The 10 Biggest Disappointments of 2015

Terminator Genysis Can’t Do Fanservice Right

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I’m not sure any piece of media infuriated me more than the fifth and hopefully last edition of the Terminator franchise. I immediately pegged Terminator Genysis as official fan fiction, and while that instinct proved 100% accurate, the movie itself failed to live up to even the most modest of expectations. (Also, please please bear in mind this is coming from a guy who constantly defends Terminator 3 as being wonderful!) FACT: Terminator Genysis is flat fucking awful.

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How does is Genysis disappointing, exactly? Well… I’m a reasonable man. I was more than ready to accept a bad Terminator movie. That’s happened before. I didn’t think anything could top my distaste for Terminator: Salvation, but Genysis shits all over the entire franchise in a woefully klutzy attempt at setting up a new trilogy. Time travel can be a tricky device for films and there’s no better example of this than the (rest of the) Terminator franchise where it’s used somewhat sparingly. Genysis uses time travel like a gun with infinite ammo, as the gang hops through timestreams more than Bill and fucking Ted. The end result undoes the previous events of every other Terminator movie that mattered for reasons that make zero fucking sense. In the process, we lose John Connor or something, the former focal point of entire series, but hey, they ruined that for you in the trailer and that was one of the few surprises the film had in store.

To be completely honest, it’s hard to get that upset about because the unresolved ending is clearly setting up alternate universes not worth mustering up a single shit for. Thankfully, further Terminator films are unlikely to happen now that the movie bombed with critics and the box office, but I was genuinely embarrassed by the introduction of a fucking multiverse in what’s essentially been a solid, comparatively grounded monster movie franchise about Man vs. Machine. – Chris Antista

Fantastic Four Wastes A Potential Reboot

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Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben are my favorite fictional family in comics history, but outside the books, they’ve had decades of bad luck. Decades worth of cartoons that ranged from goofy to awful, along with a couple of tonally inconsistent and stupid films that got almost every character wrong. Funny that the 2015 reboot could end up being such a total disappointment that it makes one long for the days of Galactus clouds and terrible product placement. The newest (and perhaps last) attempt by Fox to make a Fantastic Four movie is a boring waste of money, existing to fulfill contractual obligations and little else.


Denny’s food was preferable to the film – barely

I was discouraged by Fantastic Four more than most bad superhero films because it squandered a fresh start with what appears to be an interesting movie beneath the surface. There’s definitely a great cast, and it starts building an interesting world, but it moves at a snail’s pace before the origin happens. Then there’s a time jump that breaks the film, as you can see the producers cobbled together a more conventional/boring comic narrative to replace whatever it was director Josh Trank imagined. The last 20 minutes are like a B-movie pretending to be The Avengers, right down to a world-killing plot ending just as fast as it began.

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Honestly, I doubt whatever Trank was concocting for Fantastic Four was a great film, but I bet it was closer to a complete vision then what we got. As it stands, FF is a dull character study that makes a hasty turn into a mediocre action film for the last 40 minutes. It may have poisoned the franchise forever with moviegoers, though that assumes anyone even remembers this film exists. Now Marvel’s rumored plan of lowering the profile of Fantastic Four in comics doesn’t seem to even matter, as the FF are barely infamous after this wet fart of a film quickly left theaters. – Henry Gilbert

Secret Wars Wages On Too Long

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I’ve been accused of being a Marvel fanboy, but Marvel’s major crossover this year fell far short of being amongst 2015’s best comic books. Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic got off to quite a flashy start by killing off both the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe in the first issue, but it was only disappointment that followed that. And the letdown goes beyond a shipping schedule that makes the finale over three months late.

In addition to the chronic lateness of Secret Wars, what happens within the book is just so meandering, and seeing Marvel’s try to set up their own Game of Thrones just doesn’t work for me. Maybe I also lacked any real investment in what happened because multiple kingdoms meant multiple versions of classic characters. What’s the real impact of seeing Captain America die when there are like 18 others out there? And yes, some side books were great reads – Runaways, Renew Your Vows, and Civil War among them – but you never knew which really “mattered” to Secret Wars core story until the moments were recognized in the main book way later.

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However, my main disappointment in Secret Wars is simply Jonathan Hickman himself. His vision of Marvel has been dominating the books before he even took over the Avengers books, and his style of storytelling has worn me out. He writes most classic heroes inconsistently, often choosing to spotlight his own less-than-stellar creations. I appreciate any creator trying to add new members to Marvel’s toy chest, but who really wanted to see grimdark doofs like Black Swan or Proxima Midnight get screentime in Doom’s court?

