6. Batman vs Superman
First up perhaps the least contentious of all the titles in that pretty much every average cinema goer and every critic has the same response: utter rubbish
I watched this film perhaps on not the best of days, I had an scolding headache, and spent the whole what seemed like 6 hours checking my watch, it was simply put, a slug fest to watch.
The whole movie seemed to be at odds with everything. The characters did not blend or develop well together, it seemed to obviously rushed in time to best Marvel, the dialogue was confusing, repetitive and often laughable, and the direction and camera work was all over the place.
For a movie that is suppose to set up an entire movie universe (something that seems to be the in thing at the moment) it did an incredibly poor job of creating the environment to place future movies in. This is a shame because despite there only being fleeting moments some of the extended universe actually looks interested and decent; namely the incredible Ezra Miller cast as The Flash, and Cyborg. The less said about the underwater footage of Jason Momoa’s Aquaman the better (that said the trailer to the Justice League looks a little better). To top it all off the ridiculous over the top CGI battle at the end
My biggest issue with the movie is that every scene that featured any combination of Superman/Batman/Lex/Wonder Woman/Lois all seemed to be exactly the same. The dialogue seemed to be identical to the last scene and it was all some prophetic nod to something bigger coming this way. To be honest, it didn’t work.
Granted it was an inexplicably terrible movie, but I will end on some good. The casting of Gal Godot as Diana Prince and later Wonder Woman was excellent, and i’m very much looking forward to watching that instalment. Likewise Godot’s interaction and chemistry with Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne and Batman was intriguing and natural, it cannot be said the same about Superman and literally anyone else in the cast.
Honestly when Deadpool was announced early on my gut reaction was this movie is going to suck, this will be the movie that flops. Im happy to say that I was totally wrong. So wrong in fact that it’s a shame to place it so close to BvS.
I thoroughly enjoyed Deadpool, what’s not to like?
The movie is essentially an entire flashback documenting the history of Wade Wilson and in glorious fashion too I might add. It is highly entertaining and Ryan Reynolds IS Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds IS Wade Wilson, I am glad that Marvel and Fox kept with him despite the horrible Wolverine movie.
Deadpool did what Deadpool does, there was some excellent meta gags, some great fourth wall stuff (the more subtle stuff was more entertaining that the obvious speaking to the audience, or as I like to call it The Ferris Bueller Complex), it was also dark in it’s humour but real in it’s drama.
Reynolds relationship with Morena Baccarin’s Vanessa is amazing, plus it’s Morena Baccarin, as is Wilson’s relationship with T.J. Miller’s Weasel which offered the majority of the humour, along with his play off with Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead and also Blind Al which was quite frankly gross and hilarious at the same time.
Overall I’m glad that Deadpool didn’t suck balls. I expected it to, but it was thoroughly entertaining and I’m looking forward to the next Deadpool outing.
4. X-Men: Apocalypse
X-Men: Apocalypse on the whole isn’t a bad movie by any stretch in fact It is a really good movie despite some of it’s obvious flaws.
To point out said flaws first, to get it out of the way, lets do a checklist shall we:
- Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey. Whilst her performance as Jean wasn’t terrible, and in some respects I can actually believe that she would turn out like Famke Janssen later on. It’s just unfortunate that her accent crept through to her performance way too much. At one point i’m watching Jean the next Sansa Stark. Her battle with the Phoenix throughout the movie also caused me a few ‘nerd’ headaches as it just didn’t seem right with me that she would not only battle the Phoenix to some degree on the inside but is able to channel the Phoenix Force in the final sequence. It was strange and out of context.
- Nicolas Hoult. A big BIG player in the First Class, a minor role player in Days of Future Past, in Apocalypse he’s become near unimportant and second class. His only real scene of importance is his fight in the middle of a town square.
- Finally the absolute worst part of the movie, and yes it’s not Apocalypse looking like Ivan Ooze from the Power Ranger’s Movie. It’s the big blue elephant in the room that is Jennifer Lawrence. Her performance as Mystique in this movie is just down right lazy and half felt. She has become her own meme in a sense. When she plays a character now, it’s really just Jennifer Lawrence playing Jennifer Lawrence. Her lack of care and her on set troubles made this film much much worse than it was.
Now on to the good stuff about Apocalypse.
Firstly Oscar Isaac’s Apocalypse was freaking cool! I don’t care what he looked like, to me that was the Apocalypse that I wanted to see, albeit slightly less mechanical. The performance was great and the character for once was actually well developed.
I didn’t initially dig the casting of Olivia Wilde as Psylocke at the start, but she delivered, I loved her performance and I loved her interpretation of the character. It’s also important to mention how good Apocalypse’s Cabal was, every one was quite well casted and each character had their moment to shine, from Storm, to Angel, even Caliban was pretty neat addition to.
Additionally it was great to see the always brilliant Rose Byrne back as Moira McTaggart.
Tye Sheridan’s performance as Cyclops was very well done, he even had Chris Marsden’s patented Cyclops pout down to a tea. A much better casting choice than Sophie Turner’s.
