FW Presents – Marvel/DC Superhero Film Bracket Battle

It's the superhero battle to end all superhero battles! We pit 64 superhero films against one another to decide: What is the best superhero movie from Marvel or DC?

It’s the MARVEL/DC SUPERHERO FILM BRACKET (LIVE ACTION) decided by our panelists: Michael Bailey, Chris Franklin, Bass Levesque, Nathaniel Wayne, and moderated by The Irredeemable Shag!

Which movie will come out on top? Grab your bracket sheet HERE to follow along! Plus find out which lucky listener submitted their own bracket in advance, guessing the most match-up results correctly!

This podcast is a proud member of the FIRE AND WATER PODCAST NETWORK:

64 responses to “FW Presents – Marvel/DC Superhero Film Bracket Battle

  1. Couldn’t listen to the podcast after I saw Blade, Daredevil, Punisher, and Ghost Rider on the DC side. This can’t even be taken seriously when several people didn’t notice this mistake and it went through to Being posted on YouTube. A whole podcast and nobody noticed it. Just… how?

    1. And I have to add, this wasn’t a Marvel vs. DC thing. It really doesn’t matter WHERE a movie was listed. If it was the best it would end up in top spot. If not, it would get eliminated.

      I just don’t understand the anger. Or the reference to YouTube. (Are we on YouTube?)

      1. You’d think the same would have applied in a contest with James T Kirk. But we know what you did with that.

      1. Looking forward to the follow-up to this episode in about 5 years or so when we can have Shazam!, Captain Marvel, and Aquaman added to the list. (Huh. Maybe even Nightwatch? What a world we live in nowadays…) Maybe we could also fill up the ranks with a couple of Lego movies.

  2. 43 correct picks. Exactly average.

    It’s strange: I’m a DC Fanboy to the extreme. 60 boxes of comics and only one of them is (partially) not DC. But when it comes to the movies, Marvel wins it for me. Maybe its because I am not as invested in the characters. Or maybe it’s because Marvel has figured out how to do good movies with their characters.

    Random thoughts about some of these movies:

    Return of Swamp Thing – I was at the Jersey shore when Hurricane Bob hit in ’91. This was the movie I picked out to rent while we were stuck inside. My family played cards.

    Batman ’89 – Not a movie about Batman. It is a movie about a guy dressed up like Batman. But Batman isn’t in that movie.

    Man of Steel – My dad and I saw it for free. On my birthday. And we felt totally ripped off. I hate this movie with the heat of 1,000 suns.

    Suicide Squad – totally wrong for a movie. It would be so much better as a TV series – especially in the post-Walking Dead/Preacher/Game of Thrones TV landscape.

    Justice League – I had no intention of seeing this, based on despising Man of Steel, hating Zack Snyder movies in general, the horrible reviews of BvS. Still, A friend convinced me to see it at the cheap theater for $5. I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t a great movie, but it wasn’t gods-awful.

    X2: X-Men United – I LOVED the Nightcrawler vs. the White House scene so much that I saw it in the theater three times just for that.

    Amazing Spider-Man 2 – I was working as a manager for a 2-screen movie theater when this was coming out. I got to see a 25 minute extended preview of it. Based on that 25 minutes, I recommended that the theater not get it.

    Steel, Swamp Thing, Constantine, Batman v Superman, Catwoman, Blade Trinity, Batman ’66, Punisher: War Zone, Elecktra are all on my never seen list. With the possible exception of Batman ’66, they will all stay there.

    I had forgotten about Blade, and thanks to this podcast, I am re-watching it now. So thank you for that!

    1. For me, Return of Swamp Thing could have potentially advanced in seven of the eight brackets in the DCU division, but certainly not against Wonder Woman.

      Amazing Spider-Man 2 is arguably the worst super-hero movie of all time.

      At least one Blade movie should have reached the Elite Eight but for nostalgia goggles.

  3. Wow! The Bailey/Franklin fight over Superman 1 and 2 was shocking! Not since Macho Man turned heel on the Hulkster have I witnessed such a surprising betrayal!

    I don’t envy you guys for taking on this challenge. I found a good number of your picks strongly questionable.

    What I would liked to have seen was a bit more diversity amongst your panel. Two Southern living gents, a Yankee, and a Canadian (all male) presided over by another Southerner.

    1. So David…which one of us turned heel in your opinion?

      And I remember the Hogan/Savage turn very well. I was devastated.

      I found several of the picks strongly questionable, especially toward the end, obviously. I know the Superman III/Superman Returns bout was on the edge for me. Both are flawed films. But SIII is just another installment, and Returns was meant to reboot a franchise and had TONS of baggage added to the story to deal with moving forward. So SR fails more in it’s mission statement.


      1. Chris –
        the Mega Powers analogy isn’t a perfect one. I went in thinking that you and Bailey were essentially the same kind of fan (I noted a lack of diversity in the panel in my comments earlier – this was part of that), leading me to predict that half the panel would have gone Superman 1 the whole way. In doing so, I may have assumed that you felt the same. So when Bailey chose Superman 2 over 1, I pictured your shock – similar to Hogan’s – when your tag team partner went the other way. It got real when Bailey said, “You want to go there?” and began listing out his reasons S2 is better. You got suplexed, bro!

