Happy new year, my legion of readers!
I’m probably going to make this a tradition at the end of each year so let’s hope this keeps going. Now, keep in mind that these are the top five selected from the movies that I’ve seen. There may be films more deserving but I haven’t seen them. Feel free to recommend them but I’ll be seeing them in 2015. What’s lame is that I pretty much had it all done and due to an intrusive plot point, I lost it. So unfortunately this won’t be the original copy. I think all my thoughts came through so here we go.
5. Guardians of the Galaxy –
I wrote a Prime Reactions review when this came out and my thoughts have mostly remained the same. I still think it’s a stupid movie and as time went on I found some problems I missed during my first viewing. That said, I still enjoy it. The Marvel movies are all poorly written to a certain degree but they’re still a good time almost every time. I’ll always advocate for good-time movies that are also well-written but that doesn’t seem to be Marvel’s MO. It wouldn’t surprise me if we keep getting underdeveloped villains, things that don’t make sense, exposition/things shoved in just to promote other movies, etc. I’ll have a good time watching them but I wish there weren’t so many rewrites and blatant corporate meddling because they’re very evident in these films and not to the film’s benefit. Still, what I got was funny, fun, and time well spent. Go see it if you haven’t and if you haven’t seen any Marvel movies, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start.
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier –
This was the Marvel movie I was waiting for. This one had the most solid story. The characters were wonderful. We spent lots of time with them and it was so nice that they got to interact like real people. It’s little moments like Captain America running with Falcon and just talking that really stand out to me. I also liked seeing Black Widow be a person instead of just “badass female”. The villain had good motivations! It’s sad to say that the best villain in these Marvel movies is… old white guy? Okay, I don’t remember his name. Just that he was played by Robert Redford. Still, we know what he’s doing and why he’s doing it. It’s one of those villain plans where you don’t want him to succeed but deep down you agree to some extent and that’s great. My one complaint was that there were parts of the film that could’ve been shaved down or removed completely. Sometimes I felt it could’ve been shorter. Despite that, this one’s definitely the strongest of the Marvel movies. There’s some dumb stuff in it (Nick Fury’s dead! Oh no!) but it’s mostly forgivable because there was so much that was well done. Happy to say this was both a good movie and a good time. I’m really looking forward to the next Captain America.
3. Big Hero 6 –
Like Guardians, many of my thoughts on this one can be found in my Prime Reactions post for it. I don’t think much has changed since it’s the only one I haven’t seen a second time. I still think it’s very solid and well-done. People liked Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen. So did I but I had problems with them that seemed to be absent here. Wreck-It Ralph had focus problems. It became more about Sarah Silverman’s character’s plot instead of Ralph who was very likable and I wanted more of him. In Big Hero 6, the side characters never became intrusive or pushed to the forefront. The film’s about Hiro and Baymax all the way through and I think that’s how it should’ve been. Frozen brought many new things to the table but some parts seemed rushed, glossed over, and just not thought out. Big Hero 6 seemed to have its footing and I didn’t have many questions or double-takes. My Prime Reactions post covered my one problem and it’s a pure nitpick. One of the twists was groan-worthy as well but I’ll let it go. It gets the number three slot because while I enjoyed it quite a lot, it didn’t wow me enough or break new ground. Still, if Disney keeps cranking out movies like these, they’ll get my money.
2. How to Train Your Dragon 2 –
I’ll start by saying that I liked the first one quite a bit. It was similar to Big Hero 6 in that much of the film was spent on the main getting along with the mascot. Like Big Hero 6, it was done well so we end up caring about the two. The point of the film was to show that humans can get along with dragons. So, what do they do at the end? Kill that big dragon! Good logic there. In this sequel, they move on with more bonding, world-building, bringing mom in, and even bigger dragons. This had many of the things a good sequel should do. It went beyond the area we’re used to and answered questions. I will say that the villain was pretty weak. His motivations and plan aren’t very good. I’d take him over the big dragon from last time, but for the most part he was there just so there’s a villain. Also, am I really supposed to believe he can control that giant dragon? Not really getting the how for his training that dragon… The last third also felt like the weakest. They were building up to this climax but I really enjoyed everything before it more. Sometimes I wish movies didn’t have to have a big action climax at the end.
I have to give them points. Good job treating everyone like adults, Dreamworks. There was no talking down to the audience in this one. They took risks and I think they paid off. If you liked the first one, you’ll most likely like this one. Either way, definitely check this one out.
1. The Lego Movie –
I was really conflicted over the top three. All three are kid’s movies and this was a great year for kid’s movies thanks to them. Big Hero 6’s story was a bit generic and while I could say the same about How to Train Your Dragon 2 I felt it took more risks and there was more weight to the conflicts where in Big Hero 6 it was just one guy trying to kill another guy. It wasn’t easy deciding on the top three but this is the one that took first and I think it’s well-deserved.
Battleship got a bad movie. You think Tetris or Monopoly will be any better? I know we’re all waiting for the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese the Movie Will Arnett “mentioned”. The trailers didn’t make me think anything of the film so I didn’t go in expecting anything. With The Lego Movie, what I got was probably the biggest surprise in my moviegoing history. It was smart. It was funny. It was well done. Who would’ve thought so much effort and wit would’ve went into it? There were so many themes going on along with lots of social commentary and I loved all of it. Yeah, it’s basically a huge product placement but it was product placement with a purpose. They took the Beast Wars approach of you can sell your toys and tell a good story too. Granted, the “chosen one” story isn’t quite that unique. I was more fascinated with the humor, in-jokes, and things that surrounding the story. Even so, the way it was handled was satisfying. Even reused plots can still be entertaining if it’s done well. It was also very nice to look at because there’s so much going on in the backgrounds and at times I got fooled into thinking it was stop-motion.
Before I saw it, I initially wondered why Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman signed on. Then again Liam Neeson did agree to The Nut Job… and so did Will Arnett. I think this is a step up. Morgan Freeman probably knew what he was doing with this one. Eagerly waiting for the sequel. Just hope the quality stays the same and we start where we left off. This is one of those movies we deserve so check it out if you haven’t.
And that’s my top five movies of 2014. There are 2.5 more posts left in that There D Hood “Christmas special” that will be going up. Very close to having that .5 done and the other two will be up when I get a chance. Look forward to them and I hope you keep reading my stuff in 2015. Take care, everyone.