Tag Archives: Marvel

2008 Best Movie Bracket

As we continue to march backwards through the years to fill our Best Movie Bracket, we come to 2008 which was an historic year especially when it comes to Superhero movies. We have had superhero movies for decades all the way back to 1966 with Batman: The Movie, but I believe that the current Superhero craze took hold in the summer of 2008.

This fervor took root 8 years earlier when we saw a team of mutants take form in X-Men, and Spider-Man in 2002 confirmed that audiences were ready for more spandex and secret identities in their summer movie going diets. Both of those franchises had lost some of their steam releasing sub-par sequels in 2006 and 2007. That could have been the end, but two things happened in 2008 that changed what our summer movie seasons have looked like ever since.

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First, Christopher Nolan captured the attention of a generation with The Dark Knight in part due to a disturbing performance of the Joker by Heath Ledger who died earlier in 2008 before he could see his creation come to life. The Dark Knight was the highest grossing film of the year by a long shot and Ledger was awarded with a posthumous Oscar for his performance (unheard of for a superhero movie).

The success of The Dark Knight may have been enough to keep the Superhero genre going, but in that same year Marvel Studios created an interconnected cinematic universe which we are still seeing built today. Marvel released Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk about a month apart from each other along with their promise to continue to bring other second and third tier properties to life.

Continue reading 2008 Best Movie Bracket

Comic-Con 2016 Trailers

If you’ve been hiding from social media all weekend you may have missed that it was San Diego Comic-Con, and what used to be a lively gathering of comic book fans has now become the place where all the major studios release their goodies to hordes of ravenous fanboys (and fangirls). Clearly at an event of this scope they talked about more than just movies, but as this is a movie blog, I will not be discussing any of the comic or video game news.

However, because I am so thoughtful, I’ve made you handy list of all the trailers / exclusive previews for new movies (and a couple of exciting TV shows) that I could get my hands on. Marvel traditionally holds some of their stuff back for a week or two after Comic-Con so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. Because of this, it looks like DC won the show with some great new content, but we haven’t seen anything yet. I’ll try to keep you up to date with other cool movie related things that come out of the convention.

Wonder Woman

Finally, a woman-led superhero movie. She is 75 years old this year and she’s never looked better. I couldn’t help but think of Star Trek when I saw Chris Pine washed up on shore, but it looks good and their might actually be some humor here that DC has been sorely missing.

Appreciated feminist tones aside (“what I do is not up to you”), the movie takes on a lighter color palette than other DC movies. It looks gritty, but not in the might-as-well-be-black-and-white monotone of movies like ‘Batman v Superman. ‘Wonder Woman was probably the best part of that movie anyway, so things are looking good.

Justice League

After the mess of ‘Batman v Superman,’ I’m a bit wary of Zack Snyder being at the helm of a superhero flick as important as this one, but this “special footage” reel (Warner Bros. isn’t calling it a trailer) actually looks quite good.

While Snyder still doesn’t seem to like colors very much, the reel takes on a lighthearted, humorous tone as Batman goes about collecting his teammates. I’m tentatively hopeful.

Suicide Squad

On the more villainous side of things, we have another trailer for Suicide Squad, which comes out in a couple of weeks.

Lego Batman

Lego Batman was the best part of ‘The Lego Movie.’ So why not give him his own movie. This one could be my favorite of what DC currently has to offer.

Doctor Strange

Alright, since DC had their fun, let’s see what Marvel had to offer. There was this awesome trailer for Doctor Strange. Probably the most visually enchanting trailer of the event. Here we see Sherlock Dr. Steven Strange learning the ways of magic. This will be one that must be seen on the big screen to be appreciated. It’s hitting theaters this November 4th.

Marvel’s Iron Fist

I don’t normally cover much TV, but Marvel has some great looking offerings and they have given us quality entertainment in the past with Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Here’s the first teaser for Iron Fist, set to be released in 2017.

