Some of these movies I actually enjoyed somewhat but ended up not living up to the expectations I had. Also, just so you know these are my subjective picks for disappointing films, not an offical “these were the DEFINITIVE disappointing movies of 2011.”
10. The Hangover 2 - 2/10
The only reason this movie isn’t higher on this list is because I had a feeling that it was going to be a train wreck and good God it did not disappoint in that respect. This is one of the most utterly worthless movie experiences I’ve ever had in my life. I liked the first Hangover film, but it wasn’t THE FUNNIEST MOVIE EVER for me like it apparently was for many others. When I heard they were making a sequel, everything about it just screamed cash grab to me and I was 100% right on the money with that assumption. It’s like they literally took 30 minutes to write out the basic story structure on cocktail napkins and just recycle everything from the first with no ingenuity. Complete trash and I wouldn’t be surprised if they went back to milk the cow for a third one SMH…
9. Transformers: Dark of the Moon - 6/10
To be honest, I enjoyed quite a bit of Transformers 3, but that doesn’t mean the movie as a whole was good. The only reason this wasn’t higher on my list is because after Transformers 2, my expectations were dwindled quite a bit. I remained cautiously optimistic after the trailers for this one hit because it looked good, but so did Transformers 2 from the trailers. The CGI, 3D effects, and action were all pretty good, but anything tying those things to any resemblance of a plot or characters was utter shit. If this movie was a 100 minute balls to the wall action excursion, I would’ve loved this movie, but instead we got a bloated 153 minute movie filled with inane story beats and unfunny gags.
8. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - 6/10
I generally liked the first Sherlock Holmes film. It was light on the detective work and a little more heavy on the slow motion and action, but it was a fun romp. All I wanted out of the sequel was more of the same, but what I got was an over the top version of the first one with even less heart and brain. I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed it as a popcorn action flick, but when I see that “Sherlock Holmes” name on the title I kind of expect more than just that.
7. Cowboys & Aliens - 6/10
Another film that I still found enjoyment in as a popcorn flick, but considering the pedigree of the people involved one would expect the next great summer blockbuster. Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), executive produced by Steven Spielberg, produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, and starring a plethora of the biggest names in Hollywood including Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, etc. Those filmmakers with that cast should have created something incredible, instead we got a lukewarm film that is totally forgettable.
6. Cars 2 - 5/10
It’s Pixar… these guys have never made a bad movie. Cars was easily their worst film, but it was still enjoyable. When they said they were making a sequel to Cars though, I started hearing those sirens go off in head that screamed “CASH GRAB!” I knew that Disney made billions off the toy licensing of Cars and making a sequel would be a good excuse to make even MORE. I had faith in Pixar though because they wouldn’t just make a movie to make money, but maybe I was wrong. After the first 10 minutes of this movie and the opening action set piece I thought “Fuck the critics! This is going to be awesome!”, but then everything else hapened. Whoever thought it was a good idea to make Mater the main character really needs to have their fucking head cut off. This movie would have been bearable had he not been in it. Pixar’s next film Brave looks worlds better than Cars 2, so hopefully they’ll be back on the ball this year because Dreamworks Animation has been kicking their asses lately with the Kung Fu Panda series and How to Train Your Dragon. As David Chen from the /Filmcast put it: “2011 was the year we saw a Brett Ratner film reviewed better than the Pixar film,” and that is a fucking shame.
5. Pirates 4 - 4/10
Fuck everyone involved in this fucking movie. I thought that now that they didn’t have to worry about multiple plotlines and wrapping up everyone’s story that we could finally get a Pirates of the Caribbean movie on par with The Curse of the Black Pearl. Clearly I was wrong. This is one of the most lifeless movies I have ever seen in my life. The most I can say for this movie is that I didn’t fall asleep and the mermaid sequence was cool, but that’s about it. Whoever decided that Captain Jack should be THE main character should kill themselves (he was always a brilliant diversion from the Will/Elizabeth plotline). Whoever decided that having Penelope Cruz on board should be beaten down. Whoever cast the bad ass motherfucker that is Ian McShane and then decided to not have him do anything needs to be savagely eaten by panthers. As my friend once said, “Rob Marshall can eat a fat one,” FUCK THAT GUY. Also, Sam Claflin, I really hope you’re in like 10 minutes of Snow White and the Huntsman because you really fucking suck. FUCK THIS MOVIE!
