In all truth, 2016 hasn’t been the most stellar year in any field, but particularly at the movies. Whilst Oscar season is showing us it’s not all lost, this year has been full of massive duds and flops, so it’s time we counted down the top 10 most disappointing movies of 2016.
(Take a look back at my most anticipated movies of 2016 for a bit of context too).
10. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword Of Destiny
Didn’t know they made a sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon this year? It’s not a surprise, because the Netflix-distributed follow-up Sword Of Destiny was the mother of all flops in 2016.
You’d think that, following on from the mammoth international success of the original back in 2000, the sequel wouldn’t have diverted so much from the formula. However, the entire film comes across as a desperate made-for-TV remake of the original, complete with underwhelming action sequences, a tedious and generic story, and incredibly poor performances all round, including from the only returning cast member, Michelle Yeoh.
And the worst sin of all? It’s all in English. The original proved that worldwide audiences can watch a film with subtitles, so the decision to change the characters’ dialogue to the English language makes absolutely no sense, particularly when suggesting that the film is based in the same setting as the original movie.
Following their stellar debut in 2015 with Beasts Of No Nation, Netflix haven’t had the same sort of success from any of their releases this year, and Tallulah, tipped as their best chance to get any nods during awards season, sums up their rather mediocre 2016 perfectly.
Whilst it’s not an awful film, Tallulah was complete with a fantastically talented cast of Ellen Page and Allison Janney, as well as the fascinating premise of a young woman who steals a baby, and eventually develops her own maternal instinct.
The trailers and publicity promised heavy emotional drama, and the sort of real-life story that would hit you right to your core, but everything about the finished product was rather underwhelming. Principally lacking in the necessary emotional drama, Tallulah also failed to make use of its excellent cast to provide anywhere near the degree of intrigue promised, rendering the whole film incredibly unlikely to get near an award this year.
8. The Divergent Series: Allegiant
Despite being labelled a rip-off of The Hunger Games by almost everyone, The Divergent Series was plodding along nicely with its first two mediocre but relatively harmless installments.
However, in March of this year, the third film, Allegiant (and the first part in the two-part finale that comes from one book in the series), changed all that, by presenting one of the worst young adult movies seen in Hollywood for years. Beyond Twilight levels of bad, Allegiant was a visually tedious sci-fi that featured a painfully uninteresting and generic story, adding next to no originality or intrigue building up to the series’ conclusion.
Kate Winslet managed to get out of the series while she could last time out, but the likes of Naomi Watts and Jeff Daniels are roped into this third movie, whilst bright young star Shailene Woodley looks bored and stuck in the lead role.
People weren’t expecting much, but it’s clear that Allegiant was so bad given its disappointing box office results (grossing $100m less than the previous two films), and the fact that serious talks have considered releasing the series finale, Ascendant, as a TV movie instead of a theatrical release.
7. Jason Bourne
The original Bourne trilogy is noted by many as one of the greatest in cinema history. After stepping away from the series in 2007, Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass were replaced by Jeremy Renner and Tony Gilroy for the awkward attempted 2012 reboot, The Bourne Legacy. But after the announcement that both Damon and Greengrass would return, hype was at an all-time high for the newest installment in the classic series.
However, the end product, Jason Bourne, proved to be a big disappointment when compared with the original trilogy. Whilst it’s a perfectly decent action film, it proved to be lacking hugely in the areas that made the first three films so legendary, particularly its espionage story, which was void of the series’ classic pulsating intelligence and stakes.
If it were any other action film, it would have passed by relatively unnoticed, but given the hype surrounding Damon and Greengrass’ return, and the legendary stature of Identity, Supremacy and Ultimatum, people all around the world left the cinema feeling like they’d been short changed, leaving many nervous faces moving forward into the planned second trilogy.
6. Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice
Set to be the tentpole movie of the year, nay of the decade, Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice was the film that brought history’s three most iconic superheroes together in a once-in-a-lifetime battle against the villainous Lex Luthor.
If only it all turned out as we wanted. For a film with such legendary characters, it’s impossible not to see Dawn Of Justice as a huge disappointment, as its muddled, overstuffed and overlong story failed to provide an exhilarating set up to the DC Extended Universe.
With Zack Snyder’s love it-or-hate it directing style, coupled with Warner Bros. and DC’s indecision on a specific tone for the film and the franchise as a whole, jumping back and forth between brooding and comedic (made worse by Jesse Eisenberg’s bizarre performance as Lex Luthor), the film seemed to be a rushed cash-grab, paling in comparison to Marvel’s excellent and innovative universe-building since 2008.
Following the disappointment of 2013’s Man Of Steel, Batman v Superman also promised to put right all of its predecessor’s problems, but following a disastrous trailer campaign in December 2015, fans went to the cinema knowing too much, and came out with very little more. And whilst the film certainly has its moments, with praise being heaped onto Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman, the fact that the movie starring Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor wasn’t the childhood dream it sounds like is the nail in the coffin.
