Tag Archives: superheros

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

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Deadpool

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

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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

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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…

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…it became real. And it was breathtaking.

Final Grade: A

 

May 27th

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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-

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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

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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

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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

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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?”

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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

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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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Mark Millar’s World Part 2: The Burning Clog FUN SIZE REVIEWS

I feel like I might have come off a bit too harsh on the creator-owned comics in the first part of my Mark Millar retrospect. I totally shat on both Kick-Ass and Nemesis, but they deserve it. Millar is a great story teller, but not every tale he tells is woven equally tight. Sometimes, great artists create crap. But I am a firm believer you should judge an artist by their best work, so I am more than willing to ignore some speed bumps. With that being said, let’s dive into one of my favorite creator-owned stories by Millar…

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Wanted (2003 – 2005)

This book simply rocks. It’s a nasty little Arthurian style “you are the chosen one” story where the chosen one happens to be the bad guy.  Wanted follows the exploits Wesley Gibson (modeled after rapper Eminem; no seriously) who goes from being a loser with a cheating girlfriend and shit job to a badass super villain with an endless supply of wealth and hedonistic, ball-draining activities at his disposal. J.G. Jones artwork is stellar. The pacing of his panels make the action pop, and Millar’s biting dialogue has never been so hilarious. As for the plot, it’s pretty basic (no spoilers), but the simplest stories often work the best. The story beats are familiar (and even somewhat predictable), but it doesn’t detract by how much damn fun Wanted is. Go. Read. Now.

Final Grade: A

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Superman: Red Son (2003)

Believe me when I say this: “I DO NOT GIVE A SHIT ABOUT SUPERMAN.” Like, not even a little bit, but holy hell, this is one Superman story I can get behind.  Red Son is simply a “what if…?” story that asks “What if Kal El landed in Moscow instead of Smallville?” The answer to that question makes for a compelling vision of the world’s most popular superhero. This book is definitely political, but not necessarily  in a red vs blue sort of way. The story of Red Son shows that greatness can be achieved under any circumstances, good or bad. It also says a lot about rival philosophies and how even some radical world views have their merit and can be shaped into something almost universally appreciated…Also, Batman is a badass anarchist who terrorizes Superman. It’s rad.

Final Grade: A-

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Jupiter’s Legacy (2013 – present)

This is another one I wanted to love. The concept is solid: Superheros have become so strong in numbers, villains stand no chance against them (there’s a really cool scene early on where a pack of heroes give some random baddy a good ol’ blanket party, only to comment on how it wasn’t the most noble of battles). With the lack of actual villainy to combat, the super-offspring of these heroes don’t know what to do with themselves and slip into lives of being celebutantes (think Paris Hilton, but if she could fly and had heat vision and wasn’t completely awful). All of this makes for some really interesting characters, but not all of their motivations were strong enough to justify their actions. But to be completely fair, I’ve only read Book 1 of the series, which covers the first 5 issues. I’m hoping that the second half of this series turns things around and really tries to have fun with the world it has built.

Final Grade: B-

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The Ultimates (2002)

Hey, nerd! Do you love all those fun superhero movies Marvel Studios keeps cranking out? Do you get a big boner knowing that you’ll get two every year for the rest of your natural life or at least until they start bombing at the box office? Ya do? Well then, you should pucker up and kiss Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s The Ultimates’ big, fat ass, because without this book, those movies might not have been worth a damn. I feel it’s impossible not to give this book a great deal of credit for, if nothing else, giving Marvel Studios some solid groundwork to build The Avengers on. A lot of the story beats and character traits (e.g. Sam Jackson Fury) from The Ultimates have been translated to the big screen and most of it works really well. I suggest reading this book if you haven’t, and it’s good (but not quite as great) follow up (but not the third one by Jeff Loeb; that one’s not so good).

Final Grade: A-

 

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