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Film

Beautiful Lies and False Gods in 'Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice'

Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice interrogates two primal drives in American culture through the top characters of the DC pantheon: fear and its trauma (Batman) and naked power and its ambiguities (Superman).

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Film

Ruben Fleischer's 'Venom' Has No Bite

Ruben Fleischer's toothless antihero film, Venom is like a blockbuster from 15 years earlier: one-dimensional, loose plot, inconsistent tone, and packaged in the least-offensive, most mass appeal way possible. Sigh.

Film

The Obstacles in 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' Are Not Typical of MCU

Peyton Reed's "Disney-fied" Ant-Man and the Wasp is unchallenging in all the best ways.

Film

The Highs Are Higher, the Lows Lower in 'Deadpool 2'

The first half of Deadpool 2, in which Vanessa is murdered and Wade becomes purposeless and suicidal, is a slog. The second half, where Wade commits to defending an angry teenage mutant, positively soars with fantastic action and some of the funniest superhero film moments in years.

Film

The Action in 'Avengers: Infinity War' Is Relentless

The focus on Thanos single-handedly saves Avengers: Infinity War from becoming the overstuffed mess many feared and lends the film a relentless action pace more akin to Mad Max: Fury Road than a superhero blockbuster.

Film

Marvel's 'Black Panther' Has Its Claws in the Zeitgeist

Ryan Coogler's Black Panther engages with deep and timely social, cultural, and psychological concepts, and completely taps into America's zeitgeist.

Film

'Thor: Ragnarok' Destroys and Discards the Thor Mythos

Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok takes a refreshingly iconoclastic approach to Thor, throwing out the old, bringing in the new, and packaging the story in a colourful, gorgeously trashy aesthetic that perfectly captures the spirit of the comics.

Film

'Spider-Man: Homecoming' Has the Most Relatable Peter Parker

The teen-focused, John Hughes-inspired approach not only makes Spider-Man: Homecoming feel fresh in the realm of Spider-Man films, but in superhero films in general.

Film

James Mangold's ​'Logan​' Depicts Wolverine's Worst Nightmare

In Mangold's Logan, an elderly, sick surrogate father and a young, estranged, emotionally-scarred "daughter" come to rely entirely on the aged Wolverine who is now but a haunted, battered, suicidal husk. It's nothing like superhero films that came before.

Film

'Doctor Strange': It's About Time

Scott Derrickson's Doctor Strange is a surprisingly cerebral, emotionally relatable film. It's also wrapped in some of the most exciting and unique blockbuster visuals seen in years.

Film

'Captain America: Civil War' Mirrors Another Kind of American Civil War

In the Russo Brothers' Captain America: Civil War, friend turns on friend, and no easy resolution is reached. It's rather like the toxic online fan culture that followed the film's release.

Film

Deadpool and Ryan Reynolds' 11-Year Love Affair

If the best measure of success for a comic book film is how well it captures the tone for the central character, then Ryan Reynold's beloved character in Deadpool makes it among the greatest superhero films of all time.

Film

Josh Trank's Comic Book Film 'Fantastic Four' Could Have Been a Kitschy Splendor

A temperamental director and meddling suits at the studio squandered the long-running Fantastic Four comics series' first foray into film. It could, however, be done again -- and done right.

Film

Sub-Atomic Particles and Brilliant Heist Sequences: 'Ant-Man' Masters the Tiny Universe

There are strong emotional stakes and likeable characters in Peyton Reed's Ant-Man, but they are all rooted in a, well, less than epic scale. This makes Ant-Man refreshing, an MCU palate cleanser.

Film

Unbecoming Woman: 'Dark Phoenix' and the Dethronement of the Wealthy White Male Hero

Dark Phoenix makes it clear that the X-Men, as socio-political commentary, must take their own metaphor more seriously and evolve, already.

Film

'Big Hero 6': Disney Viewed through a Marvel Lens

Big Hero 6 draws its themes and central relationship from the classic Disney and Pixar templates but includes all of the trappings of a Marvel superhero origin film.

Film

'X-Men: Days of Future Past' Restored the Series to Its Former Glory

More than any previous X-Men film, Days of Future Past engages in deeply geeky, comic book-inspired elements resulting in the best cinematic representation of X-Men comics to-date.

