I recently came to a shocking conclusion – I am much more excited to see The Avengers than I am to see The Dark Knight Rises. Okay, so that might not seem shocking to you, but it was definitely a shock to me.

For my entire life, I’ve been a huge Batman fan. From the comic books to the animated series and through all of the movies, the Caped Crusader has always been my favorite superhero and, as of a few months ago, I don’t think anyone could have convinced me that Christopher Nolan’s epic conclusion to his Batman trilogy would be anything short of brilliant. That’s all changed now, though.

Marvel’s insidious strategy to connect all of its movies into one super-sized superhero explosion has worked its charms on my inner geek and I’m not ashamed to say that I was powerless to stop it. Here are my five reasons why I’m more excited to see The Avengers than The Dark Knight Rises.

Avengers Thor Captain America 5 Reasons Why Im More Excited for Avengers Than Dark Knight Rises

In my opinion, Batman is the greatest comic book character out there. But when it comes to the movies, the big bad bat can’t hold his own against the sheer magnetism of The Avengers.

Two big reasons that The Dark Knight was such a success was Heath Ledger’s incredible performance as The Joker and Aaron Eckhart’s excellent portrayal of Harvey “Two-Face” Dent – two of Batman’s most memorable villains. Seeing these iconic characters interacting on the big screen offered a thrill like none other. I feel the same way about The Avengers. The thought of Captain America and Thor fighting side-by-side against Loki’s army gets me excited in a way that Bane and Catwoman simply can’t. It’s not that I don’t like them – I just like the characters in The Avengers much more.

Thor The Avengers 5 Reasons Why Im More Excited for Avengers Than Dark Knight Rises

I know that dark and gritty is de rigueur in the world of comic book movies, but that doesn’t mean that there should be no levity whatsoever.

One of the things that Marvel has done well with all of its films (and will continue to do well with The Avengers), is inject a strong sense of humor into the film to help keep the story entertaining. I’m not saying that The Dark Knight Rises shouldn’t be, well, dark (Lord knows we don’t want a Batman and Robin situation), but the film’s trailers and video footage suggest a movie that’s a little too depressing.

I remember feeling the same way when I read the “Knightfall” saga in the comics. It’s a brilliant story arc – but watching Bruce Wayne get slowly beat down and eventually broken (literally) by Bane is not an uplifting way to spend an afternoon.

Avengers Helicarrier 5 Reasons Why Im More Excited for Avengers Than Dark Knight Rises

This one is a tough call. On one hand, there’s nothing cooler than the Batmobile and I’m definitely intrigued by the introduction of “The Bat” (Batman’s new hovercraft vehicle).

However, the Helicarrier and the Quinjet also offer pretty spectacular visual effects opportunities. Factor in Mark Ruffalo’s excellent-looking motion-capture Hulk, Iron Man’s new armor,Thor’s always-impressive hammer, Mjolnir, and the potential for eye-popping special effects are another thing working in The Avengers’ favor. Of course, visual effects are nothing without a great story, which leads to my next topic…

The Avengers Aliens 5 Reasons Why Im More Excited for Avengers Than Dark Knight Rises

Marvel took a big risk when it decided to release all of its movies in one contained universe, but the risk paid off. Thanks to this strategy, Marvel can now continue to play with these characters and expand the story in an untold number of movies.

While that might not be appealing to everyone, I personally think it’s pretty exciting – especially if it means opening up the Marvel movieverse to more cosmic-themed characters, as has been reported. Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise has been great so far, and I’m glad that it’s ending at three like the director planned. But Marvel’s approach offers a veritable buffet of possibilities to bring in interesting new Marvel characters, and that’s just too exciting for me to pass up.

Robert Downey Jr Mark Ruffalo Avengers 5 Reasons Why Im More Excited for Avengers Than Dark Knight Rises

Okay, this one is a bit of a cop-out, but it’s important anyway. As a marketer by trade, I would be remiss to not take into account the effect that Marvel’s outsized press and media coverage has had on my perception of The Avengers.

The Dark Knight Rises comes out a full two months after The Avengers. Warner Bros has started rolling out trailers and other media, but there’s a lot more of it still to come. Does that mean I might still change my mind? I doubt it, but it’s possible. That being said, I know how I feel right now – and right now Marvel’s marketing campaign has me much more excited to watch The Avengers than TDKR.

avengers incredible hulk1 5 Reasons Why Im More Excited for Avengers Than Dark Knight Rises

Behind the scenes at Screen Rant HQ, Senior Editor Kofi Outlaw made this point: “Avengers is just the hot girl at the party right now – but the other babes haven’t even arrived yet.” He may be right, but that’s the beauty of this article.

I’m not nonchalant about The Dark Knight Rises – I think it will be amazing. I’m just more excited about The Avengers. It’s like ordering a surf and turf dinner. I know that both will be excellent – but right now I really want to slice into a nice filet mignon.

So, whether you’re more excited about The Avengers or The Dark Knight Rises, we can all agree on one thing: if you love comic books, this is a great summer for the movies. Let us know where you stand in the comments.