Films of 2018

1. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Having never seen parts 1 to 5, I checked out M:I - Fallout based on glowing reviews. IndieWire's David Ehrlich called it 'One of the best action movies ever made' and had this to say about Tom Cruise: 'He’s only Tom Cruise because nobody else is willing to be — or maybe he’s only Tom Cruise so that nobody else has to be. Either way, “Fallout” is the film he’s always promised us, and it is worth the wait.' Huge praise, indeed, so I went in with high expectations, but zero franchise experience. Sure enough, some moments were a little unclear, but as a whole, Fallout works as a standalone sequel. A thrillride if there every was one, and an excellent movie all around. Not to be missed.

2. Deadpool 2
A formidable sequel. The first hour is a little pedestrian and by-the-numbers, but once the highway chase kicks in, it's a non-stop riot. Your cheeks will hurt. That is, unless you don't find any of this funny.

3. Solo: A Star Wars Story
The first financial flop in the Star Wars franchise. Colour me baffled. It's a fun, engaging, high-stakes, well-made, old-fashioned adventure movie. I loved it. And I still do.

4. Ready Player One
Steven Spielberg's glorious return to blockbuster cinema, filled to the brim with shout-outs, winks and nudges. Fifty years of pop culture condensed into one wild ride. The first ten minutes are a little too intense - your brain needs some time to adjust to the intensity of the visuals that are catapulted into your eyes - but once you get past those, it's a blast.

5. Incredibles 2
Brad Bird returns with more of the same, and we wouldn't want it any other way. A most excellent sequel.

6. I, Tonya
The real-life tragedy turned into a bittersweet, darkly humorous movie with tour de force performances by Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, and Paul Walter Hauser.

7. Girl
Touching, well-made and expertly directed Belgian movie about a young transgender boy's struggles on his road to girlhood.

8. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
A pretty mediocre sequel to the fun Jurassic World. Some good set pieces and cool dinosaurs, but an underdeveloped and sometimes just odd screenplay. If Sir Benjamin Lockwood was one of Hammond's oldest friends and collaborators, why wait until the fifth movie to introduce him? The Remember the new guy trope in full effect. Pity.

9. Black Panther
Granted, I'm not a Marvel connoisseur (I have barely seen half of the MCU movies), but Black Panther left me cold. It just didn't click with me. Ryan Coogler is an amazing director (love Creed) and Michael B. Jordan is a force of nature (again: Creed), but Black Panther is surprisingly meh.

10. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a charming delight, but this sequel was messy, sloppy, convoluted and just plain crappy. Here's hoping the series can course-correct itself with the third entry.

Julian De Backer, 3 February 2020