We are now officially done with 2016 comic book films as of November fourth with the release of Marvels Doctor Strange (click here to see my review). Which makes now a good a time as any to start a new series on my blog simple called: Best and Worst. In the series I will divide up a given topic into two categories of best and worst. With that being said if something is in the best category doesn’t mean I’m absolutely head over heels for it, it just means that there is more good than bad. The same goes for worst. The first topic of this series will be the comic book films of 2016. This year has been a mixed bag for comic book films this year, some good, some great, and some just down right awful. Full disclaimer before moving on with my picks for best and worst, I need to emphasize that these are just my opinions. I am not saying that this is what I believe to be factual in anyway. So if you want to have a discussion about why you disagree with me then I’m all game for that. However if you intend on just crying about how I had issues with a film you love and want to just call me an idiot, well go ahead and do so. Who am I to stop you? With all that out of the way lets jump into it then.
BEST: Deadpool (February 12th 2016)
Many of my friends and I were very excited about Deadpool. Some of us because we have a history with the character in reading the comics and others because of the stellar marketing campaign for this film. This film exceeded all of my expectations, by embracing all aspects of this great character. It was more than just your average superhero origin story, it had a unique personality, and made light of some of the silliest aspects of the genre. The passion Ryan Reynolds has for this character shines through in every moment he is on screen. It really warms my heart as a horrible horrible nerd to know that something creative was accomplished in this world of big budget Hollywood trash. Everything about this movie worked and I’m glad to have seen it be as successful as it was making $760 million world wide on a $58 million budget. I look forward to more of Deadpool despite the departure of director Tim Miller from the sequel (click here for more on that). All in all Deadpool is more than worthy of earning a spot as one of the best comic book films of 2016.
BEST: Doctor Strange (November 4th 2016)
This film was jaw dropping visually, brilliantly acted and directed with great care and attention to detail. It is amazing that fourteen films into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and there has yet to be a truly awful film and this film shows that Marvel isn’t headed in that direction anytime soon. Benedict Cumberbatch is terrific in the role of Strange he brings a great sense of gravitas to the screen that is very welcomed. It also featured several great character arcs that were well written and believable and in no way forced. The amount of originality in the film astounded me, as I was expecting a paint by numbers movie but instead there were great twist and turns. Also that finale was so great and just thinking about it makes me want to see this film again and again and again. While this film falls short in the villain aspect as most Marvel films do it is a triumph in just about every other aspect. Doctor Strange is a welcomed addition to the MCU and I look forward to his next appearance in Avengers Infinity War.
WORST: X-men Apocalypse (May 27th 2016)
X-men Apocalypse isn’t that bad of a film but it falls short of being a good film too. It’s in a weird limbo of not being much of anything. Ultimately though I feel that not being able to reach the status of being good puts it in the camp of being one of the worst in 2016. It suffers from a villain who is meant to be the end all be all of villains but doesn’t really come across as very threatening. It also tries to introduce us to too many new characters in a short amount of time and it feel quite jarring. Many of the performances felt phoned in. Specifically Jennifer Lawrence who gave the most dull performance of her career because of her contractual obligation to be there. The two highlights in the film were Michael Fassbender as Magneto and Peter Evans as Quicksilver. Both are terrific in their respective roles and brought the most to the movie. If it wasn’t for that kick ass trailer I wouldn’t be excited at all for Logan based on this movie, however I saw that trailer and it is all kinds of awesome. This movie does make me hope that after Logan, Fox hits the reset button on this franchise and start from scratch to make things simple. In the end X-men Apocalypse is certainly not the worst this franchise has to offer but is definitely one of the most dull.
