Marvel movie mastermind Kevin Feige has been talking up the awesomeness of his company's cinematic universe for weeks now as part of the countdown to The Avengers, but just because he works for one company doesn't mean he can't be a fan of another. Turns out Feige's got lots of love for Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise, and what it's done for superhero movies.
For Feige, who's headed Marvel's production team since Iron Man in 2008, superhero movies are part of a larger kind of public culture. He knows the difference between a Marvel movie and DC movie, but the average man (or boy) on the street might not. They just see superheroes. Because of that, Feige says he roots for them all.
"But the truth is I root for every single one, 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," Feige said.
But rooting for other superhero movies is about more than just understanding how the public sees the genre. Feige also recognizes the contributions others have made to the genre as a whole, particularly Nolan, who brought new potential to superhero cinema and made studios sit up and pay attention.
"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.'"
Nolan may have bolstered everything, but now Marvel's got a blockbuster machine of its own, and this summer Feige and Nolan are dueling each other for the title of Biggest Movie of All Time. Will The Avengers overtake the Dark Knight trilogy?