The promised explanation for my top 10 films of 2016, mostly because I got the expected squawking noises from the expected source.
First, these are also the only films I saw in the cinema in 2016. It’s a mixture of things, mostly that I no longer have my Cineworld card because the nearest Cineworld to me is now an hour and a half away. Nothing against the cinema I do have near me, but it does mean going to the cinema has suddenly got more expensive. My new job is also taking up a lot more of my time than my previous one, which hasn’t helped.
The full logic behind my system can be found here, but the short version is did the film do what it was supposed to do? Was it technically competent? Did it make me want to go ‘but that makes no sense?,’ and did it affect me?
1 – Kubo And The Two Strings
I return to my original review of Kubo – “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll fall in love with a child, a monkey, a beetle and an origami figure.” (which someone said summed it up perfectly, which is one of the nicest complements I’ve ever been paid). It’s amazing, a like a good figure skating programme, the sheer artistry of it means you don’t notice exactly how amazing the puppet work is, because you forget it’s stop motion animation and get completely caught up in the story.
It’s truly, truly amazing.
2 – The Jungle Book
I am the only person who could have done without the songs. They pulled me out of the film something chronic. Other than that, it was all good. It’s lovingly made, the effects are incredible and it’s the only 2016 film that made me cry courtesy of Lupita Nyong’o’s Raksha. (Kubo made me make all kinds of peculiar noises instead).
3 – Captain America: Civil War
Definitely the best of the comic book films this year. It was all interesting shades of grey, and right, wrong and ish, in the way good comics are. Also Black Panther and Zemo and *that* scene in the snow.
4 – Suicide Squad
Mostly for the visuals and the sense of fun which the rest of the DC-verse seems to lack. And the soundtrack. And Deadshot and Harley Quinn. Oh I loved Harley Quinn and Deadshot so much. And Amanda Waller – well love might not be the right word, suitably impressed might be better.
I’m happy with my top four and the order that they’re in. It’s after the top four that I start prevaricating.
5 – Batman vs Superman
I loved the Bat parts of the film, except how the film kept trying to tell me that he was doing the wrong thing when I think he was doing the only sensible thing, and that’s not just Bat-bias.
I can see what they were trying to do with Lex Luthor even if it didn’t work. The film’s quality jumps amazingly every time it’s Holly Hunter vs Lex Luthor.
They still don’t get Superman, which is a problem when he’s the co-headliner. And because of that it feels like the film lacks heart.
6 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I preferred this film when it was called “A New Hope”. And there’s yet another JJ Abrams character with Daddy Issues. And dear lord, do Kylo Ren’s many flaws ever make it seem like Luke is the worst Jedi master ever.
That being said, I do love Finn and Rey, and exactly how little time the First Order rank and file have for Kylo Ren’s temper tantrums.
7 – Star Trek Beyond
I enjoyed this a lot. Especially Jaylah. And Justin Lin can direct all the things because he really conveyed exactly how 3D space and space stations are.
I kept forgetting I had seen this when I was counting the films I’d seen this year. That’s not a good sign.
8 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2
This was good clean mindless fun. And when I went to see it that was exactly what I wanted to see. It does exactly what it says on the tin. And Bebop and Rocksteady are perfect. Actually perfect.
9 – Doctor Strange
The cape apart, this felt flat, like it was too concerned with setting up the next Avengers film and its own sequel to be a good film itself. Loved the Night Nurse (and Wong) but the rest of it was flat.
10 – X-Men: Apocalypse
I may have enjoyed it in parts but I have to acknowledge it was terrible.
It felt like half the film was missing. Our heroes successes came too easily and it tied everything up far too neatly. Apocalypse felt like an afterthought in his own film and too much of the film felt like generic superhero film, which X-Men should never feel like.
It’s a shame, because parts of it were wonderful, mostly the sore, ouchy character bits like Quicksilver’s complete inability to spit it out re: his Dad, and Mystique comforting the newbies when they were flying to the finale when you realise that she and Hank are the only ones from their generation left alive.
It should have been so much better.