When it comes to superheroes, there are no two brands more synonymous with the phrase: DC and Marvel. In fact, the topic of superhero films is so extensive and debated that the two companies have formed their own worlds surrounding their characters: the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). For many decades the two companies have had a monopoly on comics and related films and the world of superheroes. But while there are many characters to enjoy between the two, the longstanding rivalry between them is still as strong as ever. As the two brands continue to make their comics and films more inclusive and focused on representing both genders, female characters are starting to get more spotlight and better development in films. This rise in representation of the female superhero has many fans pondering which brand has the better female character? We will let you be the judge with this review of some of the most memorable female characters from both DC and Marvel.
There has been an ongoing debate more recently regarding which company has better representation of female superheroes. While both have consistently had female characters in supporting roles, they have not always been the star of the show — especially during the last decade or so. There have been some past films that featured female protagonists, with films like Marvel’s Elektra and DC’s Supergirl and Catwoman. But years had passed since a female superhero character had their due time in the spotlight. This all changed in 2017 when DC released Wonder Woman, the first film of our current era that was led by a female superhero. With the huge success of this film and its timeliness, DC made a cut above Marvel in being the first to focus a film on a female character.
Marvel, while lagging initially, caught up with the times with the 2019 release of Captain Marvel. But it hasn’t been a match for the level of success that DC saw with Wonder Woman. And DC was able to repeat this formula of female empowerment with the release of Wonder Woman 1984 — proving that a female superhero franchise is more than viable, it is in high demand.
DC made another huge stride with female superheroes in 2020 with the release of the female-centered case of Birds of Prey, featuring Harley Quinn, Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya. In the previous Suicide Squad film, supporting female chracters that wer featured include Katana and Enchantress. While it may not have done as great in ratings as Wonder Woman, Birds of Prey is an important film in terms of cementing DC as taking the lead in female-centered casts and films.
As these are the most popular female centered characters for both DC and Marvel films currently, DC clearly has taken the lead in movies that center around female characters. But there are several other Marvel characters to consider who have done well in supporting movie roles.
Marvel has highlighted some memorable female characters like Peggy Carter, Pepper Potts and Jane Foster — while these characters are heroines we can get behind, they may not be considered true superheroes with the lack of costume or general theme. Marvel has also featured main female superheroes in several films: Gamora, Black Widow and Scarlet Witch. Many of the other female characters under MCU are owned by Fox within the X-Men franchise.
The two companies have both made strides in improving their representation of female superheroes as leading stars on the big screen. But which one has the better and more memorable female superhero? Time will continue to reveal the answer to this question as both DC and Marvel continue to spin the stories of the brave and beautiful female superheroes within their universe.