Films in 2017: Hits and Misses
Good evening! We're almost done with 2017! This year went quickly for me, but it was also tremendously busy. I reviewed a grand total of 18 films this year. Can you believe it? I'm going to rank them today. We're going to start with my least favorite movie of 2017 and then move through the list until we reach my favorite. The numbering system will be based on how well I liked each film. It's not necessarily a list of the best quality versus the worst. I usually gravitate to blockbusters and actions films, so you're going to notice some recurring themes. Take a look through my list and see what you think.
This movie is such a mess. I dislike everything about it except the performances. It also seems like false advertising with misleading trailers. I thought Suburbicon was going to be a witty dark comedy with relatable characters. That part isn't true at all. It's more like a crime drama and satire without much structure. I just couldn't connect with the story or directing at all. It was a missed opportunity.
Naturally, this isn't a very good film. What should we expect from a movie called Geostorm? It actually has good entertainment value and special effects, but the other components are pretty bad. I'm not impressed with the acting and the story is downright silly. However, I'll give Geostorm a little credit for including some themes we face today in the real world.
#16-Transformers: The Last Knight
Perhaps, it was unrealistic for me to believe we could have a good Transformers movie. The plot is overloaded and the humor is awkward. It simply doesn't measure up to the other actions films in 2017. However, I enjoy certain elements. It's quite interesting with great actions scenes and surprisingly good lead characters. I heard Michael Bay is leaving the Transformers franchise. That's fine with me if the rumor is true.
You guys are probably complaining about this one. It seems like everyone else thinks Logan is one of the greatest superhero films ever made. Sorry, but I don't get it. I just don't like it very much. It's depressing to the point of excess and really slow. It also breaks every rule and convention we saw in the previous X-Men films. That doesn't mean I hate everything. I think Hugh Jackman's performance is incredible and very convincing. The R rating was a good idea too. It improves the quality of the action scenes and makes the experience seem like a true Wolverine film.
#14-The Dark Tower
Yes, I'm having the audacity to rank The Dark Tower slightly higher than Logan. It's genuinely a middle of the road film. I don't think it's bad, but the movie is nothing special either. It's a dark fantasy with some elements from westerns and the post-apocalyptic genre. I actually like it better than the book series. The Dark Tower books aren't my cup of tea. I like the pacing and the characters are decent. The action scenes and visual effects need some work. Some of the plot points are a bit confusing too. Overall, it's just okay.
I have a love-hate relationship with this movie. Some elements are quite strong while other components don't work very well. I think Michael Fassbender is excellent as the android named David. He's so weird and vindictive. The film also has cool action sequences and feels like a legitimate part of the Alien franchise. It's a very interesting movie. But I also believe the creature effects are weak. The aliens seem cartoonish and it ruins the scare factor. I thought Covenant might be a really scary Alien film, but it's not. Covenant might also create some continuity issues down the road if they keep making more films. I guess we'll see what happens.
Truthfully, I think the new Spider-Man film is pretty good. Tom Holland is an excellent choice for Spider-Man and Peter Parker. He fits the character really well. The movie has fun action scenes, although I have some issues with the pacing. It slows down quite a bit sometimes. I also believe Michael Keaton is great as the Vulture. He's better than most of the villains in the MCU. I wish he had more screen time in the Vulture suit. The film is amusing and more contemporary than the previous Spider-Man films. I feel like it's more of tween film though. It's definitely a nice movie for teenagers.
#11-Blade Runner 2049
This film is exceptional in so many ways. I love the cinematography and visual effects. Ryan Gosling is the right fit for K, a replicant and the story's protagonist. Blade Runner 2049 is thought provoking with major themes we should contemplate for today's era. The musical score is really cool too. I truly believe 2049 is better than the original Blade Runner film. Here's why it doesn't land higher on my list. It's nearly three hours long with some dull moments and very few action scenes. I also think some of the supporting characters aren't particularly interesting. But I still feel like the overall product is a great effort.
