Ranking the Comic Book Movies of 2016

2016 has come and gone and somehow by the grace of God we're still alive, even if we're only living in the most literal sense of the word. There were eight comic book movies plopped into theaters last year, squeezing every red cent out of my already empty pockets. Time and time again I left the theater and opened my wallet like a Looney Toon and let the moths fly out. I'm a fat guy on the Internet, so why wouldn't I rate them? That's what I'm here for: to pick apart things that other people love to give myself a sense of purpose. I'm only doing the theatrical releases, so I'm not including the DC animated movies. Why? Because I don't want to.

Funny story, I wrote the intro last and it was only then that I remembered The Killing Joke was in theaters for one night via Fathom Events. Am I going to go back and add it? Nope. There's a review already and spoilers: it fucking sucks. 

So sit back and enjoy this page sponsored by Marvel Studios, the company that pays me to talk about their amazing and ground breaking content. 

8. Max Steel

I can't find any proof that this movie actually exists

Well, this is something. Apparently Max Steel is a real movie that actually exists and was hypothetically shown in at least one theater somewhere on this Godless hellscape. I've never heard of it, and my exhaustive research led me to the discovery that it has a whopping 0% on Rotten Tomatoes and didn't even crack 4 million dollars at the box office domestically. Even though we all know Rotten Tomatoes is a liberal tool used to discredit DC movies, I still will most likely never see Max because life is simply too short. 

So why include it in the first place if nobody besides the director and his nephews saw it? Well the fact of the matter is this, I de-

7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

I hated so much about the follow up to water trash that was the 2014 reboot. It was an ill conceived movie made for nobody: a children's film on the surface but littered with nightmare turtle creatures from the depths of my shattered psyche that could not stop talking about how much Megan Fox gave them turtle boners. To Out of the Shadows' credit, the people behind the scenes appeared to actually listen to the toxic response of the first movie and tried to do right by fans. I mean sure, it was solely so they could turn this into a franchise and print money every 2 years, but that's what this list is about. They wanted some of that Transformers money and tried to give the people what they want. 

I hated it. I hated every goddamn thing about it. I hated every single one of the turtles. ESPECIALLY Mikey. I hated Casey Jones' whiny "I wanna be a big boy detective" horseshit. I hated Megan Fox, who gave one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen. I hated Tyler Perry, who somehow gave a worse performance than Megan Fox. I hated Shredder. I hated Bebop. I hated Rocksteady. I hated Krang. I was miserable in that theater for every minute of the seemingly 8 and a half hour movie.

And yet, with all of that being said, this fucking movie - this trash ass heap of garbage - had the best 3D I've seen in a theater since Fury Road. I don't know how to explain it, but all I know is there is no dimension in which I will ever sit through this again. 

6. Suicide Squad

Own that shit

I'm going to mercifully keep this entry brief because my compatriot Chris wrote his magnum opus that tore apart this mish-mash of bad plot and worse characters more eloquently than my big dumb gorilla fists could ever pound out on a typewriter. 
He checked out the extended cut because he felt it necessary to close the loop on that part of his life and his review was succinct: it was somehow worse than the original cut but it shared one good aspect in that eventually the credits rolled. 

It's not just the fact that it's a jumbled mess of a film that was shredded apart and then retaped together by a trailer company. It's not that Warner Bros. thought splashing it with bright colors and putting a Queen song over the trailer would magically make it watchable. It's not just that Jared Leto's Joker was the worst thing I've seen in a movie since Jerry Lewis dressed up like a clown during the Holocuast. It's not the shitty, on the nose music choices that feel like the director thinks I'm too stupid to understand what's going on. It's not Killer Croc's entire character, nor is it Enchantress' stupid dance. It's not that one character has a katana that steals souls that doesn't steal a single soul in the entire 2 and a half hours. It's not even the fact that the entire 3rd act is representative of every single bad trope in comic book movies. It's the fact that his name is Captain Boomerang and he only throws 3 fucking boomerangs. F- you fucks, see me after class. 

5. X-Men: Apocalypse

I am the rocks of the eternal shore. Crash against me and be broken, Power Lamers

Apocalypse isn't the worst, but it's easily the most forgettable movie of 2016. It's the kind of film that leaves so little of an impact that you don't think about it until it's staring at you right in the face and a couple of hazy memories creep through the cracked mirror of my brain. I completely forgot I saw it in theaters, then I bought it on blu ray (because of-fucking-course I did) and forgot I owned it until I saw it buried under a stack of movies on my table, and then forgot about until I saw it again a month later after it had been put on a shelf. Alphabetically labeled of course, just like the rest of my family. It will live with its brothers and sisters for al time, including when the cats eat whats left of my corpse and its buried with me in the cold dead ground. 

