X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
The Movie: A thorough let down after the excellent X2 , Bret Ratner amps up the action sequences but dispenses with character development, in this disappointing end to the trilogy.
What They Should Have Done: Killing off Cyclops without a second thought was nothing short of contemptuous, whilst the Dark Phoenix storyline was botched amid an attempt to give Jean equal billing with Magneto in the villain stakes. Singer should have been retained, the Phoenix story arc brought to the forefront and Vinnie Jones allowed nowhere near proceedings.
Star Wars Episode 1 (1999)
The Movie: A horribly kiddie-friendly return to the galaxy far, far away, in which Lucas homes in on all the most irritating feature of Return Of The Jedi , and runs with them.
What They Should Have Done: Obviously, the first step would be to dispense with Jar-Jar. However, the more deep-seated problem with the prequel trilogy is Lucas’ slavish determination to bring every little plot point full-circle. Ever wondered how C-3P0 first came into being? No, us neither. The narrative should have been streamlined down to Anakin’s journey from light into darkness. The rest is just noise.
The Movie: Batman’s feline nemesis finally gets her own movie, only for French director Pitof to botch it in spectacular style. There’s nothing wrong with Halle Berry’s slinky performance, but there is with more or less everything else. Particularly Sharon Stone’s hideously camp stab at villainy…
What They Should Have Done: Having already witnessed the car-wreck that was Batman & Robin , surely the makers must have seen the inherent risk of taking the camp cartoon approach? A pitch-black origin story would have been vastly preferable to this kitsch nightmare.
Ali G Indahouse (2002)
The Movie: An almost incomprehensibly stupid collection of dick and fart jokes, cobbled around a ludicrous plot that involves Ali G becoming an MP? A criminal waste of an excellent comedy creation.
What They Should Have Done: If Sacha Baron Cohen had gone down the same route as Borat and Bruno , he could have had a comedy gem on his hands. Instead, he made the suicidal decision to place the character in a fictional setting, thus stripping him of his biggest asset: making fools out of unsuspecting celebs. Even if Brits were too familiar with the character, he could still have filmed it in America!
The Godfather Pt 3 (1990)
The Movie: A perfectly entertaining mob movie (excepting of course Sofia Coppola’s famously woeful performance) but one that fails to live up to its two predecessors, or deliver the knockout blow to end the trilogy in style.
What They Should Have Done: They should have paid Robert Duvall what he wanted, and ensured Tom Hagen remained in the movie as a moral counterpoint to the increasingly monstrous Michael Corleone. Duvall refused to reprise his role if he was to be paid almost four times less than Pacino, and so his character was written out. As Francis Ford Coppola would go on to admit, his absence “was a profound loss to this movie.”
The Movie: One of Marvel’s less ubiquitous characters, Daredevil offers a slightly less outlandish premise in that his powers are preternatural rather than supernatural. However, whilst the origin story is less laborious than most, this one loses its way with a cartoonish storyline and a pair of villains who seem to clutter the narrative, rather than giving it focus.
What They Should Have Done: Marvel should have bitten the bullet and got rid of one of their twin villains (probably Michael Clarke Duncan’s Kingpin), reined in Colin Farrell a little (fun as he is) and knocked up a full-blown noir, rather than the half-hearted imitation we ended up with.
The Movie: Jennifer Garner’s leather-clad turn was on of Daredevil ’s least qualified successes, so the plan to give her her own movie was a good one on paper. Sadly, it was abysmally executed, with director Rob Bowman filling it with quick-cut action sequences and very little else.
What They Should Have Done: Introduce a proper villain instead of a series of faceless henchmen, and give the action scenes the time to make an impression, rather than dicing them into music-video-style snippets.
Ocean's Twelve (2004)
The Movie: While Ocean’s Eleven was a breezy, fun-filled slice of Hollywood glamour, its first sequel was a convoluted, self-satisfied mess. Too many plot twists, plus an unhealthy dose of in-jokery (we’re thinking of the Julia Roberts sequence in particular) meant all the charm of the original was lost second time around.
What They Should Have Done: Ocean’s Thirteen , while not perfect, was a vastly superior film to Ocean’s Twelve , primarily because the setting was returned to Vegas and the sense of fun was restored. Fixing a defined location would have benefitted the second instalment (Monte Carlo perhaps, or even Macau), as would a simplified plot. There’s nothing wrong with complicating the actual heist, but Ocean’s 12 ’s labyrinthine web of double-crosses and hidden agendas only served to bog things down.
I, Robot (2004)
The Movie: A pioneering, dystopian nightmare watered down to a bland, multiplex-friendly tentpole movie. There’s nothing particularly bad about I, Robot , but more to the point, there’s nothing that great about it either.
What They Should Have Done: Dialled down the crash-bang-wallop action, cast someone less mainstream than Will Smith and focused upon the morality questions posed by Asimov’s source material. Fewer chase sequences might have been a start!
School For Scoundrels (2006)
The Movie: An odd choice maybe, given that it wasn’t a sequel or an adaptation, but we’re including it as we genuinely had high hopes for this. On paper, all the ingredients were there – Old School double-act Scot Armstrong and Todd Phillips reunited, a sleazy Billy-Bob Thornton mentoring Napoleon Dynamite star Jon Heder in the art of seduction… you would have expected laughs! Sadly, there were very few indeed.
What They Should Have Done: Either the script needed to be a lot sharper than this, or the studio should have hired actors more adept at ad-libbing. Much of Old School ’s humour, for example, came from Will Ferrell’s freewheeling performance as Frank the Tank. And we could have done with half as many scenes of exposition. Where were the jokes?