Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

Best Films of 2017

2017 might be best remembered as the year when certain people in Hollywood and their unpleasant behaviour was finally made public. With luck, it will hopefully shine a strong spotlight on this sort of behaviour to ensure it is stamped out for good. But anyway, aside from all that unpleasantness, this year also brought us a plethora of exciting films. A female led superhero film, a return to the world of replicants, a couple of incredible true stories about war, the end of one man’s remarkable portrayal of a character that he has played for nearly two decades, and of course the continuation of the new trilogy of adventures taking place in a galaxy far far away. Lots of great films, and so it is now time for me to cast my eye back on the last 12 months of so of film and select what for me ranks as the best of the best of the ones that I have seen.

A few things to note. There are certain releases on this list that you might be thinking were released in 2016. well certain films didn’t reach UK shores until 2017 and so that makes them eligible for this year’s list. But as is the case every year there are a select few films that get their main release in early January and if I get a chance to catch these in the first few weeks of the month, they will qualify for this year’s list. Also I unfortunately didn’t see every film that was released this year so apologies if your favourite film didn’t make my list as I may not have seen it. Lastly, anything that is released from this point onwards (e.g. Phantom Thread, Lady Bird) will be considered for the best films of 2018. These studios and their bizarre release dates…

Second, grades here have little impact on the ranking of these films. One film may get a higher grade or the perfect grade, it will not necessarily mean that film will be the best film of the year, this is my list of my favourite movies that I had the most fun with or enjoyed the most.  Before I get into the body of my list I do have some honourable mentions, films that were awesome and that didn’t quite make the list with there being 10 spaces, but were still a lot of fun. First up…

mother! (review) if ever there was one film that divided audiences right down the middle, this would be one particular example. Darren Aronofsky’s tale about a woman whose home is invaded was riddled with metaphors aplenty that explored a collection of really interesting and thought-provoking themes. Yet there were some scenes that were just downright messed up (if you have seen the film, you’ll likely know what I’m referring to.) Despite that, it was refreshing to see such a completely original concept be brought to the big screen, and this is a film that will be analysed for years to come.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (review) Yes I know I can hear the shockwaves around the galaxy already as to why this hasn’t made the actual list. It was a great addition to the saga as it took the characters that were introduced to us in The Force Awakens and took them in interesting new directions. For many fans, the big problem with Force Awakens was the fact that it felt too similar to A New Hope. As such director Rian Johnson was clearly trying to take the franchise in new directions, and while not everything was perfect, it was an enjoyable ride and sets up nicely for Episode IX.

Wind River (review) Taylor Sheridan made his directorial debut good and proper telling the story of the investigation surrounding the death of a young woman in the brutal Wyoming winter. Jeremy Renner perhaps gives his best performance as a hunter who discovers the young woman’s body and Elizabeth Olsen as the FBI agent leading the investigation. It’s a tense film that keeps you on the edge, particularly when we reach that third act and the action is turned up to the maximum.

Molly’s Game (review) Telling the true story of Molly Bloom, the woman who ran elite high stakes poker games, until she ran into a bit of bother with the law. In a superb leading performance, Jessica Chastain carries the film on her shoulders as we watch her go the crushing lows that wrecked early career aspirations to the ensuing trouble that surrounds her poker career. Under the stewardship of master screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who also makes his directorial debut, in triumphant style.

The Big Sick (review). When there’s a lot  of films in one particular genre that are very similar, it runs the risk of all just becoming a bit stale. Thankfully every once in a while, one comes along that is a breath of fresh air. Based on the true story of Kumail Nanjiani who despite his parents attempts to arrange a marriage for him, falls for a woman, except when she falls ill, it really tests their relationship. With sincere heartfelt performances at its core, alongside tremendous comedic turns from Holly Hunter and Ray Romano. A very refreshing new take on the rom-com genre.

Honourable mentions done, time to crack on with the main list and we begin with…

10. Wonder Woman

Full Wonder Woman review

Just what the doctor ordered for the DCEU. Fans might have had little hope of seeing a great DCEU film after experincing a rough start. This is until Diana of Themyscira came along. Telling the origins story of Wonder Woman and how she came to be the all powerful hero we know and love. It was so thrilling to see a female led superhero film, the first one that we have really had since the genre has been thriving since the mid to late 2000s, be such an exciting blast.

