Rated ‘D’ for Doom: A Look at Superhero Movies in 2016

Hello, and welcome to another installment of “Rated ‘D’ for Doom,” my annual look at the year’s upcoming superhero movies!

Now, before we move into the current year, I always like to take a moment to reflect on the prior year’s releases and see how they fared.

Last year, we only had three big releases in the genre, and boy were they all over the place in terms of success. They were all three Marvel properties, though only two were released by Marvel Studios.

I’m speaking, of course, about Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, and Fantastic Four. The first two were both critical and commercial successes, though the sequel to 2012’s Marvel’s The Avengers (nobody calls it that) couldn’t help but be a bit of a let-down, considering the level of expectations surrounding it.

At the time of its release, Jim Doom and I discussed it at length, though my thoughts on it have changed a little bit over the past few months, and not in a good way. I think I’d be hard-pressed to justify ever watching it all the way through again, what with how long it is and how little happens in it.

Ant-Man was also a movie that came out last year, though I don’t know if I could tell you a single scene from it that stands out today (that I’m not simply remembering from the trailer, that is). It’s just a really forgettable movie with a formulaic ending.

And, lastly, we have Fantastic Four, the only non-Marvel Studios superhero movie that came out last year. The less we say about it, the better. I saw it. I regret seeing it. Let’s move on.

This is a new year, Jack! And if you like superhero movies, well, you’d better get ready to drop some serious coinage. In 2016, we have SEVEN new superhero movies coming out, and that’s actually down from what was originally slated, as Sony had to scrap Sinister Six after The Amazing Spider-Man 2 shit the bed and ruined that entire “shared universe” that they were hoping so hard for.

The good news out of that whole debacle is that Spider-Man will appear in one of the movies coming out this year! And it’s alongside the other Avengers! There aren’t enough exclamation points for this!

We’ll get to that soon enough, though. For now, let’s run these films down, one by one, and we’ll talk about Spider-Man when the time is right.

Deadpool movie posterFirst up, this weekend, we have the R-rated Deadpool. It’s a superhero movie with an R rating, and did I mention it’s rated R?

I mean, look at that poster. It’s Deadpool’s crotch, and he’s pretending that that gun is his penis. And the tagline is talking about his — actually, you know what? I don’t feel like spoiling the surprise for those of you who don’t know.

The plain fact is this: Deadpool sucks. Fans of comics came to that realization back in… Oh, I don’t know. 1995? It’s like they based a comicbook character off of Poochy from The Simpsons without ever really understanding the joke.

But hey, I could be wrong. The movie’s been getting great early buzz, and the big news today is that it’s already been greenlit for a sequel. Fans are saying that it’s extremely faithful to the source material, which I suppose is a good thing (especially after the way he was used in X-Men Origins: Wolverine).

Really, though, if Fox wants to be faithful to the source material, they’d give Deadpool a cameo in every single movie they’re releasing this year. Maybe have him walk out onscreen, shout, “DID YOU KNOW THIS IS A MOVIE?” and then leave. Something like that. I’m just spit-balling here.

Next up, on March 25th, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theatres.

Look, you guys, I’m gonna level with you: This movie looks terrible.

The tone looks super-serious to the point of being laughable, and it’s crammed with so many moving parts that I have no idea how anybody will be able to follow what’s going on.

And, while I know it’s not fair to fault a film for an overzealous marketing department, but they’ve given away nearly every single major plot point to this sure-to-be turkey in the trailers. We already know, for instance, that the titular confrontation will eventually be interrupted by Doomsday, at which point Wonder Woman will jump into the fray to help out.

It kind of devalues your entire picture when the number one selling point for your movie is spoiled in the trailers, but maybe that’s just me.

Plus, I find it kind of odd that DC and Warner Brothers are starting their big Avengers-style shared universe by basing the first crossover film in the series off of a comic that was heralded for deconstructing the superhero myth back in the late-80s.

Maybe — and, again, I could be wrong — but maybe you should wait until those myths are established and built up before tearing them down.

I mean, by the time we get to a solo Batman movie (the first standalone spin-off of this rebooted shared universe or whatever — GOD DAMN THIS IS EXHAUSTING), Ben Affleck will probably be in his 50s.

I understand why this movie doesn’t look that great, though. It’s really difficult to take two iconic fan-favorite characters and pit them against one another in combat and expect your audience not to turn on one of them (or both of them). Especially in this genre, I don’t know how anybody could pull off something that complex.

The simple fact of the matter is that it probably can’t be done, and I pity the poor fool who even tries.

captain america civil war movie posterNext up, we have Captain America: Civil War, coming to theatres everywhere on May 6th!

I don’t know much about this movie, because I’m trying to keep my expectations in check by avoiding trailers and stuff. But I can’t help but be excited to see it.

