Top 10 Best Movies of 2014

These are my best “get off your butt and go see them please!” movies of 2014.

10. Big Hero 6 
– It is not a comic book movie. It uses the name of a comic book but it is super loosely related. Its really just a Disney property. It was fun to watch and it gave you feels. I need to watch more Disney animation movies. They’re always awesome.

9. Birdman 
– Michael Keaton was really good in this sorta-biopic of himself. But Ed Norton steals the show. Emma Stone rocks in it. It has a good story. Its nice to watch a movie that just has actors doing their acting thing without all sorts of ish going nuts. I really enjoy movies when they just have great actors doing great acting.

8. 22 Jumpstreet 
– I need a comedy and this was the best comedy I saw this year. It avoided turning into a giant turd, huge accomplishment. I’m usually bothered when movies make nods to the sequel, like a lot, but here they were legitimately funny and not hamfisted like Dumb and Dumber To or the Pirates sequels. It was funny and fun and I like Jonah Hill.

7. John Wick 
– I find Keanu Reeves kind of laughable as an actor. He’s really good at being clueless and I find he needs to lean on other actors in his movies to get to a high level. Well, here he kills it primarily on his own. Suspense, thrill, action. Fun stuff.

6. The Lego Movie 

This movie is awesome.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy 
– I love how hammy this movie is, but still somehow keeps it serious. Ronan playing it straight is a great juxtaposition to our group of alien misfits. This is a movie that really should have only been “okay” but everything clicks. I’m always impressed when a movie manages to fit everyone in without cutting anyone short.

4. Nightcrawler 
– I’m fascinated by sociopaths. This movie stars a sociopath and follows that descent as it gets worse and worse. So neat to see all the moral issues and qualms others have that surround Gyllenhaal. It makes me wonder just how close this is to real life, and considering some of the crazy stories I’ve heard it doesn’t seem very far off.

3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 
– The best Apes movie I’ve ever seen. The way the apes talk but its all in their own language. I really liked how it depicted society post-apocalypse, which is something I love to see. I like seeing different “end of the world” scenarios. I think this movie is legitimately worth of an Oscar nomination for best picture (especially since they’re opening the voting to 10 films). Caesar rules.

2. Snowpiercer 
– Post-apocalypse. The world sucks. Everyone lives on this train. Poor people vs rich people. Revolution lead by Captain America! And instead of messing up dudes with a shield, he ruins their day with an ax! AN AX! HE STRAIGHT UP PUNKS PEOPLE WITH AN AX! Furthermore, the concept is just so cool and well executed. You gotta see it.

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier 
– This is probably the best Marvel movie ever made. Non-Joss Whedon Black Widow is best Black Widow. I love this kind of action where it is punches and kicks (Cap definitely doesn’t skip leg day) as it has so much more impact than Iron Man blasting dudes. It was so well directed and written. I can watch this movie on repeat.


Summer Movie Reviews: Now with 100% More Dick Messages

– Guardians of the Galaxy 4/5

I really do love Marvel Studios. They are just really good and being good at making good movies. One of the best executed things too is that if you were unaware of this as a Marvel property, you wouldn’t know – save for like 2 itsy bitsy Avengers/Thor: The Dark World hints. Its very accessible. It as easy to understand  for comic nerds and regular mutants alike.

Its going to be silly, its going to be convenient, but its going to be fun. The music is perfect.

I like being able to go into a comic book movie and not really know how its going to go. I’ve read enough/seen enough cartoons to know a lot of the story in things like Cap and Spiderman. Continue reading

Ranking the Modern Marvel Movies, 17-7

Continuing to rank these films. Got through pretty well all of the poop last time. This was hard to rank as most of these movies in here are relatively interchangeable a few spots give or take.

17. Incredible Hulk

This isn’t bad, but its not good. Its much less ambitious than Ang Lee’s “Hulk” and it suffers/improves accordingly. They got closer to getting Bruce Banner and The Hulk right this time around, but still whiffed a bit. I like Ed Norton, but I don’t think he really fit as Bruce Banner. Liv Tyler sucks. Otherwise, the casting for the most part is well done. Blonsky is a sensible “villain” and the camera work and story isn’t really that bad either. It just misses “clicking” and the Hulk design not resembling in any sense Ed Norton. That part really bugged me.

16. Thor

This movie had the potential to be so much worse but, like with most good comic book movies, good actors can sell you on the silliness. The casting was another home run. Sif, Odin, Thor and Loki are all casted perfectly and all bring the right amount of maturity and immaturity to the movie. The characters, even the grating ones, have great chemistry with each other. Sending Thor to earth works to balance the giant golden city of gold everything that Asgard is. Few too many Dutch camera angles though.

