- Jennifer Lawrence starred in one of the year’s biggest letdowns as a Russian spy.
- 20th Century Fox
- INSIDER counts down the movies we had high hopes for in 2018 that let us down the most.
- The list includes a “Pacific Rim” sequel, an unnecessary “Predator” reboot, another bad Jennifer Lawrence movie called “Red Sparrow,” and a Disney misfire with “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”
2018 provided us with a superhero movie fit for a best picture Oscar run, important social commentaries you may have missed, and several contenders for best animated movie of the year. But not everything was amazing.
In a year where there were a surprisingly good amount of sequels, there were also a lot of unnecessary and lazy remakes and attempts at franchise reboots. INSIDER rounded up the movies we were looking forward to that missed the mark. We’re not talking about the worst movies of the year. That’s a completely different list.
From a few failed “Taken” knockoffs to another trip to a galaxy far, far away a bit too soon, keep reading to see the movies that let us down the most this year, ranked from bad to worse.
16. “The Darkest Minds”
- I’m not even sure why Fox made this movie when it had a similar-looking movie, “New Mutants,” starring “Game of Thrones” actress Maisie Williams.
- Daniel McFadden/20th Century Fox
A film from the producers of both “Stranger Things” and “Arrival” sounded interesting, but this movie never felt like it was an adaptation of a young adult novel of the same name. Instead, Fox’s apocalyptic film always felt like an “X-Men” rip-off, which is weird since Fox also releases those movies.
The difference here was that this film revolved around a group of survivors who wound up with powers after most children in the US were killed by a disease.
Though led by Amandla Sternberg, this film did little to stand out from other dystopian movies. Mandy Moore and “Game of Thrones” star Gwendoline Christie also appeared in this movie, but you probably didn’t know that from the marketing, which sold it as an “X-Men”-like spin-off.
15. “Nutcracker and the Four Realms”
- “Nutcracker and the Four Realms”? More like Nightmares in the Four Realms.
- Walt Disney Studios
I don’t think anyone thought this movie was going to be fantastic, so it’s not higher on this list. But this was a big letdown from Disney. Poor Keira Knightley is trapped in this adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman’s classic tale as a cringey, grotesque-looking Sugar Plum Fairy.
Trailers made the fantasy epic look like a mix between “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Chronicles of Narnia,” and “Oz the Great and Powerful,” but the predictable movie lacked the elements that made the others giant blockbusters.
In a year where the Walt Disney Studios put out “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War” and two animated sequels, was this was the most original movie the studio could put out? Try harder.
Read our review here.
14. “Robin Hood”
- It was easy to miss this release during a crowded Thanksgiving holiday.
- Lionsgate/Larry Horricks
Did you even know there was a “Robin Hood” reboot out this year starring the lead from “Kingsman” and Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx? There wasn’t a huge marketing push for it and that may have been why the movie bombed at the box office.
But we also definitely didn’t need another “Robin Hood” movie and not one that was dull and uninspired to say the least. The failure of this movie felt very similar to last year’s fun, but admittedly, unnecessary attempt at a “King Arthur” reboot.
13. “Tomb Raider”
- The third attempt at “Tomb Raider” is its best, but that’s still not good enough.
- Warner Bros.
We were hoping a movie based on a video game would finally be good, but we’re still searching for a winner.
Months after her husband Michael Fassbender appeared in 2016’s misfire “Assassin’s Creed,” Alicia Vikander tried her hand at rebooting the Angelina Jolie franchise. Although Vikander brings a better performance to the “Tomb Raider” movies, the story itself isn’t great enough to make it particularly memorable.
You can read Business Insider’s review here.
12. “Death Wish”
- Bruce Willis is wasted here.
No one needed a remake of 1974’s “Death Wish,” but it seemed like an interesting spin if Bruce Willis was at the helm alongside “Daredevil’s” scene-stealing Vincent D’Onofrio.
The new film from MGM felt more like it was trying to cash in on hits like “Taken” and “John Wick” by giving a modern retelling to an old revenge thriller without doing much to tell its own original story. That showed in the box office totals. The movie only grossed slightly over $34 million.
11. “Pacific Rim: Uprising”
- Sometimes, you don’t need a sequel to the original.
The original 2013 film from Guillermo del Toro was well-received by fans and critics alike, but never made the box-office splash it should have made in part due to its marketing strategy simply as a rock-em’, sock-em’ robot vs. monster flick. So when a sequel without him was announced several years later, I was originally skeptical.