4. Green Lantern - 4/10
It takes a lot for me to get bored during a movie, but I was bored as hell during Green Lantern. I checked my watch about a dozen times during this movie and couldn’t believe how brutally slow it was going. One cool action set piece does not redeem your entire movie of crap. Martin Campbell… what the fuck, man? The cast is talented but entirely miscast; in what world does Ryan Reynold, Blake Lively, and Peter Sarsgaard (who all look about a decade older than another) grow up together!? One of the most uninspired films I’ve seen in a long time.
3. In Time - 6/10
I enjoyed In Time somewhat, but I can’t help but be disappointed because Andrew Niccol wrote The Truman Show which is one of my favorite movies ever. I guess I shouldn’t be as disappointed as I was because I thought Lord of War was all right and that was also written/directed by Niccol, but the concept of this film was so cool! I was so disappointed at how little he got out of this premise, hopefully someone remakes it in a few decades.
2. Warrior - 6.5/10
Probably the best movie in this entire bunch, but the reason it’s so high on this list is because I expected an AMAZING movie. Critics unabashedly LOVED this movie and I had heard things like “Warrior does for MMA what Rocky did for boxing,” THAT is the level I expected this film to get to and I don’t think it ever got there. The performances from the main three actors were phenomenal, but everything else about this movie felt so trite and tired. They were just laying on the cliches and stereotypes so thick that I couldn’t buy it. Also, I have no idea what the people who are praising the fights in this film are talking about because I thought the fight choreography was horrendous. Shake the cam as much as you can and cut to so many different angles that you can’t even tell who just got thrown down or who’s winning! Do it over and over again! NOW! Not to mention the fact that the fights for each brother are EXACTLY the same! They might as well have shown us the EXACT SAME fight on replay leading up the championship. The only thing this movie had going for it was not knowing which brother would win but after seeing each fight end in EXACTLY the same way, the movie shows its hand and removes that element.
1. Battle: Los Angeles - 3/10
An amalgamation of the worst that Hollywood has to offer. I can imagine the conversations that took place before this film was greenlighted by the studio a few years back. “What do people want to see? Well District 9 just did really well, we could make it about aliens. Yeah! We’ll make a sci-fi action flick where aliens invade. Okay, what about the story? We’ll throw in one for everybody! The sergeant who comes back for ONE last job! The young upstart who thinks he’s prepared to be a leader but finds that in the heat of the moment he’s not! Bonus point, he has a pregnant wife as well! The guy who’s about to be married! The virgin guy! The guy who messed up on the last mission and has to redeem himself!” The trailer for this film was SO GOOD, but the movie ended being such a colossal waste of time.
Here’s to better films in 2012 (hopefully).
My dad is watching Green Lantern right now and I just have to say that Mark Strong is SO FUCKING GOOD in this movie! It’s lamentable and a damn shame that such a wonderful actor and a terrific performance was wasted on such a mediocre film. They say that they’re looking into a Green Lantern sequel and the only reason I would be excited for that is to see Mark Strong return as Sinestro for the second one. No matter how good or bad a film is, Mark Strong is usually one of the highlights of any film he takes part in. Great actor and I hope he gets his due in the near future.
