2018 Entertainment in Review

Well, 2018 is coming to its end and every year I think about the movies I’ve seen and wanted to write up something about what I liked the best in this past year. It’s not really about critiquing what others have done so much as it’s about what I myself enjoyed and preserving it. So what I want to do from here on is be better about writing my thoughts down after I watch them but for now I’ll just give highlights at the end of the year. So without firther adiu here are the films I saw in the theaters this year.

Well in review it’s probably not a big surprise I saw a lot of Comic Book films as it’s hard to escape them they’re very prevalent in the cinema. In no particular order my thoughts will start with the odd ball one of these things is not like the other:

Doctor Who and Genesis of the Daleks

Hey, I don’t care that this came out in 1975 before I was born. It is heralded as a very important story in Doctor Who lore and when it became available to see in theaters I was there. While the special effects and pacing are dated looking past that you see a good story still even today.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Yeah, I went in with 0 expectations really. Between my meh thoughts about Rogue One and the continuous stories about script re-writes and directors changing I wasn’t expecting much. So honestly it was more for going to the theater with friends. I’m happy to say I was surprised and enjoyed myself quite well. Is it a stunning story compellingly told? Nope. Is it simple fun that touches on the Star Wars universe? Yes. Did it need to be Han Solo? Maybe? With a few small tweaks, it could have just as easily been a generic rogue scoundrel and probably been just as good. But for what it was I got caught up in the story and enjoyed myself.

Incredibles 2

I got to be honest, it’s not a bad movie but in all fairness it’s not a really stand out one either. If you liked the first one, guess what’ you’ll probably like this one as well cause it’s basically the same film with just a few places shuffled. That’s pretty much the best and worst of what I have to say. I know they say before the film starts they spent 14-15 years to get this right well, I’m sorry after that long to give us the same plot elements I just didn’t fly with me. Again, not bad but after that long I was expecting more.

Ready Player One

Loved the book. Like ecstatically and almost religiously. It’s a passion project from someone who could just have easily been my friend growing up. It brings back all the good feels for me story wise and I just have a warm feeling about the story cause if I had the knack for story creation and the memory for it all I almost think I could have wrote that story. So I’m not surprised the film just could not give me the same experience. I honestly am not surprised because I knew how difficult it would be to put that much nuance into a 2 hour movie. It’s just trying to cram too much in so yes, the story was simplified and honestly it was okay. I think Steven Spielberg did a great job bringing the feel of the book to the screen.

So since I kept my expectations moderately controlled what’s the one thing that basically made me not just love the movie? I get the feeling that someone up the chain of command in the movie-making business didn’t understand the elements of the film and slapped in a theme of their own. In the story of the Oasis revolves around how in the future we have basically bad lives and the digital world is a thing that helps us escape. But it’s also not quite that simple. While it seems like it’s a bad thing it really isn’t because the Oasis isn’t just about getting away from IRL life but it’s a tool that can improve your life as well. Simply put in the book the school system runs off the Oasis and lots of people use it as their jobs to support themselves. In the movie, they go with the oh it’s just a distraction element and in the end they come up with this message of well, we met and connected online but connecting in real life is more important so we decided to turn off the Oasis two days a week to give us time to connect in real life. SOmewhere I think someone got the idea that Oasis meant internet and maybe someone thinks that the old ways are better than the new shiny. Maybe I’m reading into it too much but hey that’s my two cents.

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Much like Ready Player one for me Wreck it Ralph was just this warm good feeling of a film. It clicked my nostalgic buttons with a great story that was surprisingly deep. I often compare it to The Iron Giant because both of them give me the same simple joy in a well-told story. Following that with the second film… I don’t have the same good feelings. Now this time I’m going to say I’m the one being too hard on the film because it’s in no way a bad film. In fact, it’s a good film with a good message. However it’s not the same as the first and honestly, it shouldn’t have to be. Remember when I said I didn’t like Incredibles 2 cause it was too similar to the first. Well, now I’m a hypocrite because I didn’t like Ralph Breaks the Internet cause it was too different. I don’t know. I think the story they tell in the second movie is good but it also relies on current culture and memes with a bit of criticism about modern times whereas the first just stood out as a simple story you could relate too.

Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

Wow, just wow. This is a great film for comic book fans and especially Spider-Man fans. It avoids the tropes about origin stories and actually plays around with and pokes fun at it. It tells you a fun, entertaining story with nice twists and turns and rolls it’s own story. I don’t understand a lot of people were harsh and down on it because it was an animated film and not a live action one. I guess I just don’t see why animation is a bad thing. Maybe it’s because I grew up watching anime I understand that sometimes in animation you can do things easier than in real life acting, even today with CG. But whatever reason I enjoyed this film immensely. It would be my favorite film of the year if it wasn’t already contending with this little jugernaught you might have hear about called…

Avengers: Infinity War

You know what, what can I say about this film that hasn’t already been told? Probably nothing. It’s a cinematic experience a decade in the making. For 10 years and 20 odd movies, we have been building up to this point in the story. Consider that will you, please? A consistent story arc that focuses on not a character but a universe of people and places spanning years and planets. It’s unheard of! There hasn’t been any other storyline out there that has been done like this and will probably not be for quite some time. I mean I remember back with the first Avengers film came out and we were amazed that they could tell a good story with 6 main characters in it and not have it feel slow or heavy-handed or focus on one character specifically. Well, Infinity War continued that and told a story that was still to this day raising the stakes on the whole universal scale and relied on each movie before it to set the stage. The story moves fast because it doesn’t need to tell us who these people are, we already know them. Instead, it sets up multiple storylines that it balances expertly cutting from one to the other and saves all its development for the key figure that we’ve seen for so many years but now we get to meet him, Thanos the Mad Titan. I just can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed it. I have watched it so many times since it came out in theaters still because it’s fun and I enjoy it.

So, that about sums it up this went on a lot longer then I thought. I hope you enjoyed 2018 and if you want to tell me what you think as well.

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