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Superheroes of 2016 – Marvel, DC and More! (Part 1)

by on January 9, 2017
 

2016 was a very unconventional year. While some people complained at the end of 2015, look what happened in 2016! The year saw the loss of many great celebrities, clown scares, and depressing (depending on who you ask) political results in more than one country. That being said, there were a lot of good moments that many people seem to forget or overlook, such as the World Series, Pokemon GO, and the summer Olympics.

Fortunately, a lot of great content came out in the world of superheroes. First, let’s head to the movies! Here’s my opinion on 2016’s live-action superhero films. (Please note there will be SPOILERS below.)

Movies

Deadpool

Deadpool

This movie was a fan dream come true and a great way to start the year! Even though not all the jokes landed, I had a ton of fun. Ryan Reynolds perfectly captured the character’s humor, heart, and craziness. X-Men Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead were perfect foils to Deadpool’s brand of ‘justice’.

The score had a edgy 90’s feel and the swordplay between Wade and Ajax was phenomenal! I really enjoyed the battle sequences in this movie and appreciate the choreography the filmmakers created. Deadpool’s mask had a fun animated look to it which I’m sure director Tim Miller worked hard on, since he co-founded the amazing visual effects company Blur Studio. Tim Miller’s directorial debut was a fantastic success.

The cameos in the movie were quite amusing such as Stan Lee’s appearance. I loved the music choices in the movie. There weren’t too many songs and they didn’t feel forced into the movie. I did have some complaints though. I didn’t really care for the slow laboratory scenes when Wade goes through his transformation or the limited character development for the villains. Thankfully, Angel Dust was a fun to watch thanks to Gina Carano and Ajax constantly asking “What’s my name?” was pretty funny. Overall, one of my favorite superhero movies of the year and a true love letter to fans who asked for this years ago.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

The marketing prior to this movie’s release was quite a rollercoaster ride. When the reviews came out, I was really curious to see this movie. When I walked out of the theater, I was surprised at what I had seen. I had a plenty of issues with it, but at the same time, I still liked it. The score was excellent, especially Wonder Woman’s theme. Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL did a fantastic job. The action scenes were also quite interesting. I loved the fight scene in the warehouse. It felt like the Batman: Arkham series’ combat had come to life! The Batman/Superman fight sequence was pretty solid, though a tad shorter than I expected.

In regards to the heroes, Superman’s character development was somewhat limited. He felt stoic to me at times. Fortunately, Clark Kent’s relationship to Lois Lane and Martha Kent made up for it (to some degree). Batman, on the other hand, felt overly aggressive and I didn’t understand his nightmare dreams at all. However, he was definitely the more developed titular character of the two. For example, the scene with Bruce running through the rubble during the Superman/Zod fight while saving a little girl was wonderful. While she had only had a handful of scenes, Wonder Woman left quite an impression and her scenes were meaningful.

As for the villains, Lex Luthor was pretty embarrassing to watch for me, though Jesse Eisenberg worked with what he had. I thought Mercy Graves was wasted and Doomsday’s appearance didn’t feel as big of an event as it did in the comics. That being said, the Trinity (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) vs Doomsday battle was a sight to behold! Overall, there was a decent movie here with some relatable real world themes but it was stuffed with a convoluted plot, a somber tone, and unnecessary Justice League hints. I am interested to watch the Ultimate Cut and see what it brings to the table, however.

Captain America: Civil War

I was looking forward to this movie quite a bit, even though I’m not a big fan of the Civil War comic story as a whole. Fortunately, it did not disappoint me. Captain America’s position fighting against government control made sense considering what happened to him in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. At the same time, Tony Stark’s argument to side with the government was a nice change of pace for the character following the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Both made very strong points and I really enjoyed the discussions the Avengers had with each other about the Sokovia Accords.

The action was quite impressive, especially Black Panther’s wicked moves! Seeing this beloved hero on the big-screen for the first time was surreal. The chase scene with Black Panther, Captain America, Falcon, and the Winter Soldier was a bit of an adrenaline rush thanks in part to the score by Henry Jackman. The airport scene was a blast and a half of hilarity followed by a tragic moment which returned the tone to the Captain America movies’ more serious underpinnings. The final battle at the end was a whirlwind of emotions as Winter Soldier and Captain America fight Iron Man to a painful standstill.

In terms of other characters, Spider-Man’s introduction was a ton of fun though I felt we could’ve had a few more scenes with Peter so when he suited up, the viewers would be more connected to him. Otherwise, Tom Holland did a nice job with such limited screen time. The other heroes’ moments were great as well like Scarlet Witch and Vision’s relationship, War Machine’s “Congratulations Cap. You’re a criminal” line, everything with Ant-Man, Falcon and Bucky’s camaraderie, etc. Thunderbolt Ross, Sharon Carter, and Crossbones’ roles were also well-established. Overall, this was a strong movie with a politically relatable plot, impressive visuals and strong characters. I mean, did you see Black Panther?!

