As we reach the final act of this year, it’s time to take a look back at a strong year for films. We’ve had a major assortment of movies come across the silver screen and got audiences into theaters almost every weekend. These movies offered an escape from our lives for an hour or two. These movies thrilled us, made us cry, and had us cheering for a wonderful work of creative art done by actors, directors, and the crew that put all the magic together.
Here is my list of Top 10 movies of 2017:
It goes without saying that Disney knows how to make a good animated movie and are usually on someone’s list as the best of the year. Coco is no exception. This entry into the library of Disney/Pixar stands out among the other films. Coco is filled with life, charm and magic, but handles the topic of death respectfully and in a way that even children can understand. Like Inside Out, this film is good for kids and adults to go and enjoy. If you haven’t had a chance, read my review of Coco.
9. Spider-Man Homecoming
When Sony pictures and Marvel Studios agreed to share the costumed hero, it meant that we finally got to see the wall-crawler join the ever expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. After his appearance in Captain America: Civil War, audiences waited to see how the web-slinger would be introduced as a part of the MCU. Director Jon Watts delivered a colorful, entertaining high school superhero film where the youngest Avenger did things his way to fit in with the larger-than-life heroes that he grew up watching. A strong performance by veteran actor Michael Keaton as the villain, Vulture, along with an entertaining turn by young Tom Holland and a wonderful young cast made Spider Man: Homecoming one of the best films this year. Welcome home, web-head.
8. Beauty and the Beast
With recent success of their live-action remakes, it didn’t take long until the tale as old as time would be re-imagined and get the live-action treatment. Director Bill Condon was able to recreate the magic of the original animated classic thanks to a stellar A-list cast, led by leading lady Emma Watson. This adaptation of Beauty and the Beast also gave depth to Belle and the Beast that the animated film didn’t, assisting in making the audience care more deeply than we already did for them. Alan Menken returning made all the sense in the world and helped make this movie beautiful and almost as memorable as its animated original.
7. Your Name
Normally, I wouldn’t put a Japanese anime film in my top 10, but when I heard about the special American release of Your Name, I couldn’t help but be interested. The highest grossing anime film and Japanese film, this film had dazzling animation to go along with its emotional story about two high schoolers who have never met, but are bonded together through fate. Their grounded story is what keeps you invested in the film along with blending in the comedy and awkwardness of teenage life. There is a twist that I won’t spoil here. You’ll have to watch it. Trust me is that it’s worth it.
In these turbulent times of racial injustice and social inequality that has come into the spotlight, many films wouldn’t tackle this issue. Detroit is unapologetically brings this into focus during a similar time where our country was at such a crossroads. Detroit tells the story of the Algiers Motel Incident during the 1967 Detroit 12th Street Riot. The real emotional part takes place in the second act when the hotel and their guests take center stage as they face harassment and physical intimidation from police officers. Director Kathryn Bigelow delivers a hardhitting emotional story that is hard to ignore or look away. I can honestly say that this movie stirred feelings of anger in me, especially when I realize that we are dealing with issues like this still in 2017. While it could be labeled as a box office failure, Detroit is still a powerful film.
5. Thor: Ragnarok
As the Marvel Cinematic Universe speeds towards next May’s big budget ensemble film, Avengers: Infinity War, one of the original Avengers had another chapter to add to his trilogy. And it was his best ever. Despite two decent solo movie entries, the God of Thunder hadn’t reached the same success as his other teammates have with their solo adventures. Thor: Raganarok was the adventure he needed. Directed by Taika Waititi, he broke down Thor in order to build him back up in a wonderful arc while also being humorous along the way. The film has been praised for the performances by the cast (Cate Blanchett, anyone?) and action sequences. Thor: Ragnarok kept up Marvel’s success this year as we prepare to see him again with the rest of Earth’s Mightest Heroes.
4. Wonder Woman
Speaking of superhero franchises, DC Comics movie universe has gone through its own share of troubles. After three mediocre and polarizing entries, this franchise needed a win. And it found one in a film that was years in the making and paid off big time. Wonder Woman was bright, colorful, and full of hope. Those three things are something that DC Comics Film Universe desperately needed. The color definitely jumps off the screen in comparison to the grey world that we got used to in previous installments. Leading lady Gal Gadot turned in a strong and spectacular performance as the Amazon Princess, filling me with such pride that I understood how inspiring this comic book character is. Director Patty Jenkins did a great job behind the camera that she returns to the director’s chair for the sequel. If you haven’t seen Wonder Woman, you need to fix that.
3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
When you hear Star Wars, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Space battles? Lightsaber duels? R2-D2 or BB-8 probably swearing at everyone in sight? How about deeper storylines, character growth, and a fantastic message? Star Wars: The Last Jedi covers all of this. Catching up with the next generation of characters that we were introduced to in The Force Awakens, we get to see them evolve and grow in this universe as they join up with legends from the original trilogy to save the galaxy from evil. Rian Johnson took what we knew about Star Wars and created something original and unexpected; full of twists and turns that I personally praised and understood as his message became clear by the time the last frame closed to end the film. While this film has divided fans, there is no doubt that Star Wars is as popular as it has ever been. Next to Empire Strikes Back, The Last Jedi is my favorite Star Wars movie.
2. Baby Driver
In a world full of caped heroes, reboots, and sequels, it’s difficult to come across a really good original film. Jordan Peele accomplished this in February with the dark comedy, Get Out, but one of the best original directors out there returning to the chair really got fans excited. I got a chance to meet director Edgar Wright in Washington D.C. during Awesome Con and watched the first five minutes of his new film, Baby Driver. Edgar Wright put his on twist on a classic story (a getaway driver wanting to escape his criminal life isn’t the most original story) by cutting most of the movie with killer tracks from decades of music. Each song had a purpose in the film with each scene and Wright’s direction of the action sequences and screenplay deserves all the praise it has gotten. There is no mystery as to why the National Board of Review declared this film one of the top ten of 2017. Here is my review of Baby Driver.
Another creative and original director also returned with Christopher Nolan directing a war epic that really hasn’t been seen on the screen with the war drama, Dunkirk. I’ve been a fan of Christopher Nolan since I watched Batman Begins and each his films have impressed me with visuals, story, and originality. Portrayed from three perspectives: land, sea, and air, the evacuation is stunning to watch with mastery of the camera by Nolan. This film had little dialogue, but it doesn’t need words. The musical score by frequent Nolan collaborator, Hans Zimmer, does enough to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. It certainly kept me on the edge of mine. It deserves to be hailed as one of Nolan’s best and possibly the best film of this year. Here is my review of Dunkirk.
Did any of my movies make your top 10? Did I forget one or do you think one should have been added in? Let me know in the comments!