I’ve seen more films this year than in previous years. Part of this is the result of a resolution that I made last year to not miss any films that I wanted to see if I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to go with me. I suppose that led to me wanting to write more about the films which I’ve seen, but I’ve gone to see over twenty films either alone or with friends in 2016. In this article I’m going to discuss a few of my favourite films this year (in no particular order) and one of my least favourite films this year. The reason for only having one least favourite is because I haven’t seen enough bad films to warrant a separate list. Also, only films that I’ve seen will be on this list. While I did not particularly like the look of Suicide Squad and that Deadpool was worthy of attention, it wouldn’t be fair to discuss films that I haven’t seen all the way through with the same detail as those on this list.
So without further ado:
Captain America: Civil War
I almost forgot that Civil War released this year until I re-watched it a week ago. When one day the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes, I’m going to remember Civil War particularly fondly, for some of the best action sequences, and character development that I’ve seen in this series. This film isn’t Avengers 3, it remains a Captain America story, dealing with his past and present struggles and it does not disappoint as a conclusion to his series of films.
Star Trek Beyond
Whatever your thoughts about the other reboot films, Star Trek Beyond is so much better in my opinion. It feels more like a Star Trek story than the others, with more use of bright visuals, the ensemble cast and set out like a traditional Original Series plot arc. I hope the cast will endeavour to continue with this series, as they’ve become very talented with the role.
Finding Dory may not be the best film this year, or particularly original, but it’s a film that I needed to see. It was a rather long summer, and Finding Dory helped as a feel good film. With colourful visuals, excellent voice acting and a great message, I found a lot to enjoy from this film.
Hell or High Water
A fantastic film which is well written, with great characterisation, and a lot to think about. Hell or High Water is a simple heist film, but takes the time to go into depth with the character’s motivations – be they the brothers or their pursuers. It also has some amazing visuals of the states where it takes place. I might have to visit these places one of these days.
I didn’t intend to see Arrival initially, but I’m glad that I did. While it’s ending may have been a bit lacking, Arrival has enough interesting build up and consideration for communication for me to look over that. Arrival seems to take cues from Close Encounters, focusing on attempts to bridge the language barrier between extra-terrestrial and humanity and how humanity deals with these visitors. With a sense of mystery and tension behind it, Arrival gets my recommendation.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Yes, you likely knew that Rogue One would be on this list if you know me. Yes, this is fan service to a great degree. But Rogue One, in my opinion, does it so well that it makes for excellent watching, whether you’re a fan of the series or just looking for something interesting to watch. I’ve talked at length about why I like Rogue One, more than I have for the others that I’ve written about. I hoped for a lot from Rogue One and it didn’t disappoint.
Now, as for my worst film this year, I could have made it X-Men Apocalypse for not being particularly good or memorable, or Batman V Superman if I didn’t revise my opinion of it afterwards. No, my least favourite film of 2016 had to be one that did something truly awful, to the point where it’s even worse than the material that it’s based on somehow. Case in point:
Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman: The Killing Joke mistreated one of my favourite DC Superheroes, twice. Once was from the comic book that it’s adapted from, used to make the Joker into a more serious character and give Batman a vengeful purpose against the Joker. Batgirl deserved better than that, and in recent years her stories have been interesting reads. The Killing Joke film promised to add a prelude that would fix the character in this story, what we got instead was just… horrible. It made Batgirl into a weaker character, forced out of the role by the people she’s meant to call her allies. People have said to me that I should ignore the first thirty minutes and just focus on the actual adapted material. However, the actual film still has the same problems as before and doesn’t seem to warrant a full film rather than be adapted in to a TV story. Even with Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy acting as Joker and Batman respectively this just isn’t a good story to me. And I can’t ignore that first section of the film, it’s too late for that. If you like the Killing Joke, then I hope that you’ve found something to like from it, but I personally just can’t do that. For this reason, Batman: The Killing Joke is my worst film of 2016.
So that’s 2016, I hope you found enjoyment in at least some of it. Here’s hoping for a better 2017.