#10-Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
I'm placing this movie in the number 10 spot largely for the sake of entertainment. Dead Men Tell No Tales is so much fun. It's humorous with a lot fantasy elements and cool actions sequences. Johnny Depp still rocks as Captain Jack. I also feel like this film is returning the franchise's roots. Some of the other pirate films drifted away from the franchise's stylistic elements. Granted, I can't say it's a remarkable film. It's goofy and very similar to the Curse of the Black Pearl. Maybe Disney made too many of these pirate movies.
#9-Kong: Skull Island
Let's face it. It's not necessary for every film to be a revolutionary work of art. Sometimes it's just fun to watch monsters pummel each other. Skull Island is awesome and a great popcorn movie. Shockingly, Kong is a decent protagonist. The creatures are more interesting than the human characters and that's the main issue. Most of the human characters are generic and underdeveloped. A lot of them are just canon fodder for the various monsters. With that said, the visual effects are impressive and I can't think of a boring moment. It's like a rollercoaster ride!
This is another entertaining movie. Ragnarok is a huge departure from the other Thor films and I appreciate the changes. It's very funny and the film has some of the most incredible action scenes I've ever seen. I feel like Thor's character is evolving and becoming less rigid. Hela is also a fabulous villain. Unfortunately, she doesn't have nearly enough screen time. I fell in love with the music. It's a throwback to musical scores from 1980s. This is another film I would rank higher if it didn't have the following problems. Way too much time was focuses on the Planet Hulk subplot. It takes away a lot of significance and time from the Ragnarok storyline. I'm not a fan of Loki at this point. He's a stock character who's becoming very one dimensional. Sometimes I feel like the pacing randomly slows down because the characters constantly stop to tell jokes. I appreciate the humor, but it becomes too silly at times. But I still think it's an awesome film.
#7-Star Wars: The Last Jedi
I waited all year long to see the new Star Wars movie. Overall, it's a great film. The Last Jedi has cutting edge visual effects and really exciting battle scenes. I love so many of the characters and some of the scenes are a nice homage to earlier Star Wars films. It includes new force powers, creatures, weapons, and more. I also think the movie is surprisingly amusing. John Williams created the score and that's always a plus. Rian Johnson took a lot of risks and it worked. However, I have a bone to pick with certain things. There are too many love triangles and the story has noticeable pacing issues. Some of the characters make odd choices and I'm shocked anyone is still alive at the end. Obviously, everyone can't die, otherwise we would never see Episode IX. It's still a good effort and a great addition to the Star Wars franchise.
#6-Kingsman: The Golden Circle
The majority of critics were really hard on this movie. I actually enjoy it a lot. Kingsman is very much what a viewer should expect from a Kingsman film. It's energetic, wacky, humorous, and entertaining. I like the characters, including the new Statesman group. This film has some of the most insane fight scenes I've ever seen. It's just awesome! I have very few complaints except it seems too long and the first Kingsman film was definitely better.
Another shocker, right? Despite Justice League's problems, I walked away from the movie theater and felt really good. This film is breaking away from the dark, depressing, and nihilistic motif from the previous DC installments. I think Justice League is a good movie for DC fans with great characters and fun action scenes. Each character serves their purpose in the story. I feel like it's a good step in the right direction in a messy franchise. Sadly, the visual effects are embarrassingly bad. I don't know why the creators of this film allowed the special effects be so lousy. Although it didn't ruin the experience for me. Steppenwolf was also an underdeveloped villain. Granted, that seems to be a recurring issue in most superhero films. So, it's not a perfect movie, but I still see a lot of hope in the overall product. Even I'm surprised to see both DC films in my top 5.
#4-War for the Planet of the Apes
Honestly, I didn't have great expectations for this movie. The other Planet of the Apes films were good, but not exceptional. This movie really surprised me. It has great directing and writing. Caesar is an excellent protagonist, even though he's a CGI ape. The musical score is really good too. This film shows the difficulties of war and imprisonment in a very unique way. It's a more realistic take on science fiction. I became very attached to the apes. This movie deserves some attention at the Oscar's, but it probably won't happen. As luck would have it, the villain in this film is pretty weak and I noticed some minor plot holes. But I'm not going to complain very much. It's still a great film.
