In the great tradition of this site my top movies of 2014 list will be a top 8 list…with a couple honorable mentions. Let me preface that the list below is a mixture of my own personal opinions and the quality of the movie itself. Undoubtedly there will be significant disagreement with my order…but the grouping as a whole is undeniably the best eight movies of the year.
2014 was something of a transition year; not quite the year of the new Star Wars movie and born into the shadow of Man of Steel and Pacific Rim – for geeks 2014 had a lot to live up to.
And it did not disappoint.
Let us begin with a couple of honorable mentions:
Though it captured the spirit of the comic book version of Spiderman in many ways: quick wit, glib remarks and taking no battle seriously; I felt no sadness when Gwen Stacy died. The movie failed to connect me with the spirit of the characters. And the whole thing about his parents was rather annoying and unnecessary.
This was a really good movie – hard to keep it off the Top 8 but if only because it was more of a kids movie did it miss out. The film was essentially an extension of the Lego video games that have been popular for the better part of a decade now (Lego Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Batman, etc.). What truly stole the show was the actors they got to voice the characters. Check out this list!
And now, without further delay (drumroll…) the Top 8 Movies of 2014!
I’m sure many of you would argue that this should be much higher on the list. However, its placement is two-fold: first, it’s an incomplete story so for many, like myself, who have not read the book we are left incomplete. Not necessarily the fault of the movie, but by many accounts this split was simply a money grab instead of a true need for additional film time which makes it somewhat annoying. Second, Katniss is SOOOO annoying in this movie. She’s incredibly whiny and ridiculous throughout that it significantly detracts from the rest of the story.
Potentially a reverse reaction to the idea that, “the most recent thing is the best thing” considering I just saw this yesterday. Perhaps it needs to sink in more or I need to see it a few more times. However, all things considered: the movie was very good. For a movie of that length, though, some of it seemed almost rushed and though it has been many a year since I read the book I do know that several things: such as Tauriel are not pulled from the fiction and thus the creation of that storyline to essentially pull at the heartstrings of Geeks everywhere was, in my opinion, misguided by Peter Jackson.
This continuation of the remake storyline is outstanding. When I was a kid I remember enjoying the original Planet of the Apes movie, but could never get into the sequels because they were just too damned cheesy. Dawn is rugged and realistic. It takes place roughly a decade after the first film ends and humanity is on the brink. The direction this story goes is a master stroke and I hope this storyline continues.
This is where the list gets tough. This could have been higher and in a lesser year it would have been, but the proceeding group was un-crackable. In this second installment of the Captain America movie series Rogers must face an old foe…and in an age before social media the twist may have been amazing for the viewer. But since it was already known it lacked the sort of power that, “No, I am your Father!” packed. Can you imagine the blowback on the person who tweeted: “Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s Father!”. Anyway, the action sequences are really well done though a bit ostentatious. The movie also continued to show how Marvel is blowing DC away in the art of tying all their movies together. Hail Hydra.
As someone who spent his formative years reading comics by the barrelful I was immediately concerned when companies started making movies related to these iconic characters. How do you pick an optimal storyline to follow from fifty-plus years of stories? In some cases (Daredevil) it was an abhorrent disaster. But the X-Men series has always been steady. But this film is the one that above all made perfect sense to make. They took an incredibly popular, self-contained story within the universe and made a very successful movie out of it. This movie could only be made now; if you look back at the original comic, even then they could not conceive properly of the technological advancements film would attain which enabled this movie to capture both the essence and the pertinence of this story. Well gone Marvel!
If you haven’t seen this yet and it’s still playing in a theatre anywhere near you, I highly recommend you run right out and see it. Don’t even finish reading this article. Go, now! For those of you still with me, you know what I’m talking about. Christopher Nolan, famed director of the Dark Knight series, takes us on a trip through time and space itself. If you wanted a parallel you could draw one to Inception since there are some facets that are similar from a story perspective. But in the end this movie is just epic. It is a complete film. Sitting in the theatre during the intense scenes, which seem to take forever by you NEVER WANT THEM TO END, the score and the visuals draw you in to where there were times that I found myself moving forward in my seat just to look more intensely at the screen.
An alternate style film to Interstellar in the sense that it too takes place in space, but instead of being intense and epic, it was fun, entertaining and engaging on a different level. Chris Pratt won a lot of people over with his outstanding portrayal of Star Lord (a human who was kidnapped by space aliens as a child and became a wandering nomad of the stars) and how through his inability to take anything seriously he is able to survive and thrive against the most feared evil entities in the universe. Continuing Marvel’s great endeavor to create a single universe for their films to play in there are tie-ins to known characters (Thanos) and future storylines (Infinity Stones). This film also showed how well Marvel can do little-known characters (similar to the Blade movie franchise – yep kiddos…that was a comic first!). I would wager that the majority of people who saw Guardians, Geeks included, had never heard of this team and if they had they had never read much if any of the comic. It would be like if Marvel decided to make an Alpha Flight movie! Actually…Sasquatch alone makes me want to see that. Dammit, Marvel go make an Alpha Flight movie!!! Anyway, Guardians is a fantastically fun and entertaining movie with an amazing soundtrack full of retro tunes the kids today all seem to like.
And…the number 1 movie of 2014!!!
I will admit to being incredibly bias in this regard; I have always enjoyed the Godzilla series. The late 90’s movie with Matthew Broderick, which was completely terrible, you remember that movie? Yeah, I’ve seen it numerous times. But this iteration of Godzilla was amazing. Let’s start with the visuals: he looks intensely awesome as being portrayed in a very dark and almost gritty (as gritty as super high intense HD can get nowadays) manner. The fight scenes between Godzilla and the Muto’s are well placed and displayed. Part of why the old Japanese films were so cheesy – aside from the man in the rubber suit – is that they showed the entire fight scene. If you show 20 minutes of impossible-to-exist creatures battling you’re going to resort to stupid things, which they did…often. Here the fight scenes were impactful and intense; I mean at one point an entire skyscraper falls on Godzilla…a FUCKING SKYSCRAPER! The movie toed that line between the classic Gojira film of the monster coming to destroy the city and the later films where Godzilla was more of a pet whom they would call to save the city from some other beast. Here Godzilla is not acting on behalf of the humans nor does he care about them – he’s making sure that he remains the top of the food chain by any means necessary. It was nice to see the movie not take itself too seriously though either, again a throwback to the classic Japanese films. The first time we truly see Godzilla actively on screen is at the Honolulu Airport (except not actually – as anyone who’s been there can attest – this was actually filmed at LAX) and it’s just his foot, giant and canckled, stepping onto the screen to do battle with the Muto. I laughed out loud when that scene happened in the theatre.
Thank you all for reading. If you disagree with the order or even disagree with some of the selections I would encourage you to comment! I love good debates on such topics.
For now, this is your Bin Fodder guru signing off.