When I think back on 2012, one film comes to mind instantly: The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption. Yes, the direct-to-video sequel to The Rock’s The Scorpion King was the movie I enjoyed the most this year. Although it wasn’t the best film, it was definitely the most fun. If you like B-movies — ones with an over-the-top performance from Billy Zane and a leading role from Calgary’s own Victor Webster — you must watch this movie.
Getting into theatrical releases, we have two big superhero movies, The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, working in stark contrast to one another. Both are very good, but the former is a lot more fun and colourful, while the latter is gloomy and dark. If you want a balance of both, you could check out the overlooked Spirit of Vengeance, which was far more enjoyable than its prequel, Ghost Rider. It’s full of energy and a much appreciated over-the-top performance from Nicolas Cage. It isn’t great, but it has its moments, especially compared with its predecessor, one of the worst theatrical releases of the last decade.
There were other standouts as well: Cloud Atlas was ambitious and confusing, but absolutely worth seeing; Lincoln was chock-full of solid acting, but was single-minded in its approach; Argo was a political thriller that didn’t give Canada the credit it deserves, but was still a lot of fun; The Hunger Games was a strong adaptation of the best-selling novel; Pitch Perfect was a campy, self-aware take on an increasingly tiring genre; The Raid: Redemption was the best straight-up action film of the year; and The Cabin in the Woods was a love-letter to the horror genre, and would be incredibly original if Rubber hadn’t come out in 2010.