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Face Off: 2012 Movies vs. 2013 Movies

01.02.2014by: Dave Davis
When Rocky and Raging Bull got into the ring for last week’s Face Off, it seems that more of you agreed that Rocky was the reigning champ. Yo, Adrian!

Another 52 weeks of movies is now in the rearview mirror, and Hollywood gave us seemingly endless attractions that made them ungodly amounts of money. But how did the high points of 2013 movies measure up against the previous year in theaters?
SUPERHEROES
THE AVENGERS - Assembling Marvel's mightiest heroes (that they have the rights to) on the big screen turned out to be greater than the sum of its parts and something just about everyone wanted to see, judging by the colossal success of writer-director Joss Whedon's efforts -- it's the third biggest moneymaker of all time.

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES - The end of Christopher Nolan's "realistic" Batman trilogy had Christian Bale's retired billionaire return to the cowl and growl to duel with curiously cheerful Gotham-breaker Bane. Though not as successful or satisfying as THE DARK KNIGHT, TDKR was the second-biggest box office draw of the year.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN - Just five years after Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire put away their Spider-suit, the wall-crawler got rebooted for a whole new generation of people who didn't exist or pay attention five years before. Despite a poorly realized villain, jarring editing, dangling subplots, hints at a convoluted "genetic destiny" origin, and a rather dickish Peter Parker, the movie ended up being one of the summer's blockbusters.

GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE - Nicolas Cage returned to the role of demon-possessed biker Johnny Blaze to rescue a gypsy kid and urinate flames. Let us not discuss further.

DREDD - Though not technically "super", Mega City One's top lawman still has comic book origins. The Urban-ized DREDD was DOA in theaters, but the gritty flick has since become something of a cult fave.
IRON MAN 3 - With assistance from his KISS KISS BANG BANG writer-director Shane Black, Robert Downey Jr. proved he doesn't need the rest of the Marvel roster for a thrilling hit -- the biggest of the year, in fact. I'm just glad to know that Dummy was recovered.

MAN OF STEEL - The world's most recognizable superhero returned (well, re-returned after returning in SUPERMAN RETURNS) to save the planet by punching General Zod and his Kryptonian cohorts through most of the major structures in Smallville and Metropolis. Audiences cheered, or at least saw it enough times to make it the fourth-biggest release of 2013.

THOR: THE DARK WORLD - Marvel's second post-AVENGERS feature took the Thunder God back to his native Asgard for a more appealing solo outing that overcame a weak villain mostly by providing more Loki. Tumblrs rejoiced.

THE WOLVERINE - Logan's trip to Japan was a step up in quality from the (justifiably) maligned X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, and yet domestically, Hugh Jackman's latest adamantium adventure was the lowest-grossing mutant movie so far.

KICK-ASS 2 - The first KICK-ASS couldn't convert Comic Con buzz to box office, but still ended up being a slow-burn success. Crowds didn't turn up at all for the sequel, which was vibrant and violent yet strangely lifeless.
Actor MVP's
Channing Tatum (MAGIC MIKE, 21 JUMP STREET, THE VOW)

Jennifer Lawrence (THE HUNGER GAMES, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK)
Sandra Bullock (GRAVITY, THE HEAT)

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS 6, PAIN AND GAIN, G.I. JOE: RETALIATION, SNITCH)

Jennifer Lawrence (THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE, AMERICAN HUSTLE, her interviews)
Box Office Biggies
Katniss Everdeen, Bilbo Baggins, massive sequels, computer-animated hits, and a gallery of lucrative comic book characters.

But 2012 also had: James Bond's most productive mission ever (SKYFALL), a foul-mouthed Teddy bear that audiences adored (TED), the sad end of everyone's favorite sparkly-vampire franchise (THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2), and a great President casting a long shadow over the box office (LINCOLN).
Katniss Everdeen, Bilbo Baggins, massive sequels, computer-animated hits, and a gallery of lucrative comic book characters.

