Top 10 Best Movies of 2018
The year of 2019 is now in full swing and, with the year of 2018 completed, it’s time to exam the “best” and “worst” movies that of that year. Indeed, there was a lot of movie releases seeing in 2018. In total, I’ve personally seeing (and reviewed) over 85 new movies in 2018, some that were very recognizable, while others were “sleepers” that flew underneath the mainstream radar. There were also a lot of movies that made big money at the box office in 2018 as well as some that gained critical praise from both critics and moviegoers.
I’ve already posted my list for Top 10 Worst Movies of 2018 and now I’m ready to share with my list for what were the best movies of the 2018 year. These films, whether met high expectations, creativity imaginative, or just simply really good, were my personal best choice of the movies I saw throughout the course of the 2018. But before I begin with number 10, take a look at some honorable runner-ups that almost made it on my top ten best movies of 2018.
(click on the pictures for full review)
“A Worthy “Cyberspace” Sequel”
“A Fun Superhero Sequel”
“Defining a Legacy”
“A Defining Cinematic Moment of Today’s America”
“This is One Mission You’ll Want to Accept”
And now my top ten!!!
10 – Aquaman
Rating: 4.4 Out of 5
While Marvel’s shared cinematic universe of superheroes has been grown and flourishing, the DCEU has been standing on shaky rounds; finding a difficult time of consistency and popular viewing experience with its moviegoing audience. This is especially notable with 2017’s Justice League, scoring the lowest box office return of the DCEU (so far). This franchise desperately needed a win and 2018’s Aquaman was just the remedy that the DCEU needed. By and large, Aquaman succeeds more than it fails. Yes, it might be for everyone, but it’s still a definite classic popcorn blockbuster feature that gets more right than wrong. The film stands upon its own merits, thanks to director James Wan’s direction, a grand underwater world (creative / visually rendered realm), and a Momoa’s unique swagger to the superhero character. Personally, I loved this movie. There were a few bits that I thought that Wonder Woman did better, but Aquaman dances (or rather swims) to the beat of its own drums. It visual amazing, epic in its scope, and largely entertaining in its classic hero’s journey. It truly is the best DCEU movie that’s current out. In the end, does Aquaman turn the tide in the DCEU franchise? It’s hard to say, but it’s a step in the right direction (much like what Wonder Woman was able to achieve). Still, Aquaman stands as a crowning achievement and rousing crowd-pleasing win for the DCEU, acting as a fun standalone feature as well as a highly satisfying entry within this shared cinematic universe of DC superheroes.
9 – Black Panther
Rating: 4.4 Out of 5
Review: Black Panther
Superhero movies are still being produced from big Hollywood studios, especially the MCU as it continues to grow and expand upon its shared cinematic universe of Marvel’s pantheon of superheroes, gods, and monsters. While a large number of past MCU films have focused on already established characters through sequels (i.e. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, etc.), 2018 saw the film Black Panther climb up the box office charts, displaying a cinematic adventure to the title character that’s part familiar superhero, celebratory in African culture, and poignant political drama. While the may not beat out several fan-favorite MCU films out there and has a few minor setbacks, Black Panther is definitely one of the better superhero films out there, thanks to director Ryan Coogler’s handling of the film, a compelling narrative, a rich world-building, solid characters (played by talented actors and actresses), a powerful commentary message (i.e. “the wise build bridges, while foolish build barriers”), and (above all else) makes a strong representation of African-American in lead superhero role (as well as strong supporting character roles for African Women). In the end, Black Panther stands as a testament that the Marvel’s cinematic universe is continuing to evolve and bring in new characters and ideas within the shared superhero franchise. What do I have left to say…. Wakanda forever!!!
8 – A Quiet Place
Rating: 4.5 Out of 5
Review: A Quiet Place
Horror movies are a “dime a dozen” with a plethora of films being released each year; finding new ways to creep, shock, and ultimately scare (in an entertaining sort of way) it’s viewers. Out of the 2018 releases, A Quiet Place was one of those movies that intrigued me as well as being a film that was sort of different what I’ve seeing from various trailers and marketing campaigns. Directed by actor John Krasinki (who also starred in the movie), A Quiet Place takes very unabashed look into a fascinating cinematic world (where Krasinki the usage of sounds can be life or death) that at first sounds “gimmicky”, but becomes fully realized within the story’s context, which transforms into enthralling feature film that finds a balance between commonplace horror elements and suspenseful thrills. While there are few minor problems, I had with it, the film itself was masterfully put to together and executed gracefully, thanks to its cinematic world by Krasinki, it’s ingenious sound editing, effective horror style, and its small but strong cast members. To me, I’m not a huge fan of horror movies, but this particular movie was great (definitely engaging and quite an entertaining suspenseful horror flick). While some horror movies fail to scare or leave an impression on its viewers, A Quiet Place will easily remedy that with its beautiful arthouse entry in the genre and its nerve-racking narrative.
