Welcome to another installment of GHG’s Top “Geek” Movies of the Year! All the following lists take a look at our favorite superhero, sci-fi, fantasy, horror and geek-related flicks of 2018. We also honorable mention our films that aren’t exactly of the Comic-Con realm, per se, so check those out too. (Click the titles to read full GHG reviews)
Best of all, Happy New Year’s Nerrrrrrrrrrrrrrds!!!
1. Mission Impossible: Fallout – “But it isn’t geeky!” Shut up. Yes it is. Super-spies, and adaptations of 1960s spy shows. Yes, this is geeky as shit. And this is single-handedly the most tense, entertaining movie of not just this year, but the last few years. Whereas most action movies will build up to certain stunts and set-pieces, this film throws them out like nothing. As much as I love the Bond series, it has nothing on Tom Cruise, and the IMF team. And that HALO jump, bruv! – 5/5
2. Black Panther – As a fan of Ryan Coogler, I was already excited by this. As a cultural, and social, turning point, Black Panther is on another level. We’re seeing the continued evolution of comic-book films as something more than the sum of their parts, and this is the rare geeky, comic-book film that has some serious subtext going on (and I’m all over that shit). – 4.5/5
3. Mandy – You might think, after reading my review, that I didn’t like it, but you’d be wrong. I truly appreciate this film (especially the gorgeous first half), and while I wasn’t blown away like everyone else seems to have been, I know that this is one of the most unique movie-going experiences of 2018, audiences be damned. – 4.25/5
4. Avengers: Infinity War – Every single person and their mother will have this as their Number One, no doubt. Not me, though, you jokers! Look, as good as this is, and as perfect a climax as this is for 10 years of build-up…as a film, it could be tighter. As a cultural event though? Few films in the few years prior to, and following, 2018 will live up. – 4/5
5. Bumblebee – I just saw this the other day, but already enjoyed it more than any of the other Transformers movies combined, excepting the first one. Who’d’ve thunk keeping a focus on characters, and having a coherent story would amount to a good movie, and rave reviews? It’s a Christmas miracle! – 3/5
Honorable Mentions: Hereditary, Deadpool 2 (and Once Upon A Deadpool), Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, Isle of Dogs, Annihilation, Puppetmaster: The Littlest Reich.
Non-Geek Honorable Mentions: Won’t You Be My Neighbor, BlackkKlansman, The Favourite, Blockers, The Disaster Artist, Widows, The House That Jack Built, The World Below Your Feet, Free Solo, Paddington 2, Vice, Roma, Revenge, Summer of ’84, The Death Of Stalin, Skate Kitchen, Mid 90’s, The Astrologer (fuck you! It came out this year!).
1. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse – Hands down the best comic film of the year and easily one of the best films of the year over all! This had everything; great story, great action and all the heart felt moments you could need. – 5/5
2. Black Panther – 2018 has been the year that Marvel owned! Not only did they bring all their characters together but they also revolutionized the comic genre with Black Panther. The love child of Batman and The Lion King, not only did the story add much needed heart to the BP character but also one of the best Marvel villains, Killmonger. – 4.75/5
3. Avengers: Infinity War – Only ten years in the waiting, 2018 was the year we finally saw where Marvel has been going all these years! Full of tears and cheers, IW did the near impossible: have a film with over 50 characters, all with enough screen time to keep the pace going. – 4.5/5
4. A Quiet Place – This heart-wrenching, adrenaline-testy journey was absolutely mesmerizing. Plus, Oscar caliber performances from John Krasinki and Emily Blunt. Who’d think a movie with hardly no sound and a monster you barely see could leave this Traveling Nerd afraid of a quiet home! – 4.5/5
5. Mission Impossible: Fallout – Easily the best big-budget action movie of the year, with some of the most memorable stunt sequences ever put on film — Nolanesque in tone and paced like a bullet. – 4.5/5
Honorable Mention: Deadpool 2, Incredibles 2, Aquaman, Upgrade, Tomb Raider.
Non-Geek Honorable Mention: Creed II.
1. Avengers: Infinity War – The biggest, most jam packed superhero movie ever made. The highest grossing superhero movie ever with one of the best movie endings ever. I have never witnessed a movie have more people shook than this one. – 5/5
2. Black Panther – The one superhero movie I have anticipated since the vast majority of my life. After so many near-misses, this one finally hit and the country went crazy. This movie was a full-on pop culture phenomenon and a good movie too. – 5/5
3. Mission Impossible: Fallout – Tom Cruise runs. Tom Cruise hangs off something. Tom Cruise is betrayed by his own government. It’s a tried and true formula for this franchise. The reason why? Because it works!! = 4/5
4. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Loved the animation and all the pop cultures references to the history of Spider-Man in the flick. Plus, the use of Miles Morales gave Spidey a fresh hip-hop edge. – 4/5
5. Deadpool 2 – Ryan Reynolds‘ second run as the Merc With A Mouth is a lot more heartfelt than the first one. Whether that worked for or against it is debatable. Either way, I was happy to see Cable, X-Force and a revamped Juggernaut on the big screen. – 3.75/5
Honorable Mentions: Aquaman, Death Wish, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, The Equalizer 2.
