The thing about disappointment is that it takes a certain anticipation and enthusiasm, sparing something like Mike Myers’ outrageous Netflix series “The Pentaverate” any other abuse (OK, maybe a little bit) on this year-end list.
However, 2022 was full of movies and TV shows that came armed with advance recognition, committed fan bases, past track records, or simply interesting creative pedigree and actors that, for one reason or another, didn’t deliver as well as hoped.
Here, then, are some of the year’s biggest disappointments, presented in no particular order, other than starting with movies before making the jump to TV. To recap, it hasn’t been a great year for Anti-Heroes or fifth seasons of Emmy Award-winning dramas.
The combination of director David O. Russell and a star-studded cast headed by Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, and John David Washington couldn’t save this muddled piece whose message about the dangers of the military-industrial complex was obscured by its unevenness. Tone.
Jared Leto seemed like the right choice to play Marvel’s anti-hero vampire, but the anemic film ended up sucking in more ways than one.
“the gray man”
Another film whose creative pedigree and cast outperform its rewards, with Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, and Ana de Armas (who doubled down on Netflix’s disappointments with “Blonde”) teaming up with the Russo brothers (“Avengers: Endgame”) in a costly action. A car with a history of malnutrition. (It’s worth noting that de Armas came close to double-crossing her other Netflix movie, “Blonde,” though expectations weren’t quite as high, despite her stellar performance.)
Dwayne Johnson’s star power couldn’t quite elevate yet another DC hero, in a film that has weakened his appeal and seemed to miss an opportunity to introduce the Justice Society of America. Although teasing a sequel is no longer in the immediate cards.
Even with a relatively low bar for live-action releases of Disney’s animated classics, the remake of director Robert Zemeckis and Tom Hanks’ team – whose collaborations previously resulted in the likes of “Forrest Gump” and “Cast Away” – has managed to blow off limbo.
“Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power” (Amazon Prime Video): Expectations play a major role here, since this ambitious prequel to J.R.R. Tolkien’s series (and Peter Jackson’s great trilogy of films) wasn’t bad, just plain boring, especially when compared to Peter Jackson’s trilogy of films. While its epic and much-discussed budget certainly translated to the screen, the characters didn’t quite rise to the occasion. The Rings of Power has won over its fans, and its grandeur reflects Amazon’s massive investment in and commitment to the project. While it all made it hard to ignore, watching it through to the end elicited more weariness than enthusiasm.
“Moon Knight” (Disney +): Oscar Isaac’s multi-character hero might be a tough sell under the best of circumstances, but in a year full of mixed bags for the Marvel series on Disney+, this was the least satisfying of the bunch, and they felt unnecessarily weird even before they turned into talking hippopotamus.
“the first lady” (Showtime): A stellar cast that included Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Gillian Anderson as former first ladies Michelle Obama, Betty Ford, and Eleanor Roosevelt couldn’t save this underwhelming Showtime series, squandering what it could have become (and, in fact, was envisioned as being) an ongoing franchise.
“The Time Traveler’s Wife” (HBO): The HBO series’ adaptation of the popular book never quite got over the “ick” factor associated with the time-travelling relationship between the principals played by Rose Leslie and Theo James, though it did give the latter a chance to spend an inordinate amount of time running around naked. Fortunately, James did much better with his other 2022 contribution to the network, “The White Lotus.”
“The Crown” season five (Netflix): Reloaded with new players in the lead roles, Netflix’s usually beguiling look at the lives of the royal family delivered its best season yet, with some baffling twists along the way. Then again, those flaws may have seemed more apparent after the Emmy-winning highs of season four.
The Handmaid’s Tale Season Five (hulu): The historical Hulu series has remained largely in the context of a Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights, but the show’s creative trajectory since its first two seasons has accelerated as it strayed farther from the book that inspired it, juggling brackets in the US and Canada as well as Gilead. Victimized in part by a multi-season arrangement that slowed its pacing, the prospect of the show wrapping up with a sixth season offers hope of achieving greater narrative urgency and reclaiming its place among TV’s best dramas.
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