Ranked? Hell no. You can’t rank your favorites! 2016 was so chock-full of geek movie goodness and more box-office action for us nerd kids than you could count in short order. Instead, I’ve selected five films in categories which defined the landscape of genre flicks this year by being shining examples among their peers of the best offerings.
Before we begin, you might say “Lucas, where’s the horror?” Well, this blog is mostly about horror already, and Goldie broke those down really well for us on her own! So, we will stick (mostly) to the comic book, sci-fi and fantasy over here in The Stump.
Here we go!
The Biggest Relief: Rogue One
The movie on the tip of everyone’s tongue this holiday season is also the cause of the largest collective “whew” among fandom. Rogue is a great flick, yes, but the very real concern that it could suck is possibly to credit for part of it’s huge success. It doesn’t suck, at all, and has landed as a favorite among even the crankiest of fans.
Best Revival: Ghostbusters
In a year when two old favorites — Ghostbusters and Independence Day — returned to the big screen with updated iterations, one was a clear hit with fans, despite being snubbed endlessly by some critics and box-office revenue wonks. Despite the huge unknowns for future installments of the new strain of bustin’, the ladies of Ecto-1 won big with the people who count and scored the notable fandom comeback.
Most Surprising Success: Star Trek Beyond
Speaking of hard-to-please fandom, the Trekkies (no, I won’t say “Trekker,” so bug off) are some of the biggest sticks in the geek mud and the very hardest to please. The heavy tones of cynicism over the likelihood of director Justin Lin pulling off his unheard of transition from Fast and Furious to Trek was a huge hurdle for the film, and it seems to have blown away much of that resistance. Most of the buzz seems to be that this film is favored among the three of the “new Trek” installments, and for a guy who went from burning rubber to burning spacedust.
Best Comic Book: Deadpool
Yeah, that’s right. In the oh-so-crowded field of comic book films in 2016, the one (hopefully) containing the fewest children in theaters is not just my pick for top marks — and possibly the most important one of the genre in a business sense. Let’s remember that Deadpool is the walking, trash-talking, irreverent example to the short-sighted bone-headed film industry that you can, indeed, make comic movies for grownups. The rated-R flick made a huge splash and hopefully paved the way for more of the same from those in Hollywood who’ve enjoyed a panoramic view of their colon for far too long with regard to this genre.
Comic Book Honorable Mentions
It is critical to point out that we were also graced with some fabulous installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the X-Men… Fox… Cartel?… this year as well. Captain America: Civil War and X-Men Apocalypse won the day vs. DC’s contributions of Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, when it came to the year of superhero in-fighting. We were lucky to have all of these films to choose from (or choose all of), but Marvel slammed the home-runs. Don’t forget the incredibly well-built Doctor Strange, as well, which held its own in the fall, balancing the usual holiday load with a nice dose of page-to-screen perfection.
Sleeper Gem: Midnight Special
I can’t say enough about how pleasantly surprised I was with this film. For a more hard-sci-fi piece, it has a very approachable and accessible story, leaving a large spectrum of the tale to be enhanced by your own imagination and ideas. Of all the films in this list, it is fair to say this one has the least exposure and viewership. This means you should ring in 2017 tomorrow by watching it, since it’s available on demand for HBO customers, calling your name like a mysterious satellite signal to a young boy…
What will 2017 bring us in the geek realm? Perhaps that’s a deeper discussion for another post, but we all have some favorites and some unknowns heading to the big screen. For me, of course, Star Wars Episode VIII a top pick, as is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. In the immediate future, I’m eagerly anticipating LEGO Batman, optimistic about Logan and keeping a cautious excitement about the next installment of Transformers. Let’s not forget Wonder Woman and Spider-Man, as well.
What are your favorite movies in 2016 and upcoming? Hit us up on Facebook and discuss!