Marvel’s Luke Cage

Luke Cage – one of the main characters in the fantastic ‘Jessica Jones’ is getting his own show, and the music in this trailer is on point!

Marvel’s The Defenders

The above two heroes are teaming up with Jessica Jones and Daredevil for The Defenders. This teaser doesn’t show any actual footage, but we do hear what sounds like ‘Stick’ from ‘Daredevil’ talking in the background and it gets me excited nonethless.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

We’ve got some great non-comic book movies that also released some updated and new trailers during Comic-Con. I for one am very excited to see the wizarding world come to 1920s New York. This is the most detailed trailer for the movie we’ve seen yet, although it still reveals very little in terms of overall plot. I’ve very excited to come into a J.K. Rowling movie without already knowing the ending from the book.

Kong: Skull Island

King Kong gets supersized in this reboot from the producers of the most recent Godzilla. It looks like they could be setting things up for a potential Kong on Godzilla battle. If this movie does better than Peter Jackson’s maybe we could see a Mothra movie too.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Guy Ritchie has made a name for himself with films such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, and Sherlock Holmes, and he’s carried that same distinctive dialogue and visual style over to the Arthurian legend.

There’s an incredible cast lined up for this as well with Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, and Eric Bana. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword hits theaters on March 24, 2017.

2012 – Best Movie Bracket

It is so hard to distinguish between the best movies of the year and the ones that I like to watch repeatedly. Sometimes they are one and the same. I absolutely loved The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but I have a feeling that my enjoyment of the movie is more about my personal connection than the actual worth of the film.

There are also several very good films that I consider extremely worthy of being considered the best of the year, such as; LincolnLife of PiThe Master, and Silver Linings Playbook. They are honorable mentions, but unfortunately I had to cut it down to three.

Continue reading 2012 – Best Movie Bracket

Ruffalo Says That Thor: Ragnarok Will Change Hulk

For eight years in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, moviegoers have watched Bruce Banner struggle with his darker and monstrous half, The Hulk. While the character has served as a modern day Jekyll and Hyde to comic book readers for decades, people are getting to see his story finally being told over many movies. The next chapter of this story is Thor: Ragnarok, and new comments from Mark Ruffalo point to the Bruce Banner and Hulk’s personalities going head to head come next year.

While journeying across the Nine Realms with the God of Thunder in Thor: Ragnarok, Ruffalo discussed with Collider the arc Bruce Banner is dealing with regarding his relationship with The Hulk and how that’s going to resolve itself. He explained:

No one’s really gone in that place. I mean, he’s always been running from him or trying to deny it, but they’re coming for a collision course with each other, and I think that can be pretty exciting if we can figure out a way to do it multi-dimensionally.

The concept of the Bruce Banner and Hulk’s personalities clashing has been done before in the comics, but it’s relatively new territory for the movies. In The Incredible Hulk, Banner was desperate to find a cure for his “condition.” By The Avengers, he seemed to have made peace with his dual nature and simply did his best to contain it. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, he continued to use Hulk as a weapon for good, but after he was traumatized by Scarlet Witch‘s mental control, he later fled from Black Widow and his allies during the climactic battle against Ultron to keep them safe. It sounds like when we reunite with him in Thor: Ragnarok, the two sides will finally battle with each other, something that’s been years in the making, both in the real world and within the MCU.

While it remains to be seen exactly how this “collision” occurs, Mark Ruffalo mentioned earlier this year that the third Thor installment may see the personalities merging, leading to Hulk’s intelligence increasing. This doesn’t guarantee that Hulk will be a genius like Banner, but it would definitely shake things up and move him past being a rage monster who has brief moments of calmness. Although there isn’t a new Hulk movie coming anytime soon, Ruffalo has also said that Thor: Ragnarok works well with both Avengers: Infinity War movies as a “standalone Hulk story,” so fans will see this character progression continue over the following two years. All this, along with Thor: Ragnarok rumored to include a backdoor Planet Hulk adaptation, means that the Green Goliath will have plenty of time to develop internally and wreak havoc on his enemies.

