How many films did I see this year? Actually, quite a few. So let’s get right to the listifying:
The Great (films that have something special, above just being good)
Logan – An amazingly good capper to the original X-Men series. Some of Hugh Jackman’s and Patrick Stewart’s best work. (And also orders of magnitude better than the other Wolverine solo films.)
Dunkirk – A poetic meditation on war, by turns haunting and exciting and thought-provoking.
Darkest Hour – The flip side of Dunkirk, we get to see Churchill’s early days of WWII. Oh my, is Gary Oldman a great actor or what? Lily James is turning into one of my favorites, too. Nice to see Ben Mendolsohn playing not-a-bad-guy.
War for the Planet of the Apes – This seemingly accidental franchise consistently outstripped my expectations. A reboot that feels organic? A trilogy that ends satisfyingly? This has it all, along with the best mo-cap ever.
Atomic Blonde – A no-holds-barred crazy cold war spy thriller with Charlize Theron kicking all the ass. It’s complex enough that you have to pay attention, but that never bothered me.
It – I enjoyed but didn’t love the Tim Curry Pennywise from the 90’s. This version (solely of the kids side of the sprawling tale) is funny and scary and exciting. It hits all the right beats, and skips the ones you want it to skip. (If you’ve read the book, you know what I’m talking about.) I can’t wait for the sequel.
Thor: Ragnarok – Dang, did I forget to review every movie this year? I have a soft spot for The Dark World, but this is an excellent three-quel for everyone’s favorite blond-tressed god of thunder. It’s silly (thank you, Jeff Goldblum) and action-packed (thank you, Tessa Thompson) and hilarious (thank you, Mark Ruffalo). But there are also real stakes, which is a nice change for an MCU film.
The Good (films I would like to return to)
Beauty and the Beast – I’m in the minority of people who liked this better than the original. Sue me.
The Fate of the Furious – The series takes a serious uptick in quality from the annoyingly bad number 7. It’s crazy in mostly the right ways.
Spider-Man: Homecoming – Why is it good, not great? Maybe just a touch of MCU fatigue? And there’s that one absolutely insane coincidence you have to swallow. But Tom Holland and Michael Keaton both bring the awesome.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – I have no problem putting this in the good section. It’s not as tight as the first one, and the Yondu (Michael Rooker) subplot, though emotional and effective, still feels a little forced.
The Lego Batman Movie – I laughed throughout. And have forgotten most of it. So I’ll probably laugh at it all over again on the next viewing.
Split – I caught this one on video, and I’m glad I did, both for the film itself (creepy!) and for the surprise ending.
Blade Runner 2049 – Do I like this more or less than the original? Maybe a skosh more because of K’s relationship with Joi, which I found much more interesting than Rachel in the first film. Didn’t love the ending, but most of the film is pretty solid.
Kong: Skull Island – I liked the rebooted Godzilla from a couple of years back. Folding in the Kong character to that universe in a Vietnam-era period piece? That’s kind of awesome. So I’ll forgive some of the creakier parts of the film.
My Little Pony: The Movie – I went to this with my young daughter, but willingly. The TV show is irreverent and funny, and the film follows that same pattern.
The Okay (films I could watch again if I was bored)
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – It’s as if The Fifth Element and Jupiter Ascending had a baby.
John Wick: Chapter Two – They kind of amped up the weirder parts of the Wickiverse without amping up the part where I care.
Born in China – Another young daughter film. Some spectacular photography, but it’s still just a bunch of animals being all cute and stuff.
The Bad (films I couldn’t watch again, even if I was bored)
Alien: Covenant – I didn’t like Prometheus. I guess, for some reason, I expected this one might be better? Nope. Worse. I didn’t even have the patience to write a scathing review. The only bright spot is Fassbender’s performance(s).
The Worst Film of 2017
Geostorm – Another one I didn’t bother trying to review. It’s dumb where you think it’ll be dumb, over-the-top where you think it’ll be over-the-top, and cheesy where you think… You get the idea. It wasn’t even bad enough to be fun. On top of that, I think Jim Sturgess turns in the worst performance I’ve seen in a very long time. He’s, like, Andie MacDowell bad.