Last year, we wrote that 2016 would be an interesting year for blockbuster films. Some turned out great; some were surprisingly good while others bombed. No Oscar films here. While I appreciate their merit in case I happen to sit through one, sorry but we go to theaters and colosseums to be entertained and not be educated and bored. This author is often into blockbusters, but I used to have time for a different movie or two during my single years. Here are my top ten films for 2016.
You can also check out Curvy Girl Diva’s Top 10 Movies of 2016.
Doctor Strange – hits the top spot, not just because I’m a Doctor Strange fan but because the film is surprisingly great. If Star Wars: The Force Awakens feels like a rehash of A New Hope, Doctor Strange felt like the mystical equivalent of Iron Man, but it’s not intentional as both persons were slaves to their egos until they were brought down to earth. Doctor Strange brought us a good story and amazing visuals officially ushering the MCU into mysticism. It had its share of controversies especially on the casting of Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One but the story and twist on the character was so good, the controversy was quickly put aside.
Captain America Civil War – is another great superhero extravaganza by Marvel Studios. Often considered by fans as Avengers 2.5, the Russo brothers did a great job in managing the multitude of characters in the film and keeping the focus on Captain America and Iron Man as well as introducing Black Panther and welcoming back Spider-Man to the MCU as more than a cameo. Captain America: Civil War is backed by a great screenplay and direction solidifying the Captain America character as a major asset to the MCU aside from Iron Man.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – is probably the best Star Wars film since The Empire Strikes Back. There’s plenty of action, a good story, interesting characters and great special effects. It’s the perfect prequel for Episode Four giving it greater substance. It would be great watching both films on video back-to-back. It’s often criticized for its slow first and second acts as well as weak characterization but being a one-shot, dealing with new characters and material, the action-packed but tragic third act makes up for them.
Deadpool – is the surprise X-Men film of the year for Fox, keeping the X-Men franchise alive for the studio. It’s proof that adhering to the source material could make wonders for Fox instead of getting overly creative going against established comic/cartoon continuity. Deadpool was created as a throwaway film but instead proved a surprise hit for fans and a redeeming film for lead actor Ryan Reynolds. The film is highly entertaining and earned praise from critics for its style, action and humor and even possibly started the trend of R-rated superhero films. Deadpool is one of the best X-Men films to date along with First Class and X2.
Star Trek: Beyond – is the third film of the rebooted Star Trek film franchise. Expectations were low for this film from fans due to bad criticism of Star Trek: Into Darkness, the film’s trailer and CBS/Paramount’s injunctions on Star Trek fan films. The film turned out to be quite good with its fast-paced screenplay, visual effects, action scenes and musical score. The film also served as a tribute to the recently deceased Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin. The film also featured plenty of Easter Eggs for Trek fans and a touching homage to the original cast as well as the Enterprise TV series.
Godzilla: Resurgence – in the wake of Gareth Edwards’ somewhat successful 2014 Godzilla film, the iconic monster’s home studio decided to do a reboot of their own. Godzilla: Resurgence otherwise known as Shin Gojira in Japan is a complete reboot of the franchise, unlike the soft reboots that came before which are all sequels to the 1954 original. Spearheaded by Neon Genesis Evangelion’s Hideaki Anno, the iconic monster’s origin has been changed but retains its nuclear roots. Godzilla’s powers were changed as well as some aspects of the monster’s build. Audiences were treated to an overly-detailed bureaucratic version of Japanese crisis management to either add realism or as a political statement. The new origin, new powers and possible reproductive possibilities make this a must-watch for any Godzilla fan.
Batman v Superman Extended – is what should have been shown in theaters instead of the cinematic version. What could have possessed Warner Brothers to go gung-ho on the cutting room floor taking out the material that could have made Batman v Superman the box-office hit they were hoping for? The same could be said for Suicide Squad. Was Warner Brothers trying to cut enough material for one more full showing of the film? Anyway, Batman v Superman extended or not makes it on this list as it marks a milestone in film history as the first time two superhero icons Batman and Superman appear together in the same film. Oh and yes, we have the first live-action appearance of Wonder Woman since Linda Carter, not counting the failed pilot played by Adrienne Palicki.
Train to Busan – is the second foreign film in this list. Sheldon Cooper will love this film as it features trains and zombies. South Korea gets hit with a sudden zombie apocalypse reminiscent of Brad Pitt’s World War Z. Father and daughter board a train to South Korea to visit the girl’s estranged mother but the zombie apocalypse boards the train with them. They and several others must bear the harrowing train ride and make it to Busan which was declared a safe zone. It’s enclosed space zombie action like Plane of the Dead but with better action and drama. If you haven’t seen it, better start hunting.
The Jungle Book – from Disney is the live-action interpretation of the Disney animated classic. It was directed by Jon Favreau of Iron Man fame to great results. The live-action treatment necessitated some changes to the story with positive results. The CGI visual effects were highly-praised as well as the film’s action scenes. The film also owes its acclaim to the performances of Neel Sethi as Mowgli alongside greats like Idris Elba, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken and Scarlett Johansson.
Suicide Squad – is the unlikely follow-up to Batman v Superman as it’s a superhero film composed mostly of villains, most of whom belong to Batman’s rogues gallery. The story is simple and straightforward leading to a bonding of the characters. Despite being villains, it turns out they have heart and some sense of honor. Major characters include assassin Deadshot played by Will Smith, Harley Quinn played by Margot Robbie and The Joker played by Jared Leto. Batman, reprised by Ben Affleck plays a short role. The film has its flaws but is nonetheless enjoyable.