The Dark Knight vs. The Avengers
—by Nathan on June 18, 2012—
I may have mentioned something about my last TDK-related blog being my last on TDK, but I kinda take that back. I saw The Avengers for the second time today, so I've decided to compare DC's greatest superhero movie to Marvel's (cause The Avengers is probably my favorite Marvel movie...). Most likely, I'll do another blog comparing The Avengers to the soon-to-be-released The Dark Knight Rises (32 more days!), but that'll come when it's time. Right now, I'll be comparing the two movies. This blog may sound a little biased. While The Avengers is incredible, TDK is my favorite movie ever. But I think The Avengers can beat even TDK in a couple of categories. Speaking of categories, that's exactly what I plan on doing. Pulling up a bunch of different topics and mentioning how each movie did and which one is better. Like I said, it's all biased, my biased. You can think as differently as you want. Or you can think the same. It doesn't matter. This is what I think. My opinion. There's no right or wrong, so let's get the ball rolling.
THE STORY: Every movie needs a story. And the two films in question have totally different stories. TDK is about a demented clown plunging Gotham City into a sea of chaos as he (A attempts to rip Batman apart and (B attempts to prove that everyone is, deep down, a monster like him. The Avengers is about six superheroes pulled together to stop an evil god from using an alien army to take control of the world. I thought Batman had a better story. One, The Avengers seemed to have a couple of plot holes. For example, Odin was capable of simply mustering enough "dark energy" to send Thor back to Earth, a blow to the head "recalibrated" Hawkeye's ancient-magic/alien-technology warped mind, Loki's escape plan hinged on the fact that Bruce Banner would turn into the Hulk (which I guess isn't all that doubtful, seeing as how the Helicarrier was attacked, but why didn't the fall just knock him out? And why didn't Black Widow taze him or something?), the alien army stupidly attached the same "failsafe" thing to each of their soldiers, and Hawkeye had an arrow capable of knocking out the Hellicarrier's engines (which was either given to him by S.H.I.E.L.D.-stupid idea there-or by Loki, who honestly had the tech to figure out what could knock out the engines?). I thought The Avengers was great, but I just want to say that TDK didn't really have any plot holes like that. Two, watching Loki's capture and breakout was very reminiscent of the Joker's. Having the bad guy give himself up, having someone interrogate him, having him escape due to pre-planned devices...I couldn't help but compare them. I think TDK has a more original plot, without the holes.
THE CAST: If we're going to look at the cast as a whole, I think The Avengers wins this one. TDK had Heath Ledger, and he did awesome, but Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Morgan Freeman were all pretty mediocre. Nobody else wowed me. Christian Bale's voice is gruff, and Oldman sounds Irish with one of his lines. In The Avengers, everyone seems perfect. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, and Scarlett Johansson are all perfect as their roles. Chris Evans could be a little bit more blond (hair color, not brains) and Chris Hemsworth looks a bit too much like Heath Ledger (which kinda makes me a little sad), but other than that, the cast is wonderful. I think they play each of their characters beautifully. They embody who their character is. Very well done. However, then we move onto...
THE VILLAIN: Heath Ledger's Joker vs. Tom Hiddleston's Loki. I think, hands down, the Joker wins. He's basically the reason I love TDK. While I enjoyed Hiddleston's role, Loki was all he was. He played Loki; that was it. Loki was Loki. But you can tell, right from the magic trick, Ledger's Joker isn't just the Joker. He's not the cornball psycho who sprays everyone with laughing gas and makes quips every other line. He has the laugh, but it isn't a comedic giggle. This guy is darker, deeper. He keeps you on your toes. He doesn't tell you what he's gonna do, and that's cause he doesn't know himself. "I just do things," he tells Harvey Dent at one point. Loki has a plan. We know his plan. The Joker kinda has a plan (expose Batman), but he won't tell you how. And if he does, he's probably lying. Ledger went beyond the Joker. One could almost say he made a new Joker. Tom Hiddleston was the Loki we all know and love from the comics. Heath Ledger was something else entirely than the comic rendition. And that is what made him so awesome and awe-inspiring.
THE ACTION: Avengers win again on this one. TDK had it's fights, explosions, and anarchy. Avengers was just that times ten or a hundred. New York is attacked by an extraterrestrial armada. Aliens with energy weapons fall from the sky. Giant robotic snakes smash through buildings. And the heroes themselves break quite a few things themselves. And that's just the final battle, one which lasts for a good chunk of time. In the beginning of the film, a whole S.H.I.E.L.D. base is decimated, much of it caving into the ground. The Hellicarrier is nearly taken down in an attack (maybe "The Destruction" would've been a better title for this topic). Heroes fight enemies, as well as each other. Lasers, lightning, arrows, shields, and bullets fly. There was action is TDK, but I think of the movie as more of a psychological thriller, a battle of brains instead of brawn. The Avengers was brawn and blasting.
