Warning: This is really just me rambling and processing my thoughts after being wowed by the two movies, rather than a review. And there could be some SPOILERS in there so proceed with caution.
As an unabashed DC fanboy, I have to admit a certain degree of envy as I’ve watched Marvel’s movie strategy unfold. Despite a few hurdles, it has had something DC have generally lacked – a sense that they actually know what they are doing! The shining exception has been the Batman movies helmed by Christopher Nolan. So, it was a great deal of anticipation that I waited to see whether the final Batman movie could possibly compete with Avengers, which completely blew me away. The short answer is that it couldn’t. Not that it wasn’t incredible, it’s just that they are completely different sorts of movies and it would be like comparing apples and oranges.
Now, this might seem a little odd, considering that they are both ostensibly super hero movies, but they represent two distinct types, and the pinnacle of those at that. I am going to cheat a little though, and discuss the Batman trilogy as a whole because I think that is the only way to approach it. Even though Avengers benefits hugely from watching the movies leading up to it, and one has to admire the coherence of Marvel’s vision, at a pinch you could watch it cold and still thoroughly enjoy it.
The Avengers is very much a spectacle movie. It’s built around its stunning special effects and the sheer scale of the mayhem. Fortunately, the CGI doesn’t over power the movie as has been the case in too many other super hero films. That’s not to say that the acting is not of an extremely high quality, it’s an excellent cast with lots of strong performances and the chemistry is delightful, and we do get a look at what makes the character’s tick. But, it is very much about seeing how many things they can break and that’s what makes it so fun.
The movie is immediately identifiable as a Joss Whedon work, with his trademark snappy banter, and ability to mix humour and actions without being ham fisted about it. The Hulk was the surprise package to me, there were quite a few moments when the whole cinema was laughing with genuine humour. George Lucas should take note, that is how you do comedic relief! I bet that the studio didn’t pick that the Hulk would be so popular, especially given his previous track record.