Avengers vs the Dark Knight

No, this isn’t another entry about how terrible AvX is — well, not completely at any rate. This one is about those talkies that all the kids are seeing these days.

A new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises hit the other day, and it looks great. I have no doubt that Nolan will make another mighty-fine Batman movie. But in talking with a friend, we both realized we’re looking forward more to the Avengers than TDKR. This warrants closer examination.

Maybe it’s just that Avengers is closer and has picked up good buzz, but then I was looking forward to it more before that. Maybe it’s that Avengers is the culmination of groundwork that’s been slowly laid since Iron Man. I do have a lot of respect for Marvel for going all-out and making a true adaptation of comic culture, cross-overs and all. Those probably play factors, but they didn’t quite nail the feeling.

As far as I can tell, the real culprit here is weight. The Dark Knight Rises looks like a good film, but it also looks like an undeniably heavy film. If The Dark Knight was any indication, it will be rife with metaphor to unpack. Nolan makes great movies that use superheros as the medium tell a story with some more artistic punch.

The Avengers, on the other hand, looks like fun. That’s not meant to be a slight. I actually think that “fun” is hard to do well. Making a big-budget Hollywood escapist movie is easy — making it a legitimately good one is hard. Just look at the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. The first one is a master’s class in how to craft “Hollywood fun.” The others? Total train wrecks. So when I say that Avengers looks fun, I mean it looks like a legitimately quality piece of fun escapist entertainment, and that’s hard to do well.

So while I’ll be attending TDKR on opening weekend and scratching my chin with thoughtfulness with the best of them, its serious tone also makes it feel more like work. I’m sure it will be entertaining as well, but it’s a more thoughtful experience. I think right now, I’m more in the mood for well-crafted escapism. That’s why Avengers is higher on my list at the moment.

Spider-Man, by the way, looks like a mixture of the two. More thoughtful than Avengers, less dour than Dark Knight. Maybe it will be a good transition point between the two mindsets.

Speaking of comics! Ultimate Spider-Man #10 continues to blow me away with both its art and emotional heft. AvX #3 is has frustratingly inconsistent artwork, but actually found an interesting interpersonal conflict this time. And Action #9 may be my last issue of it. I don’t mind the occasional one-off stories, but this thing has dipped too far in that pond and dropped all semblance of telling a serialized plot.

  • Say what you will about GameStop, this is a clever way to do pre-orders. Despite last night’s effusive praise for Black Ops 2, I’m not quite convinced enough to pre-order it. But if it were a game I really cared about, the rolling goodies idea is solid.
  • I completely understand canceling Grand Knights History from a business standpoint, but on the other hand, Vanillaware makes such beautiful 2D art that I wish they hadn’t.
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