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    The Anchor Panel: The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Dark Knight Rises

    Editor's Note: Spoilers abound! Don't read on if you don't know what happens in the new Spider-Man and Batman movies.

    Aaaand we're back. The Anchor Panel returns to give you one more reason to stare off into the abyss that is the Internet. Naturally, I wanted to get things going with a bang, so not only is Alex back to give us his opinions, but I figured we'd have to start off by talking about The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises. Ready?

    This is a no contest. Spidey's got the strength, agility and speed. Sure, Batman has the skills and gadgets, but it's nothing he hasn't seen before. Spider-man wins a decisive 7/10.
    Man, you have got to lay off those Marvel vs. DC comics. We're talking about the recent movies!

    ...Well, alright. This'll prove a little bit more difficult but I'll give it a go.
    That's the spirit! Alright, let's get right down to it. This past month we had two of the biggest comic characters ever return the big screen in huge blockbuster movies. With Spider-Man, we had a franchise getting a restart after a successful (quality aside) trilogy of films and with Batman, we had the closing chapter of one of the most successful trilogies ever.

    Ah, such fond memories of Spider-Man 3. It was the only part of the trilogy that I didn't bother to watch in theatres. Eric Foreman Venom, my ass.
    I said quality aside! I've got no problem with Topher Grace as Venom but I try to pretend the musical sequences from Spider-Man 3 never happened. So what was your take on this recent Spidey reboot?

    A solid movie. There is no justifiable reason for anyone to hate it other than personal bias. As always, there were some problems that I'm sure you're ready to throw in my face but overall, I preferred it to Raimi's. And by a large margin. It was very well acted with stunning visual effects and great action that was complex yet fluid and easy to follow.
    No solid reason? I still have no idea why the Lizard did have the things he did. I can look past it because his battles with Spider-Man were well-staged. But seriously, why did he go chasing after Irrfan Khan on the bridge?

    He was hopped up on his lizard formula. His primal instincts had taken over and he was hell-bent on killing those who had wronged him. Or something?
    Or something! I'll concede that it generally handles itself well though. But allow me to get a tad more cynical here: did we really need this -- another origin story involving a mad scientist -- as a relaunch of the Spider-Man series?

    Money is a great motivator and Spidey is in the upper echelon of top money making comic franchises, in my opinion.
    I guess, in the end, it was going to be about Sony retaining the movie rights to a very lucrative franchise. They've produced a fine movie, but it makes you wonder about the future of this (and similar franchises, like Superman and X-Men) in the hands of other studios.

    It used to be that producers had a wait-and-see mentality when it came to comic book movies. Now it just seems like every new superhero movie is being released as a setup to a trilogy. Sorry, Green Lantern!
    A good point. Long gone are the days of comic book movies as a risky venture but it definitely appears with the shortened turnaround time for re-launches that maybe we've gone too far in the other direction. I mean when should we expect a new Batman movie?

    I don't know, didn't he quit at the end of the movie? AND at the beginning.
    Alright, sure, before we get ahead of ourselves, let's talk about the Batman movie we have right now: The Dark Knight Rises. Your thoughts?

    It's hard to hate a movie that's very well made from top to bottom. I mean, its biggest flaw is not being as good as the second part of Nolan's trilogy. And I'm not here to say it was bad. Not at all. BUT, it -- to the behest of rabid Nolanites out there -- did have its flaws.
    Sure, I suppose. It could have maybe smoothed out its first act a little bit, maybe fleshed out a few characters a bit more. I was able to be sort of swept along by it and as a devoted Nolanite was very impressed by the whole thing.

    Well, the things that irked me most about the movie are some of the plot holes and choices in story direction. Nothing big enough to ruin the movie for me but they stack up and I can't help but shake my head thinking about it at times.
    What choices and plot holes? I know you've got a problem with the more reactive (re: quitter) Batman and I get that. But I think the Bat-universe and character that Nolan has set about portraying is clearly established and unique (for better or worse). Right?

