Reviews Comments: Marvel vs. DC

Marvel vs. DC
Already, I'm seeing people calling the Avengers "best superhero film EVER!" and immediately others are like "LOL no way man dark knight rises is in july", so here's my opinion on all of the inevitable comparisons between the two.

The summer of 2012 is going to be remembered for a long time for its comic book movies. That's because both The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises are the culmination of years of waiting. The Avengers was first teased at the end of the first Iron Man way back in 2008, and it's understandable why everyone is freaking out about it, because something we've waited so long for is actually really good. Meanwhile, Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy had its first release in 2005, and after two excellent movies, fans have very high hopes for the final film. So, comparisons between the two are definitely going to happen.

But here's my opinion: you can't really compare the two. I absolutely loved The Dark Knight (also Batman Begins, but less so) for two reasons: First, the theme of symbolism and fear elevated Batman to something more than a man in a batsuit, and gave a really interesting, clever, and well-planned answer to a good question: What makes Batman a superhero, seeing as he has no powers? Second, the movies proved that superhero films could be taken seriously. I mean, The Dark Knight is like the art film of superhero movies. And I just saw The Avengers last night and absolutely loved it too. But here's the thing: I freely admit that the Avengers didn't really do anything different. It followed the formula for superhero flicks. The reason it was so enjoyable is that it followed the formula really really well. You could say it perfected the formula.

So why can't you compare the two? The two movies are exact opposites. The Avengers is a witty, wonderfully written big-budget action flick. People have pointed out that the plot is minimalist at best. But the Avengers doesn't really need a great plot: the writing and character dynamics make up for it, and I'd argue it is almost helped by its simple plot. On the other hand, if you take away the great themes running through the Nolan Batman movies, what do you get? A somewhat boring film with a few action pieces. TDK is great because of its serious nature and themes, while the Avengers is great because it gives the audience exactly what it wants.


I've been guilty of this before, but this, while well written, isn't really a review of the film. This is just an opinion of the fan reactions, not the film.
comment #14147 Tuckerscreator 4th May 12
I think you're almost right, except for the bit about the simple plot helping it.

It takes a lot of skill but things like Inception show a complicated plot actually enhances a good special-effect blockbuster and in fact with the Avengers in particular a complicated plot makes particular sense and you can see that they were going for it at points and I don't know, there must have been a script rewrite or a goal change that left it in pieces, because essentially the idea of Superheroes is everything to the 11 and Avengers was aiming for that, not only was Thor the best guy at throwing a hammer and Hawkeye the best guy at using outdated weaponry efficiently but they were playing Loki as the best manipulator and Fury as the best spy and Coulson as the best agent and complciated plots drive that forward. A good half of the film was 'look at Loki's awesome complicated plot' Heck Banner and Stark's thing for most of the film was 'look how clever they are at solving this awesome plot' and Black Widow was 'look how good she is at catching on at this awesome plot'

and then they forgot the plot.

A complicated plot doesn't have to be confusing and in fact if you extract substories, Avengers didn't have a simple plot. Banner's was outwardly unassuming but there was something bigger in it that packed a real punch (oh my gosh his plot was a metaphor for himself thats even more complicated exclamation mark exclamation mark!)

But yes you are right the two films are very different, shouldn't be compared and will be compared to the detriment of two (hopefully) fantastic films
comment #14149 Tomwithnonumbers 4th May 12 (edited by: Tomwithnonumbers)
I agree. As I've commented on other sites. Comparing Avengers & TDKR is like comparing Star Wars & 2001. There are a few surface similarities of genre things, but they're so different & are such different creatures that there's no point in comparing them.

comment #14158 TonyNola 4th May 12
@Tuckerscreator: Is there a spot on this site where it would be more appropriate to place this? If there is, please tell me.

@Tomwithnonumbers: By simple plot, I meant that the plotline of the Avengers can be boiled down to "bad guy shows up, good guys are brought together, bad guy messes up good guys, good guys regroup/gain clarity, good guys kick ass and take names". The reason that this plot actually helps is that the movie doesn't have to spend a lot of time dealing with plot-related elements. This opens up a lot of room for all of the main characters, most of them big personalities who could (and have) carry a movie on their own, to get their fair share of cool action, witty one-liners, and character development. The movie went a long way towards fleshing out the character and backstory of Black Widow, and both Hulk and Iron Man received some significant character development (brilliantly based off of interactions with other team members). The methods in which the movie executes the above plot points is somewhat complex, but my point was that the basic plot was simple, and that gave the movie room to do other things.
comment #14160 badassbookworm92 5th May 12
I think maybe the analysis section might be more appropriate? (But less read :( )

