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 2019. We also honorable mention our films that aren’t exactly of the Comic-Con realm, per se, so check those out too.
1. Avengers: Endgame – The movie I rewatched the most this past year, What can be said about it? The culmination of 10 years worth of films. The most anticipated sequel ever. Time travel. Cap lifting Mjolnir, the death of Tony Stark. Smart Hulk, Fat Thor. The biggest comic book battle of all time, the highest grossing film of all time. Number 1 with a bullet for 2019. – 5/5
2. Joker – The altered version of the Clown Prince of Crime’s origin is a great character study with an Oscar worthy performance from Joaquin Phoenix. – 5/5
3. Captain Marvel – You folks know my feelings on the history of Captain Marvel. I really consider 2019 to be the Year of Captain Marvel. This flick about a half human/half alien superwoman with a lost past provided a look into the MCU pre-Iron Man. – 4.5/5
4. Shazam! – This movie about an orphan who gains the ability into a magical superhero by saying a magic word is one of the better flims of the DCEU. It had all that PG-13 blend of kiddie nostalgia, adult humor and a hint of horror (which I dug very much). – 4/5
5. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – Another dope shoot’ em up with Keanu as Mr. Wick and his dealings with The Continental, The High Table and all the other underground assassin bruhaha. – 3/5
Non-Geek Honorable Mentions: Dolemite Is My Name (A fantastic bio-pic about the super-cheap and super-crazy films of the late Rudy Ray Moore aka Dolemite. More importantly, the return of Eddie Murphy), The Irishman (Another ultra-violent classic Mob hit from the master Martin Scorcese. Not to mention the fact that it has one of the best ensembles in one movie ever: DeNiro, Pacino, Pesci, Kietel. Amazing).
1. Toy Story 4 – I was totally against this in concept because I loved how everything ended in part 3, but 4 also has an ending that wraps everything up so well. One of the few animated films that had me in tears so effortlessly. I’ve become disillusioned with Pixar in recent years, but thankfully it’s films like this that remind us why we still love the animation studio so much. – 4.5/5
2. Avengers: Endgame – An emotionally satisfying, desolation-infused, nail-biting finale that delivers anything and everything fans have been craving since the MCU began. – 4.5/5
3. Doctor Sleep – Rebecca Ferguson is one of the coolest villains we’ve seen in a film this year as Doctor Sleep pounds on your psyche with ease. Live long, eat well, and embrace your demons; Doctor Sleep is the satisfying film every horror sequel should set out to be. – 4/5
4. Terminator: Dark Fate – A refreshing take on familiar characters taking a well-known franchise into a new direction. The special effects are fantastic, the action puts you on the edge of your seat, and you’re left wanting to know where these characters will go next once the credits roll. – 4/5
5. Joker – I feel like I don’t like Joker as much as most do and I saw it so much later than everyone else, but it’s so out of the norm for director Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix is mesmerizing and haunting in the lead role. So many jaw dropping sequences in this film; I’m of firm belief that this shouldn’t get a sequel. This film has so much to say even after you’ve seen it and know what’s going to occur. Let this thing simmer for years to come. Let yourself succumb to what is otherwise one of the most memorable performances in any comic book film adaptation. – 4/5
Honorable Mentions: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.
Non-Geek Honorable Mentions: Marriage Story, Parasite, In the Shadow of the Moon, The Gangster The Cop The Devil, Honey Boy, Rocketman, The Lighthouse, Dolemite is My Name, In the Tall Grass, Jojo Rabbit, First Love, Long Shot, Peanut Butter Falcon, Midsommar (seek out the director’s cut), Booksmart, The Art of Self-Defense, Velvet Buzzsaw.
1. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood – Not your conventional “Geek” movie, but for a classic TV/film nerd like myself, this Quentin Tarantino flick brought all the throwback goodness. Stellar performances from Brad Pitt and Leo DiCaprio tip this one into the top spot for me. – 5/5
2. Avengers: Endgame – A perfect ending to the 20+ film series we’ve all fallen in love with this past decade. A feeling of finality and a great wrap up for many of our favorite characters is what truly makes this movie great. – 4.5/5
3. Doctor Sleep – A fun sequel to The Shining. While not as masterfully crafted as the Kubrick film, it is a creepy fun trip through a psychic horrorscape. – 4.25/5
4. IT: Chapter Two – Aye, two Stephen King movies in one list. IT 2 was a serviceable conclusion to the fantastic first film. Although it wasn’t as good, and deviates a good amount from the source, it was still a fun ride through the dead lights. – 3.75/5
5. Shazam! – I almost forgot this came out this year. Shazam is the perfect family super hero flick. Equal parts Superman and Big, it was able to capture the most essential quality of a film of its genre, fun. – 3.5/5
1. Joker – This is the most “WTF-is-this?” movie possible: a comedy director working on a comic-book film of the most famous arch-villain in history, played by one of the best living, working actors today, and at one time produced by Scorcese himself?! Sign me up. And somehow, despite the film’s flaws (and there are some) it became an event in and of itself, for better and worse, and a cultural moment as well. No other movie had as much discussion before, during, and immediately following its release, and no other film had a fucking POLICE WARNING issued beforehand. Proving that DC’s biggest play moving forward is just telling One Good Story at a time, this was the biggest possible surprise of the year. Put on a happy face. – 5/5
2. Avengers: Endgame – Forget Star Wars; this is the pop culture event of the year. Building on a decade of stories, and paying off with a climax that both celebrates and sends off several of the most engaging comic book characters in the history of the medium, this could not have ended more perfectly. The only film this year that actually got me literally, verbally cheering at the end. On your left. – 4.75/5
3. Spider-Man: Far From Home – The first post-Endgame Marvel film works metatextually, pushing the MCU into a larger, weirder place. Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio steals the show, bringing a new, dangerous slant to the idea of fake news, and the dangers of misinformation. That, and a bunch of trippy visuals. Hell yeah! – 4.5/5
4. Shazam! – Director David Sandberg brings DC’s Mightiest Mortal to big-budget life, finally finding a balance in humor, pathos, action (and some slight scenes of horror) that had so eluded DC’s cinematic entries. A new holiday staple, this is firm footing for DC moving forward (hey! I reviewed this one too!) 4.25/5
5. Us – The sophomore effort of Jordan Peele is a little less outright horror, but no less full of depth. Methodical, tense, and with no lack of humor, Us leaves a lot to unpack (so much so I wrote a whole review about it!). – 4/5
Honorable Mentions: John Wick 3: Parabellum, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, IT: Chapter Two.
Non-Geek Honorable Mentions: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, The Lighthouse, Midsommar, Booksmart, The Farewell, The Irishman.
1. The Lion King – Well, this was never going to be any contest. Easy bank for Disney. The original is not only my favorite animated movie of all time; I daresay it is my #1 favorite movie of all time, period. Taking it a step further even, it’s probably one of my very favorite things on this entire earth and this follow-up is a lovely homage to the 1994 classic. If you go into it looking for a good time and some nostalgia with a few modern updates (really just one of the most visually stunning movies ever made to date), I think you will not be disappointed. – 4/5
2. How to Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World – With a perfect blend of balanced writing, top tier effects, and one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard, the third HTTYD draws the story to its logical conclusion, in a fashion that is both bittersweet and also immensely satisfying. Of course, we also thought that about Toy Story 3, so I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if Dreamworks finds a way to make a fourth film in the franchise work. – 4/5
3. Spider-Man: Far From Home – I’m a pretty casual fan of Marvel, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I genuinely enjoyed this one. This was the first Spidey film that really hit all the right marks for me, in the comedy, action, and dramatic arenas. It feels like the best high school field trip comedy of errors ever, and I love it. Why wasn’t my high school experience more like this? Best of all, MJ’s deadpan sarcasm is so on par with Peter’s awkward sense of humor; I couldn’t help but actually root for them, despite never having had all that much interest in the pairing in previous iterations of Spiderman. – 3.75/5
4. Avengers: Endgame – I guess I have no choice but to include this, right? Even if you’re just a casual fan of Marvel, you can’t deny the satisfaction of the culmination of 10-years of setup through 21 previous films. We see many of the Big Ones wrap up their stories, seemingly for good, and make way for the next generation of Marvel heroes. It should be intriguing to see where they take the films from here. – 3.5/5
5. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – I haven’t had a chance to see this one yet, but let’s be real, it’s gonna be on the list!
Honorable Mentions: Toy Story 4 – With the third movie seeming like the logical conclusion of the franchise, it’s a little jarring to see Woody and the others uprooted from their supposed happy ending, just to leave them in yet another, different and even more bittersweet new start. It’s an enjoyable film, worthy of the series, but it also feels a bit like it’s floating in space, not quite connected to the previous trilogy.
