The Black Deck: Superhero Edition (a work-in-progress)

   As of this writing (June 7th, 2024), has recently drawn its third Nightmare Deck, but, it has occurred to me that I haven’t yet begun preparations for The Black Deck (not to be confused with a black gentleman’s downtown Lester Brown). 

   What is the Black Deck? 

   Essentially, The Black Deck is the non-horror equivalent of The Nightmare Deck. For those just joining us, the Nightmare Deck is basically a way for me to chronicle all the horror (and horror adjacent) reviews I have written over the years. Not only does it allow me to create a database I can pull from, but it ideally creates an evergreen quality to the Nickelbib website. Each review is a piece to a much larger puzzle. I learn more about directors, cinematographers, composes, actors, and more, and I think it allows me to more fully appreciate the storytelling we all love so much. Each review can be found by typing the title into our nifty search bar. Through this information, I hope to be able to create a proper Black Deck, and / or a list of my favorite films and videogames, as well as recognize the best filmmakers in a Hall of Fame – esque capacity.

   This drawing for the Black Deck is a work-in-progress. I always end each Deck drawing at 52 (like a card deck, you get it!?) and, although they are all ultimately pooled into the same database, I thought I would try to have drawings have a theme to them. This way, it encourages me to seek out certain movies and adds more incentive. I will admit – reviewing more superhero films isn’t exactly the best way to diversify my portfolio. However, I hope to use this approach to encourage watching Asian cinema, as well as other niche genres.

   Currently, the Superhero Edition is at 30 reviews logged. Not too shabby, if I say so myself.

   What can we learn from this information?

  • really liked the original Crow film and I really didn’t like the second Crow film. The original was gritty and dark in all the right ways, bolstered by a charismatic performance by Brandon Lee. Meanwhile, City of Angels was the antithesis of that. The cinematography and story, all of it, very frankly, didn’t work for me. As you might surmise, I am more than a little bit apprehensive about the upcoming 2024 Crow film. Meanwhile, I do expect to eventually review Salvation and Wicked Prayer for The ‘Bib. As you might expect though, they’re not as good as the original film.
  • Anthony & Joe Russo also made out like bandits in The Black Deck. They earned it – Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame is one helluva run. Not to mention, they also directed Captain America: Civil War, which I haven’t written a review for, but is definitely up there. I hope their filmography beyond the superhero genre is generous to them.
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home sees Jon Watts also come away with a crown for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film coasted a lot on nostalgia, but I honest and truly enjoyed the hell out of it.
  • Unfortunately, Bryan Singer also takes a crown with X-Men: Days of Future Past, which I consider as the best X-Men film ever created (counting Logan and Deadpool). Sadly, Bryan Singer is the director and also has a mile high list of sexual assault allegations. It sucks, but, at the same time, a lot of people contributed in the making of that film. Not just him. It’s complicated, but I feel Bryan Singers’ films are eligible for review, if only because what he did wasn’t as firmly understood at the time of their release. This doesn’t apply to Victor Silva and the Jeepers Creepers movies, however, which I will never review on The ‘Bib.
  • Zack Snyder misses out on entry into the Black Deck. I had a lot of fun with his Justice League film. I really did. Unfortunately, it’s fragmented nature and unresolved plot threads bog it down. It is still an impressive feather in the director’s cap though. I also reviewed his film Man of Steel, which I didn’t care for. That review was written back in the early days of The ‘Bib (a la 2014) and a lot of my opinions have changed. That in mind, although I wouldn’t likely use the same harsh language, I think the rating is fairly close to what I would end up giving the film.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy also falls shy of entry. Don’t worry, James Gunn. I enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy a good bit, but it is actually my least favorite film in his Trilogy. Until we meet again … 
  • It might disappoint some people that the Mutant Mayhem film and Into the Spider-Verse aren’t ranked higher than they are. Ultimately, I stand where I stand, but I feel offer an olive branch. I enjoyed Into the Spider-Verse a lot and the rating shouldn’t be taken as an insult, but I absolutely loved the second film Across the Spider-Verse and it is, frankly, one of my favorite superhero films of all time. Into the Spider-Verse was a little same ol’, same ol’ for me. It looked great. I liked the characters, but I had been on the Spider-Man train for more than a few rides now, I really wanted special and new, and although we do get that on some level, I think Across the Spider-Verse felt much more ambitious and, frankly, … new. As for the Turtles, I am really excited for where the series will lead.
  •  On the topic of the Turtles, the Batman vs. Ninja Turtles flick is a lot of fun. (It doesn’t look as good as Mutant Mayhem does, but I had more fun with it.) I have been riding the hype train on the Turtles with all the recent videogame releases and I am super-excited for The Last Ronin videogame and movie to hit. Unfortunately, the Michael Bay produced Turtles remake and the old school Turtles: Secret of the Ooze films are currently at the bottom of the heap for the list. Man, I didn’t care for them at all. For what it’s worth, I did like the second Bay movie Out of the Shadows significantly more, and I am, of course, a fan of the original Turtles live-action film. Just haven’t reviewed ’em is all. One day, maybe.  