By those standards the Dark Knight's plot was 'bad guys show up, good guys messes up bad guy, bad guy messes up further, good guys win'

Even fact for the entire first half, right up until the Joker/Loki deliberately lets himself be captured by Batman/Ironman so that he can put into play some giant well-orchestrated plan of chaos from Gotham Central/great big flying fortress involving blowing the place up, splitting up the good guys, turning them on each other and using the time created to put into play the grand finale, is pretty much identical, the difference being that The Avengers literally forgets that Loki is meant to do something with this and even ends up having a scene where he tells someone about how his great plan worked, whilst looking a bit doubtful himself as to what it was meant to accomplish.

It's not so much plot that is different (although I still contend the Avengers could have done with following through with it, especially since they were so right that Loki is a villain of words and treachery) as the theme, the Dark Knight wanted to say something about humanity and the nature of law whereas the Avengers focused on the camaraderie between the heroes, which creates a big difference tonally.

So the two still shouldn't be directly compared, but whilst I loved the Avengers film, the next one is going to have to up it's game a little bit. This one worked because it was fresh and seeing them interact for the first time was new, but the second one can't do that and is going to have to be a little more about something (unless it just wants to be a standard summer blockbuster, nothing wrong with that but as shame considering the depth of character they have). Not the same tone or direction as the Dark Knight, because Iron Man isn't Batman, but we need something to follow and drive character dialogue because in it's way the characters talking were far and away the best bits of the Avengers (something you couldn't say about the Dark Knight(
comment #14161 Tomwithnonumbers 5th May 12
I thought the plot of Inception was disappointingly simple, characters dull (especially when Dicaprio played the same character in two separate movies in the same year) and action underwhelming. I think simple plot served The Avengers really well, because it lent itself to good character interaction and very good action set pieces.
comment #14169 harkko 5th May 12
@badassbookworm 92: Well, the main "review" here could go in Analysis and fit pretty well, as well as have more room to write in depth. On the other hand, then we'd lose this interesting discussion here! So I figure you can keep it here unless someone higher up objects.
comment #14173 Tuckerscreator 5th May 12
@Tomwithnonumbers: I'm unsure of what point you're trying to argue. Are you saying that both TDK and the Avengers have a simple plot, or that they both have a complex one? I haven't seen TDK in a while, but maybe that last half-hour of Avengers (literally one whole fight scene) is skewing my view. Maybe I'm not giving it enough credit.

And I thought it was obvious what Loki's plan was: make a spectacle to draw attention from Hawkeye's mission (which was the final piece required for his real plan), get on board the ship, and make the Hulk rip everything apart. One of the things that I like about movie!Loki is that he clearly isn't a god of incredible planning; hes really playing Xanatos Speed Chess the whole time. I think it makes him more interesting, plus more believable when he eventually loses. His plan would have very much succeeded if Thor hadn't been there to put a check on the Hulk's destruction (and Thor kinda dropped out of nowhere on him). As it was, he scattered most of the heroes and left the rest broken. I think that counts as a success.
comment #14185 badassbookworm92 5th May 12
I know that was his plan but if you think about it, it doesn't ever sound terribly effective, everyone's just going to leave the ship and pick up Banner when he's calmed down again (which is basically what happened). What was Hawkeye's mission? I might have missed that one, I thought he was just helping take the ship down (which incidentally, he does, without the Hulks help)

And 'completely surrender myself to the enemies and hope I can make them fight a little bit and possibly escape' isn't a very satisfying plan, especially since realistically speaking, he bought them about half a day of time to put his plan into action? It was maybe even a little shorter than that. It would have been more effective just to blow up Tokyo.

I like that he was trying to get into their heads but it turned out in the end he wasn't trying to do much with it. The way they set it up (particularly with him talking about it as a stage of his plan) made it feel that the Hulk was instrumental, when it turns out that really wasn't very true at all. The Hulk didn't even distract particularly many of the people to go after him. Thor and a handful of mooks. It would have worked better if he was planning to use the Hulks strength to smash an unbreakable door, or if he wanted to take charge of the ship, or instead of focusing on the Hulk his plan was just to spread dissent and he actually did that effectively.

