Amber Heard just barely squeezed out a win against Johnny Depp in our previous Face Off, by a 4 to 3 vote. I was pleased to see some guys admit to their man crush for Johnny. You don't have to want to get with the dude to appreciate how awesome a guy he is.
With the release of the THE DARK KNIGHT RISES this weekend, we've officially reached the pinnacle of the 2012 summer movie season. Barring any late summer dark horses showing up, we've probably seen the biggest movies of the year make their debut. And two of the biggest by far are this 3rd Batman movie and the mega-blockbuster THE AVENGERS. It should be interesting to see how the two of these fair for box office stakes. We will avoid attempting to decide which film is the better of the two, or attempt to compare past iterations of these characters in this Face Off. However, we can try to see which of the two heroines compare against one another. Both of them are beautiful, deadly, skin-tight badasses. Yet which one comes out on top in a one-on-one comparison? We shall see...
Most of the issues I have with Anne Hathaway in this movie revolve around how much weight she lost to do the role. She simply doesn't look as good when she's as skinny as she has been lately. She wasn't ugly as Catwoman - quite the contrary. Despite every effort she's made recently to appear emaciated and sickly for whatever new role she's got, Anne remains a beautiful woman. That being said, it's the knowledge of how much more beautiful she can be when not starved down to a size 0 that makes her lose out here.
Scarlett Johansson has rarely looked better than she did in her role as Black Widow. With that hair, those beautiful eyes and full lips, she added the perfect amount of beauty to match Black Widow's deadliness. That's the great thing about having her as Black Widow, as that sweet face belies the threat she represents. They played with her look a bit from IRON MAN 2, which some people lamented. Lot a folks seemed to like the longer, darker red hair, but I thought she looked great with the shorter, brighter hair. Either way, it's Scarlett. You can't go wrong there.
Again, that slimming down was a problem for me. For a long time, pretty much since she broke as an actress, one of Anne's hallmarks has been that amazing body of hers - beautifully shaped and proportioned. For some reason they couldn't deal with that kind of thing, so they had her lose everything that made her body so great. I get that they wanted to create this cat-like physique for her, but the pay off for the character wasn't worth it in my opinion. It's not like she was a land monster before. I have little doubt she could have pulled off the role as she was.
Scarlett was the perfect example of how someone can play this kind of energetic, body-suited role without having to slim down to nothing. She was able to do everything Anne did and more as Black Widow, look fantastic in her body suit, yet still preserve those legendary curves we all know and love. Props to her and the team behind THE AVENGER's for making the wise decision to let Scarlett be Scarlett. Her performance in that role just wouldn't have been the same any other way.
Despite any issue I might have with what Anne had to do to her body for this role, her sensuality as Catwoman was spectacularly achieved. Selina Kyle's ability to turn on the sexiness when called for is one of the key aspects of Catwoman. Anne embodies this aspect of the character with perfect rhythm, creating an air of brilliant sexual affectation as she steers her victims to where she needs them to be to get what she wants. You never once doubt Anne's ability to replicate that kind of smouldering sensuality, leading men around by their dicks while she robs them blind. Anne does the legacy of Catwoman proud here.
There's a certain sexuality inherent in Scarlett's Black Widow that's clear, though I think that has a lot more to do with our feelings toward her than anything she as the character is doing. Black Widow is not one to bother with charm and seduction. If she needs something from you that you're not readily giving up, she's more likely to simply beat it out of you than attempt any sexual persuasion. In that sense, she's really an untouchable. Not even Tony Stark could get close to that, which is saying something.
Apart from being a seductress, Catwoman also understands how to drop the pretense and defend herself when the time comes. Hathaway's Catwoman is appropriately skilled in this area. She takes on baddies more than once in the course of the film, handling herself quite well in the process. One scene with a particularly disrespectful prison inmate is demonstrative of that. That being said, for this iteration of Catwoman, the infliction of physical punishment feels like more of secondary resource, should her cat-burglar/sex vixen techniques meet with failure. She does blow things away quite well, though.
Forcefulness is the name of the game for Scarlett's Black Widow. If you're not a colleague or one of the fortunate masses she ignores, then you're probably getting a gorgeous set of thighs wrapped around you as some part of your body is pummeled to within an inch of your life. Not a bad way to go, really. Who wouldn't want to shuffle off this mortal coil from between Scarlett's thighs? That's a fitting exit in any context.
Selina Kyle is the definition of femme fatale as the master thief and a practiced seductress, easily charming whatever she desires from the playthings she calls people. Even Bruce Wayne himself falls into her little traps more than once. Anne's performance as Selina more than meets the example set by past iterations of the character, while adding a little extra to the part as demanded by Nolan's unique take on the story. In the course of the movie you see her go from hard-nosed thief to semi-hero, experiencing both fear and apprehension, love and affection, perhaps for the first time in her life. I'd like to have seen more of her back story explored the way other characters are in this franchise, but her present tense development as a character was still quite satisfying.
THE AVENGERS was probably the mother of all ensemble casts, which meant that there wasn't a lot of time for extensive, individual character development. It was also quite heavy on Tony Stark, which left some characters a bit squeezed as far as their development and screen time went. Most of the other Avengers have had their own movies to flesh them out a bit. Black Widow hasn't had that treatment yet, and thus suffers from a bit of 2-dimensionality as a result. Apart from a scene or two where quick rundowns on her past are discussed, there wasn't a whole lot of back story for her. Nor did she really develop or grow that much as a character. She starts out by kicking everyone's ass and basically ends that way.
It's funny. I went into this one with a pretty clear bias. Unfortunately, as it turned out, my bias was for the one who ended up losing. I really enjoyed Anne's performance as Catwoman, more so than the majority of the performances I've seen this summer. However, it would seem my my overall opinion was that Scarlett's Black Widow was more my speed. Not sure how that happened. I guess all the fuss about Anne's weight has affected my judgement more than I thought. Between these two, for character and performance I'm all about Anne. As for visual delights, I'm swaying more toward Scarlett.