movies are period pieces. There are other things in place that make the connection very apparent if you look close enough.
Take Steve Trevor’s death for example. A slew of deadly equipment flies off on a plane and is about to destroy innocent lives. A man named Steve gets on the plane and decides that the only way to save the masses is by shooting the plane and sacrificing himself in the process, leaving his tough-as-nails, attractive woman behind to grieve. See what we mean?
13. BILLIONAIRE PLAYBOYS
When you have a superhero team, there has to be some way to finance everything that they’re about to do. That being said, we’re not counting this as a negative rip-off per say. It’s something that needed to be done, and Bruce Wayne was easily the best character for the job.
However, seeing Tony Stark finance the Avengers for years has already gotten us familiar to this idea. Seeing it replicated again with Batman will be like reliving the same thing twice. There’s a chance that Snyder and Whedon could’ve done something a bit different with how Bruce’s efforts were reflected in the time, but only time will tell. If the Watchtower starts being constructed at the end of Justice League though, we’ll be too amazed to care.
12. WITCHY WOMEN
We’ll get this out of the way — the most blatant offender of seemingly “ripping off” the MCU is Suicide Squad, so expect to see mentioned a few times in this list. As the movie establishes its main antagonist in the form of Enchantress, she slowly gains power and with her magic, releases her brother in the world.
Together they try to take down the team of heroes who are barely working together. If this sounds similar, you might recognize a familiar plot line take place in Age of Ultron. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver work with Ultron to try and take down the Avengers. Scarlet Witch even uses magic to try and disrupt the team, just like Enchantress did at the end of the film. They’re also siblings.
When it comes to the relationship between Batman and the Flash, something strikes a very familiar chord with fans of both the MCU and the DCEU. The DCEU’s version of the Flash is inexperienced and is just now coming into the idea of fighting villains that are larger than life.
Because of this, he needs a mentor figure to show him the ropes, and that’s the position Bruce Wayne seems to be in. Where have we seen this before? We saw it in Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming where Tony Stark sought out Peter and brought him into a much larger world of superheroes. He even gave Peter a lot of lessons about how he should use his powers and the kind of hero that he should strive to be.
10. A RAGTAG GROUP OF MISFITS
Ever since James Gunn released Guardians of the Galaxy, people have been enamored with the idea of taking an unlikely cast of friends, injecting some heart, and having a great film on their hands. Unfortunately, many people who try to emulate this fail to understand the movies that inspired Gunn, as well as how we made the entire premise work.
Take Suicide Squad for example. It’s very clear that they were going for a movie similar to Guardians of the Galaxy. You take the recognizable music, a cast of characters that certainly aren’t good guys, and a reason for them to work together. The problem with the movie, though, is that the film fails to earn any of its emotional moments, and the audience is left in the dust.
9. THAT WORLD WAR II PHOTO
In Batman V Superman, a lot of time is spent with Batman trying to discover more about the other metahumans that exist in the world. He finds a file on Wonder Woman and sees a picture of her with other soldiers during World War I. The picture was later shown off in the Wonder Woman movie as it was actually taken.
The resemblance of this picture to many shots in Captain America: The First Avenger is a little uncanny. Cap is dressed in some old-timey outfit while he becomes a leader for the American forces. There are also black and white movies made about his adventures, similar to the black and white photo that existed of Diana and her war comrades. It’s not a one to one resemblance, but they’re closely related enough to make us think twice.
8. DROPPING BOMBS
During the climax of Batman V Superman, Lex Luthor gains all kinds of crazy knowledge and uses it to create the monster known as Doomsday. Once that newly created creature is unleashed on the unsuspecting world, Batman and Superman have to work together to get it to an isolated island where they can fight it without endangering innocents.
As this battle raged on, the military decided that they would drop some nuclear bombs on Doomsday while the heroes were fighting in space. This is similar to when the government ordered a nuclear missile be dropped on the entirety of New York in The Avengers while the Chitauri were invading. The only way everyone was saved was by Tony Stark taking it through an interdimensional wormhole into space.