1.) The Crow – originally written in 2023 (4.0 out of 5.0)

directed by Alex Proyas (1)

2.) Avengers: Infinity War – originally written in 2018 (4.0 out of 5.0)

directed by Anthony & Joe Russo (3,3)

3.) Spider-Man: No Way Home – originally written in 2021 (4.0 out of 5.0)

directed by Jon Watts (1)

4.) X-Men: Days of Future Past – originally written in 2014 (4.0 out of 5.0)

directed by Bryan Singer (1)

5.) Captain America: The Winter Soldier (4.0 out of 5.0)

directed by Anthony & Joe Russo (3,3)

6.) Avengers: Endgame – originally written in 2019 (4.0 out of 5.0)

directed by Anthony & Joe Russo (3,3)

7.) Zack Snyder’s Justice League – originally written in 2021 (3.7 out of 5.0)

directed by Zack Snyder (2)

8.) Guardians of the Galaxy – originally written in 2014 (3.5 out of 5.0)

directed by James Gunn (1)

9.) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse – originally written in 2018 (3.5 out of 5.0)

directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman (1,1,1)

10.) Avengers: Age of Ultron – originally written in 2015 (3.5 out of 5.0)

directed by Joss Whedon (1)

11.) Big Hero 6 – originally written in 2014 (3.5 out of 5.0)

directed by Don Hall & Chris Williams

12.) Incredibles 2 – originally written in 2018 (3.5 out of 5.0)

directed by Brad Bird (1)

13.) Antman & the Wasp – originally written in 2019 (3.5 out of 5.0)

directed by Peyton Reed (2)

14.) Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – originally written in 2019 (3.0 out of 5.0)

directed by Jake Castorena (1)

15.) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – originally written in 2014 (3.0 out of 5.0)

directed by Marc Webb (1)

16.) Batman: Assault on Arkham – originally written in 2014 (3.0 out of 5.0)

directed by Jay Oliva & Ethan Spaulding (1,2)

17.) Iron Man 3 – originally written in 2013 (3.0 out of 5.0)

directed by Shane Black (1)

18.) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem – originally written in 2023 (3.0 out of 5.0)

directed by Jeff Rowe (1)

19.) Special – originally written in 2014 (3.0 out of 5.0)

directed by Hal Haberman & Jeremy Passmore (1,1)

20.) Wonder Woman 1984 – originally written in 2020 (2.5 out of 5.0)

directed by Patty Jenkins (1)

21.) Son of Batman – originally written in 2014 (2.5 out of 5.0)

directed by Ethan Spaulding (2)

22.) Man of Steel – originally written in 2014 (2.5 out of 5.0)

directed by Zack Snyder (2)

23.) Kick-Ass 2 – originally written in 2014 (2.4 out of 5.0)

directed by Jeff Wadlow (1)

 24.) Venom: Let There Be Carnage – originally written in 2021 (2.0 out of 5.0)

directed by Andy Serkis (1)

25.) Ant-Man – originally written in 2014 (2.0 out of 5.0)

directed by Peyton Reed (2)

26.) Aquaman – originally written in 2019 (1.5 out of 5.0)

directed by James Wan (1)

27.) SCOOB! – originally written in 2021 (1.5 out of 5.0)

directed by Tom Cervone (1)

28.) The Crow: City of Angels – originally written in 2022 (1.5 out of 5.0)

directed by Tim Pope (1)

29.) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze – originally written in 2014 (1.0 out of 5.0)

directed by Michael Pressman (1)

30.) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) – originally written in 2014 (1.0 out of 5.0)

directed by Jonathan Liebesman (1)