Del Toro wasn’t attached and a different movie studio stepped in to do the sequel. The original cast wasn’t back either (except for Charlie Day), but it was led by a very enthusiastic John Boyega (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) and Scott Eastwood.
It turns out not even Boyega couldn’t save this sequel. Yes, there are some fun kaiju vs. jaegar fights, but “Uprising” tried to play it too safe by following the beats of the original without really developing a lot of its characters. Some things are better left without a sequel.
10. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”
- This movie was sold heavily using Jeff Goldblum’s image and he was barely in it.
- IMDb/Universal Pictures
The “Jurassic World” sequel wasn’t terrible. It’s a fun and silly popcorn flick even though it gets into a weird black market for selling dinos and introduces a new genetically-engineered dinosaur.
The movie became a bit strange when it stopped dabbling in the dinosaur action we love and started to become a movie about human clones. That is not the movie fans signed up for. The biggest sin of the sequel is an overblown Jeff Goldblum cameo that never should have been spoiled in trailers.
Nearly every Goldblum moment was squandered in trailers and promotional materials to get butts in seats for this film. We also missed seeing a very funny Jake Johnson left out of the sequel.
You can read our review here.
9. “A Wrinkle in Time”
- Oprah and Storm Reid in “A Wrinkle in Time.”
- Atsushi Nishijima/Disney
Fans have been waiting years to see Madeleine L’Engle’s Newberry award-winning, best-seller adapted on the big screen. And all of the ingredients were there for the makings of a potential blockbuster. Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, and Chris Pine made this feel like an event movie and director Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) became the first black woman to direct a movie with a budget north of $100 million.
What could go wrong? Some books are just tough to adapt into movies. While groundbreaking and inspiring, the movie leaves a lot of confusion behind in the lack of explanations provided and some jarring editing.
Read our review here.
8. “The Meg”
- “The Meg” was fun, light-hearted, and didn’t take itself too seriously. It just wasn’t exactly what we were expecting.
- Warner Bros.
I went into this movie with the expectation of seeing Jason Statham fight sharks. For the most part, you get that, but you also get a sappy romantic storyline, too. Though I had a good time, I couldn’t stop thinking that the movie I saw in theaters wasn’t the movie I signed on to see.
Apparently, it also wasn’t the movie Statham originally signed up for either. Statham told Collider the finished version is entirely different from the movie he was first pitched. “The Meg” he signed on for was supposed to have a lot of blood.
That’s the movie I thought I was going to see. I was a bit bummed to learn there’s some other, bloodier, more R-rated version of “The Meg” out there that’s probably even more fun than the PG-13 version that hit theaters.
- We thought it might become a TV classic like “Taken” since “Peppermint” has the same director.
It was exciting to see Jennifer Garner return to the big screen as a tough-as-nails mother seeking justice after playing a sweet mom in “Love, Simon.”
The trailers for “Peppermint” gave us “Alias” vibes from Garner’s TV days. That’s not close to what we got in this thriller that wastes Garner’s talent in a very violent “Taken” wannabe from the same director about a mother seeking revenge after the death of her family.
6. “The Girl in the Spider’s Web”
- This is another case of a reboot that wasn’t needed.
- Reiner Bajo/Sony Pictures Entertainment
Seven years after the first “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” movie, original stars Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig didn’t return along with original director David Fincher. Originally, there were a few sequels in the works for this film, but none of them ever came to fruition after script rewrites and delays.
But when we knew “The Crown’s” Golden Globe-winning Claire Foy was playing computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, we were interested. Unfortunately, the film focused more on the action than the storytelling, resulting in a reboot that doesn’t live up to the original Oscar-nominated movie.
The biggest problem with this movie may have been in its marketing. It wasn’t clear if this was a sequel, a reboot, or an attempt at a “requel.” Unless you were familiar with the books, it wasn’t even clear this movie was part of the “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” franchise. Only the very end of some trailers noted briefly it was “A New Dragon Tattoo Story.”
When the film came to theaters, it straight-up bombed. This movie was supposed to kick off a new franchise. Instead, it grossed $34 million worldwide.
5. “The Cloverfield Paradox”
- Were you among those who were originally excited for this space adventure?
- Scott Garfield / Netflix
Fans of the “Cloverfield” franchise were caught off guard when Netflix announced a spin-off to the J.J. Abrams hit during the Super Bowl. It wasn’t just the announcement that came as a surprise, but that the movie would also launch on the streaming site right after the big game.
