The five most disappointing movies of the past five years

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Some movies are the architects of their own downfall, with filmmakers and studios earning so much trust from eager movie lovers beforehand that an ultimately disappointing release is almost inevitable. Indeed, some of the most disappointing movies of all time have come from Hollywood franchises that had previously gained millions of dollars from audiences, then overpromised and under-delivered.

Arguably, it was the third movie in the Alien franchise, released by David Fincher in 1992, that kicked off such a trend of disappointing films, with the franchises that were started in the 1980s beginning to become a little too full of themselves. Later in the same decade, Steven Spielberg bit off more than he could chew with his Jurassic Park sequel, and George Lucas upset a whole generation of sci-fi lovers with the first of his Star Wars prequel movies.

Then, once the new millennium rolled around and franchises were being created seemingly every other weekend, disappointment became a familiar feeling for film lovers. Whether it was Peter Jackson’s long-awaited return to Middle Earth with The Hobbit in 2012 or Christopher Nolan’s lame final note on his Dark Knight series in the very same year, the 21st century has been a rocky road indeed.

But, while the 2000s and 2010s were littered with disappointments, recent years have also brought up their fair load of let-downs.

Five disappointing recent movies:

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (James Mangold, 2023)

The first Indiana Jones movie not to be directed by Steven Spielberg was supposed to be a glorious final chapter for lead star Harrison Ford, but it was instead a complete and utter cinematic mess that booted the title character out the door rather than carrying him out gracefully. Far too old to play the character in the first place, Ford gave it his all, but there’s only so much you can do with a script as shoddy as this.

Racing a crazy Nazi who is adamant about collecting the pieces of an artefact that will help him change the course of human history, the biggest sin of Indiana Jones’ final outing is just how boring it all manages to be. Please, never again allow Ford to don the classic fedora and silly whip.

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Last Night in Soho (Edgar Wright, 2021)

For many, no filmmaker better reflects the frenetic electricity of modern cinema than British director Edgar Wright, indeed, he is a pioneer of such a mode of movie-making. Such made 2021’s Last Night in Soho so much more disappointing, possessing none of the flair that Wright had done so well to foster in his previous filmography, being quite simply dull, flat and rather boring.

Part drama, part horror flick, Last Night in Soho simply failed to properly land, coming off as a cheap thriller that felt like a far lesser-qualified filmmaker made it. Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith and Thomasin McKenzie help elevate the material slightly, but this is most certainly Wright’s worst movie to date.

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The Many Saints of Newark (Alan Taylor, 2021)

Just like how the Francis Ford Coppola movie The Godfather is largely considered to be the greatest movie of all time, few would argue with the stance that HBO’s The Sopranos is the best TV show. So, when the show finally made its return in the form of the feature-length prequel The Many Saints of Newark, starring Michael Gandolfini as the young version of Tony Soprano, fans were utterly ecstatic.

The resulting film was far better than many of the movies on this list, but it paled in comparison to the quality of the TV series, barely feeling as though it was cut from the same cloth at all. Disconnected, stilted and more than just a little flat, The Many Saints of Newark was both disappointing and utterly bizarre.

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The Matrix Resurrections (Lana Wachowski, 2021)

The fourth movie in The Matrix series was so baffling that few people could even remember its existence. Sure, the second and third films weren’t outstanding, but the masterpiece of the original had set up a world which fans bought into and wanted to see more of, so when The Matrix Resurrections was announced to be released in 2021, 18 years after The Matrix Revolutions hit cinemas. 

Fans expected an insane action thriller, but what we got was a weird meta-analysis of movie franchises in general. So strange and unexpected that a case could be made that Lana Wachowski made the film subversive on purpose; it’s confusing to know who The Matrix Resurrections was actually made for.

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (J.J. Abrams, 2021)

We finish our list with not only one of the most disappointing movies of the past five years but one of the very worst in recent memory, Disney’s last-minute disaster Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Indeed, director J.J. Abrams isn’t to blame here, with Disney failing to properly structure their latest Star Wars trilogy properly, creating a disjointed mess that laughably fell apart in its final act.

The Rise of Skywalker was the perfect reflection of Disney’s own pathetic mismanagement of their own franchise, with character arcs falling apart and nostalgia being treated as a crutch by which the film could get away with sheer laziness. Utterly hated in the wider world of cinema, it remains the worst Star Wars film to date.

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