What I'm saying is that both films had a very similar level of complexity for the entire first act. Most of it was spent talking about what people were doing and planning to be doing and what Loki's master scheme was (and it's not really speed chess because he kept foreshadowing it and everyone kept talking about his plan, no-one was suggesting he was going to make it up as he went along, even Loki after nothing much in particular had happened)

And this was all good, the characterisation in the Avengers was great and as I say said they were playing up the superhero aspect of Loki, Widow, Fury, Banner and Stark which all required complex plots within plots that they were all staying one step ahead of. And then they just stopped and said 'but yeah Loki opened the portal anyway and his plan was just blow everything up with his army'. That would have worked but they needed to get there in a logical manner which they didn't.

I mean Loki's plan was 1. Get captured 2. Make the Hulk angry 3.??? 4. Open the portal and conquer the world.

It's missing a step, I'll buy that Loki was determined to use Stark tower but it just shortens the timescale of his plan and makes it seem like it was really easy in the first place. I'm not even complaining that no-one thought to tell Iron-man that someone was busy installing a doo-hickey on his roof. (Really he should have been building it beneath Stark tower and had the beam go through the tower destroying stuff, it would have made an epic shot and would have made the portal seem like something more complicated and techy than a portable powerpoint presentation)

The Dark Knight was similar except when the Joker broke out of his prison he did something useful with the opportunity, Loki should have done the same.
comment #14193 Tomwithnonumbers 6th May 12
^ start a threat that makes all the possible people that might hinder you on the same place (specially Thor, Hulk, Ironman and Nick Fury). Get capture to prevent your enemies from making good progress and formulating a plan to stop you (two of the world's greatest minds in the same place). Release the Hulk who's expertise is destruction, can hardly be controlled and is a match for Thor (cap and IM wanted to fight and were reasonable enough to wait for one to suit up and doing it outside, Hulk doesn't think like that). Now you have plenty of time to open the portal without any trouble and you lower the enemies power by dividing them, possibly attacking on their own one at a time.
comment #14200 marcellX 6th May 12 (edited by: marcellX)
Well you don't because you're trapped :D And your allies don't because they're busy planning your rescue mission. And they plan it like 1 day,1/2 a day after your capture? So they're not buying a lot of time.

I guess my biggest problem is that his plan succeeded perfectly and didn't do anything. It was literally as hard as 'get off the ship' and interrupted their plans for maybe 6 hours tops. His plan didn't actually involve much certainty of hurting or even incapacitating any of the Avengers, apart from Hulk who they'd have to pick up from the wreckage afterwards (which basically happens and he's still got plenty of time to get to the Portal). It didn't feel like anything really went wrong with his plan, yet it was completely ineffectual. And for the gain of making 6 people (two of whom can fly, one can jump off and a fourth has already been established as handy with a parachute) get off an aircraft carrier with airplanes he risked having his staff taken away from him.

He did take down the fortress/would have taken down the fortress which was big and I feel the closest he got to his plan and it would probably have been cool if that was his pure plan but later on when he's talking about he says HAHA I have taken care of the Avengers.
comment #14212 Tomwithnonumbers 7th May 12 (edited by: Tomwithnonumbers)
1st thing: Xanatos Speed Chess is not making it up as you go along. That's the Indy Ploy. Speed Chess is when there is an overarching plan, but the planner is able to make flexible adjustments as the situation changes. It's the most realistic form of complex planning, and it's what Loki does. Example: Loki has already enacted his "get captured" plan when Thor comes out of nowhere and kinda ruins his plans, possessing the power to contain the Hulk. When Loki gets to the Helicarrier, he learns that there is an "execution" cage built to contain the Hulk. He incorporates this into his plans and traps Thor inside.

2nd thing: I agree that Loki's plans are a little...vague, but IMO, it makes sense if you think about it. He used himself as a distraction to allow his followers to complete his real plan: bringing the Chitauri to Earth. Loki's plan: 1. Stage a reeeaaaalllllyyyy showy distraction to let Hawkeye get the Plot Coupon 2. Get captured, lowering S.H.I.E.L.D.'s guard 3. Use his words to create discord amongst the team, bringing Banner to an agitated state 4. Have Hawkeye use S.H.I.E.L.D.'s lowered guard to attack the Helicarrier 5. The attack causes Banner to hulk out; Nick Fury is now fighting against enemies on both sides, one of whom is almost unstoppable 6. Escape with Hawkeye while the Hulk tears everything apart 7. SHIELD has been so preoccupied with Loki and Hulk that Selvig has been able to mount the Mac Guffin on Stark Tower; Loki returns and open the portal to start the Chitauri attack. It's a solid plan that fails for two reasons: first, Thor served as the Spanner in the Works, showing up out of nowhere and placing a check on the Hulk's wanton destruction, meaning that the good guys were not as dead/scattered as desired; second, the Chitauri are a bunch of pushovers (Loki probably hadn't ever seen them in combat before, so he hadn't planned on their loss). If Thor hadn't been there, or the Chitauri had been stronger, Loki's plan would've gone off without a hitch.
comment #14225 badassbookworm92 7th May 12 (edited by: badassbookworm92)
I kind've agree but even if his plan went without a hitch he would still basically have the full Avengers team (minus Hawkeye) their to stop him which is the thing about it which just a felt a bit ... eh. As I said even Loki hesitated when he was telling Iron Man about how his plan had taken care of the Avengers/Hulk.

