It’s that time of year again! People are making merry and drinking their own body-weight in alcohol and critics are making their annual arbitrary Top 10 of the year list, a practice I’m now going to add to.
A few housekeeping notes before we start, only movies I have seen (obviously) make the list, I have no doubt Blade Runner 2049 was great but it wasn’t on in cinema when I wanted to see it so I can’t judge it. Also, all but the top 3 are really interchangeable in any order. With all that said, on with the list!
Two Marvel movies miss out on my top 10, but could have easily made the list if not for a few outstanding efforts and slight superhero fatigue, those two being: Thor – Ragnarok and Spider-Man: Homecoming. I thoroughly enjoyed both movies but they miss out.
10. Murder on the Orient Express
This year, I craved different movies, I saw movies of all shapes and sizes and this is one I had been anticipating since it’s first trailer due to it’s stark visual aesthetic (and excellent moustache, natch) and it delivered a classic narrative and jaw-dropping cinematography, one to look out for when the Blu-Ray hits shelves.
9. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
I know a review of this movie hasn’t yet appeared on this site, this is due to me wanting to see it again before making a more informed critical decision, however, the fact that I’ve been itching to see it again must say something of it’s quality. It was bold and new for Star Wars with twists and turns and some truly memorable scenes and moments. I look forward to re-watching again and again.
8. The Lego Batman Movie
I know what you’re thinking. “How can this grown man rank a movie aimed at kids, a Lego movie no less, above movies more aimed at his demographic?” That’s an oddly specific question, but here is the answer. Lego Batman is sheer unadulterated joy. Every frame bursts with energy and love, and it has some of the sharpest superhero parodies you’ll ever see, I adore this movie, kids movie or not.
In my quest to broaden my cinematic horizons I went into this unsure of what I would think, I’m not a fan of horror films you see, generally they don’t interest me. This looked different however, and it’s based off a Stephen King novel (King is one of my favourite authors) I came out of the movie utterly enthralled with this movie, it’s direction, it’s character and plot delivered in spades to make one of the most memorable cinematic experiences this year.
6. Baby Driver
Full disclosure, I almost didn’t include this in light of recent events, it didn’t seem right to praise it given the apparent discretions of a prominent cast member. That being said; it wouldn’t be fair on the rest of the cast and creative to dismiss it from my list due to one specific member of the cast’s misdemeanours.
Baby Driver was a movie that truly surprised me, I’d heard good reports in the first week of it’s release, but expected a better than average by-the-numbers action flick, how wrong I was. About five minutes in, I made a realisation: “This is really bloody fun.” As the movie carried on, it never stopped being engaging, or fun, which earns it two big thumbs up from me.
5. Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman offered something different than any other Superhero film this year. A strong, female lead for one (seriously, how has it taken Marvel over a decade to make a female-led movie?) peerless action and an extremely strong performance from lead actress Gal Gadot, I look forward to seeing more Wonder Woman in the future.
4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Despite my current Superhero fatigue, there certainly has been some stand out movie in the genre this year. This for me stand out as the best though. Three years on from the surprise hit of the first movie, James Gunn and his roving galactic gang of colourful characters return for another highly energetic romp. I rate this higher than the first instalment however, for it’s character development, stronger villain and excellent direction. With Vol 3 confirmed for future release, I don’t see this gravy train slowing down any-time soon.
3. War for the Planet of the Apes
Wrapping up the best trilogy in recent memory, War delivered yet more of what Dawn and Rise gave us in the past. How many movies do you know of that can make great characters out of computer-generated apes? This also featured the masterful direction of Matt Reeves and a breath-taking motion-capture performance from the master of mo-cap, Andy Serkis. One of these days, the Academy really should recognise the sheer power of his performances in motion capture, as this movie is a masterclass in acting, motion-capture or not.
The absolute pinnacle of comic-book movies. There’s an elite group of comic-book movies that transcend the Superhero mould and become something truly special. The Dark Knight is one and this is another. So different to any other comic book movie before or after it, Logan packs a powerful punch that leaves you absolutely speechless. It is beyond superlatives, as is it’s leading man, Hugh Jackman who for nearly two decades has made Wolverine an iconic on-screen character. If this is his last turn as the mutant, he couldn’t have left at a higher point.
Here it is, my movie of 2017. When I saw this back in August, I knew it would really take some beating and nothing has, not only is it my favourite movie of this year, it may be one of my all-time favourites. What Christopher Nolan has achieved with very little dialogue and with a World War II movie no less is utterly incredible. It’s direction is flawless, it’s acting is masterful and it’s cinematography is breath-taking, words really cannot truly describe this utter gem of a movie, now it’s out on Blu-Ray and I implore you to watch it, it is a true cinematic masterpiece.