10:15am PT by Graeme McMillan
Marvel vs. DC: Which 2016 Superhero vs. Superhero Movie Will Triumph?
2016 is still more than a month away, but there's already a theme emerging for what's going to be hot this spring: superheroes punching each other.
The release of the first trailer for Captain America: Civil War this week underscored that next year is all about superhero-on-superhero action, with the Marvel movie completing a trilogy of superhero flicks where the heroes get to fight other heroes, following up on February's Deadpool (Deadpool vs. Colossus) and March's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (The name's a bit of a giveaway). Given this glut, it's worth asking: which movie is likely to offer the best bang for your superhero slugfest buck?
Round One: Big Name Match-Up
When judging which superhero vs. superhero movie to pledge allegiance to, it's worth considering which superheroes are fighting. Aside from X-Men fans, for example, does the match-up of Colossus and Deadpool really mean anything to anyone? At least Captain America: Civil War has heroes people are familiar with get into tussles. However, Warners' follow-up to Man of Steel really takes the gold here: Superman and Batman are both so iconic that the idea of seeing these particular heroes even just share the big screen is exciting enough, never mind fighting each other. There's a reason their tiff is in the title.
Round Two: My Enemy! My Friend!
As anyone familiar with the comic book trope knows, part of the joy of seeing superheroes fight is knowing that it's tearing them up inside to have to punch their friend over and over again for what they believe is the right reason. While the trailers suggest that both Superman and Batman are acting in the interests of their own particular definitions of "justice," it'll be the first time they've met, meaning that there'll be little internal conflict to match the external one. Similarly, Deadpool and Colossus aren't really friends, so there's little melodrama there. This is where the trailer for Captain America: Civil War triumphs easily — just look at Robert Downey Jr.'s face when he tells Cap that they used to be friends! Look at the heartbreak!
Round Three: The Novelty Factor
Let's be honest: it's a big strike against Civil War that the idea of Iron Man and Cap fighting isn't anything new. Watch either Avengers or Avengers: Age of Ultron to see the two butting heads, with the former also adding in a Thor/Cap/Iron Man fight to underscore that Marvel heroes really like to fight amongst themselves. At least Batman v Superman is the first time we've seen DC's heroes fight on the big screen, even if fans have seen those two heroes fight against each other a bunch of times in the comics, not least of which in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, which seems to have visually inspired Batman v Superman's showdown.
Unexpectedly, this category might be Deadpool's time to shine. Not only will his punch-up with Colossus offer a pairing never-before-seen on the big screen, but it'll also offer a hero-vs-hero fight wherein one of the participants knows he's in a movie and can comment on the fight directly to the audience. Beat that, Civil War.
Round Four: Quantity, Not Quality
Oh, let's not beat around the bush: this one is Captain America: Civil War's, without a doubt. Deadpool's intra-hero slugfest is but one episode in a larger story, and no matter how big the fight between Man of Steel and Dark Knight will be — and I have no doubt that it'll be almost absurdly epic — even that simply can't compare with Marvel bringing out pretty much the entire Avengers cast, plus new heroes Black Panther and Spider-Man, to trade quips and punches onscreen for two hours.
And The Winner Is…
Ultimately, it depends what you want from your superhero-punching-superhero movies. Iconic heroes facing down each other and their own internal demons? Wisecracking guys in costumes switching between punches and punchlines? All those guys whose movies you've been paying to see over the last few years grimacing at each other and feeling almost teenaged evils of angst? It's all out there, if you want it.
View a complete ranking of Marvel movies here.