The 10 Most Disappointing Movies of 2016
5. Zoolander 2
As if people needed more proof that comedy sequels rarely work, here comes Zoolander 2 to send a friendly reminder. The original film is a cult classic that still earns adoration to this day. The nonsensical humor mixed with a terrific and energetic cast made even the most cynical moviegoers smile.
It had a tendency to be over-the-top ridiculous, but that was part of the charm. In comes a sequel fifteen years later to try to cash in on the success of the original. “Cash in” is basically the only term that can be used here because there is no way that anybody involved put an ounce of heart into this movie.
Every complaint you hear about comedy sequels likely applies to Zoolander 2. It’s a tired rehash that ups the budget but lessens the charm. The few decent jokes are recycled, and the new attempts at humor fall flat. When the movie isn’t relying on fifteen-year-old jokes to earn a laugh, it’s jamming in as many celebrity cameos as possible.
Cameos are pleasant surprises when they come along naturally in a movie, but the celebrity appearances in this movie seem to be completely random. Plus, considering how overabundant the cameos are, it’s hard to care after a while.
Zoolander 2 never feels like it was made for fans of the original movie. No matter how many times they jam in self-referential callbacks, the movie constantly comes across as a lifeless attempt to earn a few dollars. It’s more than just a disappointment. It’s one of the worst movies of 2016.
4. Suicide Squad
Perhaps the only movie getting more flak than Batman V Superman this year is Suicide Squad. People have taken pleasure in tearing the movie to pieces. Topping numerous “Worst of 2016” lists, Suicide Squad may have more haters than Fantastic Four at this point. That alone proves just how angry people were with the final product. They’ve gone out of their way to criticize it as often as they possibly can. In most cases, the criticisms are warranted.
Suicide Squad is a tone deaf montage of bright lights and loud music. The editing is chaotic, the characters are uninteresting, and the climax is one giant middle finger. Ayer’s movie puts style over substance, but it’s not stylish enough to earn a passing grade.
The film tries to make you ignore the generic superhero storyline by offering an assortment of quirky characters, but a majority of these characters are throwaways. The eclectic mix of music seeks to liven up the action, but it only further proves that the movie has no idea what it wants to be. Suicide Squad tries to do a lot of things, but it rarely succeeds.
The one good thing about Suicide Squad is Margot Robbie. As disappointing as Leto’s Joker was, it’s hard to knock Robbie’s take on Harley Quinn. She just seems to be having a blast the whole movie, which is great considering the fact that the audience is likely not having as much fun as her. Her commitment to the role is easy to appreciate, even when the movie is at its most tiresome.
Robbie simply isn’t enough. She can’t make up for every other issue that pops up in the movie. It’s great to watch her gleefully swing a bat around, but you’ll quickly find something else deserving of your criticism. DC desperately needs a movie that will take it out of this slump, because at this rate it’s easy to lose hope.
“Lost in space” sci-fi thinkers from critically acclaimed directors have become a yearly thing since the 2013 release of Gravity. Gravity, Interstellar, and The Martian all earned similar degrees of critical acclaim despite featuring comparable premises. Academy Award nominee Morten Tyldum decided to take a crack at the whole “smart space movie” thing, but he wasn’t all that successful for a variety of reasons. Even with stylish visual effects and fantastic chemistry between the two leads, Passengers is a fundamentally flawed mess.
Passengers is about a starship that’s making a 120 year journey to a new planet where civilization will hopefully prosper. On the ship are over 5,000 people asleep in hibernation chambers. One of these people, played by Chris Pratt, is woken up 90 years early. Here’s the thing, Pratt’s character is a horrible person. In order to avoid spoilers, there will be no mention as to what makes him a horrible person, but what he does essentially makes it very hard to view the film as an adorable romance movie.
The creep factor isn’t the only thing holding Passengers back. The generic blockbuster finale also doesn’t do the film any favors either. The last half hour seemingly comes out of nowhere. It exists solely to offer a big, action-packed finale to keep the momentum going. One could also argue that it exists to give viewers even more of a reason to root for Pratt’s character. Otherwise, it’s hard to really figure out the point of the grand finale.
Critics and audiences luckily had another smart sci-fi movies to check out this year with Arrival. That doesn’t make the quality of Passengers any less disappointing, unfortunately. The more smart sci-fi movies, the better. So as much as it’s nice to look on the bright side, it’s still reasonable to feel let down.
2. Batman V Superman
Both big DC releases from this year have taken quite the critical beating, and while it would be nice to give them a break, it would also be untruthful to omit them from a list where they so obviously belong. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice has (unfortunately) earned its spot on this list because it’s such an obvious letdown.
Even defenders of the film have been quick to admit that, while it might not be as bad as people are saying, it’s not exactly what they had hoped for. There are people who left the film satisfied, but a far greater number of people were left wanting more. Even if they didn’t despise the movie, people left the movie yearning for more. It’s because of that the movie earns its spot on the list.
People have every right to be disappointed. The idea of a live-action film featuring two of DC’s most legendary heroes was brimming with potential. It was more than just a Batman and Superman collaboration though. It would help create an expanded DC cinematic universe. It would include characters like Lex Luther and Wonder Woman. It took inspiration from the likes of Frank Miller. It appeared to be a comic nerd’s fantasy turned reality. Hell, it appeared to be a moviegoer’s fantasy turned reality.
It lived up to some promises. The new characters were mostly pretty well received, and the fight scenes between Batman and Superman were definitely well done. The good outweighed the bad though. The overstuffed plot proved to be overly ambitious, the pacing made for a strange watching experience, and the infamous “Martha” scene has basically become a meme at this point. For everything Batman V Superman does right, it does several things wrong.
People have accused critics of bashing Batman V Superman because they’re sellouts, but couldn’t it just be because the movie wasn’t actually that good? It’s not as if critics wanted to dislike the film. Many of them are also huge fans of both Batman and Superman. That is, unfortunately, why it belongs on this list.
1. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is not even close to the worst movie on this list. Compared to something like Zoolander 2, it’s deserves plenty of recognition. However, considering the potential of the film, it’s the most crushingly disappointing. Ang Lee is a great filmmaker. His films have earned a combined 38 Academy Award nominations. He himself has to awards for Best Director. He has repeatedly gone out of his way to prove that he can successfully tackle any movie.
When it was announced that Lee’s next project would be a war drama based on an acclaimed novel, people safely assumed it would be another victory. Pundits had it as a Best Picture frontrunner before the trailers were even released. It’s really easy to get excited about this kind of movie – especially in the hands of a director like Lee. The premise, cast, and crew combined to create a movie that seemed destined for success.
Obviously, based on this placement in the list, cunning readers can conclude that it was very much not a success. Financially, the movie was a complete disaster. Critically, it didn’t do much better. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk suffers from a bland script that hopelessly wanders throughout it’s overlong runtime.
To make matters worse, the experimental framerate was headache inducing rather than awe-inspiring. Maybe it could have distracted viewers from the sloppy script if it were well done. Rather, it was just another problem with an already flawed motion picture.
A combination of poor decisions ultimately doomed Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. It’s not worth it to point fingers, especially when it seems like there were a variety of problems coming from various sources. There’s no doubt that the talented people involved will bounce back, so let’s just do what everyone else has been doing and pretend this film doesn’t exist.
Author Bio: Justin is a paraprofessional teaching assistant and full-time film enthusiast with a degree in English. When he’s not writing about films, he’s probably watching them in his spare time.
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