We’re just over halfway through 2018, and there have been plenty of blockbuster movies so far (and some less than great movies as well). So let’s take a look at our favorites, least favorites, and most anticipated films of the year!
Nathaniel: Infinity War by far. It was funny, sad, and had one of the bravest endings ever. One of the most emotional movies of the year.
Justin: Avengers: Infinity War. It was just so well done. They juggled a ton of characters with expert skill, seamlessly weaving their stories together and giving everyone ample screen time. The ending was badass, and it’s a perfect set up for the next chapter.
Dave: Black Panther! The world building was fascinating and it opened up a part of the MCU that is hugely unexplored. Can’t wait for more.
Rory: Although the summer blockbusters are still ongoing, there will never be a movie as big as Avengers: Infinity War, which is part one of the ten-year culmination of everything Marvel Studios has been working towards. With a running time of 149 minutes, it balances so many characters with many great moments of action, comedy and drama that not only entertains you with a high positive energy, but it also has a heartbreaking and cliff hanging ending that makes you desperate for Avengers 4 to arrive sooner than later.
Michael: I concur on Avengers: Infinity War because it’s yet another example of Marvel taking a chance on bold choices. Infinity War upped the ante again with just about every major character from all three phases combined with a super downer ending. And somehow,, it improbably managed to tell a compelling and coherent story that will make you laugh and make you cry. Kevin Feige’s and the Russo Brothers’ skill at spinning so many plates at once is a Herculean feat that defies belief.
Nathaniel: The Death of Stalin has been the best movie of 2018. A genre bending story that has slapstick, wit, intrigue, and amazing performances from its ensemble cast. As close to perfect as a movie can get.
Justin: Tag. I’m a sucker for a great R-rated comedy. Game Night and Blockers both revived my hope in the genre earlier this year, and Tag solidified its triumphant return. I haven’t laughed that hard in at least a couple years in the theater. I know it’s a relatively big movie (not an indie by any means), but I don’t think it’s quite blockbuster status which is why I still picked it. I loved it so much I saw it twice in one weekend.
Dave: Game Night was fantastic. I loved how it kept things interesting while delivering on jokes. It also had a great twist and kept you on the edge of your seat. Plus, I could totally see this happening in real life.
Rory: This has already been a good year for horror films, the standout of which is Ari Aster’s Hereditary: I was left shaken following the end credits as its use of atmosphere and visuals is more in the freaky vein of The Babadook and The Witch. It has definitely divided audiences and hasn’t attracted attention from the mainstream, but through the necessity of rewatchability, it is a film that lays out its clues throughout and all the answers are revealed.
Michael: Thoroughbreds was a wonderful discovery. It’s a dark teen comedy that quickly invites tonal comparisons to Heathers — though the two films are quite different — because there just aren’t that many comedies about teen girls plotting murder. And because there aren’t obvious films to compare it to, it’s hard to describe. Thoroughbreds is definitely not a film for everyone. Written by a playwright, it’s almost a chamber piece, taking place primarily inside the large home of one of two main characters. It could easily be a play. It’s a subtle film featuring great performances from its young cast, including Anton Yelchin in what may be his final performance before his tragic death in 2016.
Nathaniel: Ready Player One being merely bad and not awful was a pleasant surprise, but Upgrade was the biggest surprise this year for me. I thought it would be a sci fi action movie that was too silly for its own good. Instead, I was treated to deep storytelling in a tightly paced plot.
Justin: Tomb Raider. I went into this with very low expectations and expected it to be pretty terrible. It was actually quite enjoyable and well done. There were scenes in the final 30 minutes that felt straight out of a video game which was awesome. I’d love to see a sequel.
Dave: Solo: A Star Wars Story blew me away. I had very low expectations, but it delivered on showing different aspects of the Star Wars universe the other newer films haven’t quite achieved. It was also funny and made me actually want more prequels. Dare I say it, but this was my favorite Star Wars movie since Return of the Jedi.
Rory: In preparation of Steven Spielberg’s highly-anticipated adaptation, I read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and once I finished reading it, I was glad that I did as it one of the worst books I’ve read. Adapting something that was too geeky and annoyingly self-indulgent, Cline’s persona is still felt throughout, but the Blockbuster King makes an adventurous VR experience that is not entirely driven by the many pop culture references it displays.
