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2016 Superhero Movie Reviews!

So this dumpster fire of a year is coming to a close, which means it’s time for lists! Yes, the Internet loves best of and worst of lists and year end retrospectives and whatnot as much as it loves cats, pornography, and gorillas (for some fucking reason). So I figured I would toss my hat in the ring and give you my thoughts on all the comic book movies that were theatrically released this year (chronologically) and grade them.  Let us begin:

February 12th



It’s pretty good…

Sorry, I’m not going to jump this movie’s bones like the rest of the Internet. Yes, I thought Ryan Reynolds was perfect casting. And yes, there were some fantastic jokes that landed so hard they made me short of breathe from laughter. And yes, the big action sequences (both of them) were outstanding considering the budget the filmmakers were working with. But just like the titular character’s comic counterpart, Deadpool got on my nerves after a while.

I’ve been a longtime reader of Deadpool comics and the character is always more interesting when he’s playing second fiddle to just about anyone else (i.e. Cable and Deadpool; Deadpool vs. Hawkeye). I’ve always felt like there isn’t enough well-defined pathos to really make you give a shit about Wade Wilson enough, let alone watch him carry a film by himself. But despite that sentiment, Deadpool worked and was surprisingly energetic with a romance story that didn’t make me want to bash my face against the wall of a Hallmark Greeting Cards store.

Hopefully Deadpool 2 will do a great job with Cable. I feel like that groundwork for that relationship has already been laid with all the bits featuring Colossus. So…more of that, please.

Final Grade: B+


March 25th


Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

No. Just no.

Every inane “plot point” in this superhero abortion has been argued over by smarter men than I. If you really want to get into the nitty gritty of what I think about BvS, get a few beers in me and tell me you actually liked.

This movie sucks on a level I never knew existed.

Final Grade: F


May 6th


Captain America: Civil war

I already touched on this movie before, and dammit, I like it. I the introduction of both Black Panther and Spider-Man felt natural and while the latter character’s presence was by no means necessary, it didn’t detract from the film. If anything, Spidey popping up felt like a nice little reprieve from the looming chaos that was about to ensue.

I don’t think this is my favorite Marvel flick thus far (that honor still belongs to Guardians of the Galaxy), but it’s definitely in the top 5. Also this cover…


…it became real. And it was breathtaking.

Final Grade: A


May 27th


X-Men: Apocalypse

Unlike most critics and the majority of my friends, I didn’t hate this movie. I actually kinda dug it. All the silly shit that made me love the ‘90s X-Men animated series as a kid was there: goofy costumes, bad jokes, lasers and shit, etc. X-Men: Apocalypse did what I never thought the X-Men movies would do, and it embraced the absolute absurdity of this franchise. But it did so without this…or this… I’m not going to say this a perfect film. Hell, there were a lot of things that were flat out dumb, but this one felt like a real deal X-Men team film and that final shot-


Yeah that one – made me squeal in the theater. JUST LOOK AT THOSE COSTUMES! I enjoyed this movie so much, I even wrote an op-ed on it.

Final Grade: B


June 3rd


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

You know, as a man in my early 30s who grew up on Ninja Turtles, I was super excited to see this movie. The first film in this franchise didn’t do much for me(aside from a badass Splinter & Shredder brawl), but the trailers for this sequel promised a movie that should have knocked it out of the park.

I was getting a “live action” Boobop, Rocksteady, and Krang (fucking KRANG!) for the first time ever, Casey Jones was popping up, and the Shredder looked like he was going to be an actual character instead of some random guy who jumps inside of a giant robot. Well, TMNT: OOTS (by the way, this movie will forever be known as Oots) delivered on those promises in the same way an alcoholic parent promises to get you a new bike for Christmas but instead they bring home a Radio Flyer missing a couple wheels that they fished out of dumpster behind a TGI Fridays and they force you to take it out for a spin on Christmas morning (there’s eggnog to drink and they don’t need to be bothered by your constant crying).

