If the first quarter (Jan.- Mar.) is anything to go by, 2017 could be a great year for movies and, in turn, moviegoers. Not only have we been getting exciting blockbusters earlier (thanks to expanding Hollywood real estate), but a bunch of them have fared well critically. Of course, we’ve had to endure some stinkers too. Here’s our analysis of the year in movies thus far:
*Although we've seen a lot of movies so far this year, we haven't seen all of them.
I’ve always thought that Power Rangers was awful and this reboot’s marketing campaign never won me over. That said, I had a lot of fun watching Power Rangers. It embraced the campy roots of its dopey source material and even though there’s not as much morphin’ time as I’d liked, strong character writing and amiable performances keep the good times rollin’ until it’s time for the rangers to go, go kick some alien ass.
Kong: Skull Island
This isn’t your grandfather’s King Kong. This rendition of the giant primate is particularly primed to go paw-to-claw with 2013’s revived Godzilla. It’s obvious by his daunting new scale and recreational clobbering of other giant monsters on Skull Island. Throw in a hilarious John C. Reilly and a kickass 70s rock soundtrack to complete your itinerary for a fun, escapist trip to the theater.
Is M. Night back? Maybe. I’m more concerned with James McAvoy’s haunting performance as a tortured soul suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder (more commonly: Multiple Personality Disorder) who abducts innocent girls to feed a sinister impulse. Split‘s a deft, slow burning thriller that kept me guessing all the way through to its unexpected post-title stinger.
Beauty & the Beast
After last year’s reimaging of The Jungle Book, I was all-in on this new take on Beauty and the Beast. Still, I was not prepared for how emotionally invested into these characters I got, particularly Belle and the Beast. Emma Watson and Dan Stevens shine in their more intimate moments together. The tremendous supporting cast and magical music only quickened the pace of my fluttering heart.
John Wick: Chapter 2
Not since Dawn of the Planet of the Apes have I been so impressed with a sequel. The second revving of this action-packed Keanu Reeve’s vehicle purrs just as loudly as the first. The filmmakers deliver more of the super violent, hyper-stylized “gun-fu” that helped cement the first film as a sleeper favorite. They also delve deeper into the endlessly fascinating underground world of assassins. I can’t wait for ‘Chapter Three!’
Nobody was clamoring for another movie in The Ring franchise; however, in the age of reboots it sort of makes sense that the internet would be Samara’s next step. Unfortunately, after multiple pushbacks, Rings reeks of a cash grab. Lazy writing, uninspired performances, and a wholesome lack of thrills make for a two hour snoozefest.
A Cure for Wellness
Gore Verbinski had flashes of greatness in the past. I loved Pirates of the Caribbean and adore his animated venture Rango. But since The Lone Ranger, Verbinski has been all style, no substance. His latest film falls in that camp. It slugs around an empty castle for nearly two-and-a-half hours before settling on an ending that just isn’t worth it.
The Boss Baby
This animated family flick is a diaper full of you know what. Its main premise, a baby who dresses and acts like a boss, is amusing for the total sum of its trailers. That’s it. Once I realized there was nothing more behind that idea, I started sinking in my seat. I’m not sure who this is for. It’s riddled with plot holes and office-themed jokes that don’t work (eg: a three minute rant about how great memos are). It’s also a lot scarier than you’d expect from a kids movie (no, really).
Classic horror films stick with us not just because they are scary, but because they feed off the fears of a collective subconscious. At the same time, they give us memorable characters. With Get Out, Director Jordan Peele (one half of Comedy Central’s skit duo Key & Peele) prays off mutual, race-related fears held by Caucasian and African Americans. He also gives us an assortment of precarious people to root for and against. It’s fun, scary, and heavily themed.
From now until I die, I will make the case for Logan as one of, if not, the greatest comic book movie of all time. It’s that good. Yes, it benefits from almost two decades of X-Men movies, but it also works as a strong standalone story. Either way you look at it, you’ll be emotionally wrecked. Giddily violent and powerfully written with career highlighting performances from everyone involved.
Overall, it’s been a strong first quarter and with three more to go, I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2017 has to offer us!
What did you guys think of our list? What are your favorite films of the year so far? What about least favorite? Leave them in the comments below and let us know!