Because the Hulk wouldn't really have scattered the heroes/killed them even if things had worked. As I said they'd just, get off their flying ship, fly around maybe 100 metres out of range and picked him up when he fell. Thor wasn't even really needed to neutralise the Hulk , more men would have died, but it was that dude in the plane who got rid of him and although it would have taken sacrifice to get time for the planes in the air, it would have still happened. Maybe more damage to the ship, as I said it works better as a plan to neutralise the ship but for someone reason the film never made the ship seem like a threat to me
comment #14231 Tomwithnonumbers 8th May 12
Right, but Hulk's rampage would have been way more ridiculous, and there's a good possibility that he would taken down the Helicarrier soon, if not for his fight with Thor. Cause removing Thor, Hulk, and Hawkeye from the team, the Avengers are: Iron Man, a guy who is worthless outside of his suit and is susceptible to ambush; Captain America, can't fly or survive a fight with the Hulk; Black Widow, no powers at all, it takes all her skill to just stay out of Hulk's way. The only way the team could have survived without Thor would be if Iron Man managed to get to his suit in time, which is possible, but iffy.
comment #14247 badassbookworm92 9th May 12
Or if they were on some sort of vessel which contained planes which could fly, or failing that parachutes. Luckily there weren't on one of those :D Seriously though Hulk is undirected power right? And he wasn't by the rotors, I agree he'd have taken down the air-aircraft carrier quickly, but not so quickly that they couldn't get a plane off or strap a parachute on. These guys are military and we saw they'd could get a plane off in under 5 minutes in the film.

I guess maybe that's something else I didn't like about his plan, the Hulk could go straight for the engine and rip it out, or he could spend some time in the boiler room taking out their central heating. He would have destroyed eventually (and pretty quickly at that) but if Hawkeye had brought another explosive arrow with him he could have taken it out in under a minute. (admittedly with Loki on board, so the solution is for Loki not to hand himself in.) I've forgotten how Loki got off, did he get back in the helicopter? In which case it would have been the perfect time to take out another engine :D
comment #14249 Tomwithnonumbers 9th May 12
Loki didn't thought that the avengers or earth for that matter could stand up to the Chitauri, so his plans just reached that far as it goes with may villains in fiction. Everything was done simply so he had made so many distractions (getting himself captured, releasing the hulk) that his guys could set up the portal, in his mind, Chutauir invasion = win, so didn't go the extra mile because besides the chance that it fail, by that point all he had to do was just reach Starks building, no going back to check if Thor actually died and getting beating by him if he wasn't or accidentaly meeting the hulk or any of that.
comment #14250 marcellX 9th May 12
Sorry but that's rubbish, it really is, he went to the lengths to deliberately get himself captured and spend half the film on creepy mind games and 'what's his master-plan'. It was meant to be more than just him thinking they weren;t worth anything and a quick distraction leading to win. Since it clearly only took half a day to set up his portal of doom it didn't even feel like he was desperate for time. The stuff bookworms being saying makes sense and feels like it was Loki's plan, it was just a bit more ineffectual than it should have been, at least that one makes narrative sense than 'I went to ridiculous lengths, including being deliberately captured and then escaping again because I believed my enemies were completely ineffectual and superior and I needed a days worth of distraction'

Like at the moment this is just a thing that would make the film better, if his plan made more sense, if I believed that were the whole extent of his plan that would actually make the film worse for me, it would be a flaw because they devoted so much time and stuff to it and it didn't go anywhere
comment #14258 Tomwithnonumbers 10th May 12 (edited by: Tomwithnonumbers)
It's not that he didn't think they weren't anything, he was savvy enough to know that the heroes always disrupt the villain's plans. If he didn't had such high hopes for the Chutauri then "that" would had made the film bad, because he was just dealing with Nick and the heroes and not the entire world. He has an army, sure, earth too, and this is not just the USA, this is the entire world's forces, without such high hopes the plan would be: bring the Chatauri, pray my side wins, and if it wins, rule over what little remains. Even at the end of the movie Thanos talks about how they "understimated" earth. When Loki and Tony are talking, Loki is not even surprised that pretty much everyone survived, sure it would had been better if some or all died or were incapacitated before the invasion but it didn't look as a nessesity as he was thinking they would been their end.

