2017 was a massive year for superhero entertainment. From the shelf and the television screen to the cinema, there were countless comic-related adventures to dive into. Marvel Studios saw its most ambitious year to date with three theatrical releases instead of the usual two, as well as the first small screen superhero team-up on Netflix. DC capped the year off by offering its own superhero ensemble movie in Justice League, to a less than stellar response. But the fact remains, when it came to watching their favorites superheroes on-screen, fans were truly facing an embarrassment of riches.
As with all forms of entertainment, there were some good, and some bad offerings. Some exceeded expectations and more than lived up to the hype, and some were considerable disappointments. Now, as we head into 2018, we turn our attention once more on 2017 and the year’s five best big screen superhero adaptations.
5: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The first Guardians of the Galaxy was an instant hit and a modern classic. Naturally, a lot of hype surrounded director James Gunn’s cosmic sequel. In many ways, the movie proved to be another strong showing for Marvel, albeit one that fell just short of its predecessor. Vol. 2 was a blast of a space adventure, but it fell victim to a few traps. Mainly, the sequel’s humor felt a bit forced in a few instances, and characters like Drax didn’t have much else to do in the film but laugh at something or someone — mainly, Mantis, which some didn’t enjoy seeing made the butt of a joke for the whole movie.
Those criticisms aside, the film was still one hell of a fun ride. Kurt Russell’s Ego was a strong villain from beginning to end, and the movie had a whole lot of heart. The final act of the film was a heart-wrenching experience, and Vol. 2 may just have been the first Marvel movie to leave its audience in tears. The Guardians are Marvel’s premiere makeshift family — the first film built them up, and the second tore them apart, only to have them emerge even stronger.
4: Power Rangers
Saban’s Power Rangers kind of flew under the radar of most theatergoers. It wasn’t as big or high-profile as a Marvel or DC release, which showed in its box office performance. This was a crying shame, too, considering that the film was one of the strongest superhero showings of the year. Here is a film that decided to build up its five characters instead of moving from one big set piece to another. Two thirds of Power Rangers is spent in highlighting the five leads, as they not only come to grasp with the power they wield, but also form a strong bond of friendship.
Director Dean Israelite’s Power Rangers was a smaller film that, surprisingly, wore its heart on its sleeve. It bore a sense of destiny and purpose for the five leads, while being quiet and self-contained. It was devoted to make us care for these five characters out of costume, before they would ever morph. The film also had a strong villain in Elizabeth Banks’ Rita, who was scarier than anyone anticipated. Sure, her goal was a tad on the generic side, but she was still effective, while having a strong presence. The movie was darker and more grounded, and yet the final confrontation between Goldar and the Megazord embraced all the silliness of the old television series. There was a lot to enjoy here, and we hope a sequel sees the light of day. The cast alone deserves it.
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