As we head into winter and watch the leaves and rain fall, we’ll soon see the end of the year films released that are always Oscar contenders. But before that batch of movies hits your local cinema, we’re going to recap our top ten movies for the year of 2018.
10. Avengers: Infinity War
Accomplishing the impressive balancing act of creating a film starring over a dozen characters and staying fun, entertaining, and interesting, this Marvel flick finally properly introduces the baddest baddie of the MCU, Thanos. Finally bent on collecting the Infinity stones needed to build his gauntlet of power, Thanos is the villain who delivers on a sense of scale, bringing the fate of half the universe into jeopardy. He’s also one of the more interesting antagonists these films have created, bringing a sense of grey morality to his actions. He’s a bad guy, but has an intriguing motive. Ending on an uncharacteristically down note and the clear low point for our heroes, it makes our anticipation for the conclusion that much higher.
9. Mission Impossible: Fallout
As an action movie, it succeeds by leaps and bounds. Each set piece is pretty extraordinary and fun. That added element of Cruise still doing his own stunts makes the audience that much more invested, and the helicopter chase in the climax is one of the best in the series. I don’t think it surpasses “Ghost Protocol” in the action department overall, and there’s no set piece that outdoes the suspense and creativity of the building wall climb, but it holds its own.
8. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
So I guess everybody agrees this is amazing, eh? Well, it was good. I give it a little extra than just good because I like plots about multiple dimensions and such, and it felt like it was trying something different. Origin stories are done to death in comic book movies these days, but you can bet your bottom dollar you’ve never seen one done like this.
7. Instant Family
A surprisingly warm, pathos filled dramedy about two house flippers who decide to give adopting kids a try. What makes this an especially rewarding viewing is that it succeeds with the comedy and the drama, when too often a film aims to fill both genres and they don’t end up filling either. The ugly side of raising kids is not overlooked, while the funny situations of everyday life are also mined to their comic extent.
6. Ant Man and the Wasp
With the summer blockbuster season already well underway, and Marvel’s tent pole giant ‘Avengers Infinity War’ released over a month ago, here comes their third film of the year. I’m happy to say it not only is nowhere near the point of franchise fatigue, but it might make it out as my favorite Marvel movie of the year.
5. Isle of Dogs
If you’ve ever seen a Wes Anderson movie, you probably know what to expect. He makes a movie that’s well thought out in its visuals, whether it be colors, character placement, or camera framing. On top of that, his movies are always filled with unique characters, great performances, and a unique story. Here, he delivers his usual visual flair in this stop motion adventure that’s curiously enough, set in Japan. The plot concerns a boy desperately searching for his beloved dog in a world that rejects canines, and contains a heavy theme of connection in spite of a language barrier, both between English and Japanese speakers, and between humans and dogs.
4. Ready Player One
Spielberg is back and his latest film is a lot of fun, filled to the brim with vivid imagery, pop cultural references, and an epic story. It’s a movie founded on visual flair and eye candy, which would normally be a recipe for a boring experience. There’s so many digital effects to construct this virtual world that more than half of it hardly qualifies as live action. However, the effects have great style and charm which is good, because it very easily could have been shallow and bland looking. It’s also supported with a fun adventure rooted in our actual online connected world and nostalgia obsessed culture, and a relatable protagonist to keep the audience invested.
3. Mary Poppins Returns
Disney warmed our hearts in 1964 with ‘Mary Poppins’, a likely childhood favorite of many generations that has stood the test of time. Now, 54 years later, it’s finally getting a sequel, but does it hold its own and feel worth the wait? Well, I’m happy to say it stands alongside recent musical classics like ‘La La Land’ and ‘Into the Woods’, and it is a pure delight from beginning to end.
An exceptional follow up for director Steve McQueen. His last film, ’12 Years A Slave’, was more emotionally harrowing, but this is a very different type of movie. A simple heist film is the way it’s been marketed, but McQueen uses this as a general framework for a complex exploration into society’s troubles with race, gender, politics, and religion.
1. Incredibles 2
Universal praise was lavished all over ‘The Incredibles’ when it came out in late 2004. With this follow up 14 years in the making, in between we’ve seen all three ‘Cars’ films, a Toy Story sequel, a Finding Nemo sequel, and a Monsters Inc prequel. With all that happening in that time, can it be that this sequel is quite simply…Incredible…Too?