Hulk will jump back into action when Thor: Ragnarok is released on November 3, 2017.

Source: Cinema Blend

Is Namor Going to be an Avenger?

Namor: the Sub-Mariner is one of Marvel’s oldest properties debuting in April 1939. However, his film rights have been with Universal. There have been a couple of rumors about a planned film, but they keep falling apart.

But now, according to Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, the Namor rights have reverted to Marvel, meaning he can finally join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In my opinion, Namor is cooler than Aquaman, maybe they’ll include him in future plans.

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

When Marvel Studios began ambitiously building towards the first Avengers movie, many openly wondered: “How can they even hope to do this?” Many times over the years, most notably in Sam Raimi’s bloated Spider-Man 3, too many characters clogged up the screen, diluting that film and others like it of any real focus. This was a legitimate concern for Marvel and for The Avengers, a movie that was going to star not one, but seven superheroes. Now we jump ahead to 2016 and seven superheroes suddenly doesn’t seem like such a big number. Now Marvel has arrived with Captain America: Civil War, the latest in their progressively expanding franchise, with a lineup that includes 12 superheroes and three villains. Have we reached maximum capacity superhero? Was this finally, once and for all, just too much?

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Judging from the $1.1 billion that this film has grossed worldwide, I would say that is a big NOPE. Captain America: Civil War doesn’t even feel like a crowded restaurant on a Friday night. Suddenly, I can imagine the whole mutant universe from the X-Men films joining with the Fantastic Four and the Guardians of the Galaxy. I’m getting excited just thinking about it. I will try not to spoil anything major however, if you haven’t seen this film stop reading and find a theater and go see it. It won’t be there much longer. Soon it will be moving to Blu-Ray and will hold a permanent spot on my shelf. Also, since this is a sequel to other Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films you should be familiar with them as well.

Civil War is loosely based on a 2006-2007 Marvel comics storyline, the film serves as a sequel to both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron. The film opens with Captain America and a small group of Avengers — Falcon, Black Widow and Scarlet Witch — teaming to stop Crossbones from stealing a biological weapon. Crossbones is Frank Grillo who survived the ending of Winter Soldier, but now has a severely scarred face and jackhammer fists. Despite stopping Crossbones, the operation ends poorly, resulting in a number of civilian casualties.

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The Captain and team are called into the office of the Secretary of State, Gen. Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross. You’ll remember him from 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. Following the events of Age of Ultron, the United Nations drew up the Sokovia Accords, a treaty that would essentially put the governing nations in charge of The Avengers. Tony, after being confronted by a mother who blamed him for the death of her son in Sokovia, is feeling guilty and sides with Ross arguing that the Avengers need to be put into check.

Naturally in a movie subtitled Civil War, not everyone agrees. There are some polite arguments and disagreements until a terrorist attack at a United Nations conference is blamed on Winter Soldier. Polite arguments quickly heat up as Cap defends his BFF and is determined to keep him concealed as they attempt to prove his innocence. With the Sokovia Accords now signed, Ross wants Captain America and his team arrested. Tony Stark asks for 36 hours to bring them in without incident. Let the Civil War begin.

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In a movie that has an almost literal army of superheroes — Captain America, Iron Man, Winter Soldier, Falcon, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Black Panther, Spider-Man, War Machine, Ant-Man, it’s almost remarkable that a movie this big can still feel intimate. True to its name, Civil War remains a movie about Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes, two friends from Brooklyn and their enduring relationship over 60 years. However, this movie is definitely not a bromantic comedy.

