‘Dark Knight Rises’, ‘Avengers’, ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ – Which Superhero Movie Was the Best?

Published 3 years ago by , Updated July 27th, 2012 at 10:29 am, This is a list post.

Best Superhero Movie of Summer 2012

Dark Knight Rises vs Avengers vs. Amazing Spider-Man DiscussionIf you're a superhero fan, or a movie fan, or a superhero movie fan, then you were probably looking forward to the summer of 2012 long before it actually arrived. Marvel kicked off the season with their superhero team-up event, The Avengers; Sony went for a (semi-)fresh start with their reboot film The Amazing Spider-Man, and Christopher Nolan closed out his Batman trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises.Indeed, it has been a most (the most?) epic summer for superhero movies - but which one did you like the best? We look back at the strengths and weaknesses (because yes, they all had some) of the "big 3" in summer 2012, to declare which superhero (or heroes) will take home the crown.And before there are any "apples and oranges" objections: the particular type of apple we're looking at is superhero movies. Therefore, all three of our contestants qualify.


The Avengers

The Avengers is the Best Superhero Movie

Our Review Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

STRENGTHS: The Avengers was truly a milestone event for both superhero movies and movies as a whole. You had three different film properties (with four films between them) synergize and merge into one extra-large-sized superhero epic. Writer/Director Joss Whedon infused the proceedings with wit, sharp character insight and best of all, an overall sense of adventure and fun. As the first blockbuster film to feature a team of famous superheroes standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the big screen, those Avengers tag-team smackdown sequences will live in our memories and hearts forever.WEAKNESSES: Of course, once you've passed the geekgasmic thrill of seeing all those Marvel superheroes together, you do begin to notice some flaws. The overarching story for The Avengers is kind of weak (magic cubes? Generic alien thugs?), some characters got marginalized (Cap), and the film wasn't immune to the occasional (unintentional) comic book hokeyness. While the set pieces were well adapted from the comic book page to the screen, with the exception of the final New York sequence, The Avengers wasn't as epic in scale (or as masterful in design) as something like The Dark Knight Rises.

The Amazing Spider-Man

Amazing Spider-Man is the Best Superhero Movie

Our Review Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

STRENGTHS: Director Marc Webb took the character of Peter Parker and updated him for modern times - a risky move, but one that many moviegoers felt paid off. Andrew Garfield definitely left his own mark on the role, delivering a Peter Parker realized and developed in a way that was at once familiar and refreshingly new; improved technology (combined with practical stunt work) made the Spider-Man action better than ever. Add the sparks practically exploding out of Garfield and leading lady Emma Stone - plus a more intriguing and immersive mythos - and there were enough quality elements of Amazing Spider-Man to make the film worth the mulligan... if only barely.WEAKNESSES: Many are still waiting for the "untold story" of Spider-Man they were (unfairly) promised; all we really got instead was a slightly tweaked origin story that we had seen before in the Raimi films. The script suffered from stutter step pacing (when it wasn't meandering from scene to scene), there was clear evidence that director Marc Webb still had something to learn about blockbuster filmmaking - and worst of all, The Lizard (one of the most complex and interesting Spider-Man villains) was pretty much relegated to "freak of the week" status. Poor Dylan Baker was probably tossing popcorn at the screen by the handful (geek reference).