#3-Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
I love the Guardians of the Galaxy series. Personally, I believe Vol. 2 is very comparable to the quality of its predecessor. I think the characters are terrific, the humor is awesome, the actions scenes are cool, and the visual effects are worthy of an Oscar nomination. I didn't notice any pacing issues and Kurt Russell stole the show as the movie's villain. It has a surprising amount of depth. The characters face a lot of external and internal conflicts. Also, the plot isn't generic at all. The film probably has too many characters, but I still think the overall product is fantastic. I can't wait for Vol. 3!
#2- Wonder Woman
This movie really stunned me. I didn't expect Wonder Woman to be so incredible, especially because DC didn't have a good track record. Patty Jenkins is an amazing director. Her vision brought this film to life in a heartfelt and organized way. I think Gal Gadot was an excellent casting choice. Wonder Woman as a protagonist is strong, brave, pure of heart, driven, and compassionate. The supporting characters, including Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, are great too. I really like the production design and costumes. This film could pave the way for a new generation of superhero movies. It's simply awe inspiring. I just don't think the movie has very strong villains. Hopefully, Wonder Woman will be the beginning of better DC films.
#1-Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast is my favorite movie of 2017. I can hardly find anything to criticize. It's faithful to the animated version and brings some new elements to the classic story. Some of the actors aren't the best singers, but that's a minor complaint for me. I still think the music is fabulous. Disney includes all the music from the animated film and adds some new songs. I love the characters because they're so fun, genuine, relatable, and interesting. Emma Watson is terrific as Belle. She brings some modern elements to the character. Dan Stevens is a good fit for the Beast. Luke Evans is sinister and entertaining as Gaston. The enchanted objects are quirky, well developed, and a big part of the soul in this movie. It seems like this version of the story fixes some plot holes in the animated film. The costumes are absolutely beautiful too. Remakes are not usually better than the original film, but this one is a rare exception. I think we have a brand new Disney classic!
So, that's my entire list of films in 2017. There were many great blockbusters, but a few of them were disappointing. It would be nice to see more original films in 2018. I'm noticing that most of the popular movies are sequels, remakes, prequels, or an adaptation from another source. Sci-fi, fantasy, and action films are definitely popular at the moment and that's good for someone like me. What were you favorite movies in 2017? Jot down your list in the c0mment section. This is my final blog post of the year! I'm wishing everyone a happy New Year and keep your eyes open for next week's post.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Review
Welcome back! This is my review for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It was one of the most anticipated films of the year, collecting more than $200,000 domestically on the opening night. The Last Jedi seems to be a divisive movie with a wide variety of opinions from devout fans. I have a lot of mixed views on this film, so let’s break it down.
For those of you who saw The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi continues the battle between the Resistance and First Order. Rey finds Luke Skywalker on a remote island and we continue to see a lot of classic elements that are typical from the Star Wars franchise. If you haven’t seen the previous Star Wars films, this review will be really confusing. Unlike some franchises, it’s hard to jump in the middle of the Star Wars saga. So, keep that in mind while we move forward.
I definitely have several good things to say about this movie. Many of the characters were quite interesting. I thought Carrie Fisher was fantastic as General Leia. Sadly, we lost Carrie Fisher earlier in the year, but her final performance was excellent. I thought Kylo Ren had decent character development. He was one of my least characters from The Force Awakens, so I'm glad his character had some improvements in this film. Mark Hamill also gave a strong performance with his revival of Luke Skywalker. We’re seeing a different, thoughtful, and conflicted side of Luke. Kelly Marie Tran was relatable and fun as Rose. She’s a brand new character in the Star Wars series and I found her character quite refreshing. John Boyega was pretty good as Finn, even though the character is one dimensional. He adds a lot of comical elements to the film’s serious tone. Laura Dern was also solid as Vice Admiral Holdo in the Resistance. Holdo was an interesting supporting character, but I wish she had more screen time. I'll bet you guys want to hear about the Porgs. They're adorable and absolutely hilarious. The Praetorian guards were pretty cool too. They serve as body guards to Supreme Leader Snoke and I found them very entertaining. However, they're not particularly big characters.