1. Mission Impossible: Fallout – Succeeds in taking you through the mind of Tom Cruise’s monster: how to stay not only relevant, but dominate in a cinematic world firmly in the grasp of Thanos’ palm of power… And thanks to some great performances and a tight script from Christopher McQuarrie, there isn’t much of the usual techno mumbo jumbo of past M:I films other than Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg)’s fun quips used soley to push the frantic plot into own rewarding pleasure. Fallout is also Cruise’s best film — an also 4DX masterpiece that had to have been experienced. – 5/5
2. Avengers: Infinity War – I had as much fun as scare watching AIW in 4DX, physically celebrating — lightning strike complete — side-by-side with the Odinson upon smash from the Stormbreaker, as the Stark-Tech level seats actually give you a sense of scale unprecedented in cinema. Since most of the film is brilliantly quip/quip/bang, the intrusion of fog and bubbles added environmental elements, driving more passion for our caped-up pals and the ships they steer in the process. In the end, Infinity War is a real treat in any format — especially for those who waited for something like this to happen their entire panels-on-the-funnypage digesting lives. – 5/5
3. Black Panther – Should win all the Oscars. – 4.75/5
4. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse – Talk about sensory overload! Only because I watched this in 4DX, of course. While the moving chairs, occasional water spritzes, and air conditioned wind are my new preferred film-going format, there was enough brilliance in SMITSV‘s tremendous art direction; the bursting neon palettes and super-smart comic book aesthetic will drive enough wonder without your seat needing a shake. I adored Shameik Moore‘s performance as Miles Morales — a character I’ve been fond of ever since Brian Bendis introduced him into the Ultimate Universe. And who doesn’t love that crazy Nic Cage as Spider-Noir? Shame he didn’t begin his Marvel career with this hat instead of the one that flamed out. I’m willing to bet I’ll relish this film even more in 4K Blu Ray. – 4.5/5
5. The Incredibles 2 – 14-years later, and the Parr family is still as lovably quirky as you remember. Craig T. Nelson (Bob) is just tremendous as the mostly stay-at-home-superhero-dad, while Holly Hunter (Helen) carries much of the animated film’s emotional weight in her urge to breakthrough for female supers while all the same worrying about her children. But this is Jack-Jack’s movie; the Parr’s baby boy (Eli Fucile) now has more powers than a Marvel Collector’s Card, so good luck keeping this all in a crib! – 4.25/5
Honorable Mentions: Bumblebee, Deadpool 2, Ralph Breaks The Internet, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Tomb Raider, Ready Player One.
Non-Geek Honorable Mentions (I always get my SAG screeners after we post this, sadly): Vice.
1. Avengers: Infinity War – No contest here. The culmination of the first 10-years of Marvel Studios came together in flawless fashion, tying together loose ends while creating cliffhangers for the future. – 5/5
2. Ready Player One – By far, Spielberg’s best showing in years. Transitioning between the real world and the digital domain of the Oasis created the first sense of “future nostalgia” ever experienced in cinema, thanks in part to a kick-ass soundtrack. The fact that the movie as a whole was one giant Easter egg also bolstered the fun factor, especially after repeat viewings. – 4.75/5
3. Black Panther – The first film instance of the most technologically advanced nation on Earth far exceeded expectations. Stunning visuals aside, this movie gave audiences one of the most comprehensive character arcs of the superhero genre to date for both the hero and the villain, making each relatable on a fundamental level. – 4.5/5
4. Ant-Man & The Wasp – With the addition of a new female force for good (one ostensibly better in every way than her male counterpart), this lighthearted addition to the MCU balanced humor with substance, despite going lite in the bad-guy arena. Nevertheless, the film was the perfect palate cleanser after the gut-wrenching ending to Infinity War. Likewise, many potential seeds have been sewn for the future. – 4/5
5. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – The most recent entry to the Wizarding World takes us back in time to experience the Hitler-like rise to power of Grindelwald, the dark wizard who inspired He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. This movie is conceptually layered and brilliantly concocted by J.K. Rowling, especially in relation to the subtext and deeper meaning behind the character names, actions, and so forth. One criticism, however, is that many scenes seemed to have been shortened for time purposes where pertinent information to enriching the story may have come about. In any case, there is magic to be had and–in keeping true to the title–many cryptids and mythological creatures from cultures across the globe make delightful, if not brief, appearances. – 3.75/5