The Dark Knight Rises

Dark Knight Rises Reviews Box Office

Our Review Score: 4 out of 5 stars

STRENGTHS: It'll be hard for another film in 2012 to beat The Dark Knight Rises in terms of sheer scale and spectacle (the only likely contender being Peter Jackson's The Hobbit). The finale to the Dark Knight Trilogy is a veritable showcase of superior blockbuster movie making - and unlike, say, a Michael Bay Transformers  movie, Chris Nolan provides actual substance to go with all the flash. With the best performance yet by Christian Bale in the central role, and a cast of new talent - Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt - all stepping up to the plate and delivering, The Dark Knight Rises is, in technical terms, a masterfully-crafted comic book blockbuster.WEAKNESSES: Like The Avengers, Dark Knight Rises isn't just a movie - its's a cinematic event. Unlike The Avengers, however, Dark Knight Rises arguably did not live up to the hype. Granted, the hype hanging over it was nearly impossible to ever live up to, but there is a definite sense that while it will undoubtedly be looked upon as a great film - at the end of the day, many people will not regard Dark Knight Rises as the best film in the trilogy. Whether it was too serious, overstuffed, or was simply missing that key villain (The Joker), Dark Knight Rises just couldn't fully recapture (or surpass) the magic that many felt when watching The Dark Knight.NEXT PAGE: And the Winner Is...

And the Winner is...

15 Characters for Avengers 2 Movie SequelsWe don't think many people would argue that The Amazing Spider-Man earns the third-place slot, but between The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises:Marvel's epic team-up event left many moviegoers roaring with applause and warm with the feeling of having had a very good time at the theater. It appealed to just about everyone, and very few people came away upset with the job that Marvel and the cast/director had done.It remains to be to be seen if Dark Knight Rises provides moviegoers with anything more than the catharsis of seeing Nolan's trilogy reach its end. It's not going to be a movie for everyone, and a very vocal contingent of fans will likely pop-up once again to decry the Nolan's interpretation of the source material. TDKR also has real-life tragedy forever attached to its memory, and that kind of thing puts a serious damper on what should be a carefree geeky debate.In the long run, maybe TDKR will turn out to be the more revered film - but right now, in the hot, wild, summer of 2012, we're calling it this way:
  1. The Avengers
  2. The Dark Knight Rises 
  3. The Amazing Spider-Man
What was your number one superhero film of Summer 2012? Or are you just happy to have  variety? Let us know in the comments.
TAGS: batman, spider-man, the amazing spider-man, the avengers, the dark knight rises


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  1. I loved all of these films and I do agree with this completely. I might still put The Amazing Spider Man at number 2 because I’m more of a Spidey guy but yeah… AVENGERS FTW!!!

  2. Have to disagree big time. I’ve seen the Avengers three times and after the third time I felt it was completely childish and lacked a good enough story. It wasn’t bad at all but not as good as The Dark Knight rises. Which had everything. A great story, great characters, and a fantastic finish to one of the greatest stories ever told.

    • Wait, so you saw it 3 times and then realized you thought it was childish? LOL

    • “Lacked a good enough story.” How so? I thought it was a good plot.

      And this article makes me wanna smack the writer. “Overarching theme is weak. Magic Cubes and generic alien thugs?” Guy obviously did not understand that this only leading up to the NEXT big Marvel setup which is the Infinity Gauntlet crisis.

      • I think this is part of the problem with the Marvel movies: everything is leading to the next big thing. Only Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk can stand on their own as films. Thor was an Avengers lead-in; Iron Man 2 was an Avengers lead-in; and now you are saying that the film that everything was leading towards, Avengers, is just a lead-in to the next film. At what point do these films need to stand on their own? You can watch Batman Begins without having to see another Batman movie. You can watch The Dark Knight without really having to see Batman Begins. You can watch The Dark Knight Rises without really having to see The Dark Knight (with a couple of exceptions; though you do have to see Begins). They stand on their own as films and tie together, but they are not just “lead-ins” to their sequels. I think that is why the Batman films are better than the Avenger films. If everything is just leading to the next thing, at what point do we actually get to see said thing?

      • J – you don’t know what you’re talking about. I know plenty about Marvel storylines. The Avengers plot was not that strong. Sorry you cannot fathom that a knowledgeable Marvel fans could have that opinion.

  3. I have not yet seen TDKR, but I’m sure I’ll love it.
    Personally, I don’t see the point in comparing the films. In terms of the tone alone they are so different (I’m talking about the “big two” here, not Spidey).
    I think it’s just a great year for comic book fans in general.
    I mean, Batman, The Avengers AND Spider-Man (arguably THE most popular CB characters out there)?! I think it’s gonna be a long time before we see something like this again in one year.

