Batman vs. The Avengers - In Need of a Hammer to the Head
How much worrying is too much worrying? An insane man's plea for help.
(Author’s Note: It should go without saying, but with the exception of some serious moments, much of this article is written with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Also, there are some words here that are not approved by the FCC, so be forewarned.)
They are Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. If they can’t protect the Earth, you can be damn well sure they’ll avenge it. And now, they’ve set their sights on their biggest threat. No, not Loki or the Chitauri or some other surprise villain (wink wink). No, not even the X-Men. They’re going after the Dark Knight. The most beloved superhero, scratch that, most beloved character in the history of all human-kind.
No one messes with my Dark Knight. Not the God of Thunder. Not a Super Soldier. Not some douche with a titanium jock strap. No one!!
Yes, friends, I’m actually spending valuable brain cells worrying about whether or not The Avengers is going to beat out The Dark Knight Rises either critically and/or financially in the Great Comic Book Movie Revolution of 2012. Why am I doing this? The simple answer would be that I’m a nerd. A fanboy. However, I fear it may be something more sinister. Like, I’m out of my fucking mind.
For the purposes of full disclosure, let me point out that I am indeed a Batman nut. Before I was a comic book fan, I was a Batman fan. When I started collecting comics, it was almost exclusively Batman or Batman related. I rarely ventured outside that world and was largely annoyed when he crossed over with other characters outside his universe (not the DC universe, mind you, but HIS universe). Even today, my collection is 80% Batman or Batman related. So, yes, I have an inherent Dark Knight bias.
And before I go any further, let me just say that I’m not a DC over Marvel guy. I’m a Batman guy and if Batman were published Marvel, I’d still be a Batman guy and not a Marvel guy. Of course, if Batman were published by Marvel, he’d probably have been an orphaned teen bitten by a radioactive bat after which he injected the super-bat serum and built his bat-armor with the bat-Mjolnir hammer he found in a cave in the Middle East. But then, if Spider-Man had been published by DC, he would have been rocketed to Earth as a baby from the Spider-Planet and then witnessed his Earth parents murdered before being given the green spider ring that gives him his powers. But I digress.
But let me also state for the record that while my Batman jones has not subsided in the 25 years I’ve been a fan, I’ve also become a fan of many other characters. To take it even further, it has been several of the films based on these characters that have been released in the last decade that have endeared me to them. Especially Iron Man, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. So, I’m actually very much looking forward to seeing The Avengers.
But enough of the sanity and rational thought.
I have to spend my energy worrying about things way beyond control. I have to fret over two movies I haven’t even seen. I have to concern myself with the idea that my opinion on these movies, before or after they are released, has any more impact than that of a gnat crashing into an elephant’s ass.
In short, I think the God of Thunder needs to whack me in the back of the head with Mjolnir and knock some sense into me.
What got me thinking about this was a quote from A Threevening With Kevin Smith where Kevin is talking about his thoughts on Superman Returns:
“Now if somebody had told me in the beginning of that summer, that summer when the movie came out, that you’re gonna like X-Men 3 better than Superman Returns, I’d be like ‘You’re out of your fuckin’ mind, dude! C’mon. Ratner versus fuckin’ Singer? Singer all the way!’ And I saw both movies and I’m like Brett Ratner’s a fuckin’ genius because Superman Returns was fuckin’ boring, man!”
I’d heard this quote on a previous viewing of Threevening and didn’t think much of it. But on a recent viewing, I started to think “What if the response to The Avengers is better than that of The Dark Knight Rises?” Or even worse “What if me the Batman nut likes The Avengers more than I like The Dark Knight Rises?”
Or even much worse “What if Nolan is possessed by Schumacher and we get another Batman & Robin?”
You’re out of your fuckin’ mind, dude! Whedon versus fuckin’ Nolan? Nolan all the way! With all due respect to Avengers fans, I am imploring Mr. Nolan to ensure that the follow up to that sentence not end up being “And I saw both movies and I’m like Joss Whedon’s a fuckin’ genius because The Dark Knight Rises was fuckin’ boring, man!” I say this as if Christopher Nolan is going to watch The Avengers and then panic and completely change his movie in post-production in response. And in my more lucid moments, I would most certainly say such an action by Mr. Nolan would be really stupid.
I recently commented to a friend of mind “If I like The Avengers better than The Dark Knight Rises, my entire world will implode.” Then, I had to step back and say “Really? Melodramatic much?”
I think you can see my problem here.
But I’m not alone. At least, almost. There may not be a lot of worrywarts out there, but judging by the ongoing flame wars in the comments sections, I’d say there are plenty of fanboys who are rooting for one movie or the other to fall on its face so they have ammunition to prove that their character is the greatest of all. Of course, they’re wrong. As I said before, that’s already decided. Batman. Most beloved character in the history of everything. No amount of ammunition will change that. I think. (Again, tongue now drilling hole through cheek).
But it’s like the old Elvis versus The Beatles argument. You may hate one or the other. You may even hate both of them. But if you’re one of those people that likes both of them, you still can’t like them both equally. One always trumps the other.
So, I’ll admit it. I like the Avengers. But not nearly as much as I like Batman. I’ll certainly say that I’m excited to see The Avengers. I hope that it’s phenomenal. But I’ll also admit that if it’s a great film, I want The Dark Knight Rises to be much better. That’s right. As petty as it seems, I want Batman to keep his consensus throne. I don’t want the naysayers to have any ammunition. Where have you gone, Christopher Nolan? Bat-Nation turns its lonely eyes to you (woo woo woo).
In all seriousness, neither of these films is going to fall on its face. At least not financially. Both are going to clean up at the box office. But, I would remind you that Spider-Man 3 not only is the highest grossing film of that series, it’s the highest grossing film of any Marvel Comics property. Yes, that Spider-Man 3.
And I think it’s the Spider-Man 3 factor that has me so vexed. You can probably count on one hand the number of threequels that have actually been at least worthy of their predecessors. One the one hand, maybe a threequel succeeding is long overdue. On the other hand, maybe the third time is not the charm.
Uh, Thor, do you have Mjolnir handy to knock me in the head yet?
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