THE HUMOR: I feel bad for TDK, cause The Avengers wins another one! TDK was dark and brooding; The Avengers was light. My mom, who isn't even really a superhero fan, was laughing throughout. TDK had darker, grittier humor. I mean, the Joker is a clown. He has his jokes, but they're more serious in nature. The Avengers is just plain amusing. When Fury says Loki killed 80 people in two days, Thor mutters that he's adopted. Iron Man calls Hawkeye "Legolas." Even when a character is dying, it's funny. Before Loki stabs him, the agent has this energy weapon, one he says he has no idea does what. As he's dying, he fires it at Loki, sending him through the wall. As he sits there, he mutters, "That's what it does." So, a guy is dying, and Marvel can't stop making jokes. That means you know that these guys know what they're doing. They can have seriousness and comedy at the same time. And it works well.
THE EMOTION: Being as funny as it is, The Avengers, I think, has a harder time being emotionally gripping. As I said before, with the death of the one character, a joke it made. Fury uses this death to push The Avengers into really uniting as a team, but he doesn't tell them he makes up part of this push. It seems like a gimmick. I think it's honorable for The Avengers to fight because of this (hence the whole "Avenge" part of their name, but it isn't just for him), but the little quip and Fury's deception make it not as much of a heart-wrenching moment as it could be. TDK, however, seers with emotion. The bad guy is psychotic, killing sometimes for sport. Batman movies have always been more down-to-earth. If there are costumed heroes and villains out there, they'll be more like the heroes and villains Batman universe. People may not get stabbed by energy weapons wielded by Norse gods, but someone could very well be shot or blown up by a maniac with face paint. That's what makes it creepy and emotional, the sheer idea that this could be reality. Haunting. And the fact that the Joker's always one step ahead of Batman makes you cringe. Batman was too late there, and there, and there. Rachel Dawes dies in the middle of the movie, and this death propels Harvey Dent into becoming Two-Face. Add in another physco. No one goes crazy over the Avengers guy's death. Both Harvey and Batman are hurt by this death, mentally injured. Harvey just harnesses the dark feelings in becoming Two-Face. It shows how one man is capable of falling, which is the Joker's whole plan. In The Avengers, Loki loses. In TDK, the Joker actually wins.
THE CHARACTERIZATION: Hmm. This one may have to be a tie. The Avengers, even though it was jam-packed with heroes, did a good job exploring the character of each hero, as well as the dynamic of the whole team. You got to know things about each character. Cap is very much a leader. Thor wants his brother to change. Iron Man is a bit arrogant, but is he the man who will ultimately make the sacrifice play? Banner may be able to control The Hulk, at long last. Hawkeye and Black Widow evidently have history. You learn about them all. Batman Begins really established Bruce Wayne/Batman's character, but TDK shows other characters as well. Harvey Dent wants to help Gotham, but he can give into those urges of embracing the darker side of himself. The Joker wants to push everyone beyond their limits. Rachel Dawes is torn between Harvey and Bruce. You see background characters, and that's the same with The Avengers. I think both movies did a good job at this. Yeah, it's a tie.
THE SYMBOLISM: Well, seeing as how The Avengers has three (Cast, Action, and Humor), TDK has three (Story, Villain, and Emotion), and that they tied on one category (Characterization), we need to have a tie-breaker. A sometimes-important, oftentimes-interesting part of stories is the symbolism. I think TDK wins on this one (I know, you're screaming "Biased!" right now. I have no shame, I will admit, and I apologize). The Avengers uses the deceased character's trading cards to push the heroes into becoming a team. The cards are talked about a couple times before, but usually as a point of humor. And, seeing as they are used in deception, I think their symbolism is taken down a notch. They help push the heroes into working together, but Fury ruins is slightly by lying. In TDK, a huge image is Harvey Dent's coin. He flips it whenever he wants to make a decision. After the accident that melts half his face, the coin is scarred on one side. The clean side is good. The scarred side is evil. Just like Harvey is now. It reflects him and his character. I think it does a better job than the cards, because it's much more legit as a symbol. The cards are real, but Fury fakes them a little. The coin totally shows who Harvey Dent is when he becomes Two-Face and a bit of who he was before, that maybe a bit of Harvey's still there...or maybe that a bit of Two-Face was always in Harvey...
Yeah...okay, okay, this blog is extremely biased. TDK wins out over The Avengers, at least for me. I'm not writing for some paper or magazine. I'm not basing these off online statistics. These are my personal feelings and beliefs. And, for me, TDK beats The Avengers. Marvel is awesome, way better than DC, but DC has Batman. I may have seen The Avengers twice in theaters, but I've seen TDK six times. My favorite movie ever. So, it kinda makes sense that it should win. The Avengers put up a good fight, but TDK beat it out. Let's just see if TDKR can do the same. I will give The Avengers this: Best TEAM-UP and MARVEL hero movie ever. Hope that helps.