Well folks, it’s that time of year where everybody pulls out there best/worst of lists and since I don’t have a better idea, I’m going to give in and do one myself.
Let’s get a few things out of the way:
1. This is my list and my picks. If you don’t agree with me that’s cool, but it doesn’t invalidate my opinion.
2. Some of my worst picks aren’t necessarily bad, and my anger/disappointment in them is from all the squandered potential they had. Sure, I could just list the worst thing I could think of, but that is often so damn obvious that nobody going in is unaware of what they’re getting. My picks lean more towards the stuff that we got all excited for, but left feeling disappointed by.
So let’s do this thing!
Best: Mad Max: Fury Road
I bet your wondering why The Force Awakens isn’t owning this spot. Fury Road not only was the bigger box office surprise but it’s also the better film. It really is the movie that has something for everybody: kickass fight scenes, cool cars, and giant fiery explosions along with compelling characters, fantastic cinematography, and interesting social commentary. Writer/director/ Mad Max co-creator George Miller struck at just the right time delivering unto us a movie that we didn’t even understand we were hungry for before we got it. Miller says he has enough ideas for a few sequels and as long as what he’s got left in the tank is up to scratch with this flick I can’t wait to return to the wastelands.
Full disclosure here, I have not seen this movie, but even without having seen it, the bad reaction, negative fallout, and damage to Marvel’s First Family is more than enough for me to give this turd this “coveted” position. I tried guys, I really did. I wanted to try and do my due diligence as a sort-of critic and see this sucker, but I couldn’t bring myself to directly contribute any money to this film. A troubled production from the start that wastes the time and talent of everyone involved; this stinker is the reason we don’t have any Fantastic Four comics right now. It pains me how good this movie is doing in the rental scene right now as everyone wants to see if it is as bad as all the reviews say, but all that does is strengthen Fox’s resolve to hold on to a franchise they clearly don’t know what to do with. Bottom line, a bad movie that should never have been made is fucking it up for every comic/comic movie fan out there today. That, like this movie, sucks.
Best: The Peanuts Movie
Nothing in the world fed that nostalgia itch last year like this movie. Charlie Brown and the gang are back, and despite all the cool CGI, are exactly how we remember them. Aside from the odd commercial here and there, no new Peanuts content had been created since Charles Schultz’s passing, and this movie really hit home how much we missed these characters. Schultz’s own son and grandson were the brains behind the project, even going so far as to write and produce The Peanuts Movie to insure that the film would be done in the spirit of what made the franchise so well loved in the first place. It is far from a perfect film, but it gives older fans what they want while bringing in new fans to fall in love with these characters. We also get to see Charlie Brown and the gang grooving out to Vince Guaraldi’s “Linus and Lucy.” How cool is that?!
Worst: Jem and the Holograms
Despite being such a rugged manly man (stop laughing), I did in fact grow up watching at least parts of Jem and the Holograms, and can still do the original theme song by heart. It was on back-to-back with Transformers, and having a little sister, we would sometimes watch it. While my sister may not remember this as I do, but I have a passing knowledge of Jem which made me all the more sure I was going to skip it as it looked like it had little to nothing to do with the show other than the name. This film did nothing but upset the established fan base and put off any potential new fans to the franchise. You can listen to Chris along with Cat and Harris O’Malley savage this sucker here. The only good thing to say about this damn thing is how quickly it dropped out of the public consciousness to the point where most people don’t even remember it even coming out. A bit of nothing that amounted to nothing, so let’s say nothing more about it.
2015 was a monster year for geek television with shows launching or returning with some of the best stuff we’ve seen in quite a while. Out of all that high quality stuff, Daredevil gets the top spot for not only being a great show in its own right but also for being an outstanding proof that this whole Marvel/Netflix collaboration was going to work. While everyone seems to go on and on about how good Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin was, they often look past just how good Charlie Cox was as Matt Murdock. Bringing one of the most complicated and emotionally complex heroes in all of Marvel to life and making it look easy is a testament to the care and craftsmanship in front as well as behind the camera.