Michael: Probably the biggest surprise so far this year was A Quiet Place. I’m not a huge horror fan but thought the trailer looked somewhat intriguing. But A Quiet Place reminds me a bit of the early work of M. Night Shyamalan before he disappointed us all. It’s a gripping suspense film that really uses its high concept premise and limited dialogue well. And perhaps no one shines more in this film than young, deaf actress Millicent Simmonds, who steals every scene from her older and more established co-stars.
Least Favorite Movie
Nathaniel: Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare was not supposed to be a good movie, but it looked like it would be fun. Instead, it had poor acting, horrible dialogue, and unlikable characters. I can’t imagine there will be a worse movie this year.
Justin: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I hate to say this because I love all the other Jurassic Park films. I figured this one would at least be enjoyable. It wasn’t. It was poorly executed and felt forced in my opinion. Here’s to hoping the third installment of this new trilogy is much better.
Dave: Ready Player One was a huge disappointment for me. I was a big fan of the book, and my girlfriend was too, so we had very specific reasons for liking the original which seemed to be abandoned in the film for the sake of blockbuster style action.
Rory: Sometimes the worst movies you’ve seen are the ones where you felt the most disappointed and so far this year was the latest collaboration between director Francis Lawrence and Jennifer Lawrence. What is considered the Black Widow movie that Marvel hasn’t made yet, Red Sparrow is an uneven spy thriller that is more style than substance, whilst relying too heavily on the graphic violence. In particular, the sexual nature left a bad taste.
Michael: I actually kind of loved the way the Netflix experimented with the distribution of The Cloverfield Paradox by announcing during the Super Bowl that the film would drop on the service right after the game. It’s a bold choice that I’d be applauding far more if the film was any good. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. It’s dopey, derivative sci-fi schlock that wastes a great cast. Now I wasn’t a big fan of the first Cloverfield, but 10 Cloverfield Lane was one of my favorite films of 2016. But my biggest problem with this film is it isn’t really a Cloverfield sequel. It was originally a film called “The God Particle.” The folks at Bad Robot bought it, rebranded it as a Cloverfield movie, and added a few tiny tweaks to the film to make it superficially seem connected to the first Cloverfield. And those added elements don’t even make sense. This film takes place decades in our future, yet is a prequel to the first Cloverfield. It feels like the worst offender in the classic criticism of JJ Abrams throwing random mysteries at the audience without any thought put into ever solving them. It’s turned Cloverfield into a punchline where one can claim any random movie was almost rebranded as a Cloverfield movie.
Nathaniel: Bohemian Rhapsody. I really disliked Queen growing up. ‘We Will Rock You’ seemed to be played at every sports venue so I associated it and Queen with people I did not really care for. In high school I heard A Night at the Opera and came to appreciate Queen. Rami Melek looks amazing as Freddie Mercury and the movie looks as bombastic and fun as the band. Plus, it looks like we will be getting their epic Live Aid performance.
Justin: Mission: Impossible – Fallout. I’m a big fan of both Tom Cruise and the Mission: Impossible franchise. The last couple films were amazing, and this one looks just as entertaining. I can’t wait.
Dave: I’m with Justin on this one — it has to be Mission Impossible: Fallout. I’ve loved this series from the very first and can’t wait for this one. It’s one of the only franchises that continues to use practical effects and real stuntmen in their action sequences. Plus Tom Cruise broke his leg capturing one of the shots that’s in this film! How badass is that? I see it in IMAX opening night.
Rory: Out in December will be the release of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, a computer-animated movie that looks like nothing else (based on the stunning trailers) and giving us a Spidey story that we have not seen before on the big screen. With fan-favorite Miles Morales as the lead and interacting with numerous Spider-Men and Spider-Women, this adventure set through a shared multiverse is continuing proof that the idea of Spider-Man can still be fresh — what a great time to be a Spidey fan.
Michael: My most anticipated movie of this year right now might be The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part. The first film was a giant surprise. When I first heard about it, I rolled my eyes convinced a movie about LEGO would be terrible; I was happily proven wrong. Though Chris Miller and Phil Lord are no longer directing, based on rumors this follow-up may be about the gendering of toys, it sounds like the sequel is keeping with the meta deconstructionist spirit that made the first film one of my favorites of 2014.