7 – First Man
Rating: 4.5 Out of 5
Review: First Man
Just like horrors movies, biopic dramas are a sort of garden variety in Hollywood motion pictures; finding a large collection being released each year (mostly around the award season timeframe) and trying to delve deeper into a person of interest (underneath a cinematic light). First Man is a perfect example of one of these biopic dramas, closely examining the personal / private life and times of famed astronaut Neil Armstrong and the struggles that he and NASA faced to journey to the moon. Directed by Damien Chazelle (the director behind La La Land), First Man ultimately succeeds in a motion picture, thanks to Chazelle’s direction, a great fantastic technical presentation, and the film’s cast (most notable in Gosling and Foy). I thought this movie was gonna be another “standard biopic”, but Chazelle’s First Man was definitely engaging and engrossing from start to finish. Thus, while La La Land, with all its color, dancing, and music scenes, is a definite crowd pleaser in a sort of “love-letter” to old Hollywood musicals, First Man is a cinematic “love letter” to the NASA Space Program, portraying a very “human” look at one of the world’s most famous astronauts and the “giant leap” he (and several others) took in order achieve Armstrong being the “first man” to walk on the moon.
6 – Paddington 2
Rating: 4.5 Out of 5
Review: Paddington 2
Movie sequels rarely outshine their predecessors, with the feature (usually) trying to “go bigger” than the original film, which does, more often than not, fails with the movie missing out and / or sacrificing what made the first / previous installment wholesome (i.e. the heart of the film). However, that particular nomenclature for a movie sequel does not apply to Paddington 2, the sequel to 2015’s Paddington. The movie, which continues the further adventures of everyone’s favorite and kind-hearted / polite bear, and proves effective in expanding upon the original feature as well as new ground for a sequel adventure, never compromising on its child-ish wonder/ cinematic integrity, and a wholesome direction from director Paul King’s vision of the film as well as superb and firmly solid cast (both major and minor ones). Personally, I loved this movie. It was cute, fun, heartwarming (the ending gets teared a few times), and definitely entertaining as a follow-up to the 2015 film. Paddington 2 was one of those rare sequels that actually improves upon its predecessor. Altogether, the movie stands as crowning achievement in family friendly entertainment, shining as a gentle feature film that’s just as poignant and fun as it is playful and meaningful. To me, I think we should all live by Paddington Bears words in the movie…. “if we’re kind and polite, the world will be right”.
5 – Ready Player One
Rating: 4.5 Out of 5
Review: Ready Player One
Legendary film director Stephen Spielberg has always been known for his cinematic features, producing creative motion pictures and immersive tales that have been memorable throughout the years (i.e. Jaws, E.T., Close Encounter of the Third King, Jurassic Park, and Indiana Jones). Thus, it was interesting to see Spielberg jump into the world of virtual reality with the film Ready Player One, which was based on the book of the same name by author Ernest Cline. While were a few minor problems, the movie (as a whole) shines impressively within its visual presentation of the fictional online world known as the “OASIS” and with its plethora of pop-culture references that populate the feature from onset to conclusion. Add in video game and movie nuances, a solid cast, amusing characters (though could’ve been more development in a few), an entertaining “hero” adventure classic narrative, and you’ll get the full realization of Ready Player One. In the end, the movie might not be Spielberg’s “Magnus Opus” in his illustrious directorial career in Hollywood, but Ready Player One proves a very unique and creative outlet for the famous film director o explore the limits of his imagination on the big screen. Simply movie escapism at its best!
4 – Crazy Rich Asians
Rating: 4.5 Out of 5
Review: Crazy Rich Asians
As studios continue to put out their appealing tentpole of superhero blockbuster, animated films, horror features, and bio-pic drams, the romantic comedy field has been placed somewhere in the middle; finding Hollywood constantly “churning” out these movies throughout the years and most finding some appeal but nothing either completely memorable or definitive. Of course, 2018 saw the movie Crazy Rich Asians, a romantic comedy endeavor that was based on author Kevin Kwan’s book of the same name. The story, while heartfelt and loving, might be slightly generic (for the genre), but the movie succeeds immensely thanks to its Asians roots (atmosphere, culture, and setting), it’s all Asian cast (who are all solid in their performances) from a major studio, and beautifully crafted film (costumes, decorations, music, etc.) from start to finish. To me, I wasn’t really expecting much from this movie (judging from the marketing campaign), but was pleasantly surprised how much I love this film (great movie for “background” while I work / chores around the house). In short, Crazy Rich Asians stands out above its competition as an exceptional piece of entertainment that captures the essence of a tried and true romantic comedy, defining what a romantic comedy should be in a crowded sea of Hollywood cinematic endeavors.