But 2013 also had: A dizzying space-based thriller (GRAVITY), a globetrotting Brad Pitt battling zombies and production troubles (WORLD WAR Z), an early trip somewhere over the rainbow (OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL), and a handful of original R-rated comedies (WE'RE THE MILLERS, THE HEAT, IDENTITY THIEF).
Other Surprises
Bruce Willis is more engaging as an uncooperative future version of Joseph Gordon-Levitt (LOOPER)

There are still other ways to make interesting use of "found footage" and superpowers (CHRONICLE)

Quentin Tarantino's controversial slavery Western DJANGO UNCHAINED went on to be the filmmaker's biggest movie yet

Disney demonstrated that they don't need Pixar or fairy tale source material for animated success -- WRECK-IT RALPH became one of the year's highest grossers (even if Pixar's lesser effort BRAVE ultimately finished higher on the list...)
Maybe summer isn't such a bad time to release a serious drama (THE BUTLER) or an adaptation of required school reading (THE GREAT GATSBY)

The low-budget Mexican romantic comedy INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED was more popular than movies featuring Ryan Reynolds, Vin Diesel, Vince Vaughn, Steve Carell, and One Direction

Emotional zombies are actually quite endearing (WARM BODIES)

Gerard Butler had more star power than Channing Tatum, at least when it involved saving the President and annihilating White House invaders (OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN)
Lessons
Taylor Kitsch is absolutely not an A-list star (BATTLESHIP, SAVAGES, JOHN CARTER)

Putting "too many major characters" together is okay if they have colorful costumes and good writing (THE AVENGERS)

Unfortunately, audiences just don't gravitate to stop-motion animation (PARANORMAN, FRANKENWEENIE, THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS)
The end of the world is nigh (THE WORLD'S END, OBLIVION, THIS IS THE END, WORLD WAR Z, ENDER'S GAME)

A-list stars are in no way guaranteed to hit $100 million (THE LONE RANGER, AFTER EARTH, A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD, WHITE HOUSE DOWN)

Low-budget horror = big returns (THE CONJURING, MAMA, THE PURGE, INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 2)

Old action stars are not a huge box office draw unless you put like 15 of them together (BULLET TO THE HEAD, THE LAST STAND, GRUDGE MATCH, ESCAPE PLAN)

Bestselling young-adult novels do not necessarily translate to hit movie franchises (THE HOST, THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES, BEAUTIFUL CREATURES)
2012 Movies
As far as actual total box office figures, this was almost a dead heat -- 2013 made a few bucks more overall, but 2012 got there in more satisfying style.

Sure, 2013 had its share of dazzling moments (GRAVITY), some genre gems (THE WORLD'S END, WARM BODIES) and plenty of potent performances (12 YEARS A SLAVE), but SKYFALL was 007 at his best and THE AVENGERS was a such an overwhelming pop-culture milestone and defining moment for geeks (particularly lifelong Marvel fans like myself) -- what had once seemed unimaginable was very real and ridiculously entertaining, swiftly prompting other studios to get the wheels cranking on their own attempts at profit-maximizing crossover projects.

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

8:47PM on 01/08/2014
Avengers = automatic win
Avengers = automatic win
Your Reply:



+2
2:53PM on 01/03/2014
Both years produces a long list of quality films, but for me 2012 wins hands down.
Both years produces a long list of quality films, but for me 2012 wins hands down.
Your Reply:



+1
2:26AM on 01/03/2014
2012 had The Avengers and Wreck-It Ralph. 2012 wins.
2012 had The Avengers and Wreck-It Ralph. 2012 wins.
Your Reply:



1:21AM on 01/03/2014

2012 was definitely better

Blockbusters in 2012 were better and more satisfying than those in 2013. Both years have some great award movies/dramas, but I feel like those in 2013 didn't get the attention they deserved (Rush, Place Beyond the Pines, Trance, The Way Way Back, etc.).
Blockbusters in 2012 were better and more satisfying than those in 2013. Both years have some great award movies/dramas, but I feel like those in 2013 didn't get the attention they deserved (Rush, Place Beyond the Pines, Trance, The Way Way Back, etc.).
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10:10PM on 01/02/2014