Worst: Hand of God
I normally don’t talk about Amazon shows for a series of reasons, but I couldn’t if I was being honest pick anything else but this show. Ron Perlman naturally secretes geek cred at this point, so a show where he plays a corrupt judge that is either having a religious awakening or losing his mind should be a cool thought provoking drama. It isn’t. What it is instead is a series so flat and meandering, that it quickly loses any steam and just sits there like a lump. Even with an intriguing premise and an awesome cast can’t save this series from the fact it is executed in a way that excites sleep rather than entertainment. If you have Prime, you owe it to yourself to check out all the programming as I think you’ll find something to like, but you can do a pass on this one.
Best: The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
The Witcher III is my game of the year,and should be looked at as the model for how games, AAA or otherwise, should be done. CD Projekt RED (The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings) managed to complete their trilogy of games in a meaningful way, giving us the most expansive and inventive entry in the series. The amount of skill and detail that went into every build of the game is truly staggering as we players are once again honored enough to travel with Geralt and his friends. Looking past how fantastic and satisfying the game is on its own, we have all the free (you heard me, FREE) DLC along with two promised paid expansions, the first coming out last October to critical praise and the second longer piece of content set to drop early this year. CD Projekt RED has built an atmosphere that leaves gamers happy but also appreciated for spending their cash to support the game and I think the rest of the game developers around the world should take note. A class act from top to bottom; if you haven’t played this yet you are missing out.
Worst: Batman: Arkham Knight
Put down your pitchforks folks, I’m not about to tell you Arkham Knight is a bad game. Arkham Knight overall is a good game, but it dropped the ball hard in some areas both in-game and out, and in ways I don’t feel like being in a forgiving mood about. First, lets address the botched PC launch. I’m a console guy, so this didn’t impact me, but that does not mean I find the half-ass state the PC version was released in any less offensive and indefensible. Even playing A stable version of the game (PS4) months after release, I experienced an above average crash level. Not saying the game had to be perfect, but this level of bugginess in your biggest release of the year should have Rocksteady and WB Interactive taking a hard look at themselves. Secondly is the story, which suffers from the problems that I covered in my three week look into the Batman franchise. Should you want to take a second to read them, you can find them here, here, and here. Lastly, they finally gave us the Batmobile only to make it a clunky death machine that Batman could never use in the streets of Gotham without murdering dozens of people. While I’d be enjoying the game in many places, I would quickly become disappointed when forced into another tank battle, chase, or side mission with the car that left me repeating the words, “I don’t want to play this part again.” Sadly, Rocksteady botched the Batmobile, and that just is inexcusable.
Comics (Marvel, DC & Image)
Do I even need to explain why Marvel wins here? No matter how you try and look at it, Marvel is currently on par or beyond their competitors in every field. Hit book after hit book seem to drop from Marvel every week of not only of established characters, like say Iron Man, but Marvel has also had success with newer characters such as the new Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan. Along with the stellar creative teams for their comics, shows and movies, Marvel is once again the home for Star Wars comics. How can you beat that?
I really tried to not have DC in this spot, but every way I tried to look at it, DC came up short. If I looked at the comics alone, DC would still be ranked last. Though they’re still the #2 publisher in the world, they only had one single issue and one graphic novel in the Top Ten of 2015 in sales for each of those categories. Also, while I do read DC a fair amount, many of the books are just okay, and even the ones I do pick up and enjoy aren’t on the level with what Image and Marvel are producing. If I look at DC as a broader brand, it fairs a little better with the all the television shows currently running and the upcoming Batman v. Superman film. Image doesn’t really rank in the overall brand section due to the way it’s structured, so it isn’t fair to include them in that type of argument. However, when you look at Marvel’s output in regard to television and films, it really isn’t a contest. I like DC and I read and watch many DC products, but I can’t pretend not to see all the shortcomings and flaws. DC still has plenty of life in it, and with a few creative choices in and outside the books, DC could give Marvel a true run for their money.
Agree? Disagree? That’s what the comments section was made for so take a moment to let you thoughts be known.