        I would argue Returns was trying to do what The Force Awakens did – be a sequel/reboot. It just didn’t come together, as we all know. Like S3, some good moments, but not enough to add up to a good movie.

        In my heart, I’d have gone WW to win the whole thing, though I went S1 on my bracket. I’m curious what someone who was in their teens or 20s would have said. Maybe one of the Jr Franklins or the Shagglings can weigh on this.

        1. Okay, I have to admit, I felt a bit like Hulk Hogan there, so your analogy works. I’m still listening at the moment, so I haven’t gotten to the point where I almost ripped my headphones off and walked away, so I can’t comment on the suplex part much, other than I was probably so gobsmacked, I couldn’t find the ammunition.


  4. What? You didn’t include the Vigilante serial from 1947? Well! I am taking MY business elsewhere! Harumph!

    Seriously, what an entertaining show, gents. I hope Chris gets well soon. 😉

  5. Finished this episode late last night. Thoroughly enjoyed it, even if the whole enterprise became moot once SUPERMAN was eliminated.

    Off to work on my Bob Dylan album bracket for POD DYLAN!

  6. Halfway done listening.

    Can I ask about scoring. Were higher points given to correct picks in later rounds (better predicting)? Or just a simple count of right picks?

    Traditionally, higher points are given to later rounds in NCAA because predicting the final four should have more power than a random first round pick.

    1. Sorry Anj. We went with simple single point for a correct guess, regardless which level of the competition. Sportsball concept continue to elude these nerds (and the math was easier this way). The scoring method was briefly mentioned in the original bracket outline. Thanks for listening!!

  7. This was so much fun to participate in and listen to. My final pick was Superman II, and I could not stand “Amazing Spider-Man” or any of the Nolan Bat-Films, for example, but it was still very cool to hear you all hash this out to the bitter end. Great stuff. #keepsupermanmovieminutehereathome

  8. I especially resonated with Shag’s hypothetical match-up toward the end. I had Wonder Woman beat Superman II, and Superman beat Wonder Woman, but granting the result of Superman II beating Wonder Woman, I think I would also have had Superman II bearing Superman (which, full disclosure, I had winning the whole thing).

    I fully recognize that this defies logic. But I think that each match-up invites different criteria. Superman beats Wonder Woman, in part because of the ways in which WW leans on Superman (explicitly stated by the director, and in ways beyond other superhero movies). That comparison isnt invited by a S2/WW bout. But I’ve always felt that S2 is a more fun, generally tighter movie than its predecessor. Go figure.

    I’d also like to comment on the Batman 89/Dark Knight pairing. I think that Bas (? Apologies if I’m misremembering) got it right when he commented on the two Jokers featured. I actually disliked Ledger’s Joker (a great villain, but unrecognizable to me as the Joker) and so would have voted the other way, but I agree with the points raised in the comparison.

  9. Well, I guess all this irrational love for Superman II over Superman The Movie bodes well for season 2 of Superman Movie Minute…coming soon to another podcasting network!


    1. I love the third act of Superman II more than almost anything in The Motion Picture, but I hate the first act of Superman II more than almost anything in The Motion Picture, and the first Superman is clearly the better film overall.

  10. The moment you voted for Superman 2 over Wonder Woman, you all proved that you have nostalgia goggles glued to your face.

  11. First, no kidding, great job, Shag! Pulling this together and keeping the conversation going, including the Rob and Ryan segment at the end, all around what a tremendous effort! This was a pretty fun nerd fight to listen to. I haven’t seen almost all of these films. The ones I have seen, I don’t particularly like, because I am a comics snob and a movie snob. I had no doubt this contest would be won by a Marvel Studios film. Based on their reputations and the reviews (I haven’t seen one in its entirety), they looked to be the strongest contenders. I was pretty impressed at how well the pre-video game generation of films did, i.e., Superman, II, Batman. Will the Marvel films of the early 21st century hold up as well in 25-30 years? The FoX-Men movies apparently haven’t.
    Despite my indifference to the lot, I am still amazed that there are so many movies based on comic books! The 12-20 year-old me would never have believed it!

    1. The only major comic book movie I wasn’t around for first run was Batman ’66, and I remember the general sense of disappointment that came with watching most of them from Superman to Infinity War. I’d argue that the ones that couldn’t compete with today’s movies were never that great to begin with, or else my favorite super-hero movie wouldn’t have been Darkman for a couple of decades. It’s not just about modern editing/CGI/cinematography/whatever. It’s that comic book movies (*ahem* mostly Marvel ones) are finally getting good enough objectively to compete with adventure classics like Raiders of the Lost Ark without the handicapping of apologists. I feel enormous sentimentality toward Superman: The Motion Picture that I can’t feel for a MCU flick from 2011, but I’d much rather watch the newer movies than slog through the misadventures of Otis and Eve Teschmacher again.

