2016 Movies: The Best and Worst (So Far)

It’s hard to believe, but we’re over halfway through 2016 already and the summer movie landscape is behind us. While there have been some epic misfires in recent months, there has also been reason to be excited. This could be a good year for moviegoers, with several blockbusters living up to big expectations. Here are some of the best- and worst-reviewed films to be released in theaters in 2016, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

1. Zootopia – 98% Fresh

Zootopia.jpg

Zootopia | Source: Disney

Walt Disney Animation’s epic return to glory continued this summer with Zootopia, which scored 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and has earned nearly $1 billion at the worldwide box office. A 3D-animated buddy-cop children’s film, Zootopia tells the story of a rabbit police officer and a fox con artist as they uncover the mystery behind the disappearance of predator civilians. From a critical standpoint, the film has bested even Frozen’s enormous praise and has a chance to outdo that film’s $1.27 billion worldwide gross when its run is finished. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, “Zootopia is one of my favorite animated movies. Not one of my favorite animated movies of the last year or two, or of the last decade, or in recent memory. It’s one of my favorite animated movies, period.”

2. Captain America: Civil War – 90% Fresh

Captain America Civil War

Captain America: Civil War | Source: Marvel Studios

Just when it felt as though superhero fatigue might be a real thing, along comes Captain America: Civil War which scored big with both critics and moviegoers to the tune of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and over $1.1 billion and counting at the box office. Civil War tells the story of two competing factions within the Avengers — one led by Captain America and the other Iron Man — who disagree with government oversight and eventually come to blows. The film has earned immediate classic status in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with many believing it could be the best that has yet to be offered in the film series. “If you live and breathe Marvel, this is one of the MCU’s stronger offerings,” writes Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times.

3. The Jungle Book – 95% Fresh

The Jungle Book - Disney

The Jungle Book | Source: Disney

The Jungle Book has gotten a little lost in the crowd because of the recent superhero onslaught, so it’s easy to forget that the Jon Favreau-directed film is one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year. It scored 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and has earned nearly $900 million worldwide to-date. Featuring strong CGI and a cast that makes the word “star-studded” seem like an understatement, The Jungle Book is a retelling of the classic story by Rudyard Kipling about a human boy adopted by wolves and his adventures as he escapes the evil tiger Shere Khan. “Favreau’s Jungle Book fills us with something rare in movies today — a sense of wonder,” writes Peter Travers of Rolling Stone.

4. Sing Street – 97% Fresh

Making the Music Video

Sing Street | Source: The Weinstein Company

If you’re looking for the feel-good film of the summer, look no further than Sing Street from director John Carney which has scored a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. Following in the footsteps of his critically acclaimed film Once (also at 97% fresh) and Begin Again (82%), Sing Street is a musical dramedy about a fourteen-year-old boy who starts a band to impress a girl in 1980s Dublin amid the harsh economic realities of the times. Katie Walsh of the Los Angeles Times writes, “It’s a sweetly funny, charming and poignant depiction of this very specific time in life — at once universal and specific — when anything seems possible. And with killer pop tunes to boot.”

5. The Nice Guys – 91% Fresh

The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys | Source: Warner Bros.

The most recently released film on this list, The Nice Guys represents a return to what director Shane Black might do best: dark, action buddy-comedies. Starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, the former of which proves to have a strong knack for comedy, The Nice Guys weaves a neo-noir tale of two detectives who discover a conspiracy while investigating the alleged suicide of a female porn star. The film has earned a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes and a review by Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir is about as good a recommendation as Black could ask for: “The Nice Guys is basically Chinatown remade by Quentin Tarantino and starring foulmouthed, updated versions of Abbott and Costello, as played by two of the most recognizable male stars of our time. Make your purchasing decisions accordingly.” Indeed.

1. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – 27% Rotten

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice | Source: Warner Bros.

You were probably aware Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was skewered by critics, but maybe you didn’t know it was skewered to the tune of 27% on Rotten Tomatoes. Sure, it seems like the film was overly criticized as it became the whipping boy for the state of Hollywood and superhero films, but when Rotten Tomatoes counts 334 reviews and still comes to that number, there’s got to be a big problem.

2. Ratchet & Clank – 16% Rotten

Ratchet & Clank

Ratchet & Clank | Source: Gramercy

As if the critical reception wasn’t bad enough, Ratchet & Clank has earned a measly $8.8 million since its release on April 29, making it a strong candidate to be one of the biggest busts of the year. While critics have argued that kids might like it, parents are warned that if they are unlucky enough to be dragged to it, they’ll be greeted with a generic cash-grab. Walsh of the Los Angeles Times writes, ” [the film] feels like watching four episodes of a Saturday morning cartoon mashed into a feature-length film.”

3. Zoolander 2 – 24% Rotten

Zoolander 2 - Ben Stiller

Zoolander 2 | Source: Paramount Pictures

Zoolander fans everywhere have clamored for a sequel for years, but no one thought it would end up like this. An epic misfire that displays what happens when constant references to the original film can blow up in a sequel’s face, Zoolander 2 is likely the end of Zoolander and Hansel’s adventures for good.

4. London Has Fallen – 25% Rotten

London Has Fallen

London Has Fallen | Source: Gramercy Pictures

The sequel to Olympus Has Fallen — the surprise hit whose success still makes no sense — London Has Fallen has missed the bar on the already low critical reception of the first film, scoring a 25% on Rotten Tomatoes along with a paltry $62.5 million from the box office. “Racist, stupid and boasting cheesy effects that wouldn’t pass muster on basic cable,” writes Lou Lumenick of the New York Post.

5. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 – 28% Rotten

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 | Source: Universal Pictures

Why they decided to make a sequel to My Big Fat Greek Wedding 14 years after it premiered in theaters and became a surprise box office titan is anyone’s guess. But if they were going to do it, they could have at least tried a little harder to conjure up the magic that caused critics to give the original film a 76% percent fresh compared to the sequel’s 28%. “What we’re left with is something that recalls Crocodile Dundee in L.A. – the misbegotten notion that bringing back characters long past their sell-by date is a good idea,” writes James Berardinelli. Ouch.

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