1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – One of the best comic book movies I’ve seen, and despite maybe a very small plot concern and some art anxiety at the very beginning, it’s damn near perfect. Full of heart and leaps of faith. – 5/5
2. Black Panther – Marvel’s most impressive movie to date with exceptional visuals and accomplished acting that tackles geopolitical themes with careful balance. – 4.75/5
3. A Quiet Place – An inventive suspense movie full of jump scares and anxiety. I had a few issues with the continuity throughout the film and story points, but overall I was easily immersed and appreciated the acting ability of the whole cast. – 4.25/5
4. Deadpool 2 – A sequel that didn’t try to outdo itself in a way that was expected from a DP movie. It took endearing characters and built on the relationship already given to create another unexpected heartfelt story of love and triumph. – 4/5
5. Aquaman – Despite some basic flaws, Aquaman is magical, fantastic and absolutely entertaining. It’s as if Jules Verne gave birth to the legendary classic tale of Arthur (Curry) in The Sword in the Stone. The world James Wan has created for the sea kingdoms, creatures, and armies are whimsical, and feels heavily influenced by James Cameron’s The Abyss. – 3.75/5
Non-Geek Honorable Mentions: Won’t You Be My Neighbor, BlacKkKlansman, American Animal, 8th Grade.
1a: Avengers: Infinity War – I know that this might be the easy choice for this year and it might even be a bit on the cliched side, but when you look at what the Russo Bros. did with such an expansive story and such a massive storyline and how they were able to condense it into 2-2 ½ hours, it’s nothing short of amazing. To say that the ending left everyone’s mouths agape would be a vast understatement. – 5/5
1b: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Is this kind of a cheat? Sure and I don’t care. Phil Lord’s Into the Spider-Verse was everything a comic book fan could ask for; from the animation to the jokes to tugging on the heartstrings to the very fact that it shows little boys (and girls) that it is okay to say “I love you” to your parents. The film fires on all cylinders and you literally could not ask for more (at least until we get to the sequel). – 5/5
3. Black Panther – WAKANDA FOREVER. What is there to say about Black Panther that hasn’t already been said. The movie set the geek world on fire in ways that I don’t think anyone expected. The only big downside to this film was the CGI; Marvel needs to remember that sometimes “less is more” and needs to go back to practical effects and costumes. – 4.5/5
4. Ant-Man and the Wasp – Comic book sequels very rarely surpass the first one, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Spider-Man 2 come to mind as the only ones that surpass their first outing. Ant Man and the Wasp was so freaking good. Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly have great chemistry and Michelle Pfeiffer was a great addition. As always, Michael Pena steals every single scene he is in. – 4.25/5
5. Aquaman – The best way to describe Aquaman for anyone who hasn’t seen it (besides Black Panther under the sea) was if the original Iron Man and Thor films had a baby. Sure, there are moments where the story drags, but Aquaman is still an overall really fun film. Randall Park had a great year being in both this and Ant-Man and the Wasp. I look forward to seeing him in Aquaman 2. – 4/5
(Writers Note: This was a rough year for me personally so unless I was reviewing a film, I didn’t get to see a lot of stuff I wanted to see. i.e. MI:6, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Incredibles 2, Mary Poppins, etc.)
Honorable Mentions: Deadpool 2, Solo: A Star Wars Story, A Quiet Place, Halloween.
Non-Geek Honorable Mentions: Vice, Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, BlacKkKlansman, Creed II, Game Night, Blockers, The Old Man & The Gun.
1. Black Panther – An obvious choice for an African like me. Bias aside this is the one movie this year that I guarantee will be a classic in the future. It’s like seeing Roots, Color Purple or Coming to America for the first time; the cultural impact is just too strong. – 5/5
2. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Changed animation forever. Made Spidey relevant for the next 20 years. Best spider-film of all time. – 5/5
3. Avengers: Infinity War – In a year of epic movies, this was the most epic. I can watch this movie an infinite amount of times. – 5/5
4. Annihilation – True, deep high-brow sci-fi just like I like it. – 4/5
5. Mission Impossible: Fallout – Tom Cruise is insane and we love him. – 4/5
Honorable Mentions: Bumblebee.
Non-Geek Honorable Mentions: A Star is Born, The Favourite, Sorry To Bother You, BlacKkKlansman.