  12. That was a lot of fun. That’s for using a sensible pairing bracket unlike what happened with the Star Trek podcast. This one had some drama to it rather than having forgone conclusions once you got past the first round.

  13. Nathaniel Wayne, I agree on WAR ZONE. The first time I saw this lay-out, I got a little pissed off at seeing BATMAN competing against WAR ZONE. They are two vastly different films and it’s vastly unfair. WAR ZONE is amazing!!

  14. Great epic podcast! I was rooting for my movies that alas did not win. I disliked Civil War so much because that scene where they all talk at a conference table. Ugh!

    My favorite: Superman 1978-hands down. It is very tricky to pit newer films to decades old films. They are different direction styles and pacing. It’s like comparing Kanye to Depeche Mode (DP all the way!) although some older films still hold up really well today. If you ever do it again you should introduce non-DC/Marvel Comicbook movies like Tankgirl, The Crow, Judge Dredd etc.

    Very fun podcast!

    1. I already did the math and have the 64 lined up. Basically did it as soon as Shagg told me Super! and Mystery Men weren’t eligible. Time will tell if we pull the trigger.

      1. Pull the trigger. This show made my finger twitch to do an indie comic brackets, but I don’t want to do the actual work involved (including scouring the internets to watch a bunch of bad low rent movies on principle alone.)

  15. I’m not sure how Civil War gets so much love. Baron Zemo was a terrible villain. Not at all like the comic book villain and not at all smart just lucky that his plans do come together at the end. It has the Indiana Jones problem, if Zemo had just released the footage of Winter Soldier at the beginning of the movie the movie is all the same without all the stuff in the middle.

    1. Civil War gets the love because it’s a fantastic film, with a fanboy service hero fight to end all hero fights, and that is a cornerstone of Marvel: the heroic misunderstanding battle.

      Plus, as we said, Zemo defeated the Avengers. He destroyed the team, and they were caught with their pants down when Thanos came knocking in Infinity War because of it. And he couldn’t release the footage at the beginning of the film, because he had to find it in that Hydra bunker in Russia, as I recall.

      I honestly expected Civil War to go the distance for Marvel. I actually prefer it over Winter Soldier, if only slightly.


      1. Zemo was a terrible villain he did none of those things. if he had released the video at the very beginning of the movie then it would have still torn The Avengers apart. but instead he used an elaborate scheme that would have fallen apart if anybody had been smart, If Tony Stark had actually been the Tony Stark of the other movies and didn’t act completely out of character. There were too many coincidences to make that plan work when in actuality it has the Indiana Jones problem of none of it needed to happen to make the conclusion of the movie. It could have just release the video at the beginning of the movie. Andt it would have broken up the Avengers. as for all the heroes fighting each other which was visually spectacular and I’ll watch it again just to watch the fight scenes it makes no sense. These are smart people and just because you disagree on the political Point your fight is that the wrong message that we’re sending. Is that exactly wrong with what’s going on inside the United States today. I get that these are, Book characters that are supposed to fight but let’s make it something else besides just I disagree with you on a political point. If Tony Stark had used his super crime forensics that he use an Iron Man 3 he could have figured out that it wasn’t the Winter Soldier that set the bomb at the very beginning. Sorry I’m rambling a little bit I just think the plot of this movie is so transparent and non-existent it’s just coincidence after coincidence after coincidence. Nobody Smart in this entire movie. Well just a few of my thoughts

  16. The non-DC/Marvel bracket would be pretty simple really. The Incredibles would duke it out with The Incredibles 2. Honestly, how many super hero movies are better than those? Not many, if any.


    1. Bracket should be supplemented by those movies that didn’t make it into the first one like Mask of the Phantasm and Big Hero 6, that would surely have a shot.

  17. I finally finished listening to this Monday during my run. It was interesting to hear the conflicting viewpoints, particularly during the Superman vs. Superman II debate. I shouldn’t have been surprised that Civil War managed to go so far in the bracket, but that movie bugs me on a fundamental storytelling level.

    To me, BvS and Civil War are two sides of the same coin—both rely on convoluted villain plots that require people to be in the right place at the right time to work. Civil War gets a pass from most because fans are invested in the characters while that’s not the case at all with BvS (such a sea change in fan expectations requires more than one previous movie and the Nolan Batman films are too far removed too count). Sure, you can make all the “Martha!” jokes you want, but the main plot of Civil War falls apart just as easily as BvS if you really think about it.

  18. Great episode. However, I would suggest if such a discussion would occur in the future, you should have 2 different panels. One with folks who were alive when Superman (’78) came out and another group that was born afterward. (Same goes with the Star Wars movies, with the line drawn at Star Wars (’77) and with opinions about Crisis on Infinite Earths (’85)). You can really tell Who’s Who by folks’ opinions in these discussions.

  19. Lots of fun listening to this one. I was on the edge of my seat for the whole show. Kinda unsafe being in my car, but hey, nobody said podcasts were safe!

    Keep us appraised where Superman Two-vie Minute ends up, Chris. 😛

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