2016, Year of the Lacklustre Blockbuster

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suicide squad

Batman v Superman was a two and a half hour Linkin Park video. The Jungle Book wasted its impeccable cast with CGI tunnel vision. X Men: Apocalypse combined too many promising ingredients and just came out flavourless, murky and morbid. Through the fog of gender politics, Ghostbusters emerged as a solid B, but nothing to write home to Roger Ebert about. Star Trek: Beyond was perfunctory and generic with a few fun flourishes. And of course, Suicide Squad went beyond a mere disappointment to make DC officially irrelevant.
In this bunch of underachievers, the forerunner is the latest Captain America. While Civil War almost gave watchers whiplash in its eagerness to tick all the boxes, the movie at least seemed to be having fun doing it.

But where is the genre transcending, visually thrilling, emotionally engaging and thematically stimulating Film of the Year? Have we all been spoiled by Mad Max and The Avengers? All our hopes are riding on the usual crop of sequels and remakes, which no doubt will meet with mild success given that they have built-in audiences. The entire world will be lining Disney’s pockets come the release of the new Star Wars spinoff, the 90’s babies are obligated to come out for the new Potterverse entry, and the geeks will emerge from their carpeted caves for Assassin’s Creed.

TV coasts from strength to strength, while the monochromatic Oscars are under fire and supposedly bankable movies disintegrate. Scared studios are breaking their necks to give audiences what they want, but reliability is the enemy of invention. Guardians was predicted to be Marvel’s folly, with no major stars and a talking squirrel. Deadpool’s rating was supposed to kneecap it at the box office. The movie biz is always a gamble, but these were unusual risks and we loved them. Audiences don’t want to be constantly spoon-fed the same formulaic shit. Punches and puns, biceps and boobs. Look at TV’s unlikely hits: American Horror Story, Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black. We’re cultural omnivores. We like to try new things. Studios, please; for 2017, get weird.

 

image source: screenrant.com

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