The slow crawl towards the end of 2017 is nearly over, so it’s time to look back at the year that was in film. 2017 was a pretty good year for movies, from action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, there were some stinkers and forgettable joints as there are every year, but 2017 should go down as a pretty strong year in movies.
So I’m here to talk about the movies that I enjoyed the most this year. I made an effort to take a look at movies I would normally take a second look at, some joints I have been looking forward to all year, and a film that got me interested through some pretty positive word of mouth. Here are my Top 10 Movies of 2017!
10. Split- M. Night Shyamalan has had a rough decade with movies such as The Last Airbender, The Happening, Lady In The Water, all getting continually mocked by fans, destroyed by critics, and basically destroying any good will he built through the Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. 2015’s The Visit got people hoping that Shyamalan could return to form but it still contained some of the problems that more of his recent work has had, so Split was not exactly the most hyped or looked forward to movie, why people waiting to see what the latest plot twist moment would be. However with an interesting concept of a man with 24 different personalities (with the 24th being “The Beast” that the others seem to fear and worship) kidnapping 3 young girls, a therapist trying to help each of the personalities, and a connection to the beloved Unbreakable, Split was a welcome return for M. Night, a nice surprise to kick off 2017, and a great why to start a pretty good year in movies. Hats off to James McAvoy for putting on a truly outstanding performance in playing and giving a great take on all 24 of the other personalities!
9. Baby Driver- While this movie has gotten a little harder to like because of the involvement of Kevin Spacey and the cloud surrounding his sex scandal, there is no denying how good this movie is. Centered on Baby, a young and extremely talented get away driver who is under the foot of Spacey’s character, it combines interesting story telling, good performances from the star Ansel Elgort, Jamie Foxx, John Hamm, and others, and some slick driving sequences that put the Fast and Furious movies to shame, Baby Driver was an excellent surprise for me this summer and a movie I will definitely watch again.
8. John Wick: Chapter 2- It’s extremely difficult to follow up a well received and almost cult like movie (a problem Deadpool 2 will soon face) and the odds were really against John Wick Chapter 2. How do you follow up one of the best modern action movies with such a simple and straight forward story? They stole his car and killed his dog, so they all had to die, not really much meat on those bones to follow up on in a sequel! Well to relief of fans of the first movie, Chapter 2 does a fantastic job of following up on the first and with expanding the underground world of the assassin’s that John lives in. Incredible action (the scene in Italy at the concert is a joy to watch), another stellar performance by Keanu Reeves and surprise contributions from Common and Ruby Rose, a fun Matrix reunion with Reeves and Lawrence Fishburne, and an ending that sets up what could be a wild Chapter 3, John Wick Chapter 2 was a fun and crazy ride!
7. Spider-Man: Homecoming- Last year’s Civil War featured the Marvel Cinematic Universe debut of Marvel’s most popular hero, Spider-Man. Tom Holland’s take on the wall crawler was refreshing and offered perhaps the perfect balance of dorky Peter Parker and cool, trash talking Spider-Man, something that neither Toby Maguire in the Sam Rami Trilogy back in the day or Andrew Garfield in the Amazing Spider-Man movies could do. So when Homecoming was announced, it got fans hyped up for what Spidey’s first adventure in the MCU would be. While it didn’t have the huge stakes that a lot of other MCU movies have had, this and Ant-Man are probably the the lowest stakes movies in the MCU, with Spider-Man basically stopping dudes from stealing shit, the world that is built in this movie is it’s strongest point.
The movie features the most diverse (in terms of ethnic and cultural backgrounds) cast and characters that have been seen in any MCU movies (until Black Panther comes out), Spider-Man’s love interest is mixed, his best friend is Filipino (and Ned might be my favorite minor/side character in the MCU as a whole, dude was a treat to watch!), the school is filled with smart kids from a variety of backgrounds, reflecting Queens (which is one of the most culturally diverse places in the country) and New York as a whole (the most culturally diverse in the country) and the modern world. The action was fun to watch, the comedy works in pretty much all places, and seeing the growth of Tony Stark as a sort of father figure to Spider-Man, make Homecoming a fun entry into the MCU and a great introduction of Spider-Man as a solo character as I think past Infinity War, he’ll be the figurehead of the whole MCU. Oh and we didn’t get the Uncle Ben death seen or the damn responsibility speech again, so that is a big bonus!
6. Girls Trip- Comedies and movies in general that are not only about but target black women as there primary audience are few and far between and major release that have a primary cast of black women happen even less so. It’s why Girls Trip was such a joy to watch and to see it do as well as it did is even better. Starring Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Tiffany Haddish (the breakout star of the movie and probably the comedy breakout star of the year), as 4 friends reconnecting over a trip to the Essence Fest in New Orleans. We see where each of the ladies has changed and developed over the years and where life has taken them and the struggles of life and love that have taken place with each of them. The humor works in so many places, the hotel scene towards the beginning, the bar fight, and most of what Tiffany does all make this a really enjoyable movie. Perhaps we’ll get a follow up, but even if we don’t this movie deserves all the love it’s gotten and is worth a watch for anyone who loves to laugh!
