Ughhhhhhhhhhh. I really don't want to revisit 2016 pre-September, but that's exactly what I have to do here. There were a lot of bad and disappointing films that came up earlier this year. Some, like Independence Day: Resurgence, had little chance of ever being good. Those films are not on this list. This list is for the films that I was holding out a sliver of hope that they would actually be better than average. But they, well, they disappointed me. These are my biggest letdowns for 2016! Hopefully I can make it through this in one piece.
(Dis)Honorable Mention: Star Trek Beyond
Kicking off this list is Star Trek Beyond. Now look. This movie is fine. But that's exactly why it's on this list. After Star Trek Into Darkness, which I very much enjoyed, I was looking forward to seeing what this great cavalcade of stars had lined up next. After all, there's no doubt that this cast is fantastic, with people like Simon Pegg, John Cho, and the late Anton Yelchin holding it all together with Chris Pine being as charming and charismatic as humanely possible. I even liked how this film paired some unlikely duos together in the second act, headlined by the pairing of Spock/Bones, and the chemistry between Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban is undeniable. Even the addition of Sofia Boutella was good. Girl is one heck of a badass. But even still Star Trek Beyond's biggest problem is it feels.....soulless. To me this film felt very lifeless and everyone in their roles seemed rather bored. It also didn't help that the villain was very dull, which is a shame because the villain is played by the great Idris Elba, who can certainly pull off the menacing villain act. Only here he's unrecognizable, buried under prosthetics. Another film on this list makes this same mistake, and I really don't understand why anyone thought it would be a good idea. Hey! Let's hide our villain behind a mountain of makeup and prosthetics so you can't see his face! That'll make him more menacing, right? Well, ultimately I still had high hopes for this film-even though J.J. Abrams didn't direct it because Star Wars was too taxing, his replacement Justin Lin certainly has a great track record-I was definitely disappointed by its complete lack of energy and how it simply felt like everyone was going through the motions. The only part that really got me going was the sequence that made my favorite movie moments list. Granted, that's a great moment, but it's nowhere near enough to raise up this otherwise lackluster installment into the great Star Trek franchise.
5) Now You See Me 2
I'm sure a lot of you are wondering why this film even made my list. After all, how many people really liked the first one? Well, I am one of those people! To me, the original Now You See Me was the definition of a popcorn flick. While there's no doubt it is as shallow as shallow can be, it doesn't changed the fact that it knows what it is and has fun with itself. And, while they couldn't bring back Isla Fisher, they found a more than capable replacement in Lizzy Caplan, one of my favorite actresses in the business. Then you add Daniel Radcliffe to the mix? Count me in! Unfortunately, director Jon M. Chu and writers Ed Solomon and Peter Chiarelli failed to realize what made the original film so good, and as a result we have this dull and boring film that is trying way to hard to be something more than it is. It's also way too confusing, and by the end of the film you really don't care about "how they did it." Which doesn't even make sense, by the way. I honestly had to look back at my review to try and refresh my own memory because I barely remember anything that happened in this film. I just remember it being stupid and wanting it to end. Which was simply depressing given how I loved the original and enjoy everyone affiliated with this thing.
4) Live By Night
Ughhhhhhhhhh this movie. So this film is terrible. There's a good chance that it's gonna show up in my "Worst Movies of 2016" list as well, but it makes an appearance here because I was expecting so much more. This film is directed by Ben Affleck who, before this film, was on some kind of roll as a director. His previous three films he directed were the Oscar winner Argo, The Town, and Gone Baby Gone. Reasons to be excited, right? I also couldn't help but be excited (at least a little bit) when Warner Brothers marketed the CRAP out of this film. This was supposed to be their big Oscar flick, though sadly it did nothing more than cap off one of the most disappointing years ever for the distributor. Because it turns out even Ben Affleck the director can screw things up. This film is an absolute mess. It has no direction and is trying to be every mafia film at once. Which makes it play out exactly like every other mafia film you have ever seen. What's worse is that you have Elle Fanning in this film in a pretty interesting role. But is her character ever investigated? Of course not! Brendan Gleeson has a pretty interesting role in here, but is it developed at all? Heck no! There's just too much going on in this film, and as a result it was a major dud at the box office and during awards season. Hopefully Affleck can bring it back with his next film. Also, since I know he's reading this obviously, PLEASE get away from Warner Brothers, Ben! They are just bringing you down, man. Sprout some wings and go out on your own. I know you can do it!
3) Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Hahaha.....hey! Remember when this film was a thing? Remember when it was actually terrible? I do. I also remember when I was actually excited for this thing. I wasn't expecting anything deep or anything, but c'mon. It's hard not to like the story behind the creation of this fan-fiction, then you put it on the screen and add the great Lily James as the lead? And throw in Game of Thrones greats Charles Dance and Lena Headey AND Boardwalk Empire alum Jack Huston AND Doctor Who alum Matt Smith for good measure? You better believe I was excited! But then.....what? What happened here? How do you screw this sure-fire premise up? Even after reading my review again I still don't really know. I'll talk about the finer points of this film in my "Worst Movies of 2016" list, because you better believe it will show up there, but man! I really thought this one was going to at least be a fun popcorn flick. But it wasn't even that. I really do think re-watching Pride and Prejudice and just imagining there are zombies running around would be more fun than watching this.
2) The DC Cinematic Universe
My Review of Batman V Superman
My Review of Suicide Squad
If you follow my blog regularly, you probably could've guessed this one and you can probably guess my number one too. But I decided to put this one number two instead of one because I really didn't think either of these films were going to be great. I was just hoping for decent. While we kiiiind of ended up with two average films, both of them left much to be desired, and I think 2016 will ultimately mark the end of us holding out hope for the DC Cinematic Universe because of them. Right? Right????? So let's talk about Zack Snyder. His dark style of film making may be perfect for something like Watchmen, but Suicide Squad? Or Batman V Superman? Noooooot so much. Let's be real, guys. It really doesn't take much to make a fun comic book film. We the audience eat those films up like cake, and as a result these filmmakers have let a lot of the aspects of these films slide. The Marvel films have their share of problems, and I'm always irked when someone says "Oh (insert comic book film here) should've been nominated for an Oscar," because there are far lesser-known films out there that try way harder to be noticed than any of these things, but I still enjoy the Marvel films because they recognize what they are. They have fun with themselves, and keep the audience laughing and having a good time throughout the film. DC films don't do that, and it really baffles me that they continue to go down the dark path that they're on with Snyder behind the wheel. Really-all they have to do to be on the same level as Marvel films is lighten their tone to the umpteenth degree and film their action sequences better. That's it! That really is all that separates these two worlds! Maybe Snyder will finally change course, but after another year of mediocre installments, there's no doubt I will look at future DC films with a lot of skepticism. It really won't take much to improve them, but since they've shown no signs of trying to change to this point they've given me no choice but to be skeptical. Even if we're in for another year of mediocre DC films, don't expect their names to show up on this list again. I've been fooled too many times.
1) X-Men: Apocalypse
Aaaaaaaaaaand here's your winner. Or loser, depending on how you look at it. I knew from the start this was going to be my most disappointing film of 2016, because it was the follow up to my single favorite comic book film not named The Dark Knight in Days of Future Past. And the trailers didn't really show that there were problems with this film so I went into it with pretty high hopes! And I was devastated with the result. The problems with this film start with the villain. As much as I was excited to see the great villain Apocalypse as the centerpiece here, he is soooooooooooo poorly written. Then, even though the fantastic Oscar Isaac is playing him and coming off a career-elevating performance in Star Wars, you put him in a bunch of prosthetics and makeup so he can't be himself! I mean what kind of decision is that???? Right! A terrible one. Then you sprinkle on the great Sophie Turner and market the crap out of her joining this franchise, but you make her character just as uninteresting as everything else. AND you give her character the ultimate cop-out in the world that I know pissed off nearly every X-Men fan imaginable with a decision that rivaled something stupid out of X-Men: The Last Stand. You know, the one X-Men film we try to forget happened. That and Deadpool in X-Men Origins. And that's another thing! How does this studio come off the breakout success of Deadpool with this??? With Bryan Singer, the mastermind behind this franchise no less! I'm hopeful that we are far from a collapse of this franchise with Logan already receiving high praise and Legion making waves in the TV world, but if that's the case that will really make this film stand out like a sore thumb in this franchise. In a summer of disappointing films, this devastated me more than anything else, and to this day I will still try and watch this again with the hope that it's in the realm of Days of Future Past and not in the realm of a DC cinematic film. How could you do this to us, Bryan Singer???
Phew! I made it! Well, that's it for my biggest disappointments of 2016. Stay tuned for a special post tomorrow from the wonderful Peter Kosanovich, who will take a look at how 2016 was for animated features. Then after that it's the big three to finish off the recap of the year. So I'll see you next time here on Enter the Movies!
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMTQ3MjIyNDg2OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTc1NDQ0OTE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1631,1000_AL_.jpg (Star Trek Beyond)
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https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMTY2NjQ5NTM2MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODYyNDg4NzE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1503,1000_AL_.jpg (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies)
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https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BODUwNDkxNDQ3M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzA1MTY0NzE@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,937_AL_.jpg (X-Men: Apocalypse)
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