We can always count on Star Wars to deliver great visual effects and action scenes. It’s a hallmark of the franchise. The environments and battle scenes are cutting edge. You’ll see action in a couple forms. There are big battles in space and some individual conflicts on the ground level. Again, it’s typical of Star Wars. Even though we’re not seeing a lot of new elements in regards to visual effects, it’s still very entertaining and exactly what an audience should expect.
This is an unpredictable film and I mean it in a positive context. It keeps the audience guessing and makes a lot of surprising turns. The Last Jedi should surprise even the most seasoned Star Wars fans. I thought Rian Johnson gave a unique perspective to a long lasting franchise. He made a lot of interesting choices in directing. Most of the unexpected elements worked fine for me, but they might irritate some traditional Star Wars fans. Johnson definitely took a lot of risks in this film.
Even though The Last Jedi moves in a new direction, we still see a lot of influences from previous Star Wars films. I can see some classic elements in the battle sequences, visual effects, themes, plot points, and more. This isn’t the same problem from The Force Awakens. Many viewers thought The Force Awakens was a rehash of A New Hope. This isn’t the case for the The Last Jedi. It’s both different and familiar at the same time in a positive way.
This movie brings up some interesting ideas regarding rebellion and the underdog. Every Star Wars film showcases a rebellious band of heroes who tries to overthrow a corrupt empire. The message is particularly strong, sentimental, and oddly logical in The Last Jedi. Some elements are surprisingly realistic and thought provoking. It was a stellar and bold move in both directing and writing.
This film also has a lot of funny scenes. It’s awesome. The humor works really well and lightens up the somber mood. Earlier in the year, I wrote a review about Thor: Ragnarok. That film went overboard with the humor and became very silly. In fact, the story dragged along because the characters stopped all the time to say jokes. We don’t have that problem in The Last Jedi. The humor is brief, sporadic, and appropriate. I really appreciated it.
Unfortunately, I was unhappy with certain elements in this film. Some of the choices with characters seemed odd or inappropriate. It’s kind of hard to talk about the situation without giving away spoilers. Basically, some of the characters make decisions that seem out of place. I expect consistency in the character’s personalities, decisions, and values. The Last Jedi randomly changes some things and certain elements didn’t work for me.
I also felt like the movie dragged in the beginning and middle of the story. It has some pacing issues and a few scenes seem like unnecessary tangents. The Last Jedi is around two and half hours long. A few sections in the middle could have been eliminated to help the pace.
The plot needed some work too. Ironically, the story doesn’t move forward very much. You’ll have a better understanding by watching the film. I feel like Episode IX will need to cram a ton of information, plot points, and direction because The Last Jedi doesn’t move the overall story through the next chapter enough.
I also have a minor complaint about Kylo Ren's lightsaber. It's the same one we saw in The Force Awakens. I think his lightsaber is weird and awkward. The other lightsabers worked well in the earlier Star Wars movies and there was a big variety of them through the years. Kylo Ren holds his lightsaber in a particular way and the weapon seems a bit inefficient. In fact, clumsy might be a better word. I suppose the creators of the new Star Wars films deserve some points for originality though.
That concludes my review for The Last Jedi. It’s actually a pretty good movie. I just had a few issues with it. Should you see it in theaters? Of course! It’s a Star Wars film! See it on the biggest screen possible. The visual effects and action sequences will be stunning. I know it’s hard to find the time and money to watch movies during the holiday season, but it will be worth your effort. Bring the whole family. A lot of kids will probably enjoy this film. Did you already see The Last Jedi? Please leave a comment and tell us about your experience. I'm wishing you guys a happy holidays and stay tuned for next week’s blog post.
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