Look, what I’m trying to say is this movie sucked.

Final Grade: D


July 25th


Batman: The Killing Joke

This one hurt. I am a HUGE Alan Moore fan, and while I think The Killing Joke is one of his lesser works, it is an important piece of Batman history.

But do we need an adaptation? Not now, we don’t. Maybe 10 or 15 years ago, adapting this very slim one-shot graphic novella into a half hour TV special would have make a huge splash and shocked audiences, but padding it out to feature length with an awkward sex scene and a boring B plot regarding gangsters Batgirl is investigating just make the whole thing a big mess that is equal parts tiring and trite. What saddens me further is that one of my favorite comic writers working today, Mr. Brian Azzarello, wrote the screenplay. I know he can write Batman well. I seen’t it!

Final Grade: D-


August 5th


Suicide Squad

“Hey, Mike, was Jared Leto any good as the Joker?’

Why don’t you ask him yourself?

“Hey Jared, how do you think your Joker turned out on the big screen?”


That’s because he was barely in the damn movie. And look, before you cry foul and tell me, “this isn’t Joker’s movie,” I know. I know. I know. I fucking KNOW. But don’t parade around a character so prominently in your ad campaign and not feature him in your movie. I don’t recall Rogue One doing that with Vader, and guess what, IT WORKED.

This movie was garbage. Not offensive-make-me-wanna-kill-myself garbage. Just uninspired, boring, dumb garbage, which is something I can deal with if it didn’t take itself so seriously.

Final Grade: D


November 4th


Doctor Strange

Full disclosure: I know fuck all about Doctor Strange. With that being said, it’s hard for me to judge this on the source material (even though I am privy to the fact the character of The Ancient One was whitewashed like middle school American history text book). But I will say that as a standalone movie, I really enjoyed it. Sure, it was basically a mystical rehash of the first Iron Man film, but who cares? If a movie feels like a comfortable pair of pajama pants, you might as well wear them (guys, I’m bad at metaphors). Benedict Cumberbatch was great in the way Benedict Cumberbatch is great in everything (even when he’s playing “Kahn” in a shitty Star Trek movie).

Final Grade B+

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40 Bullets: Captain America: Civil War **SPOILERS!!!**

So after I jotted down 40 thoughts about the abysmal Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, I felt it would be fun to do that again, but this time, for a movie I actually really liked loved. Let’s talk about Captain America: Civil War.

The following is in no specific order. Sometimes the bullet points run into one another, and sometimes they are disparate.

Warning: Spoilers like a mufucka from here on out! If you have not seen this movie, turn back now. Otherwise, here were go:


