The most disappointing films of 2017

The films that weren't necessarily flops, but felt short of what we'd hoped

Christopher Hooton,Jack Shepherd
Monday 18 December 2017 11:55
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2017 has been, on the whole, a good year for film, largely thanks to a slew of award-contending November/December releases (Lady Bird, Call Me By Your Name, The Disaster Artist, The Shape Of Water, I, Tonya, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Downsizing, The Post, Phantom Thread...).

When it comes to making end-of-year lists, though, there are a few absentees we would not have expected heading into 2017.

Here we collect our biggest disappointments (in no particular order):

The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower - Trailer 2

Stephen King source material. Sci-fi western genre. Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey starring. This had all the hallmarks of a big summer movie, something for King-heads to geek out on and newcomers to enjoy being immersed in.

Ultimately, however, it ended up disappointing both, proving incomprehensible to the uninitiated and too reductive and narratively-unfaithful for the well-versed. Universally panned, The Dark Tower will occupy the lower floors of 'best Stephen King adaptations' lists.

- CH

Suburbicon

Suburbicon - Trailer

The problem with the Coen brothers (Suburbicon writers) and George Clooney (Suburbicon director), though I respect them all hugely, is their work often dances on the line between whip-smart and just smug.

This utterly weird noir fell into the latter camp. It looked gorgeous but felt empty, being too concerned with its style and genre riffing to actually put a good story together. Compounded by a shoehorned in socially conscious sub-plot, this was sadly a complete misfire (oh Coens of old where art thou?).

- CH

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - Trailer

Guardians of the Galaxy marked perhaps Marvel’s finest outing yet, a hilarious intergalactic adventure with a joyous soundtrack.

Director James Gunn turned everything up to eleven for the sequel which, unfortunately, didn't quite work. Chris Pratt’s leading character, Star Lord, doesn’t get the attention needed to pull the story along, Kurt Russell gets wasted in a very random and hysterical twist, and many jokes - particularly those concerning Mantis - fall flat.

- JS

mother!

Mother! - Trailer

Darren Aronofsky’s latest has been the Marmite movie of the year. Some critics have adored the Jennifer Lawrence-starring horror, but most have despised the on-the-nose religious allegories, which often come across as pretentious.

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Where Black Swan was an awards frontrunner, mother! has been nowhere in sight and will be difficult for the director to recover from.

- JS

The Beguiled

The Beguiled - Trailer

Sofia Coppola is one of my very favourite directors, so expectations for this one were high. I was excited to see her return to a period piece for the first time since Marie Antoinette, and with Lost in Translation and Somewhere behind her she is usually a very idiosyncratic filmmaker.

The Beguiled, as it turned out, was just fine. Okay. Decent. I enjoyed it, but it didn't stay with me and felt more like a single episode of an anthology series, plus you couldn't sense that there was an auteur behind it. Perhaps unexpectedly ahead of its release, this film will be nowhere near the awards fray.

- CH

Logan Lucky - Trailer 2

In a production sense, Steven Soderbergh's Logan Lucky is one of the most important films of the last few years, turning traditional finance structures on their head and pushing forward without a studio.

As a piece of fiction, however, it was solid but forgettable. Adam Driver, Daniel Craig and Channing Tatum was a tantalising lead cast, but the film ended up being more of good plane movie than an iconic piece of cinema like the director's Ocean's Eleven or Sex, Lies and Videotape.

- CH

Justice League

Justice League - Trailer 2

Considering Batman v Superman was a phenomenal mess, you could argue expectations were never high for Justice League. But how could fans not be excited to finally see Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg beating up bad guys together, a climax DC had been planning for years?

As feared, Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon’s movie was a relative mess that was also a box-office disappointment and tarnished the success of Wonder Woman. Chances are, the DC Universe will look very different going forward.

- JS

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