Films have the ability to touch the lives of the audience. They can move us, make us feel things, and provoke deep thoughts about the world around us. At least, some movies can do that. There are other kinds of movies that just make the appearance of being meaningful or thought-provoking, but fall apart when you look closer at what they’re trying to say.
Over the years, Hollywood has introduced the world to a number of these smart-sounding movies. But that’s just a mirage, hiding themes and stories that are really mediocre, or sometimes just plain silly. Let’s take a look at some movies that fans will insist are full of rich storytelling depth, but in reality are anything but.
10 The Matrix Recharged
The Matrix was a groundbreaking action film that combined thrilling action set pieces with a genuinely captivating fictional reality. The film explores a world where humanity has been taken over by intelligent AI machines. All of humanity has been captured and placed in suspended animation, dreaming a collective, eternal dream while connected to a virtual reality called the Matrix. After the great success of the first Headquarters film, its sequels tried to double down on the philosophical side of the story.
What were some vague but profound conversations and references in the first film have been expanded upon as the franchise has tried and failed to find something meaningful to say about the human condition and the future of technology.
The Matrix Recharged is the worst offender in that regard. The best example of the franchise’s attempts to find depth where there is none is on full display in the scene with the Architect. The character rambles on for several confused minutes about existence and free will with a bunch of clever words that have no real effect on the protagonist’s actions or the film as a whole, and sometimes contradict references to Baudrillard in the first film.
O Foreigner franchise is one of the best sci-fi franchises Hollywood has ever made. Fans were excited when filmmaker Ridley Scott announced that he would Prometheusa prequel that promised to provide answers to burning questions about the origin of the Xenomorphs, their relationship to humanity, and the mysterious race called the Engineers that connect the two species.
Unfortunately, Prometheus does a terrible job of explaining all of this. Furthermore, the film is burdened with poor storytelling choices. Most of the main characters perform actions that seem too silly to move the plot forward, such as trained scientists interacting with alien environments and animals without any kind of protection, or scenes with no explanation provided, such as why engineers created mankind, why they decided to wipe them out, or why that engineer suddenly started attacking the human crew after being woken up.
The early 2000s were a good time to be M. Night Shyamalan. The filmmaker was excited by the great success of The sixth Sensefollowed by the underrated and star-studded unbreakable. Then came 2002 signals, where Shyamalan told the story of a family that lives on a farm and everyone must face visitors from another world. The film deals with many themes, including questions about faith, family, and deep-seated paranoia regarding the existence of aliens.
Sadly, few of these themes get the attention they deserve, as Shyamalan tries to wring a sci-fi thriller tale from a basic premise that lingers too far into the film’s finale. It doesn’t help that the film takes itself too seriously, despite being the kind of story that ends with a fight between one of the main characters and an alien who presumably traveled millions of light years to visit Earth but apparently forgot to take a suitcase. space weapon for the trip in case they run into any local enemies (and failed to investigate the planet and realize it was mostly water).
7 The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown is a bestselling author who rose to fame with The Da Vinci Code, a suspense novel that shocked the world with its raunchy mystery surrounding a possible descendant of Jesus Christ being hunted by the Church. Naturally Hollywood wanted to get in on the action, and soon the movie version of The Da Vinci Code it was made starring Tom Hanks as the symbologist adventurer (which is not even a profession; perhaps Brown meant semiotician), Robert Langdon.
Unfortunately, both the movie and the novel it’s based on suffer from the same problem of appearing smart and plausible at first, but failing to hold up to scrutiny. Although Brown claims that all of the real-world facts mentioned in his book are accurate, many scholars have pointed out the many liberties he took in writing his story. Even Tom Hanks admitted in later interviews that The Da Vinci Code and its sequel films based on other Dan Brown novels are not intended to be too deep or realistic and are “as accurate to history as James Bond films are to espionage”.
Christopher Nolan has established a reputation as the thinking man’s blockbuster filmmaker. Nolan excels at creating complex, non-linear narratives that confuse and fascinate audiences in equal measure. But the filmmaker took that concept a few steps too far with Principle, a film about a war fought simultaneously in the present and the future, with timelines converging at a certain point thanks to the ability to rewind time through a process called “Inversion”. If all this sounds preposterous, watching the film is unlikely to make it more comprehensible.