I was honestly not that excited to see Green Lantern. When I saw the trailers it looked like yet another superhero origin story. There was nothing really to differentiate it from the dozens of other superhero films we’ve seen in the past; it just looked kind of generic. Another strike was casting Blake Lively over my homegirl Keri Russell for the Carol Ferris role (although it looks like Keri dodged a bullet by losing out on the role lol). The only thing that really held my interest was that Martin Campbell, a man who’s successfully rebooted the James Bond franchise TWICE, was directing. I’m a big fan of the work I’ve seen from him and I was certainly interested in seeing him tackle a superhero story.
Unfortunately it seems like this film was made entirely by the studio intent on spending a lot of money, appealing to as broad an audience as possible, and creating a multimillion dollar franchise. All this instead of people who had a vested interest in telling a good story, crafting believable characters, and giving the audience a good summer blockbuster. The entire movie has a made by committee feel to it. Let’s throw in an action beat here, an emotional beat there, some flashback scenes here, a little romance there, etc. It felt like the studio was trying to just appeal to make a four quadrant movie and in doing so they removed any uniqueness from the movie.
The only highlights were the special effects and some inventive use of powers for the action scenes. That being said, I don’t think that the special effects were top notch. It might’ve been because I just saw Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which has some of the best special effects I’ve seen in a long time, but Green Lantern looked kind of bland at times. When Ryan Reynolds enters Oa, it feels too obviously green screen. There’s no weight to any of the movement of the CGI creations.
I did dig the way the Green Lantern used his powers. That was the only little bit of originality in the film and even that didn’t feel like it was taken advantage of to the fullest extent. That last action scene was legitimately good, but that’s all you get from this movie. That and one showdown between Green Lantern and Hector. Everything else was just kind of blah
I need to single out Mark Strong as Sinestro, who easily gave the best performance of this movie. Mark Strong is pretty much great in every single movie he’s in, but he’s really so good in this movie. It’s such a shame that such a wonderful actor and performance is wasted on a film this mediocre.
Back to flaws of the film, the biggest problem of the movie is that it feels so bland. The movie feels designed to take people’s money by creating a superhero blockbuster that will appeal to all ages and demographics. Instead of taking chances and creating something memorable, we get something that we’ve seen a million times before in movies. Truthfully, there’s really only like six different kind of stories out there for movies to tell, but the way you tell it and what you bring to those formulas is what separates the crap films from the great. Green Lantern has almost nothing distinctive about it.
Ryan Reynolds is basically just doing his typical Ryan Reynolds schtick, which is somewhat enjoyable, but nothing we haven’t seen from him before. Blake Lively is essentially a non-entity in this film. It’s hard to believe this is the same actress who gave such a great performance in The Town, although honestly, she’s not given much to work with. Peter Sarsgaard plays yet another terrible villain in a terrible movie (which he’s been doing a lot of recently). Tim Robbins, who is supposed to be Peter Sarsgaard’s father in the movie, looks like he could be his brother. Hell, as old as he looks, Peter Sarsgaard looks like he could be Tim Robbins’s father in this movie! Apparently the characters Reynolds, Sarsgard, and Lively play all grew up together but Sarsgard is older than Reynolds and Reynolds is about a decade older than Lively. In what conceivable universe are these characters all the same age!?
Which leads to my biggest gripe about the film, none of these characters seem to have any relationships with each other outside of Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris. Hal and Carol have exactly two scenes where they are in the same frame as Hector Hammond, and that’s ALL you get to develop any kind of “bond” or “relationship” between them. The film could’ve worked if you played up this angle of a Hal/Hector relationship where Hector is jealous of Hal basically having life so easy and Hal throwing it all away. But instead, you get NOTHING and the film basically has no dramatic weight to it.
Movies like Green Lantern destroy my young idealistic hopes that blockbuster movies can be fun entertainment at the least. When movies feel like they’re being made just so studios can make a boatload of money and not because they’re trying to tell a good story or be creative with the film medium, I just can’t support that.
While I don’t think that Green Lantern is unwatchable by any means, I will say that I was looking at my watch several times during the film and thinking “when is it gonna end!?” I don’t think I need to tell you that that’s not a good thing when it comes to seeing a movie.