Tag Archives: Black Panther

Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies Ranked


It’s been 11 years since the Marvel Cinematic Universe was created with the release of 2008’s Iron Man, and altogether there has been 3 phases with 23 movies. Since 2016 I’ve been meaning to write a list ranking all the movies (as you can probably tell it’s taken a while to write all of this up). The MCU is still very much alive, with Phase 4 starting from next year. With Phase 3 now at an end however, I couldn’t think of a better time to post my rankings than right now.

So I will be ranking all the MCU movies from Iron Man to the latest film in the MCU, Spider-Man Far From Home. I think I should clarify that I do like all the movies on this list. Many of them have flaws, some of them have major flaws, but I do enjoy all of them quite a bit nonetheless.

Also, I will be mentioning spoilers of some of the movies, so basically just assume that all of these movies will be heavily spoiled.

23. Thor: The Dark World

I actually didn’t mind this movie when I first saw it, in fact I originally liked it more than the original Thor. However, upon repeat viewings, I’ve been liking it less and less, now I consider it to be among the worst in the MCU, if not the worst. With that said, while it’s the worst movie in the series, it’s still a passable and enjoyable movie, if quite flawed and generic.

There are a lot of significant flaws in The Dark World. Malekith was such a generic and poor villain, he was another take over the world villain with no depth given to him (poor Christopher Eccleston’s given basically nothing to work with outside of delivering some typical cliché villain lines), I barely remember him, even after a few viewings of the movie. He wasn’t even memorably bad. For the most part, the comedy is really bad, especially when it involved Kat Dennings and the other human characters. While the movie didn’t spend as much time on Earth, every scene on Earth felt infinitely worse than the Earth scenes in the first Thor. However the worst part of this movie is that it just felt rather generic. It feels way too familiar, it’s difficult to care about what is going on, and it doesn’t really have a memorable style or direction. This movie is set more in Asgard than in the previous Thor, but since it’s not under the direction of Kenneth Branagh, it doesn’t have quite the same effect as when he directed Thor. With that said, there are aspects of Thor 2 which are legitimately good, Hemsworth, Hopkins, and Hiddleston were great as their respective characters of Thor, Odin and Loki, and the action scenes were entertaining, especially the final fight with all the portals. There are even some really good standout scenes, such as the funeral scene. Overall, Thor: The Dark World isn’t that good and is the worst in the series (in fact it’s commonly considered one of, if not the worst), but it is still somewhat enjoyable, I don’t dislike it by any means.

Review of Thor: The Dark World

22. The Incredible Hulk

Even though I didn’t rank it at the bottom of the list (though this and The Dark World are interchangeable), I’d probably consider The Incredible Hulk to be the most forgettable MCU movie, and so far it seems the rest of the cinematic universe have forgotten about this one (with the exception of William Hurt and his character of Ross). It’s such a strange movie that doesn’t fit in with the rest of the series. It does have some pretty good parts to it, but not enough to elevate it above being a somewhat decent and entertaining superhero flick.

There are parts of The Incredible Hulk that I do really appreciate. Hulk in this movie has some flawed visual effects but they really sold the whole horror and monstrous side to the character really well that the following versions of the character sadly didn’t explore or return to. The action scenes were also pretty good, from the human based chase/action scenes, to the larger scale fight scenes with The Hulk. The cast do well, from Edward Norton as a darker and conflicted Bruce Banner/Hulk than what we got with Mark Ruffalo’s version, to Tim Roth as a one off but still effective villain. I wouldn’t say that there’s a lot bad about the movie (outside of some dated effects) but it is a little weak. The story is very familiar, and not enough depth is given to that or the characters. While many of the movies in the MCU all need to be seen to get the full experience of the series, for the time being you really don’t really need to watch The Incredible Hulk. On its own, it’s okay but forgettable, and doesn’t do enough to make it worth rewatching.

I mean it’s at least better than Ang Lee’s Hulk.

Review of The Incredible Hulk

21. Iron Man 2

For many people, Iron Man 2 is the worst movie in the MCU. While I can understand why some people really dislike it, I’m one of the few people who actually liked it a fair bit. It has its faults, some of them are quite major but I still enjoy it whenever it’s on TV.

Robert Downey Jr was great as Iron Man (unsurprisingly), I liked Don Cheadle in the role of Rhodes (I don’t know if this is an unpopular opinion but I prefer him as the character over Terrence Howard), Sam Rockwell stole the show and it also introduced Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. The action scenes were also fun enough, even though there weren’t quite enough of them. The worst part of the movie is that it just felt like an expansion pack of Iron Man and in a sense it really just exists to help set up The Avengers. There were so many plotlines in the movie, it really could’ve cut a couple out and focussed on the rest, it would’ve improved the movie immensely. With that said, the plotlines were generally decent, and I liked watching them unfold. So overall, Iron Man 2 is not a great film by any means and is a bit of a mixed bag, but is still enjoyable nonetheless.

Review of Iron Man 2

20. Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel is among the more ‘divisive’ (if that’s even possible) movies in the MCU, and while I’m not on the giant hate train for it, it really isn’t as good as it could’ve and should’ve been. Captain Marvel doesn’t do a ton of things wrong, it’s mostly that it almost just does the bare minimum. The characters and world aren’t interesting, and they failed to make Captain Marvel a character to really like outside of her doing powerful things. Overall fine but lacklustre.

Captain Marvel’s main goal is to establish the titular character, and in a way they did that. However, it unfortunately doesn’t do much more than that. Compared to other origin stories for comic book movies, I feel like I didn’t really get to know Captain Marvel by the end of the movie. Even the action wasn’t as impressive as it could’ve been, with only the scenes where Captain Marvel reaches her fullest power in the third act really standing out. With all that being said, I still partially liked the movie, though I feel like it wouldn’t hold up well if I saw it again. The cast mostly did a good job, Samuel L. Jackson entertaining as a young Nick Fury, and Ben Mendelsohn stealing every scene that he’s in (though Jude Law was easily the most forgettable villain in Phase 3). As for Brie Larson as the titular character, she certainly elevated the role from how it was written and directed. However she can only do so much, the character doesn’t go on a particularly interesting journey and I wasn’t interested in her outside of how powerful she was. Hopefully Captain Marvel’s next on-screen appearance will be much better than what we got here.

Review of Captain Marvel

19. Ant Man

The Ant Man movies I’ve noticed got a bit of a mixed reception from some people. While they aren’t among the best movies in the MCU, they are entertaining and decent for what they are. As the light hearted final entry of Phase 2, Ant Man is a considerably smaller scale comic book movie that works very well in its simplicity.

Ant Man is a straight forward comic book movie, full of plenty of entertaining scenes and humour that makes it a fun time. The cast all work, from Evangeline Lilly, to Michael Douglas and Michael Pena, and even Corey Stoll made for a simple yet suitable and fun villain. However, it’s Paul Rudd who stands out as Scott Lang/Ant Man, very likable character and perfectly cast in the lead role. The movie also gets pretty creative with a lot of its scenes with the shrinking and enlarging visual effects, and they do take advantage of that aspect. Some people refer to the Ant Man movies as ‘flavour of the week’ and I can sort of see why. It’s a typical comic book movie that’s a fun time but you don’t remember much from it afterwards. Still if you haven’t seen at least the first Ant Man, it is worth giving a watch.

Review of Ant Man

18. Captain America: Civil War

It may be surprising to many that this movie sits so low on this list. I was greatly anticipating this movie, and I thought that it would end up being one of the greatest comic book movies ever. But it ended up being one of the more disappointing comic book movies that I’ve seen in recent years, even though it does some great things on its own. It’s a shame because it certainly has potential, some there are parts that I legitimately loved.

If you want to have my full explanation and thoughts on this movie, I recommend having a look at my retrospective review on Civil War as it sets out all my thoughts really clearly. I’ll do my best to summarise some of my thoughts here though. The whole ideas of the conflict had potential but the setups were a little iffy. Deciding that the ultimate conflict would be over Bucky instead of the Sovakia Accords (which were set up but play little to no part in the second and third acts) pretty much made the whole Accords plotline pointless for the movie. Sure, the Accords may have partially affected some of the other movies but not by much, and you don’t really feel those consequences at the end of Civil War. It almost makes the movie feel a little meaningless at times. It’s not the only criticism I have but it’s one of my major criticisms.

However, there are some truly great parts in this movie. Robert Downey Jr gives one of his best performances as Iron Man, Chadwick Boseman stole the show as Black Panther and the final fight between Captain America and Iron Man is one of the best scenes in the entire MCU. I even like Zemo, who was one of the better villains of the MCU (even though I have some issues with how he was handled). Also most the action was generally good, all of them are really solid, with the exception of the airport scene, which I’m really not a fan of. The third act in particular is one of the highlights of the MCU in general. Also while the execution was a bit of a mixed bag, I do like how they really tried to end the movie as being much more of a personal and smaller conflict than a large scale one. Overall, I still say that this movie is pretty good, albeit with a lot of wasted potential. Not great, nor bad, just decent.

Original review of Captain America: Civil War

Retrospective review of Captain America: Civil War

17. Ant Man and the Wasp

What you think about Ant Man and the Wasp will probably be similar to how you’ll feel about the first Ant Man, people who don’t like the first movie will probably hate the second. However, as I liked the first movie, I enjoyed the second quite a bit, even though it’s not even close to being one of the best MCU movies.

Whether you like or dislike the two movies, they aren’t that far apart in terms of quality. The sequel is at least a little more creative with the shrinking/enlarging ability, and it feels like they really had a lot of fun with it. Generally the comedy works a lot better, the MCU has been known to have some humour that deflated a lot of the dramatic moments. However AMATW was a pretty light movie so all the comedy never had a moment where it ruined something. The first movie feels like it was going off of Edgar Wright’s involvement (before he dropped out), whereas here it feels clearly like Peyton Reed’s movie. It’s also a light hearted comedy and a familiar superhero movie, but still a step above the first movie. The cast as usual was really good, and Evangeline Lilly got a lot more to do as The Wasp. Outside of the credit scenes it seemed to be mainly meant as a much lighter movie to end the year on after Infinity War, however it was fun for what it was.

Review of Ant Man and the Wasp

16. Thor

Thor is a movie that some people are a little split on. People generally don’t like The Dark World, and people generally like Ragnarok, but with the first Thor I’ve seen mixed reactions. While it’s not one of the best movies in the MCU by any means, I liked it quite a bit, and has some elements to it that I wish was retained for the following Thor appearances.

Unlike Thor: The Dark World, Thor had a unique look and feel to it, that’s because of Kenneth Branagh’s direction. It feels a lot larger, and with the Shakespearian feel and dialogue, gives it this really grand and epic feel to it (dutch angles and all), which made it really stand out from other comic book movies in general. Like with Thor 2 though, there was the problem of too much time on Earth. While in the first movie it wasn’t terrible and it wasn’t a bad idea having Thor having to prove himself as worthy for his first appearance, the non-Earth parts are just way more interesting. Chris Hemsworth was great as Thor, even if the takes on his character changed with every single movie he was in, he brought it to each of his appearances. Although he was made iconic in The Avengers, Loki was an underrated villain in this first movie. He was quite well established, his motives believable, and the whole Shakespearian take worked perfectly for his character. The scene between him and Anthony Hopkins’s Odin after Loki realises who he really is really is one of the more underrated scenes in the MCU. I’m not really sure I can call any of the Marvel movies underrated, but the first Thor did some really good things that it really deserved more credit for, still a really solid movie overall.

Review of Thor

15. Captain America: The First Avenger

Not many people knew that this movie would actually work in the lead up to its release. Captain America was a well known comic book character but considering how silly he appeared on the surface level, it didn’t look good. Previous live action attempts to bring him to the big screen have been absolutely disastrous, so it was quite ambitious trying to make him actually work this time. With that said, the film somehow managed to introduce the mainstream audience to Captain America in a very credible way.

As I said above, the movie really could’ve been incredibly goofy and cheesy considering some of the concepts and the title character that would be leading the whole story. However, they really managed to find a way for us to take it seriously (enough). Chris Evans was about as perfect a Captain America as you could get, managing to elevate the character above just being a goody two shoes super soldier with a shield and really gave him humanity. Even Hugo Weaving worked really well as a perfect pick for Red Skull. The First Avenger is like an alternative World War 2 movie, and the setting (and especially with them sticking to that setting for almost all of the movie) was probably the best way to handle his first appearance. The First Avenger on the whole wasn’t great and not one of the best of the MCU but it does work well for what it is, and it’s at least worth praising highly for making Captain America successfully work for the big screen.

Review of Captain America: The First Avenger

14. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man Homecoming is a topic of debate, especially when it comes to comparing it to the comics and the Raimi trilogy, generally the MCU version of Spider-Man is a hot topic. I don’t consider Homecoming to be on par with some of the other Spider-Man movies, but it’s still good, much better than I thought it would be at the time.

Homecoming worked much better as a coming of age movie than the prior Spider-Man movies, with it actually being set in high school from beginning to end. I also like how the stakes are a lot more grounded and personal than large scale (even if that came at the expense of some rather lacklustre action scenes). Tom Holland impresses as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, I wasn’t sold on him in Civil War, but his performance in Homecoming got me on board with him as the character. And Michael Keaton worked greatly as the villain Vulture, making a rather ridiculous character in the comics work on the big screen, one of the best MCU villains. I also really liked Peter’s arc in the story, and the brief but significant appearances by Downey’s Tony Stark helped with it. Homecoming is neither top tier Marvel, nor lower tier, it’s somewhere in the middle overall.

