My favorite (and not) movies of 2017

Here follows a list of my favorite movies of 2017 (and 2016, where I just got to seeing them in 2017).  The order is as arbitrary as an arbitrary thing.

– My Favorites –

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

In 2014, I said of the first 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.

Based on how much I liked the first, I had high hopes for the second installment.  I took my sons and we all had a great time.  They’ve gotten into collecting themed soda cups from the theater, and this year we got some for Guardians, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Star Wars.

As for the movie itself, the only thing I didn’t like was some of Drax’s jokes dragging on a bit much.  I liked that the story was more personal for Peter (while of course presenting some larger universal threat, but that wasn’t the focus).  The opening sequence was a blast to watch.  And along with Thor: Ragnarok, my youngest son has found some Marvel movies he doesn’t actually “hate.”

The LEGO Batman Movie

Our family went to see this on my birthday.  It’s definitely a silly take on Batman, but I just loved it so much.

Logan

I was skeptical about Logan.  I’ve more or less enjoyed all the X-Men films to date–even the less-than-stellar ones like The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  I love Hugh Jackman as Wolverine (and just in general, really).  The same goes for Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier (and Jean-Luc Picard, and also just in general, really).  The worry I had going in was the R rating.  Since all of the franchise entries to date (not counting Deadpool) have been PG-13, I was leery of the movie being more violent and cussy for the sake of being violent and cussy.  It was a bit much for me in a few scenes, but I really liked it overall, and it’s one of my favorite X-Men films along with the original, X2, and Days of Future Past.  It’s also one of the few R-rated movies that I could justify to myself as owning on DVD/Blu-ray (because I’m weird about that).

Spider-Man: Homecoming

After the kind of lame (but still Spider-Man, so I am more forgiving) The Amazing Spider-Man 2, this was a welcome Spider-Man movie.  My biggest gripe with it was that Tony Stark was in it too much, and he wasn’t really in it that much.  Tom Holland made for a good Peter/Spidey, Michael Keaton was an enjoyable villain, and it was kind of nice to not really have an MJ or Harry or Gwen Stacy, but not really miss that they were missing, you know?

Thor: Ragnarok

The last two Thor movies have both been labeled as “Other movies I enjoyed,” and Ragnarok is the first to be in my favorites.  The comedic moments sometimes undercut the seriousness of a scene too much for my taste, but I really have no other complaints.  Well, I was kind of bummed Sif didn’t make an an appearance, too.  The Thor/insert character dynamics were all great: Thor/Hulk, Thor/Loki, Thor/Banner, Thor/Valkyrie.  Just a lot of fun.

Wonder Woman

Last year, I said:

Wonder Woman looks good though. Please be good, Wonder Woman!

AND IT WAS.

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

This is the last movie of 2017 that I expect to see, which is why I’m posting this in December, rather than January as per usual.  (Also, I’m pretending like I’m not a slacker for once.)  (Also, watch me have to update this in January anyway, even if it’s to say Ha! I didn’t update this in January.)

Going in, I thought the only things I knew about The Last Jedi were what I had seen in the trailer.  Afterward, I watched the trailer, didn’t recognize it, and realized that I think I had actually only seen the teaser trailer.  I had heard it was getting positive reviews, but I didn’t read any till after I saw it.  I really wanted to go in as blind as possible.  I’m glad I did, and I really liked it overall.  I have also since read that it’s quite divisive among audiences–I expect especially among fans–and I can see why.  I’ve read a few lists of why people didn’t like it.  I agree with some of their reasoning.  I still really liked it overall.  There were several times I was surprised at the narrative, and that is just awesome.  A few things were a bit off for me, and not that anyone will read this and have it matter, but (minor?) spoilers follow for the rest of this bit:

  • Space Leia was weird
  • The pacing felt off to me somehow, and I don’t usually notice that sort of thing
  • The whole casino subplot was kind of boring
  • I didn’t find the island caretakers funny at all
  • Finn didn’t die

That last thing was the biggest problem for me.  I like when characters sacrifice for the greater good, and though what Rose said about “saving what we love” is sweet, I still would have preferred Finn’s death.  Perhaps after Episode IX I’ll feel differently.  I thought everything else was good to great.  Somehow reading about The Last Jedi afterward also led me to discovering the Jar Jar is a Force User/Sith/Something theory, which (aside from the The Force Awakens bits that obviously turned out untrue) I must admit I now find very plausible, and a bit sad that, if true, any follow-through plans were apparently abandoned.  In my mind I still think that, given the events of The Last Jedi, Snoke could be Jar Jar.

– Other movies I enjoyed –

Baby Driver

I’ve liked all of the other films I’ve seen that Edgar Wright has directed–especially Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which is one of my top five favorite movies–and I heard good things about Baby Driver.  It was pretty good, but it did get a bit dark for my taste toward the end.

Bad Moms

From 2016.  I think I watched this because my wife wanted to see it (and I do generally like the female cast members).  It wound up being really funny, although I’m pretty meh on actually seeing the sequel.

Cars 3

Originally: Somewhat sadly (since the Cars movies are my least favorite of all of Pixar’s output), this actually might be the movie that gets me to update this post in January.  I bought the Blu-ray on Thanksgiving and may get around to watching the trilogy with my kids over Christmas break.

Now: I did watch this shortly before Christmas, and it wasn’t too bad.  The Cars movies are still my least favorte of all of Pixar’s output.  And it’s still December.

Despicable Me 3

I think our family has seen all but the original Despicable Me theatrically, and this one was the same day as Spider-Man: Homecoming.  Though they aren’t my favorite movies, I laugh at them and don’t mind when my son wants to watch them over and over.

Justice League

I am so glad that I was able to put this above the “Meh” category.  It was not perfect by any means, but it was so much better than Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that it doesn’t even matter.  I left the theater not actively disappointed, willing to watch the movie again, and maybe even buying it on Blu-ray if it’s cheap next Black Friday.  Superman was finally Superman; Batman, while a bit too fanboyish of Superman for me, was not terrible (and so much better than in Batman v Superman); Flash reminded me a lot of the Wally West Flash from the Justice League cartoons, which is great; Wonder Woman continues to be awesome, and I wasn’t bothered by either Aquaman or Cyborg.

Moana

From 2016.  Disney is still on a roll.

War for the Planet of the Apes

I liked the first two entries in the new Apes trilogy well enough, and heard that War was also good.  It was.  Andy Serkis is still awesome.  I rewatched Rise and Dawn before War, and one thing that stuck out to me was how in certain shots in Rise I could see hints of Gollum in Caesar’s face.

– Movies that made me say, “meh” –

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

My daughter loves the Pirates of the Caribbean films.  I like the first one the most, 2 and 3 are pretty good, 4 was fine I guess, but Dead Men Tell No Tales was just not my thing.

– Movies that made me say, “Why on earth did I watch this?” –

Batman and Harley Quinn

It makes me sad that a Batman movie is in this category.  For the most part, I’ve liked DC’s animated movies from the last 10 years or so.  Some are obviously far better than others (e.g. Superman vs. The Elite, Justice League: The New Frontier, Under the Red Hood, Wonder Woman), some have been kinda meh (the Green Lantern entries, some of the New 52 stuff, The Killing Joke), but this is the first one that I actively did not like.  I had heard it was bad, but come on, it couldn’t be that bad, right?  It was.

– 2016 movies I haven’t seen yet that I hope are good, or at least not terrible –

Coco

I’ve heard Coco is fantastic, but it’ll have to wait till Blu-ray for me.

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