I thought it would be fun to discuss 10 films that often receive a good deal of “hate” from generally small groups of outspoken people. In my opinion, the ten films below are some of the more worthwhile films that fit into this slim category. I have no doubt that those who come across this article will have differing opinions on these films and I encourage all of you to comment those opinions in a (hopefully) friendly manner.
Let’s start out by explaining how I came about “ranking” these ten films from 10-1. Rather than simply numbering them by how much I personally enjoy them, I thought it would be better to check Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic to get aggregate scores and then combine all of them to see which film was the most “hated”. This score will combine both the critic scores AND the user scores, so we get an accurate depiction of how “hated” it is by BOTH critics and average movie goers like myself. (Each Score is based on a 100 point system, except for the Metacritic User score, so I will be multiplying that score by 10 in order for it to hold equal weight with the other three scores.) I then divided the total aggregate score by 4 and subtracted it from 100, giving it my “Hate Score”. The higher the “Hate Score”, the higher it will appear on this list! To be clear, the #1 film on this list will be the one deemed “most hated” by this system, and the #10 will be the “least hated” based on this system. Obviously this is completely unscientific way of doing this, but I have to admit, I had a little fun doing it! So without further ado, let’s get to business with the Top Ten Hated Movies That Don’t Actually Suck!
#10: Interstellar, Hate Score: 20.75
Interstellar has by far the lowest “Hate Score” on this list, but I think its mention is justifiable based on how loud the dissenting faction is on this one. This film has been extremely divisive with opinions ranging from “It totally sucks” to “Greatest Movie Ever!” In my opinion, while “Greatest Movie Ever” might be a stretch, the opinion that it “sucks” seems a little unfair and shortsighted. This film is bold and ambitious sci-fi storytelling, and I think Hollywood is in dire need of more innovative, risk taking films such as this one. I would count Interstellar as one of the best films of 2014 and I think it is a very worthy addition to director Christopher Nolan’s impressive filmography. I do wonder, however, how well the film will hold up on blu ray, since it was such an experience to be had in IMAX theaters.
#9: The Amazing Spider Man, Hate Score: 28.25
The Amazing Spider Man is a film that was going to have a hard time managing to avoid upsetting at least a certain percentage of its fan base. While Spider Man 3 was close to being unanimously disliked, many film franchises in the past have overcome missteps like it, and it seemed unnecessary to scrap the Tobey Maguire Spider Man and completely reboot everything after such a minuscule amount of time. Even with this handicap to start with, modern audiences would be compelled to distance themselves even further from The Amazing Spider Man thanks to its disappointing, lackluster sequel. However, if you can look past all of these dissenting factors surrounding the film, The Amazing Spider Man is actually a worthy addition to the character’s filmography in and of itself. I don’t even think it would be a stretch to call it the second best Spider Man film behind the universally loved Spider Man 2.
#8: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Hate Score: 28.75
Like The Amazing Spider Man above, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith can be a considered a victim of its circumstances. The first two films in the prequel trilogy, The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, were subjected to widespread criticism, largely by the core Star Wars fan base. In my opinion, the prequel trilogy went wrong due to its insistence on directing itself exclusively as “for kids” despite the fact that everyone who had loved the first trilogy had grown up. However, being someone that grew up in the late 90s and early 2000s, I can remember loving these less than stellar films, so in a sense, George Lucas achieved what he’d set out to do. Now that I am an adult, it’s hard to look back on TPM or AotC with much more than nostalgia, but RotS still very much holds up as an entertaining, watchable addition to the Star Wars mythos. What RotS did, that I believe was missing from its predecessors, was that it finally returned to a tone that did not shy away from getting dark, while maintaining a grand sense of adventure. Sure some may say that it’s difficult to care for the characters in RotS thanks to its predecessors, but I say that those people are selling George Lucas’s last good movie short.
#7: The Matrix Reloaded, Hate Score: 31.25
The sequels to The Matrix generally get a similar treatment as the Star Wars prequels do, but in the case of The Matrix Reloaded, I believe this is unfair. Now, The Matrix Revolutions was a significant dip in quality (even though I personally enjoy it for what it is) and I believe that since the two movies were linked with a “to be continued…” ending, The Matrix Reloaded tends to be brought down a few notches in popular opinion thanks to its sequel. While The Matrix is undoubtedly the best the series has to offer, Reloaded offers some great action sequences within its titular world and never lost me with its big twist the way it seemed to do with so many. In fact, I always considered the true nature of “The Architect” to be a somewhat brilliant revelation, but that is an argument for a different day. The point is, if you have seen The Matrix, but popular opinion has swayed you against watching the sequels, I think you should go ahead, give them a shot, and decide for yourself.
#6: I Am Legend, Hate Score: 31.5
I was actually quite surprised when I stumbled across several pages devoted to the bashing of I Am Legend, as I was quite taken with the movie after having seen it in theaters. Then, when searching the aggregate scores for this post, I found it interesting that this film received such a mixed opinion from critics and audiences. The film stars Will Smith in his prime, long before the dark days of After Earth, in which he was given a role that literally put the entire production on his shoulders, and he nailed it! This film was exciting, contemplative and emotional. I have seen many arguments that the film would have been served better with its alternate ending, and I’m not sure that those people are wrong, but this is very much still a worthwhile film to rent or buy if you haven’t done so already.