Review of Spider-Man: Homecoming

13. Thor Ragnarok

Thor Ragnarok is one of the most offbeat, unique and entertaining movies in the MCU. It’s got some issues that prevent it from being much better than it could’ve been, but I still had quite a lot of fun with it, and it’s one that I’d really like to watch again.

Thor Ragnarok is one the funniest movies in the MCU, however it’s a specific type of humour, very similar to the humour seen in writer/director Taika Waititi’s other movies. Chris Hemsworth is given the freedom to let loose and play full comedy as Thor. Returns of characters like Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and additions of the likes of Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie made it even better. The movie is just so different compared to the other movies in the series. Some of the action scenes were pretty standout too, particularly Thor finally awakening his full power without his hammer. Now there are parts that don’t work as well. While the plotline with Hela (Cate Blanchett) in Asgard had genuine potential, it was clear that most of the focus was on Thor’s story, and every time it cut to her it felt out of obligation more than anything else. So they really didn’t explore the plotline of Asgard’s secret past as much as they could’ve, even though they could’ve potentially done a lot with it. Also while some of the visuals could look absolutely stunning at point, in others it looks surprisingly bland, and I just wished that it looked a lot more consistently great throughout. I’m not really confident in saying that it’s the best Thor movie, as it didn’t feel like a Thor movie. The earliest version of Thor wasn’t perfect but I kind of missed some of the more epic and Shakespearian aspects that his movies started with. I almost would’ve preferred if this movie was done with a different character but then again it also did some things with Thor’s character I also liked. Nonetheless I did enjoy the movie quite a bit, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.

Review of Thor Ragnarok

12. The Avengers

Nobody knew that this movie would actually work, getting a single comic book character to the big screen was in itself a big task. However, combining multiple comic book characters in the same universe in the same movie was not easy. While today I wouldn’t necessarily consider it to be one of the best comic book movies, it definitely did a lot for its time.

The Avengers one of those movies that is just endlessly fun to watch, I’ve rewatched it plenty of times and every time I’ve had fun with what I’ve seen. With that said as a movie, there isn’t a whole lot to it, and looking at clips of it again, it looks quite dated and almost looks like a CW superhero show at points. However, it succeeds in its simplicity and is mainly good for what it is. Aside from the third act with everyone fighting together, what makes the movie work so well is that the dynamic between the characters are fantastic. Really the weakest link of the group is Hawkeye, who spends 2 third of the movie being brainwashed (but thankfully they made up for it in his following film appearances). It’s been a while since I’ve watched it, so I admit I’m just basing this off of memory, but it did a lot for comic book movies at the very least.

Review of The Avengers

11. Doctor Strange

When I first watched Doctor Strange, I’m pretty sure it was close to being one of my favourite movies of the MCU, and I may have liked the movie more at that point than I do now. Still, there’s a lot of things I like about the movie and I think it still held up pretty well.

Although I feel like he was utilised better in the Avengers movies, Benedict Cumberbatch really does well at bringing Doctor Strange to life. Strange’s character arc particularly was a standout among the MCU considering how far he changes. Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One also added quite a bit to the movie. Not all of the cast is utilised really well, Rachel McAdams made for a generic love interest, and Mads Mikkelsen wasn’t even close to being utilised to his fullest potential. One of the parts that I loved so much was the visuals used for magic and the like. I really like how the magic was utilised here, from the dark magic that Mikkelsen’s character uses, to the time travel infinity stone used prominently in the third act. The story may be pretty familiar, but the visuals alone make the movie stand out among the MCU. I’m looking forward to seeing more movies with Doctor Strange, with his appearances in the last Avengers movies proving to be even better, as well as Baron Mordo’s (Chiwetel Ejiofor) already set up as a future antagonist in the credit scenes.

Review of Doctor Strange

10. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

I had some mixed feelings after watching Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 for the first time, it’s generally a movie that although having a generally good reception (as most Marvel movies do), some of the reactions were a little split. I’m so glad I re-watched this movie because I like and appreciate it a lot more now for what it is.

You really feel that James Gunn doubled down with some aspects of the movie, it’s visually stunning, the action scenes are good (although limited), and the music choices were even better than the first movie’s. As a movie about family, it was really fitting, whether it between Peter and Ego, Gamora and Nebula, and the like. Although in the third act it turns into a large scale save the universe climax, I really do like how small scale and personal they made the general movie feel, also it was separated from the MCU movies in general, it’s really its own movie and wasn’t forced to be another movie setting up things for Infinity War and Endgame. It’s also a lot more emotional with most of the characters, the Yondu death scene even worked on a first viewing, among the best scenes in the MCU. I still prefer the first movie quite a bit, some of the jokes in Volume 2 deflated the tension, but it’s very close. I’m going to need to watch it more, I feel like I’m going to like Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 the more I watch it.

Original review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Retrospective review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

9. Spider-Man: Far From Home

The most recent movie from the MCU, Far From Home was a lot better than I expected it to be. Not that I expected it to be bad or anything, but I just thought that Homecoming was pretty good. However not even the addition of Jake Gyllenhaal could make me super excited to see the movie, especially after Endgame feeling like a proper conclusion, Far From Home felt tact on at the end of Phase 3. It is probably the best live action Spider-Man movie since Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2.

Far From Home is overall an upgrade over Homecoming, it at least worked much better as a coming of age movie. Additionally, it seems like director Jon Watts is a lot more confident with his work, with his action scenes in this movie being a vast improvement over its predecessor (despite the occasionally iffy visual effects towards the end). A certain sequence involving illusions remains one of my favourite scenes in the MCU. Tom Holland once again proves himself a great Peter Parker and Spider-Man, he’s already played him 4 times before and he’s definitely got a handle on this role now. Jake Gyllenhaal made Mysterio, another over the top Spider-Man villain, work for the big screen. It was an almost perfect translation of the comic character, while changing some aspects so that we can actually take him seriously here, I hope we get to see him again. The first half of the movie is a pretty decent Spider-Man movie. However, after some revelations halfway through the movie, that’s when the movie really picks up. Not to say that I don’t have some issues. While I’m not as against it, the reliance on Tony Stark is definitely a little overbearing, especially seeing as how even Mysterio has some obligatory ties to him. Additionally, although I don’t have a massive problem with him not being constantly mentioned, the constant avoidance of even acknowledging Uncle Ben’s existence is bordering on embarrassing. However it’s just a minor annoyance to me even though some others take even greater issue with it. As long as the future movies don’t keep trying to bring in Tony Stark in the lives of Spider-Man and his supporting characters, I’ll be fine with it. With the point that the movie ends on, I’m definitely interested to see which direction they’ll take Spider-Man in next.

Review of Spider-Man: Far From Home

8. Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy was one of Marvel’s biggest risks, in their second phase they introduced 5 new characters, which sounded really random in concept (including a talking racoon and a tree who’s only line consists of him saying his name), and most people haven’t even heard of them. Considering the amount of money being put towards it, it could’ve ended up a disaster or a flop. Yet James Gunn and the cast and co. really came together to deliver on a very entertaining movie, and now the titular characters are now household names.

Guardians of the Galaxy is very loosely connected to the other movies, with the idea of the Infinity Stones seeming the only explicit connection made in the movie. Yet with Nicole Perlman’s writing and James Gunn’s direction, they do such a good job at introducing these new and different characters and worlds to the general audience. From beginning to end, it’s an entertaining sci-fi flick with quite a lot of effective comedy, with a few effective emotional scenes too. The cast were also great, with the highlights being Chris Pratt as Star Lord and the voice of Bradley Cooper as Rocket Racoon. One of the only weaker elements of the film again was the villain of Ronan the Accuser, but even he had a couple of good moments as well. I can’t wait to see where they will take these movies next.

Review of Guardians of the Galaxy

7. Iron Man

This is the movie that started off the MCU, and no one expected it to be as great as it was, let alone start off one of the largest cinematic universes. Director Jon Favreau and co. managed to pull together such a good movie that successfully brought the iconic Marvel comics superhero to the big screen.

Iron Man is very well known in Marvel comics but for the mainstream people at the time was very unknown. Now he’s known as one of the most iconic live action superheroes. It’s especially amazing considering that it had no script throughout, with it relying on a lot of improvising. When you look at Iron Man again after watching the movies following it, you’ll notice that there’s quite a unique tone to it compared to the other MCU movies. It’s got this level of grittiness and style that a lot of the other movies don’t have. Even if you treat the movie as its own thing and ignoring the following films, it’s already good. If anything, the credits scene with Nick Fury was tact on at the end, suggesting something they could pursue if the movie was successful enough. Even if the series didn’t take off like it did, they really did make itself quite a good origin superhero movie. Iron Man/Tony Stark was such a different character from the traditional superhero movies that he had seen on the big screen up to that point Robert Downey Jr was perfect as Stark/Iron Man, he basically made the movie. No one thought that he would work (especially considering him years before he accepted the role), but he really made the biggest comeback and surprised everyone. The rest of the cast were also effective, even Jeff Bridges does a pretty good job as the villain. 11 years later, Iron Man is still among the best movies in the MCU.

Review of Iron Man

6. Black Panther

Black Panther was a massive hit last year, even getting to the point where it became the first comic book movie nominated for Best Picture. While I wouldn’t even consider it to be among the best comic book movies ever made or anything like that, I still consider it to be very good, and definitely deserving of a lot of the praise.

While I don’t love it as much as I did when I first saw it, Black Panther is undeniably one of the best of the MCU. Director Ryan Coogler has done a great job at differentiating it from the rest of the movies in the series, both in story and the overall direction. With the themes and different directions they took the plot and characters, it’s for sure a breath of fresh air for comic book movies. The cast were all really great, with Chiwetel Ejiofor once again solid as the titular character and Michael B. Jordan made for an effective villain, one of the best of the MCU. Yes, some of the visual effects in the third act wasn’t perfect but none of that could negatively impact the movie all that much. There isn’t that much that Black Panther doesn’t do wrong honestly, sure some of the story is familiar but it doesn’t downgrade the movie that much. I’m interested to see a Black Panther sequel and I wonder where they’ll take it next.

Review of Black Panther

5. Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 is quite a divisive movie for some people. Some people really like it, others really hated it for certain reasons. I liked it when I saw it, but it grew on me the more I watched it, to the point where it’s one of my favourite movies in the MCU now.

Writer and director Shane Black really made this movie his own, it’s the funniest, yet darkest of the Iron Man trilogy. It’s also rather standalone from the rest of the MCU movies (even though it’s clearly connected), outside of a mention to The Avengers. Robert Downey Jr as usual is Iron Man but you really see him more as Tony Stark, and this is really more of a Stark movie than an Iron Man movie, personally I really liked that about this movie. Many of the action scenes were also memorable and good, from the plane scene to the climax with all the Iron Man suits. Honestly aside from the twist with The Mandarin, I don’t really get why this movie gets hate. This twist is something I have mixed feelings on, not because of it not being comic accurate but because the build up with him was fantastic, only for it to turn out to be completely fake. Now I thought the actual villain that we got was alright, but kind of a bait and switch at the same time. If I had to come up with one other flaw, it’s the fact that even though Tony’s PTSD plays a part in the movie for quite a bit, it doesn’t have an ending for it, it’s very prevalent in the first two acts and in the last act it was just forgotten. It was mostly handled very well so it was a shame it wasn’t really resolved. On the whole though, I really liked Iron Man 3 and I think it’s rather underappreciated.

Review of Iron Man 3

4. Avengers: Age of Ultron

I liked The Avengers, it was a very entertaining movie and as I said earlier, it did the impossible and successfully pulled off the first superhero team up movie. However, Age of Ultron to me is a much superior film, from the direction, to where they were taking the plot. It just generally felt like a significant improvement.

Age of Ultron balanced the fun, and the dark elements quite well, I really liked where they took the story and characters. You can also tell that Joss Whedon got a lot more of a budget to work with, feeling less like a higher budget TV show and more like a big budget superhero movie. The addition of characters like Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) were also very welcome. Obviously this movie has some faults. Ultron could’ve been a far more effective villain and maybe toned down the jokes just a little bit (I still liked him though, and James Spader was absolutely perfect in the role). While I get that some people didn’t like how similar it was to the first movie, I do feel like it does enough to make itself stand out from that. Age of Ultron is one of the more divisive of the MCU movies but I actually consider it to be one of its best entries.

Review of Avengers: Age of Ultron

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier took a different direction than what was expected. It took a much more serious tone that most of the MCU movies didn’t have. It is highly regarded as one of the best of the MCU for very good reason.

The First Avenger made Captain America work in a World War 2 setting. However, the question was whether how Captain America would work in a modern setting, ignoring his appearance in The Avengers. The solution was having a much more serious tone and opted for a spy and espionage movie. The action scenes were all really memorable and impactful, from the opening scene to the final confrontation between Captain America and The Winter Soldier. This is probably one of Scarlett Johansson’s best outings as Black Widow (for the time being), same with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, and Robert Redford was effective as one of the MCU’s more underrated villains (and yes the titular Winter Soldier was also very threatening). From beginning to end, the movie doesn’t have a weak link at any point. From the cast, to the story and the direction, it was great, and also had a lasting impact on some of the other movies set in the universe. For a while The Winter Soldier was for me the best movie in the MCU.

Review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier

2. Avengers: Infinity War

Infinity War is an event movie has been anticipated for many years, it did not seem like it would live up to it. Despite my scepticism (especially following Captain America: Civil War), the Russo Brothers delivered on the promise.