5. X-Men: Apocalypse
Since the X-Men franchise was rebooted in 2011 with First Class, it’s seemed like the one franchise that knows what audiences want. 2014 saw the critically-acclaimed Days Of Future Past stamp all over the original trilogy’s worst entry, and set up an entirely new timeline with endless possibilities for the future.
And with the promise of new younger mutants joining the team, including Jean Grey, Cyclops and Nightcrawler, as well as legendary villain Apocalypse, the film looked to be the definitive X-Men entry.
Alas, that was not to be, as Bryan Singer returned the series to its darkest depths, with a loud, incoherent and unintelligent blockbuster that completely failed to build on the excellent progress made since the series reboot. Dull both visually and in terms of its story, Apocalypse was a particularly underwhelming film, and although one Quicksilver sequence gave it a bit of life, it was almost completely void of the joy and intelligence that viewers had been flocking to over the past five years.
4. Sausage Party
Nobody had ever seen hype for an animated movie like Sausage Party. Starring Seth Rogen and the gang, the R-rated animated comedy looked to be a new dawn, the first Disney-style movie designed entirely for adults.
And whilst it certainly followed through on the promise of a gross-out, innuendo-filled extravaganza, Sausage Party was ultimately a massive disappointment. The case of a film with an incredible premise that doesn’t really deliver, it was actually a rather dull and safe movie.
Although the expectation was that it would eventually wear itself thin on the premise of animated characters swearing, Sausage Party’s biggest problem was that it simply wasn’t funny. With a particularly underwhelming script that thought it was a lot cleverer than the reality, the film was suprisingly low on laughs, and although its insane ending helped to briefly rectify that issue, this was a movie that promised so much, but delivered so little.
3. Suicide Squad
Suicide Squad arguably had one of the best marketing campaigns of the whole year. Despite the earlier disappointment of Batman v Superman, DC managed to maintain hype for its newer, riskier and more original project in August.
With countless brilliant trailers, Suicide Squad promised to bring a unique superhero movie to the big screen, focusing on classic comic villains as the protagonists. Also with the promise of a lighter, more fun-loving and crazy atmosphere than Zack Snyder’s movies, this looked to be the breath of fresh air to save the DCEU and finally bring the fight to Marvel.
However, all of that promise was quickly dashed in one of the year’s most underwhelming, generic and stale blockbusters. A total mess from start to finish, Suicide Squad somehow managed to be completely overstuffed with characters and story lines, and yet focus on the most boring and generic one possible, following nine people as they walk through an abandoned city, in the hope of finding and bringing down a hilariously bad villain.
Whilst it’s provided countless Halloween costumes for years, Suicide Squad’s failure to provide a consistent and coherent DC movie was a real shame to see, with a laughable villain, poor character development and poor visual effects, further compounded by the failure to live up to the excellent trailers that promised a wacky, exciting and unique movie.
2. Independence Day: Resurgence
Nobody thinks that the original Indpendence Day is a cinematic masterpiece, but it’s beloved by so many as a hugely entertaining and uplifting popcorn sci-fi adventure.
So, when the sequel rolled round 20 years later (minus Will Smith), it’s fair to say that many prepped their nostalgia goggles for yet another fun-filled ride watching humanity do battle against the aliens with a proudly patriotic American smile on their face.
But in the end, the film not only failed to match some very easy expectations, but flailed desperately as it presented one of the most boring and formulaic sci-fi movies in recent years. Still just as dumb as the original, Resurgence totally missed the spirit that made the first film so beloved, taking advantage of nostalgia with a shallow, lifeless and hulking cash-grab that never once put a smile on anyone’s face.
And what’s worse is that it even destroyed the one really iconic part of the series, the American patriotism. Even for those of us not from the States, the relentless jingoism of the first was something to be admired, so when the sequel ended up pandering more to Chinese audiences than the Americans who loved it so dearly, it really rubbed the salt into the already very painful wound that was Independence Day: Resurgence.
1. Zoolander 2
Of the countless cinematic disappointments of 2016, however, it’s a relatively easy choice for the worst: the horrendously unfunny Zoolander 2.
Another film that brought us a sequel nobody really asked for, fans of the brilliant cult comedy Zoolander were hugely excited to see a return to a brand of comedy that’s been missing on the big screen for a good few years.
What we got, however, was one of the most shameful, pathetic and simply unwatchable attempts at comedy since the likes of Movie 43. More concerned with stuffing horrific celebrity cameos wherever possible (seriously, there are about 40 of them), Zoolander 2 provided almost no laughs whatsoever, and instead a completely incoherent and almost unbelievably unfunny watch that simply got worse as it went along.
Finishing up feeling like a desperate attempt to rekindle the original’s wit and satire, this sequel was one of the dumbest and most forced comedies you’ll ever see, and feels even more painful when compared to the first film, which is why I’m putting it as the most disappointing movie of 2016.