Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thoughts on superhero movies

I finally got to see The Dark Knight tonight. I really liked it -- I thought it was exactly what it was supposed to be -- Batman movies are supposed to be dark and serious. And the performances were quite good, especially considering the genre.

But I might have been in the minority: As soon as the credits started to roll, my friend said, "Thank God that's over." She then proceeded to tell me how it was not even close to as good as Iron Man.

Don't get me wrong -- I absolutely loved Iron Man -- but this analysis confounds me. Unless they're the same actors or part of a series, I have a hard time comparing two different movies in that way. I mean, I can say that I thought Brad Pitt was hilarious in Burn After Reading, but kind of lame in The Mexican (and omigod hot in Troy!), and there's a fair basis of comparison. I can also say that I loved the first Spiderman movie, but as the series goes on, I find them less and less compelling. (And don't get me started on Star Wars!) But that's comparing apples with apples and oranges with oranges.

I think Iron Man and Batman are the stereotypical apples and oranges. For a superhero genre movie, Iron Man was a light, fun and comedic character study. It didn't have the same gravitas as The Dark Knight -- nor was it supposed to. Batman, on the other hand, was a completely dark mood, tone, and texture -- which is fitting, considering it was a study of the nature of the criminal psyche. Iron Man was all about Robert Downey Jr.'s performance; Batman was all about the supporting cast -- and Christian Bale almost blended into the background in comparison.

The only thing the two movies have in common are that they're both based on comic book superheroes. Oh, and that I liked them both. A lot.


movie buff said...

Brad Pitt can be so funny, as long as he's not taking himself too seriously... in any case, it's about time someone made good use of his habitually spastic arm movements

Justin S. said...

You are not in the minority. I think most people agree that The Dark Knight was better than Iron Man. I loved both movies. But Iron Man, was merely a very good, but relatively typical, summer action movie. The Dark Knight transcended the comic book genre like almost no other movie has.

Further evidence that you're not in the minority... The Dark Knight has a score of 82 on Metacritic while Iron Man has a score of 79. I'm actually surprised it's that close.

Sara said...

I loved Brad Pitt in Snach and I am dying to see Burn After Reading. I have not seen Dark Knight yet, I am not great at getting to the movies.

Miss Scarlet said...

Haha glad you saw it! I loved it.

The only thing I think you can compare among the superhero/comic movies is the girl character...and I didn't really care for Maggie G.