Gal Gadot picked up where she left off from BVS and delivered a truly exceptional performance. Chris Pine was also in excellent form as Steve Trevor, Diana’s love interest. The action, particularly that superb No Man’s Land sequence was enthralling. While the last act did drag the film down a bit, it was still a wonderful breath of fresh air for the superhero genre, and one would hope that more female driven superhero films will follow.

9. Darkest Hour

Full Darkest Hour review

The film that is surely going to end Gary Oldman’s long wait for that first elusive Oscar. With the country, indeed the entire continent of Europe at war, the United Kingdom needed a leader, and that man was Winston Churchill. The rest, as they say, is history. Oldman gives such a convincing and authentic performance and he carries the film tremendously well as he battles with those who are desperate to undermine him and his position.

Oldman is strongly  supported by the likes of Kristen Scott Thomas and Lily James. With excellent production design and cinematography that captures 1940s London superbly, with a stirring screenplay from Anthony McCarten. This is another fascinating insight into one of the most intense periods of British history.

8. Baby Driver

Full Baby Driver review

One of the main contenders for the coolest characters of 2017 is Ansel Elgort as the lead character in Edgar Wright’s latest film, which was perhaps the most stylish film that has been released all year, as well as being a rare piece of completely original story-telling. Elgort was electric in the lead role as the getaway driver who works for a mob boss in order to pay off a debt. The action scenes were so well cut together and with an absolutely stellar soundtrack to boot, it made for some superb edge-of-your-seat entertainment.

With an equally stellar supporting cast including great turns from Lily James, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm and he-who-shall-not-be-named. It was a heist film with a lot of heart and one of Wright’s finest films.

 

7. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Full, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri review

When someone you love passes away, the grief and sadness can be extremely difficult to recover from. So what do you do when that someone is murdered but there have been no arrests? Well one woman’s answer is to rent the use of three billboards outside her town to force the authorities into action. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, this is an extremely dark comedy focusing on one woman’s relentless mission to get justice. With a stunning performance from Frances McDormand and tremendous turns from Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell, it is a film that will keep you on your toes from beginning to end.

6. Thor: Ragnarok

Full Thor: Ragnarok review

Third time was certainly the charm for the God of Thunder. His first two films while enjoyable were not exactly the cream of the MCU crop. However in comes New Zealand director Taika Waititi to give us by far and away the best Thor film, and also the funniest and maybe even the funniest MCU film we have had yet. As the villainous Hela comes back to claim the throne of Asgard, Thor finds himself in a mission with everyone’s favourite green rage monster in a mission to reclaim the throne.

Waititi fuses his delightful brand of humour, in a film that is buddy cop comedy meets superhero. Hemsworth is once again brilliant as Thor, likewise for Tom Hiddleston as Loki. In addition, we got introduced to Jeff Goldblum basically playing himself in a fancy costune, and Tessa Thompson as the badass Valkyrie. It’s vibrant, colourful and oh yeah, it has one of the best MCU side characters ever in Korg who steals every minute of screen time he has. Korg solo film anyone?

5. Dunkirk

Full Dunkirk review

Christopher Nolan is without a doubt one of the finest directors working today. His films are always so immaculately well made and he has almost never disappointed. Here with his latest, he continues that trend and gives us a truly superb war film that tells the story of the Dunkirk evacuation. Telling this story in three separate strands and weaving them together so expertly is a ballsy move, but Nolan made it work. The use of practical effects in as many scenes as possible added so much authenticity to the film.

A gripe that many seemed to have was the lack of character development on any of the characters, and it would be fair to say that while this was in short supply, the acting was superb from just about everyone and it made it such a hard-hitting, emotional watch to the extent that the impact of the film is vast and along with another war film that is yet to appear on this list, it will go down as one of the most breath-taking war films ever made. With yet another nearly flawless film added to his filmography, it makes you wonder is there any genre that Nolan cannot conquer?

4. War for the Planet of the Apes

Full War for the Planet of the Apes review

APES. TOGETHER. STRONG. After two stunning films in this rebooted franchise, the stage was set for the perfect film to close out this superb trilogy and boy did director Matt Reeves do just that, and in incredible style too. Andy Serkis’s work in bringing Caesar to life is just simply extraordinary and it’s about damn time his work was recognised with an Oscar nod. Despite the film’s title, there isn’t much of a war to be found in terms of all out guns blazing warfare. Given how we have watched Caesar grow from a young chimp to be this battle hardened leader of the Apes, to see him at the end of his tether here made for some insanely riveting viewing.

