I know what you’re thinking but I saw this on Instagram and it had me thinking – these are the best sequels in comic book history. The first avenger vs the dark knight.
Captain America 3: Civil War was recently released and cemented the Russo brothers and the Captain America sequels in hall of fame territory.
The Dark Knight series are part of the founding members of the hall of fame. So why the comparison and under what criteria? (Please note that this piece compares the Captain America trilogy to the Chirstopher Nolan series of films, not Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice).
I felt that Captain America: The First Avenger was underwhelming. I’ve watched it over and over again, and it did nothing for me. As the movies have rolled on, the series have shown the best storytelling in comic book movies. Something that studios have wanted and failed to execute by the third movie.
“Let’s admit, the third movie is always the worst” – Jean Grey (X-Men: Apocalypse, 2016)
The flow of the story is that of a well written novel. There were minimal gaps, everything aligned into place, all questions had answers and the evolution of Cap was brilliant. A man living out of his time, continues to try and fit in but each time he does, the world continues to prove how messed up it is. And like in the comics, Cap drops his shield. How that was penciled into the script and developed into the final clause of Civil War was outstanding. This has been a seamless story!
Batman has always been the most popular character on the big screen but never has a story been told like this. The evolution of the dark knight from a man trying to inspire hope to a hopeless city, to a man leading a people filled with hope in their darkest hour.
Arguably the best story in all comic book movies (as a sequel) as we grew with Batman, developed in his need for lighter armour, the need for him to fight harder and stronger, and most importantly, his determination to not give up on his city. Even though the man had lost so much, the hero never gave up. Though the end was slightly “weak”, but I guess everybody deserves a happy ending.
Chris Evans is not Captain Steve Rodgers! He just does not fit the shoes of Capt Rodgers. Although, Evans wore the suit and never the mask, I always wondered what the point was.
I understand that they could not design the hood well enough to be used consistently, but having Evans wear the suit and not the helmet, made it seem like he is confused. Hero or man? Man or hero? So I could never understand if he was Capt Rodgers or Capt America.
Christian Bale is not Bruce Wayne! This has been an issue for every actor that has taken the roll but he is the closest we have to Mr Wayne. I found Bale really dark and not someone I would want to have a drink with.
A man that always had something on his mind seemed really scary, but I guess that’s what the Nolans were going for. He did have outstanding suits. Bale really did know how to wear a suit and that was really Bruce Wayne-esque.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Cap’s scenes grew as he was understanding his powers more and more. He became faster, stronger, more agile and so on. Till today, Cap’s fight scene with The Winter Soldier just off the bridge in Captain America 2:The Winter Soldier, is the best fight scene in the sequel. It was fast, powerful, genius and it showed characteristics of Cap that a lot of people never knew. It was something out of a Jason Bourne movie! As the movies went on, Cap’s comfort with the Shield was shown as he used it as an extension of his body. And we all know how awesome the Imax fight scene was in Civil War. Jaw dropping stuff with a standing ovation!
There are times that people forget that Batman is a human. No super powers, no radioactive bite or intergalactic intervention – Batman is a man behind a mask but he moved and fought like a man with powers. And it wasn’t just muscle but a lot of intellect that formed a lot of his fight scenes. And everybody’s beloved Bat-Mobile really took the world by storm and was an instant classic, until it blew up. The action scenes were outstanding and perfectly understandable for a “human world” and nothing was extreme to make it seem like Batman’s world is that of the imagination. No! Batman’s world is as good as ours and it was captured so well.
Completely random but the Russo brothers did an outstanding job of capturing all the characters and making them “whole”. T’Challa having an African accent not an American accent, Robert Downey Jr showing more emotion than “I am a billionaire and no one can touch me“, Bucky also being a man out of his time, and so on. I could go on forever! The Russo brothers did more than their homework, they did research and execution was key throughout the sequel.
The Nolan brothers have been fan favourites since Memento came out! An instant classic in my opinion and still, their best movie till today. With The Dark Knight series, they implemented what they’re naturally good at, blowing your mind with a simple philosophy. They stuck to what they were good at and introduced it into a world that only comic books are capable of. Although the Robin situation at the end was bleh! They were too soft on that one.
Cap was someone that grew on a lot of people. Which is fair, considering that a lot of people barely knew who he was. This being his 75th year (and the debacle by the current story-line being run by Marvel Comics), Cap has become the hero Kirby and Simon would have imagined he would be.
The Russo brothers were able to capture the authenticity of the hero and portrayed him in a way that he should be. Cap, in the movies, is definitely what anyone would imagine him to be and definitely not someone to drink with because he will be expensive.
Batman was truly Batman! The hero with a trunk-load of issues but the guy you would rely on to save the day. The Nolan’s really did Batman a lot of justice and really played into his element. With Bale being cast as the dark knight, everything seemed to flow and it all came together.
All aspects of the caped crusader was addressed to the last detail, though the ground work was done by Tim Burton. Batman was truly the hero Gotham needed him to be because there will always come a time when you need a hero that has no jurisdiction and no governance, to do what needs to be done.
THE LOVE INTEREST
You have to give it to Cap. He is a ladies man – a random secretary, Agent Carter, then Sharon Carter. He has skills! Very impressive considering that he is at least 90yrs old.
For the Batman, things were really tough. He seemed to get a lot of action as a billionaire playboy should, and love was never on the agenda. He did know how to pick some “crazy” women!
Outstanding work by Marvel on this project. They started slow and only got better as each frame came into sequence. This was a well-crafted trilogy, where you can see that time was put into everything they did. Nothing was a fluke, nothing was done by chance, and everything was done with calculated risk.
Something Marvel is unable to do with any of their other projects. With the way Civil War ended, a hundred theories have been developed and regardless of the outcome, it will favour Marvel Studios (unless they say Cap is an agent of Hydra, then they would have really killed the hero and wasted years of great work).
For Batman, hall of fame work on this project considering the debacle that was Batman & Robin. Batman was revived and became the superhero movie franchise that Tim Burton had started to build. This saga was more than just a comic book trilogy of movies, it was a trilogy of movies that Hollywood is meant to produce.
Definitely a classic when it comes to sequels in the movie industry and everything about it, as a whole, will be appreciated for a long time to come. DC, unlike Marvel, takes risks and this is how any film maker or studio is supposed to do a sequel.
In the end, you cannot compare the two. Marvel fans are delusional, and DC fans are stubborn. It will be a conversation that will go in cycles. Both sequels did amazing work for their respective studios, both sequels are hall of fame work, and both sequels are what movies are supposed to be. Outstanding work by the Nolans and the Russos! We look forward to their next projects.
About the Author: Tendai is a kid just trying to get by. A massive fan of movies, and the cinema experience is what he looks forward to everyday. Oddly enough, he does not want to direct a movie, be in one or be part of the production, but enjoys being on this side of the lens, the side that tells you this movie is worth watching.
If you enjoyed this piece, please head over to Tendai’s personal blog where he chronicles his journeys and daily life.
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