It would be really easy for me to come on here for the Best of 2016 and make a large majority of this list Marvel items. Think about it, the amount of content that Marvel puts out on a yearly basis is craaaaaazy. You’ve got your movies, video games, comic books, television shows, not to mention toys and random awesome things spread throughout the course of the year. For example did you know that Costco now sells replica Captain America shields? Do you know how badly I need one of those? The Fortress of Nerditude feels kind of incomplete without a Captain America shield mounted on the wall.
Needless to say I went through all the awesome Marvel put out this year and tried to focus on one or two for the list, which proved to be a little difficult. Last year I put all this stuff under the Marvel blanket but that felt cheap and like I was just trying to cram more things into the 2015 list then ten items would allow, and that’s exactly what I was doing. Manipulating my own system. I’m in charge I can do that if I want to. There were a number of things to choose from this year. Looking at Netflix alone, the second season of Daredevil was fantastic. The inclusion of the Punisher and Elektra added some new depth to the series as it explored some more darker elements. For me, it was far better then Luke Cage which doesn’t mean that Cage was bad (it wasn’t) I just thought Daredevil was on a different level.
There are too many comics to cover but Champions, Jessica Jones, Ms. Marvel, and Spider-Man were all big highlights to my pull list this year. I’d throw in Nova too as I binged that series in a day and a half. None of these other things can exist without the comics so clearly it’s the ground zero of awesome content.
But my Marvel choice comes from the movies (no surprise there) and it was an easy choice to make. While Doctor Strange was entertaining I didn’t walk out of the theater gushing over it. I enjoyed it, and visually it was incredible but I’m not sure if I’m sold on that movie yet. It will require another couple of viewings before I can make up my mind or a cameo in another MCU movie (*cough* Thor *cough*). No this choice belonged solely to Captain America: Civil War or as I refer to it as The Anti-Batman vs Superman.
I’ve already covered (probably ad nauseum) the importance of Mark Millar’s Civil War comic to me (I will not have those same feelings for the current Civil War II event… I just want it to end) so I won’t rehash all of that here. What I will say is I know that due to different studios having the rights to different characters made the task of adapting the Civil War comic rather difficult. Luckily the X-Men aren’t very much involved but the Fantastic Four play such a large role that one couldn’t help but feel that their absence would impact the story. Lucky for us the Russo Brothers are geniuses and have my vote to direct every Marvel movie from here on out. Seriously. I can’t wait to see what they do with their two Avenger movies. The took the backbone of the Civil War comic and were able to apply the themes and structure while also providing something new and fitting to the current climate of the MCU. No easy feet.
Civil War had the difficult task of not only following Winter Solider (arguably the best Marvel movie to date, although I rank it 1a behind Guardians) but also the fallout of Age of Ultron. A lot of things have changed in the landscape of the MCU and while the third Captain America could have easily been a stand alone adventure of Steve continuing to pursue Bucky, it became a lot more. The interwebs kind of refers to Civil War as Avengers 2.5 and they’re not exactly wrong either. Civil War introduces some fantastic new characters to the MCU fold (looking at you Black Panther) as well as finally bridging the gap between Sony and Marvel as we saw Spider-Man interact with characters we had only dreamed about seeing him interact with in movies. Those two things alone are pretty special to any comic book nerd.
But there was more. While Batman vs Superman was about these two mega powers fighting to establish dominance (while ignoring the history of the characters and uniting them in the dumbest plot twist imaginable #martha #stillawful), Civil War took a group of characters that have been established over the course of eight years and gave them a situation that not only divided them but changed the mentality of some of the core characters of the MCU. Especially Tony Stark who was kind of stripped down in this movie. I enjoyed seeing a different side of Tony besides the egotistical genius. There was a vulnerability here and legitimate anger some things we haven’t seen in Stark before. Going forward I wonder if we’ll see a different Tony as the next Avengers movies roll in. And what will Steve Rogers and the rest of the gang be up to? By the end of Civil War SPOILERS the Avengers, as we know them, are done. Some are fugitives while others are left broken trying to figure out where to go from here. Those will have some serious ripple effects into other Marvel movies, and I think that’s part of what I didn’t like about Doctor Strange. Yes it’s his origin story but I would have liked a little more tie in to the MCU. I love my shared universes damn it!
It’s clear that Marvel holds a lot of stock in it’s Captain America franchise and while all the Phase 3 movies have been announced (I think minus two? Maybe? Help me out here Geeklings) I would love to see Marvel pursue more movies with Steve Rogers at the forefront. Chris Evans was born to play this character and it seems that all things important for the MCU go through Captain America movies. Why would you take that away from us?
Civil War was the best super hero movie this year, and I don’t think there’s much of a debate (any one says Suicide Squad or BvS please show yourselves out) because we know these characters. We’ve watched them grow and come together throughout the many Marvel films. That scene in the airport made this comic book nerds heart go pitter patter with joy. As a comic book fan there’s something about seeing scenes in a movie that feel like a comic book.Civil War may not have been a direct adaptation of the Mark Millar classic but it was the MCU equivalent of that. The importance of freedom and standing by what you believed in still coursed through it’s veins. And when it was over the MCU landscape was changed and we had Spider-Man back. How is that not a win?