1. Avengers: Infinity War – This didn’t just have to stand alone as a film, but also be the culmination of the 18 movies that preceded it in the past 10 years. No movie should be able to withstand that amount of pressure and responsibility. Yet, not only does this movie bring it, co-directors Anthony and Joe Russo, once again, go on to exceed my seemingly infinitely high desires and expectations. – 5/5
2. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – This is a quintessential Spider-Man story. It’s a perfect distillation of everything that makes Spidey the absolute best comic book character ever and applies it to multiple characters to highlight that any man or woman quality of the character. Add to that the highly stylized animation, the gorgeous bright colors, and all of the nods to Spider-Man lore and this becomes arguably the best comic book movie of the year. The only reason it lies behind Infinity War is that IW had to carry the weight of 18 other movies in addition the pressure of being a good movie and, in succeeding, accomplishing something that’s never been seen before. In terms of quality, however, Spider-Verse is right up there with it. – 5/5
3. Black Panther – The fact that this movie was as much of a runaway success as it wound up being is among the most shocking things to happen this year. I don’t remember another movie ever having as large of a cultural impact for a specific group of people as this. As a matter of fact, it’s cultural impact overshadowed the quality of the film. Taken as just a movie devoid of context, this movie f’n rules. The first half of this year was just gangbusters for the MCU in every respect. – 4.75/5
4. I Kill Giants – The trailer for this movie is rather deceptive, portraying this movie as much more of a fantasy adventure story than the drama with fantastical elements that it actually is. Otherwise, it’s a near-perfect indy movie adaptation of a near perfect indy comic, though it is difficult to recommend this movie unreservedly. As fun as it seems in the trailer and in any description of the story, this is a dark and heavy story that’s full of many more tears than laughs, but has enough fun, cool action to prevent this from becoming a drag. – 4.5/5
5. Upgrade – I absolutely loved this movie. It was clever, funny, violent and exciting. It’s one of the best sci-fi movies I’ve seen in a while. Everytime it looked like it would to veer into cliche territory it subverted my expectations, keeping me gripped the entire time. – 4.5/5
1. Mandy – I totally understand why people wouldn’t like Mandy, but what people hate about it are likely what I love about the film. It is a bloody acid trip with a metal soundtrack and Nic Cage being as outrageous as possible. The film boasts one of Jóhann Jóhannsson‘s last completed film scores and showcases that Panos Cosmatos has so much more weirdness to offer after Beyond the Black Rainbow. – 5/5
2. Annihilation – If you’re not an Ex Machina fan, you probably should be. Alex Garland has this incredibly unique vision for sci-fi that is as exhilarating as it is imaginative. Annihilation is a female lead leap into the genre that dives into bonkers ass territory. The ending itself is so fantastically bizarre that you admire Garland’s devotion to not changing it despite Paramount’s strong insistence. Plus Nightmare Bear is seriously the fucking scariest thing to come to theaters in 2018. – 5/5
3. Apostle – Like most action and martial arts film fanatics who love The Raid films, I was initially disappointed when Gareth Evans went on record as to saying that third and final film likely won’t be happening. However, Apostle is this new brand of beast for Evans that sends the Welsh born writer/director onto an entirely new path of badassery — a disgustingly terrifyingly Netflix film well-worth seeking out. – 5/5
4. Isle of Dogs – There’s been a lot of incredible animated films to come out in 2018, but Isle of Dogs is the one I’ve revisited the most. Over the course of the year, I realized that Wes Anderson‘s previous stop-motion animated film from nearly a decade prior (Fantastic Mr. Fox) is one of my favorite films ever. IoD speaks to a more mature side of Anderson as FMF is essentially an homage to his childhood. The sheer amount of detail in every frame, puppet, and set design is just jaw dropping. This is pure eyeball ecstasy tag teaming with an unbelievable amount of creativity and humor. – 5/5
5. Hereditary – Hereditary has a lot of positive hype because it will scare you shitless without remorse. This film is a screamish plunge into nightmarish insanity. It is absolutely bizarre at times, spine tingling at others, and loaded with bonkers ass terror in between. This won’t be for everyone, but it will absolutely crush every expectation for those who crave atmospheric horror. – 4.5/5
Honorable Mentions: Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, Upgrade, Ghost Stories, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Cargo.
Non-Geek Honorable Mentions: Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds, Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot, Boy Erased, Sorry to Bother You, Widows, May the Devil Take You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, Suspiria, Beautiful Boy.
1. Avengers: Infinity War
2. Black Panther
3. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
4. Mission Impossible: Fallout
5. Deadpool 2
Honorable Mentions: Mandy, Annihilation, The Quiet Place, Ant-Man & The Wasp, Aquaman, Upgrade, Bumblebee.
Non-Geek Honorable Mentions: Won’t You Be My Neighbor, BlackkKlansman, Vice, Sorry To Bother You.
(Our Best Anime of 2018 is comin’ at cha in just a few days! Happy New Geek Year!)