2012 for me

I simply enjoyed more of the movies I saw that year. THE AVENGERS, PARANORMAN, THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS (I know they sucked at the box office, but they deserved better), CHRONICLE, SKYFALL, DJANGO UNCHAINED, WRECK-IT RALPH . . . the list goes on.
I simply enjoyed more of the movies I saw that year. THE AVENGERS, PARANORMAN, THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS (I know they sucked at the box office, but they deserved better), CHRONICLE, SKYFALL, DJANGO UNCHAINED, WRECK-IT RALPH . . . the list goes on.
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7:28PM on 01/02/2014
On the whole, 2012 was a better year at the movies. I think it was the best summer blockbuster season since 2008.
On the whole, 2012 was a better year at the movies. I think it was the best summer blockbuster season since 2008.
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5:14PM on 01/02/2014
2013 has the better awards movies, but 2012 had the better blockbusters (and probably also the better arthouse and indie movies).
2013 has the better awards movies, but 2012 had the better blockbusters (and probably also the better arthouse and indie movies).
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3:16PM on 01/02/2014
2012 was the bigger year, but I have to admit that I did enjoy a lot of films from 2013. But make no mistake, 2015 will blow every big year before it out of the water. Star Wars, Avengers 2, Batman vs Superman, Jurassic World. Holy mother of movies!
2012 was the bigger year, but I have to admit that I did enjoy a lot of films from 2013. But make no mistake, 2015 will blow every big year before it out of the water. Star Wars, Avengers 2, Batman vs Superman, Jurassic World. Holy mother of movies!
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2:46PM on 01/02/2014

2012

2012 was a far stronger year, in my opinion. 2013 had some gems, but overall 2012 felt like a more significant, ambitious year, both artistically and in terms of its blockbusters.
2012 was a far stronger year, in my opinion. 2013 had some gems, but overall 2012 felt like a more significant, ambitious year, both artistically and in terms of its blockbusters.
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2:30PM on 01/02/2014

Of course 2012 was a better year...

Everyone thought we were going to die in some Mayan apocalypse so they cranked out quality work in case it was their last year on the planet, then 2013 just kept rolling on like some kind of asshole, and everyone scrambled with what to do next. 2014 looks promising though. :)
Everyone thought we were going to die in some Mayan apocalypse so they cranked out quality work in case it was their last year on the planet, then 2013 just kept rolling on like some kind of asshole, and everyone scrambled with what to do next. 2014 looks promising though. :)
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4:02PM on 01/02/2014
That's also why 1999 had the best movie year. No, really. Look at the list of movies that came out that year.
That's also why 1999 had the best movie year. No, really. Look at the list of movies that came out that year.
-12
1:20PM on 01/02/2014

2013 had better Super Hero flicks I think

MoS was great, Thor 2 was awesome, The Wolverine was surprisingly fun as hell and I have not had a chance to see Kick Ass yet while on the 2012 side TDKR was just plain horrible and seriously putting Ghost Rider in the equation? Did you even watch that film? Dredd was very underrated and Avengers worked due to the cast, the script was lackluster so I give the edge to 2013.
MoS was great, Thor 2 was awesome, The Wolverine was surprisingly fun as hell and I have not had a chance to see Kick Ass yet while on the 2012 side TDKR was just plain horrible and seriously putting Ghost Rider in the equation? Did you even watch that film? Dredd was very underrated and Avengers worked due to the cast, the script was lackluster so I give the edge to 2013.
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2:05PM on 01/02/2014
Why not include GHOST RIDER? It was a superhero movie after all. Yes, it was bad, but that's not the point. In fact, one could argue that DREDD isn't a superhero movie.
Why not include GHOST RIDER? It was a superhero movie after all. Yes, it was bad, but that's not the point. In fact, one could argue that DREDD isn't a superhero movie.
-9
1:14PM on 01/02/2014

IS THIS NECESSARY?

