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The 10 Best (and 5 Worst) Superhero Properties of 2017

We watched a lot of superhero media in 2017, from TV to movies to animated films to streaming TV and we discussed it all on Talk From Superheroes every week for your listening pleasure. To put the year in perspective we decided to take a look back at the best and worst superhero properties we reviewed in 2017, and even we were surprised by the results. A lot of the best stuff turned out to be the shows and movies that almost no one was talking about and the worst stuff was honestly no surprise at all.

The Best:


10. Agents of SHIELD

We love Agents of SHIELD. It’s a consistently great show that gets better every season and in 2017 it was as good as it’s ever been. Not only did 2017 bring us everything the Marvel movies won’t, like a dope Ghost Rider, the Framework and LMD’s, but the action on SHIELD remained amazing, the humor is solid and every character is interesting, well-rounded and capable of packing an emotional punch, not to mention being one of the most racially and gender diverse shows on TV. On TFSH we constantly lament how no one ever seems to talk about this great, great show that continues to do everything right.

Diana: I feel like this is the superhero show that needs to be talked about more. It’s a great show, the action is phenomenal. I see articles about female characters in sci-fi all the time and they never mention the fact that Agents of SHIELD has three female leads and they’re all badass. The two best fighters on the team are Skye and May, they do all the physical work. And Jemma does half of the science with Fitz. This is just such a strong female led show, the characters are so interesting, and I feel like no one ever talks about it.

So here we are again, talking about it, because it’s freaking great and everyone should be watching it.


9. War For the Planet of the Apes

We’re as surprised as anyone that one of the best movies of the year in terms of action and emotional impact was about a bunch of talking apes, but that’s exactly what we’re saying. The three modern Apes movie might just go down in history as one of the most consistently good trilogies ever, and if they don’t, they should. Not only do we love the action, the effects and the emotional journey War For the Planet of the Apes take us on, but it also shows great respect for the source material by filling in plot holes in the original movies as we explained on TFSH.

Diana: I really like how the new Apes movies explain why humans got dumb because it’s a plot hole from the 70’s movies they never answered, and I have a theory that all of the Apes movies ever are in the same universe. So the new movies are the original timeline of how apes got smart and humans got dumb, then Charlton Heston gets to the future where apes are smart, then two smart apes take his rocket to the past and create an altered timeline where smart apes are created in a different way and that’s what the 70’s movies are. Andrew: I get you. What about the Mark Wahlburg movie though? Diana: That’s a movie within the universe that the apes made as like a docu-drama about their history. Andrew: Makes sense.

Okay, maybe we just forget the Mark Wahlburg one.


8. Kingsman: The Golden Circle

The sequel to 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service felt like it came and went without much fanfare, but we’re here to tell you that the sequel lives up to the original, if not improving on it. The action remains bonkers, the emotional impacts hit hard and the comedy lands almost every time (there is one very gross prolonged joke we didn’t enjoy involving placing a tracker on a woman in the lewdest way possible, but we’ll let them have one slip-up). The addition of Channing Tatum to the cast as a Statesman was predictably delightful, even if he was grossly underused, and the American agents weren’t quite as spy-like as their British counter-parts.

Diana: The American agents weren’t the stealthiest guys, cause they had weapons like baseball bats that were hiding minesweepers, and that’s not how a hiding function works. Andrew: No, you hid something less threatening into something that’s threatening. No one’s threatened by a metal detector, but if you just walked in some place clutching a bat people would say this is a problem. You need something a little stealthier, and the Statesmen also just had a lot of regular guns not hidden in things. Diana: I liked that, it felt very true to who the Statesman would be, guys who are like, “this is America, we don’t hide our guns, our guns are just guns. We do have to hide our metal detectors but we don’t have to hide our guns.”