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Like most other Hickman books, Secret Wars has these wondrously complex plans for stories upon stories, and he once again bungles the execution. Even though I was used to poorly explained deus ex machina, Secret Wars was a massive storytelling failure in terms of scale that Esad’s gorgeous art couldn’t save. Thanks to the delays, the major events are already diffused as the events are firmly in the past for the currently Hickman-free Marvel Universe, a place I much prefer to Battleworld. – Henry Gilbert

Survivor Series Is WWE At Its Worst

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The WWE is on a constant cycle of angering fans and then redeeming themselves, so outright disappointments are rare. In many cases, the WWE surpassed low expectations when putting together surprisingly good shows like Fastlane and WrestleMania. Even dud events like Elimination Chamber would eke out at least one Match of the Year candidate. However, there was one month where a promising show ended up falling completely flat, and it was at the annual Thanksgiving week tradition Survivor Series.

The event promised some intrigue with the conclusion of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship tournament, but the decent semifinal matches were sunk due to predictable results. The finals, which was to be former faction-mates Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose’s first-ever major singles match was one of the most disappointing matches of the year, quickly fizzling out with a completely uneventful win for Reigns. In a failed attempt to curry favor for Reigns, he immediately lost the title when Sheamus cashed in his title shot to end the show, but besides the fact that the same ending had been done better with Daniel Bryan in 2013, none of the talent involved had the kind of crowd support that previous main event players had.

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A WWE show with a bad main event can be saved with a good undercard, but Survivor Series failed there too. The Undertaker celebrated the 25th anniversary of his debut by winning a tag team match that buried the under-utilized Wyatt Family faction (where a loss wouldn’t have hurt the deadman’s standing). The worst part? The traditional Survivor Series matches were thrown together haphazardly with no participants announced ahead of time, and the return of Goldust was done during the pre-show match where fewer folks are paying attention. From messing up the main event to failing to prepare a proper undercard, Survivor Series was by far the worst WWE PPV of 2015. – Dave Rudden

Donald Trump Sucks the Life out of Saturday Night Live

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Even though politician/political candidate hosts of Saturday Night Live rarely hold a candle to episodes helmed by actors and comedians, you can at least expect the sketch comedy program to show a new side of public figures. From Rudy Giuliani dressing in drag to the likes of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin facing their impersonators, the politicians who have come onto SNL with a sense of humor about themselves find themselves with a bit more public favor come Sunday morning.

This was not the case when Donald Trump hosted SNL in November. The normally biting political satire that drives the show was pushed aside to allow for 90 minutes of half-hearted comedy starring a thoroughly unfunny Trump. Nary an insult was thrown Trump’s way, Trump never attempted to exit his comfort zone to play any sort of original character, and even the Trump-free skits like Weekend Update fell flat. It truly was the worst Saturday Night Live episode in years (and you’d have to go back to the likes of Nancy Kerrigan and January Jones to find as dull a host as Trump).

Unfortunately, Trump’s hosting gig scored the highest ratings of the season by a large margin, so it’s possible we’ll see SNL once again de-fanging their comedy and throwing away political jokes to placate humorless candidates ahead of this year’s election. – Dave Rudden

What disappointed you most in 2015? Sound off about it in the comments below!

17 thoughts on “The 10 Biggest Disappointments of 2015

  1. It was far from one of the worst things I saw this year, or even one of the most average, but Age of Ultron really was a let down. The Avengers is still my favourite entry in the MCU and I had been looking forward to a sequel since I walked out of the theatre that first time. Between movies we had some great solo adventures from the main three that took Cap and Iron Man (as well as the universe, with SHEILD’s fall and the like) to exciting places. But then, AoU just felt like nothing happened. It’s not even like it was just intended to work as a standalone sequel in case you don’t follow the solo stuff, the characters don’t even feel right (or the way they did). When was MCU Cap ever concerned about language and confused super easily (he says “You’re damn right,” etc. in other movies; him needing the twins’ powers to be dumbed down to “fast and weird” made him look like a dolt). Obviously the biggest criticism does come down to Ultron himself, where he has no real menace and has to spout quips every other line – which is a problem everyone has. My last big problem with it is that there was nothing left to surprise – the trailers showed everything.
    This isn’t to say I don’t like the film at all – there are bits I very much do like, which makes my complaints more frustrating. Vision was great, the twins were awesome, and even though the Hulkbuster fight was essentially spoiled, I still think it’s a pretty awesome sequence. The stuff with Hulk is interesting to me as well.

  2. lol of course Trump’s episode of SNL was toothless…from what I read Trump handcuffed the writer’s into making everything put Trump in a positive light. And of course the episode had the highest ratings of the season, because Lorne Michaels sold out in order to get attention. Everything about it is gross.