Captain America: Civil War includes some of the finest action in a Marvel movie, including a glorious showstopper extended battle sequence between Team Cap and Team Iron Man at a Berlin airport. It’s a magnificent and exhilarating scene that never once feels overstuffed or confused, despite the sheer enormity of the action. What could serve as the detriment to some hero-stuffed movies, actually works to the advantage of Civil War. Part of what is so delightful is how easily the characters, the majority of which we’ve come to know over the course of 13 Marvel Studios movies, interact and play off each other. Scarlet Witch using her powers to allow Captain America to super jump into a high-rise building. Hawkeye firing a miniaturized Ant-Man on an arrow inside Iron Man’s armor. Spider-Man using his webbing to wrap up…OK that one is too good to spoil here.

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After this sequence, which would be an extremely hard act to follow, directors Joe and Anthony Russo wisely dial back the scope of the film. Instead of trying to go even bigger and having our heroes fight against a giant, spiny, CGI glob, the focus shifts to our three main protagonists: Tony, Steve and Bucky. While more than one character manipulates the events of this film for their own nefarious purposes, it all comes down to these characters, ultimately Captain America vs. Iron Man, and their own beliefs, personalities, neuroses and paranoias coming out to play. Tony expresses resentment over how his father, Howard Stark, liked Steve Rogers more than he liked his own son. Steve repeats a line a pre-Super Serum Steve told a group of bullies who were beating him up in an alley (“I could do this all day”).

This is not some hastily assembled superhero brawl to sell more movie tickets; These two have been bickering and brawling over the course of two Avengers movies — one of their very first conversations includes Cap telling Stark, “Put on the suit, let’s go a few rounds.” — and that all comes to a head over the course of the film, whose finale feels earned rather than mandated by the mechanics of the plot. If the idea of watching even more superheroes punch each other after Batman vs. Superman feels like a chore, let me assure you this film could not be more dissimilar. While slightly overlong, this movie is bright, creative, insightful, affecting and, above all else, fun.

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Here’s how enjoyable Captain America: Civil War is: Much has been made about Spider-Man returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe after a few disastrous movies over at Sony Pictures. I was acutely aware and excited that Spider-Man would be making his debut in this movie alongside Captain America, Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers. Yet midway through the movie, I was so invested in the film, that when Spider-Man shows, it was a legitimate surprise. Civil War is so entertaining that I actually forgot Spider-Man was coming. It’s like enjoying a delicious meal and then the chef reminds you that was just the first course.

By the time Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 charges into theaters in 2018, who knows how massive the film’s roster of superheroes and supervillains will have expanded to, and whether that will be too much. Just a few years ago I would have argued that this film would be “too much.” However, for now, it turns out that “too much” may be just enough.

X-Men Apocalypse (2016)

The X-Men are back on the big screen for a sequel (or is it a prequel?) featuring a whole slew of characters with dual identities, giving these actors resume credits such as “Scott Summers/Cyclops,” “Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver” and of course “En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse.” I tried to avoid any real spoilers, but as always, reviews are always best when you’ve already seen the movie and can add your commentary.

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X-Men: Apocalypse is set in 1983, some 10 years after the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past. Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (the fantastic Michael Fassbender), is living in Poland under an assumed name, laboring as an iron-worker (can you imagine a better blue collar job for Magneto?) and coming home each night to his loving wife and adoring daughter. For this tortured soul, it’s as close to paradise as he’ll ever come — as long as nobody finds out who he really is and what he did in Washington 10 years ago. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything when I tell you that Erik does not spend the entire movie reading bedtime stories to his little girl. I was impressed with the powerful and even realistic tone of this story line. It could have made for a fine film all its own.

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I was surprised to find out that Oscar Isaac played Apocalypse, a man whom some believe to be the first mutant, he was so covered in makeup, prosthesis, and tubing that he was completely unrecognizable. Apocalypse awakens from the slumber of many thousand years and is shocked to find that weak, normal people have managed to assume control of the world through government, technology, and weapons. This is appalling to him and he vows to destroy the world and rule over the survivors as he rebuilds it in his twisted image.