3 – A Star is Born
Rating: 4.5 Out of 5
Review: A Star is Born
As one can imagine, Hollywood is still fascinated with “remakes”, reimagine and repurpose old ideas by tweeting the material and updating the story’s substance for a new generation of moviegoers. However, the results are usually average to mediocre, finding the “remake” version to be a bland and / or dull to comparsion to the original. That being said, 2018’s iteration of A Star is Born (the fourth remake of this movie from Hollywood) proves that theory wrong, updating the narrative for a modern audience by providing the right amount of its own memorable / original moments that makes the film stand on its own merits. The movie truly does succeed in being memorable, standing out with its incredible two leads in actor Bradley Cooper (who I didn’t know could sing) and singer sensation Lady Gaga (who displays solid acting skills), their on-screen chemistry, a heartfelt drama story, compelling characters, a solid script, and some of the most catchy and dramatic musical concert tunes / songs in a film that I’ve seeing in quite some time. In the end, while some movies out there don’t live up to their own hype and can’t match the moviegoers’ expectations, A Star is Born certainly does live up to its own hype…. immensely; demonstrating the classic phrase of “shinning, not burning”.
2 – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Rating: 4.6 Out of 5
I’m pretty sure that the cinematic moviegoing world is well-versed the superhero tale of Spider-Man, especially given the fact the character of Peter Parker (and his superhero alter-ego Spider-Man) has been “rebooted” several times; each one played by a different actor for a separate franchise. 2018 saw a surprise return of the character of Spider-Man and from the current live-action landscape of superheroes, but rather from the animated world with the movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Centered around the character of Miles Morales (a more secondary comic book character that dons the Spider-Man mantle), Into the Spider-Verse is quite a refreshing superhero film, providing a stunning and visually entreating animated endeavor, thanks to the film’s unique comic book style of animation, a new spin on an old classic origin narrative, and an amazing voice cast across the board. Personally, I was really expecting much from this movie, but was completely amazed by this movie and how much I was entertained by it. Definitely caught me off guard, which is a good thing. Given all the praise and positive fanfare that this movie has been receiving, it’s safe to assume that there’s gonna be a Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 sometime in the future (it’s just a question of when and if it will be worth sequel to this movie). For now, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is an amazing and wonderfully animated superhero origin story, delivering a spectacular introduction to the character of Miles Morales that will leave its viewers wanting more.
1 – Avengers: Infinity War
Rating: 4.9 Out of 5
Review: Avengers: Infinity War
So, what could beat out a nearly perfect romantic comedy, an imaginative and classic sci-fi adventure from Spielberg, a creative horror feature based around “sound”, and a compelling remake of fame, fortune, and the rise to stardom (and all the complexities in-between) …. Avengers: Infinity War.
There was an idea…to bring together a group of remarkable people….to see if we could become something more…so when they need us, we could fight the battles…. that they never could. Thus, the idea was born for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (i.e. the MCU) and began back in 2008 with the first Iron Man. From there, this particular superhero universe grew, expanding upon other characters and interlinking the films together for ten years. Thus, the culmination for the MCU began in 2018 with the release of Avengers: Infinity War, bringing the story of the Mad Titan Thanos and his quest for the Infinity Stones to the foreground and using the incredible roster of established superheroes (within the MCU) to fight against him and his forces. Plus, not gonna lie…I was super excited to see several members of the Avengers meeting the Guardians of the Galaxy.
As can imagine, I’m a fan of superhero movies and this one absolutely delivered on its own hype and exceeding my own in the process. Infinity War succeeds in almost all categories that it was trying to measure itself (cinematically speaking). It was such an awesome big-screen / blockbuster adventure that delivers on its promise of being not just a grand spectacle, but also a poignant turning point for the franchise. Add in the film’s beautiful visual effects, the Russo’s direction and handling of the enormous project, and the incredible cast of talented actors and actresses of this well-developed pool of characters, and you get the ultimate fruition of superhero movie.
The scope and grandeur of the film was massive, the story was climatic, the cast was incredible, the classic Marvel heart and humor was there (and in rare form), and the ending cliffhanger left me wanting more (and that’s a good thing), making Infinity War one of the best Part 1 endeavor ever. With arrival of Avengers: Endgame arriving in 2019, the stage is set for the epic and dramatic conclusion to the story that began in Infinity War and will definitely shake-up the MCU’s future. For now, however, Avengers: Infinity War is a massively solid and a tremendously entertaining superhero blockbuster that delivers on its promise; a crowning achievement at being the biggest and most elaborate, and most unprecedented superhero cinematic adventure to date as well as being my #1 choice for the “best movie” of 2018.
And so that’s my top ten “best” movies of 2018. There were some movies that I didn’t get to see, so (naturally) I can’t critique them and pass my movie critic judgement on them, which is why they might not be on my list. So, what do you guys think? What were your “best” movies of 2018?