I already outlined my thoughts on Captain America in my Most Overrated list, so I’ll be brief here. My main disappointment with the film lies in the blandness of its central character–unlike equally notable film heroes such as Tony Stark, Peter Parker, or Bruce Wayne, there’s little to nothing to hang upon Steve Rogers’ shoulders in terms of actual personality or character idiosyncrasies. Without a basic hook, there’s only so far that the already generic proceedings can go.
3. Green Lantern:
This shouldn’t have been that difficult. It shouldn’t have been hard to take one of DC’s most popular and well known characters and to develop a strong, character driven comic-book movie based around his abundant comic-book mythology. Yet somehow, despite the talent of director of Martin Campbell and the charisma of Ryan Reynolds, the end result was something akin to a Dum-Dum sucker: initially tasty, but quickly thin and disposable. The fact that the whole cheaply conceived endeavor cost a not cheap $200 million– and grossed only $220 worldwide–makes the film’s after taste that much more bitter.
This one stung. I love Leonardo DiCaprio–to my (and many others’) mind, he’s one of the most dependable actors working today. I like Clint Eastwood, despite his occasional missteps. I like Dustin Lance Black, the screenwriter who penned and won the Oscar for the terrific Milk back in 2008. Together, these three individuals should have created cinematic gold. Instead, they came up with cinematic coal.
It’s not that J. Edgar is bad–in fact, it’s decent. It’s decently acted, it’s decently written, it’s decently made. Yet that right there is the problem with the film–with this much talent on board, ‘decent’ is practically akin to ‘devastating.’ Not one thing in the whole of J. Edgar–from its depiction of Hoover’s closeted homosexuality to his rise up through the ranks of the FBI–is never more than perfunctory or mildly watchable. The whole endeavor is just so....vanilla. It begins to fade from one’s memory literally while it’s being watched. There’s nothing distinctive, nothing unique, nothing memorable. It’s the most by-the-book film of 2011, as well as the most singlehandedly frustrating.
1. Cars 2:
Was there a bigger disappointment in 2011 than Cars 2? Granted, it’s not like the original Cars is especially beloved–even ardent fans of Pixar will readily admit that it’s the studios weakest effort by a long shot. Yet despite its faults, it still remains moderately pleasurable, in that whimsical Pixar-type of way. Cars 2 doesn’t even feel like it was crafted by Pixar–in fact, it doesn’t even feel crafted so much as it does manufactured.
Who thought it would be a good idea to center a movie around one of Pixar’s least enticing characters, Mader the Truck? Who thought it would be fun to stage an ‘eh’ spy parody within a world compiled of cars? Who thought it would be smart to make a Pixar movie made only for kids 5 and under?
Who the hell thought to green light this thing?
Of course, what do I know–despite its abysmal reception, Cars 2 still managed to reign in $520 million worldwide, and for all intents and purposes, stands as one the biggest financial successes of the year. So there's that. Yet the truth cannot be denied: though 2011 may not be remembered for a lot of notable things cinematically, one thing that it most certainly can claim as its own is Pixar’s first fall from greatness. Hopefully their next effort, Brave, will prove to be more impressive (although considering the badness of Cars 2, practically anything is destined to be).
What were your biggest disappointments of 2011?/ Feel free to comment below.