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Meanwhile, back at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, Professor Charles Xavier (The talented James McAvoy) mentors two familiar young mutants. Scott Summers/Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), has yet to learn how to control the deadly beams that shoot from his eyes, and the telepathic Jean Grey (Sophie Turner from “Game of Thrones”) draws whispered stares from other students because they are frightened of her unbridaled abilities. Sparks are definitely flying between these two.

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There are so many more characters that received excellent treatment. The introduction of Psylocke (played by every fanboy’s dream, Olivia Munn), and the return of the Blue X-Man Group featuring young KurtWagner/Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Raven/Mystique (played by every other fanboy’s dream, Jennifer Lawrence), and Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult). Alexandra Shipp’s first turn in the iconic role of Ororo Munroe/Storm was solid, although in my opinion you average weather reporter could do better than Halle Berry.

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This isn’t the best X-Men film of the franchise, but it’s a visual spectacle, brimming with great performances. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, with characters making self-referential jokes about the third movie in a series always being the worst as they walk out of a theater having just seen Return of the Jedi. And they fully embrace the 80’s setting with TAB soda, Rubik’s Cubes, Ms. Pac-Man Arcade games, and a great in school cameo by my favorite Breakfast Clubber Ally Sheedy. Plus, it can’t hurt that it contains perhaps my favorite scene of any movie this year. As an explosion rocks Xavier’s school, Quicksilver (My new favorite young actor, Evan Peters) uses his mind bending speed to save dozens of students, all to the tune of and unforgettable Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by the Eurythmics. That one scene is worth the ticket price and is as entertaining as anything I’ve seen at the movies in a long time.

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The timing isn’t the best for X-Men: Apocalypse, coming so closely after the recent releases of Deadpool, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War. Even the hardcore geeks who like to get their Comic-Con on might be feeling a little superhero fatigue right about now. However, with an estimated haul of $8.2 million from Thursday night previews alone, perhaps the hunger has not completely been quenched. That’s a solid start and compares nicely to the $8.1 million X-Men: Days of Future Past launched with in 2014 before opening with $90.8 million over the three-day and $110.5 million for the 2014. (BoxOfficeMojo.com). Whether or not you consider yourself a comic book adaptation fan, you owe it to yourself to see Quicksilver do his thing. How long until Fox coughs up his rights and we get to see him cross over to become an Avenger? Sweet Dreams indeed.

Deadpool (2016)

It’s hard to believe that it has been two years since we saw some exciting leaked footage, and who can forget (although I wish I could) his first big screen appearance seven years ago in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Deadpool is the first R-rated mainstream comic book film adaptation. Had the aforementioned footage not been leaked (and subsequently gone completely viral) many believe that the studios would have never had the courage to make the Deadpool movie that fans really wanted. Lots of vocal and devoted fans stepped forward to pine for this movie’s creation, the most notable being its leading man. There is now a good case to be made that this will not be the last Deadpool film, much less the last adult themed comic book adaptation: This movie is legitimately good.

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Without giving too much away, you need a simple primer on the Merc with a Mouth. According to Marvel’s info sheet, Deadpool possesses a superhuman healing factor, similar to but even greater than that of the mutant Wolverine, which allows him to regenerate damaged or destroyed areas of his cellular structure at a rate far greater than that of an ordinary human. As such, he can regrow severed limbs or vital organs. This healing factor also affords Deadpool an enhanced resistance to diseases and an extended life span. Due to the presence of this superhuman healing ability, many of Deadpool’s natural physical attributes have been enhanced, granting him superhuman levels of stamina, and his natural strength, agility and reflexes have been increased to levels that are beyond the natural limits of the human body. As if that weren’t enough, Deadpool is an extraordinary hand-to-hand combatant and is skilled in multiple unarmed combat techniques. He is a master of assassination techniques, is an excellent marksman, and is highly skilled with bladed weapons.

