My favorite (and not) movies of 2014

Herein are listed my favorite movies of 2014 (and 2013, where I just got to seeing them in 2014).  I did see the third Hobbit movie this year.  I am surprised at that, because I expected to see it on my wedding anniversary in January, like I did the first two.  I’m not looking to avoid spoilers, because I assume that by the time anyone reads this it will have been several long units of time since he or she will have seen the movie in question.

– My favorites –

Captain America: The Winter Solider

This was definitely one of the finest Marvel films to date.  I remember seeing the trailer and thinking that it looked more like a Superman movie than Man of Steel.  It was definitely awesome, and it didn’t hurt that it shook up the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series, either.

Guardians of the Galaxy

I was really, really surprised by how much I liked this movie.  I wasn’t expecting much, but man was it just great.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

The first How to Train Your Dragon was a surprise to me in how good it was.  This was a continuation of that goodness, with very little to dislike (if anything).  I maintain that this and the Kung Fu Panda franchises are Dreamworks’ best.

The LEGO Movie

In addition to being a good movie, it also inspired a How It Should Have Ended video with Batman singing “Everything Is Batman.”  That alone is enough for me.  Also the “Lego Batman is Jelly” HISHE.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

I saw this twice at the theater.  I was so looking forward to it that I went once by myself and then again with my wife two days later.  I’m glad Bryan Singer is directing these again.

– Other movies I enjoyed –

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

This was my least favorite of the Spider-Man films—I even liked Spider-Man 3 more—but I have a soft spot in my heart for (almost) anything Spidey.  I think Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone were great together, and the interactions between them with Peter and Gwen often reminded me of (500) Days of Summer, director Marc Webb’s first feature film—one of my all-time favorite movies.  I thought that the entire Electro character and plot could have been excised with very little script change, and would have made the movie better for it.  I also would have accepted a far less goofy interpretation of Max Dillon.

Batman: Assault on Arkham

This was third of DC’s direct-to-DVD films in 2014, and from the trailer I saw and reviews I read I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did.  I generally enjoy most of DC’s animated stuff.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

From 2013.  The first Cloudy was surprisingly enjoyable.  The second was more of the same, though I wish Mr. T had again voiced the policeman.

Don Jon

From 2013.  This movie is definitely not for everyone, with its rather frank depiction of pornography addiction and its effect on normal relationships.  I found it to be a great movie though, with a fantastic message.  The cast is also pretty stellar, and it’s an impressive feat for Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s first directorial effort.

Edge of Tomorrow

I kept reading about how great this movie was, the surprise of the summer, etc.  The trailers looked interesting, if not especially promising.  I like Tom Cruise as an actor, and so I got it from Netflix when it hit Blu-ray.  I enjoyed it quite a bit.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

From 2013.  Having a better expectation of what I was getting into after watching An Unexpected Journey, I was able to enjoy The Desolation of Smaug that much more.  The extended edition improved on the film also, with each addition being welcome, except probably the stuff with the Master of Laketown.  The Tauriel/Kili love story was a bit silly.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

This was easily my least favorite of the Hobbit trilogy, and I really hope the inevitable extended edition makes up for that.  The character moments were mostly pretty good, anything with Alfrid was invariably awful, and the battles went on far too long.  Also, Dain’s dialogue seemed really out of place in Middle Earth.  Really, most of the non-Tolkien dialogue seemed out of place, far more than in any of the other five Middle Earth films.  I really think that two movies should have been enough for The Hobbit, but it was apparently not meant to be.  Still, I enjoyed it for what it was, I suppose.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

These have been fun adaptations of the book series so far, and I hope the Mockingjay installments keep up the trend.

Muppets Most Wanted

This wasn’t as fun as 2011’s The Muppets, but it was still quite enjoyable.  Most things Muppets never get old.  Bonus: Tina Fey.

RED 2

From 2013.  As with the first RED, I don’t remember the plot, just that I enjoyed it.

Snowpiercer

From 2013.  I was really excited to see this as I kept reading about how great it was, plus Chris Evans is pretty good in everything I’ve seen him in.  I saw it once it came to Netflix streaming and I thought it was pretty interesting, though not up to the level of hype I had encountered.

22 Jump Street

I watched 21 Jump Street for the first time earlier in 2014.  It was really funny, and not just stupid funny.  This was more of the same.

The Wind Rises

From 2013.  This is Hayao Miyazaki’s last film, and it was very enjoyable, as are most of his (and the other Studio Ghibli films I’ve seen).

– Movies that made me say “meh” –

Divergent

The past several years have produced several young adult dystopian future novel adaptations.  This one was okay, but it’s no Hunger Games.

Godzilla

This movie was well made and, I think, well received.  It was just not my kind of movie.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

I like Chris Pine and Keira Knightley.  They were great together.  This just felt like a generic action/spy thriller, and less like what I expect a Jack Ryan film to be (e.g. Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger).

Noah

I thought that this film was well made and perfectly serviceable, with a good cast.  But meh.

Now You See Me

From 2013.  The cast was pretty good, though I really didn’t like Jesse Eisenberg in this one.  Maybe it was just his character.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

From the end of 2013.  This movie was perfectly adequate, quite nice to look at in some spots. and occasionally imaginative.  The ending felt pretty forced and unrealistic, though.

Transcendence

Looked interesting, turned out meh.

– 2014 movies I haven’t seen yet that I hope are good, or at least not terrible –

Big Hero 6

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dumb and Dumber To

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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