    So, before the trolls come out from under their bridges and start their bash fests (*sigh*), let us take a moment and think about what a wonderful year it’s been for us fans…

    • “let us take a moment and think about what a wonderful year it’s been for us fans…” Exactly! Starting with the run at the end of 2011 it’s been great. This is the most movies I’ve gone to in a long time and it’s been worth it.

      I’m not a big Spiderman fan so I am waiting until dvd for that.

      This Batman series has had phenomenal story telling from Nolan and company. It has always made that series a favorite of mine. I will be one of the few people who say that they didn’t like the ending of the Dark Knight but it makes better sense after seeing how the whole story plays out between the 3 films.

      The Avengers is great to me in a different respect of being able to just go out and have fun and laugh for a couple of hours. There is a story but on the lighter side of laugh, it’s meant to be funny.

    • Agreed :)

  4. I hate to say it but I thought Avengers was the better film. Nothing against the Bats but it didn’t live up to the hype or the first two movie. All in all still a great film.

  5. The Avengers was mediocre. About on the same level as a Michael Bay movie and Ruffalo ruined Hulk/Banner. Rises was a huge middle finger to the fans. TASM was literally perfect in every sense of the word.

    • Definitely. The Amazing spiderman is the only one of the “top three” that I actually saw more than once.

    • Most feel that Ruffalo’s Banner was one of the best parts of the film.

      • I agree – Ruffalo’s Hulk was the best version of the character so far. He’s just a scientist in the wrong place wrong time – not some permanently tortured soul (Hulk 1) or just a man on the run in a monster movie about creating more monsters (Hulk 2). I think Ruffalo deserves his own Hulk flick…

    • I thought Ruffalo was the best Bruce Banner/Hulk what are you talking about?!

  6. TDKR and The Avengers are equally good in my view. Two completely different films but the two of them are fantastic films in my opinion.

  7. The reasoning behind his decision is ridiculous, just because The Avengers appeals to a wider demographic does not make it a better film. The Dark knight Rises is the better film because Christopher Nolan is a better film maker than Whedon, Hans Zimmers music was much more compelling and Bane was a more menacing and realistic villain than Loki. Yes The Avengers is a different type of superhero movie and the two shouldn’t be compared but the fact of the matter is that the two will always be compared to each other but in the argument of which is the better film The Dark Knight Rises wins hands down.

  8. I think its kinda unfair to throw Spider-man in this

  9. Avengers was a good movie but it won’t age well. It was to silly of a story. The Dark Knight Rises is a film with larger ambitions and ideas. In 10 years from now which movie will still make “best of” movie lists? Probably not Avengers. Which will be seen as a silly action movie? Probably Avengers. I liked all three but TDKR has a better script,story,acting and themes than the silly alien army story of the Avengers. And spiderman……third place..i suppose.

  10. Avengers is number 1. I like witty dialog. The script for the Avengers and the interaction between the characters was what made the movie for me. Especially RDJ, the king of wit!

    TDKR (which is just saw today) had ponderous pronouncement syndrome. All this philosophical yapping about right and wrong. Ok I get that the movie is “dark” and “gritty.” That look is overused and past it’s sell-by date. Couldn’t there be one line of clever dialog?

    TASM Was just ok. I make it a tie for second with the Dark Knight Rising.

    All three movies had good FX. Let’s face it. Even cheap movies have good FX these days.

    • “Death or exile?”
      “Okay then, Death…by exile”
      (not completely accurate)

      is that not witty enough for you?

      • One quick 2 minutes of the movie. and honestly that scene could have been cut to 30 seconds and still have had the same impact.

        I thoroughly enjoyed the Dark Knight Rises but i was overly disappointed with it. Too much filler dialogue. Jumping back to league of shadows was a big cop out and lacked imagination. Too many flash backs. And the combat was pretty boring, especially considering that Batman is a martial arts master and they simplified his fighting to street brawler level.

