Wrapping Up 2016: Ranking the Comic Book Movies With a Special Guest Writer
The following article is the transcript of a previously recorded exchange between main writer Nate and special guest writer Rob, as they rank the comic book movies of 2016. Warning: There will be spoilers for these films. If you want to hear our spoiler-free thoughts, read our reviews here: Deadpool, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, Suicide Squad, Doctor Strange.
Nate: Hi, and welcome to The Movie Paradise and our first installment in our Wrapping Up 2016 editorial series. My name is Nate. I'm the main writer here, and I'm with a special guest writer, Rob. Today we'll be talking about the comic book movies of 2016, and we'll be ranking them from worst to best. So how this is going to go is, there are six big comic book movies of the year, and so what we'll do is we're going to each talk about our six through two, and then we'll talk about our number ones of the year. I think a couple of ours are going to be the same, but hey, that's just how the wheel turns.
Rob: Not really, only just the top two I think.
Nate: So I'll start it off...
Nate: My number six is Suicide Squad, by far. There are only six movies, but it's more like it's my number ten. I hated Suicide Squad! It was a mess of a film. It wasn't fun. The only good parts about it were that Will Smith was well cast, Margot Robbie was well cast, um...
Rob: Jared Leto?
Nate: Not really. It was fine. He was fine. I didn't like this movie at all. It just felt like a huge music video. It didn't even make sense. The editing was awful. It really ruined the movie for me, and I was so excited for it. It's one of my worst of the year, and it's by far my least favorite comic book movies of 2016.
Nate: My number five is Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. This was a film I was really let down by. Not as much as Suicide Squad, but I was really let down. The stuff with Batman (Ben Affleck) was awesome, but like... Jesse Eisenberg is just... I don't think he knew what movie he was in! He was just awful. All the stuff with Doomsday was so rushed, with Superman (Henry Cavill) dying... it was a complete rush. We barely got any Superman. The editing was atrocious. Granted, the Ultimate Cut fixes a lot of things, but still... a lot of the main problems you have with it, like the Martha scene, the problems are still there [with the Ultimate Cut], they don't get resolved. They're just a little bit cleaner. So Batman v. Superman will be my number five.
Nate: For number four, I have X-Men: Apocalypse. I think there are a lot of good things about this movie. The young of the versions of the main characters, of Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), that was really well cast. Again, you have a really great storyline with Michael Fassbender's Magneto. And, of course, some really cool visuals and some great homages and references to the comic books. You have a kickass Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) scene. But then, it's also bogged down with a lot of "okay" stuff. You have a muddled third act. You have a villain that was nearly as cool as he could've and should've been.
Nate: There are a lot of really good things, and a lot of really poor things. So X-Men's kind of a mixed bag for me.
Nate: My number three is Doctor Strange. I didn't love it as much as I wanted to, but I still really enjoyed it. Its visuals are incredible! This is action you haven't seen before. You've never seen this in a movie before really. I mean, the closest thing is...
Rob: The Matrix.
Nate: Yeah, Inception and Matrix are the closest things to it, but even then, you can see [Doctor Strange] got inspiration from them, but this is it's own thing entirely, It's a visual masterpiece, visually speaking. There are problems with timing and pacing. There are problems with some of the characters. You do have story problems, and you have a weak villain again. But, at the same time, it's a Marvel movie. I walked in and I didn't love it as much as I wanted to, but I still had a really fun time with Doctor Strange.
Nate: My number two is Deadpool. I think, after the first couple trailers, we were hopeful that Deadpool was going to be good, but I don't think we were prepared for how good it actually was. Deadpool was incredible. It has a simple story, but it makes the most of it, and everything else just elevates that simple story. You have incredible action. Incredible dialogue and jokes and humor. You have great chemistry between Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin. Probably one of the best love stories, romances, in a comic book movie. It's just so well written and it's so well executed for its tiny budget. They make great use of Colossus (Stefan Kapicic), who is one of my favorite X-Men characters. He was very glossed over in the previous X-Men movies. You have some great villains, some great scenes, some great one liners. It's just a very well done movie. So I'll throw it over now to Rob for his six through two.