The way the MCU characters were brought together in one movie and cut between them, yet not making it feel too overstuffed was great. It may not have the same effect if you’ve missed out some of the movies but if you’ve been watching the entire MCU you definite got a lot out of it. Thanos had been built on for 6 years, ever since he was teased in the post credits of The Avengers. With mostly passable villains in the MCU in the movies leading up to Infinity War, he didn’t seem like he would live up to the hype but they met and surpassed expectations. Josh Brolin’s Thanos remains one of the best motion capture performances in a movie, not only is the visual effects on him fantastic, but they make him very memorable and give him well defined motives, making him probably the best villain of the MCU thus far. It’s no exaggeration saying that Infinity War really is Thanos’s movie, he is present throughout, he ends up winning, and the movie even ends on him. And then there’s the ending, with the infamous snap wiping out half of the population, including half of the Marvel characters that we know. Although I knew that more than likely everyone was going to come back in some action to reverse it (save for Loki and Gamora), the fact that they actually went there was really effective, and I can’t believe that they did it. However, whether the movie still held up on the whole all depended on how they would handle the follow up. Speaking of…

Review of Avengers: Infinity War

1. Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame is one long epic conclusion to the culmination of 22 movies before, one of the most anticipated blockbusters ever. Even though Infinity War delivered on its promise, it still seemed like Endgame had a lot that it had to live up to. It worked as the final outings of many of the major Avengers, as well as bringing to an end the Infinity Saga that audiences have been invested in for 11 years.

While some people complained about the long runtime, on my one viewing I felt that it worked perfectly well and I’m definitely glad that they took as much time as possible so they could get it right. The first hour took its time really showing the aftermath of the snap for each of the main characters. Surprisingly Endgame works much better as a character based movie compared to the other MCU movies. Infinity War was Thanos’s movie, Endgame was the surviving Avengers’. The second hour was the Avengers going back in time to certain events that longtime MCU fans are more than familiar with. I’m glad that they even brought back familiar characters like The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford, making this his last film appearance). I mean it even manages to retroactively make Thor: The Dark World better. The last hour is the conclusion, with the final battle being one of the best sequences in a comic book movie. Yes. there is plenty of fanservice throughout the movie, but it feels very fitting (especially considering it’s the last time we’ll be seeing some of these characters). Seeing certain things happen like Captain America finally using the hammer was quite the sight to see. Even most of the divisive character decisions like the takes on Hulk and Thor I was on board with. I’ll admit that I get the feeling that this movie won’t hold up as well on a rewatch, with some elements of time travel not exactly making sense (not to mention I’m not exactly sure that what Captain America does at the end didn’t break the rules the movie tried so hard to emphasise and define). However, my viewing in the cinema was amongst the best experiences I’ve had watching a movie in the cinema. While the MCU is far from over, this is where a lot of people will be dropping off the series, it concluded the main 11 year long story arc, and it did it fantastically.

Review of Avengers: Endgame

What is your ranking of the MCU?

Top 30 Best Movies of 2018


2018 was an unbelievably great year for movies. I’d go so far as to say that out of all the years that I’ve been alive, this is the best year for film yet. Therefore, I felt like I should expand the best of the year list to 30, as there are so many movies I want to acknowledge.

I think I should establish first that this is a mix of what I think are the best movies of the year, as well as my favourites of the year. Some movies were extremely well made but not necessarily rewatchable, other movies might not be award worthy but are just so endlessly enjoyable. Also, the ranking is not necessarily only based upon the score I gave in my initial reviews, there may be some movies that I gave 9/10 that are placed higher than 10/10 movies. Sometimes my thoughts on the movies got better or worse with time, leading to the ranking of the movies changing. If some movies that you personally love don’t appear on the list, either I’ve seen them but aren’t in my top 30 of the year, or I just haven’t seen it. I’ve watched 102 2018 movies so far and I think I’ve watched all the movies I think would end up on this list (with the exception of Vox Lux).

Also, I should also mention that I’m not doing a Worst Films of 2018 list, because I don’t do that type of thing anymore.

30. Thunder Road

Thunder Road just sort of creeped up on me, there wasn’t a whole lot of coverage for it and it’s quite the independent movie but the people who saw it highly praised it, and that’s all I knew going in. I’m glad I did end up seeing it however, because it’s a real hidden gem that’s well worth more attention.

Thunder Road was a movie that covers the impact that a tragedy has on a person in a funny yet genuine and heartfelt way. Jim Cummings was an absolute wonder as lead actor, screenwriter and director, he did a fantastic job with his directorial debut. Cummings’s performance particularly was a stand out from 2018, ranging from being hilarious to heartbreaking within seconds. Thunder Road isn’t particularly long, it’s short and sweet and really good, much better than I expected it to be. Honestly you don’t have to know much going into it, just check it out however you can, it deserves a lot more attention.

My review of Thunder Road

29. Upgrade

I really wasn’t expecting much from Upgrade other than a simple and generic revenge sci-fi movie, but it was quite the surprise. It was very entertaining, well directed and was way better than it had any right to be.

Upgrade’s story is very familiar, yet manages to do handle them in an interesting way and have some unpredictable twists throughout, especially with the ending, which remains one of the best endings of 2018. Logan Marshall-Green is so great here in the lead role, excellent at both the comedy and the drama, while also being very believable in the physical action scenes. Leigh Whannell’s direction was really great, made with such style and the action scenes being a highlight and filmed in such a unique and creative way that they are a real thrill to watch. If you haven’t already, check out Upgrade, it’s an overlooked film that deserves a lot more attention.

My review of Upgrade

28. Black Panther

Black Panther was quite a significant movie, with it being the first comic book movie to be nominated for Best Picture, and the first comic book movie to have an almost completely African American cast (save for Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman). It really lived up to its potential and while it’s not my favourite comic book movie of the year, it’s at the very least one of the best in the MCU and is very well made and put together.

Director Ryan Coogler put together a really solid movie and not even some occasionally poor CGI in the third act can take away from that. He did a good job at making it stand apart from the other MCU movies, at the very least in a stylistic way. The story is definitely familiar to that of others and doesn’t necessarily break new ground but is still a great and personal story, especially when compared to those of some generic comic book movies. The cast with the likes of Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira and the rest all give some really good performances in their roles. It’s Michael B. Jordan however who stands out the most as Erik Kilmonger, was one of the best and most complex MCU villains. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Black Panther (after he returns from Thanos’s snap of course).

My review of Black Panther

27. Bad Times at the El Royale

Bad Times at the El Royale was a movie I wasn’t really aware of as it was approaching its release date, yet it ended up being such an entertaining watch. Suspenseful, intriguing, stylish and entertaining, I had a lot of fun with it and it really deserved a lot more praise than it has been receiving.

I like a good mystery movie and Bad Times at the El Royale certainly was that, a stylish thriller with different and interesting characters involved in interconnecting plotlines. I was entertained from start to finish and was interested in seeing where the story and characters would go next. The cast all did a great job, with the likes of Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson and Chris Hemsworth giving some really good performances. It might not have worked as well as writer/director Drew Goddard’s previous film The Cabin in the Woods and I do wish that some aspects worked a little better (I definitely would’ve liked to have seen more of Jon Hamm) but on the whole I had a lot of fun with it.

My review of Bad Times at the El Royale

26. Game Night

Game Night looked like it was going to be just another fun but forgettable comedy and I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from it. However, it ended up being one of the most entertaining movies in all of 2018, with a great script, an entertaining cast and was just hilarious from start to finish. After rewatching it and finding it just as funny as when I first saw it, I’m thinking that it might be one of my personal favourite comedies in a while.

The script was so smart and hilarious, with plenty of twists that you didn’t necessarily see coming, and was just entertaining throughout. On my rewatch, I picked up on jokes that I didn’t get the first time I watched it, and the jokes I found funny on the first watch, I found just as funny the second time. The cast were all around great and hilarious, however the 2 standouts were Rachel McAdams and Jesse Plemons, the two of them just stole every scene they were in and are definitely up there in terms of most underrated performances of the year. Even the direction was quite good, it is just full of so much energy and done with such style, even the few action scenes here worked quite well. Had it not been for another movie much higher up on this list, I would’ve declared Game Night by far the best comedy of 2018. If you haven’t seen it yet, I implore you to watch it as soon as possible, it’s an incredibly hilarious movie, and even better upon repeat viewings.

My review of Game Night

25. A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place was quite a surprise, a horror movie that has a gimmick but is not just reduced to just being a gimmick movie. It’s much better and more personal than I thought it would be and was actually one of the freshest and most unique horror movies of the year.

A Quiet Place was quite an effective horror movie, especially in the cinema. At its core though, it’s an intimate drama focussed on a family of 4 that happens to have a lot of horror in it, and as that it really succeeds greatly. The characters all felt like real people with genuine story arcs and relationships, which just strengthened this movie so much more than just being another ‘scary’ horror movie. The acting by everyone was great, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt and even the child actors were good. Krasinski’s direction was really good, really utilising the ‘quiet’ aspect in the best way possible, with every loud sound adding even more tension to the overall movie. Watching the movie in the theatre with everyone being absolutely silent was an experience. It’s now getting a sequel and while I’m not really sure it really needs one, as a movie by itself, A Quiet Place is really good.

My review of A Quiet Place

24. American Animals

Not many people are talking about American Animals, which is a shame really, because it was one of the most surprising movies of 2018. It was well directed, greatly acted and was quite a unique movie, especially with its method of storytelling. American Animals really is worth checking out if you haven’t seen it already.

American Animals starts off an entertaining movie about a group of amateurs trying to pull off a heist. What sealed the deal for me with this movie however was the second half, when reality just kicks in hard for the main characters, who have to deal with the fact that they aren’t capable of carrying out their task. All in all its riveting, fun to watch and is very well put together. The acting was also great, with Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner and Jared Abrahamson playing their roles really well, especially in the second half of the film. The documentary-like filmmaking style with the inclusion of the real life people being interviewed and sometimes appearing with the actors on screen at the same time was unique, making it truly one of the most stand out ‘based on a true story’ movies I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t seen it already, I encourage you to check it out, it is well worth the watch and is much more than just another fun heist movie.

My review of American Animals

23. Creed 2

Creed 2 was a movie I didn’t even think I would end up anywhere among my favourites of the year. Creed was such a fantastic film and seemed to be a perfect way to end the whole Rocky series, and given the setup of a sequel, it seemed like it would be an utter disaster trying to milk more movies out of the series when it didn’t need to. However, it was actually one of the biggest surprises of the year, providing such an emotionally exhilarating film that I was invested in from start to finish.

Despite the premise sounding absurd (an previous antagonist having a son who will pose a threat to the protagonist), it actually works very well. Like the previous Creed, it’s a grounded movie that’s character focussed and not relying heavily on just a bunch of boxing scenes, even though those are pretty great as well. I was really invested in these characters and this story and I was more than satisfied with where it went. Performances were across the board great, with Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone and Tessa Thompson once again giving fantastic performances in their respective roles. Surprising though was how good the antagonists Ivan and Victor Drago, played by Dolph Lundgren and Florian Munteanu, as they were also given quite a bit of screentime as well, fleshed out to be human beings and not just one dimensional killing machines. Really the only part of the movie that wasn’t at the level of the first movie was the lack of Ryan Coogler, and even then Creed 2 was overall directed pretty well by Steven Caple Jr. With a third act which is unbelievably tense and emotionally satisfying, it ends on such a high note that I firmly believe that the Rocky/Creed series should end here, I can’t think of a better ending for the Rocky and Adonis characters.

My review of Creed 2

22. Aquaman

I’m fully aware of how divisive the DCEU has been, despite being largely a big fan of most of the movies they have been producing thus far. I admit I was a bit nervous about it, not because of the talent involved or the task that they would have to make an Aquaman movie work, but more so that it was following the Frankenstein of a movie Justice League. Despite all the odds, Aquaman more than lived up to the hype and was one of the most visually enthralling and entertaining cinema experiences I have had.

Aquaman stands apart from most comic book movies, in fact that if you removed all the DC logos from it and didn’t know what Aquaman was, you could mistake this for a deep seas action adventure fantasy movie and not think that this was a comic book movie at all. This is a large scale epic fantasy movie that I was on board with every step of the way. James Wan’s ambitious vision absolutely delivered, with this being one of the most visually stunning movies of the year (the VFX people working on this movie really got robbed of credits) as well as with all comic book movies. Performances from everyone were good especially from Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Patrick Wilson as the villainous Orm, the latter of whom I’d consider one of the best live action DC villains. Really the issues I had more was that Aquaman might’ve combined too many storylines into one and had a little too much going on in its plot (Black Manta for instance being very much a set up character in this movie), and even then it didn’t take away from the experience too much. Even the cheesiness didn’t bother me, it wasn’t so embarrassed that it tried to hide it, nor did it try to pass it off by making fun of it. It embraced it completely, which is honestly refreshing to see, and as a result it really works well. Now I’ll admit that my opinion on Aquaman (like with Wonder Woman) could change over time and further rewatches. Nonetheless, after seeing it once, I really liked it. If the DCEU keeps giving us films like Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, Wonder Woman and now Aquaman, movies that are different from other comic book cinematic universe movies and are director driven, it can really make its mark as a franchise, even if not everyone loves them. I think that despite what some detracters of the DCEU may think, with Aquaman (I want to emphasise that this isn’t a film focussed on Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman) being the highest grossing DC movie since The Dark Knight 10 years ago, there is still a considerable amount of interest in this universe and it’s not getting cancelled or rebooted any time soon.

My review of Aquaman

21. Avengers: Infinity War

There was so much hype behind Infinity War, so much so that it didn’t feel like there would be any plausible way that it would live up to even half of the anticipation. Even I, who likes the MCU quite a bit, didn’t think it could happen, but the Russo Brothers and co. absolutely delivered, and for what it is and especially considering what it had to achieve, it was astoundingly great at it.

