Out of the 21 films that I have seen in theater this year, below are my five favorite movies. Of course, films are subjective, and this is my personal list. If your opinion differs from mine, feel free to leave a comment below.
#5 Wonder Woman
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
The fourth installment of the DC Extended Universe was under a lot of pressure when it was released. With the previous three installments (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad) being divisive amongst fans and critics alike, Wonder Woman needed to be at least a good movie to somewhat "save" the movie universe.
Did it ever succeed expectations. Gal Gadot and Chris Pine had amazing chemistry, Patty Jenkins kicked ass on the directing end, and the overall story had so much heart, giving us characters we actually cared about. Wonder Woman is a monumental film that will stand the test of time, and it succeeds on every level. I believe that it will help catapult more female filmmakers into getting more opportunities to produce bigger Hollywood films. It also reinvigorated my excitement for Justice League, which comes out in November.
#4 The LEGO Batman Movie
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Back in 2014, a little film called The LEGO Movie came out. It was a surprise hit. The best character in the movie was the Will Arnett-voiced supporting character, Batman. I really enjoyed The LEGO Movie, and Batman is my favorite comic book character, so I was all-in when it was announced that Will Arnett's character was getting a spin-off film.
The LEGO Batman Movie was more than a spoof on all the Batman lore in pop culture: It was a dedication and an homage. The story was also very heartfelt, and I actually shed a man-tear when I first saw the movie. Any casual movie fan will not be able to help but have a smile on his or her face when they watch this film. I did not watch a lot of animated films this year, but I would be very surprised if The LEGO Batman Movie does not at least get a nomination for Best Animated Film at the Oscars.
#3 Baby Driver
Distributed by: TriStar Pictures
Even though I only saw the film yesterday, Baby Driver had to make it onto my mid-year list; it was that good. Director Edgar Wright once again delivers in this exciting action film that has a stellar cast led by rising star Ansel Elgort. The plot might not be as complex as some of Edgar Wright's previous films, but the dialogue is cleverly written and the pacing of the film never skips a beat.
The chemistry between Elgort and Lily James is also very endearing, and it reminded me of my love life during my twenties. The soundtrack also plays an integral part to the film's plot, and it enhances the film in a way that most movie soundtracks do not. Amidst all the lackluster summer blockbusters that have been released this year, Baby Driver delivers on all facets, and it is simply a fun time at the movies. See it in theaters if you still can.
#2 Get Out
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Who would have thought that Jordan Peele of Key & Peele fame would craft a near flawless horror/thriller that tackles social commentary for African-Americans in a creative way? I certainly did not, and I was completely blown away by this film. It had tension, a great script, an infectious score, memorable characters, unexpected comedy and an underlying message that I did not know a director could so easily weave into the story as Jordan Peele was able to – in his directorial debut!
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
If Logan is truly Hugh Jackman's final portrayal as Wolverine, then what a way to go out. This film is not only one of the best "superhero" films in recent years, but both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart give one of the best performances of their respective careers. I was lucky enough to go to an early screening of the film with a Q&A with director James Mangold and one of the producers in early March, and I got a sense of where Mangold wanted to take this film during the process of writing the script. After hearing what he had to say about wanting to deviate from typical beats of a comic book film that has to connect to a shared universe and make a great standalone film instead, I appreciated the film a lot more.
It is essentially a western, and it is a story about a man who has had a troubled life and who comes to terms with not only his own mortality, but also with how he deals with the individuals he cares about. Dafne Keen also gives an incredible performance as Laura in a role that could have easily annoyed the hell out of me. To conclude, Logan is the perfect swan song for the character that Hugh Jackman has played for almost 20 years, and it sets an extremely high bar next actor who whips out the claws.