There are some films that, despite a critical and commercial kicking, don't necessarily deserve the bad reputation.
In some cases, they were ahead of heir time. In other cases, the film simply didn't sit with the zeitgeist of the time and were overlooked in favour of something that was on trend. So in no particular order, here are seven films that deserve a vigorous defence.
7. JOHN CARTER (2012)
There was everything going for John Carter. You had a director who was making their break into live-action from animation, much the way Brad Bird had successfully done in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. You had an up-and-coming actor who was eager to bolster his career. You had a well-loved story and you had one of the biggest studios backing it. So what happened? Well, for one, Taylor Kitsch's charisma was enough to sustain it. The marketing was all over the place. Despite all this, John Carter can be viewed now as a beautiful and ambitious attempt at calling back to both space opera and swashbucklers. Michael Giacchino's soaring musical score, coupled with the John Ford-esque vistas were incredible. We've said it before and we'll say it again - history will be a lot kinder to John Carter.
6. LAST ACTION HERO (1993)
Meta-comedy and self-awareness is currently en vouge at the moment, thanks in part to Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street and, naturally, 22 Jump Street all had a knowing wink to the audience's expectations and subverted them. Jurassic World, one of the biggest films this year, directly acknowledged how jaded audiences were The same's happening on TV. Just look at Community. It's practically built on self-awareness. Last Action Hero was the first self-aware action comedy. Arnold Schwarzenegger, completely willing to make fun of himself, was a delight. Throw in plenty of references to other action comedies, Schwarzenegger's career and his own personality. It deserves to be reassessed.
5. LOGAN'S RUN (1976)
Although some might dismiss it as cashing in on the fervour generated by Planet of the Apes, 2001: A Space Odyssey and so forth, but Logan's Run was more ahead of its time than we realise. For one, there was a Network that allowed for casual sexual encounters. Tinder, anyone? The constant adherence to youth and beauty, although nascent in the '70s, is even more pointed now. Nicolas Winding Refn has been attempting to get a remake for several years and, to be honest, we can't think of a better director to do it than him.
4. SMALL SOLDIERS (1998)
Again, much like Last Action Hero, Small Soldiers was making a real attempt at challenging our perceptions through the use of self-aware comedy. You'd automatically thinking Tommy Lee Jones voicing a commando leader / toy soldier would be the good guy. Right? Nope. Frank Langella's raspy, stately voice lent weight as the Gorgonite leader (what a name) who was hunted by the squad of commandos. The darker, more adult tone of the film was in direct contradiction to just about everything you thought going in. Some might dismiss it as a Toy Story rip-off, but director Joe Dante was going for much more than a cash-in. And what a cast of voices! Ernest Borgnine, Bruce Dern, George Kennedy and Jim Brown all voiced the Commando Elite. As well as this, it has the unfortunate legacy of being the last major film to star Phil Hartmann, better known to audiences as the voice of Lionel Hutz from The Simpsons.
3. DAREDEVIL (2003)
With Ben Affleck's recent casting as Batman (and a popular Netflix series based on the character), focus briefly turned back to his other comic book adaptation, Daredevil - mainly due to Affleck's public slating of his work in the film. It may have been successful enough to generate a spin-off (the actually shite Elektra), but Daredevil was puzzlingly slated in some quarters, despite being a really fun comic book flick. Yea, we said. Don't believe us? Watch Mark Steven Johnson's far better Director's Cut and enjoy yourself a silly, but legitimately entertaining flick that is far superior to other films of its ilk and time - Fantastic Four/X-Men: Last Stand we're looking at you.
2. MIAMI VICE (2006)
Having now garnered a bit of a cult following, people are beginning to revisit Miami Vice, Michael Mann's muscular big screen adaptation of the 80s TV show and seeing it for what it really is; a beautifully made, methodically paced cop movie with some of the most visceral action sequences in recent cinematic memory. This is absolutely a film that appeals to a certain taste, but Michael Mann is possibly one of the most underrated directors working today, and this is easily his most underrated film. Rewatch it, just ignore Colin Farrell's hair and you'll have a great time. Trust us.
1. SUPERMAN RETURNS (2006)
Given how DC / Warners are throwing just about everything they can at the current iteration of Superman, Bryan Singer's version gets somewhat pushed aside. For one, it doesn't fit into the gritty, down-and-dirty world that they're creating. Two, there's far more colour and vitality to it than Man of Steel. Brandon Routh's iteration of Superman was far more in keeping with Christopher Reeve tone. Indeed, Bryan Singer openly admitted that he was trying to make an updated version of Richard Donner's vision. Yes, it's horrendously cheesy. Yes, it's got James Marsden in his X-Men era when he had little or no personality. Yes, the story didn't exactly make sense. But come on - Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor? That was pretty damn inspired.