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Week 12: Power Poll: Superhero Movies

Look, It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, it’s a Superhero Movie!

'Justice League' Photocall Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

We’re one week away from the B1G Championship game, and it’s rivalry week. Arch-rivals are currently fighting over an Old Oaken Bucket in the Hoosier state, an Axe that has spent far too much time in the Badger state, and Abe Lincoln’s hat between Northwestern and Illinois. Also, there’s OSU vs Michigan. It’s the last hurrah for our heroes on the gridiron before they venture to the Playoffs (a lot of things have to go right for wisconsin to get in), bowl games, or home for Christmas.

Ok, I’m not good at segues, so it’s time to compare Big Ten teams to Superhero Movies!

I’ve been reading comic books since 1992 and absolutely love these movies.

(Graphs courtesy of Nate Petersen)

Ohio State (#1)

214 Points. 7 first place votes , 0 last place votes. Last week: #1

The Dark Knight

Christopher Nolan’s second outing directing his take on DC’s Dark Knight was a smashing success. You have Batman facing off against his greatest enemy, a (posthumous) Academy Award-winning performance from Heath Ledger as the Joker that was iconic and completely terrifying. Aaron Eckhart as Two Face was great too, much better than the Joel Schumacher (more on him later) almost criminal misuse of Tommy Lee Jones earlier. (Tangent: Schumacher really should’ve used Billy Dee Williams, but Joel Schumacher doing nice things cinematically is like Illinois having nice things in football...)

I also loved the fact Chicago stood in as Gotham City again (after Batman Begins). I love my hometown, and Nolan did a great job showcasing downtown and other neighborhoods as Gotham City.

Last week Ohio State pummeled poor Illinois, 52-14.

wisconsin (#2)

214 Points. 9 first place votes , 0 last place votes. Last week: #2


Blame my colleague who voted wisconsin 4th (you can guess on that in a poll). That threw the standard deviation off.

Avengers (2012)

Marvel Entertainment (now Disney) for various reasons completely surpasses Warner Brothers (owners of DC Comics) when it comes to cinematic world building. Iron Man (more on that soon), The Incredible Hulk (with Ed Norton in 2008), Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: the First Avenger were excellent lead-ins to what I consider to be the epitome of universe building. A team of disparate heroes coming together to fight one guy’s evil brother and his borrowed alien army. They kicked ass, had fun and make a very enjoyable movie. Also, Mark Ruffalo is vastly better as the Hulk than Ed Norton.

Last week wisconsin defeated unranked Michigan 24-10

Penn State (#3)

193 Points. 0 first place votes , 0 last place votes. Last week: #3

Wonder Woman

Audiences waited way too long for the most recognizable female superhero to get her first feature film, however director Patty Jenkins knocked it out of the park directing Gal Gadot as Diana, Princess of Themyscira in this year’s Wonder Woman from Warner Brothers.

After she stole the show in Batman vs Superman after preventing Batman’s death by Doomsday’s heat vision (and joining Superman and Batman in killing Doomsday) you’d figure she’d have a great solo outing, right?

She had an outstanding solo outing!

The action was top-notch, the chemistry between Chris Pine (playing American spy Steve Trevor) and Gadot was great, and who amongst wasn’t inspired when Diana took matters into her own hands in No Man’s land and the town right after?

Last week Penn State defeated Nebraska 56-44.

Michigan State (#4)

167 Points. 0 first place votes , 0 last place votes. Last week: #6

Iron Man

Robert Downey, Jr did an outstanding job playing alcoholic playboy/genius inventor/horndog/arms dealer Tony Stark as a businessman who gets captured by terrorists (in league with his business partner Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges)). Stark had to save his own life by constructing a magnet to keep shrapnel away from his heart and fooling the terrorists by promising missiles but actually making a suit of armor to escape. Stark, once back in his lab, makes an amazing suit of armor, deals with the terrorists and Stane and becomes Iron Man.

