One of the most difficult movie genres to produce and direct is without a doubt Comic Books. You would think that the very opposite would be true, but then you would be wrong. Sure, if you wanted to create a summer action movie you could throw well known actors in a studio, toss them sub part dialogue, and watch the money come in; I’m looking at you Van Helsing… Anyway, this is not the case because comic books have a huge audience, myself being a part of it. The problem with an already present audience, especially with comic books, is they are not the general audience. So to make a good comic book movie, you have to balance what comic fans know already to be true, with what is entertaining to the masses.
Enter The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. I have been a fan of The Avengers for many years, I actually still have some comics left in my collection, so to say I was skeptical going into this movie was an understatement. However, not only did I enjoy myself, I was shocked with how blown away I felt with the story. They managed to get a pretty good self contained story along with adding elements from other Marvel movies, and leaving the window open for a sequel, which they announced just days after the first public viewing (I believe that’s correct, I might be a few days off). Now, of course you can’t have every popular Avenger due to their just being too many, some were hung up with legality issues, and others just would not be popular enough (I missed you Vision). On the whole though, the comic fandom was very happy with this movie. I personally, had a lot of fun, and cannot wait to get the Blu-Ray.
Now for the question it presented to the audience, fans, and directors, how could any other comic movie replace Avengers as the best one of its kind? In all honesty, I don’t think anyone thought that movie would come around for a very long time, if ever.
To say The Dark Knight Rises was highly anticipated is to say Batman is kind of a popular superhero. This movie was not only hyped for over a year, they took ticket sales weeks in advance. That being said, I had nothing to prepare myself for what I was about to experience. I happily bought the tickets for me and my girlfriend, she bought us Icees, the new lemon aid ones (very good but still not blue), we sat down, and for nearly 3 hours my mind was blown. When it was all over, I just sat there for a minute or so, trying to process what I just went through. When I finally was able to put it into words, I understood. I experienced a live action comic book for the first time. The Dark Knight was damned near close, but this one hit the mark.
Out of all the Comic Book movies, how did The Dark Knight do this? It filled the movie with something every good comic series has an abundance of, drama. Drama is what drives comic book sales and drama is what makes you flip to the last page of your favorite comic book and think, “I must read the next one immediately!”. I absolutely must commend the cast of brilliant actors and actresses. Of course, Christian Bale was great, but there were some very nice surprises as well. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was OUTSTANDING, Anne Hathaway proved that she can change tones and demeanor seamlessly on a dime, and Marion Cotillard was wonderfully devious. They all helped mold the movie into something that was very special.
Before I watched The Dark Knight Rises, I was worried. A few months ago I decided to re-explore comic books and one of the first I picked up was, of course, Batman. He has always been one of my favorite so it made perfect sense. I took advantage of DC’s New 52 and started with a clean slate, as they intended with their relaunch. The writing was outstanding, and it pushed me to try other comics, some I never read in my life. Batman started it though, and it had me worried about the movie, but they delivered tenfold.
So, regardless of what makes the most money, or has the most forum buzz, The Dark Knight Rises is by far my favorite comic book movie of all time, and I have high hopes for the next movie, besides Superman (hate him).
Comic Book Recommendations for those curious:
(The New 52)
Batman: The Court of Owls