Scott D. Parker
It was the funniest of trailers. It was the grimmest of trailers.
I have yet to see the new Avengers movie. From all indications, it's going to be the most popcorn-y film of the summer. I've seen all the trailers and, frankly, laughed out loud on almost all of them. How can you not just relish in the snarky hilarity of Robert Downey, Jr.'s portrayer of Tony Stark? Dude could read a phonebook and my sides would be aching. If I wasn't laughing, the geekboy goosebumps prickled my skin. Man! Have you seen these scenes? Alien creatures attacking New York! Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor having a spat! Hawkeye falling from some high place still shooting his arrows up! And the Hulk! Well, he's just the Hulk. These scenes--and likely the whole movie--are a culmination of all that comic book readers have wanted for…well, since forever. To some, it may end up being the ultimate comic book movie.
On the other hand, there is the trailer for The Dark Knight Rises. From all indications, it was attached to the Avengers movie, but it's available here. As I've mentioned before, Batman is my favorite superhero and the last film, The Dark Knight, is one of the best comic book films ever made. It had grandeur, it had scope, it had Heath Ledger's Joker, surely a trump card if there ever was one. It had substance, in short, and depth. This new film, opening in July, will bring to a close what will turn out to be one of the great sagas of film history. But it sure does look depressing, right?
Both films--both outlooks--are based on comic books. Avengers brings the fun. The Dark Knight films bring the angst. The irony is that, for years, the opposite was true in the pages of the comics themselves. Marvel (Avengers) Comics was all about angst, isolation, and the other deep issues the permeated that universe. DC Comics (Batman) skirted depth for fun. How many different Bat-vehicles did Batman have? And, yes, there really was a Bat-Hound. And, yes, Max wore a mask.
Why am I bringing this up today? Because of comparisons. It's already started and will continue until New Year's Eve 2012: which comic book film won the year? Moreover, you *know* the fanboys will have another proxy war over the "better" comic book film. It shouldn't matter. They both share a common origin; that they take divergent paths is only a talking point. It doesn't--shouldn't--make one better than the other. They are different, and different is good.
I fully expect to be wowed by the Avengers movie, to leave the theater with the same exhilaration I felt upon seeing John Carter, the newer Star Trek film, Pirates of the Caribbean #1, Iron Man #1, and Mission Impossible #4. My juices will be flowing and I'll be jazzed for hours. In July, I fully expect to be astounded that a movie--a comic book movie, no less--can carry the sheer weight of four years of expectations and to have pulled off the rare feat: a third movie that bests the second. I expect the scope and the size of the last Christophen Nolen/Batman film to be so good, that it immediately garners Oscar talk.
Two comic books, world apart, but comic book movies nonetheless. They both will be good, just very, very different movies. And that's a good thing. The medium can use it.
I had this thought earlier this week and I'd like to get y'all's opinion.
Do you like reading books or having read books?
Put another way: do you enjoy the act of reading or do you like having read a book and talking about it (or proving that you have read a particular book) better?