A little more than a week ago, I wrote about the first half of this decade in film, and a brief bit about why I appreciated each film. Today I am back to finish the decade.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Furious 7 is not the best Fast and Furious film, but it is the most emotional. Paul Walker died half way through filming, and finished the film through digital wizardry and his brothers’ help as stand-ins. I cannot watch it to this day without tearing up. It is how Leia/Carrie Fisher should have had her send off in Star Wars.
Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man are both solid entries in the Marvel universe, Ant-Man being funny as hell. Mad Max was the first in it’s series in many years, and the first without Mel Gibson as the star. I didn’t mind Mel being out, and it was a very fun and way more impactful film that I think it meant to be.
The Martian was based on a very popular internet book turned bestseller. (I am actually re-reading it now) and an excellent film starring Matt Damon. It is hard to sum up how The Force Awakens was both widely anticipated and feared at the same time. It was the first Star Wars film since Revenge of the Sith, and given how the prequels messed up, people didn’t want more bad Star Wars films. For my part, I really enjoy it as a solid Star Wars movie. This year had many good movies, but I gotta pick the Martian as my top film from 2015.
Captain America: Civil War
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Holy cow I love 2016’s top films! My only complaint about Civil War is that given the scope of the story, it really should be an Avengers’ film. But I love everything about it. Arrival is based on a Chinese sci-fi novel and it is amazing. It is the most realistic alien encounter film I have ever seen, and the best family drama sci-fi as well.
Passengers is the best of what science fiction should be: a fantastic setting that tells a very human story and contains a horrendous moral dilemma. Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence are incredible. But the movie that wins 2016 is Rogue One. The cast is superb, the story tight and compelling, and the emotional arc is bittersweet. Couldn’t be better and a fantastic Star Wars story. Obviously, my pick for the year.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
It should be obvious by now that I love superhero films. Anyway, Logan was the first R rated X-Men film, and a very real character drama that happened to be about a superhuman. Such a good, emotional movie. Wonder Woman was the first superhero film entirely about a woman, and like the first Captain America movie was a period war film. I loved that it was set in World War One as it entirely complemented everything that Diana started out opposing in her very black and white world view. I loved Gal Gadot in this role. Thor: Ragnarok switched up the formula of the previous two Thor films and gave audiences a hilarious, wacky and wild thrill ride. I enjoy the everloving hell out of it every time I watch it.
Finally, Baby Driver is a musical masquerading as a car/heist film. Despite having the slimy but ever good Kevin Spacey in it, it is a great action film. Lastly, the Last Jedi proved the sequels could be very good. This Star Wars should have won awards, but the journey of Rey, Luke, and Kylo was piercing and thought provoking. My pick? Last Jedi.
Avengers: Infinity War
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Mission Impossible: Fallout
Black Panther was a truly African film. I love that about it. Everyone that mattered in the story was black, and the film really had some important things to say about race, all the while masquerading as a superhero film. I mean, the final battle was literally staged on an underground railroad. I just wish Samuel L. Jackson could have been in it, or that James Earl Jones could have had a part. Avengers: Infinity War was a total gut punch, but you kind of had to have the Avengers lose before they could rise triumphant, but I didn’t think Marvel actually had the guts to go through with it.
Solo was great. I know many didn’t like it, or feel it was “necessary” but I loved it. Alden Ehrenreich was great as Han. And I always love seeing Chewie. Finally, Fallout was a great Mission: Impossible film. M:I should be about “how could they possibly pull this off” and I felt Fallout was the first to really cash in on that idea since M:I3. But my best from this year has to be Black Panther.
Captain Marvel is Marvel’s first female superhero film and it is great. I love Brie Larson and the movie is very fun. Endgame fully ends the saga began with Iron Man in many more ways than one. Brings everything up from Infinity War and doesn’t cheapen the previous loss at all.
Knives Out was the break out film of the year. I expected it to be good as Rian Johnson, he of Last Jedi, wrote and directed it, but damn was it good. So much fun, so twisty, and just plain fun. But for this year, I have to go with Endgame. It was such a perfect Marvel film, and perfectly wrapped up the previous 22 films. Impossible to pull off and yet.
Let me know your favorite films from this half of the last decade. By the way, I found it really hard to pick an all time favorite from each year, and simply could not for the decade. All the films I highlighted were incredible and fun. Besides, it isn’t always about having just one favorite. Sometimes its ok to have two, or ten. Just enjoy what you enjoy, even if it isn’t what someone else enjoys. After all, the world is big enough for all of us is we share with one another.