    You know, I disagree there. Mythos aside, we have seen the birth of a character with enough motivation and passion to spend years training and millions of dollars into this one man war on crime and injustice. Then to just see him throw in the towel abruptly when someone close to him dies? That's weak.
    I agree that it does make him appear at first less heroic, but I like the idea of a human Batman, with doubts, climbing (literally!) back into the heroic spotlight. Definitely gives us something to root for. Now the alleged plot holes, well, that's a different story.

    Do you remember how we practically crucified Prometheus for pretty much the same reasons? Why does Nolan get a pass and Ridley Scott doesn't?
    I think because Scott's Prometheus tries so, so hard to be existential and philosophically moody but is undone by almost every character being stupid and/or unlikeable. DKR has got that super seriousness going too, but its heart is in the right place. It feels real despite all the comic book absurdities.

    I appreciate that he's undertaken a very realist approach to the comic book movie genre, but at the same time, it should leave him open to more scrutiny than a movie like Amazing Spider-Man that carries the trend of zany comic book fun.
    To be fair, this movie is getting more scrutiny than the Zapruder film. In the last 2 weeks I've seen blog posts complaining about everything from Bane not being South American to the rope mechanics of the prison hole. At what point can we just relax and enjoy?

    Yeah, Tony Stark could have gotten out of that prison in a suit made up of rocks, ropes and the television that Bane kindly left in there. But let's try to dig into this flick. What do you have?
    First off, let's agree that the Selina Kyle character was really well done. She's got the zippy one-liners, she's a great foil to Batman (and the whole dour tone of the movie, really) and her plot points in the movie illicit great reactions.

    How about the fact that after Batman growls "No guns" at her, she shoots Bane with a damn bazooka?
    That was gold! I also thought that the new character Blake was a smart decision. I liked the underlying theme of 'anyone could be Batman.' Comic purists may say that Batman has to be a specific person (re: Bruce Wayne) but the idea of him as a symbol that could be carried on forever is great.

    Grant Morrison and Scott Snyder's respective comic book work during the time that the Boy Wonder took over as Batman proves that, no, it doesn't have to be Bruce Wayne. However, there's no denying that he is the more compelling choice.
    Right on, I'm not saying other people make for more compelling Batmans (Batmen?), I just liked the idea first expounded on in Batman Begins: making oneself more than a man, becoming a legend. Really cool.

    I had no problem with that and enjoyed the "Robin" twist at the end. Also sort of glad that they didn't start calling him "Dick" at the end of the movie, you know what I mean?
    Finally, can we just give some props to Tom Hardy? The guy had to follow Ledger's Joker, an impossibly good, literally immortal performance. And he had to do it without the bottom half of his face! Loved the physicality he brought to the role and yes, I really enjoyed the Bane voice and some of his phrasing decisions ("I give the city to yoouuu... *high voice* the people.")

    If there's one thing I can't deny about the movie comparisons, it's that Bane was the superior choice in both performance and antagonist over Ifrans' Lizard. But that's it!
    Heh, that's it? Can we at least agree that this Batman trilogy goes down as the greatest set of comic book movies ever and perhaps one of the best trilogies ever?

    Damn Bryan Singer for not sticking around for the third part of the X-Men trilogy! It'll definitely stand as one of the best. For now.
    Yeah, and not to get all Ric Flair on you here, but it is the best thing going today. Spider-Man on the other hand, well...

    The new Spider-Man movie shows that it has the chops to be -- at the very least -- better films than Raimi's original three.
    Fair enough, Spider-Man could get there eventually (it's got solid acting and nimble direction). Maybe with the inevitable sequels we'll get to the fun (NEW) stuff. Will it top Batman in the long run? Who knows? It could enjoy a moment on top... until the eventual re-launch of Batman, that is.

    You mean the until the eventual re-launch or a forced appearance in the Justice League movie. Whichever comes first. In any case, we should be so lucky as to get not one, not two, but three quality comic book movies in one summer.
    Yeah, definitely an embarrassment of riches. At the very least, it will give us plenty to ramble on about in future Anchor Panels. Right?

    By the way, you're fired.