Much has been written comparing The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers. In the mass media, the obvious comparison is that they are both big budget superhero comic book movies. Beyond just the superhero comparison though, both movies have been described as war movies by people connected to the respective films.
First, Dark Knight Rises concept artist Tully Summers told CineWebRadio that, “The Dark Knight Rises is a war movie.” Then, Avengers Director Joss Whedon told the crowd at SXSW, “The first thing I said to the people at Marvel was, I want to make a war movie.”
However, even though Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers might both be war movies, they appear to be very different kinds of war movies. In The Dark Knight Rises, it appears as if the war will be class warfare, an uprising of Gotham City’s poor and downtrodden against Gotham City’s wealthiest. In fact, director Christopher Nolan has credited A Tale Of Two Cities as being one of his sources of inspiration.
In The Avengers, the war is alien warfare, as in strange creatures invading the Earth. Instead of humans fighting against each other, it will be humans and superheroes fighting to defend the entire planet from an external threat.
While Batman is often classified as superhero, he is really just a well-trained, highly intelligent man with hi-tech gadgets. On the other hand, The Avengers include a half God, a super soldier, and a Hulk. For that reason, it makes sense that Batman would face a war grounded in reality, while The Avengers would face an otherworldy war.
It’s interesting that these two movies can both fall into many similar classifications such as superhero movie, comic book movie, and war movie; and yet, they have two very different tones. The Avengers has plenty of comedy mixed in to entertain the audience, while The Dark Knight Rises takes a serious approach as it tries to give the audience something to think about. Both movies will likely accomplish what they set out to do, and be highly enjoyable for fans, even though they couldn’t be more different.