  3. My biggest disappointment of the year is Marvel’s elimination of Fantastic Four and X-men from starring roles in the comic universe. I get that you do not own the movie rights, but I sincerely doubt that there is much synergy between comic sales and movie ticket sales. The resulting elimination of characters that many people like and love is just sad and depressing. Also, trotting out the Inhumans as replacements for those characters IS NOT WORKING. With the exception of Ms. Marvel, none of the Inhuman characters or story lines are what I would call interesting at all. They also, really smack of Game of Thrones cloning, with deep emphasis on different “kingdoms” and bloodlines, and ruthlessness, etc etc. I don’t even like the Fantastic Four, but I would really prefer having them show up and save the day with “SCIENCE!!!!!” in random cross overs, than deal with anything Inhuman.
    And all of this being done because of a dispute over rights just turns me off even more. Its not like they are discovering and breathing life into the Inhumans because no one has done stuff with them before, they are just doing it because they don’t want to use the Fantastic Four or X-men licenses. Whenever the Disney juggernaut reabsorbs those rights those characters will return front and center again.

    Couple this with Bill Nye the Science guy still not being cast as Mr Fantastic… its been a bittersweet year in comics.

    1. Seconded, I miss the FF and James Robinson did a great job of taking them out on a high note. The MU is not the same without the first family, even if they have been marginalized in recent years.

  4. I actually enjoyed Age of Ultron. It’s in my Top 5. I understand some of the criticisms but every movie has some flaws. Marvel needs to fix it’s villain issue though. Everyone but Loki seems very one-note and bland. Everything else was spot on. The set up for Black Panther was great. The Von Strucker castle bit was awesome, The Hulkbuster/Hulk fight was epic plus it introduced Vision! I’m used to defending this and other Marvel movies because some dipshit teacher at my film school trashed superhero films while praising the Transformers films in the same breath.

    1. That being said. My biggest disappointment of 2015 was Aloha. You’d think a comedy directed by Cameron Crowe that stars Bradley Cooper,Emma Stone,Rachel McAdams,Bill Murray,John Krasinski, Alec Baldwin and Danny McBride would be good right? No what I got was film with stupid plot holes that turned me into the guy from CinemaSins when noticing them. Also the fact that Emma Stone played a half Asian was absurd. As much as love Emma and her work,this role was a little blemish in her career that I hope doesn’t kill it.

  5. I will openly say I enjoyed Ant Man more than Ultron and I did not have any of the baggage long time comic fans had as reason to be disappointing. For me, Ultron was less a grand get to together like the last Avengers, but instead more set up, Civil War seemingly being the real en of Phase 2… despite being Phase 3. Combine the out of nowhere tangents and let’s be honest, maybe too many characters, Ant Man was for me at least the best better film because it was coherent, focused and had more character, rather than just “more characters”.

    But it has not my biggest disappointment. No, that would have to be Batman: Arkham Knight and no I played the PS4 version, the PC. I mean why am I driving a tank with guns all the time? Why are the side quests less varied? Why is the last big arc such a simple easy to guess plot? Why do I have to do so much busy work to feel like I really progressed? And the DLC… oh boy, the DLC…

  6. It’s hard to put it in the same calibre as most of those, but for me the biggest disappointment was Batman: Arkham Knight. Now, at it’s heart it’s still a hugely fun game with a lot of effort put into it that I’m happy to New Game Plus, but it’s a big disappointment for 5 reasons:

    1. The PC version, my gaming system of preference. On a system that knocks out The Witcher 3 and Star Wars Battlefront at Very High settings I can’t even manage Medium Textures, even after months of waiting for a patch. Then while waiting ages for those goddamn patches Season Pass owners were denied the DLC they paid for, so it was like an extra kick in the balls. But that wasn’t so bad because:
    2. The DLC was terrible. The most overpriced and criticized Season Pass in gaming history ended up with a few months of boring, short, unimaginative DLC segments. The best, Season of Infamy, was a bunch of short missions. Actually, no, the best was the skins for Batman movies for 1989, TDK, and even Batman V Superman… except you couldn’t use their Batmobile skins in-game and the BVS one doesn’t even get a racetrack. And where are the movie Catwoman skins?
    3. The plot was stale and unexciting. I liked the Scarecrow, but Arkham Knight was godawful. Everyone guessed his identity long before the reveal, including non-comic fans – and it was obvious and hugely unsatisfying because that particular character hadn’t been seen in the Arkham games up until now. If he had been Commissioner Gordon, Joker, Hush, or Azrael it would’ve been great! I personally loved the pre-release theory that Arkham Knight was Bruce Wayne and you were playing Hush as Batman, which would’ve been actually imaginative! But not to be. Rocksteady ditched Paul Dini because they thought “writing for Batman is easy, we can do it too!”. Nope. I actually preferred Arkham Origins’ story.
    4. The Batmobile. I liked it more than most people, but it’s from a completely different game and feels very un-Batman.
    5. Side missions were less enjoyable and imaginative than the ones in Arkham City. So that’s most of the game unimaginative.

