We’ve had the surprises; now, here’s the flipside. There were some movies that simply couldn’t live up to the hype. Whether it was publicity that made a movie come across better than it was or our own misguided expectations, there were some real bummers in 2013. This isn’t a list of the flat-out worst movies of 2013, necessarily, but a selection of some films that disappointed us the most.
Blue is the Warmest Color
To preface, Abdellatif Kechiche’s hot button Blue is the Warmest Color is certainly not a bad film, but given all the hype surrounding the Palme D’Or-winning French film, all the backstage drama and critical acclaim, all the controversy for the protracted lesbian sex scenes, it was the one film of 2013 I was most looking forward to that left me the most cold. What was all the fuss about in the first place? While the lead actresses Adéle Excharpoulos and Léa Seydoux make a beguiling pair, the film is an unfocused, overly long mess of stream of consciousness. It just keeps going and going, lacking a succinct emotional center. I never felt there was a way into the story or the characters because Kechiche seems to never really want us to find one.
– James Tisch
I never needed a movie adaptation of one of my all-time favorite books, particularly because I didn’t think there was a way to properly do a movie of a psychological story in which all the main characters start at about five years old and never get older than their early teens. Seems I was right, at least as far as this adaptation is concerned. My issue isn’t that Ender and his compatriots are aged up a bit; that’s a necessary evil, and one I was well prepared to deal with. My issue is that writer/director Gavin Hood entirely missed the point of the book. He gave us a flashy, fake looking (in rough terms, this was a Star Wars prequel when we needed something from the original trilogy), nearly mindless action film in place of the story of slow-building psychological strain that Ender experiences as he’s transformed form a kid to a military commander. Oh, and this adaptation buys into the myth of “the One,” (i.e. Ender is destined to lead the fleet, the only one who ever could, rather than just the person who ends up rising to the top and taking action) and that really, REALLY annoyed me.
– Tim Falkenberg
Iron Man 3
I remember watching the Iron Man 3 trailers – such innocent times – seeing Ben Kingsley, and thinking I was in for a depiction of a villain as strange and menacing as Tom Hardy’s Bane. Now, I would just like to say, thank you. Thank you, writer/director Shane Black for showing absolutely no respect to comic books or comic book readers. Thank you, you’ve made me realize that thinking super villains are cool is childish; don’t I feel silly. You know, I was enjoying this movie, until I realized the people who made it couldn’t believe I’d actually want to watch it. By trying to offend no one, you’ve offended anyone with sense for storytelling or fun. Iron Man 3, your plot twists are stupid, your character development is awful, and Guy Pearce is not the Mandarin, he never was, and he never will be.
– Erik Paschall
Man of Steel
Man of Steel spends too much of its runtime discussing backstory and morals that ultimately lead nowhere. The film sets up Superman as the bridge between Krypton and Earth and as someone special who will set an example for all of humanity to aspire to. Instead Superman only turns out to be a force of destruction and ends up dooming Krypton in order to save Earth. He makes the decision to completely erase the people of Krypton based on the actions of the few individuals he meets. Furthermore, Man of Steel does nothing with the significance of Superman being special, a naturally born child not bred for any specific purpose. Finally, he rarely saves anyone or attempts to minimize the damage caused by the villains. A false take on the character.
– Charlie Burroughs