The following is by no means a definite list.
I definitely haven’t seen all of the films released this year so you can’t get mad at me for not including You Were Never Really Here in my list, because that’s all it is. It’s my list. I’ve also avoided seeing certain films because I don’t want to be disappointed with them. Anyway, here we are. My top ten films of 2018.
It will also be stuffed with spoilers so this is your heads up.
The following are in no particular order.
Black Panther – What an absolute journey this was, and a film that came along at a very important time. For the longest period Marvel tried to blame the lack of a BP film on us as an audience. They said there wasn’t the interest, but my god, was there. With an incredible ensemble cast and only a couple of token/Tolkein white guys in the fray, it showed just how wrong the execs can get it and just how incredible a well-crafted story by an incredible director and cast can be. I hope this is the start of many more and it certainly helped to have Wakanda onside when Thanos came a-knockin’.
Solo: A Star Wars Story – I know there were a league of issues with this film including script changes, director changes and cast changes but I enjoyed it enough to see it twice in the cinema so it can’t be all bad. It paid lip service where it needed to but it was also a pleasure to explore another area of the SW universe without a Skywalker in sight. It was what I wanted – a Star Wars heist movie and the additions of new characters worked for me. It might not have been as successful as other Star Wars offerings but will anything ever be? It’s a pretty good effort a fluffy-lookin’ nerf herder.
Isle of Dogs – It might not be Wes Anderson’s best stop-motion feature (Imma let you finish but Fantastic Mr Fox was the best of all time) but this film put the biggest smile on my face. Another case of Anderson taking the wildest selection of an ensemble cast and producing absolute gold from it – see also: Moonrise Kingdom, Grand Budapest Hotel. Can we also take a moment to recognise Anjelica Huston’s credit as Mute Poodle. The pacing and music and characters were great. I was enthralled by the detail and decoration in every single shot. It was delightful.
First Man – One of two films in my top ten that made me physically sick (“Mr Stark, I don’t feel so good” being the other). This had a beautiful blend of first-person action and an in-depth character analysis of the first man on the moon. Gosling was incredible, as was Claire Foy. I completely bought into their relationship and the costumes were a great highlight too. It’s incredible to watch now and realise how dangerous that trip was and what it meant to the world. It’s just a shame that it was all faked in a studio by Kubrick. I’m probably joking.
Love, Simon – This film went above and beyond what I expected. It is very easy for a film involving a gay character to make a sad point about the struggles of being gay. While this had to feature it was so refreshing to see a gay love story in a Hollywood film. This played out like John Hughes himself had his adept hand in and I was in floods of tears by the closing scene on the Ferris Wheel. More of this in future please.
Avengers: Infinity War – This is the other film to make me physically sick. How could anyone ever do that to Pete – the sick fucks responsible have a special circle of hell reserved for them now. Arguably the most anticipated film of 2018, it couldn’t help but deliver. It only takes one look at the absolute sprawl of a cast as they run into battle against Thanos’ army to realise that this was going to be something special. Every single aspect was beautifully orchestrated. They paid service to every character and it was nice to see characters we hadn’t seen interact in the MCU go tete-a-tete for the first time. Props to Thor and Star Lord for best comic pairing with Dr Strange and Tony Stark in a close second. It also left me with such a bleak sense of hopelessness that I can’t help but feel slightly concerned about the approach of Endgame in 2019. What a journey.
It was also a wonderful achievement for a friend of mine who worked on the film and attend a special screening for the crew involved. For over a decade he has wanted to break into the industry and I am immensely proud of him for having absolutely smashed his first appearance in film with this. The scene where Spiderman is on the doughnut spaceship (I’m sorry but I can’t do actual comic book words today) and his suit flicks over all shiny and cool, yeah, that shot was him on the CGI ones and twos. I’m so, so here for that. Well done Luke.
A Quiet Place – What a true surprise this little film was, and I’m excited to hear they’re working on a sequel already (please don’t fuck it up). I should have realised that Blunt and Krasinski were not going to put their names to anything turgid. It speaks volumes that this is the only horror film to make it into my list (I haven’t seen Hereditary and have seen The Nun, so don’t even start). This was so clever and understated in the tradition of horror and I couldn’t help but suck my own breath down and draw my hand over my mouth. It’s brilliant storytelling and it just goes to show you that kids are loud and obnoxious even when death is in the air.
Mission Impossible: Fallout – How how how how how is this the sixth film in a franchise and so good? I’m sure that goes against some kind of film law. