As with TV, I didn’t see too many movies this year. The nature of some movies is such that release dates can be tricky to track in Australia if the movie isn’t a blockbuster title. Hence, I saw mostly tent-pole movies this year and mostly Disney properties at that. Chances are I’ll rarely go to a movie unless the buzz is quite high or it’s a movie series that I’ve been following for a while. My understanding is that most tent-pole releases have been pretty bland this year. However, this year did contain some great gems.
Avengers Infinity War: It would be hard to talk about movies in 2018 without mentioning Infinity War. As has been mentioned countless times, it’s what the MCU has been building towards. Infinity War deserves a nod in the best movies for a few reasons. The film is paced so well and the characters so well-balanced that it feels effortless despite the fact that it could be the most bloated movie of all time. Thanos is an engaging villain because of how he plays within the Marvel formula. Thanos is his own hero and his arc follows that of a Marvel hero. Note: he is engaging, he is not sympathetic. Please stop using that word for genocide Grimace. In terms of things that work, character interaction is pitch perfect here. Peter Parker gets some great room to shine. My favourite emotional beat has to be Thor’s ‘What more could I lose?’. Indeed, Thor might be my favourite hero in the movie even though that spot is usually reserved for Captain America. However, while Infinity War was good, it wasn’t even the best Marvel movie this year which speaks to its quality. Hell, it wasn’t even the best movie to feature Peter Parker either.
Black Panther: I went into this movie expecting to enjoy the world of Wakanda and the portrayal of Ulysses Klaw by Andy Serkis. Instead, I was blown away by the world of Wakanda and enraptured by the thematic throughline of the film. Black Panther shows what can be done when one realises the thematic potential of the source material. This movie could have been centred around Everett Ross as an outsider to Wakanda but instead, it focuses on what it should, T’Challa and his surrounding cast. An engaging piece of film centred on colonialism and anti-isolationism wrapped around a story about the mistakes of our forebears. Indeed, how the mistakes of the past create the villains of the present. Black Panther is an instant classic and engaging film.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: I was reluctant to write this list without seeing Spider-Verse first since the buzz around it was insanely positive and it featured perhaps my favourite comedian playing an anthropomorphic pig with spider powers. Spider-Verse was delightful, beautiful and an interesting look at Spider-Man. I’ve talked before about my fatigue with the character, much in the same way that oversaturation of Batman fatigues me. The thing that fatigued me about both characters was the overdone aspects of their character. In Spider-Man’s case, this was stuff like teenage Peter Parker, dead Uncle Ben, great power yadda yadda. This movie keeps its fresh with Miles as the focus and plays with the familiarity of Spider-Man fantastically. They have six Spider-themed heroes to introduce and the way they do so if delightful. The film uses Spider-Man and our familiarity with him as a point of entry. It also has a fantastic end credits scene. The movie is also gorgeous.
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