Nevertheless the film still managed to be a gripping story this is still a superb film about family, conflict and your place in a very chaotic world. Caesar once again stole the show, but Woody Harrelson deserves praise for his work as the vicious Colonel. Though more films are bound to follow, this closed the book on what is an absolutely fantastic trilogy.

3. Logan

Full Logan review

Every once in a while, a superhero film comes along that becomes so much more than just your regular superhero flick. A film that becomes something more, a deeply personal story that transcends the comic book genre, and that is precisely what Logan is. Right from the off, you just know that is going to be a very different type of Wolverine film than what we had previously seen. The violence is turned up to the maximum, which made absolutely perfect sense given the nature of the character.

Hugh Jackman has made this role his own, and given that it was his last time playing the role after 9 films and 17 years, he couldn’t have gone out on a better note, it might just be his best ever turn in the role. Likewise for Sir Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier. It was a tough watch to see these two guys at pretty much their lowest ebb as they work to protect a young mutant named Laura played superbly by Dafne Keen. The prospect of a solo film with her is certainly a very intriguing one.

2. Blade Runner 2049

Full Blade Runner 2049 review

After directing the exceptional Sicario and Arrival, up next for Denis Villeneuve was the sequel to one of the most influential films of the sci-fi genre maybe ever. It was an enormous challenge and fans might have wondered if it was ever going to live up to the original. Thankfully, this is one of the finest sequels ever made and a perfect companion piece to Ridley Scott’s 1982 masterpiece. It honoured what came before it, but also created a truly riveting and compelling story to tell, with some of the most beautiful cinematography that has graced the big screen this whole year. Each frame of this film was just dripping with breath-taking visuals that were dazzling to the eyes. Seriously give Roger Deakins a damn Oscar already!

Ryan Gosling was superb as K, and Harrison Ford once again excelled in the role of Deckard. It was everything fans of the original could have hoped for and delivered an exceptional film that might just be even better than the original, and that is a remarkable accomplishment. Villeneuve emphatically proved that as a director he is at the very top of his craft and it will be fascinating to see what project he takes on next.

And so my #1 film of 2017 is

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1. Hacksaw Ridge

Full Hacksaw Ridge review

I won’t beat around the bush here. No film that I saw in 2017 had a bigger impact on me than Hacksaw Ridge, and no film left me just completely speechless walking out of it as this film did. As a history student, the Second World War was always one of my favourite periods to study, and the fact that I hadn’t come across this story just astounded me as it is one of the most inspirational stories of the war. Telling the story of Desmond Doss, a man who wanted to serve his country but due to his religious beliefs, refused to carry a gun. It seems ludicrous to even do such a thing but the film does an exceptional job of making you understand why Doss believes the way he does.

It’s once we get to Hacksaw Ridge itself is where the film completely changes its focus and becomes an absolutely brutal war film, with some of the most pulsating action sequences in perhaps any war film since Saving Private Ryan. The violence here isn’t glorified, it just feels so frighteningly realistic and it makes you realise that war is brutal. Andrew Garfield as Doss gave a career best performance that for my money should have won him an Oscar. I won’t reveal the true extent of this man’s heroics in case you don’t know, but the fact he did what he did, all while refusing to carry a gun is just absolutely incredible. It is one of the best war films ever made and is my number 1 film of 2017. After I saw it, I wondered if anything would top it all year long, but nothing managed to displace it.

That is a wrap on my list of the best films of 2017. What are your top 10 best films of 2017?  Be sure to follow my Twitter and don’t forget to like Through the Silver Screen on Facebook to ensure you never miss another review of mine! Let us hope that we are treated to more cinematic gold on the big screen in 2018.

Posted in Film Feature, Ranking

Ranking 2017 Superhero Films

Another year passes, and another collection of superhero ensembles and solo flicks have graced the big screen once again. It certainly was an interesting year with Marvel continuing to dominate the market. Meanwhile, DC trying to get their Extended Universe back on track, as well as one beloved character bowing out after a staggering amount of time in the role. It was quite the year but what stood out among the best of the best?

