It’s never easy to write about the year in retrospective. 2016 was one of the most interesting years regarding film industry and pop-culture in general. Everything is connected, and it’s impossible to analyze the year we just sent packing without mentioning two crucial political events: Brexit and Trump’s victory. Both of them were themes of TV shows and movies throughout the year and I must admit that I would like to see potential “Newsroom” episode with the same subject.
However, before the year even started it was mentioned as the big superhero clash moment that will show which of the two great studios will win the first round of the upcoming (historical?) comic book duel. After “Captain America: Civil War” and “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” we can say that the first round went to the Disney/Marvel corner. There are few reasons for that. First of all, the biggest problem of DC comics is its lack of direction and some general conception which will take the superheroes in some intertwined and coherent direction (story wide) In a nutshell, we could say that the biggest problem of WB/DC is that they don’t have creative genius like Joss Whedon behind their universe. Zack Snyder, as “Batman vs. Superman” showed us once again isn’t the right man for the job.
That’s all when the main movies of the two biggest studios are concerned, but there were others this year who also took the mantle of heroes on the silver screen. “Suicide Squad” became much more important as the year passed by, especially since “DoJ” didn’t deliver expected results. Ayer had problems with the film from the beginning, but his film was (for me) the brightest DC movie to date. It had some potential, especially when Harley Quinn is concerned. Margot Rablot carried the movie the best she could, but it didn’t help its awful producing mistakes and cuts which were so obvious that I felt them as actually painful. Leto’s Joker missed a chance to be the main antagonist of the “Suicide Squad” and Cara Delevigne’s Enchantress ruined the film completely (I’m not sure is she’s entirely to blame) just for the sake of its own PG-13 rating. You don’t make badass movie about the villains without making it R rated. If it’s not R rated, then it’s a joke. Second mistake was putting the main protagonist role into the hands of Will Smith’s Deadshot instead of masterful Harley. That was unforgivable, since Smith’s role doesn’t feel original and he seems to be more of a problem to the film that the strength he’s supposed to be.
Marvel’s Doctor Strange was, again, better than the SS this year. Main reason for that is brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch and the story which has interesting twists and turns. He and Tilda Swinton succeeded in achieving the chemistry on the screen and that human moment, which was not artificial and forced, was enough for me to give the film a positive review. “CA: Civil War” and “Doctor Strange” were clear winners in the clash of the two main studios, but the best superhero movie of the year didn’t come either from Disney or Warner Bros. The best superhero movie of the year was produced by Fox. Some of you maybe already guessed, it was “Deadpool”.
If anybody told you that “Deadpool” will be the winner of the year when superhero movies are concerned, you would probably think he’s crazy (especially if you saw “Fantastic Four”), but Ryan Reynolds succeeded in translating to the screen the only superhero who knows his fictional nature. “Deadpool” was everything all the others movie weren’t. It was raw, sincere, funny, politically incorrect, R-rated and coherent. “Deadpool” was great as movie experience and as comic-book adaptation.
Some people said that 2016 will mark the end of the “superhero craze”, but if anything, it marked the beginning of the serious competition between the major players. Spiderman returned to Marvel, DC realized that Geoff Johns needs to its “creative mind” and that WB producers finally agreed to stay away from its comic-book adaptations. That also changed some things in DC TV, but about that I’ll say more tomorrow.
In the end, this is a good time to be a comic-book fan, but it’s also a disappointing one. The biggest heroes in superhero history didn’t deliver from the first attempt. That could mean that they’re only human after all.