(Originally published in The Boar at Warwick University in January 2016. Full version published 3rd February 2016 on the Cobalt Magazine blog)
Now that 2015 is in the rear view mirror of the spluttering broken down Ford Fiesta that we call life, we can look forward to the inevitably superb and completely unique 2016, that in no way will be a rehash of everything that’s come before it. We are, after all, a society built around new ideas and the shunning of nostalgia. That’s why nobody can even name a single song from the 80s, let alone recite one!
In that sense, it’s time to accurately predict how good this year’s batch of totally new concepts that get turned into films will end up being.
Batman vs Superman
Batman vs Superman vs Wonder Woman vs Lex Luthor vs Doomsday vs Aquaman vs Stan Lee vs Hitler vs Wall-E vs Your Mother’s Toaster looks to be exactly what everyone expected but not necessarily hoped it would be; Diet Justice League with too many players and not enough plot to back it up, while introducing about seven million new ideas and concepts in a desperate flailing bid to catch up to Marvel. Hopefully the spectacle alone will save it, since the plots been entirely spoiled in record time by the trailers.
Rating – Avengers with mud on the lens / 10.
The ultimate Marvel troll makes his way to movie screens for the first time since X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but that version was about as faithful as Tiger Woods so nobody counts it. The comedy might end up straying too far over the wackily insufferable line that surface-level Deadpool tends to tread, but if the script even attempts to pretend to try then the fourth wall’s going to need reconstructive surgery. Thank Christ it’s not PG.
Rating – a Quentin Tarantino Lolcat / 10
It’s just another X-Men film. There’s really not much else to say on this one. There’ll be minimal time travelly nonsense given it was confusing enough the first time round, Apocalypse clearly doesn’t do very well since this story happens before others in the same franchise and nobody’s dead, and Professor X will get appropriately removed from the plot so he doesn’t instantly solve every problem they have (seriously, it happens all the time). Probably good but largely uninspired, like Jennifer Lawrence’s career.
Rating – Those sexy blue Apoca-lips / 10
Some weird fusion of Sucker Punch, Grand Theft Auto and Z-list Batman villains, this could go in several thousand different directions, with only a couple being somewhat good. It ought to be deliciously dark and twisted, but Mr Neon Pimp Joker and his horrendous tattoos temper any sort of positivity I had towards the thing.
Rating – Will Smith’s rap career / 10
Captain America: Civil War
Winter Soldier 2: The Unfriendening needs to quickly decide if it’s a Captain America film or an Avengers film, and also if it’s happy to be utterly bland and predictable like it’s shaping up to be. The Marvel cinematic universe needs a shift in tone from the intolerable smarmy cockiness of Age of Ultron, so hopefully there’ll be enough of that here so they can make a confident stride towards Infinity War, rather than a vague kneeless shuffle that achieves nothing other than seeming to be on the verge of pissing themselves.
Rating – Honey I Shrunk The Avengers / 10
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
After the deluge of unnecessary fan service in Episode VII: A New Hope 2: Now With More Diversity (Electric Boogaloo), what better period to start afresh in the Star Wars universe than… right before A New Hope. For God’s sake.
Rating – an 80’s Star Wars miniature that’s been thrown around the garden by a 7 year old / 10
Hollywood reboots of cult franchises never work. Replacing old characters with supposedly new ones but having them take up the exact same traits as the originals never works. Changing an all male cast to an all female cast hasn’t been done before, but it most likely won’t work here. No matter how good the movie is, it’s piggybacking off the name of an 80’s favourite rather than striking out on its own. Just, make a new franchise.
Rating – a corpse repurposed as a lampshade / 10
The Angry Birds Movie
When I heard this film existed I was annoyed. Then I watched the surprisingly well animated trailer and was slightly less annoyed. No, it won’t have depth, meaning, relevance beyond a couple years, character, purpose, artistic integrity, value, good acting or quality noticeably higher than Shrek the Halls. What it will have, though, is Angry Birds. And for that, we should all be grateful.
Rating – all hail Rovio / 10
The Return of the Warchief. The Fellowship of the +11 Armor Leather Belt. One cannot simply make a good videogame movie. There may come a day when orcs and men can stop repeatedly hitting each other with sticks while numbers fly out of them until one or the other fall down, but it is not this day. They’re taking the Pandarens to Isengard. JRR Thrall-kien.
Rating – doyougetitdoyougetit / 10
It’s a sequel to a joke that only just stretched to a single film with all the best jokes seemingly spoiled in the trailer. But Will Ferrell!!!
Rating – Will Ferrell!!! / 10
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows
The first one was Transformers if you replaced the clunky unfunny metal shitheads with clunky unfunny squishy shitheads. The sequel? Wacky as shit. It might actually be stupid forgettable fun, but it’s still got Michael Bay involved so don’t hold me to that.
Rating – Sheamus’ face turn / 10
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
A spinoff that means and does nothing to the original franchise, only existing to sell merchandise and blow up on Tumblr. The definition of unnecessary.
Rating – milking a franchise until it’s nipples are sore and dry and begin to bleed and then instead of milk it’s just blood, so much blood, make the blood stop, why won’t it stop, LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE / 10
Independence Day 2
Oh fuck off.