Anyway, with that said and done, it’s now time to grab the Lasso of Truth (well kind of) and rank 2017’s superhero flicks from worst to best, starting with…

7. Justice League

Click here for my Justice League review

It’s fair to say that five films in, the DC Extended Universe hasn’t exactly been a roaring success that it would have hoped to be. Though Wonder Woman certainly helped get things on track, the familiar feel of production problems certainly effected DC’s answer to the Avengers. With director Zack Snyder stepping down from the post production process due to a family tragedy, Joss Whedon was brought in to finish the film and oversee some reshoots. Though the film has polarised both fans and critics alike (not for the first time for DC) there is much to like about this. For one it does combine Snyder’s flair for visuals with Whedon’s ability to create funny dialogue. And seeing the team unite for the first time was undeniably a pleasure to watch, with memorable turns from Wonder Woman and a very exciting debut for Ezra Miller as Barry Gordon AKA The Flash. It’s not on the same level as The Avengers, but it does represent a step in the right direction for DC.

6. Spider Man Homecoming

Click here for my Spider-Man Homecoming review

Having made his glorious MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War, a solo Spidey film with him very much a part of the MCU was almost inevitable. As such, with a little bit of reorganisation, Spider-Man got his big screen MCU bow in the middle of the third phase of its cinematic universe. Tom Holland once again gave a superb performance as everyone’s friendly neighbourhood web-crawler, giving the character that real high school authenticity that had been somewhat lacking from the likes of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. While the story doesn’t exactly break any new ground in terms of what we have seen on the big screen for Spider-Man,  Spidey battles Adrian Toombes AKA the Vulture. Given the MCU’s well documented trouble with villains, he was certainly one of the better ones we have seen, as you understood his motivations and he had a connection to Peter that made it all the more interesting to watch. It doesn’t top the first two Raimi Spidey flicks, but it’s certainly a vast upgrade on everything that came after those two films.

5. Lego Batman Movie

Click here for my Lego Batman review

In the wake of the extremely entertaining Lego Movie, comes a spin off movie of equally hilarious Batman shaped proportions. With plenty of visual references to Batman and all of his previous incarnations, this film is paradise for all who are fans of Batman, which let’s be honest who isn’t, if someone says they’re not, don’t believe them cos they’re only kidding themselves. Will Arnett returns to voice this animated version of the Caped Crusader and Zach Galfianakis as the latest incarnation of the Joker, and considerably more well received than poor Jared Leto’s take on the character. The animation is great and the plot is extremely entertaining, albeit  it does get a little bit on the silly side at times, but when it’s this much fun to watch, no one is really going to mind.

4. Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2

Click here for my Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 review

When 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy came along, it was such a wonderful breath of fresh air for the MCU, giving us a look at new characters the overwhelming majority of us had likely never even heard of. It was fun, hilarious and overall just really enjoyable. So it’s little surprise that for the sequel, James Gunn chose to replicate the formula that worked to such great effect the first time around. However, while that still makes for an entertaining flick, it doesn’t have quite the same impact as the first Guardians movie. That being said, all of the team remain very fun to watch, it continues the humour from the first film, and yes Baby Groot is freaking adorable. The story is entertaining but certain elements do bog it down, and furthermore it doesn’t retain that freshness and originality that the first movie brought.

3. Wonder Woman

Click here for my Wonder Woman review

DC’s cinematic universe wasn’t exactly going well prior to the release of this film, Suicide Squad and BVS had endured rough reactions from fans and critics, and well it wasn’t looking good for the future of the DCEU. Enter Patty Jenkins to tell the story of Wonder Woman, and give us by far and away the best film that the DCEU has brought us and one that will hopefully open the floodgates for more female led superhero movies. Gal Gadot proved to be the perfect choice to play our titular heroine, she had the necessary charisma to carry the film on her shoulders, brilliantly combining such ferocity with compassion and a strong willed desire to do the right thing. With Chris Pine in equally superb form, watching Wonder Woman enter the battlefield in the heart of the First World War, and be an absolute badass particularly in the No Man’s Land sequence made for one of the standout moments of cinema in 2017 for sure.

