Ranking the Hype: 2016 Superhero Movies
The Age of the Hero
Deadpool Vs Batman Vs Superman Vs X-Men Vs Suicide Squad Vs Turtles Vs Doctor Strange
Despite with some people might try to claim, the superhero age of cinema has been a resounding success so far (mostly thanks to Marvel).
From the comic book spectacle that was Avengers Assemble, to Christopher Nolan's bathed in darkness Batman trilogy and even lesser known franchises like Guardians of the Galaxy, comic book fans have became rather spoiled with choice when it comes to movie adaptations.
2016 could break the genre. Although the industry has been churning out 'men in tights' blockbusters at a remarkable rate, so far they have managed to pace it well enough to avoid burning out the audience. This year sees 8 huge comic book movies hitting the silver screen (not to mention Warcraft, Assassin's Creed and Rogue One, which will attempt to target the same audience).
If you are like me, then you can not wait to see each and every one of these upcoming films (hopefully we'll feel the same came June), but not all hype is born equal.
7) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Director: Dave Green (Earth to Echo)
Writers: Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol)
Why it ranked last: Pop culture needs the Turtles. Every year that provides an opportunity to see Leo, Raph, Donny and Mickey on the big screen, is a year worth living. Saying that, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) was at best mildly entertaining.
Out of the Shadows's trailer indicates that they might have fixed most of the problems the original had: too much Megan Fox and Shredder. The announcement that Krang will play apart, as well as Rocksteady and Bebop, is exciting to say the least. Unfortunately, considering how poorly they handled Shredder in the reboot, fans should probably keep their expectations in check.
Thankfully, we've also got Platinum's TMNT game looming far off in the horizon.
6) Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)
Director: Scott Derrickson (Sinister)
Writer/s: Jon Spaihts (The Darkest Hour) and C. Robert Cargill (Sinister 1 & 2)
Why it almost ranked last: Doctor Strange is the movie we know the least about. This is not only a new character Marvel are bringing to a theatre near you, but one that firmly introduced magic into the equation. So far, most of the supernatural aspects of the Marvel Universe has came down to alien tech. This promises something fresh.
Despite the highly talented cast, both the director and writers have never really worked on a pure blockbuster, with most of their credits falling firmly in the horror genre. This is not necessarily a bad thing (although lets hope the screenplay is slightly better than Sinister 2), since it offers a fresh take on a formula that might start to ware thin 8 movies into the year, but the risk is definitely there.
5) X-men Apocalypse (Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Oscar Isaac)
Director: Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects and all the good X-Men films (minus the best one: First Class))
Writer: Simon Kinberg (Star Wars Rebels)
Why it ranked fifth: X-Men Apocalypse is going to be a huge release, do not let its ranking in this subjective list fool you. The only reason it ranks in the lower half is due to the lukewarm reception the trailer has received.
Oscar Isaac is THE man and I can not wait to see his version of Apocalpyse (the first ever mutant) but the make up just looks dreadful so far. He, honestly, reminds me of the Mister Freeze from Batman & Robin. If there is one comic book adaptation producer's should know to avoid any comparisons with is that trainwreck of a release.
Still, this should be a fun film. The X-Men franchise has only really had one dud so far (in the main series), X-Men 3, so the track record is behind them. Hopefully they provide the second trilogy a stronger conclusion than the first.
4) Suicide Squad (Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Jared Leto)
Director: David Ayer (Training Day and End of Watch)
Writer: David Ayer
Why is ranked just missed out on the top three: Suicide Squad has has a fantastic marketing campaign so far. The original trailer was met with a shrug, but the following trailers and the posters have really hit the mark. If this list was done a few months ago, Suicide Squad would have ranked 6th.
David Ayer is a fantastic director with a great resume. He knows his way around a dark, gritty and adult narrative, something that will hopefully translate well to the comic book genre. The casting seems to be spot on as well (although the verdict is still out on Will Smith's Deadshot), with Margot Robbie seemingly effortlessly filling in the massive clown shapes shoes of her comic/cartoon counterpart, Harley Quinn.
The reason this is not higher is because there is still a lot that can go wrong. DC have not proved a patient bunch, so it does feel like they are just throwing a bunch of characters at the audience and hoping that someone leaves an impression. This could easily be a muddled mes with a scatter-shot narrative and paper thin characters.
3) Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds)
Director: Tim Miller (Debut Feature)
Writer/s: Rhett Reese (Zombieland) and Paul Wernick (Zombieland)
Why third? Deadpool kicks off the festivities for the year with a release this weekend. Deadpool promises to be a different type of superhero movie (that's pretty much its tagline) and the marketing department (and Reynolds himself) have done a fantastic job of hyping up what could have been the least anticipated superhero movie of the year.
Deadpool has gotten really solid reviews so far and it might end up being one of the best superhero movies of the year.
It is funny, irrelevant and completely aware of how ridiculous the whole genre really is. A parody blockbuster that still caters to that very crowd. What sets this apart from the majority of the others movies on the list is that its clearly a passion project for those involved, rather than just an opportunity to hit it big.
2) Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot)
Director: Zack Synder (Watchmen)
Writer/s: Chris Terrio (Argo) and David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight)
Why it ranked second: Batman V Superman was always going to be in the top 2: It is an action extravaganza that comic book fans around the world have been waiting to see for decades. BATMAN and SUPERMAN in the same movie? How can that not be exciting.
Zack Synder knows how to make his movies pretty. And dark, with a lot of posing and characters found of glaring. Although his track record is decent, he has yet to release a movie that has garnered near universal praise.
Man of Steel was a love/hate experience, 300 was cool but has not aged particularly well and Watchmen, his best project, was hard to digest without prior knowledge of the source material.
Batman V Superman almost sounds too huge to screw up, but DC are once again attempting to eat their cake before its anywhere near ready. This should have been just a Batman and Superman movie, maybe with a Lex Luthor thrown in, but add Wonder Woman, Doomsday and rumours of appearances by both Aquaman and Robin, this could turn into a bit of a mess.
The trailers also have not helped so far, often opting for the lets show it all route of marketing with the hope that they can attract that one fan that will only go to the cinema if Doomsday is involved. There really was no need to show so much (Batman and Superman are more than enough) but hopefully it will still pay off.
1) Captain America: Civil War (Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson)
Director: Joe and Anthony Russo (Captain America: Winter Soldier)
Writer/s: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (Captain America: Winter Soldier)
Why it took the top spot: Marvel has earned all the hype Civil War has received (unlike DC): This promises to be the biggest Marvel movie released yet. Even people not familiar with the comics books have had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with these characters through a series of solo and ensemble movies. It is not just the name but the faces that people recognise (which does make a difference).
The trailers have been good so far, they've revealed just the right amount of spoilers without really spoiling any huge moment (it does not appear like they did anyway). More importantly, Civil War really does appear to live up to its name: We will genuinely get to see a huge array of loved superheroes battle of against each other (unlike Batman V Superman, were the title characters will probably not have anything more than a 5 minute squabble (hope I'm wrong)).
Marvel are introducing a lot of new characters in this one as-well, which will be a gamble, but their track record is slightly more reliable than their competition, which is the main reason Civil War ranks first. Add the Spider-man cameo, and the hype has just hit the stratosphere.