Film

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' Is a Shared Universe Cautionary Tale

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a contrived mess of four disparate competing plots and set-up for a shared cinematic universe that would never come to be. Why did Sony Pictures blow it?

Film

'Avengers: Endgame' Satisfies on Every Level

Big budget action filmmaking doesn't get much better than the Russo Brothers' Avengers: Endgame.

Comics

Doctor Strange and the Racial History of a Marvel Icon

The Asian legacy of Doctor Strange is more complex than you know.

Film

'Thor: The Dark World' Comes Close to Being a Viable Story

In Thor: The Dark World there's a dangerous villain, a universe-ending threat, and a star-crossed romance -- but none of it makes sense.

Film

'The Wolverine' Is a Stranger in a Strange Land

James Mangold's The Wolverine taps into Western tropes and Samurai aesthetics to deliver a more thoughtful, soulful comic book film… until the climax.

Film

'Iron Man 3' Finds Its Hero in Crisis

Marvel Studios launched its second phase of films with Iron Man 3, a film filled with bold storytelling choices and irreverent humour that would become hallmarks of the MCU.

Film

Marc Webb's '​The Amazing Spider-Man​' Is a Reboot That Deserves a Rewatch

Perhaps it was redundant after the previous Spider-Man trilogy, or was overshadowed by more high-profile summer 2012 superhero films, or was lumped in with its truly awful sequel, but The Amazing Spider-Man is a fine superhero film.

Film

Joss Whedon's 'The Avengers' Blasts Away All Other Comic Book Films

By perfecting the comic book superhero formula and creating the first big-budget shared universe with The Avengers in 2012, Joss Whedon and Marvel Studios came to define this decade of blockbuster filmmaking.

Film

Kinetic Directing Failed to Improve 'Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance'

Flashy directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor attempted to make Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance more exciting than its predecessor, but their style sapped the energy that fueled the flame.

Film

'Captain America: The First Avenger' Stands Out in a Glut of Comic Book Films

Marvel Studios recognized that by mining other genres through the superhero lens, it could continue to keep comic book films fresh and entertaining to audiences and sidestep the constant predictions of imminent superhero fatigue.

Film

How Marvel's 'X-men: First Class' Classed Up the X-men Films

Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class refocuses the series onto its political and socially conscious origins, as well as the philosophical debate at the core of Magneto and Xavier's relationship.

Film

'Thor' Blasted the Comic Book Superhero Genre Away from Earth

Kenneth Branagh's Thor (2011) took the largely Earth-based, sci-fi genre into the realm of supernatural space fantasy, leading the way for a wider array of comic book superhero films.

Film

How Jon Favreau's 'Iron Man 2' Peaks -- Then Crashes

Tony spends the first half of the film worrying about his legacy but also trying to have fun with the time he has left. It's rather like MCU's superhero film challenges of the time.

Film

'X-men-Origins: Wolverine' Can't Tell Which Story to Tell

Conflicting viewpoints and intentions and external issues beyond anyone's control culminate in a film that is an unfocused, inconsistent mess.

Film

Why Was 'Punisher: War Zone' Pummeled by Fans?

Why did the only film based on a Marvel Comics property and directed by a woman fail so spectacularly?

Film

Of Principles and Policies: How Superheroes Can Inform Our Thinking About Social Life

The complexities of social life depicted in superhero narratives are similar to those of our own. In 2018, we need to consider taking superhero narratives a little more seriously.

Film

'Ant-Man and the Wasp' Is Fun But Fails to Remedy Marvel's Most Egregious Convention

Paul Rudd is at the top of his game in Ant-Man and the Wasp, but Evangeline Lilly isn't given an equal platform, despite what the title suggests.

Film

Marvel Wisely Goes Small with 'Ant-Man and Wasp'

Peyton Reed's campy follow-up to the epic Avengers: Infinity War serves as a welcome breather from saving the world.

Film

'Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer' Is Best Viewed as a Kids' Movie

There are many instances in Rise of the Silver Surfer when superhero powers are played as gags and paired with a zippy cartoon score to really sell it. It's perfect for a kids movie.

Film

'I Kill Giants' Is Safe for Kids and Essential for World-weary Adults

One ought not to approach this film looking for action but looking for connection, empathy, emotion.


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