There are annoying opinions and lots of media hubbub popping up everywhere following the over-the-top success of “The Avengers” after its opening weekend – the film, which is the culmination of Marvel Comics-based films featuring The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, grossed more than $200 million, the highest ever for an opening run.
The hubbub of which I speak (I’m looking at you, MTV.com) involve media outlets who are now questioning whether the highly-anticipated “The Dark Knight Rises” can top “The Avengers” at the box office. Now, it’s no secret that I’m a Batman freak, but here’s what I’m going to say: It doesn’t matter which film “wins” at the box office. Why? Because they are two completely different things.
“The Avengers” is a great flick – it is wonderfully fun and action-packed summer popcorn fare, and there’s nothing at all wrong with that (within reason, of course). Robert Downey Jr. gets some great lines, and delivers his Iron Man character perfectly. There is non-stop banter, a classic good-versus-evil, save-the-world storyline, and lots of eye-popping CGI. There was also a great bonus scene or two at the end (which I missed because I had to pee).
But on July 20, Warner Bros. is going to release a very different type of superhero film in “The Dark Knight Rises”. First of all, it will be dark and gritty – one-liners will be kept to a minimum in favor of character and story development. Sure, it will be action-packed, as any superhero-based film should be, but it won’t be nearly as gratuitous as in a film like “The Avengers.” (And there won’t be a bonus scene depicting Batman and Catwoman eating at a diner together, I promise you.)
Most importantly, “The Dark Knight Rises” will challenge the audience in a different way. It’s going more than just a good-versus-evil romp – there will be multiple layers to the story and the characters within, which is what will make it appeal to a different type of audience on a different level.
Will it “win” at the box office? Hard to imagine it doing so. But in the end, does it really matter? We can enjoy both equally for different reasons. Either way, you’re probably going to pony up your eight bucks and be glad you did.
(By the way, Catwoman could still kick Black Widow’s butt. And I’d pay more than $8 to see it.)