Warner Bros. and DC with their expanded DC Expanded Universe, which officially began in 2013 with Man of Steel, were only five years too late – Marvel released Iron Man in 2008 and the DCEU has been trying to catch up ever since.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe had their own Steve, their own billionaire superhero team, and their own post-credit scenes long before the DCEU – but DC continues to "borrow" ideas from others, filming one large-scale failure after another.
A Tale of Two Steves
Long before Steve Trevor looked at Diana with his piercing blue eyes for the last time and then jumped on a plane and sacrificed himself, exactly the same thing (right down to the piercing blue eyes) was done by Steve Rogers in the MCU.
He didn't get to see his beloved in person, though, having to say his goodbye over the radio, but that's not the point. And the key difference is exactly one thing: Steve Rogers rose from the dead after 70 years frozen in the ice, while Steve Trevor didn't get that chance…
Dance Deja Vu
Wonder Woman borrowed some things not only from The First Avenger but also from Guardians of the Galaxy. Remember the touching moment when Steve Trevor teaches Diana to dance?
A few years before that, a similar scene (certainly not in execution, but in conception) was shown in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, where Peter was teaching Gamora the human dance.
Not so much a gang of heroes
In 2014, the MCU was joined by the Guardians of the Galaxy, a group of galactic criminals who team up against their will and end up saving the world, as it usually goes.
In 2016, exactly the same concept was the premise for Suicide Squad – but this movie, unlike Guardians, failed to win the hearts of critics, and thus yet another superhero (or supervillain?) DCEU blockbuster crashed on the rocks of negative reviews.
A comedy that didn't work out
The first films in the new DC movie universe contained the same dystopian style as Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. When it all went wrong, the DCEU bosses decided it was the darker atmosphere that fell flat, so they turned to lighter movies, borrowing ideas from Marvel, merging the superhero genre with comedies à la Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok.
All the resources were deployed into one project, Justice League was rehashed from A to Z, now with a cheerful and positive atmosphere, and with loads of jokes.
In the end, it turned out badly yet again: while Thor: Ragnarok made hundreds of millions of dollars, Justice League was criticized by everyone who could, but with due humor.
Joss Whedon directed Marvel's highly successful first Avengers, in which the jokes and spectacular battles organically complemented each other, as well as Avengers: Age of Ultron, which also earned nearly $1.5 billion. DCEU bosses examined the box office of the competitors, noticed that after Ultron Whedon threw a couple of negative remarks at Marvel, and "borrowed" the acclaimed director. It was he who "finished" the long-suffering Justice League after the departure of Zack Snyder, in accordance with the new course on "positivity". In the end, the combined directors' efforts of Justice League earned the world only 655 million dollars (even less than the reviled Suicide Squad a year before) and, according to rumors, was a huge financial loss for Warner Bros.
The German-born supervillain and his mad scientist sidekick
Marvel has The Red Skull, aka Johann Schmidt. In DC, it's General Ludendorff. Red Skull's sidekick, the mad genius Arnim Zola, is owned by Marvel. Ludendorff's sidekick, the genius Dr. Venom, is owned by DC. Should we say it or you're connecting the dots?
They say that at the test screenings of Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, when Spider-Man appeared on the screen, the audience erupted in cheers and standing ovations. After the release of Civil War the critics called Peter Parker one of the best new features of the film as a whole, and his mentor-apprentice/protector-protege relationship with Tony Stark touches even complete cynics.
The DCEU has exactly the same thing, only with Barry Allen/Flash and Bruce Wayne/Batman.
Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist
Now that we're on the subject of Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne, there's another striking similarity (the word “borrow” seems redundant): in both MCU and DCEU the team of superheroes is assembled by a billionaire, and in both universes he himself possesses no superpowers but participates on equal terms with the strongest heroes on Earth, thanks to all sorts of high-tech “gimmicks".
To be fair, post-credits scenes have been around long before the MCU, but it was Marvel that made them mainstream, and, as the joke about Marvel fans goes, they're the only ones accustomed to not leaving the theater until the very end of the credits. The DCEU originally had no post-credits at all, and when the first such scene appeared after the credits in Suicide Squad... well, the DCEU would have been better off avoiding post-credits from then on. Lingering until the end credits for that scene made no sense, as it provided no new information about the future of the DCEU, and was also not-so-subtly similar to the scene at the end of Marvel's The Incredible Hulk.
The very idea of a universe that unites dozens of superheroes
Back in the early 2000s, there were attempts to bring Batman and Superman together as a team on the big screen, but each one ended in failure: for example, one time there were plans to make Justice League with Mad Max director George Miller (and Armie Hammer as Batman).
The MCU was gaining momentum, and Warner Bros. had the Nolan trilogy, but after it ended in 2012, a full-fledged cinematic universe was finally given the green light (and, judging by what's going on with the DCEU now, it would have been better not to be greenlit).