This movie was a joy to watch, and after I saw it, I felt an urge to build something. Some people custom build hot-rods in their garages. Some people make arduinos do crazy things. Tony Stark built a suit of armor that saved his life and also allowed him to become a hero. This movie was inspiring and awesome. It was an excellent lead-in to the Avengers.

Last week Michigan State defeated Maryland 17-7.

Northwestern (#5)

166 Points. 0 first place votes , 0 last place votes. Last week: #5


There’ve been a lot of superhero movies since Tim Burton released Batman in 1989, and especially since Blade in 1998 started the modern era. However, we’ve seen a lot of these movies, and after a while you can see the same patterns and laugh at them for being ridiculous.

Luckily, Marvel Entertainment has Wade Wilson, the Merc with a mouth, a guy who know’s he’s in a comic book movie and joyfully and gleefully breaks the fourth wall to have fun and kick ass. I’ve read a bunch of Deadpool comics over the years, and this movie exceeded my expectations. It also helped that Ryan Reynolds, after the look of Deadpool in the comics was compared to Ryan Reynolds mixed with a Shar-Pei, advocated and championed this movie with the funniest promotional campaign I’ve ever seen.

If you haven’t seen this movie, just go rent it and prepare to laugh your ass off.

Last week Northwestern utterly immolated the vile Gopher Menace 39-0.

Michigan (#6)

149 Points. 0 first place votes , 0 last place votes. Last week: #4

Batman Begins

I almost put Tim Burton’s Batman from 1989 in this spot, but there was one thing about that classic movie that always left me asking for more: the Joker asking “where did he get those wonderful toys?”. Also, how did Bruce Wayne become Batman?

This movie more than answered those questions, and was a joy to watch. I liked Ra’s Al Ghul training Bruce Wayne in martial arts and ninjutsu, and Bruce Wayne reclaiming his inheritance to raid Wayne Enterprises’ armory to get the parts needed to become Batman.

I also liked how Chicago shone as Gotham City in this movie. I’m fairly certain that Bruce Wayne trained with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind to fight crime and avenge his parents.

OK, that might be one of the few segues that work in this article.

Last week Michigan lost to wisconsin 10-24.

Purdue (#7)

117 Points. 0 first place votes , 0 last place votes. Last week: #9

X2: X-Men United

I think this is the best out of all the X-Men movies. The original cast has already been established in the first movie, and a figure from Wolverine’s past (General Stryker) has a horrifying plan to deal with the mutant problem once and for all. Magneto attempts to deal with the Human problem once and for all, but is foiled.

Last week Purdue defeated Iowa 24-15

Indiana (#8)

111 Points. 0 first place votes , 0 last place votes. Last week: #4

Man of Steel

My favorite superhero is Superman, and the trailers for this movie led me to believe this would be the best Superman movie ever. They were so inspiring! I liked what I was seeing.

Well, 3/4th of this movie were ideal. This movie would’ve been ideal if it had ended after Superman’s human allies activated the phantom drive against the Black Zero (General Zod’s prison Ship) and that would’ve dragged General Zod into a mini black hole.

Unfortunately, Zod survived, and Superman and Zod ended up battling all across Chicago standing in for Metropolis and it just...dragged...on. It was gratuitous destruction porn, and completely fucking unnecessary. This movie set up the dreary crappiness of Batman vs Superman .

Last week Indiana curbstomped hapless Rutgers to the tune of 41-0

Iowa (#9)

102 Points. 0 first place votes , 1 last place vote. Last week: #7

Lego Batman

You would probably enjoy watching Warner Brother’s comedic lego-themed take on Batman more than watching Iowa football this season (besides the curbstomping of Ohio State).

This movie’s target audience is children, but it’s riotously funny and great to watch. Just try and stop Lego Batman before he starts singing the song he wrote to kick all your butts.

Last week Iowa surprisingly lost to OMHR Purdue 25-15.

Nebraska (#10)

70 Points. 0 first place votes , 0 last place votes. Last week: #12

Justice League

I just saw this movie on Sunday, and I really wanted to like all of it. I really did. It’s vastly better than Batman vs Superman.

You might want to jump ahead to the next team if you want to skip spoilers.

