It’s safe to say that this year’s Avengers: Endgame and 2009’s Avatar are pretty much on a league of their own; there’s no disputing that. The records the two movies have broken individually, the impact they’ve had on audiences all over the world, the financial success, it’s all there for everyone to see and take notice off. However, the question that begs is, which of the two is the better movie?
Well, straight off the bat I should emphasize that the word ‘better’ is relative; what one might consider better, another might consider worse, and vice-versa. In this piece, I will be looking at 5 factors that I think are key in judging these two iconic films and at the end of it all, I’ll sum up the points and declare the winner. SPOILER ALERT! of course if you haven’t seen the latest Avengers film, or even Avatar for that matter. Let’s dive right in.
ROUND 1; ACTING
As far as acting is concerned, both sides packed up the punch but I was pleased by the performances of a particular superhero film most. Irrespective of whether Endgame was more star-studded, the acting in that film was genuinely inviting and was more emotionally diverse. By this I mean that a majority of the actors were able to move in and out of varying emotions seamlessly to either lighten the tone of a sad scene or vice versa. A good example of this is the Vormir scene where Jeremy Renner’s character is fooling around with the Red Skull but soon enough, Clint is in sheer emotional pain as he watches his partner plummet to her death.
In Avatar however, the acting is commendable but the serious tone in most of the scenes didn’t allow the performers to express their characters more diversely. The film barely has a comedic moment in it and thus the actors couldn’t move in and out varying emotions to give their characters more flesh. There are some individual performances i.e. Zoe Saldana’s and Stephen Lang’s which were very passionate and diverse nonetheless they couldn’t tip the scales in the film’s favour. This round goes to Avengers: Endgame.
ROUND 2; FILM TECHNIQUES
Employing the right cinematography, lighting, editing, special effects or sound can be quite a task for a film production team; these two Sci-Fi masterpieces certainly aced it in this sector, but one more than the other. In Endgame, I felt the camera techniques were used appropriately and they complimented the varying tones and character arcs, it has convincing C.G.I, the scores are great e.g Thanos’. That said, despite it being a 3 hour long film, the editing was quite choppy; it left out certain aspects of the story that it hoped the audience would piece together with the narrative.
On the other hand, Avatar has almost everything going for it that Endgame does but more outstandingly in the cinematography, special effects and sound departments. The score inspired by African cultures, the awesome visual effects of Pandora’s creatures and natural phenomena, the inviting cinematography of the action sequences; these are the various reasons why I have seen this movie numerous times. The use of film techniques resonate with me more in this than in Endgame. Furthermore, the editing here is better. This round is Avatar’s.
ROUND 3; STORY
A lot has been said about Avatar’s success being massively attributed to its visual awesomeness as opposed to its story and I think that’s a valid logic. Still, that doesn’t mean it didn’t have an appealing story. Without going into too much detail, I’d say I personally, loved the story because it had some great character arcs i.e. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). Additionally, the story has an enticing beginning, an attractive body and a satisfactory ending. Also, it incorporated certain important themes that mirror governance not only of the now in various societies but also of the past i.e colonialism, greed etc.
Endgame does have a great story to it, but it has an unfair advantage over Avatar because the film’s narrative is a culmination of several other narratives woven into one. Furthermore, the fact that the Marvel film lends much of its storytelling from comic books doesn’t help its cause in this, at least not for me. This round goes to Avatar.
ROUND 4; AUDIENCE APPEAL
Considering how successful the two movies have been, audiences all over the world have obviously found a connection to the characters and the stories to want to invest in them. Avatar, for the most part, did have an audience appeal 10 years ago or so but now, no one really talks about it. It hasn’t aged well. Yes, there’s a theme park based on the world of Pandora that people visit regularly but that’s about it.
Endgame, however, has proved to be much more than just a movie; it has proved to be a universal event. I’ve seen several videos online featuring people who are desperately struggling to buy opening weekend tickets because they just don’t want to miss out on this massive cinematic event. I don’t know about you but I think this is the very definition of massive audience appeal, and I think it’ll last for a very long time. Endgame takes this round.
ROUND 5; BOX OFFICE NUMBERS
The business side of film-making should never be overlooked; it is the life blood of the industry and it keeps it going. What an extra-ordinary cinematic run Avengers: Endgame has had, and it’s only a month or so into it. It currently holds the record for; the biggest worldwide debut with just over $1.2 billion, the biggest U.S domestic debut ($350 million) and more importantly, it’s on it’s way to dethroning Avatar as the highest grossing film of all time.
James Cameron’s Avatar had a unique cinematic run considering how low the numbers were when it started its cinematic run(77 million), how low it’s drop was in it’s second weekend (1.8%) etc. Considering, among other factors, how long it took for this film to get to the top of the Box office list, I think Endgame is the outright winner in this round; wouldn’t you agree?
With a score of 3 to 2, Joe and Anthony Russo’s Avengers: Endgame wins it!
Do you agree with my assessment of the two films? Do you think that I might have been wrong in any of the rounds? I’d love to get your thoughts on this piece, feel free to air your views in the comment section below. As always, thanks for your time!