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Face-Off: Avengers vs. Dark Knight Rises

04.26.2012by: Paul Huffman
Last weeks Face Off saw Robert De Niro victorious in their favor with the readers over the great Al Pacino with a score of 15-8.

This week we take a different approach. We will focus on two films that haven't been released yet and focus on the level of overwhelming anticipation for both. These two comic books films are on top of this years packed Summer. In one corner, Avengers, the first of hopefully a string of sequels and more spinoff within this world. In another corner, The Dark Knight Rises, the final installment of a trilogy of Batman films that have reignited the caped crusader in the world of cinema. It'll be a match for the ages.
Story
Nick Fury, head honcho of S.H.I.E.L.D, puts together a group of kick ass heroes to battle an unspeakable evil. Basic good vs. evil here folks. But what does this film have that most of your typical save the world from total destruction don't have? It has a Hulk.
Eight years following the events of Joker's reign of chaos, Batman faces new foes in the form of a hot chick in leather with an agenda and a beefed up badass who has the brains to back up his brawn. What's intriguing about the story this sequel presents is the total switch in the threat that the caped crusader has to deal with. The man hasn't been really tested physically in this trilogy and it is a hell of a way to go out with a bang.
Build Up
The anticipation for this film we're finally getting started in the ending credits of a film we got in 2008. Four years of similar set ups, setting us up for the next chapter, the payoff being this epic mash up of the characters that have hooked us in. As a bonus, each of these intro flicks were massively entertaining, even the ones I thought less of than others. I can't consider any one of them misses. The feeling in the air is that we're just getting started, and that increases the excitement ten fold. Avengers assemble indeed.
The success of the Dark Knight was bittersweet in a way. The glimpses of Heath Ledger's turn as The Joker in the trailers had everyone shifting in their seats and they weren't disappointed. After Ledger's untimely death, director Christopher Nolan wasn't sure whether he wanted to return to the franchise for a third film. But here we are, the conclusion to what Nolan has started is coming. For me, there is a feeling of sadness that this is the last time we'll see the wonderful world he created mixed with assignment because I have little to no doubt DKR won't live up to the hype.
Cast
Sam Jackson. Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans. Chris Hemsworth. Mark Ruffalo. Scarlett "DAT ASS" Johansson. Jeremy Renner. Tom Hiddleston.

Iron Man sparked Downey Jr.'s comeback in a massive way, and I think it's safe to say we're all grateful to the film for that. Hemsworth rocked it as Thor, and think he will be able to hold his own with the more seasoned cast around him. At first, I wished Norton had signed on to reprise his role as The Hulk, but have always been a fan of Ruffalo and support his presence. A very intriguing cast, who I think will sport a very intriguing chemistry finally being able to chew the scenery up together.
Christian Bale. Morgan Freeman. Michael Caine. Gary Oldman. Tom Hardy. Anne Hathaway. Joseph Gordon Levitt. Marion Cotillard.

The four veteran actors who have been with us through the whole ride being present and accounted for is good enough. I first saw Tom Hardy in Inception, and while he did a great job in the film I didn't get the full range of his talent. After seeing Bronson and Warrior, once again I knew Nolan made the right choice. The rest of this ensemble has proved their worth, a pool full of talent that will do justice to this final chapter I have no doubt.
Box Office Battle
The argument can be had that The Avengers doesn't have as big of a built in fanbase as that of Batman. Well, thanks to Hollywood that's what we've been building up since 2008. As I stated earlier, most of the excitement for this stems from the fact that even though we started the road to Avengers four years ago, this movie will rack in ridiculous numbers. And that will mean this is just the First Act. More Avengers films and more solo films, we'll be getting these for years to come. This film will be the thing that really starts it all.
The Dark Knight pulled in $1,001,921,825 worldwide. It's become the 11th highest grossing film of all time. Can Nolan pull it off again with The Dark Knight Rises? I think yes. Once Avengers first go round is said and done the attention will be turned to the conclusion of this franchise. People will remember how blown away they were by The Dark Knight, and will come in droves ready for it to happen again. Batman has been one of my favorite superheroes for years, and Nolan's films have reinvigorated the character in a big way. There is finality to this film that completely contrasts the vibe Avengers puts off. Personally I think people will eat that sh*t up.
Dark Knight Rises
So there you have it folks. This is the first time we've constructed a Face Off that has focused on previous anticipation for a film, who knows if it will be our last. I am indescribably pumped for both of these films, but Dark Knight Rises does indeed have a more special more lasting vibe to this fanboy. But I'm just one in billions. Which one do you feel winning out for you?

NOTE: Stay tuned in the coming months, because once the dust settles and both of these films have been released...these two films will meet again in a rematch. We will debate which of these bad boys delivered on the hype the most. AVENGERS VS. DARK KNIGHT RISES PART 2 is coming.

If you have an idea that you'd like to see in a future FACE OFF column, feel free to shoot an email to me at [email protected] with your ideas and some ideas for the critique to base your ideas off. Thank you and in the meantime...

Which movie are you anticipating the most?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!
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