I took a run through the year of movie releases and have made a list of what I think are my top titles and why.
I’d love to hear advice on any I missed, give me your recommendations!
Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You!
I have to put this in here – a Pokemon film back in the cinema. A site not seen since the original film came out a good 15 years ago.
People were sceptical about doing a bit of a ‘reboot’ on the Pokemon story. Especially since the new story retcons out Brock and Misty in place for some throw away associates who join Ash for the ride.
I liked this story, it gave The Legendary Beasts and Ho-Oh a proper story, something they’d not had in any of the other cartoons.
It also came out at a perfect time, because my son was majorly into trying to catch them all in Pokemon Go so he knew who the beasts were, and he knew who Ho-Oh was – we’d failed to catch some of them on various occasions, so seeing them on the big screen seemed like big news.
I love how much of an event was made out of this release too. We got given Pokemon cards, and a download code at the cinema to add ‘Marshaddow’ into our copy of Pokemon Moon.
For the average person the movie probably passed them by, but for Pokemon fanatics like me and the boy, it was great timing.
Beauty and the Beast
Now strictly speaking this wasn’t really a big deal for me, but my daughter loved it and my wife enjoyed it.
People poured scorn over Emma Watson for daring to play Belle, but I think she did a good job.
Beauty and the Beast is one of those old school sort of stories that you can’t go wrong with really.
Throw some major special effects into the mix and it has me convinced that these Disney ‘real world’ remakes are worth watching. I am looking forward to seeing how the hell they pull off ‘The Lion King’ soon!
I’m surprised that this was 2017 as it feels older.
A great, slow boil, smooth story about Wolverine – set a long time in the future.
This was gritty, brutal, realistic and painted a grim future for the X-Men universe.
I’ve not seen the black and white version of this yet, but apparently its even better than the colour version. But this is how X-Men films would’ve been from the start damn it.
They’ve been so hammy and lame at times, really cheesy. This was absolutely stone cold.
Lego Batman Movie
Enjoyable, funny and clever – Lego Batman is a great character and made for a great movie. Again, the kids loved it – the plot was decent and ‘Lego Joker’ was the absolute star of the show.
Watching this made me think about how all the cheesy Batman films tried to be funny at times and failed miserably, undermining their heroes.
This film made a cool Batman set up, whilst having hilarious jokes and ongoing issues – The Joker being desperate to be Batman’s arch nemesis whilst Batman is oblivious and continues to despise Superman.
The Lego Ninjago Movie
I genuinely felt this was better than Lego Batman. It had the same level of clever jokes and fun characters.
The differentiator here was the amazing level of imagination.
Every character fought in an enormous robot you can make out of lego.
Every character had a special elemental or other type of ability that made them cool.
Except the main character Lloyd – pronounced Le Loyd, at least if you ask his dad.
Lloyd’s story was great. He wants to be a hero Ninja but everyone kind of hates him – his dad is ‘Garmadon’ the evil villain who keeps trying to take over Ninjago for dubious reasons.
His entire plan seems to be to take the seat of the mayor and become their leader, like that is somehow the way to do it.
There are lots of cool battles and the whole thing is just a joy to behold, if you have kids watch it!
Years ago I said I’d love to see a darker, real world, gritty version of Power Rangers on the big screen.
It finally got made this year and it delivered almost everything I wanted.
The rangers were all pretty cool people. Zordon was Brian Cranston! – Alpha 5 was a robot with attitude that wasn’t lame.
The ‘lore’ was respectable and Rita was a proper villain with some serious firepower.
I can’t wait for the sequel to this – I’ve written about it already but right now the only improvement i can think of is if they made the Zords a bit more relatable.
What they did was very cool, don’t get me wrong, but it lacked the personality of the originals, even if they were a bit gordy.
I think if the whole series had started with this film then people would be going mad for it.
War for the Planet of the Apes
A great end to the trilogy of Ape movies.
I really hope they decide to go on and do Planet of the Apes and so forth as they’ve shown they can pull it off with amazing special effects.