Infinity War successfully manages to juggle multiple characters and storylines and not feeling messy or overstuffed, which is really impressive. You feel the stakes throughout and the scale was incredibly huge. The action scenes are great, with great visuals and some characters getting show off their powers like they hadn’t before. Most of the characters already established in previous movies were handled well, with all the performances being great. There were of course a few standouts among them, Chris Hemsworth as the best representation of Thor of all his MCU appearances, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange who reaches a level of greatness and power that even his solo movie wasn’t able to showcase and Robert Downey Jr. as usual brought his A game as Tony Stark/Iron Man. Then there’s of course Josh Brolin as Thanos, and the Russo Brothers’ weren’t exaggerating when they said that it was his movie. They really made him a powerful and dangerous antagonist, really feeling like a threat. Even with that, he could’ve easily ended up being a one dimensional all powerful villain, but Josh Brolin and the others all manged to make him feel like a 3 dimensional character. Then there’s the ending, which felt like the only logical way to end the movie but somehow given the MCU’s past movies (not slandering them in any way), it didn’t feel like they would’ve actually done it. Now there’s probably going to be some retconning done in the follow up, but the fact that we even got to see something like this in a live action comic book movie is just incredible. Now I will admit that my perception of Infinity War may change depending on how Avengers Endgame turns out. If it does change, I’m hoping it changes for the better. As of this moment however, I’d say that Infinity War ranks among the best of the MCU and on its own is a spectacular achievement.

My review of Avengers: Infinity War

20. You Were Never Really Here

You Were Never Really Here is a very different movie from what many people were expecting, it wasn’t really what I was initially expecting at least. Not for everyone, it is slow paced and it is quite an artsy movie but for what it was, it really worked and I thought it was great.

Right out of the gate, Joaquin Phoenix’s performance here is one of his best, and considering his long list of acclaimed performances, that’s saying a lot. Had the movie been released around awards season, Phoenix definitely would’ve been considered for Best Actor for his work here. This movie is also one of the best directed films of the year, this is the first film I’ve seen by Lynne Ramsey and now I really want to see the rest of her work because what she’s done here is nothing short of fantastic. Despite it being a violent and dark movie, it subverts the preconceived notions of it being a standard and even self indulgent revenge/vigilante movie by choosing not to show certain acts of violence. Yet you still feel the impact of violence and throughout it feels very grounded in reality. It also doesn’t rely on exposition to explain things like backstory, with it being very heavy with its visual storytelling, making it a bit of a challenging movie to watch sometimes as you try to piece everything together. While it’s not a movie for everyone, You Were Never Really Here really stuck with me ever since I first watched it and is well deserving of all the praise.

My review of You Were Never Really Here

19. Vice

Vice was quite the divisive movie, given that it was a political movie that’s to be expected. However I didn’t expect the response to be this split. If it wasn’t the politics that polarised people, it was the unorthodox way that director Adam McKay decided to tell this real life story. I was in the group that really liked it and thought that it was one of the most stand out films of the year.

Adam McKay’s blistering take on politics was very niche it seems but I was on board with it. If The Big Short was a dark comedy, Vice was McKay’s dive into political satire. McKay’s direction was able to grab your attention to tell the behind the scenes story that on paper sounds mundane and hard to swallow and makes it genuinely entertaining. The performances by Amy Adams, Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell are good and all, but of course its Christian Bale who’s most impressive, giving quite possibly his best performance since American Psycho. His transformation enhanced his performance and he completely embodies Dick Cheney almost perfectly, truly one of the best performances of the whole year. There are aspects that weren’t done as well as I think they could’ve been, the pacing especially in the first two thirds at times could be a little too slow, and bits like the mid credits scene and the reveal of Jesse Plemons’s narrator character didn’t add to much, but I think the pros more than outweighed the cons. I’m not quite sure how it’ll be upon a rewatch but seeing as how McKay’s The Big Short improved with a rewatch, I have a feeling that Vice will be the same.

My review of Vice

18. Mandy

Mandy was really one of the more surprising movies of the year, beautiful, bloody, well acted, excellently directed and so unique despite the premise not being too different from other films. Maybe it’s because I was able to gauge what kind of movie it was before going in, but it was pretty much everything I wanted it to be.

The big problem that some people had with Mandy was the pacing, particularly in the first half. I was personally fine with the slower pacing, it really helps build everything (including the world the movie occupies and the main two characters) up, to make the second half of the movie stand out even more. The first half builds up the movie, and then the second half turns into a blood soaked revenge film with Cage going full Rage Mode. I really didn’t have much problems with the movie. Nicolas Cage gives his best performance in a while, I can’t see anyone else playing his role, it’s like it was tailor made for him. This isn’t just another role for him to freak out in (even though he does that quite a bit in the last half), it actually served the character and movie really well. Panos Cosmatos’s direction of Mandy was absolutely incredible, giving a trippy feeling throughout, which was appropriate given how heavily drugs play a part in the movie. It’s a beautiful looking movie too, the use of colour was stunning (even though they used a little too much red sometimes), there were times it looked like a heavy metal album cover in the best kind of way. Adding on top of that is the final score by masterful composer Johann Johannsson, which was nothing short of haunting and beautiful, it really added to the movie. I’m glad I got a chance to experience this movie in a cinema, because otherwise I don’t think I would’ve loved the movie as much if I didn’t. I’m not necessarily sure yet how this movie will hold up on a second viewing or not, with the pacing being slow and whatnot. As of right now though, Mandy is a great movie and one of the best cinema experiences I had in 2018.

My review of Mandy

17. Thoroughbreds

Thoroughbreds already had my attention with the cast involved but I didn’t expect the rest of the movie to be as great as them. It is a unique dark comedy, with both the script and direction working exceedingly well. It’s a pretty great first film by writer/director Cory Finley and deserves a lot more attention than it’s been receiving.

Thoroughbreds has a very play like feel to it (which is a given since it was first written to be a play) and it’s unique writing and direction really helped with it. It’s very well written, darkly hilarious at points and the dialogue is on point and sharp, probably one of the more underrated screenplays of 2018. The performances are among the highlights with Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke giving some fantastic performances and playing off each other very well, and the late Anton Yelchin giving a very scene stealing performance. Thoroughbreds is well worth the watch if you haven’t seen it already.

My review of Thoroughbreds

16. Hereditary

Hereditary is a very unique horror movie that not many of us were really expecting. It’s effectively creepy and unnerving from start to finish and from the way that it was written and directed, it’s no surprise that it is being hailed by many to be one of the best horror movies in a long time, if not the best.

Hereditary is an exceedingly well crafted horror movie. It starts off slow and harmless enough before over time just keeps getting more freaky, with disturbing scenes followed by another more disturbing scenes, with the tension and terror never faltering and always increasing. Ari Aster has written and directed such an effective horror movie. I don’t get easily disturbed by movies but Hereditary actually did get under my skin a couple of times, with some images and scenes forever burned into my memory. Aster is definitely someone that people should be keeping an eye on for the years to come. Add on top of that fantastic performances by Alex Wolff, Gabriel Byrne but especially Toni Collette and you have yourself a really great film. The only thing I was not quite on board with was the ending, which while great might’ve been better had it gone in a more ambiguous direction like the rest of the movie instead of choosing whether to end on the events being fantasy or psychological. Outside of that minor nit-pick of mine, Hereditary was very impressive and one of the most stand out horror movies in recent years.

My review of Hereditary

15. Sorry to Bother You

Sorry to Bother You was well worth all the hype around it, an absurdist and satirical dark comedy that won’t work for everyone because of how downright strange it is. On the whole however, it really worked for me and was one of the most unique experiences I had watching a movie in the cinema.

Sorry to Bother You is such an original movie and nothing like I’ve seen before, I can’t compare it to any other movie I’ve seen before. Writer and director Boot Reilly’s script was hilarious, entertaining, at times scary, and thematically had a lot to say about things. I guess some aspects and the use of just so many ideas was a little messy and don’t completely work (and I will need to watch it again to see if it still holds up) but the pros more than outweigh the cons and I loved watching it. However you feel about the first two acts, whether Sorry to Bother You will work for you depends on how you feel about the third act. It goes in such a bonkers direction and I can completely understand how it just doesn’t work for some people, I was on board with it though. Performances from everyone were great, from Lakeith Stanfield being as the lead, to Tessa Thompson’s stand out performance, all the way to Armie Hammer’s coked up CEO character, who despite his small screentime steals every scene he’s in. Director Boots Reilly has really made a great debut with Sorry to Bother You and I’m looking forward to seeing his future work.

My review of Sorry to Bother You

14. First Man

I noticed a bit of an odd reaction when it came to First Man, and I’m not referring to the flag controversy. Although it was generally was well received, there was a bit of a split reaction to it and I don’t really understand it. I personally thought it was great and I found it utterly disappointing that it was shut out of the awards outside of the technical aspects.

First Man at its core was about Neil Armstrong and showed him in both his family life and him preparing to go to the moon, and as that it succeeds incredibly well. Acting is also great, with Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy particularly giving typically great performances. Gosling especially manages to give such an emotionally layered performance that just really works for the movie. Where the film particularly shines however is the space scenes, very immersive and intense, it really made you feel like you were right there with Armstrong throughout the things that he was going through, whether it be him training or doing the real thing. Damian Chazelle’s previous two movies, Whiplash and La La Land, couldn’t be more different from this, and what he did here was nothing short of ambitious and fantastic. First Man might be Chazelle’s weakest movie, but I’d say that you’ve got a pretty great filmmaking career if that is your worst film.

My review of First Man

13. A Star is Born

I wasn’t really expecting much of A Star is Born going in despite the talent of people like Bradley Cooper involved but it really surprised me. While I don’t hold it in such a high regard as I did when I first watched it, I still think it’s really good.

Despite the familiar story, Cooper made the story feel timeless and work today. Any plotline in the movie that was familiar (and there was quite a lot of them) were done in a way that made it feel more than just a cliched plot point, and it was even emotional towards the third act. Making it better were Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga and Sam Elliott, giving some fantastic performances, Cooper in particularly gives one of the most stand out performances of the year, a career best from him. The music was good as well, even though some songs stood out and were more memorable than others. Now at one point it was at my number 1 and as you can see, it’s clearly moved down the list, and that’s largely because it hasn’t held up that well in my mind. It had such an impact on me when I first saw it and over time it wore away, and it ended up getting pushed down the list as more and more movies came out. With that said, A Star is Born is still great and was much better than I expected it to be. Definitely deserving of all the praise it’s been receiving upon its release.

My review of A Star is Born

12. First Reformed

First Reformed is not for everyone, its slow moving, bleak, different and at times bizarre. However, I thought that it was an incredibly powerful and surprising movie, with great writing and direction and fantastic acting, mainly from Ethan Hawke. Haunting, impactful, First Reformed is one of the best films of 2018 and despite the lack of awards recognition for it, deserves way more attention than it’s been receiving.

Paul Schrader’s has done his best piece of writing since Taxi Driver, in fact First Reformed could be seen as a mirror image of Taxi Driver, with them both being character studies of a very troubled protagonist. The movie covers a lot of topics and really does have a lot of things to say, in fact one of the only problems I have with the movie is that it tries to cover too many topics all at once. Schrader’s writing is fantastic, and it’s no surprise that it just got him an Oscar nomination. Ethan Hawke’s performance in the lead role of Reverend Ernst Toller is a career’s best performance for him, definitely one of the best of 2018, so incredibly nuanced and subtle. In a perfect world he would be one of the clear cut frontrunners for Best Actor this year alongside Christian Bale (and unfortunately Rami Malek). Even the direction with the 4:3 framing is very effective, very enclosed and intimate. While I’m aware this movie won’t be for everyone, First Reformed is worth a watch at the very least.

My review of First Reformed

11. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

I will maintain that 2018 is the best year for comic book movies yet. Even the worst of all of the comic book films that year (Venom) was at least entertaining in some way. I did not predict that in a year with comic book movies like Avengers: Infinity War and Aquaman, that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse would be the best one out of all of them. I expected it to be good, but I didn’t expect to be this great.

Into the Spider-Verse is essentially an origin story, and did tend to follow similar beats to other superhero origin stories. With that said, they manage to make it feel incredibly fresh. Much of that was because they took advantage of the fact that this is an animated movie and are able to do so much as well as put in so much, whether it be a bunch of references, quick but sufficient backstories to characters, jokes, all of that. The animation of the movie was incredible, I can’t compare it to any other animated movie I’ve seen before, I so hope that it gets an award for best animated film of 2018 because it really deserves it. I’m glad that the movie seemed to be doing well and there are more movies in this world being developed. I can’t wait to see more from these universes and characters.

My review of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

10. BlacKKKlansman

Spike Lee’s BlacKKKlansman was one of the most impactful movies of the year and really took me by surprise. It balances both humour and drama very effectively and excels at both aspects, delivering one of the most unforgettable movies of 2018.

Probably Spike Lee’s most accessible movie (alongside Inside Man), BlacKKKlansman gets a lot right. Despite the entertainment factor (mostly due to the fact some of these insane events really happened), you feel the seriousness as to what’s going on. It has a lot of things it wanted to say and it’s not trying to be subtle about it. It’s very in your face and direct about it, not really caring how uncomfortable it may make you, and I loved that (even though it’s probably the reason why a certain other movie ‘about racism’ that has a very light take on the issue is getting more awards attention). All the performances, especially from John David Washington, Adam Driver and Topher Grace were really great. It also has one of the most impactful endings of the year. I know that some people had some mixed feeling about the ending, generally because its hammering in a point that’s already pretty clear and I can understand feeling that way. However, I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t still have an immense impact on me. Looking back at it, there are maybe some aspects that aren’t done quite as well, like the way that cops are portrayed are a little too favourable. However, on the whole I think BlacKKKlansman was really great and worked.