7. Power Rangers

Power Rangers is another surprise entry on this list but when we looked at everything we watched this year we had to admit we both absolutely loved this movie. It was a mix of campy and serious drama that shouldn’t have worked but somehow came together in a kaleidoscope of awesome. In the same scene that Rita Repulsa looks for a Krispy Kreme she also straight up murders one of the Power Rangers and it’s a wild ride of fun. The rangers themselves are also a delightful mix of emotions, discussing real life issues like sexuality, being on the autism spectrum, and having a sick loved one, while bonding and being realistic but fun teenagers. The dino-bots may have looked a little wonky, but overall we say Go Go (See) Power Rangers

Diana: I loved all the rangers but for awhile I kind of hated Kimberly. There’s a scene where they’re all telling their sad backstories and Kimberly wouldn’t tell hers and it’s like, Trini just came out to you guys, Zack’s got a dying mom and Kim’s like, I can’t talk about the fact that I shared a naked photo of my friend around. Come on! Andrew: It kind of makes sense that she didn’t open up when you consider what everyone else is sharing are inherently things that they don’t have any control over and that they shouldn’t be ashamed about, whether it’s Trini’s sexuality or Zack’s sick mother, whatever it is, they shouldn’t feel ashamed about who they are or where they come from, but Kimberly, those were her actions that she decided to take that brought shame to someone else’s life. Kimberly should be ashamed about how she acted, so I think that really made sense.

This movie is surprisingly deep guys. Check it out.


6. Netflix’s The Punisher

The latest Netflix series wasn’t for everyone, and we totally get why, some people found it too slow, others too violent, but we thought it was just the right mix of vengeful justice and serious explorations of the aftermath of violence and its effect on soldiers. The plot of the show may have been simple but that made it more powerful. When Frank is betrayed it cuts deep and when Frank makes connections with people it feels like a hard-earned victory. The show is 90% drama and action, but the 10% of comedy in each episode is strong and impactful enough to make Frank feel human and like someone who used to be more complete, making his loss feel even greater. Basically, we laughed, we cried and we loved it for being a show that knew what it was.

Andrew: With Frank’s character Bernthal is doing such a good job cause even those first few episodes where he is that kind of frozen, catatonic, detached from society man, you’re right when you bring up that it could come off as mopey. With a lesser actor, that could come off as like “Oh man, I got nothing left to do.” But instead it feels like intensity and I think it all has to do with Bernthal’s performance.

5. The Tick

Yet another show that didn’t get the attention it deserved this year, The Tick is available on Amazon and you should check it out. The creator of The Tick, Ben Edlund, has been involved with all three Tick television shows and we have mad respect for this man. When people were begging him to basically remake the 2001 show starring Patrick Warburton he said no, I already did that show, this is something new, and it’s great. The action is over the top, the villains are fleshed out (and sometimes terrifying), the comedy is laugh out loud but the stakes still feel real. This version of The Tick feels like something wholly new and honestly, something really special and inspiring.

Andrew: Every character in this show has these small little moments, even the nameless henchmen, this show acknowledges that henchmen are actual human beings who think and say things and have their own little world happening. They’re not important people but they have their own little world and I love that this show kind of goes into that every once in awhile they’re like, well we have to address this. Diana: Yes, so this is a show focusing on the characters who don’t normally get fleshed out, like the sidekick and the villains, and is really saying everyone in the world is important and everyone has their own lives going on and everyone can affect the story in a meaningful way, and this is a comedy superhero show and it’s actually some of the most motivational superhero content I think I’ve ever seen. And it’s lovely.

4. Game of Thrones

Of course Game of Thrones. Things are bigger and better than ever in Westeros and we kind of love it. It’s weird that video game quick travel suddenly appeared, but it is nice to finally see all these characters we’ve watched for years meet and interact. We’ve got more battles, dragons, character interactions and answers than we’ve ever had before and it’s going to be a long wait for the series finale in 2019. But maybe the greatest part of GoT is the endless hours that can be spent discussing theories and the meaning of certain elements with fellow fans, such as our theory about the meaning of dire wolves.

Diana: The dire wolves have not turned out to be as important as I thought they were going to be. Andrew: Well the only two dire wolves left are Nymeria and Ghost. Ghost has been missing all season so I’m not sure if he’s at the Wall or Winterfell but he’s somewhere out there alive at least. The reason I’m curious about the dire wolf situation is that the dire wolf is the sigil of House Stark and I think each wolf is meant to represent their owner’s familial tie to the Stark family, so whenever a dire wolf dies that’s when that character either dies in real life, or as a Stark. Even when you look at the character of Bran, when his dire wolf died that was when he ceased to be Bran Stark and started being the Three-Eyed-Raven. Same thing with Arya, she has become the many-faced woman to the point that her own dire wolf no longer recognizes her completely. Diana: I love what you’re saying, but I took that scene to mean more that Arya’s dire wolf is out in the wild, much like she is, but her wolf found family again which is why Arya went back to Winterfell. Andrew: Ah shit, I love that, that’s totally on point. Diana: So following that logic we can figure out where Ghost is, which is out there somewhere fucking his aunt. Andrew: Mystery solved.