  1. I don’t want to be one of those assholes who harps on how shitty BvS was, especially compared to this movie, but I’m gonna. DC needs to get its shit together. Marvel Studios has been banging out quality flicks for almost a decade now and they are not showing any real signs of slowing down. I’m two DC movies in and I already feel exhausted.
  2. Do we need to see our Superheroes fight each other? Well, sure, just so long as it makes sense.
  3. Smart choice on making Redwing a robot.
  4. “Don’t thank me, thank Redwing.” “I’m not thanking that thing.”
  5. This movie was filled with personal vendettas, and I like that. This might be the most personal Marvel movie.
  6. Black Panther was great. I’m not super familiar with the character (I knew enough to appreciate his presence in the film), but I feel like they explained him really well and made it easy for non comic readers to grasp (He’s a badass African version of The Phantom with a cool suit, got it? Good).
  7. Um, I feel like they never said T’Challa’s name in the movie. Maybe I just missed it.
  8. Wasn’t Black Panther a Defender at one point in the comics? That’d be cool is he showed up in Daredevil or Jessica Jones. It’d be a nice little nod.
  9. Chadwick Boseman was awesome (he’s awesome in everything).
  10. You know, Black Panther would have totally ruined Bucky’s world if Cap hadn’t stepped in.
  11. I loved how everyone called T’Challa “Prince” or “Your Highness”
  12. Iron Man is an asshole. He’s right about the Sokovia Accords but he’s still an asshole.
  13. Cap and Bucky’s bro love is soooo strong in this movie. I mean, I get it. Steve Rogers is from a foregone era, and Bucky is his last connection to that world. I’d want to preserve it at any cost, too.
  14. They killed Peggy Carter off screen? That’s kinda lame. I guess we got our old Peggy/young Steve fill in The Winter Soldier.
  15. I loved, loved, LOVED Falcon and Bucky’s relationship. They were jealous of each other. One is Cap’s old BBF and one is his new BBF.
  16. “Can you move your seat up?” “No.”
  17. Hawkeye just kinda showed up out of nowhere. I feel like there was a scene missing that was needed to explain him being there.
  18. I like the Wanda/Vision relationship. I thought it was sweet.
  19. I also like the Wanda/Vision fight. I thought it was rad.
  20. I really liked this version of Baron Zemo. I felt like his plan made way more sense than Luthor’s did in BvS (sorry for bringing it up again) and there was actual emotional weight. I feel like part of it is just Daniel Bruhl being such a damn good actor.
  21. “The world of the living is not yet done with you.” – T’Challa (he is so fucking awesome).
  22. Please make a Black Widow and Hawkeye movie. I would watch the shit out of that.
  23. “Something just flew inside me!” I love Paul Rudd.
  24. “Give me back my Rhodey!” I love RDJ
  25. Holy shit, they crippled War Machine. That was fucked up. Nice one, Vision…you big dummy.
  26. When this happened: this My wife leaned over and asked if I just nerded out. The answer was, “yes.”
  27. Crossbones dying early was a little bothersome, but it was a nice nod to Nitro in the comic series.
  28. On the other hand, Crossbones going boom pretty much guaranteed Cap was making it out alive, for better or worse.
  29. Dude, Tony had Cap dead to rights in the end. Instead of giving him one more warning, he should have shot his ass out of the building and taken Bucky captive. Jeez…
  30. “That shield doesn’t belong to you!” That was kind of brutal.
  31. Dude, Iron Man blasted Bucky’s metal arm completely off, which was pretty damn cool.
  32. The Winter Soldier strangled Tony’s mom…with his real handThat’s brutal.
  33. “Do you remember them?” “I remember all of them.” That exchange gave me chills.
  34. Stowing Bucky away in Wakanada made sense. It was also nice to see T’Challa work things out in a sensible way and grant amnesty. Also, we got to see those rad panther statues.
  35. Spider-Man was fantastic. Tom Holland knocked it out of the park. Honestly, the scene when Tony went to visit Peter felt like it was taking place in a different movie, but it didn’t pump the brakes on the film, overall. It was actually a nice little reprieve.
  36. I cannot wait for Spider-Man: Homecoming.
  37. I also can’t wait for the Black Panther solo flick. Now that we got basically his origin story out of the way, we can focus on T’Challa being a badass even more.
  38. Where is Thanos? I mean, this was a pretty big movie and we’re marching closer and closer to Infinity Wars. We have like, what, four more movies between now and then? I feel like there is going to be a lot of ground to cover. Maybe Doctor Strange and GoTG Vol. 2 will shorten the story gap.
  39. Please don’t take your fucking kids to this movie. I know they like superheroes, but this is not a kids movie (I’m looking at you, dumb dad in the front row).
  40. Behind Guardians of the Galaxy and the first Avengers movie, this is my third favorite Marvel Studios joint. Thank you for continuing to be awesome, Marvel.


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Batman: Earth One REVIEW

Note: This review covers Batman: Earth One volumes 1 and 2.


Let’s talk about Batman.        

It’s pretty much an inarguable fact that superheroes, especially heroes like the Dark Knight and Superman, are so omnipresent in pop culture and that they have become humanity’s New Greek Mythos. Hell, several writers of comics and film utilize this in their storytelling to the point to where it’s downright annoying.