Evan Peter’s once again stole the movie with a single scene, personally for me it wasn’t the fact that the scene was epic, it was brilliant mostly because Peter’s Quicksilver wears a Rush tee throughout the entire scene. Also top points for Jubilee wearing an epic Journey tee.
All in all, again the biggest reason why this movie works on a character level is it’s main stars. The relationship and chemistry that Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy have is possibly some of the best in any movie ever. They embody everything about their characters, their pasts, their obvious futures, their desires, their weaknesses, everything about them is Charles Xavier and Eric Lehnsherr, like the last three movies, it is this dynamic that really holds the movie together. It is because of this in fact that I place it higher than Deadpool.
3. Captain America: Civil War
It’s fair to say that Captain America and Captain America films are the best in the Marvel series.
Captain America was arguably the best in Phase One, Winter Soldier was certainly the best in Phase Two, if not the best so far, Civil War though was almost as good.
I must confess, I was, and still am a huge fan of the Civil War comic book arc. It was the first real comic series that I read as it was being released. I like everyone else was seemingly worried and nervous that it would fail considering some of the biggest players aren’t actually available in this universe or haven’t appeared yet, such as the Fantastic Four, the X-Men or Namor, and I was a little disappointed that Marvel didn’t have the balls the end it the way they did in the comics which would of helped the story even further.
In The Russo Brother’s hands. It worked a treat. They pulled off an impossible and created an impressive and entertaining piece of film.
What stopped this film from being higher to some degree is at the fundamental end of the story and plot it’s just as nonsensical and nearly identical to that of Batman vs Superman. The villain’s plot is odd and abound with Oedipal theories and it’s all fairly similar, I’ll let Screen Junkies explain the rest of it for you:
In general though it is a highly entertaining flick and what separates Marvel from DC, Captain American from BvS is that we are sold on the characters and we are sold on their relationships between each other. Even when characters are interacting for the first time, whether it’s Black Panther or Spider-Man, or even Ant-Man their chemistry is immediately shown on screen. This is something that Snyder lacks in his DC universe, will it change? Who knows, but I doubt it.
It also goes to prove as well that it’s not necessarily the story or plot that determines a film to be good or entertaining, in fact the plot and story can be highly nonsensical but still be unbelievably and inexplicably popular that people don’t understand why (ahem Interstellar), but it’s the characters and their chemistry between each other that actually allow the film to flourish. Which leads me to the next and most controversial choice in this list.
2. Suicide Squad
That’s right Suicide Squad is at number 2. Take that Marvel fanboys from around the world, I have chosen one of the most critically panned movies as my second choice comic book movie of 2016.
In all honesty, I can see why people would find the story dumb or ‘plotless’. They are technically wrong and it’s one of my biggest grievances with this movie. I feel that people dislike it, or hate it, or critically go to town with it because of “lack of plot”, “lack of character development” or some other strange reason that 10 years ago this movie would of been critically and commercially successful, this is wrong and in short some of grasping for straws because at the base level there isn’t much wrong with it.
We live in a spoiled world of Hollywood, something that I am highly critical of and is why I prefer to spend my money on going to international film festivals rather than watching 90% of all Hollywood movies released. Given the society we live in where the “Comic Book Movie” is the most commercially successful and most anticipated movies of the year, on a general populous level (I was personally more looking forward to seeing La La Land than any other movie this year but that’s neither here nor there) we have a habit of overhyping and over glorifying the comic book genre, and this is something that Dan Harmon’s continual critic of comic book movies in his awesome TV show Community has helped me move away from.
We expect some outrageously amazing and original film from each and every comic book movie, and at the end of the day the only real original movies in the Comic Book Genre were released before the current ‘Phases” were even scripted or developed. Spider-Man, X-Men, Batman (Tim Burton’s), Christopher Reeve’s Superman, hell even Spawn and The Crow were more original that what is being released now. Yet we have this fundamental knack of overpraising Marvel movies as the best thing since sliced bread and downplaying DC films, which to be fair isn’t hard because BvS as we’ve all come to understand plain sucked, and Man of Steel was an utter mess that made Superman Returns look amazing.
This is what happened to Suicide Squad. What it the greatest comic book movie of all time? Absolutely not. What it the worst? Not at all.
In fact it was highly entertaining, if not mindless. In order to appreciate Suicide Squad you need to see it for what it is. A fun collection of characters, that are developed (which we will get to later), on a quest to destroy some evil. It’s entertaining and has a soundtrack that would rival any Guardian’s film.
Now to move on to debunk some of the criticism it has:
- It has no plot or story. It does. It’s a very simple story and plot in fact. US Government have in possession a weapon, weapon gets into the wrong hands, civilisation is in danger. US government hire a band of misfits to contain and destroy weapon before it does lasting damage. Band of misfits go to destroy evil. There’s complications. Evil is eventually destroyed. It’s simple. There is a story, there is a plot. In fact at the very heart, it’s the same plot as 98% of all other comic book movies.
