Why I Loved Iron Man More Than The Dark Knight

Published 7 years ago by , Updated October 8th, 2008 at 8:35 am,

obsessive iron man fan Why I Loved Iron Man More Than The Dark Knight
Heath McKnight: Obsessive Iron Man fan

Before I start my little op-ed about Iron Man and The Dark Knight, I want you all to know that Iron Man is indeed my favorite character. I had him tattooed on my right forearm almost five years ago, and Entertainment Weekly even featured me as their “Obsessive Fan of the Week” last year! I write for Advanced Iron (the #1 Iron Man fan site on the planet), and my love for the character stretches back over 20 years.

That said, Batman is my second favorite character (tied with Captain America), and Batman Begins was, for the longest time not only my favorite comic book movie, but one of my top 20 favorite films of all time. The Dark Knight somehow topped Batman Begins, and completely blew me away. It deserves all the money and (hopefully) awards it has (or will) earn.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, I want to spend a little time talking about why, ultimately, I love Iron Man more than The Dark Knight. Understand that while I think TDK is a magnificent movie, and the musical score is infinitely better than the pedestrian soundtrack of Iron Man – ol’ Shell Head’s film wins the race (but only by a little bit).

So why do I love Iron Man more? I recently sat down, and thought about the best movies I’ve seen this past summer, and I was hard-pressed in deciding whether Iron Man or TDK was better – or if they were a tie for me. Due to a busy work schedule this summer, I could only see each movie once, but you know I’ll wear the DVDs out when they’re released. I could also watch only a handful of films, but I hear that Indiana Jones 4 stunk anyway.

So after thinking about both, even going so far as comparing stories (both are aces) and direction (two veteran indie filmmakers doing their best work).

  • Acting: Tie – you can’t get better than Robert Downey, Jr. and Heath Ledger.
  • Visual FX: Iron Man.
  • Music: The Dark Knight.
  • Villains: Sorry, Iron Monger, but Heath’s Joker scared the crap out of me, and he deserves an Oscar.
  • Cinematography: Matthew Libatique (Iron Man) and Wally Pfister (The Dark Knight) are both tops in their field, but I give the slight edge to Libatique.
  • Overall fun factor for me: Iron Man wins by the narrowest of margins.

After all that, I came to the conclusion that Iron Man was the best film.

What ultimately got me to that conclusion was my good friend, comic book creator Rich Koslowski. He is the creator of The 3 Geeks, and he recently commented on his blog:

“I did love it [The Dark Knight, but] I still liked Iron Man better. And the one main reason I think is that Iron Man was more well-rounded. Iron Man had the one thing the The Dark Knight did not… joy.”

That’s exactly what I was mulling over: joy. Don’t get Rich or I wrong, we both love the dark aspects of Batman (don’t EVER lose that and don’t EVER hire Joel Shumacher EVER again!), but we went for the “light” with Iron Man.

iron man tattoo Why I Loved Iron Man More Than The Dark KnightSo there you have it. Even though I am a big-time Iron Maniac, had the movie stunk, or had it been just decent-to-good, TDK would’ve won, hands down. Trust me, I love Iron Man the character, but I don’t love being let down. I learned that years ago, when I’d get excited for upcoming movies, much like sports fans would get pumped up for the big game, only to be disappointed when the film opened (Jurassic Park being the exception). And believe me, I was obsessing about both of these films.

For me, ultimately, I just loved watching Iron Man fly around, dispatching bad guys. But don’t forget that I absolutely loved The Dark Knight. It and Iron Man are the top two best comic book movies I’ve ever seen and I can’t wait to watch both films at least two dozen times on DVD before the year ends.

And one more thing: I think it’s great that TDK made over $520 million, and Iron Man, a minor, not-as-well-known Marvel superhero made more money than Indy 4. No one expected Iron Man to do as well as it did, but it certainly did.

I can’t wait for the next Iron Man and Batman films.

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201 Comments - Comments are closed.

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  1. Thats why I liked Iron Man better then
    Iron man was a positive film .
    TDK could never go there .
    And TDK was so unresolved in the end .
    At least Batman Begins had some hope at the end .
    And thats why I prefer it to TDK.

  2. There HAS to be a Batman Begins 3.


  3. Wow intresting article, my feelings were that TDK was a great sequal and yes i belive it toped off Batman Begins & Yet i felt it was missing those inspiaring feelings and feeling of awe (which is pretty much the Superman Theme)from the first film. Iron Man like the Dark Knight was more then Just a Fun True to the comic Movie it was a rich world complex charecters (true Iron Mans villan paled in comparison to TDK’s Line up) But Iron Man was full of your good ‘ol Super Hero feeling (like the feeling you had as a kid the first time you read Batman, Iron Man Spider Man Superman, Another great example was hearing for the first time the superman theme…). So yes TDK was amazing, it rocked eveyone’s world and set a new par for the genre however when you think about it, it was missing that Super Hero Spark.
    However i think TDK was a sequal in the middle of a trilogy so it is hard to judge especialy when it builds up to the third film sdo clearly…

    Looking Forward to seeing a Sequal for both those films it going to be pretty Amazing!!!

