This was a very unconventional year for films in that the blockbusters were better than ever and the Oscar movies are just OK. I enjoyed myself at the movies this year, but I have to admit that there were very few genuinely brilliant films. However, there were enough good ones to make a top ten list. Enjoy!
10. Mary Poppins Returns
Emily Blunt just destroys it as Mary and most of the film is quite good. However, it fails in the same way that Star Wars: The Force Awakens failed: it relies too much on its predecessor to do the heavy lifting, especially during the third act.
9. Ralph Breaks the Internet
It’s no secret that the first Wreck-it Ralph is among my favorite films of the last decade and unfortunately its sequel can only be compared to its original, with which it falls quite short. However, contrasted with other films this year, it is still quite fun.
8. Incredibles 2
I think this movie turned out about as well as it could have. It’s not as endlessly rewatchable as the first one, but it is still quite good and is probably Pixar’s sharpest script since Toy Story 3.
I didn’t even expect to see this movie (I have avoided all the Transformers films since the 3rd one) and expected even less to love it. It feels more like a How to Train Your Dragon movie than a Michael Bay film. And it has as much heart as HTTYG, too. The first 10 minutes made me feel like I was 5 years old again watching the first Transformers animated film.
6. Crazy Rich Asians
This was the biggest surprise of the year for me. I was blown away at how emotionally rich the film was. It belongs on a list of “Best Romantic Comedies” and certainly is the best Rom-Com since 2013’s About Time.
5. The Old Man and the Gun
I just really dug this little movie. It’s by the same director as the Pete’s Dragon remake that came out a few years ago. All the performances are spectacular and just a fine final film to showcase Robert Redford’s talent (it’s supposedly his last feature).
4. A Quiet Place
I refuse to say that A Quiet Place is a horror movie, but opt instead to placing it in the thriller category. As a father of three beautiful daughters I related to this film more than any other this year. My wife, who despises scary movies, says that this is probably her favorite film of the year, which just goes to show you how powerful it is.
3. Avengers: Infinity War
I consider Infinity War to be the best Marvel movie since the first Avengers, mostly because it leaned into what other Marvel movies generally avoid: sincerity. This is their least formulaic film, however the next Avengers film coming out in April might actually cancel out all the things I like about this movie. If that happens then obviously my opinion on this film might change.
2. Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse
No one was expecting the new animated Spider-man film to be anything but cute and overly woke. Yet what the filmmakers did here is nothing short of a masterpiece. It works on every single level and sets the bar even higher than it was for both the animation and superhero film genres.
1. Paddington 2
It’s very odd that the first movie I saw this year was also my favorite and the one that I legitimately think is the best film of the year. The efficiency of the storytelling is staggering. “If you’re kind and polite, the world will be right.” I tear up at the end of it every single time.
Most Disappointing Movie of 2018: Fantastic Beasts Crimes of Grindewald
I am a Potter-head more than almost everyone I know and was so very excited for this sequel (the first Fantastic Beasts film was in my top 10 of the year it was released). However, I was almost disgusted at how bad this movie was. Everyone did their best with a terrible script, yet in the end it wasn’t enough. This is the worst thing that J.K. Rowling has written and honestly makes me question her talent. She has become the George Lucas of our time. I have no faith in the future of the franchise now.