I’ve been a broken record for the majority of 2016, and for that, I can only apologise. This is the last time I will mention the fact that the year has been pretty poor for us cinema lovers. Nevertheless, there have been some good efforts down at your local multiplex, and here is a look back at the very best… and very worst films over the last 12 months (in no particular order).
THE BEST FILMS OF 2016
Captain America: Civil War
Captain America got a whole host of upgrades in Civil War (read the review), cementing the First Avenger as one of Marvel’s mightiest assets.
With a host of the best talent from the MCU including Paul Bettany, Robert Downey Jr, Don Cheadle and of course Paul Rudd, the film garnered huge critical acclaim and became one of the few films to gross over $1billion worldwide in 2016.
The Jungle Book
Smirks, cackles and vomiting – that’s what accompanied the news that Disney was planning to release a live action reboot of its famous Jungle Book animation (read the review), well maybe not vomiting. Jon Favreau as director also raised a teeter.
How wrong we all were. The film was a masterclass in special effects with some of the most immersive 3D ever put to the silver screen. A worldwide gross of just under $1billion is seriously underrated.
Rogue One: a Star Wars Story
The House of Mouse has had a bumper 2016 with each of these films being released by the company in some form. Rogue One (read the review) had an immensely difficult production with problems from the outset. After Disney announced massive reshoots to the first cut, fans immediately thought of the disaster that was 2015’s Fantastic Four reboot.
Thankfully the finished article is one of the best Star Wars films to date, only topped by The Empire Strikes Back. That’s not an easy feat to achieve considering the standard of the saga as a whole.
I’m not being paid to promote Disney, honestly! Yet another live action remake of a famous animation, Pete’s Dragon (read the review) was a breath of fresh air in a summer crowded with disappointing franchise start-ups and appalling sequels.
Its understated quality gave it a charm lacking in many of the films featured on this list, with Bryce Dallas Howard returning to the big screen after 2015’s smash-hit, Jurassic World. It’s a lovely film for children and adults alike.
This heart-breaking true story of survival was one of the most surprising films of the year. With Mark Wahlberg at the helm, it’s fair to say expectations were pretty low for Deepwater Horizon (read the review) after the actor’s recent output.
Nevertheless, the finished product had breath-taking special effects, wonderful acting and a story that stayed true to the awful events that took place on-board the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. It’s one of Wahlberg’s best performances and well worth a watch.
THE WORST FILMS OF 2016
Gods of Egypt
And now we’re on to the dregs of the year. It’s always difficult to write film reviews for films that are great, good or middling. It’s not difficult to write reviews of films that are frankly dreadful, and Gods of Egypt (read the review) falls into that category.
From a hilariously bad script, to woeful acting and uninspiring special effects, it’s no wonder the film’s UK release was pushed back months in order to release it with no direct competition. It still tanked and put yet another nail in the coffin of Gerard Butler’s acting career.
London Has Fallen
Oh dear. Another Gerard Butler led disaster. This time, a sequel to the mildly successful Olympus Has Fallen that no-one ever asked for and a movie I called ‘a disgusting attempt at film-making’.
There are literally no redeeming features to London Has Fallen (read the review), but perhaps its worst crime is having the incredible Morgan Freeman star in it. Just awful.
Not necessarily a bad film, but one of the most disappointing. X-Men: Days of Future Past put the popular superhero franchise back on the right track and expectations were incredibly high for the Bryan Singer-directed X-Men: Apocalypse (read the review).
Regrettably, the finished product became a mangled mess of CGI after the first hour, shoe-horning Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine in yet again – though his appearance this time stopped the film dead in its tracks.
The DC Universe has never been able to replicate the success shown by Marvel over the last few years, though fans had hoped this would come to an end with the release of Batman v Superman in spring 2016.
Thankfully, that film wasn’t too bad and did reasonably well at the box office. Unfortunately, the much hyped Suicide Squad (read the review) was a poor follow up that relied on the talents of Will Smith and Margot Robbie far too much, resulting in a jumbled mess with poor CGI and flat characters.
Independence Day: Resurgence
2016 was definitely the year of the sequel and fans were primed for the release of Independence Day: Resurgence (read the review). With returning stars like Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman and newcomers like Liam Hemsworth, only the lack of Will Smith set alarm bells ringing.
The film was a critical and commercial disaster with a laughable story and terrible dialog proving once and for all that bigger doesn’t always mean better.
So there we have it, ten films released in 2016 that were either the very best of the year or the very worst. Which films have you seen and enjoyed or hated over the last 12 months? I’d love to hear from you.
An avid lover of all things film, Adam Brannon has grown up with a huge passion for cinema that can be traced right back to his favourite childhood movie, Steven Spielberg's smash hit, Jurassic Park. After graduating from the University of Lincoln with a degree in journalism, he now writes film reviews for his own website, Movie Metropolis and for the Press Association.