Discuss amongst yourselves until 2019.


3. Wonder Woman

We wanted to give Diana the top spot of the year, but while Wonder Woman and her supporting characters are wonderfully sincere and fleshed out and Themyscira and the Amazons were amazing, Diana is dragged down to spot number three because the villain half of her movie was sorely lacking. Madame Masque, Ludendorf and the third act villain reveal were cardboard cutouts of characters that in no way matched the beauty and depth of the hero half of the film. Still, we loved how Diana is strong and smart but also naïve and learning about the world. Not to mention her walk through No Man’s Land is hands down the best scene in superhero cinema this year (if not ever). That’s not to say we still don’t have some questions about Amazonian society though.

Andrew: In Themyscira they all seem like warriors, but they’re also a fully functioning society. So someone has to make bread, someone has to do every functional job like building houses and aqueducts. Diana: Actually I think Themyscira is like a sublet they got from Zeus, it came fully furnished, there’s pipes, housing is set up, there’s furniture. After all it’s Paradise Island. It wouldn’t be a paradise without pipes. Andrew: So Zeus’s dying act was to give them their own island and Hippolyta was like, “Wait, fully furnished?” Diana: Yeah, he’s basically their landlord.

2. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Boy does it feel good to have Spider-Man in the MCU but it feels even better to have an absolutely great Spider-Man in a phenomenal Spider-Man movie. This film had it all, laughs, heart, action sequences, a great villain dynamic and, perhaps best of all, NO ORIGIN STORY. Director Marc Webb really looked at Spider-Man and figured out all the best pieces and what people in 2017 wanted to see from Spidey, and he gave it to us. This is a Spider-Man we were rooting for while also being very aware he could (and did) fail at certain aspects of his job. This is the youngest Spider-Man we’ve ever had on screen and we are looking forward to seeing Peter grow in many more movies to come, because this Spider-Man is his truest self.

Andrew: This movie really finds the heart of Spider-Man which is how Spidey finds his allies in the city. Spider-Man has this low-key ability to earn everyone’s respect one by one and not with a grand gesture and he’s not  trying to do it, it’ll just incidentally occur slowly over time and he’s kind of chipping away at the public’s perception of him which is really sweet and innocent and really works for this character and they really showcase that in this movie. Diana: They do, and it’s almost subtle and something I’ve always liked about Spider-Man is that he works very hard to save his villains. He always goes up to his villains and says, please let me help you, especially someone who’s been changed into a monster or something like Lizard or Sandman. He’s always trying to save his villains and do the right thing. He bonds with people by relating to them and letting them know they’re from the same place. And after he fights Michael Keaton they both lay next to each other and Michael Keaton kind of laughs and is like, good fight man. Respect. Which is nice because I think a lot of Marvel heroes lack a connection with their villains but it’s a really important part of who Spider-Man is.

1. Thor Ragnarok

If you had asked us (or anyone else really) what the best superhero movie of 2017 was going to be, absolutely no one would have said Thor, and if you did we would have laughed in your face. Don’t get us wrong, we love Thor, but his movies have kind of been the forgettable middle children of the MCU … UNTIL NOW. Holy crap was Thor Ragnarok great. Every. Single. Part. There’s almost no way to not enjoy Thor Ragnarok, unless maybe you loved Thor with long hair.  This movie was probably funnier than Spider-Man Homecoming, which is a feat in itself, and though it may have given up some emotional impact in exchange for laughs, the spectacle of the film as a whole made up for it. Returning characters Thor, Loki and Hulk have never shone brighter, and the dynamic between the three in this light hearted setting is delightful. And Hela is probably the most interesting and best-looking villain Marvel’s had since Loki, and Loki is in this movie too, so it’s a double win for all of us.

Andrew: Valkyrie is such a great other side of the coin to Hela’s character if you think of them as kind of discarded dogs of war and once war time is finished you’re no longer needed and society rejects you. So we have one person who’s seeking out vengeance against the nation-state that betrayed her and one who has become like a private contractor, it’s the story of two people post-military service dealing with their trauma in different ways. Ian: The whole movie is kind of a treatise on PTSD. Diana: It really seems like it is. Which is wild. This is one of the best comedies I’ve ever seen but is also a deep dive into what it feels like to be thrown away after war. That’s oddly cool and impressive.

