In short… in the Batman universe:
Heroes are grey.
Villains are black.
In Captain America & Thor’s universe:
Heroes are pure.
Villains are grey.
Yeah, Batman is ‘grittier’ etc etc and the Avengers is goofy and funny and bright. But I don’t like my villains pure evil. And I don’t like my heroes merely heroes because they are a few notches better than the villains. In other words, there is something fundamentally wrong with a universe where heroes are only ‘good’ in comparison with the evil baddies: in a world that needs evil to make their mediocre decency look like goodness in comparison. In a world where the selfish player is a great guy just because all the other blokes are rapists.
In the narratives and tales that spin the interior mental structure of our consciousness, we don’t need to invent pure dark evil to affirm our middling decency as ‘good’. No. We need legends and myths and tales of pure, unadulterated, unselfish goodness. Let the wicked be sympathizable and complex, but do not restyle them the pathetic heroes of modernity that (secretly, desperately) need some big baddie to make themselves OK. Where we have to eliminate real goodness, because apparently having pure evil is so deep but pure good is just simplistic. And besides…our pathetic modern ‘heroes’ wouldn’t look as good if there was anyone with true unadulterated goodness…
In a world with real goodness, the air is much clearer, the water sweeter, the stars brighter. And then we will know that we are the villains in the tale, our shabby decency now grey in comparison to the truly Good — but that is a small price to pay for air and wind and light.