Avengers vs. Dark Knight Rises: Why the Comparision Doesn’t Matter

Posted: 07/11/2012 in Articles
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In just nine days, the concluding piece to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, will be released in theaters across the United States. The excitement surrounding this film is building and one of the big questions on the minds of many is if the Dark Knight Rises will be able to break, or even come close, to breaking the records set by Avengers. Asking any film to do what Avengers did is a momentous task, but the Dark Knight Rises may have the ability to do so. Currently, Avengers is listed as having the biggest opening weekend in US history, is ranked third on the global all times films list, and has raked in a total of $1,359.4 million worldwide. In the middle of a summer of superhero films, the question is which one is going to win out in the end. And right now, Avengers has the lead. The best challenger to the security that Avengers has is the Dark Knight Rises. On the surface, it seems reasonable to compare the two movies. Superheroes vs. Superhero, sequel film vs. sequel film, huge blockbuster hits vs. huge blockbuster hits, Marvel vs. DC, Iron Man vs. Batman, Whedon vs. Nolan…..the list goes on. While the comparison seems obvious, I am here to say this: Why are we comparing the two films?

When you strip away the fact that both films are sequels to big blockbuster superhero films, you will find that Dark Knight Rises and Avengers have almost nothing in common. The two films fall into different categories of entertainment and comparing them will do neither one justice. Avengers at its base is an action/adventure film that anyone can enjoy. The Dark Knight trilogy at its core is a political showcase.

Avengers is a masterpiece that brings together after five previous Marvel films. The Marvel films create a whole new universe that draws the viewer in. Yes, the world in the most physical sense is the same as the modern world we live in today, but in this world your childhood superheroes come to life and fight aliens and creatures from other realms. While it may look like cities and the world outside the movie theater walls, in the minds of the audience, it’s a completely different place. With Avengers, most of creation of the world and the back story take place over a span of five prequels. This allowed Avengers to focus on bringing six superheroes to life and showing what exactly happens when they are forced to work together. Overall, this movie is exciting and fun. The fun comes from being drawn into this world and being able to see your favorite superheroes come to life.  The fun comes from being able to be drawn into this world of superheroes and being able to forget the real world for just a few hours. It is a lighthearted approach to superhero films, but it works. You are now completely immersed in the world that is Marvel and you don’t want to leave.

Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy offers a very different movie experience when being compared to The Avengers. While the city of Gotham may be fictional, the world that the story takes place in is not. The Dark Knight films are very much grounded in reality. Corruption, crime, and terrorism are prominent issues in the films, not unlike the world the audience lives in on a day to day basis. The trilogy has always been more of a political film than the traditional superhero experience. The plot focuses on the trials that Bruce Wayne has to go through to become Batman and on if Gotham, with all its problems, deserves to have to caped crusader. The films focus on social issues and on doing what is considered morally right as compared to what is socially correct. The final installment is not going to be a happy and light affair. Take away Batman, and the film series is left as a political piece on what people will do to do the “right” thing.

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I can understand the appeal of comparing Dark Knight Rises to Avengers, but I do not see the point. Avengers is a fun piece that is meant to allow the audience to escape into the universe of superheroes for a few hours while  Dark Knight Rises is meant to make the audience think about the serious issues in the world today. At the end of it, I can tell you that  Avengers was a great film and I have no doubts that Dark Knight Rises will be a great film. Do I think that Dark Knight Rises will break all the records that Avengers set? No. No simply because  Dark Knight Rises is aimed at a different audience than Avengers Avengers, while rated PG-13, was a film that anyone of any age could enjoy without a problem. It won’t be the same with Dark Knight Rises. The conclusion to the Dark Knight trilogy will draw in more mature audiences that can handle and appreciate the story. This is not a film that whole families are going to see together. However close, or not so close, Dark Knight Rises comes to beating the records set by Avengers doesn’t really matter. Both will be great films, each in their own way.

By: Becky Solomon

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