Rob: Alright. With my number six, I wouldn't say that this the worst made film out of all the [comic book] films, but it was the biggest disappointment for me. Honestly, if I couldn't watch one of these again, I'd pick this one. It's X-Men: Apocalypse. I walked in so excited to see it because, you know how much I loved X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Nate: Yeah, I think that was your second favorite movie of 2014.
Rob: Yeah, before Whiplash topped it. But, I thought Olivia Munn didn't do anything...
Nate: I like her in some other things, but she did not do a good job in this movie.
Rob: I did not like the villain, Oscar Isaac. I thought he was underused. He was just this big "Oh, I'm going to kill everyone", you know what I mean? Rose Byrne was bad, I couldn't stand her. There was so many performances that I just couldn't stand. Angel (Ben Hardy) sucked.
Nate: I never thought I'd say it, but Angel (Ben Foster) in X-Men: The Last Stand, was better than this.
Rob: Yeah, I thought so too. What was he, listening to Metallica?
Nate: Well, that cool because it was "The Four Horsemen", that was the name of the song.
Rob: Oh, who cares. Yeah, anyways, I just thought it was so disappointing. But the one redeeming thing that I could maybe watch again was the beginning performance of Magneto when he was with his daughter or whatever. That was some great acting. He's just a great actor.
Rob: My number five is Suicide Squad. I was really digging this movie up to a point, and then it all of a sudden started to get... it seems like, they started off really good, but then they were like "We need this done now", so they had to rush it.
Nate: I will say that the beginning is better than the rest of the movie, but I didn't think it was good.
Rob: Yeah, I think they started doing it, and then they got rushed to finish it. It's kind of like when I would do a project in high school. I would start off nice, but then I would procrastinate and I would then only have one night to do it, so I just would rush through it and the ending would be crap. That's basically what the movie was. But, there are enough redeeming qualities to make it better than X-Men, I think. I really liked Will Smith and Margot Robbie, I thought they were great. And Jai Courtney-- first performance of his that I actually liked.
Nate: Yeah, I would agree with that.
Rob: Yeah, he was cool. And I liked all the music. I know people are like "Oh, it's a music video", but I thought it was fun.
Nate: I thought it was poorly done. You could've had music in there and it could've been done better, but it was just too much, too soon. And the music didn't even fit [with the story], it was just popular songs. The music didn't correlate to the story at all. It didn't fit in. It was just there.
Rob: They must've spent a lot of money to get all those songs. [Laughs] But it made a lot of money, though. But hey, Gotham City Sirens!
Rob: [Laughs] It sounds awful.
Rob: My number four now is Doctor Strange. After seeing Captain America: Civil War, which we'll be talking about later, I was so excited for this because I was back on the Marvel train after a couple of Marvel films before Civil War that I thought "Eh, whatever". I was so excited for Doctor Strange, and I walked in... the visuals, like Nate said, are fantastic. The script I didn't find that intriguing. Benedict Cumberbatch was good in the role, but he wasn't like... you know how Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man? I don't think Benedict Cumberbatch is Doctor Strange in the same way.
Nate: I disagree with that. Benedict Cumberbatch was my one and only pick for Doctor Strange, and I thought he nailed it.
Rob: He wasn't bad, but I thought he was just kind of forgettable.
Rob: And my number three is Batman v. Superman. I don't think this is a perfect, but it entertains me. Batman is my favorite superhero. I honestly don't give a sh*t about Superman. So the fact that he wasn't in it very much didn't bother me at all. Watching all the Batman action sequences was awesome. The Doomsday fight was pretty cool. I know they rushed him in it, but it was a cool fight. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) was good in the movie. Jeremy Irons as Alfred was excellent. And I didn't hate Jesse Eisenberg. I didn't like him, but I didn't despise him.
Nate: I hope he gets a Razzie nomination.
Rob: And remember that Senate scene, where it blows up? That was my favorite scene of the movie, besides the Batman ones. I thought it was a lot of fun. And the Ultimate Cut was, I thought, an even better version of the movie. I liked the scenes where the police officers were looking for the bat in the beginning... that was cool. The Batman elements of that movie just made it a really good movie for me. But that's just my opinion.