#5: Watchmen, Hate Score: 32.75
Director Zach Snyder seems to have an awfully hard time communicating with critics or general audiences, but I think a few of his films are grossly underrated, the most egregious of which is Watchmen. In my opinion, Watchmen is a masterpiece of dark, human storytelling. The common complaint on this one is that it is too faithful to its source material and the so called “unfilmable” masterpiece of Alan Moore was hollowly translated by Zach Snyder. I actually think that Snyder’s devotion to the graphic novel served the film greatly and as a fan of the original work, it was exhilarating to see some panels from the book’s pages get translated directly onto the big screen. Snyder only made one great deviation from the book’s story (which I won’t spoil here) and it was for the better! Sure, Watchmen is a dark, horrific story that at times becomes very difficult to watch, but that does not change the fact that this film was a remarkable achievement.
#4: Cloud Atlas, Hate Score: 33
Cloud Atlas is another film from the Wachowski’s (and others) that I believe has been grossly misunderstood by critics and general audiences. This film’s greatest problem is that it is simply too ambitious and inaccessible to receive the praise it rightfully deserves. I remember walking out of the theater after my first viewing of this film wondering whether I’d just seen the best film ever made or the worst film ever made. Well after a few more viewings I would say neither, but Cloud Atlas is a great achievement that should have been recognized much more than it was during the time in which it came out. There is something special about a film that reveals more to you with each subsequent viewing, and Cloud Atlas achieves just that. Even now I am sure I haven’t been able to peel every layer of the onion that is Cloud Atlas and I would encourage anyone who hasn’t to start doing so themselves.
#3: Man of Steel, Hate Score: 34.5
As I said before, Zach Snyder’s work usually proves to be divisive at best and Man of Steel is very much the rule and not the exception. Fans everywhere accused this film of being “too dark” or “gritty” with a “brooding” Superman who commits acts that his comic book counterpart “never would”. However, I believe these statements are simply false. As an adamant reader of Superman lore I think Man of Steel got a lot right and they portrayed the character the way he has been portrayed for many years, since the arrival of the tremendous graphic novel Birthright and even before. Also, in response to accusations that this film is “too dark”, Snyder consistently portrays Henry Cavill’s Kal-El as a beacon of hope for all of mankind (as he should be.) I even think Kal’s regrettable decision at the end of the film (which again I won’t spoil) was done tastefully and really gave us an interesting building block for who Superman becomes as a character. Not all comic book fares have to be carefree Marvel “fun” and I personally love the contrast between the DC and Marvel properties on the big screen. If every comic book hero was portrayed in the same light on the big screen, then the genre will reach a critical mass sooner rather than later and collapse. Marvel and DC’s differing tones can certainly coexist and I for one enjoy watching some comic book films that treat me like I’m an adult.
#2: The Book of Eli, Hate Score: 40.5
I do enjoy a good post apocalyptic adventure, and it is completely possible that The Book of Eli is a film that speaks to me more than it would an average movie goer. However, I think that the film is “hated” by general audiences and critics much more than it should be. This film features Denzel Washington at his ass-kicking best, Mila Kunis in one of her more likable, non Jackie from That 70s Show roles, and Gary Oldman as a ferocious tantalizing villain. The violence is brutal and the cinematography just screams Fallout on camera. What’s not to love? And that’s when we get into it: The Book of Eli clearly loses people due to its preachy, religious message. I get it, I’m not an overly religious man myself and no one likes being told what to believe. However, perhaps due to being raised in a religious family, I have no issue putting aside my own personal beliefs for an hour and a half and accepting The Book of Eli for what it is: a fun, violent romp through a post apocalyptic world. If you cannot get over The Book of Eli‘s religious message then I guess steer clear of it, but for those of you who can, then go out and enjoy what I think is a damn good movie.
#1: Tron: Legacy, Hate Score: 41.5
Tron: Legacy, the most hated film on this list according to my unscientific “Hate Score”, is another victim of the Star Wars effect. The original Tron was clearly loved by a passionate (if rather small) fan base, and it seems that much of that fan base were not pleased with the direction its sequel went. However, if you were like me and you hadn’t grown up with the original Tron, then this is a fast, fun sc-fi flick that doesn’t require a great deal of brain power to enjoy. Sure, I love films like Interstellar, Cloud Atlas, or Watchmen, that really force you to think and contemplate their messages, but sometimes I like to pop a bowl of popcorn, relax on my couch, and turn on a Tron: Legacy too. The film is just fun, it’s a visual treat to look at, and serves as the greatest Daft Punk music video ever made. I get that it might not be everything original Tron fans wanted, but in fairness that film’s once revolutionary special effects are now grossly outdated and newcomers like myself simply don’t revere it the way older fans do. This film had to have done something right, as a sequel is in the works, and I hope that the next one will please new and old fans alike.
Sorry Transformers…You Actually Do Suck…
So there you have it, my Top Ten Hated Movies That Don’t Actually Suck. Which of these film did you agree with? Which films didn’t you agree with? Which films would you have on the list that I didn’t mention? Please answer any and all of these questions in the comments and we can discuss some of our favorite, under appreciated films!