The Biggest Difference Between the MCU and the DCEU? Marvel Doesn’t Waste Its Talent

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had a quiet year, but it’s set to ramp up in 2021. The DC Extended Universe also had a slow 12 months, though it finished the year with a bang by debuting Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max. Both franchises have had their high and low points, but pretty much everyone can agree that the MCU has been more successful in just about every aspect. 

There are multiple reasons one could point to as to why Marvel has bested DC in the film department. One of those reasons has to be how much they’ve gotten out of the talent at their disposal.

Let’s take a closer look at the actors from the MCU, the actors from the DCEU, and why Marvel does a good job not wasting talent. 

The core actors of the MCU

Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. | Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Up until this point, the MCU’s main core of talent has been made up of the following actors: 

  • Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man/Tony Stark
  • Chris Evans as Captain America/Steve Rogers
  • Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff
  • Mark Ruffalo as The Incredible Hulk/Bruce Banner
  • Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye/Clint Barton

There have been others such as Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, and Paul Bettany as Vision. They’ve also had some great actors playing their villains like Hugo Weaving as Red Skull, Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane, and Tom Hiddleston as Loki. 

The core actors of the DCEU

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Much like the MCU has the Avengers, the DCEU has the Justice League. The core performers who have starred in those roles so far include: 

  • Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne
  • Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent
  • Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince
  • Ray Fisher as Cyborg/Victor Stone
  • Ezra Miller as Flash/Barry Allen

After Justice League came out to lukewarm reviews, DC focused more on standalone films rather than continuing with an interconnected universe. That said, there are still future plans for one-off Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Flash films. Another Batman film is planned, but it will take place outside the DCEU continuity. 

Both cinematic universes have significant talent behind them. So why is it that the MCU has been more successful, both critically and commercially? 

The biggest difference between the MCU and the DCEU

When discussing the MCU on Reddit, one fan brought up how well Marvel uses the talent at their disposal. They pointed out that one of the main distinctions between the MCU and the DCEU was that Marvel simply doesn’t waste the talent they do have: 

“That’s one of the more clear differences between the MCU and the DCEU is that when they have a charismatic actor like Hiddelston or Downey or Evans or virtually any of them they don’t waste their natural charm.”

All three actors are great examples of how well Marvel cast its characters and allowed those performers room to experiment and develop the character. Evans nailed Captain America; he accomplished the right balance of being moral and upstanding without seeming preachy. Likewise, Downey Jr. made the perfect Tony Stark. He embraced the sarcastic, fun-loving nature of the character while still maintaining extreme likability. Meanwhile,

Hiddleston emerged from near obscurity to nearly steal the show in the Thor series. Not only does he serve as a charismatic foil to Thor, but he also challenged all the Avengers in that group’s first team-up film. 

The DCEU has some bright spots here and there, but overall, Marvel has been more consistent in producing great work. A big reason for that is how well they utilize their talent.