2. Thor: Ragnarok

Click here for my Thor: Ragnarok review

Thor Ragnarok marked the staggering 17th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it without doubt takes its place as one of the best. Marking Thor’s 3rd solo film, it defied the notion that the third film is always the worst in the trilogy as this is by far better than the previous two films. Setting up events that are very much likely to play a part in next year’s Infinity War. Directed by the delightful Taika Waititi, this film was humorous right from the word go and it never lets up. This was the MCU’s version of a buddy cop film but instead starring Thor and Bruce Banner, and one of the FUNNIEST characters that the MCU has ever given us in Korg, the loveable bunch of rocks ably voiced by Waititi himself, battling against the villainous Hela played tremendously well by Cate Blanchett. It was exciting, funny, extremely colourful and exhilarating to watch.

1. Logan

Click here for my Logan review

What a way to bow out of a role and a franchise that for 17 years you have made your own. Logan marked the last time that Hugh Jackman will play the iconic character of Wolverine, and he couldn’t have gone out on a better note. Immediately director James Mangold lets you know what kind of film you’re about to watch. Right from the off, this was a much darker, and considerably more violent portrayal of the character than we have ever seen previously with quite a bit more blood and vulgarity, and all the better for it. As Logan must look after the ailing Professor X and young Laura who has some mysterious people after her. It’s a mash up between Wolverine and The Last of Us, and it’s by far and away the only superhero film that could have a legitimate shot and picking up some acting nods at this year’s Oscars. That could be wishful thinking but with an ending that will almost certainly leave you a blubbering mess, the work that Jackman has done with this character has been so extraordinary over all this years. As such, it will be an almighty task for anyone to take on this role in the future.

Agree with my picks? Disagree? Let me know what your ranking would be by commenting below or tweeting me at @thrsilverscreen.

Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Image is property of Marvel Studios

Thor: Ragnarok – Film Review

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Karl Urban, Tessa Thompson, Jeff Goldblum, Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba

Director: Taika Waititi

Synopsis: Having come out of hiding to claim the throne of Asgard, Hela the Goddess of Death seeks to rule Asgard. Having been cast aside on a distant planet, Thor must use his strength and an old friend to help him reclaim Asgard’s throne, and prevent Ragnarok, the end of all things, from occurring.

Review: Of all the directors Marvel could have hired to take on a film that studio head honcho Kevin Feige described as “very important movie in our timeline”, one of the most out of the blue choices you could suggest would be New Zealand native Taika Waititi. Having made his name with the very quirky comedies such as What We Do in The Shadows, and last year’s hilarious Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Yet, having seen humour become an important aspect of their films, Waititi seems to be the perfect match for Marvel, and as it turns out, it is absolutely a match made in Valhalla.

For a film subtitled Ragnarok, meaning the end of everything, to be pitched as a quirky comedy masquerading as a big budget superhero blockbuster, could have been a spectacular misfire, but in the hands of Waititi it is all just blends together beautifully. On a quest to find out some information is where we meet the God of Thunder, and he quickly learns that The Goddess of Death Hela has come back to Asgard to take her place on the throne, setting off a chain of events that sees Thor trying to unseat the Usurper whilst preventing Ragnarok from occurring. Though not written by him, the script has that Waititi stamp written all over it. There are gags aplenty, and they’re almost always hilarious. It’s a bold claim, but this might just be the funniest Marvel film to date.

Old friends reunited…

Hemsworth and Hiddleston are once again just delightful to watch in these roles that they have made their own, with it also being great to see Mark Ruffalo and the Hulk in all of his green, raging glory back in the MCU once more. There are quite a few new faces here, the absolute standouts being Tessa Thompson’s badass Valkyrie and an absolutely uproarious star turn from Waititi himself in a role that will have you almost crying tears of laughter. It is absolute comic gold and a character one would hope gets his own movie somewhere down the line. Meanwhile, Jeff Goldblum is inevitably always a pleasure to watch, and as the Grandmaster, it feels like a role that was just written for the Goldblum and he like the Odinson brothers, he bosses it.

A real consistent Achilles Heel for the MCU has been their villains, as the last Thor film testified. Thankfully, Cate Blanchett as Hela is able to avoid falling into the realm of bland and generic villains that have troubled MCU films gone by. She is well fleshed out as a character and it makes her story so much more compelling to watch. The same unfortunately cannot be said for Karl Urban’s character who does sadly fall into that category of villains that are just kind of forgettable.

