For the past decade or more, superhero content has been the order of the day, and in that time, few studios have made more of it than Warner Bros. The historical home for characters like Batman and Superman, it has built out quite a roster of great superhero stuff, and much of it is available on Max.
As subscribers likely already know, Max has a roster of great movies and TV shows that have nothing to do with superheroes. Lucky for avid superhero fans, though, it also offers plenty of great stuff that engages directly with the superhero genre.
One of the more innovative and original superhero projects to come out of the boom of the last decade, Watchmen is a continuation of the story of the graphic novel it takes its name from. Set in an alternate version of the present where cops wear masks and certain Black citizens are entitled to reparations, the limited series is about the impossible struggle of Black Americans to overcome the trauma and violence of their past.
It’s a story about superheroes, to be sure, but it’s also so much more than that. Regina King delivers a fierce, heartbreaking central performance, and Watchmen is one of the best miniseries of the past decade as a result.
Following a young Jim Gordon as he navigates a hugely corrupt Gotham in the days when Bruce Wayne is still a child, Gotham is a gritty crime drama that has just enough comic book detail to excite die-hard fans.
Of all the TV shows to come out of Hollywood’s general interest in making superhero stories more grounded, Gotham is likely the best, in part because the city it’s set in has always proven fruitful for great stories. Gotham is a Batman story in which the caped crusader never appears, and that’s part of what makes it so great.
Most of James Gunn’s superhero work to date has been for Marvel, but his one entry in the DC universe was a remarkable turnaround from its predecessor. The Suicide Squad stars a wonderful ensemble of some of DC’s freakiest characters, and was another opportunity for Margot Robbie to prove how great her version of Harley Quinn could be.
Although the movie didn’t get the rollout it probably should have because of the pandemic, The Suicide Squad is surprisingly fun, and in the end, it’s also far more tender than you might have expected.
If you’re the kind of person that hates the sun and locks themselves indoors through the summer heat, do we have the blockbuster for you. The Batman is the latest take on one of the most famous comic book characters in history, and it features plenty of darkness.
Robert Pattinson stars as the moodiest version of the character we’ve seen yet, and he’s charged with unraveling a grand mystery even as he tries to catch up to the Riddler. At three hours long, The Batman doesn’t have the same fast pace as some other contemporary blockbusters, but it’s nonetheless a riveting experience from beginning to end.
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