Even though we know hate contributes nothing beneficial to the world, most of us can’t help but feel it from time to time. When fear, anger, and disappointment overwhelm us before we’ve had time to properly process how we feel, hate is typically the result. In the days - or even hours - that follow the release of certain films, it’s not hard to find many reactions best described as hateful. As silly as it may sound to feel absolute hatred towards something as simple as a movie, many will find it hard to honestly say that they’ve never felt pure hatred for a big screen effort.
As natural as it is to occasionally despise a film, there are some movies out there that inspire such an overwhelmingly hateful reaction that we can’t help but be taken aback. In fact, there are some high-profile movies out there that are either so universally despised or otherwise attract such a strange level of pure hatred that we feel obligated to take a step back, ask everyone to take a deep breath, and really ask themselves whether or not they truly loath these movies - and if they're truly worthy of the imposing amount of scorn that they attract.
Here are 15 Movies That Get Way Too Much Hate.
15 Transformers (2007)
To be fair, there is a bit of “You don’t know what you’ve got till it's gone” going on here. While the most recent Transformers films aren’t the worst things Hollywood has ever produced, they have come to represent most of the things wrong with the modern blockbuster. They’re obvious, filled with technically impressive - yet emotionless - CG, and you tend to forget about them as soon as the credits roll. They’re very safe financial investments, but not necessarily worthwhile movies.
2007’s Transformers is not a great movie, but it’s hard not to appreciate how effective it was in comparison to the sequels. For those who don’t remember, the original Transformers cartoon was a thinly veiled toy commercial that occasionally offered something more substantial. 2007’s Transformers does an admirable job of turning that source material into the kind of heartfelt, competently made blockbuster that Hollywood would have been incapable of producing during Transformers' golden era. Plus, the original movie actually attempts to tell a character-driven plot, which is more than what you can say of the sequels.
When Cars came out, there were quite a few people who were far too eager to start throwing dirt on Pixar’s supposed grave. Those that hated the film said that it was Pixar’s dumbest movie, and that it represented the studio’s desire to start making films primarily designed to sell toys.
This is one of those cases where expectations certainly affected the reality of a situation. No, Cars is not on the same level as previous Pixar efforts like Wall-E, Ratatouille, or The Incredibles. It’s a simpler film that was clearly designed for a much younger audience, as opposed to other Pixar films which tend to skew towards the “children of all ages” demographic. However, Cars is a very, very good kids movie that older fans will likely draw amusement from - so long as they’re not constantly comparing it to Pixar’s greatest. At the very least, Cars proves that Pixar’s “worst” is still quite impressive.
13 The Matrix Reloaded
The Matrix probably didn’t need a sequel. Whatever ambiguity remained when Neo took flight at the end of the first film seemed to be intentionally implemented. Because The Matrix so happened to be a cultural phenomenon that exceeded all box office expectations, however, it was inevitable that the movie was going to get a part two.
The Matrix Reloaded's greatest flaw is how heavily the Wachowskis leaned on exposition in order to expand the mythology of the original movie. Characters drone on and on about their complicated roles in this confusing world, and each of these dialog scenes slows the film down to a halt. However, The Matrix Reloaded’s action sequences and visual design are both worthy of the original movie. Actually, it's a shame that the film’s incredibly ambitious freeway sequence isn’t regularly listed among the greatest movie action scenes ever. Even the movie’s faults can be traced back to the Wachowskis’ desire to strive for something unique. As for The Matrix Revolutions...well, that film probably gets the right amount of hate.
12 The Village
We all have that friend who is way too self-conscious and refuses to be a good time. Taking a silly picture? They’re going to refuse to join. Singing the happy birthday song? They’ll be standing in the corner shaking their head. When The Village debuted, many of its harshest critics assumed the role of “that friend” by jumping on the movie for its painfully obvious twist and saying how they couldn’t enjoy the film because they totally saw it coming.
Truth be told, if The Village were made by another director, it probably would have received a much warmer welcome. People started looking for the Shyamalan twist as soon as The Village’s first trailer debuted, and yes, it’s not that hard to spot. However, the overall movie is a taut and atmospheric experience that has some really clever things to say about turning a blind eye to the modern world.
11 American Beauty
Unless you browse certain corners of the internet, you may not even be aware that American Beauty is a hated film. The backlash against this Best Picture winner began a few years ago when a blog article suggested that American Beauty might be the worst movie ever made. While that argument is based on a series of specific complaints - such as the occasional instance of over-the-top acting or corny dialog - it's largely based on the idea that American Beauty is a movie that tries to get us to sympathize with a privileged suburbanite who harbors sexual feelings for an underage girl.