Whilst also perhaps boasting the most vivid colour palette that the MCU has seen to date, when the action goes down Waititi’s direction is confident and assured.  The battle between Hulk and Thor that we saw a glimpse of in the trailer is just spectacular stuff, you cannot beat a bit of intergalactic gladiatorial duelling can you? With the help of some Led Zepplin, the final showdown is also breathless to watch. The whole thing might seem absolutely bonkers and absurd, but it all blends together into some delightfully, colourful and exhilarating entertainment.

With complaints of superhero fatigue coming from some audiences, this is the shot in the arm that the genre needed to help keep things fresh. It’s so different in terms of style and everything that it is certainly a most welcome breath of fresh air for the genre. With them now a staggering 17 films deep into their universe, Marvel are showing no signs of slowing down, and when they’re continuing to produce such glorious excitement, who in their right mind would want them to stop?

Fusing a deeply personal story with some absolutely first class humour that will have your sides hurting, Waititi brings his vibrant style of quirky comedy to the MCU, and it pays off big time. The best MCU film of the year.

 

 

Posted in 2000-2009, 2010-2019, Film Feature

Ranking all the Marvel Cinematic Universe films

Marvel 10 years

In this era of superhero movie dominance that are making the studios mega bucks, and the actors into huge stars, there is without a doubt one studio that is firmly leading the way, and that is Marvel Studios. Back in 2008, in the first post credits scene of Iron Man, the prospect of the Avengers Initiative was teased. 10 years later and from that one film has spawned an enormous universe filled with colourful characters aplenty.

With a now considerable 20 movies of their Extended Universe graced the big screen, there have been some truly spectacular flicks, and so it is time for me to rank all of these movies so far from worst to best (up to and including Ant-Man and the Wasp). Please bear in mind, that these are my picks, and so I very much doubt you will agree with all of my choices. You might completely agree with me, or maybe you will hate my list altogether, it is all good! Having different opinions is what makes movies and discussions about film so entertaining. So with that all said and done, it is time to Hulk smash into this list!!!!

22. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Speaking of The Hulk, it is where I begin my list. I’m pretty sure if you ask people do they remember this movie, the answer would probably be no. It has become the forgotten movie of the MCU especially since they recast Mark Ruffalo in the role for The Avengers, replacing Ed Norton as everyone’s favourite green rage monster. As a result, this movie has probably slipped from many people’s minds, and for good reason. Norton did a decent enough job as Bruce Banner, and the story was interesting enough, but never truly gripping enough to be memorable.

The action between The Hulk and his nemesis The Abomination just got a bit cartoonish at times and very CGI heavy, in a similar vein to the Star Wars prequels, and it was just a bit boring watching two forces matched in power fight one another and was nowhere near as enthralling as the other MCU movie that came out that year, but more on that later.

21. Iron Man 2 (2010)

This movie is a classic case of a studio just pumping out a sequel too quickly after the explosive success of the sequel. While this movie does have its moments such as the showdown in Monaco which was undeniably entertaining, and seeing Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in action for the very first time was awesome. The story did feel a bit rushed and uneven in terms of its pacing. There was potential for a really good story, but this was not fully realised.

Despite having two antagonists, neither really stood out (more on that throughout this post) and the movie struggled to recapture the brilliance of Tony Stark’s first outing as Iron Man. It is by no means a terrible film, but much could have been done to improve on it and definitely ranks as the weakest film in the Iron Man trilogy.

20. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

thor tdw

Full review

While the first Thor film was all about Thor learning what it means to be a leader and a warrior, all while being without his God-like power, in this film he had his hammer by his side at all times. While director Alan Taylor did bring some impressive visuals to this story, and there were some really solid and entertaining fight scenes. Furthermore, we got to explore the God of Thunder’s relationship (if you can call it that!) with his brother the mischievous Loki, brilliantly portrayed by Tom Hiddleston once again.

The real trouble here was, as is so often the case with MCU movies, the villain. Christopher Ecclestone is a fine actor but his portrayal of the Dark Elf Malakith left a lot to be desired, as he was another of the many disposable Marvel villains and he wasn’t memorable at all. His motivations for his actions were just not explained at all. Furthermore, Hiddleston’s performance as Loki completely overshadowed him.

19. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Full review

This film showing the origins of Steve Rogers as the iconic Captain America showed what the character was all about. A loyal and determined man who thanks to the super soldier serum is transformed into the awesome superhero, who is fiercely patriotic and just wants to serve his country. Chris Evans was an excellent choice to play him and he has done so right throughout his tenure as the character. The rest of the cast were also excellent with Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones all delivering excellent performances.

Equally great was Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull, although his accent was a little dubious in places. This film was a bit light on the action scenes, but it was a perfect introduction to see Cap get his stars and stripes, and as we will see, the Captain America franchise only got better and better.

18. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2

Full review

After their first glorious outing, it was inevitable that everyone’s favourite band of flawed but lovable collection of criminals turned heroes made a return to the big screen. The first film was such an enormous risk but one that paid off massively. Hence, it made perfect sense to continue in the bonkers style of the first one, as the Guardians meet a man who claims to be the father of Star Lord. The Marvel brand of humour has become such a staple of this universe and this one very much continues in that trend, whilst also crucially allowing the relationships between these characters to grow and develop.

However, there is a lack of emphasis on plot in favour of telling jokes, which while entertaining at first, quickly loses steam and this film really grinds to a sharp halt in the second act, and the story suffers as a result. Though it does pick up again towards the end, not every joke lands this time around. Much like the first film, the villain is also something of a let down. Though the film has another excellent soundtrack, the first film set such a high bar in terms of quality that matching it was always going to be a tall order, and this never reaches the first film’s lofty heights. Baby Groot though is still really frickin adorable though.

17. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Full review

When we were first introduced to him, Scott Lang was a guy in a tough spot just trying to do what he could for his young daughter, which in turn led him to becoming the Ant-Man. After running off to join Cap in Civil War, it landed him in a bit of bother that consigned him to house arrest. This changes when former associates Hope and her father need him for information concerning Hope’s mother, the original Wasp. After the earth-shattering events of Infinity War, and to a lesser extent Black Panther, a light-hearted blast of entertainment was exactly what the MCU needed, and the tiniest (sometimes the largest) hero Marvel has to offer delivered exactly that.

A very similar film to its predecessor in terms of going deep into the science-y world of Hank Pym, but with a much more personal story this time around, particularly for Hope. As she finally gets her wings and becomes the Wasp after her mother. The chemistry, especially between Scott and Hope is strong which helps to drive the plot forward, but while it passes the time, it is not nearly as memorable or impactful as other MCU entries, most notably the first Ant-Man film. The film itself is very enjoyable, but give a take a few scenes, is quite forgettable. Furthermore, despite an intriguing backstory, the villain once again left a lot to be desired.

16. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Full review

When the first teaser for this movie arrived, it exploded all over the internet, with Ultron looking like he was going to be the badass awesome villain that the MCU had been craving for a very long time. When the final product arrived, while it was still really enjoyable to watch and to see the Avengers reunited. The introductions of Scarlet Witch and Vision were welcome ones to the plethora of characters we have seen so far, and the action was, as is often the case with Marvel, really well handled.

However, despite being all badass in the trailers, the Ultron we got was ultimately a little bit disappointing, he had his moments of brilliance but was far from being the quality villain we had hope he would be. For all of his efforts, Joss Whedon couldn’t manage to make a film to go one better than the original, which is what a sequel should do. It was quality to see the team reunited, but a few of the side plots could have been very easily taken out of the finished product, and it wouldn’t have made too much of a difference.

15. Doctor Strange

Full review

The MCU up to this point had dabbled into many fascinating subjects, but until this movie, they had not dabbled in the world of sorcery and magic. It certainly was an interesting direction for the MCU to go in and ensures that the franchise retained interest for the audience. Benedict Cumberbatch was excellent in the titular role and it provided some of the most remarkable visuals that we have seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to this point. One could make the argument that it did basically follow the formula that the first Iron Man did, and yes the similarities between Tony Stark and Stephen Strange are plain to see. However, as it was one that worked so well to introduce the MCU to the world, only makes sense to use it to introduce a new facet to the MCU.

Once again though, the villain is the real Achilles Heel of the film. Like with many Marvel villains, Mads Mikkelsen is an extremely talented actor. However it is the script does not give him the chance to become a villain on the level of quality like Loki, though he does have some decent moments, perhaps in no small part due to the rather intimidating eye make up that he and his minions acquire.