15. X-Men

This entire list owes it to this movie for being the first. Its low budget and thats obvious, especially as it has aged. But at the same time it was certifiably nuts and did everything it needed to do. It also laid down the template for pretty well every comic book movie to execute and improve upon which is why this ranks where it does. Huge impact, but over time its been outdone. The casting in this movie is perfect except for Rogue. Anna Paquin…

14. The Amazing Spider-Man

This is a perfectly fine and unoffensive remake of Spider Man. I enjoyed the character chemistry, which is a strength of the reboots. Andrew Garfield fits Spider Man as a hero better than Toby McGuire. Emma Stone is flawless. The biggest gripe I have is that he learned his powers too easily in the movie. He swung around a dumb empty warehouse on a skateboard and POW! he was Spider Man. Also, how crazy Curt Connors got was strange. Went from “OMG I can haz arm!” to “EVERYONE SHOULD BE LIZARDS!” I sort of get it and know and saw what they tried to do to show the descent, but they just whiffed on it. Went for a home run and got a bloop single into right field.

13. Iron Man 2

I’m so wishy washy on this movie. I had it at 16 and I’ve had it higher so I settled on here. When you watch it with your turbonerd vision on, which is how I watch all comic book movies, then you see a lot more to it. Its perfectly fine and fun. The character chemistry is still there and there is lots of Iron Man-ing. A lot of the things that others see as plotholes, I have totally reasonable non-fanboy explanations that are actually in the movie. Synthesizing the vibranium was a little outlandish though.

12. Spider-Man

This is a good movie. While Andrew Garfield is a better Spider Man, Toby McGuire is a better Peter Parker to me. He’s better at the nerdy, down on his luck character with all sorts of conflicts. James Franco does Harry Osborne well too and the casting is pretty strong. I don’t know if Kirsten Dunst is a bad MJ, or if its the lack of chemistry between her and McGuire that brings her character down. The plot is good and comic booky while believable and the CGI holds up really well over time. Its complete and very satisfying.

11. X-Men: First Class

Another ace in character casting. Beast, Professor X, Magneto and Mystique are all excellent and many of the side characters are very well done too. I’d give the show stealing performance to Michael Fassbender. He’s an excellent Magneto and his scenes accordingly excellent. If it wasn’t for the bomb that was Origins: Wolverine, we were supposed to get a Magneto movie but they folded a lot of those scenes (Magneto the Nazi hunter) into this one. I really enjoyed how the super hero conflict was blended into actual history. Its a very strong origin for the franchise and really established the strong relationship between Professor X and Magneto.

10. Thor: The Dark World

Much like the first film, this one is goofy and dumb but it pulls it off. They fully embraced more of the weird spacey realm mytholgy things. Hemsworth has improved every time he’s held the hammer. Hiddleston is Loki. Loki is Hiddleston. Jaime Alexander is excellent as Sif, while criminally underused. And even Natalie Portman and her team of misfit scientists make this work. There is case to be made that of the post-Iron Man Marvel movies that this hast the weakest villain, and well yeah. No charisma or pull, which is unfortunate with an actor like Ecclestone under all that makeup. He’s just an evil bad dude. But a combination of Loki, improved action, scope of the plot and with more time spent on not-Midgard really makes it enjoyable.

9. Iron Man 3

I get wishy-washy on this Iron Man movie too. I had it at 15, then 7 and everywhere in between. Its really good. The tone is great. Its fun. It has all the great character chemistry you’d expect. It also does a good job at emphasizing Tony Stark as the hero versus the Iron Man suit as the hero. But I have my issues with it. First and foremost, The Mandarin as an actor and bathroom humour vehicle. But then again, I love the Extremis storyline and liked Guy Pierce’s character. The twist was interesting and cheap at the same time. And that is what tears me on it. From a movie standpoint, its great. But from a comic book standpoint, it takes a few too many liberties in a way I wasn’t totally okay with. Its everything you’ve come to expect from Iron Man in the previous movies, but at the same time unique and different which was refreshing. And it wasn’t just another villain in a suit which I LOVE LOVE LOVED! It also really set up an interesting world for Avengers 2 and find out just what Tony’s been doing.

8. The Wolverine

This is a really interesting “comic book movie” because it really wasn’t all that comic book movie, but it was. It was character driven and the scale of the plot was stripped down from what we’re used to seeing in these movies with world domination and extinction and whatever. It was a really different take on the character and reminded me of the Terminator 2. There isn’t a lot of excess at all and it keeps things moving pretty straight forward. It was very enjoyable in how lean and focused it was. Really a “Wolverine” movie versus a “Wolverine and Friends”. The end could be better, but thats a pretty common gripe with just about every movie.

7. Captain America: The First Avenger

I really have to hand it to this movie. They took a character that is as easy to screw up as Captain America and nailed it. They really embraced how old fashioned Cap is as a character instead of trying to turn him into a gritty soldier screaming “AMERICA!” That is my favourite part of this movie. He’s fighting for the USA, but not as this pro-America supremacist flag waving nut case. His values are simple like bravery and fighting for what is right while being entirely selfless. He’s the “ideal” American, while feeling like you can easily replace “American” with whatever your nationality is and lose none of the messaging. Then making it work in this day in age as a World War II movie mixed with space guns and a soldier who beats everyone by punching them super hard. The supporting cast is perfect as well. Arnim Zola to Peggy Carter to Bucky Barnes to Red Skull to everyone else.

Marvel movies 28-18

Marvel movies 6-1