Say what you will about this sword-wielding, gun-toting, foul-mouthed, chimichanga-loving, fourth wall-breaking anti-hero, but Tim Miller and company absolutely nailed the character in his self-titled movie. Reynolds was always the prefect actor to play Wade Wilson as is evidenced by the brief introduction we have to his character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine before that awful transformation, but Deadpool also gave Ryan Reynolds a chance to spring back from the comic book purgatory which he landed in after his Green Lantern disappointment.

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Deadpool did so much well. I was genuinely surprised by the way that it addressed my hopes and fears and still exceeded my expectations as a fanboy. In other words, I went in hoping for something appeasing and walked away having watched a genuinely good super hero movie. Here’s what the movie did particularly well:

  • The humor was almost perfect.  I use the qualifier “almost” because there were more than a couple instances when I felt like jokes were being thrown at me simply because one had not been uttered in the last few seconds. And, while some of the pop culture references hit me as a thirtysomething, I’m sure they missed the mark of an 18-year-old who may have never heard of Wham!, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, or Faulty Towers. Criticism aside, the overwhelming majority of the jokes landed well and made sense in context. They didn’t overplay the fourth wall breaking and they managed a solid mix of witty (or obscene) one liners and hilarious physical comedy. You’ll laugh a lot, and you’ll probably feel guilty about some of the laughs, unless you’re a sociopath. But a lot of them are just good fun!
  • Origin story was told well.  The movie flip-flops between past and present with obvious transitions that did not jar the narrative flow. In fact, I think choosing to tell the story non-linearly was a great move especially given that Deadpool himself is our narrator and his mind moves as quickly as his swords. We get the great origin story and get to see the suit immediately.
  • The supporting characters are handled well.  Weasel holds his own as a character with T.J. Miller’s signature brand of comedy and gives us the origin of the Deadpool moniker. Deadpool 3Blind Al and her relationship with Wilson makes sense and makes me want to see more (no pun intended). I think more could have been done to the connection between Colossus (who feels like a big jab at Green Lantern showing that a CGI character can work) and Deadpool than the implication that they’d discussed Wade’s joining the X-Men before, but the dynamic amongst that trio including Negasonic Teenage Warhead (who they completely revamped for this movie in a good way) is fantastic and it was fun watching the two X-Men go from policing Deadpool to having his back.
  • Deadpool is an anti-hero.  You see him make selfish decisions. You see him make selfless decisions. You see him play nice with the good guys. You see him do things that the good guys definitely frown upon. In no moment is his antihero quality on display more perfectly than when he’s got his nemesis, Ajax, in his hands and Colossus intervenes. Perfect depiction, perfect ending.
  • They have fun with Deadpool’s powers.  From the obvious consequences of punching Colossus bare-fisted to exploring the speed and process of his regeneration when it comes to lost limbs, the movie uses his powers as a medium for more of Deadpool’s trademark comedy. But they also do a great job of showcasing how hard it is to slow down, significantly harm, or even kill the guy. At one point he’s got a combat knife wedged into his skull and is hardly any worse for the wear.
  • The violence, while significant, is not too much.  Deadpool definitely comes by its R rating honestly. It is not a movie for minors. Nudity and language aside, the violence element was actually well managed. It was never in your face and gratuitous; instead you saw what you would expect to see when an accomplished combatant utilizes guns and swords in the melee and Deadpool kills a lot of people in this movie.

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So here’s my final verdict. Assuming you’re at least of the legal age to watch this R-rated offering, and have an open mind about murders of revenge, hired hitmen, torture, and strippers, watch it. If you are like me, you will watch it multiple times then add it to your Blu-ray collection that stays out of the reach of your children’s fingers. All in all, as a stand-alone, origin story of a controversial but extremely popular character, they knocked this out of the park and it should be counted as one of the best of an ever growing list of great Marvel movies. I for one can’t wait to see Deadpool’s next adventure.