My review of BlacKKKlansman

9. Roma

Roma is widely praised as being one of the best films of the year, and it is definitely well deserved, excelling at every aspect, from the direction, to the acting and the writing. Alfonso Cuaron has crafted such a beautiful and real film and one of the year’s best.

I’ll admit that it took a little while for me to get on board with Roma. The first half was pretty good, albeit seemingly unfocussed, but the second half is where it really started to deliver some heavy emotional hits. By the end I felt like I had experienced something big and impactful despite the scale being quite small. Something I love is that Roma is never showy or melodramatic, it’s an intimate movie but it still feels large scale. Even Cuaron, who’s direction is fantastic in every film, made sure that his work (while it’s still great) whether that be long tracking shots or whatnot, wouldn’t overshadow the movie and the story that he’s telling. Praise should also be going towards the lead performance by Yalitza Aparicio, who deserved more acclaim than she’s been receiving (and thankfully received an Oscar nomination not too long ago). I probably wouldn’t call it one of my favourite movies of 2018 and I’m not sure if I’ll love it as much on a second viewing but it is probably the best directed film of the year. If you haven’t seen it yet, you really need to, whether that be in a cinema or on Netflix, get on it ASAP.

My review of Roma

8. Blindspotting

Blindspotting has been called one of the best films of the year by anyone who has seen it (which wasn’t many people) and really all the praise was well deserved. A dramedy so excellently acted, directed and performed, it’s a shame that it’s not getting nearly enough attention.

For a directorial debut, Blindspotting is incredibly made, full with such style and such understanding of its setting. It’s effective at being a funny and entertaining movie, while also being very tense, hard hitting and important, especially considering the subject matter that it’s tackling. Also, the lead performances by Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal are amongst some of the best of 2018. Top that off with an incredibly powerful ending, and you have one of the best films of 2018. Definitely recommend this movie to everyone, it’s personally the most underrated film of the year.

My review of Blindspotting

7. Mission Impossible Fallout

We knew that Mission Impossible Fallout was going to be pretty good, I generally like the Mission Impossible movie series and with Christopher McQuarrie returning from Rogue Nation to direct, and Angela Bassett and Henry Cavill being added to the cast, it looked to be an entertaining time. I did not know however that it would end up being one of the best action movies of the decade, people weren’t exaggerating that much when they were comparing it to Mad Max Fury Road, which in itself was a big comparison to make. It turns out that comparison was more than justified.

The plot isn’t anything that we’ve seen before but McQuarrie, Cruise and co. make the best of this plot and made the movie the best it could be. It’s one of the most engrossing and overwhelming cinema experiences I’ve had, from start to finish there is this heightened level of the stakes. Even watching it on home video again it holds up incredibly well. All the action sequences are absolutely fantastic, the HALO jump, the bathroom fight, the motorcycle chase, the car chase, the helicopter chase, the final fight, all fantastic. You could take any of these action scenes and put it in any other decent action movie and it would definitely be the best action scene of that whole film. The movie also has such an effective tone and tension throughout that had me on board every step of the way. Once again, Tom Cruise gives a dedicated and physical performance, alongside a talented cast including returning actors Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames, as well as the addition of the scene stealing and juggernaut Henry Cavill. I’m certainly hyped for the next Mission Impossible movies coming in 2021 and 2022 but I don’t see how they’d be able to top what they did with Fallout.

My review of Mission Impossible: Fallout

6. Annihilation

Alex Garland established himself as a director to really pay attention to with Dredd (ghost directing it) and Ex Machina, and now with Annihilation he really cemented this. Intriguing, effectively creepy and full of ideas, it’s one of the best of the year and honestly is one of the more overlooked movies that came out last year. Had it been given a wide cinema release, I’m sure that a lot more people would be talking about it.

I really had no idea where the story was going throughout and I only liked it the more the movie progressed. It was thoroughly unsettling from beginning to end, whether it be that freaky camera scene with Oscar Isaac or of course that one particular scene involving a mutated bear. The scares aren’t cheap scares seen in the average horror movie, it really gets under your skin and makes you incredibly uneasy, and it had my interest from start to finish. The talented cast led by Natalie Portman were great, with her particularly giving a standout performance. Garland’s work on Annihilation was nothing short of fantastic, the visuals were phenomenal and some of the best of the year and even the score was effectively haunting. The third act was trippy and really one that needs to be seen to be believed, one of the best of the year. The only thing I didn’t like about Annihilation was the fact that it wasn’t shown at a cinema anywhere near me, because I can only imagine how phenomenal it would’ve been to experience on the big screen. If you haven’t seen it already, it’s out on Netflix and I promise you that it’s well worth the watch.

My review of Annihilation

5. Widows

Widows was my most anticipated film of 2018, and with director Steve McQueen, writer Gillian Flynn and an absurdly talented cast, everyone delivered incredibly well at their A-game to give us an excellently made crime thriller that’s one of the best films of the year.

Widows at its core is a crime story, and it’s a great and riveting one at that. However, it also makes sure that it has other things going on behind the scenes and thematically which elevates it above just being yet another heist film, which is to be expected of by Gillian Flynn and Steve McQueen. The cast all did a fantastic job, with no one being a weak link, stand outs were Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki and Daniel Kaluuya, all of whom are more than worthy of awards attention. Every performance was perfect for their role, it even had Liam Neeson giving his best performance in years. Really the only part that was out of place that didn’t quite work was one rather bizarre scene featuring Michelle Rodriguez, and even then it’s not movie breaking as much as some people have made it out to be. Widows is a fantastic film and I wish that it was getting a lot more attention at the awards than it’s been receiving.

My review of Widows

4. The House that Jack Built

Prior to watching The House that Jack Built, I watched Lars von Trier’s Depression Trilogy (Antichrist, Melancholia and Nymphomaniac) and while I liked them, it seemed like I appreciated them more rather than actually loving them. They were well made and interesting, I just didn’t really connect with them on a deeper level. So I really wasn’t expecting to love The House that Jack Built, and no one is more surprised than me that it ended up being one of my all time favourite films of the year.

There is so much to unpack with this movie. Despite the whole film being about a serial killer, it’s rather entertaining, with the dark comedy helping with that. Lars von Trier did actually seem like he was having fun with this movie, which I think was the key difference compared to this from his other movies. He’s rather self aware this time, and the movie really did seem like an introspective look on Lars and his work, which will either turn off people or really work for them, I happen to fall into the latter category. Matt Dillon gives one of the year’s best performances, jumping between being awkward, hilarious, creepy, fascinating and scary. I’d go so far as to say that it’s my favourite lead actor performance of 2018. Now there was a lot of ideas presented in the movie, so I need to see it again at some point to see if it still holds up. The epilogue (which can only be described as a descent into hell) was one of, if not the best final act/ending of 2018 and was truly spectacular. The House that Jack Built isn’t for everyone but it shockingly really worked for me.

My review of The House that Jack Built

3. The Favourite

The Favourite is one of the most entertaining movies of the year and also the best comedy of the year. All around when it came to writing, the direction and the performances, every aspect of the film just worked so excellently to deliver a darkly, wonderfully entertaining and strange film that I loved every step of the way.

Yorgos Lanthimos brought his unique take on a period piece, you’ve not watched a period piece quite like this and his direction really made it all stand out. The highlights of the movie were definitely the fantastic performances by Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone and Nicholas Hoult, with all of them giving at the very least some of the best performances of their careers. The killer script is an essential part of why the movie works so well, easily one of the best written movies of the year and tied with The House that Jack Built and Game Night for most quotable movie of the year. It is just so sharp, dark and well written, it truly is well deserving of best original screenplay, without it, I don’t think that The Favourite would’ve worked as well as it did. The Favourite is well deserving of all the attention and acclaim, definitely worth a watch.

My review of The Favourite

2. If Beale Street Could Talk

If Beale Street Could Talk was one of the last 2018 movies I caught up on, and I’m glad that I waited to see it before making this list. It was so well written, directed and acted, with every aspect of this film being truly excellent. I can’t believe it didn’t get more attention at the film awards (especially at the Oscars), it’s at the very least one of the best films of the year.

If Beale Street Could Talk was such a beautiful movie that feels so real and human. You really connect with the story and characters throughout its entire runtime. Barry Jenkins’s writing and direction was so heartfelt, you can definitely feel that this is the man behind Moonlight and he’s done it again. Everyone in its large and extensive cast board were fantastic, even the actors who only appeared in one scene added to the movie quite a lot. If you haven’t seen If Beale Street Could Talk yet, definitely check it out, it was incredible. It’s very difficult to describe why this movie was so fantastic, you just need to see it for yourself.

My review of If Beale Street Could Talk

1. Suspiria

Although I wasn’t hugely anticipating it beforehand, I had a feeling going into Suspiria that it was going to be something special and yet it somehow blew me away. It was such an overwhelming experience that I hadn’t experienced in a cinema up to that point and has left a considerable impact on me ever since I watched it for the first time.

2018’s Suspiria is a reimagining of the original Suspiria, doing so many different things that it can stand apart as its own movie. Whereas the original Suspiria was a classic horror slasher flick, Luca’s film explores some of the story elements, giving it so much more, way too much to process in a single viewing (and yes I understood it even more on a second viewing). Dakota Johnson was really good here, giving her best performance to date but Tilda Swinton (in 3 roles) and Mia Goth were absolutely fantastic and were the real standouts. The whole film was also such an overwhelming experience, and Luca Guagagnino directed everything so incredibly well. The dancing sequences were amazing, with the Volk dance sequence particularly being a feast for the eyes. The film could also be absolutely brutal, capped off with an absolute bloodbath of a final act. While its not one of the scariest movies I’ve seen, I would go so far as to say that it’s the best horror film of the 2010s thus far, and there have been some phenomenal horror movies released in recent years. Whereas my favourite film of the year throughout would change as I would see more movies, Suspiria was my favourite movie of 2018 from the moment that I first saw it on Halloween day, and nothing else released since then was able to top it.

My review of Suspiria

What were your favourite films of 2018?

Ranking the 2019 Best Picture Nominees

I’ve been reviewing movie reviews for years but I haven’t actually ranked the Best Picture Nominees before, so I decided to give it a go this time round. I was going to wait until I got to see If Beale Street Could Talk one way or another before writing the list, but the nominations came out and surprisingly it wasn’t nominated for Best Picture, so I guess I can make this list now.

On the whole, I found the recent Academy Award nominations to be disappointing. 2018 is the best year for film that I’ve seen yet, it’s just that some of the nominations, especially the Best Picture nominees, don’t really reflect that. Not a terrible bunch of nominations, but underwhelming compared to the year in film that we just had.

Now I should point out that while my picks for the Best Picture Nominees would be quite different to the actual nominees (only 3 of these movies are among my top 8 favourite films of the year), I’m actually okay with most of the nominees, at least for Best Picture. There’s really only a couple that I am outright against, which you’ll see down below.

8. Bohemian Rhapsody

Oh dear.

I had been planning on ranking the Best Picture nominees for the Oscars even before they were released, and after Bohemian Rhapsody won Best Picture Drama at the Golden Globes, it was the one movie I was hoping not having to talk about. It seems that all the backlash that followed wasn’t enough to stop the Academy from nominating it however, so I guess I must talk about it. When I first saw the movie, I did like it despite its very clear flaws, which you can see from my review. I liked Queen’s music, so it was nice hearing it in the cinemas, and Rami Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury was quite good. However, the more I think about Bohemian Rhapsody, the worse it gets for me.

Bohemian Rhapsody was a pretty average music biopic all things considered. It follows the typical music biopic formula so much and for a movie about Freddie Mercury, it really should’ve been much more than what we got. Even as someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about the history of Queen, I could tell that there were some very clear inaccuracies in what was shown. Not only that but you can also feel the band’s clear influence on the production. I can’t get over that one scene where Freddie offers cocaine to the other band members but they turn it down because they are apparently perfectly reasonable and mature adults who wouldn’t dare dabble in drugs (in the 70s and 80s by the way). I’m just saying that decades from now there is probably going to be a Queen/Freddie Mercury movie that will portray the rest of the band as not being squeaky clean as they appear in Bohemian Rhapsody. Then there’s the treatment of Freddie Mercury the person in the second half which borders on flat out disrespect. Again, I don’t know too much about him but there are some things about how he’s portrayed which just felt wrong and even judgemental. I’m not sure whether it came from the surviving members of Queen or even Bohemian Rhapsody’s first director (who I’ll get into in a bit) but I felt it at times. Then there’s moments like him having AIDS before having him perform at Live Aid (because of course people who are diagnosed with AIDS are still perfectly able to perform like Freddie Mercury for a long period of time), even though in real life he was diagnosed 2 years after the event. I recall that there was an interview where Freddie Mercury said that he’d be fine with a movie about him, just as long as it wasn’t boring. Unfortunately Bohemian Rhapsody was that, putting aside the music of Queen, it reads more like an C grade adaptation of a Wikipedia page, an inaccurate one at that. I’m trying to think about the good parts about the movie outside of Rami Malek’s performance. I guess the rest of the acting is also decent, and the concert scenes especially the Live Aid performance was fun to watch. With that said, any director capable of making a movie could replicate the concerts and play Queen music over it while having the cast acting like they are performing it. If I’m being perfectly honest, the music of Queen is probably what made me enjoy the movie so much when I initially saw it. It just didn’t have a whole lot to offer outside of that.

