Stephan’s Top 10 Movies of 2017

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While 2017 was a year of big losses for minorities and underrepresented groups in the real world, the opposite is true for movies in 2017. I was delighted to see the big winners of 2017 be films starring underrepresented groups. From Jordan Peele’s Get Out becoming the highest-grossing original debut ever to Patty Jenkin’s Wonder Woman becoming the highest grossing superhero origin film at the domestic box office, this year was full of record-breaking moments for non-white, male directors, actors and actresses.

I’m an easy crier but even I teared up in theatres more then I thought I would this year. So many great moments and scenes hit real close to home for me. I saw about 17 movies this year, but I went to the theatre over 25 times. That’s because there were so many movies that I loved so much I wanted to watch again.

I keep thinking that each year is the year I’m going to get sick of superhero movies, but this year I saw all of them and only Justice League sucked that badly. I actually didn’t hate the third Spider-Man reboot in my short lifetime, I enjoyed Thor 3 and absolutely loved Wonder Woman and adored Logan. And of course, this year I finally got to experience the next chapter in Finn and Rey’s galactic adventures. So here are my top ten favourite movies from 2017. Enjoy!

10 – John Wick Chapter 2

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*clickclickclickclickclickclick*

Keanu Reeves sucks at delivering dialogue but is absolutely in his own echelon when it comes to action scenes. And that’s fine because all John Wick Chapter 2 needed to deliver to be good was more of the amazing action scenes that seared the first film into my eyeballs. And boy oh boy did Reeves deliver. There’s so many brain matter splattering, broken arm crunching and theatre gasping moments in this film that I was slapping my friend Lukas’ arm almost the entire time. So many amazing scenes and sequences stick out that I will absolutely need to watch a couple more time to truly appreciate all of the little, quick details that made this film so mesmerizing.

9 – War of the Planet of the Apes

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If you don’t look closely this could be Dunkirk.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is one of my favourite films of all time. It brought these characters and the conflict of this world into a compelling and engaging light, and I had the same vibes I got watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes as I got playing The Last of Us, and for those who know how much I love that game you know what high praise that is. I was glad to see the same characters I loved in this the finale if the same world and conflict went in an unsatisfying direction. This film was one of the most beautifully shot movies of the year, and the breathtaking vistas and incredible CGI apes led to some of the most memorable scenes of the year.

8 – Thor 3

Too many superhero movies have zero consequences. I know the good guys win and the bad guys lose. But with Thor 3, well, the good guys won and the bad guys lose… But! The film played with established Marvel locations and characters in ways that did have consequences and will affect future movies moving forward which I really appreciated.

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Wow he got a haircut. Innovation!

Thor 3 was also genuinely hilarious, with strong performances from all the cast but especially the purple rock guy who I just loved. The Thor/Hulk relationship was also great to experience, both in Hulk and human form, and I really want to see more of it in Avengers 3!

7 – Spider-Man Homecoming

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I was one of the first people whining about yet another Spider-Man reboot. I’d seen two in my lifetime and I’m not that old. But I was really surprised by how much fun I had watching Tom Holland flop around New York being completely clumsy and amazingly awkward. While the film broke the Marvel Universe timeline I didn’t really care. Spider-Man Homecoming was what it needed to be, and now that he’s home I hope I never have to see a new actor play Peter Parker again. I’d love to see even one actor play Miles Morales though…

6 – Lego Batman

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“My name’s Richard but all my friends call me Dick”

I’m a sucker for Batman but I also love to make fun of how stupid his brooding, gloomy stories always are. And this film was all about making fun of how stupid and gloomy the whole concept of Batman is and then flipping it on its head. Lego Batman was beautifully assembled, despite being computer generated the animators employed a style that makes it seem stop motion. This authentic appearance only served to make the film that much more enjoyable. Michael Cera could not have been a better fit for Robin who absolutely stole the show (and my heart). I’ve seen this movie twice this year and know I’ll love it just as much the next time.

5 – Baby Driver

I love that thing movies do where they sync up action scenes with the soundtrack. Baby Driver took that to the next level by having that as a core part of the main character, playing tapes as he performs increasingly elaborate getaways. These scenes are the best part of the film and totally made up for the cliched plot that filled the in-betweens.

