It has been a lean year for movies and me this year, which is something of a shock to my system after reading the list of films that I have rated. But of the ones that I have seen there are some better movies and some not so good movies.
Let’s start with my worst movie of 2016. While it would be safe to say that worse movies would have been made and if I were a paid critic I would probably have had to sit through a number of them, none that I have seen this year disappointed me as much as Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. Here was a great opportunity to build on the universe that had been created by Christopher Nolan and continued with the bleak but interesting Man of Steel. Pitting Superman in a real world environment was a refreshing change to the superhero mould, and something of a departure from Marvel. What we were served instead was one long mess that had a sense of its own importance and had a serious removal of any fun.
The Batman films, though set in the here and now, at least had some elements of humour and this was offset by some very exciting set-pieces. Man of Steel followed suit and though it was ponderous at times offered a nice allegory of an alien in an alien environment. Batman Vs Superman offered nothing. It had a small child as a protagonist (Lex Luthor as a pampered whiny man) and a huge fight at the end that just seemed to go on and on. Whereas Marvel have humour, it seems DC does not, and I hope that the new Wonder Woman movie at least shows some flashes of fun. I gave Batman Vs Superman one star, marking it as average and ponderous and oh so serious. My hopes for Justice League are not high and feel that DC have missed the mark on these superhero reimaginings.
So what was my best film? Well, lots of films this year got three stars, which is good; Doctor Strange; Captain America: Civil War; Rogue One. But what film or films got the elusive four star treatment? Well, one was a release on Blur-ray that I missed out on the cinema and another was a re-release on Netflix: Bridge of Spies, directed with real poise by Steven Spielberg and starring a beautiful turn by Mark Rylance, for which he won the Oscar; the other film was Touch of Evil, directed by Orson Welles. Both these films were the only two in 2016 to get four stars, and both were masterfully directed and perfectly acted by their cast.
Notable three stars should also go to Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, brilliantly written but a tad overlong for me, it was a little self-indulgent; All Is Lost, Starring Robert Redford who is alone at sea and John Wick, starring Keanu Reeves, which I loved and we are lucky enough to have a sequel out soon.
For me it has not been a great year for movies; we have seen a lot of money go to Disney with their Marvel output and Pixar film, together with the enormous success of Lucasfilm’s Rogue One. Warner Bros are trying to get in on the act with their slate of superhero movies, although Suicide Squad was better than B Vs S, it did not perform better at the box office. They still have not got the formula right and until they do it is Disney’s race to lose.
So there you have it: Bridge of Spies and Touch of Evil, my two best films of 2016; so what will the new year have to offer us? I look forward to Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, Silence and Blade Runner 2049; but we also have Wonder Woman, Spiderman: Homecoming and another Thor coming along, so 2017 has promise, I hope that it delivers.