I’m going to guess that the events at the end of Age of Ultron will be the catalyst for the Superhero Registration Act, which is way smarter than trying to shoe-horn Speedball and his reality TV show into the start of this film. But, again, that’s only a guess.

The film still has a long way to go — and a lot of work to do — to get us to the point where our favorite heroes start slugging it out, but I have so much more faith that they’ll get there in a satisfying way than I do with Dawn of Justice.

Aside from a couple of lackluster movies last year (though neither were out-and-out bad), the MCU has been on fire with every property it touches. And this movie looks to add even more than ever, with the additions of Black Panther and the aforementioned Spider-Man.

That last addition has me more excited than anything else, as his role in the comics is really what grounded that entire story. He represents what’s at stake here, and he’s such a smart choice to use in that capacity — I mean, honestly, who among us doesn’t love Spider-Man?

Now I’m going to list a few things I want to see in this movie, though I have no idea if they’ll be in there, and it probably won’t make a difference, either way. It’s just a wishlist of things I think would be cool.

Firstovly, I want to see The Punisher. I don’t care if he’s supposed to be in their Netflix shows or whatever — I want him in the movies, too. Especially this one. When he pops in to Cap HQ in the comic, well, I highly doubt it’ll happen in the movie, but it’s my favorite moment from the series.

Next, I want to see Crossbones in his costume. I loved the way they used him in Winter Soldier, but the way they left that character scarred and disfigured at the end of that film gives me hope that he’ll be back here, and hopefully he’ll be wearing a silly skull mask.

I also want to see Doctor Strange or Captain Marvel or any of the Guardians of the Galaxy. They don’t need to be involved in the fight, and they don’t really need to do much of anything. But this would be a great place to bring them in; but, if they leave them out, that’s fine, too. One of the big marks against Age of Ultron was that they tried to plant too many seeds for future films, so maybe I just talked myself out of this last point. Forget it! Don’t put any of them in here unless it’s a post-credits tease!

Actually, every single one of these points hints at my bigger underlying wish for this movie: I want something in it to surprise me. That’s all. Is that possible in a Marvel movie in the year 2016, or has our need to know everything prior to a movie’s release taken all of the surprise out of the affair? I guess we’ll see.

The next big release is a mere three weeks later, when X-Men: Apocalypse drops on May 27th.

This is the superhero film of 2016 that I’m most excited about.

The last film in this series, Days of Future Past, was absolutely phenomenal, and I have high hopes that this one is even half as entertaining as that film.

And that’s not a ridiculous hope. All of the major players from the last movie are present in this one, and Oscar Isaac — one of the best actors working today — is playing the titular villain. What could go wrong?

Please don’t answer that question.

It’s been ten years, and I’m only now starting to forget X-Men: The Last Stand. We all know the answer to the question, “What could go wrong?” and it’s X-Men 3. Please, god, don’t let this be a repeat of that.

The nice thing is that I have zero fears going into this that it’ll be anything less than great. There’s been no indication that they somehow forgot how to make a good movie between DoFP and now, so it’s kind of stupid to even mention it.

Next up, let’s talk about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.

suicide squad movie posterNext up, let’s talk about Suicide Squad, coming to theaters on August 5th.

At this point, I kind of feel sorry for DC.

I mean, I know that’s sort of a dick thing to say before I’ve seen either of their two big movies coming out this year, but you can’t tell me you think this actually looks good, can you?

Plenty has been said about how the characters look stupid (especially King Shark and Killer Croc, who both look like Koopa Troopas from the 1990s Mario Brothers movie), and plenty has also been said about how Jared Leto will probably suck as the new Joker.

But, really, my primary concern with the film is that it looks like it’s trying really hard to be the next Guardians of the Galaxy. Even down to the 70’s pop song in the trailer, this looks like it’s trying way, way too hard to capture the same dynamic that made that film such a runaway success in 2014.

DC’s already trying to play catch-up with Marvel — seeings as how Marvel got their shared universe started eight years ago and DC is just now getting theirs sputtering from the gate — and so actively trying to copycat one of Marvel’s successful films seems like the wrong play to be making at this stage.

Plus, another thing that seems off about this movie: I’m not sure how we’re supposed to believe that this inhabits the same universe as Dawn of Justice. At least with Guardians, they kept the same visual style in a lot of ways. While it dealt with entirely different characters and subject matter, you could still see how Iron Man or Thor could pop up in a future crossover.

But this doesn’t look or feel anything like what DC’s cooking up with Batman and Superman.

Based off my misgivings about that film, though, who knows? Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

And, finally, there’s Doctor Strange, coming to theatres on November 4th.

Very little is known about this picture, other than the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch is playing the Sorcerer Supreme.

Maybe it’ll be good?

Your guess is as good as mine.

What a weird note to end this on!