Bloodshot is very Vin Diesel and in parts very outdated, but what it offers more than the films already written about in this list is stakes and at least the attempt to question morality and politics, not to mention that it upends expectations.
The harsh red lighting of some of Bloodshot’s visuals is perhaps the standout aspect of the film from afar, but beneath the wafer-thin aesthetic hook is a mixed bag that includes poor performances, terrifyingly bad accents (Lamorne Morris’ so-called English accent is worse than Don Cheadle’s in the Ocean’s films) and a lot of Vin Diesel pouting, but also some genuinely intriguing narrative twists and turns, a unique and inspired base premise, and some high quality CG-fused fight scenes.
Bloodshot is very much a self-conscious rip of better films like The Matrix and Edge of Tomorrow – not that this fact makes it good, but it certainly doesn’t make Bloodshot the worst of the year either.
2. Wonder Woman 1984
Despite all the hope that Wonder Woman 1984 would come around to save us from the almost complete absence of blockbuster films in 2020, the sequel to the billion dollar 2017 Wonder Woman was something of a mess; an at times dumbfounding devolution from its much better and more inspired counterpart.
Wonder Woman 1984 felt every bit the DC movie that it is. It felt corporate. The politics were simple and mostly contradictory, story threads introduced and forgotten about, filmmaking conventions a part of the journey one minute and never to be seen again. The music was good, and it hit all of two nostalgia bumps that will put smiles on faces, but everything in Wonder Woman 1984 felt forced and most scathingly weak.
There’s no doubt that a $200million film such as this was always going to look better than its much cheaper counterparts, and the cast here is as fun as always, but the truth is that Wonder Woman 1984 was a significant step down in quality from the first film and arguably DC/Warner Bros’ worst release since Justice League.
There’s fun to be had here, and if you were invested in the first movie you’ll likely find some level of emotional attachment too, but ultimately Wonder Woman 1984 wouldn’t have made the top two in a list such as this in almost any other year.
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1. Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
In 2020, Birds of Prey is incomparable in the comic book film sphere.
The best part about Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey (or Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn to give it its original title), is that it is loud, it is proud and it is unashamed to be everything that it is; just like Harley Quinn herself.
Margot Robbie is nothing short of magnetic, and her embodiment of the role speaks of not only her qualities in front of the camera but her increased influence behind it; the character never seeming to deviate from the mission statement set out at the beginning of the film, but her evolution being one worth empathising with and understanding nonetheless.
Visually, Birds of Prey is leaps and bounds beyond the other films on this list, but it is also a much richer experience, delving more deeply into its themes, its characters and its shameless riot grrrl mantra that it stands up to so many of the best comic book adaptations from the past five years and is the single great comic book movie of 2020.
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2020 will be best remembered for things outside of the comic book movie sub-genre, and rightly so, but within it we have seen a continued changing of the guard; a genuine shake-up of the status quo. Whether the changes forged here have any kind of impact in the years to come remains to be seen, but this relatively sparse year will stand out from the rest regardless.
Which of the five films listed here has been your favourite comic book movie of 2020? Let us know in the comments and be sure to follow The Film Magazine on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with more articles like this one.