Though 2017's movie slate is looking promising, 2016 had its hits and its misses (check out my list of 16 Best Movies Of 2016 And 17 To Look Out For In 2017), most of which are universally agreed upon (other than the #DCEU #Films, which are highly debated). The striking problem with 2016's movies was the number of movies that were simply 'meh'. In this post, I will explain why there have been so many mediocre films and what we, the viewers, can and can't do about it.
The Extended Edition Factor
Three of the most highly debated upon films of 2016 are #BatmanVsSuperman: Dawn of Justice, #SuicideSquad, and #Ghostbusters. These all have one thing in common: they are all basically fan-service films that were shunned by critics but loved by fans (other than ghostbusters, which was also hated by many fans). Whether you loved these films or hated them, one thing almost everyone can agree on is that they were all improved upon by their extended editions that were released on DVD. This is, surprisingly, a conscious choice by the directors and producers because they know that if they release a reasonably average film in cinemas, everyone will go see it simply because it is 'the new incarnation of #Batman' or because 'they are finally doing a Ghostbusters #Reboot'. This means that the producers can afford to release a bad film into cinemas and then proceed to release a better one as an extended edition on DVD. They know they can safely do this because the ever-hopeful fans will buy the extended editions in hope that they are the film that they had hoped for (and they usually are).
Unfortunately, there is not much we can do to stop this from happening other than not going to the cinema and only buying the DVDs. If you go to watch the film in the cinema, you are encouraging this bad film-making but if you do not go, cinemas will begin to die out. I would say that the safest bet would be to simply save your money and buy the extended edition when it is released, instead go to see smaller, independent films in the cinema (in doing so cinemas will continue to survive, directors/producers will be discouraged from making the extended editions, and the smaller, more artistic and well-made films will get more attention and money - therefore increasing the number of truly great films that are released).
A Slew Of Sequels
38 sequels were released in 2016. This number does not even include reboots and movies based on comics, books, or any other pre-existing franchise (other than comic book movie sequels, for example). The main reason that so many sequels are currently being made is that, on average, 8 times as much money is made on a sequel than the original movie, even if the sequel is much, much worse. Sequels also have the advantage of not actually having to be a good story or well-written movie because the majority of people will go to see the movie purely based on the original or other prior material.
I am not necessarily saying that sequels are always a bad thing. Take Aliens or The Dark Knight, for example, both are arguably better than the originals. Usually, however, the sequel is almost always worse than the original and truly great sequels are very rare. There have been several brilliant original movies this year that have been eclipsed by superhero blockbusters or live-action reboots of Disney classics. Many of these movies are relatively unknown because people talk about how bad X-Men: Apocalypse is or how awesome Captain America: Civil War was. I think that the only way we, the viewers, can change this flood of sequels is going to see smaller original films like Shane Black's The Nice Guys (which more people should have gone to see) or Denis Villeneuve's Arrival. If everyone did this, original movies would become much more financially viable for producers to take on and sequels/reboots would become gradually less popular.
Extended Universe Attempts
While #RogueOne was brilliant and the #MCU has created their extended universe perfectly, #DC is desperately trying to catch up with Marvel by producing its own DCEU. The reason Marvel's universe is so clean-cut and successful is that it was set up through several solo films like #Thor and #IronMan, which then proceeded to come together like a jigsaw in The Avengers. DC, in their attempt to catch up, however, has attempted to put massive teams together and introduce hundreds of characters in single movies. This means that the movies fall victim to poor character development and spend less time on developing a plot and more on introducing and explaining each character. David Ayer's Suicide Squad is the perfect example of this because all of the characters were underdeveloped and the plot was honestly pathetic. If DC/WB had taken the time to build up to each of their films with a couple of solo movies (a Deadshot or Harley movie, for example), the main characters of the film would be much more believable and more time could be spent on the plot.
Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about this other than just not going to see the big DCEU team-up movies in the cinema and potentially missing the film (unless you simply buy the extended edition on DVD like I previously mentioned).
Don't go to see Justice League (simply buy the extended edition when it comes out on DVD) or Pitch Perfect 3 or A Bad Moms Christmas in the cinemas. Instead go to see smaller, original, and independent films like Wind River, Coco, God's Own Country, or Downsizing. If we all participate this will boost the number of good-quality films with original scripts being made and big blockbusters and live action reboots (like Beauty and the Beast) will decrease in number.
Be sure to check out my list of 16 Best Films Of 2016 And 17 To Look Out For In 2017 and post on How Color Manipulates Our Emotions In Film. Please feel free to also check out my book/movie review blog at Readers of the Lost Arc! Let me know what you think in the comments.