It’s true that American Beauty feels a little out of place when weighed against certain modern social standards, but that doesn’t mean that the people and places it portrays do not exist. Whether you sympathize with anyone in the movie is up to you, but there is something undoubtedly fascinating about its examination of this particular aspect of society and how easy it is to succumb to our own selfishness when the world wears us down.
Leading up to the release of Prometheus, there was a lot of confusion regarding whether or not it should be considered an Alien film. Sure, it takes place in the same universe, but it seemingly lacked many of the conventions which defined that franchise. Upon seeing the movie, Alien fans and those who could care less about Alien films both walked away with the feeling that they had just seen a movie that also didn’t know what, exactly, it wanted to be.
There are problems with Prometheus’ script which cannot be glossed over. Much of the dialog is forgettable at best, and some of the movie’s action sequences are just absurd. What Prometheus doesn’t get enough credit for, however, is how little it relies on the bankable elements of the Alien franchise. Prometheus actually has more in common with Blade Runner. It’s a stunningly beautiful movie that attempts to say quite a bit in-between crowd-pleasing action sequences. In comparison to Alien: Covenant, which leans so hard on the original Alien movies that you start to worry about their structural integrity, Prometheus strives to stand on its own.
9 Star Trek Into Darkness
Part of the reason that 2009’s Star Trek was so well received is because that movie featured a few plot points that you wouldn’t expect to find in a summer blockbuster. Star Trek’s playful tampering with the series’ mythology pleased longtime fans while even those who don’t care about the franchise enjoyed its subtly brilliant multiverse story. Star Trek Into Darkness isn’t quite as intelligent of a movie. It’s a much more straightforward film that relies more on action sequences than it does on universe building and character relationships.
Is that really a bad thing, though? While 2009’s Star Trek instantly joins the best Original Series episodes with its underlying intelligence and focus on characters, Into Darkness strives to build an undeniably entertaining action film atop the foundation established by the original movie. Even if it doesn’t quite do everything right, it’s still a step or two above the average summer spectacle in terms of entertainment.
8 Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump is another movie that’s appearance on this list will undoubtedly catch some people off-guard. “There are actually people out there who hate Forrest Gump?” they might say. Well, yes there are. In recent years, Forrest Gump has been attacked for its “underlying conservative agenda” (the Southern simpleton prospers by not asking questions while the rebel struggles and dies) and overly melodramatic nature. Some have even gone so far as to assign the dreaded Oscar bait label to it.
While many of the criticisms levied against the movie are perfectly valid, some of them miss the point. Gene Siskel summarized Forrest Gump best when he said that the movie was really about how a generation that had to endure a lot of devastating historical moments in a short amount of time never really had the chance to come to terms with the impact of these cultural moments. It showcases the merits and follies of the “life goes on” philosophy. It’s also worth noting that the movie is hated by some because it won Best Picture over movies like Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption.
Crash is arguably the most hated “Oscar bait” film ever made, and it’s honestly not hard to understand why it has achieved that status. Crash is a movie about racism. The film’s official description glosses over that particular aspect as quickly as possible, but 80% of the movie's scenes focus on racism. So far as that goes, Crash has been criticized for its painfully obvious views on why racism is bad and the melodramatic way in which the film presents many characters and scenarios. Amongst its detractors, Crash is typically described as the most successful Lifetime movie ever made.
Crash is often a melodramatic movie and, to be entirely honest, it probably didn’t deserve to win Best Picture over Brokeback Mountain. However, the way people talk about Crash may leave you with the impression that it is an objectively bad movie. It’s not. It’s technically sound and it's highlighted by a few memorable performances and plot points. Besides, you have to respect the way that Crash’s - admittedly simplified - message got people who typically never talk about the film’s issues discussing the real world ramifications of socially prevalent hatred.
6 Man of Steel
Superman Returns’ tone-deaf and uninspired take on the Superman character left many people wondering whether Supes was relevant in the modern world. Man of Steel attempted to address many of the criticisms that movie attracted by offering a much darker take on a character that is sometimes described as the world’s most famous boy scout. Ultimately, many of those who saw the movie ended up shaking their head at its spectacle carnage and lack of purity.