5. Thor Ragnarok- I make it no secret that I personally do not really like the Thor movies and they are the weakest of all the MCU movies. Chris Hemmsworth does a good job as the God of Thunder and Tom Hiddleson is great as Loki, but the movies just haven’t really connected with me as a fan, so I really wasn’t looking forward to Ragnarok. The trailers built up some intrigue and hype for me and once it dropped I was pleasantly surprised. From pretty much the first scene in the movie, this stood out as the best Thor movie and by the end, I would say it’s definitely a top 10 MCU movie (which I’ll get too before Infinity War comes out). The addition of Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster, and Cate Blanchett as the main big bad Hella all helped create a great story. The action was top notch, the comedy hit in all the right places, and even the emotion was done well. Ragnarok was a fantastic entry into the MCU and sets things up well for Infinity War!
4. Lego Batman- As I said in my earlier post about the state of the DCEU, the year hasn’t been all bad in terms of actual DC Superhero movies, we’ll get to the best movie in a moment, but arguably the best Batman movie was release this year, with Gob from Arrested Development providing the voice! Lego Batman is the follow up to the massively successful Lego Movie and that movie’s breakout character, Lego Batman (voiced by Will Arnet) got his own movie and man it is one of the best and most well rounded deceptions of Batman that doesn’t involve Kevin Conroy. We get the development of the Bat-Family with the introductions of Robin, Barbara Gordon, and Batgirl, a roll call shout out to Batman’s huge Rogues Gallery from the good such as Two-Face and Mr. Freeze to the ridiculous such as Calendar Man and Condiment Man, and perhaps the most in-deepth look at the relationship between Batman and The Joker. Lego Batman stands as the best animated movie of 2017, a great superhero movie, and can stand shoulder to shoulder with The Dark Knigh, Batman: Under The Red Hood, and Mask of the Phantasm as one of the best Batman movies of all time!
3. Wonder Woman- I talked about this movie in my state of the DCEU post a lot, so I’ll keep this one short. Simply put, Wonder Woman stands as one of the finest female lead action movies of all time, an incredible step forward in the outlook of female lead superhero movies, the best of the DCEU, and a landmark for a female director in the genre. Well made, well executed, hopefully we get more movies like this from the folks over at Warner Bros/DC!
2. Logan- With the recent news that Disney has bought most of 20th Century Fox and with it the Marvel movies they had under their umbrella (the X-Men franchise and the Fantastic Four) we may not get a movie like Logan for a long time, and that’s a real shame as I believe it will stand among the very best in the superhero genre. It centers on the final performance of Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine as he has aged to the point where his healing factor is starting to fail him and he’s slowly dying because of the adamantium poisoning his body and Hugh puts his all into this performance. We see a grizzled, down on his luck, on his last legs Wolverine as he is coming to terms with his own mortality. Patrick Stewart gives his best in his final outing as Professor Xavier, and Laura a.k.a. X-23 steals the show with all her little movements, her emotions, and the amount of ass she kicks The final Berserker sequence in the forest towards the climax stands as my favorite superhero action scene of the year and a satisfying way to say goodbye to Wolverine and in a way, say good by to the original X-Men as with the move to Marvel, things are going to change.
And the Number 1 Movie of the year is…
1. Get Out- Who would’ve thought that former Mad TV cast member, one half of Key & Peele, Jordan Peele would’ve made the best movie of the year? Full of intrigue and insight into race in modern day America, it blends horror, suspense, action, and comedy, all extremely well. Starring Daniel Kaluuya as Chris who goes to spend a weekend with and meet the parents of his girlfriend Rose (played by Alison Williams) with only his best friend Rod (Played by Lil Rel Howrey) knowing, things quickly get awkward when Chris meets the parents and her creepy as brother and shit really gets crazy at a garden party the family is having. I will not spoil the movie in any way as I truly believe you should see it for yourself, but punch yourself in the face first for not seeing it sooner! Jordan does an amazing job in directing this movie and crafting this story and I am looking forward to see what he offers us next in the future, but for now his debut film, to me, stands as the best movie of 2017!
Quick honorable mentions goes to Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 as I believe it manages to deliver one of the most emotional stories ever told by the MCU and to War for the Planet of the Apes, a fine conclusion to the tale of Ceasar and Matt Reeves modern Apes trilogy.
Those are my picks for the best movies of the year, but what are yours? Leave and recommend them in the comments below!
Make sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Jamel727 and on Twitch at twitch.tv/jamel727!
As always be safe, be cool, and have a great day!!