This is not a top ten worst list. While I hate or despise most of these films, I see ten through eight as decent or just on the border of being bad. They just happened to be part of my bottom ten because I saw less than thirty movies this year. Just about every movie you would see on a full-time critic’s top ten worst list, I did not see because I knew those movies were going to be bad. Without further ado, here are my Bottom Ten Films of 2016.
10. X-Men: Apocalypse
I know this movie gets a ton of hate, but I don’t think it’s as bad as everyone says. Yes, it is one of the most flawed X-Men films, but not everything about it is awful. Sure, Jennifer Lawrence isn’t giving it her all by a long shot. Yes, Oscar Isaac is wasted as the villain. BUT, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are still in the game and remain the best actors in this alternate timeline portion of the franchise. Evan Peters (Quicksilver), Tye Sheridan (Cyclops), and Kodi Smit-McPhee (Nightcrawler) standout among the younger portion of the cast and they have a lot going for them. After a whopping nine films in the franchise with a tenth on the way, I am not tired of X-Men. As long as they can keep making them enjoyable, bring them on! B-
This may be better than X-Men from a filmmaking perspective, but Sully failed to pique my interest. Centered around a man who saved 150 people with nothing but his experience as a pilot, it begins after the landing on the Hudson. This was director Clint Eastwood’s first mistake. The opening doomed Sully to constant, long, gray-hued flashbacks that consume about half of the 96-minute runtime. This movie’s sheer lack of music greatly contributed to its feeling of closer to two hours. Worst of all, Tom Hanks phones in it. He is not interested in portraying the hero of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger in a movie that is really about whether he could have made it back to the airport after the airplane’s engines went out, an issue that is determined by a computer simulation that is portrayed in such an unrealistic way. If you want to see Tom Hanks portray a real-life hero, watch Captain Phillips. C
8. The BFG
With the legendary Steven Spielberg in the director’s chair, Mark Rylance giving another remarkable performance, and newcomer Ruby Barnhill making a noteworthy debut, The BFG should have been a lot more interesting. Unfortunately, not much happened in this film, and it all built up to a simplistic and uneventful climax. Sure, this film had some great visuals and magical places you would only see in your imagination, but it was one of the least intriguing films I saw this year. Even if you’re a fan of Spielberg, you can skip this one and not miss a thing. C
7. Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman is one of my favorite superheroes ever. The Killing Joke is considered a great Batman story. It perfectly represents the moral conflict between Batman and the Joker, and at only 50 pages, it never should have been made into a movie. You can’t make such an iconic story into a short film. As a result, Batman: The Killing Joke suffers from a useless first act that has no effect on the story everyone came to see, except to build up Barbara Gordon/Batgirl as someone the audience can care about only to tear her down. Not even Mark Hamill at his best as the Joker can save this mishap of a film. If you caught The Killing Joke on its one night in theaters like I did, I’m sorry. If you didn’t, do not even rent it. You will never get back those first useless 40 minutes. How sad it was to see Warner Bros. Animation fall so far. C
6. Suicide Squad
After the massive disappointment of Man of Steel and the disaster known as Batman v Superman, an enormous burden suddenly fell on director David Ayer’s shoulders in late March, as well as those of the executives at Warner Bros. They all scrambled to improve Suicide Squad, and all of that running around, rewriting, and reshooting potentially made the finished cut worse. As the third strike of the DC Extended Universe, this movie failed to make a compelling and coherent film, despite acting as something of an improvement for Warner Bros. and DC films of the last several years. Some good action, a more light-hearted tone, and the best performances of the series so far in Margot Robbie, Will Smith, and Viola Davis make Suicide Squad the best DCEU film, by default. However, an overload of flashbacks, hollow characters, a flip-flopping tone between dark and light, one of the worst comic book movie villains in recent years, and an unnecessary Joker all prove that the DCEU is broken and cannot be saved because Warner Bros. does not understand how to make great or even good superhero movies anymore. C-
5. Jason Bourne
The Bourne trilogy is a great work of action filmmaking. The Bourne Legacy is, well, decent. After The Bourne Ultimatum perfectly wrapped up Jason Bourne’s search for who he is, director Paul Greengrass and star Matt Damon promised to only return to the franchise if they had the right story. Oh, boy, were they mistaken. Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, and especially Julia Stiles were all half-asleep throughout this movie. This movie was slow, deeply uninteresting, and poorly directed, all sloppily topped by the worst plot I’ve seen in a spy film. Yes, even worse than Spectre, the latest Bond film. Why in the hell would you make a social media app part of the central plot of any film? It has never been clever or good to any degree for action films. Do not make a sixth Bourne film. Matt Damon does not care anymore. D
4. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Unlike most people, I enjoyed Jack Reacher, so naturally, I was looking forward to the sequel. However, before the halfway mark of Never Go Back, this movie shows that the title should have served as a warning. A forgettable villain, an unnecessary teenage brat, uninspired action, and a phoned-in performance by Tom Cruise all perfectly fit the movie’s title. God willing there will never be a third Jack Reacher. D
