Seems like for 2016 it has been Disney and its related properties that have dominated the majority my viewing time. With their massive reach and some pretty big franchises at their disposal, that shouldn’t be surprising. And I am a total sucker for this stuff too. 😉
After the previous year’s hype of Star Wars: The Force Awakens I was already looking forward to what would be in store for us with the spin-off. But with few details early in the year I was happy to be distracted with superhero movies until it arrived.
Heroes battle it out
It almost seemed like DC and Marvel were both bringing out their big guns in a showdown. First up was Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice which borrowed heavily from a couple of major stories (The Dark Knight Returns and The Death of Superman) but failed in the end to make it anything more than an effects laden punch up. Which is a shame as Ben Affleck did a great job as Batman as did Gal Godot playing Wonder Woman. Just a shame they both had to do it in a sub par film.
Not long after that Marvel pops up with Captain America: Civil War which had similar themes of the government forcing more accountability onto heroes but also made it a personal war waged amongst the heroes themselves. The film’s trailer showing Captain America and the Winter Soldier taking on Iron Man must have sold a few tickets I’d imagine too. It was like an Avengers 2.5 in all the right ways.
Suicide Squad tried to twist the the superhero team story by basing it on a team of villains but after selling it to audiences with the prospect of seeing Jared Leto’s take on the Joker he was barely in there and wasn’t really integral to the story either.
We might see more of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn as a result of this but when opinion rates the film only slightly more entertaining than Batman vs Superman that’s still a pretty big stumble to make. Those looking after DC’s live action movies really need to learn a thing or two from those handling the animated films.
Following up later in the year was Doctor Strange who brought along with him both the psychedelic and mystical to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Someone might have been smoking their own comic books because there were some crazy looking world folding that would even make Christopher Nolan’s Inception stand up and tell them they need to lay off the strong stuff.
I think it also showed that finding the right actors for roles can help elevate the material too. Tilda Swinton may have been criticised early on for her role as the Ancient One but I ended up really enjoying what she brought to the film.
I battle my television
You’d think Netflix would have a hard time keeping up with the movies but with the second season of Daredevil revealing The Punisher and later Luke Cage cleaning up Harlem there’s a lot to enjoy in binge watching Marvel on the small screen. Of the two, Luke Cage was the most rewarding for me thanks to some great characters and villains that were as memorable as the hero himself. And that was unexpected too given how much I had enjoyed Daredevil earlier in the year.
My Netflix queue gets longer as more and more new shows come out however having access to every available Star Trek episode on demand certainly doesn’t help me work through them. Grocs and Kitarakae have been telling me to start on Stranger Things and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency as have colleagues with Black Mirror. I had recorded Westworld too and it is sitting there waiting for me to knock it over as well.
On the positive side I did get through Game of Thrones, Black Sails and both Walking Dead series. The fate of Jon show seemed like it was telegraphed from miles away, it was just a case of when, but seeing other characters get what they deserved in the end was worth it. Black Sails surprised with a character’s unexpected demise and with it looking like season 4 might be the last I can’t wait to see it through to the end. The introduction of Negan to TWD certainly adds a new dynamic but I wonder if he arrived a season later than he needed to.
I ended up getting sidetracked later with watching the flood of DC based series all coming in at once. Not sure why (I suppose a lot of people would ask that) because the quality of them seems to have dropped this year which is especially disappointing with The Flash which feels to be trying too hard now to throw ideas out and see what sticks.
But Star Wars still wins
Thankfully the year closed out on a high note with the first Star Wars Anthology film in Rogue One which for long time fans was potentially more rewarding than both last year’s The Force Awakens and the prequels too. Filling in the void of how the Rebels got their hands on the Death Star plans in the first place while setting up the original film might seem like a daunting task but the execution of the film was mostly done well.
For me I was really impressed with how loyal the producers were to the small details of the original trilogy. The work done to make this fit within the timelines deserves far more credit than the design of the prequels or the latest film. They even modelled Darth Vader’s helmet on the 1977 version, transparent eyes and all. That this came to my mind while watching the movie might also indicate I’ve watched a little too much Star Wars over the years.
With Episode VIII arriving at the end of the year and a Han Solo spin-off in 2018 we certainly aren’t going to be short of movies to keep the fans happy. Hopefully the quality stays at a high level too because I’m not sure if the franchise could survive a dud as easily as Marvel can.
So, what’s to come?
Hopefully my viewing habits will be a lot less predictable this year but sometimes I don’t have a lot of time to graze through random stuff so I end up turning towards the blockbuster type movies that I know I’ll enjoy. The prospect of another Star Wars arriving just before the end of the year gives me a bit of a buzz too.
So no new years resolutions to do better but I will try! I’ll probably have to revisit some old stuff too. I’m due another Firefly marathon I think. And I do have to warn you that I will likely watch Pacific Rim at least another two times this year… I’m truly sorry but watching an alien monster get smashed in the face with a ship wielded by a giant robot does not get old in my eyes. Just more awesome. 😀