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‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Scores Highest 2D Debut EVER! Why It Will Outlive ‘The Avengers’.

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bill-swift - July 25, 2012

It's official: At just over $160 million, The Dark Knight Rises scored the record for highest grossing 2D opening debut ever and the third biggest opening ever behind the 3D openings of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 ($169 million) and The Avengers ($207 million). While it fell short of The Avengers, generally 3D tickets are several dollars more at the box office so taking that into account, both films are comprable. But which Summer '12 comic book blockbuster will be the one to stand the test of time? The Dark Knight trilogy or The Avengers? There shouldn't be any doubt that Christopher Nolan's Batman legacy will outlive that of his Marvel competitor.

Now before you say, 'Well hey, Dark Knight was three movies and The Avengers was only one, so...' No. The Avengers had two Hulks, two Iron Men, a Thor and a Captain America flick to build their characters' stories, so if anything, it should've come more prepared to do the battle. Check the gallery to see the top-ten highest grossing debuts of all time and read below for the reasons why The Dark Knight series will eventually outshine its Marvel competitor.

Characters experience growth and changes. The only character who had any kind of emotional payoff in the entirety of The Avengers was Tony Stark, and it just so happened that it was the exact same character arc he had in the first Iron Man. Captain America was just stoically jingoistic without any room for growth, Hulk was Hulk, Thor had his arc in his own movie and apparently didn't need a story in this one and Scarjo just looked hot and gave a clunky speech about her ledger having too much red in it.

In The Dark Knight we see an array of characters undergo both serious and minor changes in psychology, understanding, morality and perception. And sure, too much of that can be heady and dark, it makes you identify more with the people up on the screen and care about them more when they act...human.

The series owned itself. While Avengers treats its characters as sacrosanct, immovable objects that are too precious to fuss with, The Dark Knight didn't heed too strictly to its own origins. Comic books and film are two different mediums and need to be treated as such. Ask Zac Snyder now if he'd rather have strayed a bit more from Watchmen's pages. Chris Nolan had a unique take on the characters in the DC Universe and molded and sculpted origin stories, backstories and character traits to fit better within a film and it's that kind of slight experimentation and ingenuity that made the films feel fresher and different.

It's one man's vision. The Dark Knight took us on a man's complete journey. And I'm not talking about Bruce Wayne. It's Christopher Nolan's vision of his own career as a filmmaker. You got to watch him learn and grow as a writer and director as the film's progressed, creative a cohesive world that showed on the screen from one movie to the next. Do you really think it'll matter who directs the next Avengers? Could you really tell Joss Whedon had all that much to do with the movie? Are you upset that Thor 2 and Captain America 2 are going to be directed by people who didn't do the originals? No, of course not. The Marvel films are studio created pictures less concerned about immersing you in a world and more about just blowing stuff up colorfully with a lot of CGI. And there is a place for that, of course. That's a stylistic choice. But because it's more of a shallow universe, at the end of the day, it probably won't enter posterity the same way as Nolan's more narrow, focused vision.

There are laws of physics. To me, the biggest disappointment of Avengers was Scarlet Johannson. She looked f#cking dynamite and I felt the Hulk growing in my shorts while watching her, but as the one human cahracter in the entire movie without a special power or suit of armor or bow and arrow (really? I mean...really?), she was capable of being our in into that story.  Her story could've been how someone who is fallible and without super strength can still be useful in this group of superheroes. But instead, she's able to dive bomb off of Cap's shield and perfectly time it to grab onto some speeding hovercraft going 100mph and....ugh, it's exhausting just typing it. There are no laws of the real, physical world in Avengers and so there are no stakes.

Robert Downey Jr. was nowhere to be found. We get it RDJ, you're snarky and quick on your feet. Robert Downey Jr.'s 'comeback' is four-years old already, but that's all the once-troubled star seems to talk about in the countless magazine interviews he gives for his movies' publicity tours. His persona and wit were welcome gusts of fresh air when Iron Man first hit theaters in 2008, but his acerbic 'aren't I so much cooler than you' image is starting to wear thing (as evidenced in his beleaguered, laughless Oscars appearance last year). There's no doubt he is and will remain a huge, bankable star, but two and a half hours without some sarcastic quip from RDJ was a welcomed respite this summer movie season.



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