March Madness of Superhero Movies

Dante Troina
Staff Writer

Many brackets were made and broken last month, but not even one is more important than the hypothetical bracket of superhero films. Doing a solid forty minutes of research to come up with the seeds, and being faced with the question of which film is better, the fan of both superheros and film in me has never been happier while being put to a challenge.

Method of Seeding
The seeds for this tournament are based off numbers, combinations of the IMDB score, Rotten Tomatoes Meter, fan following for the film, and box-office revenue all went into consideration when forming the seeds. The Dark Knight is the top dog here, having the fourth best rating for any movie ever on IMDB, a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, and being a billion-dollar box office movie. Films such as Deadpool and X-Men: First Class received lower seeds, while Deadpool has a cult following, it was reviewed as a good-but-not-great film, whereas First Class was reviewed well, but didn’t have a huge box office or cultural impact.

Matchups:

1) The Dark Knight (2008)
16) Thor (2011)

8) Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
9) The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

4) Spider-Man 2 (2004)
13) Deadpool (2016)

5) Captain America: Civil War (2016)
12) Watchmen (2009)

6) Logan (2017)
11) X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

3) Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014)
14) Doctor Strange (2016)

7) Iron Man (2008)
10) Batman Begins (2005)

2) The Avengers (2012)
15) X-Men: First Class (2011)

Sweet 16 Matchups
Thor is good, but The Dark Knight obviously cleans it up in the matchup. The higher seed wins almost every matchup, with the two exceptions being Deadpool and Batman Begins. The first thirty and final twenty minutes of Begins is what overpowers the original Iron Man; both of which are under-seeded in my eyes. Deadpool beats Spider-Man 2 because of its re-watchability and stronger action sequences. Guardians of the Galaxy and Logan both win close matchups against films that are arguably as good as them.

Matchups:

1) The Dark Knight (2008)
8) Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

13) Deadpool (2016)
5) Captain America: Civil War (2016)

6) Logan (2017)
3) Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

10) Batman Begins (2005)
2) The Avengers (2012)

Elite 8 Matchups
The Avengers in this tournament is comparable to Duke in the NCAA Tournament; an over-placed seed with a lot of style, but not that much substance. Don’t get me wrong, Avengers is a solid, fun, action packed movie, but the middle hour of setup feels like an eternity, whereas Batman Begins sets a pace from the start and all around out does Avengers in pulling together as one movie. Ask anyone to recite the plotline of Avengers, and all they’ll bring up is the crazy end fight, ‘cause it’s cool!’ The Dark Knight blows past Guardians of the Galaxy, because as much as the mainstream audience loves it, it’s just a good movie with a couple solid one-liners, and some above average action sequences, not to mention that the villain is complete garbage when compared to Heath Ledger’s Joker. The Winter Soldier squeezes past Logan, because of its faster pace and better plot; and Deadpool barely beats Civil War, because of its simplicity and enjoyment factors, whereas Civil War has a tone that can feel unnatural at times.

Matchups:

1) The Dark Knight (2008)
13) Deadpool (2016)

3) Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
10) Batman Begins (2005)

Final Four Matchups
Batman Begins’ luck has run out. If I were making my four best superhero movies, the first of The Dark Knight Trilogy would’ve been an outsider to the list, but, just like in the NCAA Tournament, there are seeds that get lucky with matchups and win over higher ranked seeds that it is better than. But The Winter Soldier is not overmatched by the underdog; the pacing of the film is key, action is used perfectly to advance the plot, and the villainous Winter Soldier keeps the film thrilling throughout. The thrill ride that is The Winter Soldier is just too much for Begins to handle. The other Batman movie on this list wins sparingly though, Deadpool is a great movie, but The Dark Knight is an all-time, once in a lifetime kind of movie. Knight wins again because of its villains, and the better, more broad plotline.

Matchup:

1) The Dark Knight
3) Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Final Matchup
The Dark Knight was given the number one seed in this tournament for a reason. Its 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, 8.9 on IMDB, billion-dollar box office showing, and Oscar win are very hard to argue against. The one movie that is capable to stand a chance against that on this bracket is The Winter Soldier. The second Captain America film has been given much praise for its complex plot and more personal story than the first. Having Bucky Barnes as a villain also creates an internal conflict that few superhero movies have. The final conclusion, however, is that The Dark Knight is just too good for The Winter Soldier. Captain America’s second crusade seems like a story trying to emulate the themes, tone, and plot of The Dark Knight. Batman’s war with The Joker, the mob, and his city itself doesn’t just make for one of the best superhero films, it makes for one of the best films of all time.

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