1. Avengers: Endgame – Despite screwy time travel logic, Endgame whimsically tied together loose ends from 20 previous movies and established many possible future Avenger stories. Most of the original roster were also given a fitting “end” and passed on their legacy to a new generation. On that note, here are my top five fan service moments: 5.) Ant-Man’s first attempt at time travel (”Somebody peed in my pants!”), 4.) Thicc Thor. How he dealt with his PTSD was humorous but deeply layered, 3.) The giant “Splash Page” battle sequence. Nothing this epic has ever graced a comic book movie and will be hard pressed to top in future outings, 2.) Iron Man’s sacrifice, 1. Captain America and Mjolnir. OMG, HOW FREAKIN’ AWESOME WAS THAT!!! Deep down at his core, throughout all the trials, tribulations, and losses he has experienced, the audience finally got to see what they’ve known all along– that he is worthy. – 5/5
2. Spider-Man: Far From Home – One of the successes of this film is how Spidey deals with all these new experiences through the lens of a teenager– and doing so without overtly explaining everything. The filmmakers finally trust us as the audience to understand what is happening off camera. On camera, however, we were treated to one of the most famous, and perhaps one of the most difficult to properly pull off, villains from the extensive rogues gallery. Jake Gyllenhaal as the Quentin Beck version of Mysterio knocked it out of the park. As far as the future is concerned, this film has laid some ground-breaking foundations that will have an immense impact on what is to come. I’m looking to you, Secret Invasion! – 4.75/5
3. Shazam! – In the waning days of the DCEU, a film finally comes along that found the right tone. Zachary Levi channels his inner Tom Hanks to deliver a comic book version of Big, while Jack Dylan Grazer provides a lot of heart and Mark Strong plays a perfect villain, as always. Shazam! also bombarded the audience with many easter eggs and nods to the comics tho excite any inner geek. – 4.75/5
4. Captain Marvel – Brie Larsen proves why she is more than capable of portraying this over-powered player and welcome weapon to the Avengers roster. Sam Jackson, through some amazing de-aging technology, shows off some range as the younger version of the master spy, adding a nice dynamic through great on-screen chemistry. Despite some less than impressive fight and action sequences, it’s an enjoyable film with one of my favorite sound tracks and still holds up on multiple rewatches. – 4.5/5
5. IT: Chapter Two – Does a serviceable job in managing the extensive and convoluted source material while amping up the horror and creepy factor. Likewise, some of the tropes and underlying themes were altered for modern sensibilities without sacrificing any of the core messages. Andy Muschetti has a definitive success in his second –but not necessarily his last– outing as IT‘s director. – 4.5/5
Honorable Mentions: MIB: International, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Detective Pikachu.
1. Avengers: Endgame – The tender, love and care that directors Anthony and Joe Russo, with Marvel Studios figurehead Kevin Feige just above, poured forth in every second of Endgame — and its preceding 21 films — is nothing short of magical. The fourth Avengers film also admirably balances out the right amount of deep character moments, dramatic beats, and shocking comedy, and thus wound up the ultimate fantasy for every superhero-loving comic book geek. – 5/5
2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Has everything you could ever want in a Star Wars film: adorable and rich characters, imaginative landscapes and set pieces, a mesmerizing soundtrack and unparalleled sci-fi action. Throw in some late-70s textured, classic SW cinematography and it’s only natural for the third film in the trilogy and final film of the saga to have J.J. Abrams’ signature stylings all over it. Even better, Daisy Ridley is simply phenomenal, and 80% of the film shines — or casts heavy shadows — on her. Adam Driver is also, again, great, fighting the balance between being Ren and Ben. I loved it and if you truly love Star Wars, you should too. – 4.5/5
3. Terminator: Dark Fate – Much like the movie just above, Dark Fate was the ultimate follow-up to the sci-fi greatness that was the earliest Terminator films. Its only fault was not knowing its audience and the box office suffered for it. But, as a whole, the action was relentless and rewarding, Linda Hamilton was amazing in her return as Sarah Connor and Ahnuld just hit all the right beats. While he may not “be back”, I’d def give my money to Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes again, whom both were exceptional. Give this one a shot when it hits Blu Ray or Netflix; I promise you’ll be wondering why you missed this one too. – 4.25/5
4. Captain Marvel – An unexpected buddy action comedy full of spunky quips, intense sci-fi squabbles, retro satisfaction and actual solid villains. Brie Larson does such a believable, kick ass job in these scenes and has just the right amounts of bold and brash. And despite the setting, Captain Marvel never feels like a corny hero or someone pushed to the forefront because of her gender. Unless the scene called for Larson to appear kooky because, hey– it’s the ’90s, it’s America, and she’s a Kree. – 4.25/5
5. Dragon Ball Super: Broly – The new flick has art sketches that come to life, feeling much grittier than the majority of DBS without losing the life of something more current. Broly is that series’ “Tournament of Power” Triple Threat Match on LSD. Best of all, Tatsuya Nagamine‘s spiraling direction — in the spirit of the hyper-stylized art of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — is a pure eye-fuck. (And, yeah, I kept my Best of Anime list series specific, so here this movie placement be!) – 4.25/5
Honorable Mentions: Joker, Detective Pikachu, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Shazam!, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, How To Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World, Fighting With My Family.
Non-Geek Honorable Mentions: Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, The Irishman, Richard Jewell.
1. Avengers: Endgame
3. Spider-Man: Far From Home
5. Captain Marvel
Honorable Mentions: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, IT 2, John Wick 3, Doctor Sleep, Toy Story 4, Terminator: Dark Fate, How To Train Your Dragon 3, Detective Pikachu.
Non-Geek Honorable Mentions: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Dolemite Is My Name, The Irishman.
Have a wonderful and happy holidays, from everyone here at GodHatesGeeks!