The news was met with excitement. It seemed like a truly interesting way to disrupt Hollywood by dropping a movie hours after announcing it. Then we all quickly found out why it was streaming on Netflix and not in theaters. “The Cloverfield Paradox” is pretty awful! Critics called it everything from a trainwreck to illogical.
I barely found it watchable. That’s unfortunate because “Cloverfield’s” other spin-off, “10 Cloverfield Lane,” was very good and this film has a solid cast, including David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Elizabeth Debicki.
4. “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”
- At least the performances were good. Zoë Kravitz starred as Leta Lestrange and Johnny Depp played the villainous Gellert Grindelwald.
- Warner Bros.
If you were wondering how J.K. Rowling would continue the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise in this sequel, you may still be scratching your head. “The Crimes of Grindelwald” doesn’t do much to answer a lot of questions and introduces a few frustrating plot holes and characters that have no business being in the movie.
I didn’t dislike this movie as much as others, but I knew walking out of the theater that it was going to ignite arguments among the Potter fandom for a controversial reveal at its end which appeared to rewrite history.
You can read my review here.
3. “The Predator”
- “The Predator” is one of the worst movies I watched this year.
- 20th Century Fox
Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t want to reprise his role in the reboot because the cameo was too small and that should have been a sign that this movie was never going to live up to the original 1987 film despite the directing of Shane Black (“Lethal Weapon”).
There’s a scene in “The Predator” reboot where a man with Tourette’s yells out to Olivia Munn to perform a sexual act on her. Instead of this being a throwaway line, it’s made into an almost two-minute scene. It’s one of the most uncomfortable, inane scenes I’ve seen in a movie. Much of the reboot used the disorder as a cheap excuse for a person to often yell out inappropriate words about women just for attempts at humor.
Sterling K. Brown tries really hard with the material he’s given, but this movie’s riddled in tasteless jokes when the actual Predator isn’t off killing people. “The Predator” makes the bad dialogue in “Venom” look halfway decent.
2. “Red Sparrow”
- Someone should really take a look at what scripts Jennifer Lawrence is saying yes to because after “Passengers” and “Red Sparrow,” she could really use a good role to rejuvenate her career.
- 20th Century Fox
Trailers for Jennifer Lawrence’s latest action flick looked like an intriguing spy thriller. “Red Sparrow” may be one of the biggest misdirects of the year and I can’t believe I watched it the entire way through.
Essentially, it’s a spy movie disguised as an excuse to show off a nude Jennifer Lawrence for much of the movie. If you’ve ever been a victim of sexual assault or abuse, this is an extremely tough film to watch as Lawrence’s character gets raped, bloodied, beaten, and is then taught to use her body as a weapon for the Soviet Union. It’s a difficult film to stomach and one I wouldn’t recommend to anyone.
1. “Solo: A Star Wars Story”
- Even if you enjoyed “Solo,” even Lucasfilm knew it was a disappointment.
No one really needed a Han Solo spin-off movie, but it initially seemed like a cool idea to learn how the smuggler wound up with the Millennium Falcon and his sidekick, Chewie. It wasn’t.
“Solo” was a truly lackluster effort from Lucasfilm that felt phoned in, giving us answers to questions we never really needed like how Han received his last name. As I noted in my review, “Solo” may have the look and feel of a “Star Wars” movie, but it was missing the heart of one. The best thing we got out of “Solo” was Donald Glover’s performance as a dashing, young Lando Calrissian and his many luxurious capes.
And “Solo” wasn’t just a critical disappointment, it was also a theatrical disappointment, but you may not have realized it because of Disney’s clever decision to release it in May.
By releasing it between “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Incredibles 2,” which grossed over $2 billion and $1.2 billion worldwide, respectively, the studio was able to offset any losses it may receive from the “Star Wars” spin-off in its quarterly earnings. And that was good because “Solo” wound up becoming the lowest-grossing “Star Wars” movie. It didn’t even cross $400 million worldwide. After its performance, Disney CEO Bob Iger said it was going to slow down on releasing a “Star Wars” movie every year.
Not only did the movie not perform well, but Disney’s most recent 10K filing with the SEC noted that “Star Wars” merchandise and comic books have not been selling well. If you head to any toy store, you’ll see plenty of “Solo” merchandise sitting on shelves.
Perhaps Lucasfilm shouldn’t have fired its original directors, Chris Miller and Phil Lord, who went on to help make “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” the best animated movie of the year for Sony.
Read our review here.