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

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

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 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

While superheroes show no sign of loosening their grip on the box office, Deadpool 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 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 and Bad Santa 2.

What could have gone better?

DC – Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad both underwhelmed and didn’t show signs of troubling Marvel anytime soon. We’ll see if Wonder Woman and Justice League 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 back in the summer of 2016.

What was your personal highlight?

Going to the BAFTAs and sitting on The Revenant 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 that went everywhere. 

What was your personal lowlight?

The sexist bile aimed at Ghostbusters – 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, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2) and stealth sequels (10 Cloverfield Lane and Blair Witch), disappointing gaming movies (Assassin’s Creed and Warcraft), a slew of films with ‘girl’ in the title (The Girl on the Train and The Girl with all the Gifts), and Idris Elba being a talking animal everywhere (The Jungle Book, Zootropolis, and Finding Dory).

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Contributing Editor, Total Film

Jane Crowther is a contributing editor to Total Film magazine, having formerly been the longtime Editor, as well as serving as 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.