An average movie getting nominated is one thing, it would’ve just been an undeserving nomination. I really don’t take film that seriously, I would’ve gotten over it. Yet you probably have noticed that I’m particularly against it for some reason outside of it not belonging amongst the other nominees, and you’d be right. What really has me against Bohemian Rhapsody is a particular person involved with this production, director Bryan Singer. If you don’t know why I’m referring to him, check out his Wikipedia page, there is an entire section with sexual abuse allegations against him. It’s been going on for years but Singer doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon despite all the allegations against him. Even after a recent long and troubling article (worth reading by the way) by The Atlantic about him, he’s still keeping his position as director of a Red Sonja movie due to the success of Bohemian Rhapsody. A year after Times Up, the Academy are really going to nominate a film directed by a sexual predator. I know people could make the case that he wasn’t the full time director and how he was fired during it, but he filmed most of it, his name is on the movie, and he was fired for not showing up to set for his own film, not because of all the things he did. I felt bad even paying to watch a Bryan Singer movie at the cinemas, and now with it having a chance at winning Best Picture, I feel even more guilty. Honestly when I watched it, I thought the only nomination it might’ve gotten was Best Actor but it got a ton of nominations. I’d prefer literally other nominee to win Best Picture over Bohemian Rhapsody, even my number 7 pick, which is saying a lot really all things considering everything with that movie. This is how I feel about Bohemian Rhapsody months after seeing it, I can only imagine how I’d feel about it on a rewatch.

My initial review of Bohemian Rhapsody

7. Green Book

When I first watched Green Book, I actually enjoyed it. It was entertaining and had great lead performances by Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. Despite all the backlash against it, I actually liked it quite a bit. As much as people claimed that it was acting like it ‘solved racism’, I saw it as a road trip movie focussing on the bond between two men who couldn’t be more different, it worked. It’s not great but it was quite good for what it was.

…with that said I’m completely with all the people who aren’t happy with its nomination for best picture. Green Book really is a rare case where receiving a bunch of awards attention actually makes the movie worse. As I mentioned before, the reason why I liked the movie when others hated it was that I saw the movie as not focussing on trying to ‘solve racism’, but rather focussing on a friendship that happens despite all racism they come up against. The more and more awards attention it gets however, makes me wonder whether my perception of the movie was just wishful thinking and whether it really was just a naïve and potentially racist take on racism. Because as a film about race, it is very misguided and flawed. From that perspective, I can really see how some people are calling this the film equivalent of “I’m not racist, I have a friend who is black”. 2018 was actually a great year for films about race, with great films like Blindspotting, Sorry to Bother You and BlacKKKlansman. However, the film out of all of them that is getting the most love and attention from voters was the modern day Driving Miss Daisy written and directed by white men. We all know that The Academy is often influenced by politics, but they also tend to be influenced by films that are more digestible and easy, leaning more into the easy and soft takes on issues instead of the hard hitting and difficult yet supremely better and honest takes. I’m just saying that if Green Book came out the same year as 12 Years a Slave, the former film would’ve received more attention than the latter.

It doesn’t help that it has quite possibly the worst PR campaign I’ve ever seen from an awards movie. On the same day that I uploaded my review, Peter Farrelly was revealed to have ‘revealed’ himself during meetings for films (as a ‘prank’ apparently) and an Islamophobic and pro Donald Trump tweet by Nick Vallelonga, one of the Green Book writers and the son of the real life Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga (who was played by Viggo Mortensen), resurfaced. That’s not even mentioning what happened months ago when Viggo Mortensen used a racial slur during an interview for Green Book and the family of the real Don Shirley hating the movie and calling it completely inaccurate. How this movie has managed to stay in the awards game for this long, I have no idea. After the two frontrunners for Best Picture, Green Book seems to be the potential third frontrunner and that’s especially worrying. I’d be fine with Mahershala Ali winning Best Supporting Actor, it would be well deserved, just not so happy with the movie winning anything else.

My review of Green Book

6. Black Panther

Despite my very strong and negative thoughts about the last two movies, I can promise that my thoughts on the rest of the nominees this point onwards are considerably more positive. Black Panther marks an achievement as the first comic book movie to be nominated for best picture, which is really worth praising (unless you hate comic book movies). Honestly there’s not a lot wrong with the movie. Sure the CGI in the last act can be very iffy but on the whole it does everything well and is among the best films in the entire MCU. The cast is also great, with the likes of Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o and others playing their roles very well. It’s Michael B. Jordan as Kilmonger however who’s the standout, as one of the best villains in the MCU. While Black Panther is director Ryan Coogler’s weakest movie to date, he does some great work here as well.

I do think there are comic book movies more deserving of a Best Picture nomination than Black Panther, even ones from this year. While I can also appreciate the significance of it, with it featuring mainly an African American cast and a unique setting, it is generally a pretty standard comic book movie, albeit a good one at that. However, it’s not like The Dark Knight came out the same year and they gave the nomination to Black Panther instead, I still consider this nomination as a good thing for comic book movies. There are also better movies than Black Panther that were released in 2018 but I don’t think we can complain about it not deserving nominations considering the previous 2 aforementioned nominees. So I don’t really have too much of a problem with it getting a Best Picture nomination nomination. As it was the first comic book movie to get nominated for Best Picture, I’m not expecting it to win at all, not that I’d complain (much) if it did win.

My review of Black Panther

5. Vice

Vice definitely is a very divisive movie. For many Best Picture ranking lists for this year, it would probably be the 3rd worst on the list, after Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book. It’s personally one of my favourite films of the year however, even though I can partially see why some people wouldn’t like it. It also have some great acting by its talented cast. Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell and Jesse Plemons don’t give some of their all time best performances but they were still great and played their roles quite well. However, it’s Christian Bale’s transformative performance as Dick Cheney that’s of course the standout, with his weight gain and makeup enhancing his performance instead of doing 90% of the job for him. I know some people are comparing his performance here to that of Gary Oldman’s in Darkest Hour but I strongly disagree. Bale is my pick for Best Actor out of the 5 nominees and it would be well deserved if he won (he’s probably the frontrunner anyway).

What turned many people off Vice was mainly two things. One was the way it told its story. There are some people who thought that it talked down to them, and that they just restated things that they already knew in a needlessly simple way. However as someone who was born in New Zealand and grew up there and being very young throughout the Bush Administration, I didn’t know all of what happened, so I did learn things from this movie. The other reason was the editing that really divided a lot of people, and while yes it could be a little too messy at times, I still thought that it was effective enough and worked for what director Adam McKay was going for. All in all, I’m more than fine with Vice being a Best Picture nominee and their nominations (even though I don’t get the Sam Rockwell nomination, as good as he was, Steve Carell had more screentime and made more of an impact). Vice pretty much has no chance at winning Best Picture compared to most of the other nominees but I like that it’s nominated nonetheless.

My review of Vice

4. A Star is Born

Despite my love for it when I first saw it, I don’t hold A Star is Born in high regard as I did when I first saw it. With that said, I still think it’s really good and has a lot of great things to it. The performances from Lady Gaga and Sam Elliott were really great, however, it’s Bradley Cooper’s performance that stood out the most, at times it didn’t even feel like I was watching Bradley Cooper on screen. He was unrecognisable at points and I’ve seen him in plenty of movies. Cooper’s debut at directing was really great overall, he definitely knows his way behind the camera and I’m looking forward to seeing him direct more movies. The music also was great, even though some songs are better than others, A Star is Born has one of the best soundtracks of the year. I was also invested in the story, despite its familiarity. The last act is particularly emotional and impactful.

In terms of problems, the story isn’t really anything special, while it handles a lot of the familiar plot points in a way that makes it feel fresh and not recycled, we’ve seen this sort of thing before (though that’s to be expected from a movie which is like the 4th remake of an original movie). Some people have also pointed out that the movie focusses more on A Star Falling (Cooper) than A Star Actually Being Born (Lady Gaga) and I can definitely see that, and so that is an aspect that doesn’t work quite as well in the movie. Outside of that I think it’s just that the impact that it had on me when I first saw it wore off a little bit over time. With that said, I still hold it in high regard and it’s currently in my top 15 of the year. I do admittedly need to watch it again sometime to see if it still holds up well but I’m confident with its placement on this list. A Star is Born is one of the frontrunners for Best Picture and while there are some other movies I’d prefer to win, I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to it winning.

My review of A Star is Born

3. BlacKKKlansman

BlacKKKlansman made an impact upon its release in a significant way and is one of my favourite movies of the year. It was able to balance the comedy and absurd elements as well as the more dramatic and sobering elements. The acting was also great, with John David Washington, Adam Driver (who finally earns his first Oscar nomination here), Laura Harrier, Topher Grace and more playing their roles excellently. The direction by Spike Lee is great, he really translated this story onto the big screen in such a great way. It really is Spike Lee’s best film in a while.

In terms of problems with BlacKKKlansman, I can’t think of much right now. I guess there are some criticisms about the movie that I can sort of see. For example, the criticism about the police generally being portrayed as a couple of bad apples and mostly not racist is one that I can understand, it did feel a little off given the time period. I guess I can also see why some people complain about the ending being too on the nose about the relevance of the story to today by flat out showing Charlottesville footage in the last moments of the movie, given that its prevalent throughout the entirety of the movie. However, it at least really drove that point in at the end in an unforgettable way, and it really was an effective gut punch. Maybe if I watch it again I’ll be more sure about certain about how I’ll feel about it. BlacKKKlansman unfortunately doesn’t seem to have any hype for winning awards outside potentially for Adapted Screenplay. All the same, I’m glad that it’s among the best picture nominees.

My review of BlacKKKlansman

2. Roma

Roma has been making its rounds at the awards, and it’s actually impressive all things considering. The story is simple, focussing on a family and being seen through the eyes of their maid, and it works incredibly well and just feels very real and genuine. It’s such an intimate film, yet after watching it, it felt like I had experienced something large and significant. The performances were also great. Despite much of the recent nominations from the Academy Awards being disappointing, I’m happy for the acting nominations that Roma received. Yalitza Aparicio particularly gives such a natural and effective lead performance. Roma was actually her first acting job, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of her in future movies. Of course it’s no surprise that Alfonso Cuaron’s direction is fantastic. Much like the rest of the movie, it’s not overbearing and flashy, it’s subtle and works excellently. Roma is one of, if not the best directed film of 2018.

I don’t think Roma is a movie that I’m necessarily going to watch again. It is slow paced and really only has a sense of direction in the second half of the movie. It doesn’t necessarily hurt the movie, just affects the rewatch factor of the whole movie, it’s still a fantastic film. Roma is definitely going to win Best Foreign Film and also seems to be one of the frontrunners for Best Picture, it would definitely be very deserving if it did end up winning. Even though I like my pick for number one more than this film, I’d be more than satisfied if Roma won Best Picture, it would be deserving.

My review of Roma

1. The Favourite

One of my all time favourite films of 2018, The Favourite is my pick for Best Picture. Everything from the direction, performances and writing were so great. Yorgos Lanthimos made such a unique period piece that we really haven’t seen before, and is his best film yet (although haven’t seen Dogtooth yet). The performances were outstanding by everyone. Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone are absolutely fantastic in their complex roles, giving some of the best performances of their careers. If they won for their nominated performances, they would be very well deserved. Even Nicholas Hoult was a scenestealer whenever he was on screen. However it’s the script that makes everything work so incredibly well. So well written, smart, hilarious, dark, twisted and effective. The dialogue especially makes The Favourite the most quotable movie of the year. All in all, The Favourite was one of my favourite experiences in the cinema.

I’m not expecting The Favourite to win Best Picture but it’s definitely got a strong chance at winning in other categories. Really Roma and A Star is Born are the frontrunners but I hope The Favourite is the third frontrunner (hopefully over Green Book). I hope at the very least they manage to pick one up for Best Original Screenplay, and maybe Best Actress (for Olivia Colman), as they would be very well deserved wins.

My review of The Favourite

What is your ranking of the Best Picture nominees and what did you feel about the recent nominations?

Black Panther (2018) Review

Time: 134 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther
Michael B. Jordan as Erik “Killmonger” Stevens
Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia
Danai Gurira as Okoye
Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross
Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi
Letitia Wright as Shuri
Winston Duke as M’Baku
Angela Bassett as Ramonda
Forest Whitaker as Zuri
Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue
Director: Ryan Coogler

After the death of his father, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king — and as Black Panther — gets tested when he’s drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people.

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Black Panther was one of my most anticipated films of 2018. Not only was it a Marvel movie and one focussing on Black Panther (who became one of my favourite MCU characters after Civil War) and not only does it have a fantastic cast, Ryan Coogler directed it. Coogler had already established himself as a director to pay attention to after Fruitvale Station and Creed, so naturally I was excited to see him work on a comic book movie. Black Panther definitely had the potential to be one of the best MCU films and having seen it, I can say that it didn’t disappoint.

Black Panther is yet another Marvel comic book movie and there are aspects of it that feel like a Marvel movie but yet it feels quite fresh and new. After the first few scenes, I was riveted with Black Panther through to the very end. The characters were really memorable and established very well. The themes explored in the movie was really effective and the social commentary was applied well and didn’t feel forced at all, they were very well integrated into the story. The MCU often had a problem with its humour, but Black Panther’s was effective for the most part and most importantly didn’t kill any dramatic or emotional moment just for a joke. Black Panther also doesn’t feel like it’s too connected to the rest of the MCU, there are character’s like Martin Freeman’s Ross and Andy Serkis’s Klaue who were in other Marvel movies and there may be a brief reference to the MCU but on the whole it’s standalone. On another note, there are a couple of post credit scenes, I liked them both but the first of them really should’ve been part of the actual movie itself. I’ve noticed that recent MCU movies such as Thor Ragnarok and Captain America Civil War have post credit scenes which don’t just tease the future movies but are also important to the actual movie itself, so when these scenes are placed after the credits it feels like they just didn’t know where to put the scene. I just wished that they would handle these scenes better.