Many of Man of Steel’s problems can be traced back to the fact that it’s yet another Superman origin story. Man of Steel would have worked much better if it took place in a time when Superman himself has become a bit beaten down and no longer hesitates to do something like bring down a building in order to save the city. Because that commentary is hidden deep within the film, many were left feeling no connection to its technically sophisticated but seemingly emotionless action sequences. In any case, the movie is much better than its 55% Rotten Tomatoes score would lead you to believe it is.
While this may seem like a bad way to start off the defense of a sometimes despised movie, it must be said that Watchmen is far better suited to be adapted into something like an HBO miniseries than a film. Alan Moore’s obsessive views on the role of the masked vigilantes in today’s society as well as how our desire to place true power in the hands of a few can often lead to disastrous consequences isn’t the type of material that can easily be translated into a “superhero film.”
Sure enough, Zack Snyder’s biggest mistake was that he tried to turn Watchmen into a digestible and enjoyable superhero film through the use of certain cinematic conventions which felt far more appropriate in 300. However, writing off Watchmen because of those faults is really just an example of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Moments like the film’s intro are very much representative of the source material’s spirit, while the movie’s stellar visual design and incredible performances remain unfortunately underappreciated.
Certain levels of success are almost always met with resistance and hostility. Call it jealousy or confusion, but many people will look at someone or something which has achieved quite a few traditional goals and immediately find cause to resent it. In the case of the highest grossing film of all-time, Avatar, its detractors are quick to point to the movie’s familiar plot - Dances With Wolves is the most popular comparison - and reliance on gimmicky technology when trying to take the movie down a peg or two.
As is the case with many of the criticisms noted throughout this list, complaints regarding Avatar’s familiar story are valid. It’s certainly not the greatest film of all-time. Not even close. However, its status as one of the most financially successful films ever made is a testament to the way that director James Cameron crafted the kind of film spectacle that transcends language or culture and speaks to the entertainment potential of a visual medium such as film. Plus, Avatar’s eye-popping usage of 3D effects is still the gold standard.
3 Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace
Midichlorians? Completely unnecessary. Jar Jar? An awful character that speaks to the outdated technological trends of the era he was created in. The fart jokes, the talks of trade agreements, the not-so-subtle racial jabs...look, everything you’ve ever heard that is bad about The Phantom Menace is something that does indeed drag the overall film down, making it the bane of Star Wars fans everywhere.
However, is The Phantom Menace a film worthy of true hate? You know, the kind that leads to the dark side? Those who would answer that question in the affirmative typically blame the movie for destroying their (seemingly fragile) childhoods. The rest of us have come to realize that The Phantom Menace should at least be credited with trying to take Star Wars in a new direction. Actually, many of the movie’s most iconic flaws are directly associated with the Star Wars name. As a standalone movie, The Phantom Menace is an amusing experience that occasionally offers something truly spectacular.
2 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
At the risk of beating a dead horse - a fate that many of the movies on this list are all too familiar with - we’ll emphasize once again that we’re not trying to make the argument that these are great movies, but rather that these are movies which don’t quite deserve the toxic atmosphere that surrounds them. This feels especially relevant in the case of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which is indeed the worst Indiana Jones film and not a great movie in and of itself.
However, Crystal Skull is also a very amusing film. There’s a lovable honesty to Harrison Ford’s “too old for this ****” performance, and the inherent pulpy nature of the series can be cited as the source of the film’s most infamously ridiculous moments. Honestly, if you remove some unnecessary CG from the climatic battles and cut out a couple of exposition-happy early moments, Crystal Skull would probably be seen as a far greater addition to the franchise.
1 The Dark Knight Rises
How do you make a sequel to a film that is widely considered to be the greatest superhero movie ever made? If you know the answer to that question, we’re certain that Christopher Nolan would love for you to share your thoughts with him. Then again, considering how many people have taken to their keyboards to completely tear apart The Dark Knight Rises and everything it tries to do, Mr. Nolan is probably pretty hesitant to invite any further conversation regarding the movie.
Yes, Dark Knight Rises is a bit of a mess. The plot is all over the place, Bane’s voice is laughable, the movie’s blatant social commentary is worth an eye roll, and Michael Caine’s breakdown is cause for taking away one of his Academy Awards. Yet, if you watch the trailers to Dark Knight Rises, you may find yourself questioning if the movie is really all that bad. The fact is that there is a truly great movie somewhere in the Dark Knight Rises' script that probably would have been much easier to spot if Christopher Nolan had been a bit more liberal with his editing scissors. While that makes Dark Knight Rises an undoubtedly flawed film, it doesn’t mean it’s not an interesting - and even often enjoyable - Batman movie.
What other movies out there can crapped on way too much? Let us know in the comments.