The Summer 2012 Comic Book Movie Showdown

The Heroes

The Avengers: Where do we even begin here? The Avengers doesn’t just feature one or two superheroes battling against the baddies—it features six separate and unique characters to root for. There's the sarcastic Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.); the noble Thor (Chris Hemsworth) the heroic Captain America (Chris Evans); the misunderstood Hulk (Mark Ruffalo); the ultra-sexy Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson); and the somewhat pointless addition of Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).

Put them all in one movie you have the recipe for a truly remarkable ensemble cast that seamlessly brought their comic book counterparts to life with style. This was one of the rare marriages of both quantity and quality.

The Amazing Spider-Man: It’s never easy to follow up on one of the most successful superhero portrayals in recent memory, but not only did Andrew Garfield live up to Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker, he improved upon it in many areas. Whereas Maguire's performance evoked the Stan Lee/John Romita-era Parker, Garfield's is firmly entrenched in the Ultimate Spider-Man persona that Brian Michael Bendis brought to the comic world.

He’s still supremely intelligent and socially awkward, but there's an anger smoldering just beneath the surface that we have never seen before from the character. He’s also incredibly sincere and relatable,  as nearly everyone has experienced the ups and downs of high school that Garfield conveyed so perfectly.

The Dark Knight Rises: This was easily Christian Bale’s finest hour behind the mask after he was somewhat lost in the shuffle during The Dark Knight. The actor perfectly captured the Howard Hughes vibe of a reclusive Bruce Wayne at the film’s start, but he soon became the Batman we’re all familiar with once he got back into action.

Without a doubt, Bale brought more nuance and subtlety to his performance in this film, even though his raspy Bat-voice was just as bad as last time. And then there's the addition of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, who took us completely by surprise by making Selina Kyle one of the film’s most intriguing characters. And while her heroic nature doesn’t come out until late into the flick, Hathaway is simply superb once it does.

Advantage: The Avengers

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