DAR Films: Ranking The Superhero Movies of 2016

By @peagle05

So we are basically at the halfway point of the year and we've seen 4 major superhero movie releases. And of course, this being the internet, why not sit here and huff and puff to you about MY personal rankings of the movies? We'll start with the best and work our way down, as this will surely be more effective.

1. Deadpool

-Again...MY list. I loved this movie and it stems mainly from my love of the Deadpool character. Sarcastic and flat out annoying in his constant firing off at the mouth, Deadpool was a character that always spoke to me (ha). For everything Fox got wrong in the atrocious “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, they got it all right here. The dialogue, the costume, the language, and most importantly, the character. EVERYTHING was perfect. The thing that made Deadpool such a great character was the reasoning behind his smartassery, (That a word? I don't care, I'm writing this. It's a word if I make it a word) as Deadpool is miserable. All the time. Tragedy drives his sardonic wit, he's the ultimate “laugh to keep from crying” character. That was encapsulated by what was my favorite non-joke line in the movie:

“Here's the thing. Life is an endless series of trainwrecks with only brief commercial-like breaks of happiness.” 

Perfect mix of seriousness and slight sarcasm. The violence of the movie matched the tone of the comics perfectly and there is truly no one else on this planet that could play Deadpool better than Ryan Reynolds. The main thing the director nailed was what made Deadpool the character we loved. For that, they saw this movie become the highest grossing R-rated film ever and for a brief period, the highest grossing movie of the year. That is until...

2. Captain America: Civil War 

-This is the one we had all been waiting for, sort of a preview of what we could get with the two “Infinity War” movies and it delivered on every level. Obviously, changes had to be made to serve the purposes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it's truly a testament to the quality of the writing that the changes make sense and feel like a separate universe. There is always a tendency among comic readers to see what matches up to the material and what doesn't, but at this point, it feels like the movies are truly their own entity, just like there are multiple story arcs and worlds in the comics. In this movie, we got the long awaited debut of Black Panther and he was perfectly played by Chadwick Boseman.

I remember telling people he would be amazing in the role and he did not disappoint. After all, the man did nail James Brown. The most important part of this movie was establishing BP, as his character has a tremendous impact on the Marvel universe, not just in the movies but the comics. Captain's shield is made of vibranium, the material that comes from BP's home country of Wakanda, and Ulysses Klaw, the nemesis of BP, was in “Avengers 2”. BP has almost always been mentioned in some form, but this was the first time we saw him and he was given ample screen time and multiple memorable quotes. Black Excellence indeed.

In addition to Black Panther, we got Marvel's first go around with handling Spider-Man. Take notes Sony, the first time Marvel touches him and they knock it out the park. Tom Holland is perfect for the role and giving him Tony Stark to bounce off of gave him plenty to work with. The upcoming ''Spider-Man: Homecoming” should be the first quality Spider-Man movie we've gotten since “Spider-Man 2”. Overall, the movie was perfect in setting up a rift between Cap and Iron Man and giving them a reason to have to come back together at some point. Easily Marvel's best movie to date and a high point for superhero movies period.

3. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

-Okay, here's where we get a little iffy. I didn't HATE this movie, at least not nearly as much as I thought I would. I'll start with the positives: Ben Affleck as what was effectively the “Dark Knight Returns” version of Bruce Wayne/Batman was actually much better than I thought it would be. Affleck nailed the world weariness of the character and the brutality with which he fought was absolutely perfect. Batman's action scenes were a high point of the film for me and actually make me look forward to what he can do with the character in a solo film.

The battle between Batman and Superman was also handled pretty well, with Superman getting in his licks, but Batman providing a majority of the offense through some comic-familiar tactics. I enjoyed watching the battle between the two play out. This was one of the most hyped comic book movie moments ever and it did not disappoint. Wonder Woman was also given her room to shine, through some clever dialogue and pretty cool action sequences. Gal Godot more than held her own as the Amazon warrior and her solo film should continue that momentum.

Now for my negatives: The story was a mess in my opinion, as it featured too many comic plots mashed together. The framework of the story was the “Dark Knight Returns” and “Death of Superman” stories, but in addition to that, you have the reveal of the members of the Justice League. These are major characters relegated to a few computer clips that made me wonder why even title it “Dawn of Justice” if they didn't have a more prominent role. In one part during a Bruce Wayne nightmare, we get a look at what could be a nod to the “Flashpoint Paradox” story in which Flash is traveling through an alternate universe in which Bruce's father, Thomas Wayne is Batman. The usage of this story going forward is almost a certainty due to the casting of Jeffery Dean Morgan as Thomas Wayne. However, there is no reason to have that high profile of an actor in that role if you won't truly use him.

Oh and just for the hell of it, why not throw in a reference to Darkseid? There was so much going on, it seemed as if the writers felt the pressure from Marvel and said “PUT IT ALL IN”. Lex Luthor in this film is not the one we've come to know as Jesse Eisenberg takes on an almost Riddler like persona and it doesn't mesh well with Batman and Superman's more serious personalities. As such, their interactions fall flat. Overall, the movie could have been done much better, but it honestly could have been done much worse. The most average of the films so far, which leads me to..

4. X-Men: Apocalypse

-KILL IT WITH FIRE!! Seriously, Fox... just return the rights to this franchise to Marvel. We've gotten 9 movies and here's a list of the things they got right: Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, “X2”, Michael Fassbender as Magneto (That dude can ACT), “X-Men: First Class” and “Days of Future Past”. So keeping score, out of 9 movies, you get 3 right....1 for 3....33% clip. Which means with the standard run of trilogies having a tendency to go 2 for 3, you haven't even been able to hit a 66% clip in quality. It's over. DONE. STOP.

But I'm a fair person, so let's look at the positives of this movie: Fassbender as Magneto. I can't praise dude enough, he just brings it. McAvoy as Professor X, these two nail the line between friends and adversaries that their predecessors laid for them. Jackman is back as the freshly created Weapon X complete with weird helmet thing. And last but not least, the movie ended before I collapsed from overexposure to “what in the blue hell are you doing?”. Speaking of blue, Apocalypse, while having his share of bad ass lines, could have been done SO much better. His look was just awkward and having seen what was originally drawn up for the character and rejected makes his final design so disappointing. And once again Storm gets the shaft, despite being played as well as possible by Alexandra Shipp. She basically is just a filler character for most of the movie. The movie also suffers from having Mystique as the lead character. She just isn't interesting in these films and never really has been. She's boring and comes off as incredibly corny at times, seemingly given nothing to do but be choked out by Apocalypse in the end. You want an assessment of what people thought of this movie? Think of your Twitter timelines when “Civil War” and “BvS” came out and remember how many people were threatening the ultimate in block/spam combos for spoilers...did you see any of that for “X-Men”? We don't care anymore Fox. Let it go.

I felt so good at the beginning of this article, that last part brought me down... but anyway those are my rankings up to this point. Hopefully, Suicide Squad doesn't disappoint this August or the momentum built by Deadpool and Cap will have really come to a halt.



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