Oh, what a dark, dark year it was for Warner Bros. Pictures for the most part. Standing as the worst animated film of the year that I saw, Storks was annoying. Andy Samberg’s lead character, Junior, didn’t just fill the tired-ass trope of “lead character who participates in the main plot for their own selfish reasons,” he wasn’t likable. Katie Crown’s Tulip had the same arc of finding her family we saw earlier in the year, but done better in Finding Dory. Several jokes are used over and over again, a basic failure of writing a comedy, or in this case, an unfunny 90-minute shit fest masquerading as a comedy. Oh, how I was rooting for that stoner pigeon to be killed, cooked, and eaten. Never see Storks. D
Why did this happen? WHY?! From the first joke, which was a queef by the way, I knew I was in for an unbearable marathon of terrible “jokes” and characters. Not a single performance works, not a single joke lands, and every callback to the original, which itself is much better if you watch it after this abomination, is such a slap to the face. None of the four actresses have any chemistry and they all only fall flatter when you realize each of them are portraying a different stereotype. How is it that these women can catch ghosts when none of their equipment works initially? Every time they test new gear, it fails for the purpose of delivering half-assed comedy, and then it all works without a hitch. The only reason Chris Hemsworth isn’t worse than any of the four main actresses is that he doesn’t get nearly as much screen time. His character was so stupid, it hurt. It was so painful to see my once-favorite Avenger in this giant, steaming pile. And the villain. The fucking villain! Oh my God, this weasel was just an angry little boy who had no friends and wanted to kill everyone! All that hate preceding the movie’s release was perfectly justified. You shouldn’t have any reason to watch this movie, even if you’re a fan of the director or any of the actresses. You would be doing yourself a favor by skipping out on this disaster. F
1. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
I might hate this movie a little too much, but everything about it represents a missed opportunity on such a massive scale, it is disgusting. Fans have wanted to see Batman and Superman fight in a live-action movie for decades, and it was wasted on an uninspired eight-minute sequence where the two of them just punch each other. Batman can do so much more against Superman than hit him with kryptonite repeatedly, and it was shown in The Dark Knight Returns. All two good things about Batman v. Superman are overshadowed by an overwhelming list of fundamental filmmaking flaws. I will admit the scene where Batman kills the room full of murderers to save Superman’s mom (must…hold…the rage) is true Batman action, but it has so little weight and everything preceded it was so boring. I. Did. Not. Care.
The editing is some of the worst I have seen in a major studio film. Seriously, who’s idea was it to make so many of the scenes so short and jumbled together in the first act? Non-sensical motivations, unintelligent characters, idiotic subplots, and unbearable, long stretches of pure boredom make this movie one of the worst superhero films I have ever seen. And about “Save Martha…” All that hell bent motivation to kill Superman, who, as Bruce Wayne says, “has the power to destroy the entire human race,” is suddenly gone just because his mom has the same name as Clark Kent’s. It is easily one of the dumbest moments in any film in recent memory ever and it was such a lazy solution to an already disappointing fight. If that scene got written, filmed, edited, and released without not one person thinking or saying, “This is really stupid,” something is wrong.
As one professional critic simply put it in his review for this movie, “Just because you give them the same name, it doesn’t automatically make them the same character.” I only call those characters, Batman, Superman, Lex Luthor, and Lois Lane because those are the names the writers gave the characters. None of them are the real characters. Batman does not kill in most of the stories. His rule of never killing anyone is what makes him better than the criminals he puts away. Superman is not a brooding, mopey asshole. He stands up for hope and justice, and cares about the entire human race other than just Lois and his mother. Lex Luthor is not a squealing, omniscient moron. He is a clever criminal mastermind who could discover the true identities of his nemesis in a logical and creative way. Lois Lane is not a dumbass. She would not throw her true love’s weakness into a pool. She would give it to him so he could find a way to destroy it. Poor Amy Adams only exists in this movie so “Superman” can save her from peril. And what about that CGI cave troll abomination shoe-horned at the end? Oh, yeah. WASTED! JUST LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE IN THIS MOVIE! Superman should fight the real Doomsday in an extended fight that actually has meaning and depth instead of going down in a few blows capped off with a spike through the chest!
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the worst movie of the year and is the second worst superhero film of the decade so far. It cast a dark light of hopelessness for the future of the DC Extended Universe. This franchise needs to die, restart, and be done again and done in a way that is satisfying to the majority of audiences. F
Those are my Bottom Ten Films of 2016. Again, I don’t hate X-Men, Sully, or The BFG. One is watchable and the other two just aren’t that interesting. Everything else sucks. If you want to judge me for my opinion, fine. You are allowed to like or hate any of these movies.
Thanks for reading my list! Be sure to watch out for my Most Anticipated Films of 2017! Follow me on FaceBook and Twitter to stay updated! If you want to know more about my life, you can follow me on Instagram!
“I identify with Superman. I am adopted, I am an only child, and I love the idea that he comes from another world, that he’s the ultimate immigrant. He has all these extraordinary powers, and he has a righteousness about him.”-Bryan Singer, director of Superman Returns.