Rob: My number two is Deadpool. Honestly, I didn't think the action in Deadpool was that great, I just think this movie is absolutely hysterical.
Nate: Well what about the part where he slices someone's head off, he then kicks the head, and the head knocks two people in the face. Or the bridge scene.
Rob: Yeah, yeah, I mean, I think out of all the movies, the action in this one is the least impressive.
Nate: It's ahead of Suicide Squad, I think.
Rob: Really? Well, maybe. Maybe, I don't know. The writing is what makes this movie. It is so funny, and yes, you're right, this is really the only comic book movie romance that actually works and makes sense.
Nate: I don't know if it's going to happen, but I really want the writers to be nominated [at the Academy Awards] for Best Adapted Screenplay. It's a possibility. I think they deserve it.
Rob: Yeah, I do too.
Nate: This is one of the best screenplays of the year, I think, honestly.
Rob: Yeah, it's so smart and clever. The jokes... it just keeps you entertained all the way through. Honestly though, and this is just my opinion, but I don't think Tim Miller had a lot to do with this movie. I think this is mostly just Ryan Reynolds, and I think the director from John Wick (Chad Stahelski) will do a great job. I just think, as long as Ryan Reynolds is behind this, the second one will be as good as the first one.
Nate: Alright, buddy.
Nate and Rob's #1
Rob: Do you just want to talk about our number one's together?
Nate: Yeah, sure. So our number one, I think we both have it, it's Max Steel.
Rob: No, it's Civil War, you know. When the Union fought the Confederates.
Nate: Oh yeah, man.
Rob: Wasn't that cool?
Nate: CAPTAIN AMERICA: Civil War! You've got Captain America (Chris Evans) going up against Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). You've got Spider-Man (Tom Holland). You've got Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). You've got Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) becoming Giant Man.
Rob: Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt)!
Nate: You've got all this cool sh*t going on. Martin Freeman...
Rob: Oh yeah!
Nate: ...so much cool stuff going down in this movie. The airport scene makes the film. You also have a lot of other great scenes. You've got the fight with Crossbones (Frank Grillo) in the beginning. You've got the fight with Iron Man, Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and Captain America all fighting each other, and Black Panther just showing up in the middle of it! You've got Bucky versus Black Panther.
Rob: Yeah, that was a good one.
Nate: You've got so many great action scenes, but you also have so many great character moments. We've been on this journey with all these characters for years now, and to see this culmination and to see this collision happening of all these character dynamics. We've seen in The Avengers Iron Man and Captain America, Tony and Steve, they have disagreements. But we get to see that disagreement go head to head in this film. So yeah, I think that Civil War is just a great movie. It's one of my favorites of the year, definitely in the top, top of my list. I love this movie. And I can't wait to see it again.
Rob: Yeah, I bought it on Blu-Ray, and I also can't wait to see it. I think it's going to be a lot of fun to see it again. I saw it three times in theaters.
Nate: Oh, I saw it twice.
Rob: Hm, beat ya.
Nate: Anything else you want to say about the movie?
Rob: I don't know if anyone agrees with me, but I thought Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) was one of the better villains in the Marvel movies.
Nate: I thought he was good, but I don't think you needed him. I do have some story problems and there are some conveniences.
Rob: Rhodey (Don Cheadle) should've died.
Nate: I don't think Zemo was necessary. I think you could've still had a strong movie if it was just the conflict between Iron Man and Cap, but I thought he was suitable. I liked how he wasn't a superpowered villain, he was just some guy who was smart. It definitely has its problems, but since I'm such a big comic book fan, I loved this movie, and I loved watching it.
Rob: It should be nominated for Best Picture [at the Academy Awards], in my opinion. But that's just me.
Nate: Yeah, it's not going to happen. But, oh well.
Nate: Alright, well that wraps up our ranking of the comic book movies of 2016. I'm Nate, this is Rob. Thanks for being here.
Rob: No problem.
Nate: And we'll be back with more of our Wrapping Up 2016 editorials soon.
What do you think? Do you agree with our rankings of the comic book movies of 2016? How would you rank them? Was this a strong year for comic book movies? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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