Principle it is done very intriguingly. Many key expository moments in Nolan’s film have blaring music playing over them, so you struggle to make out what anyone is saying. The characters’ motivations are murky at best, such as why a future army wants to destroy the current world when it will result in the destruction of the future as well, or why the Protagonist is willing to risk destroying the world to save a woman he once knew. some days ago. As far as the inversion rules that are central to the story’s plot are concerned, they have little to do with real-world physics and are so confusing that at one point a character simply says to the protagonist (and the audience): ” Don’t try to understand him. Feel it.”
5 Now you see me
What if Danny Ocean and his team of expert crooks from ocean’s eleven were a bunch of street magicians? That is the question Now you see me dare to ask. The answer is told in a surprisingly fun and lighthearted film that combines classic heist movie tropes with a heavy dose of magic tricks borrowed from some of the world’s most talented illusionists.
Unfortunately, the film also plays by the rules of magic in its narrative style by being all flashy spectacle with little substance. The individual plot points are more concerned with entertaining the audience with twists than with explaining how those twists were possible. The film’s central mystery is also underwhelming, as the story ends with no explanation of the nature of the Eye’s secret society that was orchestrating the film’s events from the beginning.
Like an Oscar-winning superhero movie, Clown is often considered an example of a “serious” and “adult” film that shows how to elevate the genre above CGI explosions and men in tights beating each other up. but just because Clown it’s unlike any other mainstream superhero movie, it doesn’t make it smarter or more meaningful. Indeed, there is little in the film that hasn’t been done before or better (the film even seems to realize this with its references to the still-relevant The King of Comedy).
The film’s central message was also the subject of much criticism. The idea Clown suggests is that mentally ill people abandoned by society are at risk of becoming violent at any time. This is a message that has been criticized by real world psychiatrists as it contributes to the alienation of real people suffering from mental illness.
3 Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
The first knives out was a fun riff on the classic Agatha Christie novels that revolve around a murder and the many suspects. Expectations were high for the sequel, Glass Onion: A Mystery Between Knives. Sadly, writer-director Rian Johnson doesn’t seem to care much about the rules of mystery fiction, with the film being heavy on misdirection but light on an actual mystery.
onion glass puts all his cards on the table considerably before the story’s climax. This means there is little detection for the main character, Detective Benoit Blanc, so for the most part he simply watches along with the audience as the story unfolds in a series of expository scenes. There is a greater emphasis on comedy and interpersonal drama than on catching the killer and ensuring he is brought to justice, making the film feel more like a parody of a crime novel than an actual crime story.
two Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Zack Snyder is the most divisive superhero movie director of all time. He has a passionate contingent of fans ready to defend his work against an army of detractors in an epic, forever battle. Sort of like Snyder’s 2016 movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice it was supposed to be. The film was met with deeply divisive reactions for its portrayal of a Batman who kills, fighting a Superman who doesn’t say much about anything.
There are plenty of baffling creative decisions to be found in the film, like the infamous “Save Martha” moment that’s been discussed endlessly online, or the baffling depiction of Lex Luthor as a Mark Zuckerberg wannabe who makes strange noises when he wants to appear threatening. Despite trying to appear deep and thoughtful by having references to classic literature, musings on philosophical arguments of man versus god, and gritty portrayals of PTSD, batman vs superman ends up being less than the sum of its parts with a confusing plot and intriguing character motivations.
1 don’t look up
the cast of don’t look up reads like a who’s who of Hollywood’s crème de la crème, including the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, and Jonah Hill. Naturally, fans were eager to see what kind of groundbreaking story would convince so many talented actors to sign on the dotted line. When a giant asteroid appears to be heading straight for Earth, a group of scientists try to convince American politicians to take action to destroy it before the asteroid wipes out all life on the planet.
While don’t look up it features great performances and some moments of satirical excellence, it’s also extremely message-heavy and a little dull in regards to its social commentary. It’s hard to take the film’s barely-disguised warnings about humanity’s failure to combat climate change seriously when the characters are so outrageously stupid or oblivious that they become caricatures. At the end, don’t look upit doesn’t work properly either as a complete satire or as an effective warning against the failings of humanity because it tries to do too many things at once.