  4. I would have to disagree my friend, Iron Man was a terrific movie but it was just too basic. I mean I have been a Batman fan since I was a little kid, over 20 years like yourself and I have never seen a movie with so much complexity and heart. I couldn’t have been more proud of Chris Nolan and Cast. I would like to elaborate if you want but in conclusion, The Dark Knight was incredible no matter how many wanna be joker fans say it is.

  5. I agree Iron Man is better. The things that keep The Dark Knight from being great are some of the stupid crap like the bat sonar among other things and about 30 minutes of fat that could have been cut. The only problem Iron Man had was the end fight, which could have been a lot better.

    Also, I’m probably like the only person that didn’t think Heath was scary, I actually connected more to the dark comedy that he brought to it more than anything.

    Actually to think about it, for me it goes:

    1. Hellboy II: The Golden Army
    2. Iron Man
    3. The Dark Knight

  6. Heath, you’re crazy. I love you, man, but you’re crazy. What is all this “It should be joyful” crap people keep pulling??? IM was great fun, but it was the usual, 3-act, by-the-book comic book film with the usual letdown of a 3rd act. The visual F/X were well done but TDK went old school, using old school stunts over CGI to achieve cinematic verisimilitude. And it worked perfectly. Those IMAX sequences are ART in its highest form. Regarding IM: The Obidiah Stone showdown was anything BUT. And how did Tony Stark not get fried by that radiation blast again??? To compare TDK to IM simply on the bases that they both use comic book characters as their central protagonists is specious reasoning, AT BEST. TDK is a Crime Thriller/Morality tale. Holding it up to IM is like comparing comic books to Shakespeare–yes, comic books are more fun to read than a Shakespeare tragedy; and yes, some folks are just going to prefer comic books to heady, convoluted, Shakespeare Lit; but using those facts to claim that comic books are therefore “better” than Shakespearean Lit is just…Wrong! The two cannot be reasonably compared–at least not compared by the same standard of judgment. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. Sorry for the rant, man, but when I read this, all I could think was “Whatcha talking ’bout Heath?!”

  7. I loved Ironman as well, but TDK was simply an incredible film. I don’t need to be inspired or feel upbeat coming out of a movie to love it. The Godfather, Apocolypse Now, Deer Hunter, Platoon, Momento, The Departed…all great films, some of my favorites of all time. None of those left me inspired or happy go lucky after seeing them but they are simplay amazing films.

    Ironman was a typical comic book movie, at the top of the heap of those films no doubt, but nothing new or never done before. It’s 3rd act is better than most comic book films but still was a bit of a let down compared to the rest of the movie. Why thats always the case with comic book movies I have no idea.

    Comparing IM and TDK is not like comparing apples to oranges it’s more like comparing apples to Tomatoes…both are fruit but one really isn’t a fruit. TDK is a comic book movie because of the source, but is anything but. TDK to me is an incredibly well done crime drama/thriller. While it works as a “comic book” as well it’s just so much more.

    Oh and Wally Pfister is the best in the biz, that one isn’t even close. I can’t see how anyone who loves movies could think IM’s cinematography is better than TDK’s…it’s simply stunning!

  8. IM was great but TDK was Epic and so much deeper then Iron-man. TDK is the greatest comic book movie of all time and that’s that

  9. Ronnie,

    You nailed it for me my friend.


    Your point was almost valid–until you put Hellboy 2 over TDK AND IM.

    And Heath,

    Love the tattoo, the line-work and colouring is really top-knotch; you picked a great artist. I got a similar tattoo a few years ago of the classic Batsymbol with Chris Nolan’s style-bat in the oval on my chest.

    And with that, TDK>IM


  10. No, it’s still valid. Iron Man wasn’t over long, it didn’t have any stupid plot points and well Nolan really still can’t shoot a fight scene.

  11. I love how the writer of this really felt like he was going to get hate mail and continuously kept repeating praise for TDK to try to minimize the backlash.

    You shouldn’t feel like you need to defend your OPINION man. I go right out and say it. I liked Iron Man more than TDK. A lot of people liked TDK more than Iron Man, and that is their opinion, and I’m fine with it. Just like everyone should be fine with your opinion.

    Good article, I think it was pretty spot on about the “joy” factor. I still remember how hyper and uplifted I felt after watching Iron Man. TDK was a great film but frankly I felt depressed leaving that theater, lol.