In all honesty, it might be a better movie than Batman v Superman. If you put a gun to my head and tell me to pick one, 9 times out of 10 I'm picking this one. Yet it's ranked lower because as bad as BvS is - and boy howdy you won't have to wait much longer to hear how bad it is - at least it's trying to do something. Sure it fails spectacularly in every conceivable way but at least it's an interesting failure with some cool cinematography. Apocalypse is the exact same movie Bryan Singer has made 3 times before. There's not a single exciting new idea, it's full of retreads that you've seen time and time again. Magneto is evil again for some reason. Quicksilver has a slow motion scene. The Dark Phoenix is ill conceived and rushed. 

The only "new" thing is Apocalypse himself, and he looks like an asshole. I feel so bad for Oscar Isaac, because he's supposed to be the first mutant, an Egyptian God with unlimited power, and he's dressed like Ivan Ooze and shorter than Olivia Munn. Hard to look imposing when you’re dwarfed by the girl nerds blamed for ruining their precious video game channel. 

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender deserve so much better than this garbage. As bad as the movie is, at least they tried. Fassbender is transcendentally good and makes even the corniest emotional scenes work. Can't say the same for Jennifer Lawrence, who could not visibly want to be there less. I guess that's something we have in common. 

Whatever, they're just gonna reboot it again anyways. It doesn't matter how much they fuck it up, they just hit the reset button every 3 movies so why bother getting worked up about it. That's like getting really mad about FOX fucking up the Fantastic Four.

4. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice


Well, at least this extended cut was an improvement, so it has that going for it. The issue with that is it shouldn't take 3 God forsaken hours for Batman and Superman to punch each other in the face but that's the world we live in now. The fight itself is woefully underwhelming because it takes the movie 2 hours to build to it and it lasts for 3 minutes and makes both of them look like blithering idiots. Batman wants to kill - like straight up fucking murder - Superman for...reasons and Superman gets hit not once but twice by magic Krypton pocket sand. Then to top it all off, the fight ends and they become best friends because their moms have the same name. A+

And yet that's some of the best stuff of the movie. Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor is essentially him doing a Max Landis impression, as if I needed another reason to hate that goofy haired dickhole. There is a pivotal scenes that centers around a steaming hot jar of piss. The entire Justice League is introduced via Dropbox. Dream sequences that make zero narrative sense. The Flash coming through time to warn Bruce question mark? Your guess is as good as mine as to what the fuck that was. Doomsday looks like absolute shit and is dropped in at the very end of the movie in a pointless, emotionless, plodding CGI filled boring finale that is as unearned as it is uninteresting. What makes this movie sting more than anything is that Batman was always my favorite hero and Batman: TAS is a top 5 cartoon of all time for me. We can do better than this. 

There were things I liked. Gal Gadot was pretty great as Wonder Woman for all 10 minutes she was on screen and I loved all of the Batman stuff - except for the whole murdering people in cold blood part. Ultimately none of the enjoyable parts were enough to combat the overarching problem. I'm not going to pretend BvS isn't a pretty - at times downright gorgeous - film with some stunning visuals. Unfortunately that's what most of it boils down to: a series of moments where Zack Snyder said "wouldn't it look fuckin sweet if..." Thrown together whether they fit or not. He took a bunch of breathtaking puzzle pieces and hammered them into the table to make them fit. 

3. Doctor Strange

Maybe Doctor Strange can go back in time and fix my life

Doctor Strange is standard Marvel fare: serviceable at worst. In 2016, that’s enough to put it near the top, because that’s the world we live in and I can’t have good things. The thing about Marvel is even their “standard fare” is pretty damn good, because they’ve gotten pretty good at this whole Making Movies thing. The cast is great down to even the tiniest bit part and it’s cleverly written. There is no Bucky, no Thanos, no SHIELD, no Stark tech, and only one dropped line about Infinity Stones. But the thing that puts it this high on the list (besides it not being a chore to sit through and openly testing my patience and love of comics in general) is the cape. I love me a nice crisp, self-aware floating cape. Oh yeah and the visuals. Oh my God the visuals. 

