The 7 Most Disappointing Sci-Fi Movies of 2015 So Far

Tuesday, 21 July 2015 - 9:50AM
Comic Book Movies
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Ant-Man
Tuesday, 21 July 2015 - 9:50AM
The 7 Most Disappointing Sci-Fi Movies of 2015 So Far
The reviews are in, and Ant-Man is a good movie. It's not great, it's not mind-blowing, it's not life-changing, but it's "good." That wouldn't be considered a disappointment, except we generally have high expectations for Marvel, and this seemed like an opportunity to do something a little different, a little quirkier, a little more offbeat, a la Guardians of the Galaxy. Instead, it's basically just the Marvel formula with (the very charming) Paul Rudd. Can't complain about that, but it's nothing to write home about, either.

But that seems to be a recurring theme for 2015 thus far, as there have been many movies that generated a ton of hype for one reason or another, but failed to live up to expectations to varying degrees. Although there have been a few gems that fulfilled our high expectations (Ex Machina), as well as a few that exceeded our low expectations (Jurassic World, Project Almanac), the majority of the hyped-up sci-fi projects this year have fumbled in one way or another. Here's our list of the most disappointing of the year so far:

7.

The Divergent Series: Insurgent




We didn't expect Insurgent to be "good" exactly, but we expected it to be a perfectly serviceable guilty pleasure. Unfortunately, where the first Divergent was an inexplicably pleasurable guilty pleasure that I can somehow watch over and over, I don't see myself ever watching Insurgent again. Aside from an expanded role for the wonderful and hilarious Miles Teller, the second installment didn't improve on the first at all, and focused less on the palpable chemistry between Shailene Woodley and Theo James in favor of an hourlong virtual reality sequence that was ultimately a pointless exercise in VFX muscle-flexing. Even the considerable talents of Woodley, Teller, Naomi Watts, and Kate Winslet couldn't save this one.

6.

Terminator: Genisys




Again, to be fair, we really didn't expect Genisys to be good. In fact, we were afraid for months before it came out that it would be terrible, especially when the plot details about the wonky timeline were leaked. But still, it's Terminator, and a little part of us held out hope that the presence of Arnie and Game of Thrones's Emilia Clarke would breathe new life into the franchise. Those hopes were dashed, as Genisys was a perfunctory, overly convoluted reboot that failed to justify its existence, let alone the existence of the inevitable sequels.

5.

Mad Max: Fury Road




Yes, yes, we know, but hear us out. Mad Max was a visually dazzling, utterly different, two-hour-long car chase scene. For better and for worse, that's what it was, so if you like car chases, Mad Max was a masterpiece. But the hype surrounding the film before it came out insisted that it also had a refreshing focus on character development, especially when it came to the women. We kept hearing that it was a surprisingly feminist movie, and honestly, we didn't see it. It had a bad-ass heroine in Charlize Theron, that's true, but it also mostly treated the Five Wives like window dressing from the moment they were introduced hosing themselves down in togas. And yes, it was "surprisingly feminist" in the sense that we wouldn't have expected there to be a strong female protagonist in a sci-fi car chase movie at all, but in this day and age, we should expect more than that. 

4.

Tomorrowland




Tomorrowland generated a lot of hype, mostly as a result of the mystery surrounding the project and its pedigree: George Clooney and up-and-comer Britt Robertson are fantastic, director Brad Bird was just coming off of a huge success with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and Damon Lindelof has geek projects like Lost, The Leftovers, and Star Trek: Into Darkness on his side. And judging from the initial clips, it had all the makings of a charming, wondrous children's movie, one that reveled in the power of knowledge and a child's imagination. But by all accounts, it was lacking the one thing it needed: a sense of wonder. Add to that the fact that it stuffed its entire plot into the last act and didn't quite know how to address any of the big questions it was asking, and you get a movie that's not bad, but completely disappointing. 

3.

Jupiter Ascending




The Wachowskis are hit and miss, so we had our doubts from the start, but like all of their projects, it was always either going to be an epic masterpiece or a complete and utter disaster. Sadly, it was the latter, with an insipid Cinderella-like plot, a ridiculously complicated mythology, and a part-wolf love interest. We wanted it to be the next Matrix, but it was the next Speed Racer, only worse.

2.

Chappie




Chappie was a bitter disappointment. Somewhat like Jupiter Ascending, we were hoping it would be a comeback for visionary director Neill Blomkamp, but it was a combination of all of his worst tendencies. District 9 was a thoughtful drama that used a sci-fi premise as a springboard for social commentary, Elysium was a slick corporate exercise that used an intriguing sci-fi premise to craft a bland heroism narrative, and Chappie was an absolute mess that used a philosophical sci-fi premise to show us Die Antwoord yelling and brandishing guns for two hours. It started off with potential, but by the end was very much like watching a trainwreck. Hopefully Blomkamp can stop this devolution and get it together in time for the Alien sequel, but we wouldn't be surprised if that ended up on a similar list.

1.

Avengers: Age of Ultron




Age of Ultron wasn't as bad as Chappie by a long shot, but it was even more disappointing, just because there was SO. MUCH. HYPE. Marvel fans had been looking forward to this movie for three years, and all of Phase 2 had been leading up to this moment. And it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great either. Ultron, like most Marvel villains, was forgettable, the cast was overstuffed, new characters like Vision and Scarlet Witch weren't given nearly enough screen time, and all of the character development felt rushed. We love Joss Whedon, but he was clearly given too many balls to juggle for this one, trying to balance a humongous roster of superheroes, a new villain, fan service like Hulk vs Hulkbuster, setting up future movies with Easter eggs, and trying to write a relatively thoughtful script in the process. No wonder he dropped the ball on Black Widow so badly.
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies
Comic Book Movies
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Ant-Man
The 7 Most Disappointing Sci-Fi Movies of 2015 So Far