    The blockbuster here is playing that middle action scene from Iron Man over and over on a big TV in front of the store. Promoting the DVD coming out in a few days. My friends and I all stopped to watch the entire sequence, even though we’ve all seen it a few times already.

    I know it made the rest of that day even more “jolly” than before, that movie has that effect for some odd reason…

  12. Its IM for me over dark knight although I liked TDK but it was too long and a try hard it tried too hard to be smart and get this hole batman a villain thing going, I would have preferred if it had been less obvious and didn’t make sure every character explained the plot to you from their point of view.

    i get that TDK wasn’t really a superhero movie but thats what i liked about iron man is that he’s a real super hero without pushing the boundaries of reality to much. but seriously what about the batman voice, anyone else dislike it and how stiff his fighting style?? he wasn’t only not a super hero but at he fought like a mixed between frank Bruno and evander hollyfield other than that i liked the movie.

  13. Heath,

    You make a rational argument, though I do disagree about the special effects going Iron Man’s way. The make up used to create The Joker and the digital altering to create Two-Face were just above reproach. And when you consider that much of the effects in TDK were IN CAMERA, it becomes even more impressive.

    But that ain’t why I see a movie. I watch a film for it’s story, and within that story, it’s themes and metaphors. Iron Man had a theme of altuism, which is, uhm, a good thing. The Dark Knight had significantly more complex ideas to deal with though, and I feel it resolved all those ideas effectively within the one the film.

    Your main critique is a lack of joy. Here’s the thing; Batman, under Frank Miller’s hands for example, is a psychopath. That’s the only way you’re gonna get joy from a character like that. Otherwise, Batman’s a brooder. A sad crazy guy who is still trying to resolve childhood issues. Always has been, probably always will. So, I’m not trying to change your mind, I’m just saying that Batman couldn’t do that kind of movie unless you forgot his character or let him break a rapists back and laugh.

  14. In order for the Batman movies to be prfect Chris Nolan should;
    1. shoot better fight sequences,(the comics always put much emphasis on the fighting for example the broken bat trilogy i.e. a must read) complex martial arts with fluid combat that you can actually see and go oh wow that was neat…
    2. change that whole bat sonar to like a plain simple heat and night vision spectacels (just like in the Comics)and make those things look a bit more menacing more curved…
    3. Start expanding the concept of a Dc univers…(which marval is starting to do (finaly) and are doing really well (the hulk added Tony Stark cameo that was huge in my book…)
    4. i hate to say this becasue everyone will go bonkers but a Robin might add some heart to the franchise if done right…

  15. when it comes to batman and joy it might be true that he is not this happy go lucky guy but i Disagree with the notion that batman does have any heart Bruce wayne is actually a Happy go lucky billionare much like tony stark (which was portrayed well in BB) but when bruce dons the mantle of the bat, as Batman he has a Heart he has a big one in War Games (an amazing series btw) spoiler on her death bed the emotions there are pretty crazy. why should i say more then Batman’s relationship with Robin which is a deep and complex one and how now in
    Batman R.I.P. he probabl will stop being Batman for love (if he Does not die, which i doubt btw) So the point is you can have a deep sophisticated brooding man who the way he deals with issues is by beating the crap out of villins! But when it comes to his Humanity he expresses it with flaring colors…

  16. No Name Face,

    The issue of Bruce Wayne being happy is brought up many, many times in the comic books and is almost always resolved with the idea that Bruce Wayne is Batman’s disguise. Even some of the first comicbook series’ covers alluded to this concept. Not to mention Return of the Dark Knight.


  17. For all you incredulous folks saying “of COURSE Dark Knight was better than Iron Man,” I encourage you to look at the title of this post which states:

    “Why **I** Loved Iron Man More Than The Dark Knight”



  18. Vic,

    Very true– although how else do you expect the comments on this to go? What other possibility was there for the comments on this article?

    The quality of the writing? =)

    Besides, I think we’ve been civil enough thus far.


  19. @Reverend

    Just trying to keep some clarity on the theme of the article. :-)


  20. Ofcourse he would like iron man over the dark knight, he did before the films even came out. The outcome was always going to be one way. Try and argue otherwise with a guy with Iron Man tattooed on his arm.

  21. Trust me, guys, I don’t like Iron Man in comics. It’s been uneven since 1995 when Len Kaminski left. I’m not one of those guys who will love something, no matter what. Trust me.

    Btw, Bruce Wayne ISN’T a happy-go-lucky billionaire. At the end of Batman Begins, Rachel told Bruce the mask he wears isn’t Batman, it’s Bruce. Bale, the filmmakers, and the comic creators all agree that Bruce Wayne is the disguise of Batman, not vice versa.