Also, how exactly is what I said so different from what he said?

him: He used himself as a distraction to allow his followers to complete his real plan: bringing the Chitauri to Earth
me: so many distractions (getting himself captured

him: 7. SHIELD has been so preoccupied with Loki and Hulk that Selvig has been able to mount the Mac Guffin on Stark Tower
me: that his guys could set up the portal

him: second, the Chitauri are a bunch of pushovers (Loki probably hadn't ever seen them in combat before, so he hadn't planned on their loss).
me: Loki didn't thought that the avengers or earth for that matter could stand up to the Chitauri

I think one big flaw that the movie had and that would had solved some issues was that the council decide to nuke right away. If they would had deployed some more militia against them first, that would had made the Avengers look as simply badass for taking on enemy that just curb stomped the military instead of the Chutauri looking in badassbookworm's words, as pushovers, since there was no comparing point. Guy a beats guy b = looks like guy b is a whimp; Guy a beats guy b who was showing beating Mike Tyson in his prime = guy a is even more awesome than guy b.
comment #14262 marcellX 10th May 12 (edited by: marcellX)
You are right that Loki didn't look surprised when they all survived but I feel just a distraction isn't something that you can build up for so long. If it looked like he was seriously likely to incapacitate the heroes as part of his plan and they just pulled through (because of Coulson, or Thor) it would have worked
comment #14263 Tomwithnonumbers 10th May 12
While I enjoy the Nolan Batman movies, my issues with them is the pretentiousness. They are almost ashamed to be comic book films. Both Batman Begins and Dark Knight are, at their hearts, merely movies with Bat-trappings taped on. You could get rid of all the Bat-related stuff and change the names, and it would not affect the films at all. That hurts the movies. They are character dramas with comic book elements peppered throughout. As good as 'Dark Knight Rises' is probably going to be, it will undoubtedly suffer from the same failings as the previous two films: A reluctance to be what it is.

Not so with Avengers. This IS a comic book movie at it's heart. It's an Avengers film, and it could be nothing else. While not as 'deep' or 'philosophical' as the Dark Knight films, it's not pretentious either. It is a comic book film, and proud of it. That remaining true to the heart of the source material, embracing it's nature as a comic book film, is what validates claims of it being the better film, and the best superhero movie ever
comment #14305 Obsidian 13th May 12
Well, Rises is here. Shall the comparison begin?
comment #15591 Tuckerscreator 30th Jul 12
Well, I felt like Rises was better than TDK for one reason, and worse for another. First, why it was better: it actually felt like a comic book movie, but in a Dark Knight Returns sort of way. There were a number of plot points that were lifted directly from Batman comics, and I think it really helped the storyline. It manages some extremely clever thematic and plot tricks, such as combining a Batman comic book plot (Gotham is isolated from the rest of the world) and giving it awesome thematic depth by drawing multiple parallels to the French Revolution. One of which was, in fact, aimed directly at comic book fans (stop reading if you haven't seen it): despite the massive Fridge Logic involved in Bane being both the maskless child (actually Talia Al Ghul) who escapes the prison and the disfigured patient of the prison doctor, I never stopped to think about the disconnect because as a comic book fan, I know that Bane was raised in a prison. That's part of his backstory, so the story made sense to me and I didn't realize that the story didn't make sense. When the twist came, I was floored. It was an incredible moment.

On the other hand, on a pure enjoyment factor, this movie was really missing the Joker. I know it wasn't really in their power to bring him back at all, but after a villain so gloriously charismatic and intriguing as the Joker, Bane can't really compete. I thought Tom Hardy did a fine job, but I wasn't feeling it as much as Heath Ledger.

As for how it compares to The Avengers? IMO, both are excellent movies. Both may actually go on my all-time favorites list. But I stand by my original opinion (way up there at the top).
comment #16345 badassbookworm92 2nd Oct 12

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