I enjoy watching movies in the cinema, and there were a lot of great movies last year. As 2018 is now done and dusted, I wanted to share my favourite movies of the past year, and one movie which was so bad it actually left me feeling disappointed after watching it.
Can't begin the list without what was probably the biggest and most anticipated movie of the year. With 10 years and 18 movies building up to Infinity War, it was pretty much impossible for someone to not know this movie came out last year, even if you're not necessarily a fan of the genre. As a big fan of comic book superheroes, I watched the film on opening day and was joined by an entire hall full of fans like me. It's the only explanation as to why we all clapped and cheered when we saw Captain America rescuing Vision and Wanda, or when Thor arrived in Wakanda. One of the reasons why I feel like this wasn't just one of the best movies of the year, but one of the best superhero movies ever, was because the good guys actually lost. Needless to say, I can't wait for Endgame.
Sticking with the superhero theme, Into the Spider-Verse was possibly the most visually stunning movie of the year for me. The artwork and animation was just incredible. However, it takes more than just good looks, a movie must have substance and a good story. Luckily, this movie did. As far as origin stories go, Miles Morales was given a superb story in this film. This movie also shows that some stories are better told as animations rather than live action movies, something I think Disney should be wary of.
Surprise, another superhero movie. If you couldn't tell, I'm a big fan of superheroes. But these movies aren't on my list just because I'm a fan. They're on my list because they were actually really good superhero movies. Black Panther made huge waves early in the year, and it was the most tweeted about movie throughout the year, even garnering more social media attention than Infinity War. This was more than just a movie, it was a cultural breakthrough for Hollywood.
To say DC has been struggling in the box office would be an understatement. Not only have recent DC movies been failing to generate substantial interest from moviegoers which is reflected in relatively poor ticket sales (Justice League only made $658 million compared to Infinity War which made more than $2 billion), DC movies generally don't sit well with critics either. That changed with Wonder Woman which was loved by both fans and critics, and now Aquaman joins this very exclusive club of good DCEU movies. The film is now the highest grossing DCEU film, surpassing even Wonder Woman, and is the only film other than Wonder Woman to receive a Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And I feel it is well deserved. The movie looks stunning (I won't understand how it wasn't nominated for an Oscar), the fight scenes were incredibly choreographed and filmed, Jason Momoa and Amber Heard are perfect as Arthur and Mera, it had both humour and some very emotional scenes, and Aquaman's character growth is well written. A good movie, and a good way for DC to end 2018.
Bear with me, this is the last superhero movie on my list. Promise. Gotham by Gaslight is an interesting take on the story of Batman, set in an alternate time setting - the Victorian era. Many of the popular Batman characters are in the movie, albeit in slightly different roles. Some characters who are traditionally bad guys are victims, some characters who are traditionally good guys turn out to be villains. An interesting story with a surprise twist at the end.
I don't count this as a superhero movie, but a Disney movie (ha!). Disney/Pixar movies are rarely flops, and Incredibles 2 was well worth the 14 year wait. I liked how the roles were reversed in this movie compared to the first. While the original focused on Mr. Incredible, the sequel focused on Elastigirl. Funny, good family values, a classic Disney/Pixar movie.
I don't normally watch horror films, but the concept of A Quiet Place got my attention (and I kinda have a crush on Emily Blunt). It was very intelligently done, using sound as a major character in the film. Barely any dialogue the entire movie, but it was such a good story. It'll be interesting to see what story is told in the sequel.
I like the Mission Impossible franchise, though to be honest, I hadn't actually watched any of the previous movies in the cinema (if I remember correctly). I rectified that by watching Fallout in the cinema, and it was awesome. The plot might have been a bit hard to follow, but the action was exciting, it was great to see Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) as an ally/enemy of Ethan (Tom Cruise), and the tragic love story between Ethan and Julia (Michelle Monaghan) is in my opinion, one of the best love stories from an action movie franchise.
One of the underdogs of 2018. Minimal promotion, minimal fanfare, minimal social media hype, but one of my favourites this year. Everyone is so busy being adults nowadays that we need to be reminded of what it was like to be a kid once in a while. This is what Christopher Robin teaches us, and to good effect. It's got some innocent childish humour, some not-so-high stakes, but a lot of emotional weight. Might not appeal to the masses, but I really enjoyed it.
Crazy Rich Asians did for the Asian community in the US what Black Panther did for the black community. Not your average rom-com, this movie is Asian in more ways than just the cast. The movie was filmed predominantly in Malaysia (woohoo!), a lot of Asian (mostly Chinese) culture is shown off in the film, and the family drama is very Asian indeed. The same story couldn't be told with a non-Asian cast. The Asian-ness of the entire production is what makes it special, and what makes it one of the biggest hits of the year.
You know what's the biggest problem with Bumblebee? That it came out too late. I don't mean too late in the year, I mean too late in the entire franchise! This movie was so good that it should've been the beginning of the Transformers franchise, not a prequel that's forced to adhere to a franchise that is pretty much universally ridiculed. It had the original G1 Transformers look, it had a smaller military focus compared to the Michael Bay movies, and most importantly, there weren't a bunch of silly humans taking attention away from the Transformers. It actually had a good, emotionally driven story and didn't rely on over the top cinematography or excessive explosions. If the previous movies left a sour taste in your mouth, this film should wash it all out.
Before I reveal the movie I hated the most last year, here's a list of movies I enjoyed, just not as much as the movies listed above.
Mary Poppins Returns - Emily Blunt is perfect as Mary Poppins. Her elegance, grace, and British wit made this a perfect match, which is why I was disappointed that she didn't feature as much as I had hoped in the film. The movie started off very well, but towards the end she was pushed further into the background. Could've been better.
Deadpool 2 - Always fun to see Deadpool break the 4th wall with lots of real-life references. Not as good as the original, but still a fun watch.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom - The appeal of the whole "Jurassic Park" concept to me, is how a theme park for dinosaurs falls apart when the dinos escape. This is why I liked the original Jurassic World movie more than the sequel. It was just a little boring by comparison.
The Meg - Giant shark? Jason Statham? What's not to like? It was a fun movie, but not really "best movie of the year" material.
Ant-Man and the Wasp - As a follow-up to Infinity War, it was always going to pale in comparison. Unfortunately, even taken in isolation this movie wasn't that great. Sure it was fun to see Wasp in the spotlight, but a weak plot and an extremely forgettable villain made this another average superhero movie.
Lastly, the disappointment of the year. I don't recall being as disappointed with the previous Johnny English films, but the third instalment in the franchise was just terrible. A stupid plot, some not so funny comedy, an extremely lame and cringy villain, it was just really bad. Felt like a complete waste of time watching this movie.
I'm really excited for 2019. A lot of good movies to look forward to, some even think it'll be the biggest year in box office history. We'll know soon enough.