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This year was a fantastic time for movies, as films from every conceivable genre delivered thrills, laughs, chills, and every other emotion on the spectrum. Now, with 2017 drawing to a close, it's time to look at all of the movies that debuted and pull out the favorites.
Those are the movies that we are going to talk about today. I have compiled a list of my top ten favorite films of the year, as well as some rationale for why they resonated with me as deeply as they did. On that note, let's dive into my first movie, and its ability to give us a more comedic look at one of our favorite brooding anti-heroes.
10. The LEGO Batman Movie
Following the success of The LEGO Movie was always going to represent a daunting challenge for the folks at Warner Bros., and despite his popularity, LEGO Batman seemed like an odd choice because of his relatively one-note personality. That said, Chris McKay pulled off something amazing with The LEGO Batman Movie: he delivered a heartwarming and hilarious sequel that honors the source material and maintains an effective emotional core that works for audiences of all ages.
It also doesn't hurt that The LEGO Batman Movie is a feast for anyone with an affinity for DC lore. Chris McKay very clearly understands the mythology of The Caped Crusader, and the film itself is a love letter to any and every adventure that Batman has been on since he first hit the pages of DC Comics back in the 1930s. A discerning comic book fan can tell when a lot of love goes into a movie, and The LEGO Batman Movie is full of love.
9. Get Out
Arguably no movie that debuted in theaters this year feels more relevant or timely than Jordan Peele's Get Out. An obviously personal and intimate horror story about systemic racism and oppression, the film blends well-worn tropes of the horror genre with the laugh-out-loud comedy that the director honed in his work on Key & Peele, and it works in ways that other horror-comedies often fail achieve -- using an original property not based on any preexisting material, no less.
It also doesn't hurt that Get Out is a legitimately inventive and fun scary movie that doesn't resort to cheap tricks to deliver its terror. It's a film that relies on old-school creepiness, and it is evident from the opening scene that Jordan Peele understands the horror genre in a way that makes him ideally suited for this type of story. The biting satire is just icing on the cake.
8. John Wick: Chapter 2
There's something to be said about a movie that embraces practical effects and solid stuntwork in an era that's very much defined by CGI and high-tech visual effects. In that regard, John Wick: Chapter 2 stands out as the film from 2017 that reminded us what a handful of talented people could do in-camera. Between the gunfights, the hand-to-hand choreography, and the opening car chase, the second installment in the John Wick franchise epitomized why action movie aficionados love the genre so much.
It also doesn't hurt that the film (despite not being based on a pre-existing IP) continued to flesh out the world of John Wick in a fascinating way. The ecosystem and economy of The Continental have turned into one of the most fascinating fictional landscapes in all of pop culture, and out hope remains high that John Wick: Chapter 3 can maintain that fantastic sense of immersion going forward.
Few individual authors had a better year than Stephen King, whose work was faithfully adapted into some great projects like Gerald's Game and 1922. That said, no movie to debut in 2017 captured the spirit of King's work quite like Andy Muschietti's IT -- a film that honored the nature of the source material while also putting a unique and nostalgic spin on the original story.
Quite a bit of credit can be attributed to Andy Muschietti for his expert handling of the film's scares, but it's also worth pointing out how damn-good the cast is in this movie. Bill Skarsgard is an obvious standout for his ability to take the baton from Tim Curry and create an entirely new (yet arguably just as iconic) version of Pennywise, but we also need to point out the strength of the casting for The Losers Club. With IT: Chapter 2 slated for a September 2019 release, our hope remains high that this masterful horror movie can deliver the same amount of terror and heart as the original did this year.
6. Annabelle: Creation
I am a sucker for a horror movie that sends its audience on a roller coaster, and Annabelle: Creation epitomizes that idea better than any other scary flick that debuted in theaters this year. Although it is not quite as narratively complex as movies like IT or Get Out, the film exceeds because of Lights Out director David F. Sandberg's expert handling of the film's best scares -- not to mention some great performances by young stars like Talitha Bateman and Lulu Wilson.
