Gone are the days when we had one or simply no superhero movie release in a year. All the classics we’ve grown up watching — Spiderman, Batman and X-Men surfaced in wide gaps over the years. Things have changed now. Like Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan’s outings, comic book movies are now as humongous and respectable. Their stature has grown to a significant extent. In 2016, we had 6 superhero films. And considering the scheduled lined up from the big studios Marvel, DC and Fox, it won’t be long before the number of comic book movies hit double figures annually. Speaking of 2016, we had three tentpole films — Batman V Superman, Captain America Civil War and X-Men Apocalypse. And three fresh entrants — Deadpool, Suicide Squad and Doctor Strange. Besides, we had extended editions of both the DCEU flicks. As fans debate and discuss their favorites, here’s my ranking of the 2016 superhero movies (worst to best).
7. Batman V Superman – Theatrical Cut
Batman V Superman – Dawn of Justice was the most polarizing film of the decade. While the critics panned it, the fans defended it. I thought the film was decent enough to kickstart the DC extended universe. We had a great Batman in the form of Ben Affleck and a fantastic cameo by Gal Gadot as the Amazon Warrior. But the horrendous editing marred the film extensively. Not only did it fail to express the thoughtful themes and psyche of the new-age Lex Luthor but also shoved logic behind the touted gladiator fight of the century. Sure Zack Snyder had a masterpiece under making (watch out for the Ultimate Edition) but the studio heads gloriously messed it up. Undoubtedly it’s at the bottom of our list.
6. Suicide Squad (both editions)
David Ayer’s Suicide Squad was supposed to get the DCEU going. Batman V Superman’s underwhelming box-office performance already put enough pressure on it to excel. But things got worse again for the studios when bad reviews trailed in abundance. More than even before. But the audience responded fairly positively. Suicide Squad surely had tons of problems that ranged from choppy editing to undercooked characters and a ridiculously constructed plot. But Margot Robbie, Will Smith and Viola Davis’s strong performances was its silver lining. Also, the peppy soundtrack was a saving grace. A month earlier we had the extended version of the film on the lines of Batman V Superman but it was nowhere an improvement over the theatrical cut. So we rank both the editions at the sixth spot. They entertained but not well enough.
5. X-Men Apocalypse
It was always going to be a monumental task for Bryan Singer to top his previous and arguably the best X-Men outing aka Days of Future Past. With X-Men Apocalypse, he marginally succeeded in delivering a satisfying third chapter to the prequel trilogy. Aimed at expanding the X-Men universe by introducing the phoenix saga, the film worked for most part with Sophie Turner’s sublime portrayal as Jean Grey and Oscar Isaac’s chilling performance as the world’s first mutant.
However, the tried and tested subplots depicting the relationship of the older X-Men i.e. Magneto-Xavier and Hank-Raven imbued sheer boredom. If it wasn’t for Fassbender’s acting prowess, it would have been hard to endure the stupidly penned arc for the character. Nevertheless, it was entertaining enough with Evan Peter’s Quicksilver again stealing the show and giving us a good memory to take home.
4. Doctor Strange
Marvel’s Doctor Strange was a stunning piece of entertainment. Not only had it to carry the legacy of Civil War but also establish a solid benchmark for its new hero. And the film soared so spectacularly that we had our jaws drop to the floor. Thanks to the bonkers visual effects and the IMAX format. Every single niggle in the film got buried deep under its gloss. The film had the best VFX ever put on screen which was further amplified by the uniformly excellent performance of the cast and the gripping screenplay. Not for a moment could we predict what was going to happen next as the film moved at breakneck pace, packed with spellbinding action. My only quibble was its lack of character development and similarity with Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man. Overall, though, it was beyond awesome.
3. Batman V Superman – Ultimate Edition
Now this is special. Putting aside the tragedy that was the theatrical cut, Ultimate Edition was the true vision of Zack Snyder. The extra thirty minutes of footage that was chopped earlier did wonders to the film as a whole. Every dot that didn’t connect initially synced well as the experience of watching this version was vastly different. It was precisely worth the hype that the three-minute long comic-con trailer created.
We now had a tremendous Lex Luthor and Clark Kent/Superman, given that both of their half-baked stories were shown unabbreviated. The fight between Bat and Supes made more sense since we could now apprehend the reasons behind them going hand-to-hand. If anyone judged the director and the film based on the muddled first cut, it’s of utmost importance that the Ultimate Edition be seen at the earliest.
There is not much need to explain why Merc-with-a-mouth holds the number two spot. Tim Miller’s Deadpool was genre defining and the most entertaining film we had in a really long time. It not just set loose the quintessential elements of comic book movies but also introduced fresh ideas of delivering comic art and costumed heroes with less solemnity and more jackassery. The potty mouth humor and gory action was refreshing to see. The man in the red suit literally broke the fourth wall, winning our hearts, leaving us buoyed up.
1. Captain America Civil War
This wasn’t just among the best 2016 superhero movies but also the finest since Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Russo Brothers undisputedly surpassed our gargantuan expectations following their terrific The Winter Soldier as they carried the load with finesse. Considering how far the MCU has come and the dozens of characters or Avengers it encompasses, it was a whole lot of crazy stuff to juggle. But the director duo didn’t fail to impress.
They successfully carried over the story of Steve Rogers along with formidably introducing Black Panther and Spiderman. Furthermore, the plot had to be kept under wraps for the reason a hundred rumors were surrounding the ending of the film as to whether Captain America will die or not? Now with them helming the culminating chapters aka The Infinity Wars, the wait is hard to resist.