Popcorn On Couch presents another edition of Cinema Clash where I invite someone to debate two movies which are similar or connected in some sort of way and we battle it out, pitching why we thought our choice of movie was better. In this edition of Cinema Clash we have Spider-Man 2 Vs The Dark Knight; two superb superhero sequels. I have invited JD Duran from InSession Film who will be pitching for Spider-man 2 in this super showdown.
Let the battle begin!
Battle One: Intro
In a world densely full of superhero films, few have ever reached the level of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2. Not only is Spider-Man 2 one of the best films of the genre, I would go as far as to say that it is the best standalone superhero film we’ve ever seen. Yeah, you read that right. The action is stellar, the acting is solid but more than all of that, it’s thematically very rich. The parallel arcs of both Peter Parker and Doc Ock add levels of craftsmanship that you don’t seen in many superhero films. The result is a master stroke of blockbuster cinema.
There are many superhero movies out there, however only a handful of them can come close to the quality and excellence of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. I must admit I really love Spider-man 2, it’s probably in my top 5 superhero films. But I just love The Dark Knight more, I can honestly say in my opinion it is the best standalone superhero film. The Dark Knight is a perfect example of how to make a great superhero movie. The performances, direction, tone, characters, action, story, basically everything were all just brilliant. Rarely do superhero movies get all these features spot on, but The Dark knight did which makes it such an incredible and unforgettable film.
Battle Two: Direction
Sam Raimi’s direction is simply masterful in Spider-Man 2. The way he balances ethos, character, action and thematic relevancy is viscerally felt throughout this film, especially if you’re close to Spider-Man lore. I know some people have issues with Tobey Maguire’s Spider Man but Raimi understands what moves the character. His understanding of what drives Peter, coupled with his technical skills in the action sequences, is what makes this film resonate. Having that kind of presence behind the camera adds so much fun, as well as emotional heft, to this experience.
Christopher Nolan once again proves why he is a top director with his brilliant direction of The Dark Knight. He establishes the perfect tone for Gotham city, while crafting an excellent balance of story, character and action. Nolan gives The Dark Knight a certain feel that makes it more than a superhero movie, when you watch The Dark Knight you get the feeling of a dark, thrilling, action-packed crime movie. The storytelling is good throughout and has some underlying messages about morals and the fine line between good and evil. Nolan showed he had a good understanding of each character’s personalities, views and morals, with this he was able to do a good job of developing characters like, Harvey Dent.
Battle Three: Villain
The element that truly drives this film is the characterization of Doc Ock. Otto Octavius is one of the best superhero villains of all-time because he’s arguably not a villain. For the first time, you feel utter pity for him. Dock Ock has a complete arc in this film that is rare for an antagonist in these kinds of films, and when that rubs up against Spider Man, it makes for compelling drama. In fact, that’s what makes Spider-Man 2 so fascinating. If you strip all of the genre elements away, this film still works as a gripping drama between a professor and a young college student. The thematic gravitas of this film, these notions of hero-ism, shines beautifully because of the portrayal of Doc Ock in this film.
In the latest superhero movies their biggest problem is a weak, underdeveloped villain. However, I think one of the best elements of The Dark Knight, is its iconic villain, The Joker. What really helped make this villain so special was Heath Ledger’s phenomenal, amazing, memorable and committed performance. Usually you are supposed to dislike villains, but Ledgers performance was so awesome, you just wanted more. The Joker is a character who feels thrill from corrupting people and committing crimes, which makes him such a ruthless and deadly villain. These traits make him the perfect villain for Batman. A complex, strong and well-developed villain who drives the hero to do good, is what superhero movies need, and that’s exactly what The Dark Knight has.
Battle Four: Action
Holy God, this film is so much fun. The action is absolutely riveting on every level. From the bank sequence, to the train ride, to the final showdown, all of the action is well choreographed and rendered gorgeously. And I can’t just mention that train sequence passively. It’s one of the best actions scenes I’ve seen in a superhero film. The editing is top notch, making every blow between Spidey and Doc Ock viscerally felt. The stakes are high, the drama is intense and the sequence ends on a rather surprising note that gives this film even more pathos.
The action in The Dark Knight is great, the dark atmosphere helps it even more. Watching Batman deliver beatings with a dark Gotham city backdrop, just makes each battle feel more intense. Each action scene is beautifully shot, well-choreographed and is accompanied with a tense score which establishes the mood. In each action scene we can see how Batman uses tactics, gadgets and strategy to outsmart his opponent which makes the sequences engaging and entertaining to watch. The final showdown was definitely fun to watch, the stakes were very high, many lives were in danger and it was all up to Batman to save the day.
As much as I love The Dark Knight (and God knows I do), this film is the complete package. Every note of this film is meticulously crafted to not only give this film a visual flare that is geek-worthy, but to reverberate what being a hero is all about. That idea is reflective in Spider-Man, Doc Ock and even the people of New York City. People make mistakes, Peter and Otto both make their own here, but at the end of the day you can overcome those mistakes. You don’t have to die a monster. Spider-Man 2 makes that known in the most fun and engaging way possible. As a result, it’s the best individual superhero film I’ve seen.
The Dark Knight truly is a remarkable and unforgettable experience, from Heath Ledgers legendary performance, to Nolan’s superb direction, to the well-choreographed action scene and to the stunning cinematography every element in The Dark Knight is top notch. The story was complex and well-written with smart dialogue and thought-provoking messages. Even if the movie was just the story and the characters it will still be great, unlike some other superhero movies, The Dark Knight doesn’t need to rely on amazing action to wow the audience. The Dark Knight is definitely a special movie that manages to transcend the genre and raises the bar to an almost untouchable level.
Now you guys have the opportunity to vote, which movie was better? Use the poll below and leave your opinions in the comment section.
— Popcorn On Couch (@popcornoncouch) 10 October 2016
I’ll like to thank JD Duran for collaborating with me on this epic Cinema Clash, be sure to visit InSession Film and check out their awesome movie podcasts and posts.
If you are interested in collaborating with me for future Cinema Clash, contact me via the contact page.