Some films get so hyped up that you can’t help but go in with lofty expectations. Big studio releases, sequels, and remakes are just a few of the most heavily marketed films with campaigns that are designed to get you into theater seats or clicking the title to rent or stream. However, no amount of clever marketing can make up for a lackluster story or hollow characters. These are a few titles of 2020 that left us wanting more, not quite living up to expectations.
The New Mutants
This was an okay movie that I don’t think I’d revisit. While I loved Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer’s performances everything else was a little lacking. A major criticism was the effects of the movie. The CGI works fine for the movie and would probably scare children, but it is nothing compared to Jim Henson’s practical prosthetics from the original movie.
Wonder Woman 1984
This film, though highly anticipated, landed incredibly flat to me. The plot needed a lot of tightening up and the wish granting stone plot device seemed too cliched to really pull it all together. Overall, the film left me underwhelmed and did not live up to the first installment.
Wonder Woman 1984 is by no means a bad movie, but given the stellar quality of the first film, it’s impossible not to see this sequel as a disappointment. Bloated by its own ambitions, Patty Jenkins guides this movie to what can only be described as a sloppy mess. Given the budget, the time they had to make it, the end result here should’ve been far better than it was.
As someone who has been a die hard Christopher Nolan fan, there was a lot of anticipation around Tenet being Nolan’s next big Sci-Fi epic of the year. After countless delays and being released at an odd time for films, it unfortunately missed the mark compared to his other work. There’s still a ton of great craft to appreciate and this still has a lot of ambition that we’re used to from him messing with the concept of time once again. However, unlike Inception where the world he created was well thought out and gripping, the world of Tenet feels a bit too vague and seems like Nolan wanted to be a bit too Nolan-esque for his own good. Certainly comes recommended and definitely has some impressive moments, but if I were introducing someone to Nolan’s work as a filmmaker, this would not be the first film I would show them.
Everybody gets so excited for the newest Christopher Nolan film and sadly I’ve never been that big a fan of his. The previews for Tenet looked awesome but once you saw the film, it turned out to be overly long and featured a poorly motivated villain that made for quite dull ride. Sure, the action was impressive, for how little there was, but even still, Tenet is very confusing even for the casual movie-goer. For one thing, I’m tired of Nolan and his movies involving time manipulation, it gets tired and frankly isn’t that interesting anymore. Tenet could’ve been awesome and while it wasn’t a bad movie, I wasn’t moved either. Seriously, does anyone remember this movie at all?
Most disappointing movie was probably Mulan. I didn’t hate it, but I felt it was such wasted potential to tell a more mature story that showed the negative impacts of war. Instead, what I got was a rather bland retelling of the 1998 film that to its credit does go in a few different directions, none of which really make the character or the story any more meaningful. The dialogue and message is more on the nose than in the animated film. Mulan’s complex arc about learning to use her wit in order to fit in and stop the enemy is replaced with a ‘chosen one’ type narrative that makes Mulan and her journey much less interesting. It was just such wasted potential.
Mulan was a disappointment for this year. I love the original and the remake just did not hold a candle. It was lifeless and felt like it was missing all the fun of the original.
-Tyler Justin Pruyn
This film really tried to be something for the queer community, but ultimately ended up relying too much on suffering for it to be considered anything close to a cheery Christmas flick. Even Kristen Stewart couldn’t save this film from being an ultimate disappointment and frustrating watch for members of the LGBTQ community.