    The worst thing about Batman: Arkham Knight is, my disappointment SUCKED MY COMIC FANDOM OUT OF ME. Seriously. Up until AK’s release I was consuming comics at a rate of knots, watching every show and movie, replaying all the games… since then most of my comic reading has dried up, I didn’t go and see Fantastic Four (near miss there at least) or Ant-Man (still haven’t), haven’t watched Jessica Jones, most of Agents of SHIELD, or Gotham (Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl have me at least), and forget about games. Hopefully 2016 will reignite my spark for comics.

  7. I personally loved Age of Ultron and the Muppet show. I’m a big fan of the MCU but what helps me is I check my baggage at the door and don’t get hung up on things like comic Ultron vs movie Ultron. I just do my best to enjoy things for what they are. AoU was a great movie featuring the assembled Avengers team and it will likely be the only movie of its kind and scope we get. Infinity War will have a much broader scope.

  8. now we just need ten best documentaries of 2015 from chris, I’ve been watching his recommendations so far and he hasn’t disappointed me yet!

  9. I remain a confused to all the backlash Age of Ultron has been getting. If nothing else, I think it continued the Marvel’s films excellent character work. Like really, I sincerely believe these characters are some of the best written action blockbuster characters I’ve seen in a very long time. I also thought the story intelligently dealt with themes about consequences, what we want to leave behind, and what we might leave behind despite our best intentions. Everything with Tony Stark was heartbreaking, as you can see where his fears come from, you feel for his wish to protect the people he cares about. But tragically, he’s unable to see the big picture, consider all possibilities and everyone ultimately suffers for it. It’s great stuff and how that all bounces off Cap makes for superb storytelling. I get where Brett is coming with Ultron as a character, but I think ultimately Joss wanted to do something different, and it’s own take, he works. He very much acts as sort of the natural offspring of Stark, and he really represents an almost “dark side” of Tony in a lot of ways. I can respect his views as someone with a close relationship to the comics, but in the context of the MCU, I thought he was incredibly effective.

    And honestly, with the recent release of The Force Awakens, a movie more interested in repeating the same structure of A New Hope instead paving it’s own path and full of meaningless callbacks and references that ring incredibly hollow, I keep coming back to Age of Ultron as the far superior film. I think someone like Johansson’s Black Widow is a far more interesting, complex character compared to the sorta one note Rey (a character who largely only works because of the massive talent of it’s actor, Daisy Ridley).

    Also I think it’s really unfair to keep harping on what could have been with a hypothetical Edgar Wright Ant-Man movie. Would it be outstanding? Almost definitely. Will we ever know? No, and I think the film we ended up getting was pretty goddamn great in it’s own right.

    But just my two cents! Do agree about Terminator Genisys, I really want to drag whoever thought to make replacing “i”‘s with “y”‘s as the new blockbuster film title gimmick behind my hypothetical tool-shed. What an utter drag of a movie.

  10. GOP candidates on SNL have always been terrible, I refer you to Steve Forbes and musical guest (and I love this) Rage Against the Machine. Also if we’re going to throw another disappointment in 2015, Konami flipping off its decades of delighting video game fans of young and old for pachinko.

  11. Biggest disappointment of 2015? the lasertime patreon reducing at the tail end of the year it’s legitimately super upsetting :'(

  12. I think the biggest disappointment all around in gaming was the inability for Arkham Knight to work well on PC. I’d think an American publisher would understand optimization better than Japanese developers just learning that Steam is the biggest gaming platform right now. As it stands, I’m probably not getting around to playing Knight until I grab a PS4. I’ve also heard the game itself doesn’t quite meet the standards of Asylum and City either, but I’ll leave it for someone who’s actually played the game to vouch this report.

  13. Thank you thank you thank you for laying into Terminator Genisys. I could write an essay on why that movie was the worst thing in theaters this year made even worse by James Cameron himself praising the movie, pre-release. How irresponsible was it for him to do that? Was it just an elaborate ploy to get the movie to fail, so he could get the rights back to a franchise that you would think means a lot to him?

  14. Star Wars 7 was, by far and away, my biggest pop culture disappointment. I wanted to love it, but im not going to take a bland, super-safe rewrite of a 1977 film lying down. Death Star Reloaded, the ridiculous character arc of Finn McCool, and more callbacks than i could stomach….ug. Just such a letdown for someone who simply wanted a NEW star wars film….not a remake of one I’ve seen before.

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