Top 10 Films of 2016
We are roughly ten days away from ushering in a New Year and with it will come a whole new slate of films for us to love, hate, and overly critique. Once again Rotten Tomatoes will be public enemy number one. This year was dominated by five comic-book films, a stand alone Star Wars film, and several animated films. This year also saw several reboots and sequels that we not needed or were flat-out terrible – I am looking right at you Independence Day, Finding Dory, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2. 2016 has given us lots of film to be proud about and many could listed in the Top 10 but here is a list of the films I consider the Top 10 films of 2016.
10. The Secret Life of Pets – Universal Studios – $875.3 million
The Secret Life of Pets was another huge win for Universal/Illumination as they continue to grow their animated franchise. While this film was fun and quite amusing, it’s not very original. The concept of the film is a pets version of Toy Story. It does have a decent voice cast ranging from Louis C.K. to Kevin Hart. It was also fun to imagine pet owners leaving for the day and what actual pets might do while they are gone. The film sits at number 5 overall for the year and surely there is a sequel in the works.
Synopsis: Max (Louis C.K.) is a spoiled terrier who enjoys a comfortable life in a New York building until his owner adopts Duke, a giant and unruly canine. During their walk outside, they encounter a group of ferocious alley cats and wind up in a truck that’s bound for the pound. Luckily, a rebellious bunny named Snowball swoops in to save the doggy duo from captivity. In exchange, Snowball demands that Max and Duke join his gang of abandoned pets on a mission against the humans who’ve done them wrong.
9. 10 Cloverfield Lane – Paramount Pictures – $108.3 million
When the teaser for 10 Cloverfield Lane was released the hype and anticipation for the film went through the roof. Fans, including myself, wondered if this would be a direct sequel to Cloverfield. Sadly this was not the case and the only similarities in the films are the name Cloverfield in the title. The film was engaging and had me on the edge of my seat. The cast was superb and John Goodman delivered as always. This was one of the better Sci-Films of 2016 but a couple more were better and that is why I rank this film at number nine.
Synopsis: After surviving a car accident, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up to find herself in an underground bunker with two men. Howard (John Goodman) tells her that a massive chemical attack has rendered the air unbreathable, and their only hope of survival is to remain inside. Despite the comforts of home, Howard’s controlling and menacing nature makes Michelle want to escape. After taking matters into her own hands, the young woman finally discovers the truth about the outside world.
8. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Warner Bros. – $718.9 million
Fans of the Harry Potter franchise have been hoping for sequels and prequels since the closing moments of Deathly Hallows Part 2. One cannot get enough of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Fantastic Beasts takes us all right back to that magical world in a time set before the events of Harry Potter as we follow Newt Scamander and his chest of magical creatures. It felt good to get back into the world of Harry Potter and the film had some brilliant moments. I just was not big on Eddie Redmayne and his performance was lacking in my opinion. During the film it seemed as though he was mumbling his lines. I loved the comic relief of Dan Fogler . Ezra Miller was brilliant as Credence and the film was held together by Colin Farrell’s performance as Percival Graves. The franchise is still solid though and I do not see the World of Harry Potter coming to an end any time soon.
Synopsis: The year is 1926, and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident, were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.
7. Deadpool – 20th Century Fox – $782.6 million
One of the most highly anticipated and underestimated films of 2016 was Deadpool. The film set new standards for the comic-book movie world and its R rating has prompted the 2017 Logan movie to follow suit. Will we be seeing more R rated comic-book films? Wait this isn’t even the first R rated comic-book film to be released. Several R rated films were adapted from comics such as Spawn, Watchmen, and Blade. Why did everyone act like Deadpool broke the mold? Deadpool did come out the gate swinging and its first weekend gross double what most in the industry had predicted. In an age of cookie cutter Marvel Studio films who aim to please kids and audiences with cheap jokes and sub-par villains, Deadpool decided it needed to step that up a notch. Now we get over the top graphic violence and sex, cheesy vulgar one liners, and of course a terrible villain. Way to go Fox you showed Marvel Studios who is boss. I know Deadpool is all those things and more but this film could have been so much more. After seeing this movie a couple of times the jokes get old and it’s not a very re-watchable film other than a few cool action scenes. Ryan Reynolds played Deadpool like he does every other character he has ever played, a total smart ass. The film was a huge success none the less and Ryan Reynolds was born to play Deadpool.
Synopsis: Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a former Special Forces operative who now works as a mercenary. His world comes crashing down when evil scientist Ajax (Ed Skrein) tortures, disfigures and transforms him into Deadpool. The rogue experiment leaves Deadpool with accelerated healing powers and a twisted sense of humor. With help from mutant allies Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), Deadpool uses his new skills to hunt down the man who nearly destroyed his life.
6. The Nice Guys – Warner Bros. – $57.3 million
While this film did not blow away the box office in 2016 it was for sure one of the best movies and in my opinion highly underrated. Shane Black does a terrific job setting up this buddy comedy and the cast showed real chemistry. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling give some of their best performances. This film had the banter between the two that took me back to the days of Lethal Weapon. If you have not seen the film then I beg you to check it out. It has a nice blend of comedy, action, and suspense.
