2018 was an unprecedented good year for cinema. The great films released this year were a solid mix of independent film, documentaries, enormous blockbusters and innovative animation. But out of all of the creative standouts of the year, here’s a look at the ten that stood out as the absolute best.
10. “CREED II”
The way that this film took the intense 1980s cheese of Rocky IV and transformed it into drama, along with great fights and direction was astounding. The film actually makes Ivan Drago a well-developed and interesting character. In addition, the way Adonis Creed goes through genuine human issues, which go all across the board, is absolutely amazing to see. Not quite as masterful as the first installment, but still great.
9. “ISLE OF DOGS”
The charm of a boy going on an adventure to save his dog, and in turn, all the dogs of a country just hits a viewer hard. Wes Anderson continues to prove himself as a master of every detail that goes into the movies he directs. It is gorgeously animated. The voice acting usually hits the right notes, and the soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat is killer.
8. “AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR”
By far the biggest movie of the year, Infinity War stands out because of how good it is against almost impossible odds. There are so many character and storylines intertwining here that it feels like it should be a mess. Yet it somehow manages to be effective in terms of both action spectacle and emotional investment. Josh Brolin’s performance as Thanos ties everything together brilliantly.
Annihilation is very strange in both concept and execution, and some truly freaky stuff is displayed. However, if one is into Science Fiction that really makes them think, then it is recommended highly. The direction, cinematography, writing and acting are all brilliant.
6. “EIGHTH GRADE”
Coming of age films can widely variate. Eighth Grade is definitely on the higher tier. The main character goes through an arc that feels charming and relatable. The framing device of the protagonist’s YouTube videos works well, and the way it addresses themes of today’s youth and technology is great. Bo Burnham’s directorial debut will hopefully be remembered in time as one of the best of its genre.
5. “BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE”
Drew Goddard is so damn cool that he can make a tense, entertaining scene that just hinges on a woman singing and clapping her hands occasionally. This movie is an incredibly suspenseful and entertaining thriller composed of incredible actors and with some big topical themes at its core. The movie has an important thing to say, and Goddard knows how to pull it off without killing the mood or tension built up.
4. “WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?”
Documentaries can capture real life stories in a way no other film format could, and the story of Fred Rogers was perfect for being explored this way.
With all that goes wrong in the world, it’s worth finding that there once was a person who was good in every shape and form. Everyone in this movie who knew Mr. Rogers talks about him like he was one of the greatest humans ever, and he may have well been.
3. “MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT”
This is by far one of the greatest action films ever to be exhibited onto the big screen. Every single element serves to ramp up the tension and excitement towards the action scenes, and those bombastic set pieces are some of the best ever to be visualized in a cinema. Tom Cruise and Director McQuarrie were just announced to be filming two more of these back to back, and they can’t come soon enough.
2. “PADDINGTON 2”
It’s bizarre that a film that came out last January, which is generally the dumping month for movies, is in the second highest spot, but Paddington 2 is legitimately a masterpiece. It’s pretty much the purest film ever made. It’s the story of a bear who traverses all sorts of places with his ability to find the essential good in everyone. This movie is so wonderfully beautiful and wholesome in every way imaginable that its shocking there was a movie this year that surpassed it.
1. “SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE”
After Spider-Man Homecoming was a passable but bland and soulless entry in the Spider-Man franchise, many wondered if the heights of the wall crawler in cinematic form were far behind us.
Then comes this heartfelt, passionate, and emotionally resonant work of art. The driving force of Spidey flows through every frame of this film. The visuals are the most innovative use of CGI animation since the creation of the medium. It’s too early to say if it’s the best of 3D animation, but the beauty and creativity that this movie displays is astounding. The characters are all finely rendered, even the minor ones. Miles Morales though is really the heart and soul of the movie. He’s made the most unique iteration of the character yet, and his maturity as a Spider-Man was amazing to see
The central theme of the movie is perfect, which goes back to the main idea that the recently deceased creators, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, built this character on. Anyone can be Spider-Man.
This is the characters as they have been most finely realized on the silver screen since 2004. Moreover, as that central message hits the viewer with all its inspirational worth, they feel ready to swing into the horizon.