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.