With 2016 being a generally undesirable year in many respects, many found a silver lining at the movie theater. This past year saw the releases of many great movies, but as with any other year, they can’t all be great. For the cream of the crop, there’s a separate list for that. Although if you’re looking to commiserate by looking back on the worst sci-fi, horror, and fantasy offerings from the box office over the past twelve months, then you’re in the right place.
To be quite honest, I was onboard for ‘Passengers’ for the majority of the film. The filmmakers created a beautiful setting for this story. Also, stars Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence are hard not to like in general. But by Act III, things had taken a turn for the worst when the plot drifted into some predictable, convenient, and unbelievable territory. Although, even if things hadn’t gone off the rails with the plot, it’s hard to shake the creepy and unsettling vibe brought about by certain actions of characters in the movie. I don’t want to venture too far into spoiler territory, but I will say that we get a very different movie than the one presented in the trailers. That movie had great potential to be an interesting interstellar love story. This one, on the other hand, couldn’t live up to the hype. I’d recommend watching ‘Rocket Man’ starring Harland Williams instead. Sure, you don’t see Chris Pratt’s butt in that movie, but that’s what the internet is for (in between cat videos).
4. ‘Suicide Squad’’
Though it may have been the best movie based on characters from DC Comics to hit theaters in 2016, ‘Suicide Squad’ was still a hot mess. From the first images that were released (particularly of Jared Leto’s take on the Joker), we could see that the character design was not good. Then as the trailers began to be released, they depicted at least three different movies, which was totally another bad sign. And then as we watched the finished product, it was quickly obvious that the script was just as bad as the promotional campaign indicated. The movie was essentially one long trailer that quickly stated that only Will Smith and Margot Robbie’s characters were important despite the movie being about a team. The plot was terribly paced and many of the beats didn’t make any kind of sense. Some of the action was good, but without the proper build up to back it up, it left the audience unsatisfied. As much as it wanted to be ‘Deadpool’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, it wasn’t even close. At least Katana was badass, Deadshot was charismatic, and Harley Quinn was somewhat entertaining. But none of that was remotely enough to make ‘Suicide Squad’ a good movie.
3. ’The Angry Birds Movie’
As we saw with ‘Passengers’, a good trailer doesn’t make a good movie. But the trailer for ‘The Angry Birds Movie’ wasn’t even good. It was simply amusing. So when the viewing experience was expanded to feature length, the humor lost its luster. The all-star voice cast couldn’t save the movie from gags that ran entirely too long, forced callbacks to the mobile game, and plot points that weren’t explained very well if at all. And on top of the less than average quality of the story, ‘The Angry Birds Movie’ came about two or three years too late. By the time it was released, practically everyone had moved on from the game. The bird flew the coup some time ago, but it seems that the filmmakers didn’t get the message. They did, however, somehow save enough money in the budget to get Sean Penn to have a couple of lines, so at least there’s that.
2. ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’
You know how they say to be careful what you wish for? Well, who would have ever thought that the saying would apply to an animated adaptation of Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ from ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ co-creator Bruce Timm starring the iconic Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprising their roles from that seminal series? It’s everything that we could have ever want from a DC animated film! But somehow the people behind it managed to find a way to make it crash and burn. Although to be fair, the second half of the film taken directly from the source material was pretty damn perfect. In fact, it was so glorious that this movie would have made it onto my best of 2016 list had it not been for the all-new prologue featuring Batgirl that was added by the filmmakers to stretch the story to feature length. It basically reduced Barbara Gordon to a lovesick Batman fangirl rather than the brilliant and crafty crimefighter that she really is. Ugh, ‘The Killing Joke’ may not be the worst film of the year, but it was most certainly the most disappointing.
1. ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’
It seems like the recurring theme of this list is potential. Four out of five of these movies had such great potential to be really awesome, but a number of factors just got in their way. In the case of ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’, though there were way more things we could talk about like Lex Luthor and Martha, it really came down to the pacing of the story. It took entirely too long for something interesting to really happen. As I said in my review, the best way to describe the first hour or so of ‘Dawn of Justice’ is to compare it to a friend that is trying to tell you a story but keeps getting distracted with other details that aren’t really important. Although, when you strip down all the useless details (in this case, dream sequences), grand flourishes (too many montages), and overly descriptive explanations of fairly straightforward things (Snyder’s signature masturbatory action sequences that don’t really have any rhyme or reason other than it looks cool), there were nuggets of a really cool story with thought-provoking themes. It’s just too bad that it was all buried under a whole lot of nonsense. I’d say that the DC Cinematic Universe can’t get any worse, but somehow they always find a way to surprise me. But hopefully WB and DC have learned from their mistakes and their 2017 releases are much better.
What do you think of our list of worst movies of the year? Did we leave out some of your least favorite movies of 2016? Let us know in the comments.