Two Sides of the Same Coin: Why “The Avengers” Deserves the Same Respect As “The Dark Knight”

After two long weeks at work and minimal free time, it feels good to be blogging again.

I want to talk about “The Avengers.” If you’re reading this post, you probably already saw it. I hope you enjoyed the 2 1/2 hours of escapism. While I didn’t review the film on here, my grading would’ve been in the “A-” area.

Around the same time that “The Avengers” came out, the third trailer from the upcoming “The Dark Knight Rises” was revealed. This new revelation made me travel over to the IMDB boards of TDKR to see what the latest on the film was and geek out for a while. What I found was a bunch of bickering over which was the better superhero film (Neither of these films had been released yet, mind you). There were box office predictions, name calling and all sorts of mature conversations being had. Many Batman fans were saying they hoped “The Avengers” tanked so that TDKR could blow more records out of the water in July.

This kind of behavior isn’t all that unfamiliar for IMDB boards or for disagreements between Marvel and DC fans. It had me wondering, though, how people who have a passion for the same thing (comics, in this case) can be so vehemently opposed to a film like “The Avengers.”

While it may seem like all the successful superhero movies these days have a gritty, realistic feel to them. It wasn’t so long ago that most comic adaptations were judged by (aside from faithfulness to their original source) how much fun they were. When comics first came out, most of them were just little cartoons not too unlike “Peanuts” or “Family Circus.”

When Superman or Batman came onto the scene, characters were pretty clearly cut in black and white. The heroes were noble and the villains, not so much. This is the kind of comic book film that Joss Whedon made with “The Avengers.” The characters and plots may be more complex than those original comics, but it is still an idea based on entertainment and cool special effects. There isn’t anything wrong with this format and those who think there is have just been the victim of too many horribly written comic book films that aimed for family fluff and “safe” filmmaking (“Fantastic Four” and “Batman and Robin” come to mind).

The reason why so many people think Christopher Nolan’s recent Batman films are great is because they provide a new vantage point for one of our favorite heroes. Set within a more realistic world, “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” come across as something bold and refreshing. In the last couple of decades, people got bored with the superheroes being so clean-cut and all powerful. They needed to have more human weaknesses and flaws to be seen as something worth reading (There’s a reason why Superman isn’t as popular of a character as Spiderman and Batman these days).

“The Dark Knight” is the new kid on the block for comic book adaptations and, as such, is seen as the benchmark. Anything different will be viewed as less than quality filmmaking. But what’s so wrong with being different? “The Avengers” is still very well written and acted. The body count is even pretty high, so it’s not like there’s a difference in that department. Some people are just hating on Joss Whedon’s film because it’s a popcorn film. As if that is something to be ashamed of when talking about movies that feature giant green rage monsters and villains that like to dress as clowns.

Surely there are plenty of movie lovers out there that can appreciate both films without getting into a shouting match. These comic book movies are cut from the same cloth, just with a different vision by their respective directors. Each is taken from a different era of comic book history and is of equal importance. Not to mention they are loads of fun to watch.

That’s all for this post. I hope comic book lovers can forgive me for trying to give a history lesson on a subject that I’m a novice on. I also hope it wasn’t too rambly for those who barely know comics or never visit message boards. Feel free to share your opinions in the comments below. Next time I’ll be back with a review.

Happy viewing.


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