        • Batman is a martial arts master. Remember, this is Nolan’s Batman, and that armored suit must weigh a ton. Also, assuming you’ve seen BB & TDK, you know the combat wasn’t fluid.

      • by POOOONTAAA!!! XD

  11. I give the edge to dkr. Because say the drk knight didn’t come out. The way the dkr would be looked at would be completely diffrent. It had unimaginable hype more than any film needs. Later in life I think the dkr will get a much better review. It just fell under the weight (slightly imo) of a masterful film. But all of these movies were really enjoyable what a great year.

  12. I’ll have to respectfully disagree.

    The Avengers was good…But when it ended, it ended. Me and my friends wandered out of the theater asking, “Well, what should we do for dinner?”

    The Dark Knight Rises, on the other hand, keeps on replaying in my head up to this moment. And it gets better and better the more I think about it. I came out of that theater at 3 in the morning wide awake and totally pumped and excited. We couldn’t stop talking about it, we were all thrilled and incredibly satisfied. I wanted to go right back in and see it again. The only really really big problem with The Dark Knight Rises is that it’s the last one.

    • Clearly the cast of the Avengers was thinking the same thing at the end because they just went to get shawarma.

  13. Cap didn’t get shafted, Hawkeye did. Cap was clearly the second main character in the film behind Iron-man (of course). More of a case could even be made for Thor having been somewhat shafted compared to Iron-Man and Cap.

  14. TDKR is an overrated movie. The Amazing Spiderman was, imo, the best movie of the summer. It had an excellent leading actor (Andrew Garfield) that did a great job of portraying spiderman, had awsome fight scenes and followed the comics better than the ‘original’.

    The thing I didnt like about the Avengers is that it had no epic fight scenes against villains in it. The main villan (loki I think) was a pu**y and couldnt even last 5 seconds against the hulk.

    As for TDKR, it was a great movie, overrated but great. Had nice fight scenes but dissapointed me with its constant grrrl power narrative it was pushing [COMMENT EDITED FOR SPOILERS- MODERATOR] and the ending after we learn “the truth” was dull to me. Just seemed like the movie couldnt live up to the previous film’s greatness.

    • Thank you. Finally someone who’s making some sense.

    • WHAT THE HELL MAN!!!!!!????
      F#%^@*& SPOILERS DUDE!!!

      Did you not see the message posted on this page?
      “If you want to discuss Dark Knight Rises spoilers,
      CLICK HERE to go to our spoilers post.
      Please be considerate of people who have not yet seen the film.”

      I hope you feel happy now.
      Inconsiderate jerk…

      • That is not cool. And I’ve seen the movie and him spoiling it is so rude. I apologize to avenger and everyone else who got spoiled by a jerk

        On another note he made a invalid point. Like he said its s great film, but not on par with the dark knight for some people. You shouldn’t be lowering the status of this movie just cause the dark knight is unmatchable. It’s a great film! But the dark knight is a masterful film. And poor tom hardy will always be overlooked even tho he was phenomenal.

      • @TheAvenger – I’m checking these things as often as I can and have already dealt with this reader. I’m sorry you came across a spoiler. If it makes you feel better (and I’m sure it doesn’t) it wasn’t a HUGE spoiler. There are plenty of other things to be surprised with.

        Thanks bud.

        Paul Young – Moderator

        • Thanks Paul (no need to apologize on “TLDR”‘s behalf)
          I know you guys do your best to keep things like this under control, but you can’t always be everywhere all the time so I guess it is partly my own fault… I think, from now on, I should stay off the web until Sunday.

          • @Avenger – lol I kept saying that about Twitter this week but damn I just couldn’t do it.

            Good luck :)


          • I saw this thread before going to see TDKR, and immediately closed it, just because of people like this.

      • DAMNIT! I can’t just unread that.

    • @TLDR – Sigh…why must people not think before posting spoilers about this or any other film. I’ve moved you to auto-moderation.


      Paul Young – Moderator

    • (“overrated but great”)

      Could you clarify more please ?