These characters are more than just their names. They are symbols. They represent the best (and worst) in us. People across the globe know their origins and back stories. They know their weaknesses and victories. They know their deaths and rebirths. These heroes have been dissected to pieces by children, comic nerds, and academics alike (in some cases, this is the same person in different periods of their life). It’s amazing how something as simple as a guy in a cape or a woman with a magic lasso can wiggle their way into the mindscape of the general populous and stay there for the better part of a century.

But of all the titans that have made such a splash, the one hero of our pop culture pantheon that is truly immortal, both within their own fictional universe and in the real world, is Batman.


*See? Everyone loves this dude.*

Hear me out. Batman is truly a symbol… yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you’ve heard that one before. And I’m well aware other heroes are symbols, too, but here’s the thing:

If you kill Clark Kent, guess what? No more Superman.

You kill Diana Prince? Adios, Wonder Woman.

But if you kill Bruce Wayne? Fuck it! Who cares? We got a backup Batman, son!

Oh, and if you kill Dick Grayson? No worries, we got another one, yo…and another one after that and another after that, because it doesn’t matter who is under the cape and cowl; it just matters that there is a cape and cowl.



Now, I know that comics have toyed with this exact character principal in the past (i.e. Danny Rand as Daredevil, Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson as Cap, etc.), but I feel like no one has been able to reach on the same levels of overbearing iconography as ol’ Bats (maybe it’s just because he’s been around longer, I don’t know).  But Batman is important. Not Bruce Wayne. BATMAN.

Everyone agree? Good. So now with that being established, the question is how many times can we retell the origin of Batman before the audience gets completely fucking sick of it? The answer to that probably varies depending on your age. I know, I’m tired of it.

I’m in my 30s and I grew up watching the Tim Burton Batman movies, which led to Batman the Animated Series, then those god awful Schumacher flicks, followed by Jeph Loeb’s comic work, then Frank Miller’s Goddamn Batman, then Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, and finally the utter shitfest that was BVS. All told, I’ve must have seen Martha and Thomas Wayne get gunned down in an alley followed by a training montage dozens of times.

Gunshot! Pearls! Crying! Training! Crime fighting! We get it!


**This old chestnut**

That’s why I find it impressive when a comic book can make that tragic story interesting again. Enter: Batman Earth One.


*WEEEEEE! OW! Fuck!*

This is a simple retelling of the Batman mythos that blends previous incarnations of the caped crusader and then homogenizes him to the bare essentials of what makes Batman Batman.

Writer, Geoff Johns and artist, Gary Frank present a Batman tale that exploits the shortcomings of the beloved character and humanize Bruce Wayne in a way very few writers have done before (at least not as affecting). Bruce isn’t likable in this story, but he’s not supposed to be. He’s a goddamn nut job. And with the help of the coolest version of Alfred ever, his nuttiness is cultivated into a weapon, one that doesn’t work in every situation.

This version of Batman is kind of a dipshit, too. He’s self-righteous. He’s overzealous. He makes bad calls. He’s the most believable on-page version of Batman I’ve read since Batman: Year One.


*What a dummy…*

But what makes Earth One work is the remix of supporting characters: all the faces are familiar, but their stories and motivations differ from what we’re used to, and it’s quite refreshing.


*Some things never change.*

There are elements that don’t always sing, however. There’s a interesting character gender swap that sort of petters out. And the Earth One version of Jim Gordon is basically standard Jimbo. Nothing really new or appealing, .

I don’t know if Johns and Franks have plans for a third graphic novel. Volume 2 ended rather abruptly with a lot still on the plate. I’ve never been this hungry to learn more about an already established character, but when the preparation is so fresh and unique (while not diverging from what makes the character work in the first place) it whets my comic palate like a son of a bitch.

These books are worth your time, especially if you’re a Batman fan (I mean, who isn’t?).

Final Grade: B+


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