The characters in Black Panther are great and Coogler has a fantastic cast playing them. Chadwick Boseman is once again great as T’Challa/Black Panther. T’Challa is quite a different character compared to the other MCU heroes, he is more serious and isn’t a constant humorous quipper like some of the more recent characters like Ant Man, but he does have moments of levity. More importantly though, he is a king and so it feels very fresh and new watching this type of character in the lead role. With his solo movie, T’Challa once again shows himself to be one of the best characters in the MCU and Boseman again killed it. The supporting cast with Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Martin Freeman, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett and others do quite well, Letitia Wright was particularly a stand out as T’Challa’s sister. It’s common for Marvel villains to not be that great, every so often you’ll have a Loki or a Vulture but on the whole, they just end up being passable. Thankfully, not only is Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger great, he is one of the best villains in this cinematic universe. He is very well established and written and you can really understand why he does the things he does and maybe even agree with his views, even if you don’t agree with his methods. Aside from an early scene though, he’s mostly just in the second half of the movie, however he absolutely steals every scene he’s in. The other villain is Andy Serkis as Klaue (who was established in Avengers Age of Ultron in a rare motion-capture-less role) and he is very entertaining when he’s on screen.

Ryan Coogler once again shows himself to be a really great director. The action scenes were great, very well shot and choregraphed. Coogler also portrayed the fictional country of Wakanda greatly, from the production design to the costume design, everything feels different from anything you’ve seen. There are some truly great cinematography at times. The music was also really good, one of the more memorable score of the MCU movies. There were some action sequences that took place at night that were difficult to see and the CG as times looked a little fake, especially with some of the big action sequences, however they aren’t close to being the worse CG ever. Despite these aspects, most of the direction was great.

Black Panther was really great and surpassed my expectations. Yes it’s entertaining and watching the action sequences are enjoyable but it’s really the story and characters that stood out the most to me. It separated itself from other Marvel and comic book movies and is really something special. I don’t know yet if I’d call it the best MCU movie but it’s at least in the top 2, and after many movies since Captain America The Winter Soldier, that’s saying a lot.

Top 25 Anticipated Movies of 2018

I’m currently catching up on the 2017 movies (and by that I mean impatiently waiting for some of them to actually release in New Zealand) and I thought I might as well do my list of movies that I’m most looking forward to. Of course I’m not aware of every single movie that’s coming out in 2018 but I’ve done some searching around in terms of films coming out this year, and this is my personal list.

25. Mary, Queen of Scots

I first heard about this movie with the two leads, Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie being involved. It takes quite a bit for a period piece film to interest me and it seemed that Ronan and Robbie were enough to do that.

Mary Stuart’s (Saoirse Ronan) attempt to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England (Margot Robbie), finds her condemned to years of imprisonment before facing execution.

I’ll admit, it’s just really the cast that interests me, particularly Saoirse Ronan (Mary, Queen of Scots) and Margot Robbie (Queen Elizabeth I) and also David Tennant and Guy Pearce. I don’t know much about Mary, Queen of Scots or Queen Elizabeth I and I’ve not seen anything from director Josie Rourke. It’s really just the cast that makes me has my interest, I have no doubt that they will be great in it. Whether the film on the whole will be great remains to be seen.

Mary, Queen of Scots is set for release on November 1st 2018

24. Ant Man and the Wasp

I personally liked Ant Man, I wouldn’t call it one of the best of the MCU but it was reasonably entertaining. I didn’t really know how excited I would be for a sequel but there’s enough things here to interest me.

In the aftermath of ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to re-balance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from their past.

Along with returning actors like Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena and Michael Douglas we also have some new actors involved with Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne and Walton Goggins. As for the plot, along with Evangeline Lilly’s character of Hope becoming The Wasp, the film will apparently involve the quantum realm, which was explored briefly in the first film. This allows for more crazy visuals and creativity and I’m completely on board for that. I’m not expecting anything immensely great from Ant Man and the Wasp but it should be something rather good.

Ant Man and the Wasp is set for release on July 5th 2018.

23. Mortal Engines

I first heard about Mortal Engines when I heard that it was going to be a fantasy film produced by Peter Jackson. Although I haven’t read the books that it is based on, the premise is enough to get me at least somewhat interested in it.

Many years after the “Sixty Minute War,” cities survive a now desolate Earth by moving around on giant wheels attacking and devouring smaller towns to replenish their resources.

We got a teaser trailer a little while ago, it looks pretty good but outside of the premise I don’t really know what to expect. The only actors involved that I recognise are Hugo Weaving and Stephen Lang. Because of Peter Jackson’s involvement however, I’m on board with this movie.

Mortal Engines is set for release on December 13th 2018.

22. Mary Magdalene

Normally I’m not interested in biblical stories, however both the cast’s involvement as well as the director got me interested in this movie. There’s a lot of talent involved and that makes me intrigued to see what this movie is like.

Set in the Holy Land in the first century C.E., a young woman (Rooney Mara) leaves her small fishing village and traditional family behind to join a radical new social movement. At its head is a charismatic leader, Jesus of Nazareth (Joaquin Phoenix), who promises that the world is changing. Mary is searching for a new way of living, and an authenticity that is denied her by the rigid hierarchies of the day. As the notoriety of the group spread and more are drawn to follow Jesus’ inspirational message, Mary’s spiritual journey places her at the heart of a story that will lead to the capital city of Jerusalem, where she must confront the reality of Jesus’ destiny and her own place within it.

Garth Davis had previously worked on Lion, so that already has me somewhat curious in checking out the Mary Magdalene movie. Also as I previously mentioned, the cast is excellent. We’ve got Rooney Mara as Mary Magdalene, Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus Christ and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Peter. All of these are very talented actors. As I said, the story didn’t initially interest me and the trailers have done really nothing to elevate my anticipation levels but to see all these talented people involved makes me interested in checking out this movie.

Mary Magdalene will be released in March 29th, 2018.

21. Solo: A Star Wars Story

It’s not usual for a Star Wars movie to be low on my anticipated films lists, it was already low on my anticipated films list because it feels quite unnecessary to do a Han Solo movie. My scepticism of the film was worsened as directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were replaced by Ron Howard halfway during filming (if you haven’t heard about all that drama look into it). However, I can’t deny that I’m still looking forward to it, it’s a Star Wars movie, I can’t help it.

The story is centered on a young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), the roguish smuggler who later meets Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker in the Mos Eisley Cantina.

Solo: A Star Wars Story does have some good actors involved like Alden Ehrenreich (as Han Solo), Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson and more. It is also written by Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan and Ron Howard can direct some good things. So there are good elements here for a good movie. The problem is that the whole movie just feels so unnecessary, I honestly have no idea how this film will turn out. But I can guarantee that I’m going to watch this on the day of its release.

Solo: A Star Wars story is set for release on May 24th 2018.

20. Isle of Dogs

I’ve admittedly only seen a few of Wes Anderson movies, that being the Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonlight Kingdom and Fantastic Mr Fox. However I really liked those movies, so I can imagine that I’ll really like his next film, Isle of Dogs.

In the future, an outbreak of canine flu leads the mayor of a Japanese city to banish all dogs to an island that’s a garbage dump. The outcasts must soon embark on an epic journey when a 12-year-old boy arrives on the island to find his beloved pet.

The voice cast is long and includes Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Billy Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Ken Watanabe, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel, Live Schreiber, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton and F. Murray Abraham. On top of that, it’s a Wes Anderson movie and while I haven’t seen many of his films, I really dig his unique style and this will be his second animated/stop motion movie after Fantastic Mr Fox. With Isle of Dogs, I’m expecting another quirky and unique film from Wes Anderson that will probably be one of the highlights of 2018.

Isle of Dogs is set for release on May 19th 2018.

19. You Were Never Really Here

I have heard a lot of buzz about this movie. At the Cannes Film Festival it won best screenplay and best actor and those who have seen it have loved it. With that and the trailers, I have to say I’m quite intrigued with this movie.

A contract killer (Joaquin Phoenix) uncovers a conspiracy while trying to save a kidnapped teen from a life of prostitution.

Joaquin Phoenix is a phenomenal actor and he without a doubt has delivered an excellent performance here. Aside from that, all of my hype for this movie came from the trailers and all the hype I’ve heard about it. This film looks very stylised, visually stunning and brutal. I don’t know what to expect at all, even after watching the trailers but it must be something special to be already generating this amount of buzz.

You Were Never Really Here is set for release on April 6th 2018.

18. Halloween

I found it weird that we are getting a Halloween movie now 9 years after the last Halloween movie ( 15 years if we aren’t including the Rob Zombie films). However there’s a lot here that has me interested. First of all, it’s not a remake or reboot, second of all its going to be a direct sequel to the original Halloween that completely disregards the sequels. That in itself has me confident.

Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.

One of the things that has me interested in Halloween 2018 is the director. David Gordon Green (who also wrote the screenplay alongside Danny McBride) is a pretty good director with Pineapple Express, Stronger but especially Joe, so I’m confident that he will do a great job with Halloween. Jamie Lee Curtis also returns to reprise her role as Laurie Strode, this version of Laurie has her confronting Myers 40 years later and so it’ll be interesting to see what direction they will take her character. Honestly, I’m not quite sure what to expect but everything so far looks great and as someone who liked the original film and hasn’t seen the sequels or remakes, I’m looking forward to it.

Halloween is set for release on October 18th 2018

17. Mowgli

In 2016, Disney had their own live action Jungle Book movie, which I liked quite a bit. 2 years later, Warner Brothers have their own take on Jungle Book coming with Andy Serkis directing, this time titled as Mowgli. It seems weird seeing another Jungle Book movie a mere 2 years after the last one but looking at the people involved and most of all how different the take on the story will be, I can’t help but be excited for it.

The story follows the upbringing of the human child Mowgli (Rohan Chand), raised by a wolf pack in the jungles of India. As he learns the often harsh rules of the jungle, under the tutelage of a bear named Baloo (Andy Serkis) and a panther named Bagheera (Christian Bale), Mowgli becomes accepted by the animals of the jungle as one of their own. All but one: the fearsome tiger Shere Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch). But there may be greater dangers lurking in the jungle, as Mowgli comes face to face with his human origins.

First of all there is a lot of talent involved. Andy Serkis directs and along with him, Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hollander, Cate Blanchett, Naomie Harris, Jack Reynor and Eddie Marsan all do motion capture performances. However, the thing that’s most interesting to me at least is the different take its going to have. This version of The Jungle Book story is a more genuine adaptation of the classic novel, and is darker. On top of that it is shot with a mix of motion capture and live locations and knowing Serkis’s familiarity with motion capture, that aspect will undoubtedly be superb. I’m pretty sure that Mowgli is going to end up surprising a lot of people who are just expecting a retread of 2016’s Jungle Book.

Mowgli is set for release on October 18th 2018.

16. God Particle

This film was originally set for release in 2017. So below is pretty much my same thoughts.
Despite being titled God Particle, it is part of the Cloverfield trilogy which for whatever reason don’t really connect to each other but they actually might. However I’m not interested in the movie because of the connection, I’m interested because of the premise and the cast, also JJ Abrams is producing.

Astronauts must fight for their lives after making a terrifying discovery in outer space.

I have no idea how this movie will connect to Cloverfield or 10 Cloverfield Lane, however either way I’m sure this movie will be great on its own. I just hope the ‘terrifying discovery’ is a twist that pays off. This movie also stars Elizabeth Debicki, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daniel Bruhl, David Oyelowo and many more talented actors. The director, Julius Onah, is someone who haven’t done many movies but then again that’s the case with 10 Cloverfield Lane’s director, so that doesn’t really concern me. It does concern me that God Particle was pushed from 2017 to February 2018, only to be pushed back a further 2 months but hopefully that doesn’t say anything about the movie itself. Overall God Particle is a movie I’m cautiously curious about, and I can only hope it pays off.

God Particle is set for release on April 20th 2018 (unless it gets pushed back again).

15. Mission Impossible 6

The Mission Impossible franchise has been great recently, with 4 and 5 being among the best in the series. Naturally with the same team returning for the sequel, I’m on board.

Christopher McQuarrie returns to direct and write Mission Impossible 6 and while I liked the tradition of each Mission Impossible film having a different director, I loved McQuarrie’s work on Rogue Nation and so I’m happy to see him return. Along with the returning cast with Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin and Sean Harris, we also have Henry Cavill and Angela Bassett, who will no doubt prove to be good additions to the movie and franchise. I don’t know yet what the plot will be about but I don’t really need to know, if it’s anything like Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation, then I’m happy.

Mission Impossible 6 is set for release on August 2nd 2018

14. Deadpool 2

While I don’t love Deadpool as much as I did when I first saw it in the cinemas, I still really like it. Along with some notable X-Men characters being introduced for the sequel, John Wick director David Leitch is involved and that instantly increased my interest in the film. Hopefully it’ll try some new things while still feeling like a Deadpool film.

After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavor – finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World’s Best Lover.