  15. The Avengers DEFINATLY was the best :)

  16. TDKR wins for me, amazing film.

  17. I wouldn’t be able to rate them but honestly speaking:

    * The Amazing Spider-Man was a “meh” movie to me. Decent in places but not in a hurry to see it again.

    * The Avengers was great but not enough for a second viewing, not until the DVD anyway but it was fun. It wa smore about setting things up though.

    * The Dark Knight Rises was a great movie but again, not worthy of a second viewing in such a short span of time.

    If forced to decide, I guess I’d put Batman, Avengers, Spiderman in that order after viewing all three now.

  18. Avengers also had the best fight scenes by far. Every conflict was intriguing.

    The Dark Knight Rising had the lamest fights between Bane and Batman. Poorly choreographed, and just plain boring.

    TASM made interesting use of Spidey’s webbing during battle. It surprised me.

    So for straight ahead Super Hero action: Avengers, Amazing Spider Man, The Dark Knight Rising last place. TDKR did have fun Tumbler vs. “The Bat” vs. batcycle stuff.

  19. DKR has been out all of 14 hours at this point. Can’t we let it marinate for a short time before having to decide which was better?

  20. Just saw TDKR,and while it truly was a excellent film,THE AVENGERS overall delivered on ALL levels. Don’t get me wrong…Christian Bale’s performance was surprisingly stupendous this go ’round,but…AVENGERS. Hands down.

  21. Dead on! I agree.

  22. I enjoyed The Avengers alot more than Amazing Spider-Man. Still Haven’t seen TDKR yet.

  23. Its a close call but it has to be The Dark Knight Rises it was epic a great end with unpredictable scenes and the ending is the best. The Amazing Spider-Man was the surprise it was dark and gritty but it worked and i cant wait for the sequal. The Avengers was the entertaining family fun flick. It has been one of the best summers for movies.

  24. In my opinion, this is no contest. I loved Avengers when it came out, but Dark Knight Rises blew it away. Everything in that movie worked for me. From the action to the storytelling to the acting to the casting, you name it. I saw it last night in a back-to-back-to-back marathon with Begins and Dark Knight, and I left the theatre more energized than when I went in. I had a smile on my face the entire car ride home. It was everything I hoped for and more. I will have to see it more times, but it might just replace Dark Knight as my favourite (not best, favourite; please not the difference) movie. Amazing in every sense of the word.

  25. I think TASM was best (but then I haven’t seen TDKR yet), and Avengers was incredible. Personally I don’t see why we’re having this discussion, because everyone has different opinions. No matter what anyone says to me, I’ll still say the TASM is the best. Whoever likes Avengers best won’t change their mind either. And no one is gonna change their opinion if they think TDKR is the best. So why even discuss it?

    • @ Drew

      I agree. I mean why bother comparing Avengers to Spidey or Batman when they’re in their own solo franchises when Avengers are part of a shared universe with multiple heroes in the film.

  26. Not happy with your rankings. The Avengers had no surprises and was a straight forward shot. Everyone knew what was going to happen. TDKR was unpredictable and tied every loose end of the series. You guys are wrong.

    • No, you are.

      See, it’s an OPINION. Everyone’s entitled to one, and just because YOU don’t agree with it, doesn’t make it wrong. Makes it different. Just enjoy the movies without worrying about which one is better. IN MY OPINION, these guys nailed it, even though I refuse to watch TASM out of protest at SONY for not finishing the Raimi storyline.

  27. I believe that The Avengers should be number 2 and The Dark Knight Rises number 1, simply due to the fact that I will always feel safe with The Avengers. I will know that none of the superheroes in the film will die. There is no emotional arc just spectacle and comedic characterization.

    • BOOM! Exactly…I walked into Avengers knowing what I was going to see and how it was going to end just by seeing the trailer. It’s a kids movie compared to the storytelling in the Dark Knight Trilogy. Their is gravity and relevance to The Dark Knight and it makes you think. Also The Bat was so awesome to watch in action!

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