Honorable Mention: Legion

We left Legion off our main list because we only reviewed it on our Patreon exclusive episode of the podcast, but please know that we loved it! But we have to mention, this show is weird! But it’s weird in all the best ways. This is by leaps and bounds the most visually interesting and original show on television, and it’s bolstered by amazing directors and actors, a slowly unveiled mystery, and some explosive action scenes. It never stops moving, is always interesting, the powers are cool, the direction is phenomenal. It’s something new and really well done that you should give a shot to, cause if it’s your thing, you’re gonna love it (as long as you can handle hearing the name “David” being said a thousand times an episode).

Andrew: This show has its faults but I still want to give it a 10 out of 10 because I think this is breath-taking and groundbreaking and yes not everything is perfect but there is no way it could be when you are taking this many chances and risks and I admire the chances and risks and bold new ways to do television.

The Worst


5. Batman and Harley Quinn

The only word we could come up with to describe this disastrous animated movie was icky. We felt icky watching it, the characters acted icky, the dialogue was icky, it was all just icky. This movie couldn’t decide whether it was a sexy film noir, a crude comedy full of fart jokes, or a light-hearted romp and it suffered for it. Low points include a tied up Nightwing having sex with Harley who comments on his erection and later threatens to pee herself if he doesn’t stop tickling her. The few moments of actual humor and a genuinely nice epilogue between Harley and Ivy are bracketed by gross-out jokes or nonsense that we wish we’d never seen.

Andrew: There are a lot of moments of high sexuality in this movie and I think that was a poor choice because kids love Harley and this is a kid’s movie. Diana: And the art choices were bad, like there was one scene where Harley’s butt basically had another butt on it. Andrew: She had too many butts, but that’s how I like my ladies. Diana: That’s how Bruce Timm likes them too.

4. Alien Covenant

It’s no secret that we weren’t fans of Prometheus and Ridley Scott didn’t manage to win us back with Alien Covenant. This movie had some admittedly great performances, specifically from Michael Fassbender, who makes a point of starring in awful movies lately perhaps just so he can be the best part of them. The rest of the film is some nonsense about the android David creating the Aliens with tweezers in a cave and there is neither humor, tension or entertainment to be found in most of the film. We walked away wondering what the point of any of it had been.

Diana: This movie is Ridley Scott trying to recreate Alien and failing in most regards. Andrew: Trying to recreate it but with no understanding about what people liked about the first one. Diana: Yes! For example, he’s like, the first movie was an allegory for rape so this movie will have two big rape analogies. But not subtly anymore, and not analogies, this movie just had actual rape elements. Andrew: And that’s not how metaphors work!

3. The Mummy

Tom Cruise’s The Mummy was a bad movie, but it was that rare kind of awful where you feel kinda bad for the movie because it wasn’t quite done and nobody cared. The audio mix is awful, there are huge logic flaws in the script, the comedy is flat, the action is forgettable and it’s obvious that they only had Tom Cruise for about two weeks of filming as entire sequences are Cruise alone with the other actors in a separate frame. This movie was meant to launch Universal’s Monster Franchise and we have to imagine that’s as dead as The Mummy herself now. And to think, this movie was so close to doing something right.

Diana: So this was a terrible movie, but I really liked that the bad guy was an all powerful lady and Tom Cruise was this chosen one character she’s after that was going to bring evil to the world, because this is a role usually reserved for female characters. And this movie was the first time I’ve ever seen that trope flipped where a dude gets treated like a vessel for evil. I wish this was a better movie to have seen this role reversal happen, but I did like it. Andrew: I do like the role reversal of him being the vessel for evil, but it’s also not a reversal in that he isn’t saved, this power does come into him and he overcomes it and ends up being a superhero in a multi-billion dollar franchise in a series of movies that are coming out. Diana: Ugh you’re right! That’s such a dude thing to do! To say that when this power is in a woman it’s evil but suddenly when it’s in Tom Cruise he’s a hero. Nothing has been subverted here. The one thing I liked about this movie is awful, never mind.