- The characters are weak. My answer was and always is, why do you think that? Never can they answer except for some vague flimsy description that they weren’t fleshed out enough, or not quite enough Joker, or not enough of the other guy who dies quickly. The main characters are developed fine. Deadshot is developed reasonably well, his powers are quickly revealed and his motivations are revealed too, as are his desires and quest for revenge also fleshed upon. Also does a good job in establishing Will Smith as the lead through his general Will Smith style charisma and humour and tone. Probably the most i’ve enjoyed seeing Will Smith in a film since Men in Black 3. Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn was great. Even when she forgets her accent and starts talking very Aussie, i find it amusing and really don’t care about it that much. She portrays Quinn very well, and I enjoyed it. Killer Croc was funny and surprisingly well paid off, and Jay Hernandez’ El Diablo has a centre stage for the majority and is well flesh out. Finally Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang is probably one of my favourite comic book characters ever created. He’s just entertaining to watch and Courtney’s ability to become Cap is just effortless and his influence of Chopper Reid has allowed him to really make this character his own and highly memorable.
- It doesn’t link well enough with the DC Universe. Oh my god, I care so little that it didn’t tie in enough with Batman or Superman or Wonder Woman or hell even mention Darkseid as a foresight into the extended universe. It didn’t have to. Its job as a story was to tell this band of misfits going from A to B.
- Joker wasn’t in it enough. Granted he wasn’t and I could of done with more Leto and it’s strange that in the Director’s Cut there is only 13 or so more minutes added most of which is Joker and Harley, which makes me wonder why they cut it in the first place and whether WB were trying to diminish the ridiculous run time of BvS. But to be fair, I didn’t miss Joker all that much. Spielberg proved that you don’t need someone in the whole movie to have a big effect in the background, hell Hannibal Lecter was only in 20minutes of Silence of the Lambs. This wasn’t a movie about Joker.
Now there were some issues with the film sure, my biggest would be Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flag character was the most obnoxious, painfully, generic i have seen in a comic book film. He might as well of been cast as Army Leader #5 or Generic Marine Guy #14. He had no personality and his love triangle with Cara Delevigne’s June was awkward.
Overall though, people need to learn not to take these movies so seriously. Comparing films like this is so redundant and the constant band-wagoning of Marvel films over DC films is just annoying. Leave all pretension at the door and watch as it’s own piece of character fun. I have watched this film three times, as I do with most movies, now just to make sure.
First watch – was it entertaining? Yes
Second watch – were the characters developed? Yes
Third watch – were the technical aspects impression? Absolutely.
- Doctor Strange
Finally the winner of best comic book movie of 2016 would be one I’m sure many would of picked or assumed, as it was simply the best of 2016, if not easily in the top 5 of all time in the genre.
It was a visual masterpiece. There is absolutely no film in any genre that has accomplished such a feat of visual ingenuity. I included 2001: A Space Odyssey on that list too! It was a masterpiece and credit to Scott Derrickson for pulling it off.
Honestly I sometimes find Benesnitch Cribblesnuff off putting but now he IS Doctor Strange. He portrayed Strange with such dignity and authenticity that when I watched it, I wasn’t watching Brandybuck Snugglesnatch, I was watching the Doctor Stephen Strange I’d read in Comics and on TV shows come to life. He embodied everything that I wanted from the character. His pride, his arrogance, his self-preservation and later his humbling.
The story was unique in that it wasn’t like any other origin story that we’ve seen. It wasn’t like Ant-Man where I could pin point each and every plot device that would happen, and did happen, it was excellent.
My one critique of Doctor Strange, as with a lot of Marvel films, the villain. Mads Mikkelsen is wasted in a Marvel film. Utterly wasted. He is too good an actor to play Kaecilius. But he played him as Mads would, impeccably. Outside of Loki, Kaecilius was perhaps the best performed villain to date. A quote ascribed to Mads when he played and completely owned Hannibal Lecter was; “no matter who acted in a scene with him, the other person simple shrunk down and vanished, all you would be engrossed with was him.” This is the same in Doctor Strange. When he comes toe to toe with Strange for the first time in the future Sanctum Sanctorium, it is the best scene of the entire movie. The acting is incredible and told will such heart and realism. In my opinion, whilst I did enjoy Chiwetel Ejolsaifgkasgfkgasfore as Baron Mordo, and he did a bang up job as that character, I felt that Mads would of made the role even better.
As for the rest of the cast, it was almost perfectly well casted. Benedict Wong as Wong was great and humorous, Tilda Swinton is always amazing, and despite the hilarious unironic outrage that people had that Swinton would not only play the role of the Ancient One as a female, but also white too. I say it’s ironic because for all the controversy it’s highly likely that many of those protesting against whitewashing probably never read to comics. It’s also a product of our currently culture that every seems to be against whitewashing, when 10 years ago this would of been a non-issue. Either way Swinton is awesome. She plays the Ancient One with grace, modesty, and forcefulness, you are aware of her powers and you dare not test her.
Again it was an outstanding visual delight and I’m very much looking forward to Doctor Strange’s involvement with the Avengers and his next movie thereafter.