X-Men: Apocalypse

I really enjoyed the previous two X-Men prequel movies, but X-Men: Apocalypse didn’t really grab me during the promotional campaign. That being said, I really enjoyed it. I really liked Havok’s prominent role early in the movie as well as his relationship with Professor X and Cyclops. Nightcrawler was a really fun ‘new’ character that I enjoyed seeing interact with anyone, including his team-up with Cyclops and Jean Grey, following their mostly unseen mall trip with Jubilee. However, it was disappointing to see Storm with such a limited role and essentially a villain for most of the movie. At least Moira came back.

While Mystique felt overly important here (like X-Men: Days of Future Past), I think Jennifer Lawrence did a strong job playing her. Apocalypse was a much more interesting villain than I think people gave him credit for. I love how Oscar Isaac delivered the line “Everything they’ve built will fall and from the ashes of their world, we’ll build another one!”. Admittedly, I don’t know the character Apocalypse inside and out, so maybe his characterization was off here compared to the comics. Magneto’s family plot was a nice change of pace for the character. I was really glad that his relation to Quicksilver was confirmed here. Of course, Quicksilver was once again a joyous character to watch.

Wolverine’s cameo was a great reference to his Weapon X design but unnecessary. Archangel and Psylocke were visually interesting (design and actor wise), but they didn’t have much to do. The lack of Dazzler and a stronger tie to the 1980s was also pretty disappointing. Unfortunately, X-Men: Apocalypse seemed to be the most overlooked superhero movie this year. Overall, this was a solid movie and a nice change of pace from DC and Marvel Studios’ formulas, however it didn’t really bring anything fresh to superhero movies and kept us stuck in the past for the main X-Men movies.

Suicide Squad

When this movie was announced, the potential for a gritty black-ops thrill-a-minute Suicide Squad movie was too cool to pass up. I was really excited for a Suicide Squad movie when the other DC movies Warner Bros announced either didn’t grab me or were still years away. Then the trailers started come out and did not look like the Suicide Squad to me. When I saw the movie, I thought the pacing was really off with the third act essentially starting in the middle. The tone jumped around between goofy and dark far too much without blending well. The music felt forced into the movie with the only original song I really enjoyed being Purple Lamborghini.

A portal in the sky threat seemed like a situation superheroes should be facing. I would’ve liked to see the Squad on a black-ops mission instead of running around a city in ruins fighting supernatural creatures. They do extract a high-profile individual (secretly being Amanda Waller), but with the added and unnecessary (storywise) soldiers and monster people, it didn’t feel like a black-ops mission. That being said, I didn’t hate this movie. I was just pretty disappointed by the final result after being excited for what a Suicide Squad movie could be like.

Deadshot brought a lot of heart and laughs thanks to Will Smith’s performance meanwhile Harley’s first big screen appearance was pretty good. The most memorable aspects of the other Squad members to me were El Diablo’s backstory/sacrifice, Killer Croc and Captain Boomerang’s humorous moments and Katana’s look. The Joker needed more screen time but I enjoyed the different take. It’s unfortunate he barely interacted with Batman. Overall, this was an amusing over-the-top movie with well-developed lead characters, a weak plot and odd pacing. I didn’t dislike any superhero movies this year but this one really let me down. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Ultimate Edition, but I don’t intend to purchase it.

Doctor Strange

I know a lot of people loved Doctor Strange when it released. For me, the movie was pretty good but a bit overrated. The first half of the movie had the right mix of humor and seriousness. The training sequences were quite fun and Stephen’s journey was enjoyable to watch. It was unfortunate that the movie was more humorous than the trailers’ implied, because I was hoping for a more serious story.

That being said, there was still plenty of good elements such as Mordo inching towards his darker path from the comics. As the hero, Benedict Cumberbatch was an excellent Doctor Strange, though perhaps overly humorous for the character. Strange’s disbelief in magic and arrogance was enjoyable to watch as he was humbled and learned how to use the mystic arts. As the villain, Kaecilius ended up as little more than a pawn for Dormammu unfortunately, but I thought Mads Mikkelsen brought some nice charm to the character.

The visuals were quite compelling and I enjoyed the fight scenes. However the final battle felt anti-climatic because of the “I’ve come to bargain” scene (as fun as it was). Additionally, Dormammu didn’t look like his comic counterpart with the flaming face because he was hidden here sadly. As for some other characters, Wong and Christine Palmer were enjoyable but could’ve used a few more scenes. I’m glad Palmer wasn’t a typical love interest, because she helped flesh out the otherwise brief pre-accident Strange scenes. I wish we saw more scenic views of Nepal, similar to Brazil in The Incredible Hulk movie. Overall, a solid movie that, while too similar in some aspects to other MCU origin movies, was an enjoyable journey.

These articles were originally written to ToonZone staff member James Harvey and are also dedicated to him. Your warmth, care, and friendliness are everlasting.

Thank-you so much for reading and check out Part 2 of this article here.

 

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