The Super Bowl didn’t just mean victory for Giants fans. It represented a victory for comic book fans everywhere, because after years of waiting, we got to see the Avengers assembled. We can finally grasp what the event we’ve been waiting for will look like, and it rocked.
What does this have to do with Batman and the upcoming “Dark Knight Rises,” you may ask? Well, a few weeks ago, we held a little tournament call MTV Movie Brawl, and the two biggest superhero movies of the summer faced off in the first round. Batman won by a narrow but significant margin, leaving little doubt about which movie fans want more.
The win for “The Dark Knight Rises” could have been predicted, considering that Warner Bros. had already released two trailers and a prologue and that the previous film in the series was literally the biggest superhero movie of all time. But now that “The Avengers” has the benefit of a second and arguably better trailer, how do the two previews stack up?
The Marvel Universe movies have never been deathly serious. Sarcasm and humor underline most of the action. The trailer for “The Avengers” takes the same approach, avoiding the grave tone of Christopher Nolan’s Gotham and the “Dark Knight Rises” trailer. Nolan established a concrete look and feel for his Batman movies, and the trailer does its job to get that across. Both feel true to what fans expect from the respective franchises, so neither can really get the edge here.
Both short but equally sweet, the trailers start off with voice-over narrations from supporting characters in the series, Michael Caine’s Alfred and Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury. They set the stage for the rest of the action in the trailer and solidly ground the new footage in the tradition of the previous films. Our vote goes to Michael Caine for a few reasons. He gets the benefit of a young boy creepily singing the national anthem, yes, but it’s more than that. Alfred has done so much more to be a beloved character. Fury just shows up at the end to tease awesome stuff you’ll have to wait years for. Alfred wins.
“The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises” take two very different approaches to handling their villains. Bane stands front and center, blowing up a stadium without any notion of subtlety. The alien invaders from “The Avengers” remain hidden, their true identities one of the film’s greatest mysteries. The benefit of not hiding who you are is that you get to do a lot more intimidating stuff in the trailer. Bane throws down while the aliens can’t stay onscreen long enough to get any action in. Victory goes to Bane.
We’ve dissected each aspect of the “Dark Knight Rises” trailer more times than we care to recalled, but a lot of it depends on how you feel about stadium demolition. “The Avengers” combines the best action bits from the previous movies and says, “Here, remember all this cool stuff? Now you get it in one movie.” But who will ever admit to not thinking that Iron Man always looks so freaking cool when he’s flying? It’s awesome every time.
The Big Shot
As much as we love Batman, you cannot compete with that circle shot of the entire “Avengers” assembling. You cannot. Yes, the Bat looks great and will make for great eye candy when “The Dark Knight Rises” hits, but that single shot from the “Avengers” trailer justified that movie’s existence in a matter of seconds. It was fanboy fantasies projected directly onto a screen.
By our scientific calculations, that puts “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises” in a dead heat. You know why? Because they both look incredible, and everyone in the world will see both.