I’m damn glad they made this movie, but there were a lot of things rushed.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, DC Comics needed to flat-out fire Zach Snyder. It was blindingly obvious where Joss Whedon’s scenes came in (Original Director Zach Snyder departed the movie due to a family tragedy, and Avengers and Firefly director Joss Whedon took over). The origin for Cyborg and Aquaman should’ve been established before the movie like how Thor and Captain America’s origins were established before Avengers. The Flash completely stole the show in this movie. Also, I really enjoyed Jason Momoa as Aquaman.

Snyder completely screwed up Steppenwolf as the villain. In the comics, Steppenwolf is the nephew of Darkseid, the DC Equivalent of Thanos. Darkseid searches for a mathematical equation that would enable him to destroy free will throughout the universe, and enslave everyone to his will. The Mother boxes in the movie? They’re in reality living computers and also teleportation devices, and their users don’t say “mother” to them. Trust me, it’s weird.

Also, the CGI butchering of Henry Cavill’s face (due to reshoots conflicting with a contractually-mandated mustache of his current movie) were hideous.

DC, like I said earlier, just let DC Comics Creative Director Geoff Johns write movies and comic books. He’s the best.

Last week Nebraska lost to Penn State 56-44.

Rutgers (#11)

54 Points. 0 first place votes , 0 last place votes. Last week: #10


Honestly, I didn’t want to see the Hugh Jackman era as Wolverine end. This movie was really depressing, but excellent cinema. At least we were introduced to X-2, Laura Kinney: Wolverine’s (genetic clone) daughter.

Rutgers was destroyed by Indiana 41-0

Readers, there’s a lot of good superhero movies, and I’m sure I’ll hear from all of you in the comments:



Worst. Power Poll. Ever.

Unfortunately there’s far too many superhero movies to rank and too few big ten teams-


-to truly rate all of them. At this point, it’s time to compare the trasch of the conference to the truly despicable superhero movies.

Maryland (#12)

53 Points. 0 first place votes , 0 last place votes. Last week: #13

Avengers (1998)

This was a crappy adaptation of a classic British TV series from the 60s. This was so bad that Warner Brothers declined to let critics review the movie beforehand.

I saw this movie in theaters and realized I wasted whatever it cost 19 years ago to see a movie.

Last week Maryland lost to Michigan State 17-7

Minnesota (#13)

53 Points. 0 first place votes , 0 last place votes. Last week: #8

Batman and Robin

Is it just me or could PJ Fleck play the Riddler in Batman Forever? Yeah, I know I referenced the wrong Schumacher Bat-disaster, but it doesn’t matter how much Bat-shark repellent you use: Batman and Robin is just a disaster.

This is a movie that single-handedly set Warner Brothers’ super-hero efforts back seven years. If you put an avant-garde director in charge of a formidable cinematic franchise and tell him the movie has to be neon and toyetic, yeah, you’re going to get a hunk of radioactive crap. I saw this movie in high school, and at least half the audience left halfway through. Good going Warner Brothers.

FWIW, I liked Batman Forever. This movie just stunk.

Last week Minnesota got shut out by Northwestern 39-0

Illinois (#14)

17 Points. 0 first place votes , 15 last place votes. Last week: #14

The Pumaman

WTF is this? According to my colleagues in Slack, this is worse than Batman vs Robin. After some googling, this movie was made fun of on MST3K. That checks out.

Illinois was murdered last week by Ohio State.


Who voted wisconsin 4th?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    (4 votes)
  • 1%
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    Aaron Yorke
    (5 votes)
  • 4%
    Andrew PolishMcPolishface
    (11 votes)
  • 17%
    (46 votes)
  • 10%
    (27 votes)
  • 1%
    Nate Petersen
    (3 votes)
  • 7%
    (19 votes)
  • 1%
    (5 votes)
  • 2%
    (6 votes)
  • 38%
    (104 votes)
  • 4%
    (13 votes)
  • 4%
    (11 votes)
  • 3%
    (10 votes)
268 votes total Vote Now