This was more like a prison heist movie for the most part. I saw it alone at the cinema and was captivated by it.
The Apes have been in hiding, growing a society of their own, a human outpost is trying to track them down and wipe out Cesar and some of the other advanced apes.
When many of them get kidnapped, Cesar and the gang work out a great little plan to overcome the more powerful and heavily armoured humans.
I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but if you liked the first 2, this one is more of the same.
Before this, every Spiderman movie to date had sucked.
I was convinced Spiderman just wasn’t a very good hero. They tried and tried to make movies about him and it was always some pathetic whiney American hamming things up and trying to be cool.
This film was totally different. They nailed the awkward Peter Parker coming of age, becoming Spiderman, trying to balance his life and also become a hero.
It was superb having the other heroes make cameos at different points in the film. Seeing Tony Stark try to mentor Peter and bring him into the fold whilst also trying to keep him grounded and normal whilst he becomes part Spider was very fun.
I hope Spiderman gets a proper trilogy like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor have. He has always been a big name hero and he finally got the origin story he deserves.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
These guys managed to outshine The Avengers in one foul swoop in their first movie. Nobody was expecting it.
So writing Vol 2 was a huge ask, as the element of surprise is gone. They have to deliver better than the outstanding thrill they gave us from a standing start.
Usually most films fail to deliver but this was great.
They managed character growth, humour and plot for a massive cast of characters, they reinvented characters like Groot who could’ve ended up being rather boring if he’d just been another ‘I am Groot’ tree for an entire film.
Star Lord learned a lot about his heritage and the Marvel Cinematic universe moved to a whole new level of ‘creatures’ with celestials and major planet sized beings. These play into some of the more major stories of the Marvel Universe and I couldn’t see how they’d manage to pull this type of thing off without it being a little bit lame, but they nailed it completely.
After seeing Wonder Woman I thought that there wouldn’t be another film this year on that level of amazing quality.
Perfectly cast, brilliantly written, the style and approach was absolutely spot on.
A historic story set before the events of all the other DC Cinematic Universe stories, they were free to do what they wanted with Wonder Woman and managed to build an origin story that has moved her from ‘well known hero’ to the rightful spot within the DC Trinity as the leading lady, and in recent years, the best hero since Batman peaked in ‘The Dark Knight’
Having Ares and the whole lore of Greek Gods involved made this feel absolutely epic. The fighting, special effects and some of Wonder Woman’s potentially lame abilities were handled with style.
I wish wish wish wish wish they could’ve pulled this outstanding quality into everything else the DC universe has offered since.
Beating Wonder Woman for my top film of the year is Thor Ragnarok.
We’ve all seen the advert introducing Hulk’s place in the film but that isn’t the half of it.
We see everything about Thor and Asgard come together from the previous films, Thor and Loki working together. A major threat to their Kingdom, and one much more prepared to destroy them than they were expecting.
Throwing Thor into turmoil and discarding him on a garbage planet where he comes face to face with Hulk was the most incredible stroke of genius by Marvel’s writing team.
Normally, from what I understand, this would’ve been purely a Hulk story – The Avengers and Shield fire him into space to deal with the destructive problem Hulk creates.
In this film it was Banner’s decision to steal a ship and go into space.
When he Hulks out he stays as The Hulk for a long long time, so much so that he can talk and think and act with much more control than he traditionally had in the other Avenger films.
This lead to some absolutely perfect scenes between Thor and Hulk.
The battles were great, the banter back and forth was perfect. They mocked each other, they fought, lots of laugh out loud moments. Thor suddenly has an entourage of aliens on his side that matches Guardians of the Galaxy for variety.
Seeing Thor, Hulk and Loki go side by side into battle against their long lost sister with awesome new characters like Valkyrie was great. I took my daughter to see this and I think we both left the cinema feeling the same level of joy and excitement.
I’ve tried really hard to avoid spoilers here I hope I managed it!
What was your best film of 2017?