Above all else, Annabelle: Creation is simply one of those films that remind us that we should not give up on a piece of intellectual property just because of a bad initial outing. It's a sequel that not only improves upon the DNA original in almost every conceivable way, but it also retroactively makes the original better as a result. If you were looking to get scared in 2017, there was no better option than watching Annabelle: Creation in a crowded theater.
The Wolverine solo movies have thus far ranged from downright awful (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) to pretty good (The Wolverine). However, when Hugh Jackman decided to hang up his claws for good, he also decided to go all out with director James Mangold in the form of Logan. The result? A comic book movie that's pretty much a masterpiece, skewing closer to Unforgiven than anything from the X-Men franchise.
The line between blockbuster and a legitimately great artistic film has always existed, but Logan stands out because it is one of the few movies ever really to blur that distinction. Wolverine's final silver screen adventure isn't just a bloody and violent journey into a comic book universe (although it indeed is that), it's also a heartwrenching story about an adopted father, son, and daughter that caps off a 17-year arc with one of the best movie endings that we have ever seen.
Christopher Nolan has become well-known as a master of spectacle over the course of his career as a filmmaker, and there's a solid case to be made that Dunkirk may stand out as his crowning achievement. Telling the story of an entire British army trying to evacuate a French coastal town in the face of an impending German attack, the film follows three separate stories and timelines (an hour, a day, and a week), and interweaves them to tell one cohesive tale of heroism in the face of insurmountable odds. In the simplest terms, there has never been a movie like Dunkirk before.
It also helps that Dunkirk plays to Nolan's strengths as a filmmaker. I would contend that the man behind Inception and Interstellar is better and dealing with big ideas than he is at dealing with more intimate character moments, and Dunkirk addresses those strengths head-on by playing almost like a silent film for the bulk of its story.
3. Baby Driver
Before watching Edgar Wright's Baby Driver, I never would've assumed that the musical and heist genres could blend in a way that would highlight the best of both styles of film. Alas, the movie debuted this summer and took the moviegoing community by storm. Not only is Baby Driver a masterclass in action filmmaking in the way that Edgar Wright shot many of the sequences (particularly the opening car chase), but the inclusion of one of the year's most stylish soundtracks helped elevate it to the status of an instant classic. Think about it; how often do you see a movie that syncs gunshots up with rock and roll songs?
It's also worth mentioning that Baby Driver is anchored by one of the most charismatic ensembles of actors in recent memory. From Ansel Elgort to Jon Hamm and even Jon Bernthal, everyone brings their A-game in this movie, and we have our fingers firmly crossed that this will be the movie that finally gets a sequel out of Edgar Wright.
2. The Disaster Artist
I am a longtime devotee of the cult created by Tommy Wiseau when The Room first premiered, so naturally was interested to see what a movie chronicling its creation could look like. Luckily, the film pulls little to no punches in its depiction of the lives of Tommy and Greg Sestero, and the result is a masterpiece that's almost too bizarre to believe in the form of The Disaster Artist.
Quite a fuss has been made about James Franco's performance as Tommy Wiseau, and while he is excellent (and well worth the awards recognition that he's receiving), that almost doesn't give credit to the other great aspects of the film. Dave Franco is brilliant, and most of the cameos are brilliantly cast. All in all, it's The Disaster Artist is the type of movie that Tommy Wiseau promised us The Room would be before it debuted in theaters almost 15 years ago.
Finally, we come to my absolute favorite film of 2017: Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman. Many fans weren't sure what to expect from Diana Prince's solo movie following the lackluster releases of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad in 2016, but the DCEU's first female-centric superhero movie worked by combining the hallmarks of classic adventure movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Romancing the Stone with fresh ideas, settings and an iconic superheroine who has never fronted a solo film in live-action.
The success of Wonder Woman (both financially and critically) already seems to have had massive implications for the comic book movie genre as a whole, and it's something worth getting excited about. We have seen that non-white male heroes can lead this genre to strong box office results, which means Diana has paved the way for an army of diverse and eclectic heroes to enter the fray within the next few years.