Movie Rankings: 2014, 2013, 2012


10. GODZILLA.  The human characters are boring but this movie did a wonderful job of building the mystery, scale, and spectacle of a skyscraper sized monster more than any other movie.  

9.  AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2.  There’s a lot of bad in here.  Way too much of the movie is a emo stalker love story.  Electro’s character is ridiculous.  The last minute tacked on Green Goblin II appearance is terrible.  Putting that aside there is some great Spidey action in here.

8. BIG HERO 6. A great Disney (secretly Marvel!) superhero animated adventure.

7. HOW TO TRAIN DRAGON 2.  This is an incredibly dark and mature sequel with an amazing story, action, humor, and some truly shocking twists.

6. DAWN OF PLANET OF THE APES.  My favorite Apes movie by far.  First, the CGI is 100% photorealistic.  It’s astonishing.  But more importantly, this tells a wonderful story of how an uneasy peace devolved into war through mistrust and misunderstanding.

5. EDGE OF TOMORROW. I normally hate time loop stories but this milks it for all it’s worth with a ton of great action and humor.

4. X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST.  The best X-Men movie!  It was a huge deal to have the original cast come back, though disappointing that only Wolverine actually travels back in time.

3. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.  The MCU’s most daring big swing paid off perfectly.  They went full on sci-fi and everything is delightful and hilarious.

2. WINTER SOLDIER.  One of the best of the MCU.  Another wonderful vehicle to make Cap an interesting character with amazing action and truly world-shattering consequences to the franchise.  Who ever though they would destroy SHIELD when the SHIELD television show had just started?!  Daring!

1. HOBBIT BATTLE FIVE ARMIES. Certainly the worst example of Jackson excess and I love every second of it.  The White Council vs. the Necomancer is one of those scenes i dreamed about as a child and seeing it on screen was absolutely magical.  The ridiculously large scale battle, which looks bigger than the one in ROTK, is just pure spectacle.


10. FROZEN.  While a little overrated, it’s still a Disney classic and cultural juggernaut full of iconic songs.

9. GRAVITY.  Alfonso Cuaron creates an unbeliveably kinetic realtime edge of your seat experience unlike any other.  The special effects look absolutely real.  There’s even some theming and symbolism in the mix.

8. THOR DARK WORLD.  One of the weakest MCU films with perhaps the worst villain, but there are still great character and comedy bits and some great action scenes.

7. PACIFIC RIM.  Not terribly original, but a very fun Del Toro action flick with great spectacle.

6. WHITE HOUSE DOWN.  This movie is so much sheer fun and I’m surprised it’s not more popular.  It’s Die Hard in the White House!

5. FAST FURIOUS 6.  This might be my favorite Fast movie.  It’s got all the best characters and perhaps the series best villain in Owen Shaw and his team, along with some of the greatest set pieces in the franchise.

4. MAN OF STEEL. I’m not a fan of grim and gritty takes on superheroes but this movie still works for me… mostly.  Despite the dark subject matter Supes does remain an aspirational figure, and killing Zod is actually true to the comics.  It’s definintely the best solo Superman movie ever and the first one to truly deliver on the spectacle and power the character should possess.

3. IRON MAN 3.  I think this is a mostly successful movie and while the Mandarin twist initially irked me, I do appreciate it now.  I do wish Tony had spent more time in the armor though.

2. STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS. Aside from the ridiculous ending, I love this movie!  Peter Weller and Cumberbatch were superlative villains.  The action was epic and incredible.  Even more importantly, they brought in Section 31 from DS9!  The ending is still dumb though.

1. HOBBIT DESOLATION OF SMAUG.  With the caveat that this is not a faithful adaptation of the book but a what if exended version… this movie is pure magic.  There’s a lot more action and epicness than the first movie.  We get Legolas, Lee Pace, and Evangelline Lilly.  And the “extended” scene of the Dwarves fighting Smaug in the Lonely Mountain is my all time favorite “addition” that Jackson made to the trilogy.


10. JOHN CARTER.  Too long and too serious, but a truly epic sci-fi adventure.

9. CLOUD ATLAS.  Another Wachowski masterpiece full of beautiful moments, but it is overly long and overly complicated.

8. CABIN IN THE WOODS.  A classic pastiche of every horror movie trope imaginable.

7. WRECK IT RALPH.  A great parody of video games.

6. SKYFALL.  Definitely the best of the Daniel Craig era with a great villain, great set pieces, and an actual feeling of something momentous occuring in the franchise.

5. DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.  A disappointing conclusion to the Nolan trilogy but full of great individual moments.  Doing Knightfall and No Man’s Land (each fully year long storylines) in a single movie results in a rushed and unsatisfactory telling and an overlong movie, but it was great to see a live action version of these events.  

4. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.  Garfield is a much better Spidey than Maguire, but having to sit through a prolonged origin story yet again is tedious, and the Lizard is not a great villain.  Still, the Spidey action is a vast improvement over the Rami trilogy.

3. PROMETHEUS.  There are some plot holes but this is a wonderful continuation of the Alien franchise that does something new and original rather than doing another rehash of Aliens.  The mystery of the Engineers and the origin of the xenomorphs was the great unanswered question of the original movies and this film addresses that subject with a great sense of wonder and mystery.  I’m still disappointed we never got a proper sequel to this.

2. HOBBIT UNEXPECTED JOURNEY.  As a die hard Tolkein fan, I dearly love the Hobbit movies not as a faithful adaptation but as a delightful “what if?” extended version of the original story, remaking it to better fit the style and tone of LOTR.  And it’s magical to see it on the screen.

1. THE AVENGERS.  A perfect movie.  A perfect script.  A moment realized on screen that I never hoped to see.  The movie that changed the MCU from a middling success into the juggernaut that defines movies to this day.

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