This movie is so fucking pretty that it pushes it this high up the list. I've never seen action in a movie like this before. Everything else is par for the course but the action is filmed in such an inventive and exciting way that I dare say it's near if not part of the top 5 of the entire MCU. The issue with that is it's hard to explain. A man much smarter than me named Joe Hill, author and son of the architect of my nightmares Stephen King, described it as the "most inventive action film since Fury Road" and I couldn't agree more. I spent a lot of my time in the theaters in 2016 bored or disengaged, but every time they started warping reality, turning the entire city 90 degrees and chasing each other on the sides of skyscrapers I was grinning like a big fat idiot. Isn't that what comic books are all about?    

Now I know what you're asking yourself: "Why did you waste your time and money seeing all of these silly movies?" Because my life is hollow and devoid of meaning. I know what else you're asking. "Is this movie being really pretty to look at enough to put it at number 3?" It is when its closest competition is Dawn of Martha. Oh 2016, you trash heap. 

2. Deadpool

Here's a crazy idea: give fans of something the thing they've been asking you to make for a decade and everyone ends up happy. 

Comedy is one of the genres I actively stay away from on here because of how subjective it is. We can get in a real fat heated argument about Rogue One all ding dong day, but when it comes to comedies either you laugh or you don't. I laughed a lot. I laughed so much that I didn't even realize that Deadpool is barely a movie. And now that I realize it, I don't really care. I don't even like the comics outside of the Joe Kelly run. I find most of it super tryhard and unbearably 'random' and pandering to the lowest common denominator. And I fuckin hate chimichangas. Yet with that being said this is one of the funniest movies of last year alongside Popstar and The Nice Guys. When's the last time you saw a comic book movie where the theater was laughing so hard that you missed a joke. No, I mean laughing on purpose. Very big distinction. 

I might not have a ton of reverence for Deadpool, but I'm so happy for the fans. They've been shit on for years and years, being teased with finally getting him on the big screen years ago only to get whatever the fuck you would call X:Men Origins, and all they wanted was their R rated comedy. They begged and begged and begged and had nothing to show for it. FOX finally gives in, takes a risk, and in giving the fans the exact movie they had asked for they're rewarded with the highest grossing R rated movie in history. 

I want to believe they will learn the right lessons from this, but I fully expect their next 3 X-Men movies to be hard R's that each make less at the box office than the one before it until they decide to never make a Deadpool higher than PG-13 ever again. Because good things don't happen to us for long, so hold onto it with the jaws of life while you can. 

1. Captain America: Civil War

Poster by Amien Juugo

Civil War was everything I wanted a super hero movie to be as a kid. I never thought in my lifetime I'd go to a theater and see anything like the airport battle. To be honest, I could have just posted "The airport scene" with a couple of gifs from it and nobody would be able to argue against me. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd see anything like it, and it's everything I've been itching for not only since the MCU began, but since I was old enough to know who or what a Captain America was. 

If Suicide Squad had a scene as good as that it would be third place at worst. But it didn't, it had Jared Leto's Joker. I could watch it every day and never get sick of it. But it takes more than one amazing scene to make it my favorite movie. Not much more, but more nonetheless. 

The Russo Brothers - the directors of both this fine film and the Winter Soldier - can do absolutely no wrong in my eyes. Not only did they masterfully craft a sprawling battle that woke a childlike glee in me that I didn't think my tired, jaded and bitter soul was capable of, but they created my favorite interpretations of multiple characters while at the same time introducing (and re-introducing) more heroes into this universe. CIvil War has the best Tony Stark since the first Iron Man back in 2008. A better Ant-Man than we had in Ant-Man. The best Spider-Man since Sam Raimi was still directing him. Black Panther - a hero most casual fans will have never heard of - is a standout and his solo film is one of my most anticipated. I went into Civil War excited for one movie and left salivating in anticipation for at least 3 more. You have me by the balls and you know it, Marvel. Have your way with me. 

It has an Avengers-sized cast and juggles the characters better than either of those 2 movies. The spectacle is amazing, yet the climactic final battle is personal and intimate. It doesn’t build to a CGI laser fest, but to a showdown between two long time friends. It officially puts Captain America up there as one of the best movie trilogies of all time. 

Alas, it's not perfect. As great as it was, and as much as it teleported me to a blissfully happy state that so few other movies are capable of doing, there was not a single goddamn boomerang to be found. 


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