Best Superhero Films of 2016
To say 2016 was one of the biggest years for superhero films is an understatement. With six films released from the major studios, 2016 also had the largest amount of superhero films released in a single year. Could they all possibly deliver? Unfortunately, I wish I could say that was the case but it is not. The quality was varying with some truly great, to average to just bad. The following list are my personal rankings from least to best. Now many of you will probably agree, but there will also be many of you who disagree. While I will not go in depth for each film, if you have not seen these yet, minor spoilers ahead.
(Image: Warner Bros.)
6. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Not just one of the most anticipated superhero films of the year, Batman v Superman was one of the most anticipated films of 2016 period. With good reason, as this was the first on-screen pairing of two of the oldest and most iconic superheroes of all time. Unfortunately, it did not live up to the hype. While I did not love Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, I did overall like it and it felt like a complete film. Batman v Superman on the other hand, suffered from major pacing and editing issues. In my opinion Superman’s character suffered because of it as I thought he was completely underserved in the theatrical cut. Couple this with a strange interpretation of Lex Luthor from Jesse Eisenberg, a pointless subplot involving Lois Lane, and trying to stuff in the formation of the Justice League, this film suffered from major identity issues. The extended edition was released over the summer and while I think it fixed some issues including Superman’s character, it is still a huge mess. This doesn’t mean there was nothing I did not like about Batman v Superman. Despite some controversy on the way his character was handled, I enjoyed Ben Affleck’s Batman. It was a different interpretation than what has come before and I really want to see what he can do with the character. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was the highlight for me as she stole the movie from what little screen time she had. I am very excited to see her tackle her solo film next. Overall, this film never reached it’s potential for me. Batman and Superman deserved better
(Image: 20th Century Fox, Marvel Entertainment)
5. X-Men: Apocalypse
X-Men: Apocalypse is the third in a new trilogy of X-Men films that started with 2011’s excellent First Class. Could the follow up to Days of Future Past, which I consider to be among the best in the series, deliver. For me, not even close. Apocalypse is the very definition of a mediocre film. It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t really good either. Many of the films issues revolve around the villain himself, Apocalypse. Portrayed by Oscar Isaac, who I think is a very talented actor, Apocalypse just never came off as threatening or scary. Magneto was more of a threat than him. Isaac could only do the best with what he was given, but his performance was weighed down by poor make up. Jennifer Lawrence, who I love as an actress, is giving what I think is her worst performance as Mystique here. In this film I just got the feeling that she is over these movies and just does not care anymore. Magneto was expertly portrayed by Michael Fassbender but I’m personally getting tired of him and Mystique getting so much attention. However, the stand outs in this movie were younger students. Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Nightcrawler portrayed by Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, and Kodi Smith McPhee respectfully stole the scenes they were in. The chemistry between these characters really shined and it made me want to see a film centered on them. I thin Apocalypse suffered from trying to do too much. Perhaps two films would have been able to tell a better story.
(Image: Warner Bros.)
4. Suicide Squad
The Suicide Squad is a beautiful mess of a film. It suffered from pacing and editing issues and a completely insane third act. However, this did not stop me from enjoying the film. I had lot of fun watching Suicide Squad. A big part of what made this film work is the performances from Margot Robbie, Will Smith and Viola Davis. Will Smith’s Deadshot is considered the main character of the film and while he is basically Will Smith with a gun, he was very entertaining to watch and is the source of much of film’s comedic moment. Margot Robbie also did an excellent job as Harley Quinn. It was joy to finally see this popular character on screen for the first time. She did a great job portraying the damaged but lovable psychopath. I just wish these characters were in a better film. This film reeks of studio interference. There have been multiple reports of reshoots to give the film a light tone with more comedy. I think it shows as the editing was all over the place. The third act is a jumbled mess and devolves into slapstick territory. Jared Leto’s Joker also did not have much of an impact on the film. In fact, I think he could be removed entirely and the film would not change. Director David Ayer, who is responsible for such great films as The End of Watch and Fury, maintains that this is his cut of the film. I can’t help but feel that this is him trying to stay in good graces with the studio as this does not feel like his work. I would have loved to see what his original film looked like.
(Image: Marvel Studios)
3. Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange is the 14th film released in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’m not the biggest fan of Doctor Strange but I like the character so I did not have huge expectations going into this film. Those expectations were met. It’s clear from the moment Benedict Cumberbatch appears on screen that he was the right choice to play Stephen Strange. He embodied the character’s arrogance and stubbornness perfectly. A performance by Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo, and you one of the most impressive casts in a Marvel Studios film. Much has been said about the special effects and with good reason. The special effects are mind-bending and some of the best I’ve seen in a long time. Anyone who called this a Matrix rip-off from the trailers will be proven wrong within minutes of seeing the film. This does not mean that Doctor Strange is without issues. The main villain could have used more explanation and a more compelling background. Also, the humor was overdone in some places, ruining some serious moments. Overall though, while it may not rank among my favorite Marvel Studio films, Doctor Strange is a very entertaining film and I cannot wait to see more from this character.
(Image: 20th Century Fox, Marvel Entertainment)
I really had to think about the top two spots for best superhero movies. They’re both very different but excellent films in their own right. After thinking long and hard, Deadpool comes in at number two. I absolutely loved Deadpool. After the character was butchered in the much maligned X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Deadpool deserved a second chance. Ryan Reynolds thought so as well, as he fought over six years to get this character on screen in his own film. The results paid off as Deadpool is one of the best X-Men films to date. Not since Robert Downey Jr. have I seen an actor embody a superhero as well as Ryan Reynolds. Not just from perfected costume but right down to the personality, Ryan Reynolds IS Deadpool. Combining the perfect amount of action and comedy, Deadpool is one of the most entertaining films to come out in recent memory. The film also proved that you do not need a multi-million dollar budget with huge explosions and CGI to make a great comic book film. All you need is a great script and great writing and an actor who has a love for the character. I cannot wait to see more of Deadpool in the future.
(Image: Marvel Studios)
1. Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War is now one of my favorite films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For me, it gets better with each viewing. A major part of why this film works so well is that it is based on the years of build up dating back to the Avengers and maybe even the first Iron Man. At this point, it’s a fact that Chris Evans IS Captain America and Robert Downey Jr. IS Iron Man. I believe both actors gave their best performance as theses characters in this film. That’s not to say that the supporting case was left behind. Civil War featured a numerous amount of superheroes and in a lesser film, they would have been left behind. The Winter Soldier, Black Widow, Vision, Scarlet Witch, War Machine and even Ant Man all get their heroic moment. With all of this the film manages to serve as an origin story for the Black Panther, expertly portrayed by Chadwick Boseman. Of course I cannot talk about this film without mentioning Spider-Man. Finally making his MCU debut, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man was a scene stealer, and while I think it’s still too early to say he’s the best onscreen Spider-Man, he’s on his way. This film could have collapsed under it’s own weight, instead it was the perfect balance of action and character. Captain America: Civil War is my favorite superhero film of the year and one of my favorite films of 2016.
There you have it, my favorite superhero films of year ranked from worst to best. Agree or disagree in the comments below or follow us on our Facebook and Twitter page.
The genre shows no sign of slowing down, with 2017 bringing us Logan, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League. Will next year beat this year? We will have to wait and see.
Written by Eddie Sampson