Weekend Blast: My favorite movies of 2016

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My Two Bits: The Movies of the 2016

It’s January.  Which means it’s time for that time-honored tradition of internet columnists spending the next several weeks re-hashing 2016.  I had actually intended for this to be my last column of 2016, but it got pushed back, so instead, I will join the navel gazers.  Promise next week I will move on talk about the exciting world of the future: 2017.

Some quick comments before I talk about the movies...as you can see from my list, I don’t do a lot of art films or movies likely to be nominated for Oscars.  And I actually saw Suicide Squad and Batman Vs Superman on DVD, not in theaters.  Not sure that matters all that much, but I always try for full disclosure to our faithful readers.

Let’s get to the reviews:

  • Rogue One:  Rogue One is my favorite movie of 2016.  I grew up on Star Wars, the movies, the toys, and the books.  I love all the side stories we got in the various books, even though most of them are no longer official canon.  Rogue One fits as one of those “side stories” perfectly.  Despite having so many characters, I thought each character got a great spotlight and served a strong purpose for the story.  I was also surprised at how hardcore this movie was.  You really get a ground level look at the hell of war here.  There aren't a lot of happy endings here...  Rogue One also had a ton of Easter Eggs, including to Star Wars Rebels.  It’s a great movie.  Easily accessible to non-Star Wars fans and a real treat for fans as well.  
  • Zootopia: Zootopia comes in a real close second.  Disney has been really on point the last few years with their animated movies (not to mention their Star Wars and Marvel lines, which are all heavily represented in both the top 10 grossing films and my list).  Over the last few years, Wreck-It Ralph, Big Hero 6, and Inside Out have all been excellent.   But Zootopia might be my favorite of the bunch.  It tackled some real tricky issues like racism and overcoming childhood trauma.   And it was still a fun kids movie at it’s heart.  I also liked that this was a well-put-together mystery story.  
  • Doctor Strange: While I loved Deadpool, Doctor Strange was my favorite comic book movie of the year.  It had an amazing look to it, really stretching the very notion of what the Marvel Cinematic Universe could be.  And the casting was terrific.  As a kid, I would never have imagined a Doctor Strange movie, but the one we got was damn brilliant.
  • Secret Life of Pets: My kids loved this movie.  I thought it had a good premise, but it kind of goes off the rails a bit halfway through the movie.  It never seems able to find a real direction.  It’s entertaining enough, but the more you think about the movie, the more it will annoy you.  Especially because part of me kept comparing it to Zootopia, which does many of the same things so much better than this movie.
  • Star Trek Beyond: I have really enjoyed the Star Trek reboot, and Star Trek Beyond continues that trend.   Once again, we see to see the Enterprise get destroyed! That name is cursed!  By the way, if you enjoy these movies as much as I do, you need to check out IDW’s comic series (the current one is Star Trek Go Boldly) which continues the story of the Star Trek Kelvin universe.  
  • Finding Dory:  Not sure Finding Nemo really needed a sequel, but I actually did enjoy this movie far more than I was expecting to.  Nothing about this movie is particularly memorable (when I sat down to write this column, I had actually forgotten I had seen it until I checked my Fandango account), but it is still worth checking out.  
  • Captain America: Civil War: Civil War was really good, though it was more of an Avengers movie than a Captain America movie.  I do think that they may have tried to squeeze a little too much into this movie (like introducing Black Panther and Spider-Man), BUT that didn't take away from my enjoyment.  I also loved that they did something very different with the villain here.  Zemo’s plan to turn the heroes against each other was actually pretty brilliant.  If nothing else, the movie is far better than either Civil War comic events.
  • Deadpool:  Funny, full of violence, cursing, and sex.  EXACTLY what I would want from a Deadpool movie.  Ryan Reynolds worked hard to ensure this movies stayed true to the character.  And the crazy part is that it was hugely successful financially too!  I expected a cult classic, not a Deadpool movie that would make almost $800 million worldwide.  I just hope when they do the inevitable sequel they remember what made this movie such a success.
  • Suicide Squad:  While I did think the plot of Suicide Squad was hard to pin down, I did like the characters and chemistry between the team.  I am a long time fan of Ostrander’s Suicide Squad, and this movie is probably about as close as you can possibly get to a perfect adaptation of that great run.   
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice:  This is a tricky one for me to comment on.  I am a huge fan of a more traditional, light-hearted heroic Superman, and we don’t get that in the DC movies.  I also thought Batman was a little easily manipulated in this movie, creating a conflict that seemed very avoidable.  All that said, I still enjoyed the movie for the most part.  I watched it back to back with Man Of Steel, and I thought it told a strong story...though not quite a Superman story to me if that makes any sense.  
  • Trolls: I wasn’t expecting much from this one, but my kids really wanted to see it (even more than Moana which we never got around to seeing). All in all, it’s a pretty generic movie, but t it did have some catchy songs and it had some real clever moments. I don’t know if I would ever sit down to watch this one again on my own, but it was definitely far better than it could have been.  

What did you miss on Critical Blast this week?

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