Everybody has seen them. You know, those films that are either shredded to pieces by the critics or just not very well-received by the fans. Well, a while back, I started doing a weekly column titled 'It Wasn't That Bad' that took in-depth looks at some of these films in particular. However, things intervened and I never did manage to do more. But alas, I have compiled a list of some of those films for you. One or two may indeed have recurred from a previous article. So, please do have a read and try to see some of the silver linings in these outcast films.
Okay so maybe I'm stretching a bit far by putting this on the list...we'll see. The most recent film on the list, Fantastic Four came out least year and was crushed by critics and fans. In fact, the overwhelmigly negative reviews affected it's takings in a big way as it drastically underperformed. I saw Fantastic Four on opening day and I completely understand what the critics were talking about. The film took some of the most colorful superheroes and drained them of their color, humor and personalities. I'm not sure I've ever seen as grim a superhero movie as this. I also felt the characters were completely under-developed. I wanted a sequel for that reason alone, because we didn't really get to know the characters that well. However, having said all that, Fantastic Four does have some good moments. I quite liked the backstory between Reed and Ben and the Dr. Doom story was executed quite well, albeit with a lot of unnecessary darkness thrown in. Fantastic Four may indeed have been hard to watch at times and dragged quite a lot and it felt like we were watching a very long-winded two hour pilot instead of a blockbuster, but it did have some silver linings....right?
Predator 2 received negative reviews upon it's release in 1992. Unlike its predecessor, this one is not set in the jungle but the city. Despite what anyone says, it was a genius idea to move a creature that hunts in the jungle into the 'concrete jungle' of downtown Los Angeles. I must say, because of the negative reception of this film, when I watched it, I had pretty low expectations, but man, I was really impressed by how good the film was. Yes, it was unnecessarily violent in areas compared to the first one and could have used a little "less is more" philosophy. However, I truly felt that Predator 2 had a powerful and compelling storyline, especially because of the creature's obsession with beating Danny Glover. Unlike with the Predator in the first film that seemingly respected his opposing warrior in Schwarzenegger's "Dutch", this creature becomes more of a sarcastic and sadistic character, desperate to get inside Glover's head. The film also has it's humourous moments (have you counted how many times Glover utters "S@*t!") such as the Predator's repetition of profanity-ridden lines or the time it interrupts Glover's utterance of the iconic "You're one ugly..." line or the unusually timed "Want Some Candy" before it kills. It's a sequel that is worthy of the original and in my honest opinion, is miles ahead of the 2010 sequel Predators. The storyline is well written and the personal rivalry between Harrigan and the Predator leads to an amazing half-hour long final battle between them.
Read my full 'It Wasn't THAT Bad' article on Predator 2 here.
Grease 2 had a lot to contend with. First off, the original was so beloved, that it was going to be hard to compete with it no matter what. Secondly, it happened to be released on the same day as the juggernaut that was E.T. Growing up, I loved Grease - I mean, who didn't? It was a classic. I remember hating the thought of even entertaning Grease 2 as it didn't have the original cast. But one night in with the family, we flicked on Grease 2 and I remember being really impressed by it. That was from someone who had low expectations. Yes, the songs were cheesy and no, it didn't possess the same '50s charm of the first one. But Grease 2 had it's own charm. It was a witty, fun and enjoyable film that never really got the credit it deserves. Maxwell Caulfield delivered an authentic performance as Michael Carrington. He really did a great job as both the relatable nerd and the badass motorcyclist. And if I still haven't convinced you how great Grease 2 is, well then, I present to you: Michelle Pfeiffer. Before her leading roles in Scarface and Batman Returns, Pfeiffer delivered a brilliant, edgy performance as Stephanie Zinone. Her performance of "Cool Rider" is argubaly the standout moment in the film. Once the lyrics get into your head, you wont be able to get them out! Seriously, check out this classic, it might be cheesy and it might be soppy, but that's what Grease is all about. And, it's just a darn great film!
Released in 1995 as the follow up to Tim Burton's dark Batman Returns, Batman Forever adopted a noticeably lighter tone. I say noticeably because it basically paraded that fact in everyone's faces: the flamboyant colours, the neon lights and the over-the-top villains was clearly a step away from it's darker predecessors. It seemed like a great idea at the time, right? Anyway, Batman Forever received mixed reviews upon it's release. In my opinion, it is definitely the most underrated Batman film: everybody loves Burton's and Nolan's Bat-films and we all know how they feel about Batman & Robin, but they seem to have very little to say about Batman Forever. The film was by no means a bad film. It featured strong dramatic performances from Val Kilmer, Chris O'Donnell and Nicole Kidman while it featured equally strong but flamboyant performances from Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey. Carrey's the Riddler is commonly agreed to be best thing about the film. I adored Batman Forever growing up and as far as I'm concerned, it was a welcome film to the franchise. Even though it doesn't quite reach the heights of the Tim Burton films, it is still an enjoyable, action-packed and epic superhero film that is loyal to the comic-books. And compared to Batman & Robin, this film is a masterpiece!
Check out my full 'It Wasn't THAT Bad' article on Batman Forever here.
I think this film's placement on the list bothers me the most. Why? Because this movie is actually really good. I grew up with this film and and even though I knew the creature looked nothing like the beloved Godzilla, I still loved it. Now, I understand that many people didn't like it because the creature in the film isn't the Godzilla everyone knows and loves. In fact, aside from the spikes on his back, this creature doesn't even remotely resemble the almighty icon. But, if you can get past that (and if you must, pretend it's not actually Godzilla) Godzilla is actually a really enjoyable and entertaining blockbuster of a film. It's a great monster film and actually one that the family can enjoy. It has a well executed linear plot which never gets too complex (unlike the great but at times confusing 2014 reboot). Also, it happens to feature Godzilla himself for the vast majority of the film (unlike the great but too human orientated plot of the reboot). I don't know how many times I have rewatched this classic and I love it every time. And the music is so powerful and complements every scene. It was simply a different interpretation that many feel strayed too far from the source material. Whether you agree with that or not, the film is still an enjoyable blockbuster full of epic thrill-rides and convincing special effects. Godzilla really wasn't that bad, in fact, it was really good!
There you have it, my Top 5 picks for films that are criminally underrated. Feel Free to tell me if you feel the same. Which films do you think are criminally underrated?