Comparing 2 movies? Sure. Comparing 2 years? How? I saw too many movies in both years to make an average of the ratings. If I really have to, I choose 2013 only because there were A LOT less movies I gave 0, 1 and 2/10. In both years, there was only one movie I gave a 10/10 (LOOPER and JAGTEN/THE HUNT), and, a lot of movies I gave a 9/10 (and a couple of them got very close to a 10).

By the way, I don't think it's fair to judge based on box office results. If that was the case, 2012 would
Comparing 2 movies? Sure. Comparing 2 years? How? I saw too many movies in both years to make an average of the ratings. If I really have to, I choose 2013 only because there were A LOT less movies I gave 0, 1 and 2/10. In both years, there was only one movie I gave a 10/10 (LOOPER and JAGTEN/THE HUNT), and, a lot of movies I gave a 9/10 (and a couple of them got very close to a 10).

By the way, I don't think it's fair to judge based on box office results. If that was the case, 2012 would win. 2013 had so many consecutive flops during the summer.
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+2
1:02PM on 01/02/2014
2012 certainly had far better blockbusters. 2013 was disappointing, especially with comic book films. Iron Man 3 was meh, Man of Steel flat out sucked balls, and Wolverine was a step backwards from First Class.
2012 certainly had far better blockbusters. 2013 was disappointing, especially with comic book films. Iron Man 3 was meh, Man of Steel flat out sucked balls, and Wolverine was a step backwards from First Class.
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12:42PM on 01/02/2014
I agree. After an awesome 2012 where I felt the need to see certain movies. 2013 had many of those talked about movies in and out after short periods. Bigger movies just weren't as satisfying as before, mainly because there were so many during the summer. I hold out hope for this year but understand that next year, 2015, is going to be insane.
I agree. After an awesome 2012 where I felt the need to see certain movies. 2013 had many of those talked about movies in and out after short periods. Bigger movies just weren't as satisfying as before, mainly because there were so many during the summer. I hold out hope for this year but understand that next year, 2015, is going to be insane.
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1:05PM on 01/02/2014
off topic to previous comment, but I just wanted to comment:

Its interesting how some sites and reporters keep mentioning Taylor Kitsch as a no A-List Star, but yet none mention Aaron Taylor J. as another one, since he was this co-star on Savages, and has had two Kick-ass movies with poor results.

And on other hand, Lone Ranger with Armie Hammer AND Johny Deep did even worse than John Carter. Same with Oblivion.

So its like there is a double moral on some people.
off topic to previous comment, but I just wanted to comment:

Its interesting how some sites and reporters keep mentioning Taylor Kitsch as a no A-List Star, but yet none mention Aaron Taylor J. as another one, since he was this co-star on Savages, and has had two Kick-ass movies with poor results.

And on other hand, Lone Ranger with Armie Hammer AND Johny Deep did even worse than John Carter. Same with Oblivion.

So its like there is a double moral on some people.
12:37PM on 01/02/2014

I saw more movies in 2012 than in 2013

Ergo, 2012 was better.
Ergo, 2012 was better.
Your Reply:



12:25PM on 01/02/2014

2013 For Me.

Both years had terrific films (already mentioned above), but I've enjoyed 2013's films more than 2012's. The slot of films for the end of 2013 have really been terrific (ie. 12 Years A Slave, Out of the Furnace, American Hustle, Wolf on Wall Street, etc) and I think that's what really pushed last year's films over the films that came out in 2012.
Both years had terrific films (already mentioned above), but I've enjoyed 2013's films more than 2012's. The slot of films for the end of 2013 have really been terrific (ie. 12 Years A Slave, Out of the Furnace, American Hustle, Wolf on Wall Street, etc) and I think that's what really pushed last year's films over the films that came out in 2012.
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12:15PM on 01/02/2014

Have to disagree with the verdict

2013 provided more quality films--especially in the autumn/winter season. 2012 was filled with more disappointments, overall, and ended up with a lackluster award season that no one really cared for.
2013 provided more quality films--especially in the autumn/winter season. 2012 was filled with more disappointments, overall, and ended up with a lackluster award season that no one really cared for.
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