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It’s been a varied year for film. Following the typical paths of recent years we’ve seen blockbuster hits and flops, returns to franchises old and new and a few rare and surprising treats.

2015 was a quietly successful year for Marvel Studios. Ant-Man introduced us to the lesser known hero in a funny and exciting adventure, while Avengers: Age of Ultron continued their all-star franchise and set new box-office records, only to be beaten later in the year. 20th Century Fox tried to reboot Marvel comic Fantastic Four but results left fans hoping it will give the rights back to Marvel.

Three of the biggest movies this year came in the form of old franchises renewed. A surprising return to the post-apocalyptic Aussie outback in Mad Max: Fury Road resulted in a wondrously desolate, explosive and high octane road movie the makers of the ‘79 original could have only dreamed of. We also revisited Isla Nublar, which was a success in the box office but not for visitors of the island where Jurassic World’s dinos ran rampage in a nostalgic family adventure. And then there was the matter of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Initial reports are good, so it will no doubt break all records and make enough money to build a life size death star. Rebooting old franchises isn’t always a great idea though, as proven by Hitman: Agent 47, Poltergeist, Point Break, the aforementioned Fantastic Four and Terminator: Genysis, among others.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 brought Katniss Everdeen’s adventures to a climatic and dramatic end, while Spectre was the next stage in James Bond’s gradual evolution into Jason Bourne. Amy and Montage of Heck gave us insight into the lives of two musicians and tragic members of the 27 club. Cobain and Winehouse are poles apart musically but both documentaries were praised for appealing to more than just fans.

In June the world turned blue and yellow as Despicable Me’s Minions got their own spin-off-cum-prequel, and Pixar released two movies, both decent enough but neither as good as their usual solo output. Fifty Shades of Grey propelled a poorly written erotic novel based on fan fiction to an even bigger global phenomenon while Get Hard featured a sub-par performance from Will Ferrell. Ex Machina gave a slow yet original and powerful take on the rise of artificial intelligence, The Martian was a bleak, lonely yet funny and touching lost in space tale, and Jupiter Ascending made you wonder what the hell had happened to the Wachowskis in one of the year’s most visually impressive absolute flops.

As the year draws to a close my excitement turns to 2016’s schedule of comic book movies, which is set for a very strong year, with fan favourite anti-heroes Deadpool and Suicide Squad, X-Men: Apocalypse and Captain America: Civil War. Arguably the biggest two superheroes of them all will finally square off in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Mark Wheeler

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2015 review

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