All cinematic years must come to a close. This is the time when cinephiles typically revisit and rank what they have taken in over the past twelve months, for better or worse. Here is a look back at some of the hits, letdowns, and surprises of 2015 films.
In a time when you can take any comic book and turn it into a multi-million dollar success, spawning sequels and linking to other superhero films, everyone naturally expected Twentieth Century Fox’s reboot of “Fantastic Four” to take off. With claimed intentions of forming their own Marvel cinematic universe to rival what Marvel/Paramount/Disney has already setup, audiences were standing by to be wowed. Instead the cast and crew publically disparaged the movie, and ultimately director Josh Trank dismissed it altogether, telling people not to see it. The professional disputes aside, the brave theatergoers that did take the gamble reported the film to be confusing, and the trailer to be misleading to what the theatrical cut ended up being. This release did such horrible business that Fox retracted their plans for any sequels. Equally ill-received by both critics and fans was the newest edition of the James Bond franchise, “Spectre.” Even though it earned enough to barely breach the top ten high grossing films of 2015, “Spectre” failed to satisfy even some of Bond’s most devoted customers. Audiences found it to be sloppy and absurd (even for a Bond film). Both of these movies served as probably the most disappointing films of the year.
Throughout the year there are always films that are expected to underperform, but end up being huge successes. Despite the monolithic hype Marvel has generated, few people kept their hopes high for “Ant-Man.” Edgar Wright worked on a script for this lesser known hero before the production and release of “Iron Man” in 2007; some speculate that if Wright had not already put in the effort, an Ant-Man movie would not even been considered. After Wright dropped out of the director’s chair, citing creative differences with Disney, pretty much all expectations came tumbling down after. Regardless, “Ant-Man” was not only a money maker, it ultimately pleased the audiences more than “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Another film expected to do poorly and saw a slim amount of promotion was Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of a Disney classic, “Cinderella.” With several live action takes on Disney old Disney cartoons critically bashed, most expected “Cinderella” to sink immediately. Instead it remains in the top ten for the year.
That leaves us with what films are walking out as the biggest of the year, so far. Fans of the Mad Max series waited thirty years for a follow up to “Beyond Thunderdome,” and were everything but disappointed with “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Already raking in Golden Globe nominations and expected to be earning some acknowledgement come Oscar time, “Fury Road” has certainly been amongst this year’s brightest stars. Reboots and throw-backs are all the rage right now. Most of them come back more cute or sentimental, but “Jurassic World” turned the trend into the top grossing film of 2015, and even beat a record set by “the Avengers” in 2012.
2015 is not quite over yet, but very nearly is. Here’s hoping we have as much variety in 2016.