Rivalry

Rivalries can be very compelling things to follow. 70’s football fans had Steelers vs Cowboys; 80’s basketball fans had Celtics vs Lakers; Mac vs PC was always big and it’s moved on to Apple vs Android; foreign vs domestic; McDonald’s vs Burger King; Coke vs Pepsi; heck, soda vs pop is big in some parts of the country.

Today’s entertainment industry showcases another big rivalry. With the soaring popularity of superhero movies it’s only natural that the rivalry of Marvel vs DC is becoming more prominent within the mainstream culture instead of just nerds. My own personal experience with comic books is more Marvel, with a little DC, but even that’s limited. I’m much more in tune with the modern films of their characters. So, let’s take a closer look at this rivalry, specifically the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Cinematic Universe.

Before we get started, I’d like to admit that Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is a favorite of mine even though it’s not part of the DCCU, thereby giving the MCU an advantage.

The Heroes: Well, superheroes don’t get much more iconic than Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. With the exception of Spiderman, Marvel’s later entry into the comic book world puts it at a disadvantage. Even though the MCU hit theaters first, you just have to factor in the history of the big three from DC. But, like I said, we’re focusing on the cinematic universes, and Marvel has more thanks to being in the game longer. They’re a bit more nuanced and cover everything from deeply dramatic to humorous better than their DCCU counterparts. Advantage: Marvel.

The Trailers: Let’s face it, when we’re talking about movies you just have to mention the trailers. Trailers get the audience hyped up for the movie. It’s the tool to help put butts in the seats on opening day. The strength of the story keeps them coming back for more, but it’s the trailer that gives it that first push. Man of Steel had one of the best trailers I’ve ever seen. But, after that it’s almost all Marvel – Wonder Woman being the exception. All of the Avengers, Captain America: Civil War and all Guardians of the Galaxy trailers were fantastic. Yes, with more Marvel trailers to pick from it’s kind of unfair. But so is life. Advantage: Marvel.

The Movies: Okay, I really don’t understand the bad rap Man of Steel got from critics and movie-goers I’ve read on the internet. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I loved that Clark Kent didn’t really become “Superman” until after Zod and his forces showed up. It took a great threat to really draw him out…I absolutely loved it. Batman vs Superman and Suicide Squad were entertaining, but what bothered me was the pacing of the battle sequences. I haven’t seen Wonder Woman yet, but I’ve heard nothing but good reviews from critics and friends alike. However, it’s very hard to beat the dialog, character development and interaction, and pacing of the MCU films. Whether you’re looking for gravitas or slapstick, you can find it in MCU. I didn’t care much for the Iron Man sequels, but the first was an amazing origin story; Captain America just keeps getting stronger; Thor and Guardians give us ample humor; and Dr. Strange was a visual feast and a very cool story. I’m looking forward to borrowing Spiderman: Homecoming from the library when I have the time (as are my teenage girls, who find Tom Holland hot). Advantage: Marvel.

The Studs: Henry Cavill, Will Smith, Ben Affleck vs Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, Chris Evans. Well, I’m heterosexual, so I’ll have to defer to my teenage daughters. The younger of the two saw Man of Steel and agrees with the captain at the end of the movie that Superman is hot. But they both just drool over the trio of Chris’s in Marvel. Okay, yeah, I’m hetero, but I will admit that Hemsworth is pretty hot. Advantage: Marvel.

The Cameos: Okay, I really can’t think of any in the DCCU, but how can anything compare to Stan Lee! Advantage: Marvel.

The Ladies: Okay, this one is much tougher. On the one hand you have a former sexiest woman alive, Scarlett Johansson, a potential sexiest woman alive, Elizabeth Olsen, and the sexiest green woman alive, Zoe Saldana; that’s a formidable trio of ladies to compete against, not to mention the non-supers of Marissa Tomei and Rachel McAdams. But, on the DC side we have international beauty Gal Gadot, truly a WONDER woman; Margot Robbie as a perfect fit for Harley Quinn, fitting perfectly in that outfit; and my Hollywood crush, Amy Adams. Although Lois Lane is not a superhero, her character is so central to the story that she must be included…and NOBODY ignores Amy Adams. Got it!  Advantage: DC.

The Verdict: DC wins!!! After all, I’m heterosexual and it’s all about the ladies.

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Settling the Debate

Penn State sits pretty much smack in the middle of Pennsylvania. And, with over 30,000 undergrads from all over the state attending its hallowed halls, you can witness many great cultural clashes between the eastern half of PA and the western.

One such clash happened to be about whether or not you call it soda (eastern) or pop (western). It was particularly amusing to listen to my brother argue with his western-PA associates about the absurdity in calling it pop. As easterners we were both firm in the moniker of soda, but my brother especially so. And don’t even try to get him started on the, “if it’s from a fountain it’s soda, if it’s from a bottle it’s pop,” crap, either. You can’t have the same substance be two different things just because of its container. Heck, pee is pee whether it’s in the toilet or a cup, same with soda/pop. It’s one or the other at all times. Period.

So, which is it, soda or pop? As you can clearly see, I concur with my brother and fellow eastern-PA citizens that it’s soda. But, you may ask, how to you KNOW? Okay, until recently I couldn’t answer that question, but I’ve been thinking. (Yeah, hard to believe, I know.) It all boils down to flavored carbonated beverages…

Who in their right mind would walk around saying, “I can’t wait to have my cherry pop!”