Much can be said about 2017, not all of it good. However, it can’t be denied that the sheer number of quality movies that came out this year was impressive, and for that, we are grateful. I wanted to take a look back at some of the year’s cinematic highlights and give sentence-long reviews for the films I saw and loved, the ones I’ve still yet to see, and a couple of other bonus categories at the end. Films are arranged in the order they were released, natch. Enjoy this jaunt through 2017’s cinematic hits!
The Lego Batman Movie: Despite being comprised of animated Lego blocks, this goofy, fun flick nails the Batman character; he’s cool but emotionally stunted and codependent on the villains he repeatedly faces.
Logan: Hugh Jackman gives Wolverine a heart-rending send-off in this bloody, powerful Western.
Wonder Woman: Someone (Patty Jenkins, bless her) finally gets a woman-led superhero movie right.
The Big Sick: A funny and heartfelt look at modern love, complicated by unexpected illness and culture clash (based on the real-life romance between comedian Kumail Nanjiani and writer Emily V. Gordon).
Baby Driver: The coolest action musical you’ll ever see.
War for the Planet of the Apes: Man versus ape elevated to Shakespearian levels of pathos.
Dunkirk: A skillfully wrought war flick that’s light on dialogue and heavy on tension (or as my friend called it, Anxiety: The Movie).
Thor: Ragnarok: The god (or is it lord?) of thunder dishes out quips and sparks in this candy-colored romp through space.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: This small-town portrait of rage and vengeance simmers with biting wit and explores questions of justice and forgiveness (among other heady topics).
Coco: Eye-popping animation, catchy songs, and attention to detail all make for a solid Pixar tale set in Mexico during Dia de los Muertos.
The Disaster Artist: A hilarious and surprisingly uplifting look behind one of the most bafflingly awful movies ever made.
The Shape of Water: A dark, Cold War-era fairy tale romance from one of the most imaginative directors working today.
Str Wars: The Last Jedi: The latest entry in the decades-old franchise treads new ground, stylistically and thematically, to overall success.
STILL NEED TO SEE
Get Out: Because real-life racists are a lot scarier and more insidious than made-up monsters.
Spider-Man: Homecoming: Petey actually looks like a high schooler this time (also heard this one described as The Breakfast Club meets superhero movie, which I dig).
It: This adaptation of the first half of Stephen King’s iconic clown-based tome serves up frights, but is apparently more focused on coming-of-age drama.
Bladerunner 2049: Based on the visuals and sonic landscape, I probably should try to see this one on a big screen, yeah?
Lady Bird: It seems like literally everyone who saw this movie found something relatable in this mother-daughter drama.
SURPRISED ME (In a Good Way)
The Fate of the Furious: Not only did this over-the-top action flick deliver on every insane premise promised in the trailer, but it also made me want to see a spin-off movie starring The Rock and Jason Statham thwarting international terrorists while babysitting Vin Diesel’s newborn kid.
SURPRISED ME (In a Not-So-Good Way)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Plot contrivances and a poorly-sketched villain pit our band of space misfits against each other in a sequel that fails to live up to the humor and charm of its predecessor.
BEST NON-2017 FILM SEEN FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS YEAR
The Thing (1982): Sporting a level of atmospheric tension and practical effects that still astound, The Thing absolutely deserves its title as one of the best horror films of all time.
OVERALL FAVORITE OF 2017
Logan: Every emotional beat of this film rings true; it transcends the superhero genre and deftly explores the classic Western tropes of violence, aging, and passing the torch on to a new generation.
I doubt that 2018 will match 2017 in terms of sheer number of hit films, but here’s hoping for more great times at the movies in the coming year.