7. FUNNY PEOPLE
A lot of criticism surrounding the DCEU films is that they’re grim and devoid of all happiness. The problem with this argument is that it leads many to believe DC’s movies aren’t as good as Marvel’s because they don’t have a semblance of a sense of humor. That isn’t the point. The movies can be as dark as they want as long as they’re well-told stories.
Nonetheless, Justice League has the potential to go in a hindering direction. There are many more jokes being placed into the film.
Considering the fact that Joss Whedon also helped work on the project, comparisons to The Avengers are inevitable. Let’s just hope they manage it well because they could easily portray a sense of humor that we’ve already seen before.
6. GOD LANDS
This another time where this is a similarity that has been present in the comics and was necessary for the film, so we can’t really count this as a negative thing. In Wonder Woman, we are shown Themyscira, the island where Diana comes from. It’s there that a mythological race of people known as the Amazons live and train to become powerful warriors. They remain isolated from the rest of the world until one of their people, a child of a god, goes out into the world.
This concept is fundamentally similar to the city of Asgard shown in the Thor movies. It’s a place full of gods that were created in mythology. Everyone there is much stronger than your average joe, and they’re isolated from Earth until Thor is sent there.
5. THE ROOKIES
Unless you count the cameos he had in Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad, the Flash has yet to properly appear in the DCEU. His first real part will be in Justice League, where he’ll team up with Cyborg, Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman and Aquaman. That said, there’s a bit of an issue presented with the Scarlet Speedster: his personality is extremely similar to Spider-Man’s.
He geeks out about the idea of working with legendary superheroes like the Batman. He also seems to have a lack of experience, as indicated by his line of “I just push people and run away.” To add more fuel to the fire, Warner Bros. has even said that the Flash is essentially the DCEU’s version of the Tom Holland version of Spider-Man.
4. SPIRIT IN THE SKY
If you recognize “Spirit in the Sky”, you’ll know it as a popular song released by Norman Greenbaum. Fans of the MCU will remember that it appeared in the Awesome Mix Vol 1 — the soundtrack to the first Guardians of the Galaxy film. It didn’t appear in the movie itself but was an extra hit for those who were willing to spend a little more.
Fast forward a few years later to Suicide Squad, which had the strangest choice for music in any superhero film to date. Fans of Guardians of the Galaxy may have heard a familiar tune in the film — yeah, that’s right, “Spirit in the Sky” was played in the movie and is a part of the soundtrack. Coincidence? We think not.
3. FEAR OF THE STRONGEST
In Man of Steel, a lot of the film is structured on a choice that Clark Kent has to face: will he show his powers to the world and rob himself of living a normal life, or will he remain hidden and deal with the consequences of not helping anyone? As he begins to reveal himself, the public comes to fear Superman (some respect him, but not a lot). This point is later emphasized in Batman V Superman.
That said, this concept was already explored in The Incredible Hulk and The Avengers. The world is terrified of Bruce Banner and the power he possesses. That being said, Man of Steel handled this plot thread much better than the MCU, but we have to point out that the latter did it first.
2. DADDY’S FRIEND ISSUES
For the first film in the DCEU, the villain for our protagonist was an angry guy who was once a cohort of the main character’s father. Once we see him again, he moves forward with a plot to take over the world and kill our hero. This is the fundamental premise for Man of Steel, but it was also the premise of the first Iron Man.
Think about it. Obadiah Stane was a cohort of Howard Stark, but after the latter’s death, he began taking over the company. By the time Tony is an adult, Stane works toward trying to kill him and take over Stark Industries. As antagonists, Zod is fundamentally similar to Obadiah Stane. The only thing separating them was that Stane wasn’t an alien.
1. POST-CREDIT SCENES
Out of all of the times the DCEU potentially ripped off the MCU, this is the one point that we can argue until the day we die. When it comes to post-credit scenes, Marvel started the trend first and everyone followed suit (regardless of whether they were the first ones to attempt it or not).
Because they’re in so many films, it’s getting to the point where many of us don’t even want to bother staying after the film is done. The bigger issue here is that it’s not just the DCEU that does it. The Monsterverse is doing it, the Dark Universe is doing it, Fox’s X-Men franchise is doing it. The list goes on and on, and it’s starting to get too long for our taste.