There are two fictional worlds that I love to visit more than any others. If I get sucked into some sort of Inception–esque dreamscape, it’s going to feature Jedi starfighters flying over Gotham City. Conveniently, they both feature Liam Neeson as a teacher!
Knowing this, a friend challenged me via text message.
He asked, if I had the choice between watching The Dark Knight and Star Wars, which one I would choose.
Of course, it’s a ludicrous choice. If I couldn’t decide between either, I’d just watch both in one night. I might be a little older, but I can still pull off the occasional movie marathon.
It’s an interesting question though. My answer of course has a lot of qualifiers.
So let me present my answer in more depth than I answered in the text.
The Dark Knight Trilogy
The Dark Knight Trilogy is a just as good a trilogy, and possibly better, than either Star Wars trilogy. That’s right, I said either trilogy.
I’m not going to blather on about the what makes it that way. That just turns this into another boring Christopher Nolan love letter.
But Then There’s Star Wars
The inescapable truth is that all six Star Wars films own my heart. In the end, it’s about what they say to me than even a “superior artistic endeavor” can give me. The whole, as it were, is greater than the sum of its parts.
They will always speak to me in a way that others do not. Anakin’s transformation will always speak more to me than even the uplifting message about love and sacrifice in The Dark Knight, or the biting social critique of The Dark Knight Rises. The hero’s journey in Batman Begins will not overcome the operatic triumph of love that is Return of the Jedi.
While some can be dismissive of this thought, and insist that it means I’m incapable of judging fairly, I say that how much we love a film has just as much to do with who we were when we saw them. I don’t care whether the hipsters and anti–hipsters want to disavow the part of them that loves the Ewoks still.
I refuse to be shamed out of my loves.
The Final Tally
So while I dodged the dreaded versus discussion on a technicality, it comes back to a simple truth. They are both my favorite fantastical escapes, but if someone “has” to win, I know who will win the series if not every game. Batman has a significant place in my heart, but the Skywalkers presently are the most dominant tenants.
And if JJ Abrams has the wisdom to cast Maggie Gyllenhaal in Episode VII, he may as well just ask to deduct about half my paycheck’s worth of tickets for the first two weeks of its theatrical run.