Looking Back: Ethan Picks the Five Biggest Disappointments of 2012
by Ethan Anderton
December 18, 2012
There was lots of excitement this year for some stellar films that really came through for fans. From The Avengers to The Dark Knight Rises, a lot of audiences went home happy after so much hype. However, sometimes the hype of certain films ends up being just that, and the year ends up being littered with a few skeletons of films that just didn't hit their mark. Keep in mind that these films may very well have raked in audiences at the box office, but they didn't deliver what audiences hoped for in the long road of marketing leading up to the film. Or they may be disappointing in other ways. See my personal picks for the five biggest disappointments of 2012 below, and you may be surprised why some of the films are included.
#5. The Amazing Spider-Man
Now before Spidey fans get bent out of shape, let me explain. I actually enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man for the most part. Andrew Garfield is great as the new Peter Parker, and he has fantastic chemistry with Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. In addition, director Marc Webb made quite the jump from 500 Days of Summer to this comic book blockbuster, and did it with style. But the reason I find this film to be one of the most disappointing films of 2012 is because of the choppy editing and disregard for what was supposed to be the "untold origin story" of Spider-Man.
As we chronicled back in July, shortly after the movie came out, there are a lot of loose ends. Many of these can be tossed up to an overarching expansion of the origin over the impending sequels. But some are just left open-ended and confusing. In addition, there were just too many familiar aspects between this reboot and Sam Raimi's adaptation from a decade ago. Obviously there are some staples to Spider-Man's universe, but it just didn't stand out enough to be a truly stellar new take on the webslinging franchise. However, we're hoping the sequel real kicks things into overdrive.
#4. Red Tails
One would think that a film George Lucas has been passionate about for decades finally hitting the big screen would make a splash. Sadly, the film landed with a thud, and it seems all these years of waiting were all for naught. Though I suppose we shouldn't be surprised since the prequels to Star Wars were pretty much disastrous, we were hoping for a solid war drama with great aerial action sequences. Instead, we got a weak story, underdeveloped characters and a mediocre tribute to the real men who lost their lives in the air, with some dogfighting in between. The writing was on the wall when we heard of trouble with the production, which included Lucas taking over reshoots from Anthony Hemingway himself, but it was harder to swallow upon actually watching the film.
#3. John Carter
We've been a champion of Andrew Stanton's live-action debut ever since it's release (even before that actually), so you might be wondering why it's on the list of disappointents. Well, we're actually disappointed in Disney for not knowing how to market it to the right audiences, and also the audiences themselves for not giving it a chance. For some reason, the only thing people knew about John Carter going into the release was how much it cost, and the fact that it didn't make back that large budget seemed to make people think that it was a poor film. In fact, John Carter is a fantastic sci-fi adventure that has flares of classic films like Star Wars and more all thrown together. It's the kind of sci-fi that doesn't get made anymore, and we're just sad that so many people threw it under the bus (and Taylor Kitsch didn't have a single box office success this year), and now we won't get to see a sequel unless it becomes a cult classic like Tron.
#2. The Bourne Legacy
It's not Jeremy Renner's fault, but he made a sub-par substitute for what should have been the real fourth film in the Bourne series. Matt Damon has recently said that he and Paul Greengrass couldn't crack the story to keep Bourne going for a fourth movie (he even asked Christopher Nolan's brother Jonathan Nolan to help), and that's why they backed out of the project. But Universal wanted their cash cow with a Bourne name so they came up with a tedious way to link The Bourne Legacy to The Bourne Ultimatum (which actually hindered the story more than helped) and the result was a boring, exposition-filled mess of an imitation Bourne movie. Sorry, but a 10-minute motorbike chase doesn't make up for an hour and a half of people talking about pills.
Easily the most divisive film of the year, there's no denying that Ridley Scott shot one of the most beautiful sci-fi films of the year. It's just a shame that the script was written with a grade school audience in mind, and a complete lack of substance to go along with it (though we don't know if screenwriter Jon Spaihts or Damon Lindelof is to blame). Stupid scientists played by Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall Green, Rafe Spall and more are the source of most of the mind-numbing plot points, and not even a performance from Michael Fassbender as the android David does much to save the film. While Prometheus was certainly mesmerizing, spending more than ten minutes reflecting on the story that's just unfolded is enough to unravel everything. Maybe the inevitable sequel can improve upon its blunders.
So there you have it. Keep in mind this is merely my opinion, and I know that many of you will adamantly and vehemently disagree with some of my opinions on these movies here. The good news is, coming up with a list of disappointments was difficult in a year of so many other outstanding, satisfying films. But you'll find out all about the good stuff we loved over the next week and a half as we continue to look back on the year in film that was 2012. So which films do you think were the biggest disappointments of the year?