Synopsis: Set against the backdrop of 1977 Los Angeles, The Nice Guys opens when single father and licensed PI Holland March (Gosling) is hired to investigate the apparent suicide of famous porn star Misty Mountains. As the trail leads him to track down a girl named Amelia (Qualley), he encounters less licensed and less hands-off private eye Jackson Healey (Russell Crowe) and his brass knuckles, both hired by the young hippie. However, the situation takes a turn for the worse when Amelia vanishes and it becomes apparent that March wasn’t the only party interested. As both men are forced to team up, they’ll have to take on a world filled with eccentric goons, strippers dressed as mermaids and even a possible government conspiracy.
5. The Jungle Book – Walt Disney Studios – $966.5 million
The mouse is at it again. Right now Disney is at an all time high (grossing$7B in 2016) and they show no signs of slowing down. The Jungle Book continues their animated to live action film campaign and at the helm is director Jon Favreau who is also set to direct the live action Lion King film. This film sports an amazing cast from Ben Kingsley to Idris Elba. The film actually goes deeper than the animated film and gives the story and Mowgli more depth. I was totally engaged the entire time and the film never slows down. It has some light-hearted moments and some great action set pieces. The film has some of the best CGI work I have seen in a film as well.
Synopsis: After a threat from the tiger Shere Khan forces him to flee the jungle, a man-cub named Mowgli embarks on a journey of self discovery with the help of panther, Bagheera, and free-spirited bear, Baloo.
4. Suicide Squad – Warner Bros. – $745.6 million
In a year dominated by 5 comic book films, Suicide Squad stands out as one that I feel exceeded the studios expectations. DC films have no problem stirring the pot when it comes to critics and fans. Critics do not seem to care for the films while fans are highly supportive and drive the films to financial success. At nearly $750 million, Suicide Squad performed much better than expected and has set the stage for an all female spin-off, Gotham City Sirens. Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn) and Will Smith (Deadshot) lead a pretty stellar cast including Academy Award winner Jared Leto (Joker). The film is not without its faults though. A film marketed heavily around Leto’s Joker, only to find that most of the scenes were cut from the final film, did not sit well with fans. An Extended Cut of the film added some scenes back but the DC films continue to plagued by studio interference.
Synopsis: Figuring they’re all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret mission. Now armed with government weapons, Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc and other despicable inmates must learn to work together. Dubbed Task Force X, the criminals unite to battle a mysterious and powerful entity, while the diabolical Joker (Jared Leto) launches an evil agenda of his own.
3. Captain America: Civil War – Disney/Marvel Studios – $1.1 billion
Marvel continues to dominate the comic book universe and while this was a nice addition to the franchise it was not its finest. I felt the movie lacked character and took the Civil War name strictly for marketing purposes as this film did not follow the comic at all really. The film felt more like Avengers 2.5 than an actual sequel to Winter Soldier. I think this film did best in setting up future Marvel films like Black Panther and the 2017 Spider-Man: Homecoming. Once again I felt Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) was terrific but Chris Evans just falls flat as Captain America. Critics ripped Batman v Superman apart for some of the same mistakes Civil War made. The film overall was still enjoyable and has one of the best action scenes of any comic-book film to date. I just feel Marvel relies to heavily on jokes and fails to take itself seriously. Also they continue the streak of villains that no one will remember.
Synopsis: Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The new status quo deeply divides members of the team. Captain America (Chris Evans) believes superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without government interference. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) sharply disagrees and supports oversight. As the debate escalates into an all-out feud, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) must pick a side.
2. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Warner Bros. – $873.2 million
The long-awaited showdown between the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight finally happened this year in one of the most highly anticipated films of all time. Fans waited 3 years for the film to be released and while critics once again took a big ol’ crap on top of the film, fans for the most part highly enjoyed the film. The fact that wanna be journalists are still comparing movies to BvS is a testament to just how much some people want to hate this movie when in fact it is a very good movie. I will say that once again WB meddled with the final product which left some poor editing issues and pacing but once the Ultimate Edition was released it was no shock that they should have went with the longer cut to begin with. The film does a terrific job setting up Justice League and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was one of the brightest spots of the film. Any doubts fans had about Ben Affleck as Batman were resolved as well and he has the best fight scene ever seen in a Batman film. I wont ever watch the theatrical cut again and once you see the Ultimate Edition you will know why this was the film audiences were meant to see.
Synopsis: Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gothan City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known.
1. Star Wars: Rogue One – Walt Disney Studios – Box-Office TBD
Rogue One was without a doubt my 2nd most anticipated movie of 2016 and as you can tell it is my favorite film of 2016. Disney like I said earlier continues to dominate and Rogue One was everything I hoped it would be. Finally I got to see a Star Wars movie gets gritty and take the word War seriously. I think the film had a much darker tone that was hampered by re-shoots but the final product delivered and the final 10 minutes alone is with the price admission. Last years The Force Awakens blew box office records away but was nowhere near close to being the best Star Wars movie ever. Rogue One is a much better film and works as a stand alone film or as part of the original films. Fans of Darth Vader will leave the theater highly pleased and it gives me hope for the other solo films.
Synopsis: Former scientist Galen Erso lives on a farm with his wife and young daughter Jyn. His peaceful existence comes crashing down when the evil Orson Krennic takes him away from his beloved family. Many years later, Galen is now the Empire’s lead engineer for the most powerful weapon in the galaxy, the Death Star. Knowing that her father holds the key to its destruction, a vengeful Jyn joins forces with a spy and other resistance fighters to steal the space station’s plans for the Rebel Alliance.
It has been one helluva ride in 2016 with some great moments spent at the movies. Did you agree with my list? What movies would you include in your Top 10? Please comment below with your selections.
As always stay tuned to MFST for all your Entertainment needs.
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