BEST: Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice (March 25th 2016)
The theatrical cut of this movie to put it nicely isn’t very good. I initially liked it but the more I thought about it the more problems I began to have with it. With that being said in the summer the extended cut of this film was released and was a vast improvement upon the cut that was first released months prior. It added much more detail, context and character moments specifically for Superman, which was important because before he felt more like a side character rather than a title character. The film still suffers over complicated subplots and scenarios but are less of an issue in the extended version. Ben Afflecks Batman is in my opinion the best live action incarnation of the character we have seen. He is brutal, tactile and prepared, which is terrific. The aspects of the character than I do have issues with are easily solvable, redeemable and explainable in future films. Superman however is a bit of a mixed bag for me. I was on board for a Superman who wasn’t entirely sure of his place in our world in Man of Steel. I thought that was a good arc that by the end of that film he had found and become comfortable with who he was in our world. That was unfortunately greatly ignored in this film and Superman was still stuck in this state of uncertainty. This is now something that should be over and done with but we are stuck being bored and annoyed by a mopey Superman who isn’t embodying the ideals of Superman that make that character great. Overall Batman V Superman is a film that has a lot of pros and cons but I personally feel that the pros out weigh the cons enough to have me consider this as one of the best comic book films we’ve seen this year.
BEST: Captain America Civil War (May 6th 2016)
Up until very recently this had been my favourite movie of the year. Well paced, excellent action, great character moments and really brought a lot of aspects from this universe to a head. This film serves as a peak for both Steve Rogers and Tony Stark as characters as the have reached opposite sides of the spectrum that they started on. Rogers who had always believed that doing what the government wanted was the right thing but is now more cautious when it comes to trusting what the government wants. Stark has gone though the reverse of that. While serving as a major turning point for many existing characters in this universe it also introduces us to, two new heavy hitters in this universe, Black Panther and Spider-Man. Both are portrayed perfectly by their respective actors and I look forward to seeing the future for both characters. There is so much emotion in this film and it all feels real, which is need for a film with such heavy themes. Captain America Civil War is by far my favourite of the six comic book films of 2016 and is obvious one of the best comic book movies of 2016.
WORST: Suicide Squad (August 5th 2016)
Okay here we go. I absolutely loathe this film, I think it is truly awful. I had so much hope for this movie. I thought this will be the one to turn things around for DC critically but I was wrong very very wrong. Suicide Squad is a jumbled mess that features, poor character motivations, horrible dialogue, a paper thin plot, a poor villain and a finale featuring a giant blue beam in the sky (HOW ORIGINAL). I can’t stand the nonsense editing that is done here. It is so sporadic and all over the place that it takes away from any momentum that this movie might gain. There are so many things like this in the movie that are just jarring and take away any enjoyment I had during this movie, like the rapidly changing music. There were at least 4 different songs played in the first 15 minutes of this movie and they don’t transition well at all. In fact it was all rather abrupt. This is actually something that the film suffers from a lot, how abrupt things are. Now before I get into a discussion about the elephant in the room I want to mention some good things about the film, such as all of the moments with Batman. While he has a very minor role in the film his scenes stand out among the rest as the add even more depth to this new version of Batman. I also quite enjoyed interpretations of many of the characters in the film such as Margot Robbies Harley Quinn, Will Smiths Deadshot, and Jia Courtneys Boomerang. I felt those three brought the most to this movie and gave everything they have in this movie but unfortunately due to poor editing and studio involvement their performances aren’t full realized. Speaking of studio involvement and performances that aren’t full realized lets talk about Jared Leto as the Joker. I want to like this interpretation of the Joker. I’m on board with the design I think its great, unique and still feels like the Joker. However the scenes that he is in don’t do a good job of communicating the kind of Joker they want this to be. He feels like just a mess, there doesn’t appear to be any real direction or plan as to what this character is meant to be. Now I could go on for several paragraphs on Jared Letos Joker but that’s not what this post is for (maybe I’ll do a post like that in the near future). I will say this though, if Warner Bros had spent as much time on deciding who this character would be and what scenes he should be in as they did on developing the look this could’ve been a great version of the Joker. So all of the things I discussed and touched on is why I consider this to be the definitively worst comic book film of the year and maybe even my least favourite of the year period. I will most likely do a review very soon for this movie as the extended cut of this film comes out tomorrow.
So there you have it the best and worst comic book movies of 2016 in my opinion of course. What do you think of my picks? How do yours differ from mine let me know by starting a conversation with me on twitter or instagram @nerdycasual or by simply leaving a comment. Thanks for reading, take care.
Doctor Strange: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/doctor_strange_2016
X-men Apocalypse: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/x_men_apocalypse
Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/batman_v_superman_dawn_of_justice
Captain America Civil War: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/captain_america_civil_war
Suicide Squad: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/suicide_squad_2016/
All images belong to the respective studios and other owners.