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What style…

It’s kind of messed up looking back on Baby Driver, a film about Kevin Spacey forcing a young boy into indentured servitude, in light of learning Kevin Spacey tried to rape an adolescent boy. I don’t think I’ll watch Baby Driver again, but I won’t be able to go back and unenjoy those scenes I loved so much I went back and saw the film again in theatres the next day.

4 – Wonder Woman

Anyone who goes to the movies with me knows I cry. There are two scenes in Wonder Woman that broke me and broke me both times I saw it in theatres. Seeing Gal Gadot mount the ladder to cross No Man’s Land with such determination and pure power was wholly awesome. I’d never seen a moment on the big screen that filled me with so much hype before but I was wired for the rest of the movie, all the way until the disappointing forced love interest.

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I really thought that sword would be more important.

But hey! No film is perfect. Except for my number one pick of course, but other than that I can totally excuse this film’s shortcomings for what it gets so stunningly right. Powerful female representation, beautifully shot fights and an amazing performance by Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman made this film a highlight of my year.

3 – Logan

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The sun sets on Hugh Jackman… the end of an age.

Logan is one of my favourite superhero movies ever made, and if this list gave you any indication I’ve seen a lot. As I said in my review:

Logan is the best X-Men movie ever, if not one of the greatest superhero movies ever made. It pairs the action that defines the genre with a meaningful story and deep characters that they traditionally lack. Dafne Keen shines in her first feature-length film and Hugh Jackman unleashes the claws for the last time. Whether you’ve never seen an X-Men movie or seen them all, you need to see this one.”

2 – Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

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Love a good throwback poster.

I’d been waiting for the next chapter in Finn and Rey’s story for over two years. I’d poured over fan theories, plot analyses and predictions. There was no way that The Last Jedi could’ve ever lived up to the hype I had built in my head over those two years. Coming out of the movie with my friends I wasn’t sure how I felt. I knew I didn’t like the forced humour, and I wasn’t sure if I liked how they played out Luke and Rey’s relationship. But upon seeing the film again it really clicked with me.  As I said in my review:

The Last Jedi tries to fit a lot more in its two and half hour runtime then it should’ve. Some subplots felt unnecessary and diluted its story. Whereas The Force Awakensdelivered a focused experience we’d had before The Last Jedi takes the series in a new direction, maybe a couple new directions more then it should’ve at once. But I loved it all the same, and the moments that had me on the edge of my seat, the moments that had me cheer and the moments that brought me to tears are what cement this film as one of the best Star Wars films ever made.”

1 – Get Out

As director Jordan Peele joked when Get Out was nominated for the “Music or Comedy” category at the Golden Globes:

But he wasn’t really joking. As Peele said in an interview with VarietyGet Out is about systemic racism presented in a psychological horror thriller. Peele’s been very vocal that this film is aimed at black audiences. It’s the horror film that he, and hopefully other black moviegoers, have always wanted but never been able to see. The “Sunken Place” is “the prison-industrial complex, it’s the dark hole we throw black people in. The sunken place is the theatre that black people are relegated to watching horror movies on the screen. We can scream at the screen but we’re not going to get represented on the other side.”

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Daniel Kaluuya as Chris Washington, entering the Sunken Place.

I had no idea there was any of this depth to the film when going into the theatre. All I knew was this film was directed by the short guy from Comedy Central’s Key and Peele and that it was a horror movie. But as I sat through this masterpiece, inching further to the edge of my seat, I was sucked in. While this movie wasn’t made for me, Peele did have a message for white fans. Peele explained “You find the insidious qualities that white liberals have. The gut punch of the movie is ultimately meant to say that racism is a human problem and the ‘woke’ people know not to call themselves ‘woke.’”

After seeing Get Out, I absolutely will not be calling myself “woke” again. The message and impact of this film stayed with me all year and will stay with me for a long time to come. The incredible performances from Daniel Kaluuya, Betty Gabriel and of course, the real hero of the film, LilRel Howery carried this film another level for me. Get Out is the biting commentary (documentary?) on systemic racism we needed in 2017, and one of the best films I’ve ever seen.

That’s it! Thanks so much for reading. I’d love to know what you thought of my list or my comments on the movies. What were your favourites? What movie should I have seen I didn’t? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

If you liked this list, check out my Top 10 Games of 2017. Even if you didn’t like this list, you still might like that one!

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