To date, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight still stands as the highest-grossing solo superhero film at the domestic box office, but when it comes to worldwide grosses, Gotham’s protector has been trumped by the international appeal of Iron Man 3. So when it comes to standalone superhero movies, the popularity contest boils down to DC’s Batman and Marvel’s Iron Man.
The fact that the respective alter-egos of Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark are the biggest box office draws is a curious one, especially considering the striking similarities between the two characters. Much like Wayne, Stark is a billionaire mogul with a brilliant mind for science who uses his ample resources to take down the criminal element and neutralize threats. But who would win if these two heroes got on each other’s bad sides?
Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man | Marvel StudiosIt’s a tricky question, as Batman and Iron Man are pretty evenly matched with regard to their technology and intellect. Granted, Iron Man has the edge when it comes to the scientific side of things, and his suit’s ability to fly and fire repulsor blasts gives him a built-in advantage that Batman simply doesn’t have. Then again, the Caped Crusader has plenty of vehicles — including the Batwing — that he could put to effective use in an aerial battle against Iron Man.
Despite Stark’s proven edge in the technological department, we’re going to have to give this one to Batman. Sure, Iron Man has a fancier suit of armor, but the Dark Knight is known for having any number of gizmos and gadgets on his utility belt that can get him out of virtually any pinch. Moreover, he would certainly put his “world’s greatest detective” skills to use in preparation for a battle against Iron Man. All he would need is an effective way to disable Stark’s tech (an electromagnetic pulse perhaps?), and the fight would essentially be over.
Outside of his high-tech suit, Stark isn’t much of a fighter, but even if you strip Wayne of his Batman suit and his various tools, the man is still a trained ninja. Having learned combat skills from the League of Assassins (or League of Shadows, if you prefer the Nolan route) and elsewhere, Batman would easily be able to demolish Stark in a hand-to-hand showdown. Whereas Stark’s training to become a superhero largely consisted of developing and testing his armor, Wayne spent years traveling the world to understand the criminal underworld and mastering the various ways of taking down his enemies. As such, he has incredible knowledge at his disposal and would make short work of Stark.
Though we’re unlikely to see a Marvel/DC cross-over on the big screen any time in the foreseeable future, it’s fun to imagine the audience reaction if Iron Man and Batman ever were to face off in a film. Without a doubt, the resulting battle would prove well-balanced as long as both combatants are armored and dangerous. Plus, from a financial standpoint, box office history certainly proves that when it comes to these two driven and resourceful heroes, audiences simply cannot get enough. Can we start a petition to make such a project actually come together? By our estimation, all the DC Comics fans would be pleased with the result.
Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @CrookedTable
Additional Reporting by Michelle Regalado
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