Sunday, June 3, 2012

The great Avengers vs. Dark Knight debate

Really? Can’t we all just get along?

The latest (and most ludicrous, frankly) argument to envelope movie fans is actually an old fight: What’s the greatest super hero movie of all time?

What brought the debate back to the forefront? ‘The Avengers’ success has been nothing short of remarkable really.

As of last week, ‘The Avengers’ had made $524 million domestically – earning itself a place on the top box 
office movies of all time.

That’s not the only reason it’s getting buzz, though.

I’m going to warn everyone, I’m approaching this debate as a movie fan – not a comic book fan. I’m sure there are some people out there who know that in issue, 1,234 of ‘The Avengers’ that such and such happened and the movie got it all wrong – especially Thor’s hair.

I don’t care about any of that.

We’re just talking the movies as they stand alone, people.

When it comes to super hero movies, there really are three (now) that can be legitimately considered for the top spot.

The first is 1980’s ‘Superman II.’ The Richard Donner film (I’ll always consider it his – I don’t’ care what anyone says) was a marvel of its time. It had a strong storyline and emotional heft. Sure, especially given today’s standards, the special effects are a little cheesy – but it’s still a wonderful movie.

I think, up until 2008’s ‘The Dark Knight,’ most people would have agreed that ‘Superman II’ was the epitome of super hero movies.

Things change, though, and ‘The Dark Knight’ catapulted super hero movies into the stratosphere.

Here’s the thing, I think ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘The Avengers’ are two very different movies and hard to compare.

I like them both, don’t get me wrong. I just think they almost feel like two different genres.

‘The Dark Knight’ is dark, gritty and absolutely devastating in some places. Forget Christian Bale – who I find to be obnoxious most of the time. The true strength in ‘The Dark Knight’ obviously lies with Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance as The Joker.

Special kudos should also be given to Aaron Eckhart’s heart-breaking turn as Harvey Dent and Christopher Nolan's bravery in killing Rachel off.

Really, the movie is something special.

In the grand scheme of things, though, I don’t find it infinitely re-watchable like I do ‘The Avengers.’ Why? I just told you. It’s too dark. There’s absolutely nothing fun about ‘The Dark Knight’ – and super hero movies are supposed to have an element of fun.

On the flip side, ‘The Avengers’ is nothing but fun. It’s a rollicking good ride that has a little something for everyone – including an overabundance of humor. Not only is Ironman funny (we expected that) but Bruce Banner could very well be a stand-up comedian.

The story in ‘The Dark Knight’ is much more realistic than ‘The Avengers’ – there’s no doubt about that – but that doesn’t make it any easier to watch.

Quite frankly, I don’t really care what Loki is up to – I just enjoy watching the Hulk beat him into the ground.

There’s really nothing I “enjoy” about ‘The Dark Knight.’ Ledger’s performance deserves accolades, but I honestly think his untimely death – and the rumors that his depression was linked to his role in the film – gave that movie an unnatural boost.

The film is wonderful, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t like it anywhere near as well as ‘The Avengers.’

What’s funny, though, is that if you say that to the wrong person they some how freak out and call you an idiot. I mean, how can you not think that the sun rises and sets on ‘The Dark Knight’?

A couple of weeks ago, a local radio personality (a sports radio personality, mind you) was ranting about just this on the radio. He was going on and on about ‘The Dark Knight’ being the best super hero movie ever.

The problem is, he hadn’t even seen ‘The Avengers’ yet.

I have no problem with people having their own opinion about things. I do have a problem with people declaring one movie to be better than the other when they haven’t seen one of the movies, though.

If you’re going to bash something – at least see it. That’s why I’ve seen (and read) all of the ‘Twilight’ movies. I can’t very well make fun of them if I’ve never seen them. That’s not even remotely fair to whiny teenage girls everywhere.

Listen, in the end, I think it’s fair to say that ‘The Dark Knight’ is probably a better movie. ‘The Avengers’ is 10 times more enjoyable, though. And, to me at least, that’s what truly makes a good movie.

What do you think? Is ‘The Avengers’ or ‘The Dark Knight’ the best super hero movie ever?


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