2. Iron Fist

Where do we even start with Iron Fist, perhaps Marvel’s first real failure (that somehow got a season 2). The acting is mediocre at best, the storytelling non-existent, the show looks cheap and perhaps worst of all, Iron Fist, the guy who should be hands down the best fighter in the entire Marvel Universe, is the worst fighter we’ve ever seen. He loses almost every fight he’s in, sometimes to regular human dudes who didn’t even know he was coming. In a long list of problems, this is the one that hurts the most. But that doesn’t mean the other problems weren’t terrible, as we discussed on the podcast.

Diana: From the perspective of the people of K’un Lun, Danny’s the villain of this show. And rightly so! Danny is a monster. Andrew: Danny is not a good person. He came to K’un Lun, learned they have a magic power that you’re only allowed to have if you swear you will guard K’un Lun with it, so he takes the oath, gets the magic power that only one person can have, then he’s guarding the gate to K’un Lun and HE JUST LEAVES! Doesn’t tell anyone, he doesn’t have a big reason, he doesn’t accidentally fall off a cliff and he can’t get back in. He just steals their magic power and leaves them unguarded. What a dick.

1. Inhumans

Marvel television struck out for the second time with this stinker of a television show from Scott Buck, who was also the showrunner of Iron Fist, meaning he simultaneously had the most successful and worst year of possibly any showrunner ever. Inhumans was equal parts boring, cheap, poorly acted, lacking any story whatsoever and made by people who didn’t seem to care about any of it. Every episode felt like filler and as an audience member we never quite knew what the stakes were or why we should care. Also Karnak spends three episodes as a drug dealer and Gorgon has a Point Break-esque side story. That sounds fun, and if you’ve been drinking and have someone to watch the show with, it kind of is, but it sure wasn’t meant to be that way.

Andrew: The theme of this show seems to be that everyone in Hawaii is completely insane and willing to do absolutely anything for every Inhuman they meet. So most of the Inhumans are dicks and all of the humans are incredibly kind, patient, accepting and instantly willing to sacrifice their lives for them and it doesn’t make any sense. Diana: I’m a Canadian lady, I’ve lived in Canada forever, and I’ve never met people this nice in my life. I don’t know what’s going on in Hawaii that everyone is so chill and supportive that they’re just like, “We’ll die for you complete stranger, no problem.” It’s baffling. Even the weed dealers are willing to help Karnak. Andrew: Well, two out of three weed dealers. Diana: Two out of three weed dealers ain’t bad.

Listen to the episode here:


Honorable Mention: Star Trek Discovery

When we talked about Star Trek Discovery on Talk From Superheroes we were reviewing up to episode 4, and boy did we hate it. Diana is a life-long trekkie and this new show lacking any sense of empathy, compassion or hope was not our cup of tea. The Klingons got too much screen time, no characters were likeable and Michael Burnham was made out to be the saviour of every episode like some terrible amalgam of House and Wesley Crusher. We put this in as an honourable mention only because pretty much right after episode 4 the show improved greatly. With the addition of Lieutenant Tyler the show started to gain a sense of humor, the rest of the cast was eventually given the spotlight in stories, Captain Lorca was shown to actually care about saving people and not just winning battles and there was a fun time travel episode. By the mid-season finale it started to feel like classic trek and we’re excited for its return in January, but that doesn’t mean the first episodes aren’t still really, really bad.

Diana:  I have a lot of problems with Star Trek Discovery, mainly that the world is garbage right now. The real world that we live in I mean. I’m sad every day and when I heard there was a new Star Trek I thought, “Oh my god, a hopeful, moral, beautiful show that will be an hour of light in my life every week, thank you,” and then I turn it on and it’s just secrets, and darkness, and lies, and anger. There’s no hope or optimism in this show, and it’s not what I want but I also don’t think it’s what the world needs right now. There is no optimism in this show, except for Michelle Yeoh’s character, she felt like she was Star Trek and she’s dead. Andrew: I one hundred percent agree with that. She felt like a reimagining of Picard. Diana: She felt like a fully fleshed out classic Star Trek show captain and leader and exactly what I was looking for. Then they killed her in episode 2 and all hope left this show with her and I’ve despised it ever since.”

So those are our picks for the best and worst of the year. Agree? Disagree? Did we miss the wildly obvious? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us.

To listen to our full episodes on any of these entries check out Talk From Superheroes on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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