Which Superhero Movie Won 2016?

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This year was more populated with superhero movies than any before it. The Marvel Cinematic Universe continued its slow takeover of Hollywood while Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox tried to keep up with DC and X-Men properties. With six different superhero movies this year with varying creatives behind them, there was naturally a wide range of quality between them. Below is our wrap-up of how these movies added to and influenced the genre.

 

Best Hero: There were so many this year, both new and old. From Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, 2016 was proof that the superhero genre is expanding far faster than it’s letting franchises die. That said, this year belonged to a long-running hero you’re likely more than a little familiar with. Tony Stark’s arc in Captain America: Civil War was powerful and emotional, showing the hero’s battle scars across eight years of films. His role here was everything it wanted to be in Iron Man 3 and Avengers: Age of UltronWinner: Iron Man

Photo Credit:http://screenrant.com/iron-man-character-arc-civil-war/

 

Best Antihero: Suicide Squad introduced us to some fun antiheroes and the Winter Soldier started fighting for the good side, but you’re kidding yourself if you think this one belongs to anyone other than Wade Wilson. Deadpool finally got his due in the best superhero origin movie in ages. With his freshly vulgar sense of humor and hyper-violent tendencies, Ryan Reynolds perfectly played the Merc with a Mouth on his path for vengeance and a prettier face. Winner: Deadpool

Photo Credit:http://www.space.ca/movie/deadpool/

 

Worst Villain: There’s not even a “Best Villain” for 2016. Not one of the six superhero movies that came out this year had a standout, the closest being Michael Fassbender’s third and weakest time playing Magneto. But there were certainly lots of bad ones, including Oscar Isaac’s makeup laden Apocalypse from the same film. Most of the other films had traditionally boring foes (not even the great Mads Mikkelsen could save Kaecilius from being dull). But early on we got Jesse Eiseneberg’s Lex Luthor, which was essentially him playing the same brat from The Social Network with poor, transparent attempts at “method acting,” a if he was trying to be Heath Ledger’s Joker. The result was an all-time great villain spectacularly ruined the second he walked on screen. Loser: Lex Luthor

Photo Credit:http://www.mtv.com/news/2340099/jesse-eisenberg-lex-luthor-jr/

 

The Ororo Munroe Award for Most Wasted Character: While Captain America: Civil War miraculously found a way to balance no less than 12 characters in a huge action sequence, giving each of them their due moment, the other superhero movies this year didn’t fare quite as well. Jimmy Olson? Killed off before his name could even be said aloud. Mordo? Frequently on screen but harshly underwritten. What about Storm herself? Maybe two lines of dialogue in favor of being Apocalypse’s silent minion. Worst of all, however, Suicide Squad’ s marketing heavily teased an Oscar winner’s take on the iconic Joker, but the actual film barely featured him, to the point where lots of critics felt that hadn’t really been given enough time to properly judge him. But what film would dare bring in the Joker only to push him out of the way before the climax? Loser: The Joker

Photo Credit:http://uproxx.com/gammasquad/suicide-squad-joker-false-advertising-lawsuit/

 

One Spinoff, Please: This day in age, every beloved character in a comic book movie is getting their own film (see Deadpool even after X-Men Origins: Wolverine). While Black Widow is long deserving of her own film, this year brought one of the most famous and relatively new characters to the big screen in an ensemble. Suicide Squad wasn’t the best superhero film this year, but Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn entirely lived up the large expectations. Luckily, in perhaps their smartest move to date, Warner Bros. is moving forward with a Harley spinoff featuring a largely female cast that Robbie herself is producing. In light of all of DC’s failures, this movie has to get made. Winner: Harley Quinn

Photo Credit:http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/how-suicide-squad-messed-up-harley-quinn-w432939

 

Best Action Sequence: At least mediocre or even bad superhero movies can have great action. Batman v. Superman ends with Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman leveling a section of a city taking on Doomsday. It’s the only part of the movie that really works. X-Men: Apocalypse‘s climax is similarly excellent after some really wonky narrative leaps. Then there’s the innovation of Doctor Strange‘s reality bending New York chase scene that was the only real thing making the move stand out. However, there is no question that the airport battle in Captain America: Civil War was on top for 2016. All 12 characters involved get their moment to shine, from Ant-Man becoming Giant-Man to Spider-Man’s Empire Strikes Back-style takedown. This thing was a visual feast, packed with light comedy to break up the heavy drama while characters we’ve loved for years went to war with each other. No superhero movie will top it for years to come. Winner: The airport battle in Captain America: Civil War