Along with the returning cast of Ryan Reynolds (who is a perfect Deadpool), Morena Baccarin and Brianna Hildebrand, we have new actors and characters with Josh Brolin as Cable and Zazie Beetz as Domino, although I haven’t read comics involving them, they are a big deal, so it’s going to be interesting to see what parts they are going to play here. Instead of Tim Story who did the first Deadpool, the sequel is directed by David Leitch, who had co-directed John Wick and directed Atomic Blonde, so that makes me quite excited for this film. At the very least the action is going to be something special.

Deadpool 2 is set for release on May 31st 2018.

UPDATE:

Deadpool 2 is now set for release on May 18th 2018.

13. The Predator

I’ve only seen the original Predator, I haven’t seen Predator 2 or Predators but I heard that they weren’t all that great. 8 years after the last attempt at a solo Predator movie, Shane Black is here to direct The Predator. I gotta say, I’m intrigued to see Black has planned for the next Predator movie.

The cast alone is so great, with Boyd Holbrook, Jacob Tremblay, Yvonne Strahovski, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Trevante Rhodes and more. I’m a big fan of Shane Black, who’s directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guys, so I’m happy to see him take on the Predator franchise. On top of his credible work, he also starred in the original Predator, so that helps a lot. Whether this is a full on dark and brutal Predator film or a action comedy Predator film, I can’t wait to see what Black has in store for us.

The Predator is set for release on August 2nd 2018.

12. X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Although I gave it a lot of love upon its release, X-Men Apocalypse was a little disappointing (even though I still like it). It could’ve and should’ve been so much more. It’s follow up, Dark Phoenix has the potential to be something good. Admittedly I’m a little worried about some things but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for it.

Jean Grey begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix. Now the X-Men will have to decide if the life of a team member is worth more than all the people living in the world.

We get the returning surviving cast from Apocalypse with James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner and more, and we also have Jessica Chastain as apparently the main antagonist of the film. I do have a few concerns, one of them is Simon Kinberg as the director. He has written and produced a lot of movies (including most of the X-Men movies) but this is his directional debut, so I have no idea how he’ll do at it. However, Kinberg himself has discussed some of the things that didn’t work in Apocalypse. He said that it became more about visual effects than emotion and character, and that with Dark Phoenix he wanted to focus more on the characters. This give me some hope for Dark Phoenix. Along with that, it’s an X-Men movie, I can’t help but be interested to see what happens here.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix is set for release on November 1st 2018.

11. Thoroughbreds

I’ll be honest, I really only heard of this movie because Anya Taylor-Joy, Olivia Cooke and Anton Yelchin (in one of his last film appearances) are in it, so that had me already interested. After looking at the plot and trailers as well however, it’s one of my most anticipated films of the whole year.

Two upper-class teenage girls (Anya Taylor-Joy, Olivia Cooke) in suburban Connecticut rekindle their unlikely friendship after years of growing apart. Together, they hatch a plan to solve both of their problems — no matter what the cost.

As I said, the cast with Anya Taylor-Joy, Olivia Cooke, Anton Yelchin and Paul Sparks will no doubt give some great performances. I can’t describe why but something about the premise and the style shown in the trailers also has me very intrigued. This is director/writer Cory Finley’s first film but early reactions to Thoroughbreds have also been quite positive, so that has me pretty excited for it.

Thoroughbreds is set for release on March 9th 2018.

10. Sicario 2: Soldado

I was pondering for a while whether I was going to put this on the list. Sicario was one of the best films of 2015 but a sequel really wasn’t that necessary. However there’s enough talent involved with it that I’m willing to give it a chance.

The drug war on the US-Mexico border has escalated as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border. To fight the war, federal agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) re-teams with the mercurial Alejandro (Benicio del Toro).

Along with the sequel being unnecessary, not only is Sicario lead Emily Blunt not returning, director Denis Villeneuve isn’t returning either and its Stefano Sollima who is in charge. I don’t know anything noteworthy that he’s done. From the original film, Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin return, as well as writer Taylor Sheridan. Sheridan has written a number of great films and del Toro and Brolin were great in the original film (especially del Toro). The trailer also looked pretty good, a little more action oriented than Sicario but nonetheless interesting enough. Despite the sequel being unnecessary and having a terrible title (it should’ve been just called Soldado), I am still cautiously optimistic and am willing to give it a watch, I’m just not expecting it to be at the same level as the original.

Sicario 2: Soldado is set for release on June 28th 2018.

9. The New Mutants

Fox seems to be making a lot of unique comic book movies recently, an R rated comedy with Deadpool, a gritty western with Logan and now we get a horror with The New Mutants. This is unlike any other comic book movie that has come beforehand. I’m always interested in comic book movies and I’m even more interested in comic book movies that try new things, and New Mutants seems to be doing just that.

Five young mutants, just discovering their abilities while held in a secret facility against their will, fight to escape their past sins and save themselves.

First of all it has some very talented actors with Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams and Charlie Heaton being a few notable stars. The director and writer is Josh Boone, who directed and wrote The Fault in Our Stars (I’ve never seen it but I heard its good), and apparently New Mutants is inspired by the works of Stephen King and John Hughes. With a smaller (but talented) cast and most of the film taking place in one location, it seems to be a much smaller film which is definitely welcome given some of the more larger than life comic book movies recently. The main point of interest however is that it will be the first horror based comic book movie and from the trailer, it seems to be going all in. Even if it just ends up being a teen horror movie with mutants, it’s something that hasn’t happened in the comic book movie genre, so I’m definitely looking forward to it.

The New Mutants is set for release on April 12th 2018.

UPDATE:
As of the 12th of January 2018, The New Mutants has been pushed back an astonishing 10 months to February 22nd 2019.
Apparently, after NEW MUTANTS tested well but not great, the studio decided to actually embrace the film’s horror elements and beef up the scares in the wake of the success of IT and GET OUT last year (I guess the movie didn’t have as much horror elements as much as the trailer suggested. I am definitely concerned seeing as this movie was pushed back 10 months for reshoots, it seems that they are going to be changing a lot. And it is disappointing that we are going to have to wait for pretty much a year before we get to see it. On the other hand, it could potentially lead to a more unique movie, with it being more horror based. Let’s just hope that these reshoots improve the movie and aren’t just a reactionary decision by the studio, Justice League has now made me concerned everytime a studio decides to do reshoots to change a movie.

The New Mutants is now set for release on February 22nd 2019

8. Venom

I’m surprised that this movie is even on this list. The initial idea many months ago sounded like it could have some problems. First of all, it’s Sony who’s creating this (and as evidence by the treatment of some of their franchises, it doesn’t always work out well), second of all Sony seem to be creating their own Spider-Man universe without Spider-Man. However at the same time there is so much things about it that has me intrigued.

It is the first supervillain movie (I’m not quite sure if Suicide Squad counts) and with the R rating (unless they make any changes) it will allow them to go full out dark, kinda like what Fox has been doing with some of their recent Marvel movies with Deadpool and Logan. With Tom Hardy as Venom and a cast that also includes Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate and Woody Harrelson, we’ve got a large amount of talented actors involved. The director, Ruben Fleischer has done Zombieland and Gangster Squad, so I don’t know how it will turn out. That goes for the whole movie honestly, it’s an unusual project and it can turn out many different ways but at the same time, out of all the comic book movies this year it’s probably the one that interests me the most.

Venom is set for release on October 4th 2018.

7. Backseat

Backseat is about Dick Cheney, the Vice President to George W. Bush. A whole film based around Dick Cheney already has a lot of potential but add on top of that the talented cast and director and it has the makings of a great film.

The story of Dick Cheney (Christian Bale), as he goes from CEO of Halliburton to Vice President under George W. Bush, where he was a key supporter of the war in Iraq

Adam McKay proved himself to be not only a good director but a great director with The Big Short. Backseat also has a fantastic cast with Christian Bale as Dick Cheney, Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld, Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush and Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney. Bale particularly seems like he’s going to give an impressive performance, especially in how unrecognisable he is as Dick Cheney just in terms of physical appearance. Although I admittedly don’t know a whole lot about Dick Cheney, from what I can tell Adam McKay got a lot of material to work with and he certainly has a lot of talent to work with. Backseat definitely seems like it could be one of the highlights of 2018 films.

Backseat is set for release in 2018.

6. Avengers: Infinity War

I must preface this with that I know that this movie could fail absolutely horribly. It has so many characters involved with Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, the Guardians of the Galaxy and seemingly most of the main MCU characters. If it somehow works out well, it will be a remarkable achievement. However I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t excited, and the first trailer does look great.

Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet — the evil Thanos (Josh Brolin). On a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, Thanos plans to use the artifacts to inflict his twisted will on reality. The fate of the planet and existence itself has never been more uncertain as everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment.

Infinity War is directed by The Russo Brothers, who have already directed 2 MCU films: a surprisingly great film that’s the best of the MCU (The Winter Soldier) and a decent but disappointing movie (Civil War). Their involvement leaves me with mixed feelings, I don’t think they did well in handling multiple characters in Civil War and they are handling even more characters in Infinity War. With that said, there’s another Avengers movie coming out next year, the Infinity Gauntlet story is basically stretched over 2 movies, so it could work. Even though I have many worries, I can’t help but be excited, this is the 10th year for the MCU and Infinity War is ultimately the culmination of the multiple films in the series. I just hope The Russo Brothers can pull it off.

Avengers: Infinity War is set for release on April 25th 2018.

5. Black Panther

Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther was one of, if not the best part of Captain America Civil War, and it made me extremely excited to see what his solo film had in store for us. The trailers have only heightened my anticipation and with all the talent involved, I can’t see this movie not being something magnificent.

Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) springs into action when an old enemy (Michael B. Jordan) threatens the fate of his nation and the world.

Ryan Coogler has done some great work with Creed and Fruitvale Station, so naturally with him helming the movie, its in great hands. Along with Chadwick Boseman returning to the role of Black Panther we have a great supporting cast with Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Martin Freeman, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Daniel Kaluuya, Andy Serkis and more. Honestly this film has the potential to be the best MCU film yet, and I mean like Winter Soldier level. At the very least I’m pretty sure it’ll end up being one of the best in the series.

Black Panther is set for release on February 15th 2018.

4. First Man

With First Man featuring a great cast and be a story about Neil Armstrong gets me interests me. But having Damien Chazelle direct this film increases my anticipation level even higher, his involvement was pretty much all I needed for me to be on board for it.

A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling), and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969.

There is a great cast involved, with Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong and Claire Foy, Jon Bernthal, Jason Clarke, Corey Stoll, Cory Michael Smith, Kyle Chandler and Pablo Schrieber in supporting roles. This naturally had me interested but its Damien Chazelle’s involvement that really has me pumped. His direction of both Whiplash and La La Land, both excellent films, has me interested in every film he’s involved with. It is strange seeing Chazelle take on a non music film but I have no doubt that First Man will be nothing less than great. Nonetheless I’m excited to see what Chazelle and co. are going to do.

First Man is set for release on October 11th 2018.

3. Annihilation

This is the next film by director Alex Garland, who’s last film was Ex Machina. Some have called the original novel its based on unfilmable, and there was some clashes over distribution of the film due to the potentially odd aspects, leading to it set to be released on Netflix. This has only intrigued me more, movies that have had a divisive and challenging response on people tend to interest me. Add a talented cast on top of that, and you get one of the most anticipated films of the year.

A biologist (Natalie Portman) searches for her missing husband (Oscar Isaac) while on an expedition with a secret agency and discovers a dangerous creature lurking in the wilderness.

Even from the two trailers I don’t have a clear idea what Annihilation is outside of its main premise but the talent involved is good. It’s got some really great actors with Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Oscar Isaac and of course Alex Garland is a very talented director. I have no idea what to expect with Annihilation but I’m board with whatever it is.

Annihilation is set for release on February 22nd 2018.

2. Aquaman

Aquaman is the only DCEU film released in 2018, which in some ways is good as it allows WB to get everything sorted out and sort out everything (which they really need to do as shown with Justice League). I liked Jason Momoa’s Aquaman in Justice League and I’m interested in seeing his own film, with all the talent involved it looks like it could be something special.

Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and to be a hero to the world.

James Wan has done great films in the past and although most of them are horror, Furious 6 has shown that he can do action as well. Along with Jason Momoa and Amber Heard who return from Justice League we have some more talented actors with Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Temuera Morrison and Dolph Lungren, and with that cast involved I’m looking forward to what film they are going to give us. My main concern like with any upcoming DCEU film, is that if it will receive studio interference, especially seeing as only 2 of the 5 films in the series didn’t have any kind of interference whatsoever. So as long as WB doesn’t try to mess with Wan’s vision, it should be something great.

Aquaman is set for release on December 20th 2018

1. Widows

Surprisingly, my most anticipated film of 2018 isn’t a comic book movie or a Star Wars movie. With a great director, writer and talented cast, Widows has so much potential. To be honest I’m not really sure what I’m expecting, but I think its going to be something incredible, given the people involved.

Set in contemporary Chicago, amidst a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities take fate into their own hands and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.

Simply put, the talent involved is what has me most interested. Steve McQueen has directed 12 Years a Slave and Shame, two truly great and impactful films. The screenplay is also written by Gillian Flynn, who wrote and adapted her book Gone Girl into a great film directed by David Fincher. Here, she’s adapting the TV series of the same name (that I’ve never seen). Add on top of that a large and talented cast: yhis cast includes Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya, Liam Neeson, Robert Duvall, Carrie Coon, Jacki Weaver and Jon Bernthal. With that director, that writer and that large and talented cast, I can’t see Widows being anything less than incredible.

Widows is set for release on November 15th 2018.

What are your most anticipated films of 2018? Comment below and let me know.