2016 - a big year for movies, a great year for sci-fi

2016 has been a big year for movies (opens in new tab), with blockbusters to suit almost every taste. Even if you're into ropey superhero mash-ups (thanks Suicide Squad (opens in new tab)!)... We got a new Star Wars, more Marvel, a rebooted Ghostbusters (opens in new tab), and the super-smart sci-fi Arrival (opens in new tab). To guide you through the highlights and low-points of this cinematic year is Jane Crowther - Editor of Total Film magazine (opens in new tab).

What went well?

Disney did very well – as owners of the Mouse House, Marvel, and LucasFilm, they became the first studio to make $7 billion this year and proved that careful curating could extend the Star Wars franchise without frustrating fans. Rogue One (opens in new tab) proved that with the right director and cast, plus the guts to re-think the first draft and go dramatically big (that ending!), a Star Wars standalone could be every bit as goosebump-inducing as the indomitable Force Awakens (opens in new tab)

While superheroes show no sign of loosening their grip on the box office, Deadpool (opens in new tab) offered an alt version that was smart, funny, inventive, and had even greater reach that other caped crusaders – a true original. And you can’t say that about many superhero movies.

Bridget Jones (opens in new tab) also showed that you can revisit a much loved franchise after a long break and not disappoint (here’s hoping T2 can do the same). ‘Our Bridge’ broke box office records and showed that revisits could be pertinent to current times while still retaining the heart of what made them special in the first place. Yes, we’re talking to you, Independence Day: Resurgence (opens in new tab) and Bad Santa 2 (opens in new tab).

What could have gone better?

DC – Batman v Superman (opens in new tab) and Suicide Squad both underwhelmed and didn’t show signs of troubling Marvel anytime soon. We’ll see if Wonder Woman (opens in new tab) and Justice League (opens in new tab) can make them serious contenders next year.

The #Oscarssowhite debacle highlighted the lack of diversity in the awards season – disappointing and unrepresentative of the quality movies and performances that were eligible. The end of 2016 has produced some amazing films that aren’t all about white, middle-aged men (Moonlight, Hidden Figures, Fences, Loving) so 2017 awards season looks to be more representative of audience.

The Summer could have gone better – a season of mediocre fare meant there was no truly great summer blockbusters. No-one will be thinking nostalgically of queuing three times to see X-Men: Apocalypse (opens in new tab) back in the summer of 2016.

What was your personal highlight?

Going to the BAFTAs and sitting on The Revenant (opens in new tab) table when they won big (and watching Leonardo, Cuba Gooding Jr, and Gwendoline Christie tear up the dance floor) and relaunching Total Film in a larger size with re-tooled, smarter content. We launched with a world exclusive on Jason Bourne (opens in new tab) that went everywhere. 

What was your personal lowlight?

The sexist bile aimed at Ghostbusters (opens in new tab) – including our cover. Go ahead and rage about the fact that the film wasn’t that funny, but not that women were leading it. 

Sequels that no-one wanted (Independence Day, Now You See Me 2, The Huntsman (opens in new tab), and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2) and stealth sequels (10 Cloverfield Lane (opens in new tab) and Blair Witch (opens in new tab)), disappointing gaming movies (Assassin’s Creed (opens in new tab) and Warcraft (opens in new tab)), a slew of films with ‘girl’ in the title (The Girl on the Train (opens in new tab) and The Girl with all the Gifts (opens in new tab)), and Idris Elba being a talking animal everywhere (The Jungle Book, Zootropolis (opens in new tab), and Finding Dory (opens in new tab)).

The latest issue of Total Film magazine - featuring a massive exclusive on John Wick 2 - is on sale now. You can subscribe or buy a single issue right here (opens in new tab).

Editor-in-Chief, Total Film

Jane Crowther is the Editor of Total Film magazine and the Editor-in-Chief of the Film Group here at Future Plc, which covers Total Film, SFX, and numerous TV and women's interest brands. Jane is also the vice-chair of The Critics' Circle and a BAFTA member. You'll find Jane on GamesRadar+ exploring the biggest movies in the world and living up to her reputation as one of the most authoritative voices on film in the industry.