Here included is the list of movies which fall into the dual categories of “favorite (and not),” and “I watched during 2019.” Criteria also includes being released in 2019, or 2018 if I was too lazy to get to them until later on (and I can remember them well enough to say whether I liked them, and how much). Order is, as always, ordered.
Endgame was a grand finale to the MCU up to this point, and Spider-Man: Far from Home served as a fine epilogue. We went to see Endgame opening weeked with a large group, and enjoyed every minute of it. We went again a few weeks later with some friends, and enjoyed every second of it. We bought the Blu-ray, etc.
The only information I knew about the character of Captain Marvel going in were whatever had been present in the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes animated series, which a) I saw several years ago, b) had forgotten nearly everything about, and c) am currently rewatching on Disney Plus.
That said, I thought Captain Marvel was a lot of fun. The cast was fantastic. I think it’s great that I still can see no resemblance between Envy Adams (in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and Carol Danvers. A younger Nick Fury was great. My favorite was probably the return of Phil Coulson to the big screen (I’d really been hoping he’d somehow appear in Endgame).
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Shrek and Shrek 2 notwithstanding, for my money the Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon films are Dreamworks’ best, rivaling some of Pixar’s film (which frankly isn’t hard to do when we’re talking about Cars). Of course, as I write this, I looked up a list of all of Dreamworks’ animated films, and realize I’ve only seen just under half of them. Still, I stand by my statement.
As I said of the first How to Train Your Dragon:
This and Kung Fu Panda are Dreamworks Animation’s best, with Shrek and Shrek 2 also somewhere up there, but paling beside HtTYD and KFP. I love a movie that my kids can watch over and over and over and over without me not only not hating it, but still liking it a lot.
And regarding 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.
Spider-Man: Far from Home
I am a sucker for Spider-Man movies. Even the one that is on par with some of the “worst” X-Men entries had its moments. When they are really enjoyable it’s just icing on the cake for me. Far from Home had some fantastic sequences with Mysterio, and the way the Skrulls and JJJ came into play was very fun. The supporting cast was also great, just as in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
From 2018, but like, the very end. I knew very little about Miles Morales, and Peter Parker will always be my Spider-Man, but this was just a great movie in every way. I’m going to be re-watching the other best animated Spider-Man, The Spectacular Spider-Man series, this year.
Other movies I enjoyed
I wasn’t expecting to watch this movie, but one of the trailers grabbed my attention enough to give it a go once it arrived to home media. The sum of my Pokemon exposure is some of the cards my kids have collected, Pokemon GO (which I play a lot of) and Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee!
I had fun spotting Pokemon I recognized; Ryan Reynolds was a treat (as always); and I discovered Justice Smith didn’t have to be as annoying as in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (though, to be fair, everything about that film was pretty lame).
Ralph Breaks the Internet
From 2018. So, I know I liked this movie, but I didn’t like it as much as the original Wreck-It Ralph. That’s really all I remember about it, which should probably warrant it a lower, or at least different, place on the list, but it’s already here, no take-backs.
As with Marvel’s Captain Marvel, I knew nothing of DC’s Captain Marvel except for what I had seen in the Justice League animated series. I’d say Shazam! is up there with Wonder Woman as part of the DCEU’s best. It struck almost the right amount of seriousness and humor for me; the only part I didn’t really like was the design of the manifestations of the seven deadly sins. (That sentence was also unwieldy.)
I also like how great of a bad guy John Glover makes, what with his role in Shazam!, as Lionel Luthor in Smallville, and the Riddler in Batman: The Animated Series.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
My quarrel with The Rise of Skywalker is how disjointed it felt from The Last Jedi. Like the movie or not (I did), Jedi followed on from The Force Awakens nicely, even if it did so in unexpected or controversial ways. I found Skywalker to attempt to distance itself as much as possible from Jedi, thus resulting in being an enjoyable standalone entry, but not one which felt like part of a cohesive whole.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
I haven’t come across an X-Men film that I didn’t like, though entries such as Origins: Wolverine and Apocalypse are obviously not cinematic masterpieces. On the other hand, X2, Days of Future Past, and Logan are some of my favorite superhero movies (and the Deadpool films are pretty great, as well).
Dark Phoenix seems to have struck a nerve with many fans, or at least the vocal ones on the internet, with it being near or at the bottom of many rankings. I found it enjoyable enough, though I would have liked to see the original timeline cast take on this particular story.
With the arrival of Disney Plus, I’ll now also finally be watching the ’90s animated X-Men series this year, as well as X-Men: Evolution.
Movies that made me say, “meh”
From 2018. I previously said of Aquaman:
The current DCEU has had 3 terrible movies, 1 generally OK one, and 1 really good one. I wonder where Aquaman will fall. I hope at least generally OK.
At the time, the three terrible movies were Man of Steel (don’t get me started), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (though the extended cut was better), and Suicide Squad. The generally OK one was Justice League, and the really good one was Wonder Woman.
I’d classify Aquaman as generally OK, with no desire to see it again. Aquaman himself was fine, but the rest of the movie was just so… dumb. It should be a crime to waste Willem Dafoe like that. I’ll most likely skip Aquaman 2.
As I said elsewhere:
I had originally seen Unbreakable shortly after it released, and hated it. Like, hated it. I don’t remember exactly why, but it just rubbed me the wrong way. I wanted to watch Split after reading good reviews, and generally enjoying James McAvoy, so I did, and then rewatched Unbreakable before watching Glass. All three are in the “didn’t hurt to watch that” category, with the qualifier that James McAvoy was amazing.
Because it’s an M. Night Shyamalan film, of course there was a twist. It wasn’t amazing, as twists go. I’d say the only Shyamalan films I’ve really felt excelled are The Sixth Sense and Signs.
From 2018. I expected this to fit solidly into the meh category, and that’s exactly where it landed. I suspect I’ll skip Venom 2 unless it ends up tying into the MCU somehow.
Movies that made me say, “Why on earth did I watch this?”
This category remains empty, two years in a row. I continue to become either lazier or more discerning, and possibly both.