Top 5 “Meh” Movies of 2016

  • Batman: The Killing Joke – M’kay, I’ll get this out-of-the-way now: what was the deal with the love story between Bruce and Barbara?? That space is normally etched out for someone like Nightwing – Dick Grayson. The flow of the movie was, slower than normal when it comes to the area of animated Batman movies, I know for a fact I have seen paint dry faster. The transition from that to the main story halted the narrative flow, and had me flabbergasted during viewing. The main Joker story was, serviceable, and it was pristine to hear Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy back in the studio, donning the figurative cowl and make up respectively. What bugged me the most about this was the lack of, pop; the sense of urgency that was overflowing in the Alan Moore written graphic novel that further fleshed out one of the many Joker’s back stories that had Batman laughing uncontrollably when it was over. Skip this one and move straight onto Batman: Return of the Caped Crusader, which sees the return of Adam West and Burt Ward in a reincarnation of the sixties television show.
  • Jason Bourne – By the numbers, that is what this series has been reduced to after exploding onto the action movie scene in 2002 with an updated format of the spy genre, yet remaining pedestrian to a degree that Matt Damon had to essentially start from the ground up when it came to rediscovering himself. By the fifth movie, fourth in the Damon driven series, the plot has become convoluted to the point of parody; rehashing old elements of once dynamic set pieces. Jason Bourne, once again, is looking for a piece of the puzzle that is beyond his reach, and must trek across Europe and the United States in order to discover the missing piece as to why he ended up the way he did. There, that is the plot in a nutshell, I would recommend seeing London Has Fallen, a less serious, politically incorrect sequel to Olympus Has Fallen that takes itself less seriously to the point of parody.
  • Independence Day: Resurgence – This was a slog, an alien invasion movie with a ridiculously high budget could not get me excited on Spectre levels of “meh.” The plot is reduced to its base level down to a chore, the charisma and urgency of the main characters did not seduce my interest, at all. Not even the off-keel, quirky charms of Jeff Goldblum and Brent Spiner was enough to wrangle my emotions to care about what happened to baby-Thor, not-Will Smith, and…her? Although I will admit it was pretty sweet to see how the world adapted to the boom of technology provided after the first alien invasion. Twenty years later, after hearing Bill Pullman’s patriotic speech, they decide to take another crack at Earth; this time, they bring twice the firepower. Humanity scrapes and endures, listing lazily to the left and boom! We end with a major cliffhanger that implies a sequel will be coming. Instead, go out and rent/purchase 10 Cloverfield Lane to satisfy that sci-fi itch.
  • Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice – Zack, what happened? Sooner or later, this Frank Miller-lite schtick cannot be the driving aesthetic and narrative of the DC Universe. Enough of the insipid, angst ridden, lizard brain level motivations of Batman and Superman. The complexity to their actions stripped down to vengeance and power lessens the emotional return on two characters with rich tapestries. And Lex Luthor? That was some Jim Carrey – Batman Forever type shenanigans that looked like it was trying to be a counterbalance to all the gloom and doom, but instead felt jarring to the overall narrative. I mean, it is fine if he is insane or unhinged to a degree in which fits with the rest of the tone; however, the silly-boy wunderkind archetype would have been perfect for something along the lines of Deadpool. Aside from the tonal issues, it falls into the trappings of X-Men: The Last Stand and Spider Man 3: too many characters being pushed into frame with too little development for the audience to form any kind of emotional connection. Civil War, on the other hand, is a fine example of strained relationships and strife among superheroes who want to accomplish the same global goals, but struggle with the HOW of execution.
  • Suicide Squad – My favorite thing about this movie was Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang, specifically whenever he is in a shot in the movie he always has a beer. It is never explained why he has a beer, where he gets the beer, or is mentioned by any other member of the squad. It was a superb visual gag that added some levity to the honest to god clustercuss the rest of the movie displayed. The hot topic, Burton-lite, “tee-hee we are so edgy” aesthetic presented as the end product was dismal, to put it lightly. Enough! This aesthetic is played out, the fine line between innovative and campy was crossed years ago, around the time of Burton’s version of Alice in Wonderland. I was in high school when the ‘scene/emo’ trend was a thing; Warner Brothers, Zack Snyder, it is over. This is not the mid to late 2000’s anymore, times have changed, attitudes are different, we as an audience are not interested in the dark, gritty tone if it is used in a slap dash way. Having the trailer company take the reins in editing the final product lessened the emotional payoff of what could have been a movie with a darker tone that fits with the characters and their respective back story. If you are looking for a movie that enlists the help of a ragtag team of rebels, Rogue One did it better, and has a place in the lore of its respective universe.
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