    Vic is right: I enjoyed Iron Man more than The Dark Knight, but TDK is tops for me, too.

    The fight sequences in Begins were annoying–quick cuts and tons of close-ups. This is very popular in films today, even in Disturbia. However, I feel TDK pulled the camera back and really went full force, and was much, much better.

    I felt joy and was pumped up after Begins, even though some schmuck ruined the Joker playing card bit at the end! ARGH!

    I just looked at the latest Cinefex (magazine dedicated solely to FX), and there’s more CGI in TDK than you all realize. Other than some make-up on the top-left of Harvey’s face, the entire thing was CGI. Check it out at Barnes n’ Noble–it shows just how awesome the FX are!

    Lastly, Wally P is a great DP, but Matthew Libatique is wonderful. he’s the youngest inductee into the ASC, he’s the reason we have DIs (Digital Intermediates), and he’s one of the most well-respected DPs in the biz. However, Wally received Oscar nods two years in a row for Batman Begins and The Prestige.


  22. @ Matt

    I’m a long time Terminator fan, does that mean I would love anything Terminator? Well, under your logic I would. Yet I would beat the living day lights out of anyone on the crew that made Terminator 3 if I ever met them…

    If you’re a HUGE fan of something, and you’re capable of objective thinking, you are probably MORE likely to hate a movie based on it if it turns out bad, because they just trashed a childhood love.

    Look at Transformers. Most of the people trashing the film are the die hard transformers fans. I trashed Indiana Jones 4 because I LOVED 1-3, and have seen them about 50 times EACH, and I felt 4 was a poor excuse for an Indy film.

    People going in to see those films with low expectations came out satisfied. Iron Man fans went in to see Iron Man with very high expectations, and came out satisfied. That proves something. I went into Indy 4 with high expectations and came out angry as hell…

    Sorry Matt, your theory is backwards. I think if die-hard fans of the series before the movie approves of it, that says more than anything else.

  23. Ken J,

    If you’re objective about your passion, it disproves it. If you’re like most people, and wear bias on your sleeve, he’s probably right.

  24. Would someone please stop putting me in the phantom zone? I keep posting and for some reason, my posts aren’t getting posted.

    Anyway, I loved both these films. If I had to put one over the other, I would say TDK wins but not by much.

  25. When i said that bruce wayne is a happy go lucky playboy millionare i did not mean to say thats how he is and that that true it is a facade and it is all a way of keeping his identity secret but batman wqould not exist without bruce wayne being who bruce wayne is and went through it is his experiances as a child which led to the creation of batman in gthe first place and bruce would have needed to naturally be a passionete person in order to devote himself to this “goal”. and therfore i would conclude that bruce wayne is batman which in the end under all that brooding bruce wants to be happy. he wants to end crime and eventually retire. he wants to have a family but he knows that as long as gotham is not safe there is n ot chance for him to be at peace bruce created batman so that he would be able to eventually be at peace.
    in batman fugitive batman realizes that he is bruce wayne and not just batman….

  26. No Name Face,

    How do you end crime?

  27. @John “Kahless” Taylor

    The last comment I see from you on the site is from Sept 17, and I haven’t come across any in the spam filter.


  28. Thank you, that is the irony with batman…
    but his drive, is naturaly his passion.
    i think TDK and in the comic’s, there are many elements of that…
    How Bruce Wayne is drivin to make order and justice because of his past and experience’s they are the main cause for Bruce wayne’s CRUSADE against crime. what is a crusade if not to achive a goal (for example the crusades 1095-1272 all tried to free the Holy land) so he created Batman. His war against crime is a noble goal, yet it is not a realistic one… Because it is unachivable, that is ehy we have been blessed with the longest comic book charecter run in History. Bruce made Batman to help him end crime soon he realized its not going to happen here he could have hung up his cape, yet Batman fight’s on and never once doubts if he made the right choice. (TDK got that on the ball)
    “at least that is MY take on Batman.” I.E. in the killing joke in the end when batman catches the joker and the Joker tells batman a joke (a cute one at best) and he laugh’s and at first batman has a stern look and then he smiles and goes “heh” and they brake into Laughter… it is kind of clear Alan more is trying to imply that batman is nutz… ) my take on that is he’s normal, i do not care who it is IF Ahmenidjad came and tells you a Joke, you will Laugh…
    Also about the idea of who would wear a costume to fight crime, and if a bat crashes through his window go and dress up like a bat.
    Well to that i say that is why it is not realistic it never will be he does live in the DC Universe its kind of clear that what they do around there…
    AND THAT IS WHAT MAKES IT FANTASY AND We All like to dream, we like our imaginations to soar, and all these Super Heros fill that void that we all have which is what if…

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