When we look back at the moments in our life that most define us, few climb to the top of the list in comparison to those memories that make us regret, or even cringe. Through these errors we, hopefully, learn from our mistakes, becoming inspired to do better or try to achieve more. But, what about the time you woke up and nothing happened that day, or you went to work and it was just business as usually, with no notable moments? Would these moments really make an entire chapter in anyone’s autobiography? Probably not. Unfortunately, half way through the year, and the movies of 2021 seem to these moments could fill an entire book.
Off the bat, it’s not a good sign when a directors cut, of a movie from 2017, is the most well received film so far. Zack Snyder’s Justice League, while in many regards not perfect, succeeded for many in both delivering what fans had waited to see for years, and delivering a story that was more than supplementary for the characters. For all intents and purposes since the Snyder Cut is ‘technically’ a 2017 movie, let’s take it off the table from this discussion. When we do that, it doesn’t help 2021’s case.
Netflix made a big marketing push at the beginning of the year, planning to release a high quality movie every week. This started the year off with Outside the Wire. The film sees Anthony Mackie as Leo, a highly advanced android who, in the near future, must go deep beyond enemy lines in order to prevent a nuclear attack. The script tries to give great meaning and provide subtext behind each character, but miserably falls flat in this regard. It’s story, and twist are nothing that haven’t been used in other, higher quality, films before. Overall, Wire felt like a really solid student film, that shouldn’t have made it outside a classroom.
Other big Netflix films to release were Army of the Dead, and Fatherhood. Dead, while a cool idea on paper from the mind of Zack Snyder, seemed more interested in style and cool moments, then interesting characters and good dialogue. Due to the poor characters, you couldn’t get invested in the action, so the signature Snyder slow-mo moments didn’t hit the spot as you felt no connection to the story.
Fatherhood is the second film this year to deal with a single father figure dealing with the drama behind taking care of a child. The other film in this category would be the AppleTV+ original, Palmer. Fatherhood decided to add comedic side to this story, on the flip side, Palmer goes full arthouse. While both have solid leads, Kevin Heart, and Justin Timberlake, respectively, neither have a good enough script to stand out. If you want this kind of story, just watch Gifted.
Two of Amazon’s biggest film’s thus far, both based on books are, The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, and Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse. Perfect Things had a lot going for it, using a Groundhog Day type of time loop, but when we meet the characters the day has already repeated so the first act isn’t just setting up what the day is going to be. It’s biggest problem is main heroes, because a script like this relies on its characters, which Perfect Things seriously lacks.
The more, and more you think about Remorse, the worse it gets. The script is extremely rushed and makes the mistake by ending with trying to set up a new cinematic universe, instead of simply telling its own story. The action makes the movie watchable at best but overall adds nothing new to the revenge story.
Disney+ has had several types of entertainment added to their library, dominating in the TV category, but let’s stay focused on the films. It brings new animated films to the year with Luca, and Raya and the Last Dragon. Luca is definitely the worst Pixar feature since Cars 2. Dragon is entertaining, Raya herself is definitely one of the most unique characters in a Disney film to date, she’s just given up caring about people, which was super interesting. There are some pretty mature themes for a children’s feature. Its biggest problem is that the script moves from scene to scene too quickly, rarely giving the story enough time to breathe.
Of what I’ve seen so far, the most disappointing film has got the be the Paramount+ Original, Infinite. It was directed by Antoine Fuqua, stars Mark Wahlberg, and the movie had such a cool premise; That people since the beginning of time have been reincarnating and form a secret society to protect the world. It’s sounded like Total Recall, meets Avatar: The Last Airbender. So cool! But man, oh man, its just horrible. The main plot MacGuffin, being an egg that can destroy all life on earth, is never fully explained. Near the beginning, the main villain goes off about how he hates new technology and then for the rest of the film proceeds to not only use modern tech, but excel at using it. The acting is horrible, the story makes no sense, and the directing & cinematography are flat. All parties involved should be glad that it’s on one of the least used streaming services, because no one saw it.
Also, Godzilla vs. Kong came out on HBO Max and it was horrible. Unlike this year’s best film, Willy’s Wonderland, Kong doesn’t get that you need more than just a silly idea to keep the audience invested. Wonderland isn’t going to win any awards per-say, but it was made by people who actually cared about the project, whereas Kong definitely, and clearly wasn’t.
We’re halfway through the year, and a Nicolas Cage film where he fights demon possessed animatronics is the best we’ve got. Every other feature this year struggles to have good characters, interesting stories, and lack soul. Without a doubt though, the films of this year, aside from Wonderland, share the same problem, and commit the worst crime any form of story can, they’re all forgettable. Now, let’s hope No Time to Die finally releases, because we’re only halfway through the year and after watching what 2021 has to offer, I need a martini, shaken or not.