The Avengers might be the prettiest belle at the ball currently – only replace the words “prettiest” with “most talked about” and “belle at the ball” with “superhero movie” – but no one’s forgotten about The Dark Knight Rises, which just dropped a major league trailer and is only a couple of months out now.

Speaking of no one forgetting Batman, while promoting Dark Shadows, Tim Burton compared his contributions to the series (Batman, Batman Returns) to Christopher Nolan’s rebooted installments. Meanwhile, Marvel’s Kevin Feige called Nolan’s Batman films “the greatest thing that happened.” (Presumably to superhero movies.)

Courtesy of Cineplex Magazine, Burton compared the darkness of his take on Batman to Nolan’s:

“I always get told that my material is dark, but nowadays my version of ‘Batman’ looks like a lighthearted romp in comparison to Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’.”

Since the release of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, there have been a great many online discussions comparing Nolan’s Batman movies to Burton’s and vice versa. While it’s true that Batman ’89 and Returns are way over-the-top and even campy in their own way, it could also be said that Returns has some of the weirdest, creepiest imagery to ever appear in any Batman film.

Indeed, for every hilariously armed penguin army, there was black sludge pouring out of Danny Devito’s dying, sallow mouth, or a battered, bloodied, and nearly psychopathic Michelle Pfeiffer. Does that make Returns a darker film than the very serious, hyper-realistic Nolan films, especially TDK? No, not necessarily – but I think it puts them nearly neck-and-neck.

Speaking of Pfeiffer, Burton talked about her role as Catwoman way back when:

“For me, her version of Catwoman was one of my favourite performances on any movie I had worked on. I remember how she impressed me by letting a live bird fly out of her mouth, learning how to use a whip and dancing around on rooftops with high-heeled shoes on. She did all that stuff for real. I hadn’t really talked to her for about 20 years, and she called before I had started working on Dark Shadows, and she told me how much she loved the old TV series and she wanted to be involved.”

While Michelle Pfeiffer’s version of Catwoman didn’t much resemble her comic book counterpart – instead of just being a cat burglar with a flair for the feline, she had seemingly supernatural powers and was straight up creeptastic – it was a pretty well-received performance. It’ll be interesting to see if Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman can stack up, even if it is a more accurate representation of the comic book character.

Elsewhere in the world, Kevin Feige talked about the decade-long box office reign of superhero movies and the part Christopher Nolan’s Batman films has played in the matter. Courtesy of Wired:

“[T]he truth is I root for every single [superhero movie], whether it’s our movies or not, because while you and I know the difference between who publishes what, I’ve been in supermarket checkout lines where one of our characters is on the cover of a magazine, somebody says, ‘Is Green Lantern in the Avengers? Is Aquaman in that one too?’ People don’t know. So I want them all to be great. […] Chris Nolan’s Batman is the greatest thing that happened because it bolstered everything. Imagine the one-two punch in 2008 of ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Dark Knight’? It was great. Six years earlier I was having conversations with studio execs where they’d say, ‘Why don’t you come work for us? These comic book movies can’t last forever. It’s probably towards the tail end.’ And I, being with big bright-eyed naiveté would go, ‘I don’t know, I think we can do more. I think there’s more fun to be had.'”

What’s the moral of this story, morning glories? Even when everyone and their grandmothers are talking about The Avengers (check out our own Kofi Outlaw’s review here), The Dark Knight Rises is still there, in the background, vying for cinematic dominance.

Only time will tell, though, if it can match Marvel’s superhero team-up in terms of box office take and critical reception. After all, The Avengers is already a success – well, pretty much – and it’s not even out in the U.S. yet.

The Avengers hits theaters May 4th, 2012, Dark Shadows hits theaters May 11th, and The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters July 18th.

Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

Sources: Wired & Cineplex Magazine [via TDKR Facebook Fan Page & Comic Book Movie]