 

Funniest Moment: Look, the Marvel movies did their thing and there was Harley Quinn, but Deadpool was the king of comedy in 2016. But what was the best moment? The freaky moment where Wade’s regenerating baby hand just brushes against his blind roommate’s face was so weird and played so perfectly straight that I was honestly in stitches. Winner: Wade’s regenerating hand in Deadpool

 

Best Credits Stinger: These all kind of blend together. Amanda Waller met with Bruce Wayne about something. Doctor Strange met with Thor about something. Some company took something away from Wolverine’s massacre. Winter Soldier is being hidden in Wakanda so someone doesn’t go find him. But, naturally, Deadpool broke the mold, with the titular hero coming out in a robe and telling that the movie was over and we should go home. He of course later came back and point-blank told us Cable would be in the sequel, which is actually awesome, but this riff on superhero movie tropes perfectly made fun of one of the weirdest, occasionally frustrating traditions of the genre. Winner: Deadpool

 

Biggest Disappointment: In an age where, at least for a while, superhero movies just seemed to be getting better and better, any one film less than great is a disappointment. Obviously ruling out Deadpool and Civil War, the other four superhero films this year were something of a let down. Many expected Batman v. Superman to fail, but once it did, Suicide Squad‘s disappointment seemed already written. Doctor Strange, meanwhile, was unsurprisingly average. Then there’s X-Men: Apocalypse, the sequel to the superb First Class and Days of Future Past, of which it shares most of its creatives and crew, that featured Oscar Isaac as its main villain. It’s not a terrible movie, but it should have been a lot better considering everything that went into it. Loser: X-Men: Apocalypse

Photo Credit:http://www.entertainmentfuse.com/x-men-apocalypse-review/

 

Most Forgettable: Again excusing Deadpool and Civil War from the conversation, this one is between the average superhero fare that the studios churned out this year. That also excuses Batman v. Superman, which so loudly and spectacularly failed that it’ll be remembered forever. Suicide Squad meanwhile at least has aggressive personalities that sets it apart, while X-Men: Apocalypse is part of a much better trilogy. That leaves Doctor Strange, a perfectly average, harmless movie with few narrative innovations and characters that don’t stand out nearly as much as the rest of Marvel’s catalogue. Loser: Doctor Strange

Photo Credit:http://www.gamespot.com/articles/doctor-strange-review/1100-6444793/

 

2017’s Most Anticipated: Six more superhero films will hits theaters next year for all of us debate. Marvel is putting out Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarok, three films with lovable characters that’ll keep the brand alive, even if they don’t necessarily change the game. Meanwhile, DC hope to right the ship with the highly anticipated Wonder Woman, which could be their last chance to win fans over, and Justice League, which shares too many creative minds with Batman v. Superman to have us excited. Then there’s Logan, Hugh Jackman’s final time playing Wolverine the recently got a trailer that makes the film looks actually different. Boasting visuals more akin to The RoadMad Max, and No Country For Old Men than any X-Men movie. For that, we can’t wait to see how it turns out. Winner: Logan

 

Worst Superhero Movie of 2016: It’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. A terrible film that betrays its characters with an overlong, overly dark script. Wonder Woman and Ben Affleck’s performance are the film’s two saving graces, but hardly enough to upend Zach Snyder’s disastrous efforts. Loser: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Photo Credit:http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Batman-V-Superman-Dawn-Justice-Has-Insane-Box-Office-Numbers-So-Far-120797.html

 

Best Superhero Movie of 2016: If you’ve been paying attention, this is a race between Deadpool and Civil War. While one jumps head first into R-rated territory braver than any studio allowed before, the other feels like the culmination of the 12 films that came before it. Deadpool is more innovative, which actually just makes its more familiar bits (particularly its standard superhero origin), stand out a little more. Civil War doesn’t change a whole lot about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it does feature a justifiably dramatic political hook, all without sacrificing Marvel’s signature sense of humor. It’s a well-written political thriller with big superhero action. It also doesn’t waste a single character in it sprawling cast. For that, it’s the best of the year. Winner: Captain America: Civil War

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What were your favorite superhero movie moments of the year? Do you agree with your picks? Let us know in the comments below!

 

By Matt Dougherty

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