The Avengers is excellent entertainment, it surpassed my expectations, it was extremely fun to watch, and it brought everything together successfully. All the superheroes had their moments to shine, we got to see them interact with each other plenty. Nick Fury had many great moments as well as the villain Loki who I did not like to much in "Thor."
But The Dark Knight Rises's scope easily trumps The Avengers. I gave it an A- because that's what it deserved and in some ways I had more fun watching The Avengers than with The Dark Knight Rises. However, what Nolan managed to do with TDKR impresses me much more than what Joss Whedon did with The Avengers. Saying that shouldn't diminish what Joss Whedon did, but Joss Whedon only had to live up to one great film (Iron Man), a few good films, and some disappointments. Nolan had to live up to a movie that became a pop culture phenomenon, broke tons of box office records, officially established the Joker as one of the greatest villains in movie history, and was an epic crime saga with an intense pace that kept me on my seat throughout its entire running time.
The Dark Knight Rises surpassing that would have been tremendously difficult and it had a couple of problems here and there that kept it from being an A film. Still, it's an extraordinary achievement. The Avengers is an A film. But for me, it's all a matter of personal preference. Review grades are subjective enough, but top 10 lists are even more subjective. The Avengers did everything it was supposed to do and it all worked for me. The Dark Knight Rises, though, tried to go beyond popcorn entertainment and got almost everything right. I admire the ambition and the scope of TDKR moreso than the scope of The Avengers which wasn't quite as high.
So, even though there's no need for me to defend myself, I just wanted to clarify my thoughts on both films. They're both great films and really the only two big budget highlights of the summer. They both should be celebrated as superior entertainment compared to the rest of what Hollywood had to offer this summer. I think they're both great films, I just happen to prefer the more ambitious one despite its flaws.