Movie Rankings: 2017, 2016, 2015

2017.

10. PIRATES ON STRANGER TIDES. This was much, much better than the fourth one, but still doesn’t touch the original trilogy.  Javier Bardem made for a solid villain and I do like how it tied back into Will and Elizabeth.

9. JUSTICE LEAGUE.  The J*ss version is deeply, deeply flawed.  But it’s still the first time this team meets on-screen so it’s magical for that alone.

8. LAST JEDI.  I wanted to like this movie, I really did.  I walked in convinced I would love it… and walked out shell-shocked that for the first time in my life I didn’t like a Star Wars movie.  I will never agree with the decision to make Luke a bitter failure who refuses to help anyone, or with the decision to kill him off unnecessarily.  The Canto Bight sequence is wasteful and the starship chase is silly and Poe is turned into a maligned character in it.  Setting up Snoke as the new villain only to kill him off as a joke is shocking, but in a bad way.  This movie goes out of its way to detonate everything set up in the first movie.  All that being said… it’s still Star Wars and it’s an expertly made film even if I don’t agree with it.

7. TRANSFORMERS LAST KNIGHT.  I legitimately enjoyed the first three, really didn’t enjoy the fourth, and this one felt like a redemption of its predecessor.  Optimus turning evil was a dumb movie, but everything about the movie was a vast improvement and Bay-sanity will always get a pass for me.  Nobody makes a better action sequence.

6. KONG SKULL ISLAND.  This is a great movie!  My only complaint is Kong didn’t have a cooler monster to fight, but everything else works.  The characters are interesting and Brie Larson made a particular impression.  I love the Vietnam War setting.  The exploration of the island was very involving.

5. FATE OF THE FURIOUS.  This is one of the better Fast movies.  Dom working for the bad guys was actually well done and for a legitimately good reason.  Charlize Theron is instantly the best villain the franchise ever had.  The action scenes are huge and ridiculous.  I particularly love the NYC scene of remote controlled cars working in tandem; truly iconic.

4. WONDER WOMAN.  Great introductory movie for the character and loved the World War One setting.  No complaints.

3. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2.  It’s a little slow in the second act but everything else works.  The characters are hilarious and all have legitimate arcs in the story.  The action and sci-fi insanity is golden.

2. SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING.  This is the best Spider-Man movie as of 2017.  The character, setting, story, action, and villain all works.  They even managed to make the Vulture cool and threatening, which I never thought was possible.

1. THOR RAGNAROK.  Taika Waititi revolutionized Thor the character and the franchise to make a hilarious and classic movie.  This movie is just pure joy all the way through.                

2016.

10. BATMAN VS SUPERMAN. Oh, what a disappointment.  This should have been the greatest thing ever.  Instead we get an overly long complicated plot by the worst Lex Luthor ever put to screen, a Batman who kills people left and right, and a brooding Superman who just doesn’t seem to care.  Still, recreating the fight from Dark Knight Returns was awesome and we did get Wonder Woman and (a terrible) Doomsday.

9. FANTASTIC BEASTS.  It’s a small scale story, but a truly original story in the franchise starring adults was a really interesting thing to see.  I really like Newt and the other characters, and the introduction of Grindelwald was fascinating.

8. DOCTOR STRANGE. This is a lower tier MCU movie for me.  Yet another linear origin story.  Yet another copy of Iron Man 1.  Still, there are fun characters and concepts and action.

7. STAR TREK BEYOND. The villains are completely forgettable but it’s a fun romp with epic visuals.

6. DEADPOOL. So much better, and funnier, than I could have ever hoped for.  They really brought this unique comic to life.

5. INDEPENDENCE DAY 2. As a massive fan of the original, I legitimately love this movie.  I think it was fascinating to show how humanity has adapted to using alien technology while also diligently preparing for the next invasion.  It’s not as good as the original but there a lot to love here.

4. FINDING DORY.  Nemo is the greatest Pixar movie ever and this shockingly manages to be a worthy sequel full of just as many instantly iconic characters and moments.

3. ZOOTOPIA.  I legitimately love this movie.  The world and visuals of Zootopia are absolutely incredible.  I just want to live there.  The characters are great and the story is wonderful and a meaningful parable about racism and police brutality… in a kid’s movie!

2. CIVIL WAR. One of the great MCU movies, and the first one to truly show they’re willing to break the formula and go tragic.  Plus, the Airport fight.  Plus, Spider-Man and Black Panther!

1. ROGUE ONE. While TFA is more fun and iconic, Rogue One is without a doubt the best made of the Disney Star Wars movies.  It’s a legimately important story with instantly classic characters and astonishing recreations of New Hope while still looking utterly modern and realistic.

2015.

10. SPECTRE. I like this movie more than most apparently.  It’s not as good as Skyfall but it’s definitely more enjoyable than Casino or Quantum.  Some great action scenes and I enjoyed the return of Blofield, even with his ridiculous backstory.

9. ANT-MAN.  I think this most is a vast overrated carbon copy of the first Iron Man movie.  That being said, Paul Rudd is hilarious.  Another weak villain and drawn out linear origin story, unfortunately.

8. JUPITER ASCENDING.  I’m a sucker for any original big budget sci-fi and this film is just bursting with crazy visuals and concepts and great action.  It’s not perfect but there is just so much to enjoy.

7. TOMORROWLAND.  I just watched this movie again and it feels better each time.  On my first viewing I was very disappointed that Tomorrowland was a dead, empty world populated by three people, and that stands, but the rest of the movie is a wonderful adventure with a great message.

6. INSIDE OUT.  Classic Pixar!  In addition to telling a deep, meaningful emotional story, it is also full of humor and adventure and great conceptual jokes.

5. FURIOUS 7.  Not quite as good as 5 or 6, but still a solid and thrilling Fast movie with a great villain in Statham and a great new character in Mister Nobody.

4. MAD MAX FURY ROAD.  As a child I loved Beyond Thunderdome, and this is inexplicably a prefer sequel two decades later.  A masterclass in practical action stunts and a classic for the ages.

3. AVENGERS AGE OF ULTRON.  I like this movie more than most.  I think it’s almost as good as the first Avengers on most levels, and even better in action and cinematography.  Ultron is not as compelling a villain but he’s decent, and the sheer number of characters involved was mind-boggling at the time.

2. JURASSIC WORLD.  I dearly love this movie as a nostalgia fix.  Jurassic Park was a formative movie and book for me as a kid but I always dreamed of seeing it as a working theme park full of people, and this movie finally realized that dream.  It definitely has some silly and problematic elements in it, but what a ride.

1. STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS.  Another magical return to childhood.  Rey and Finn and Poe are instantly classic new characters.  The story is thrilling, the action scenes are amazing.  My only complaint is that it’s obviously derivative and we never got Luke properly in the film.  

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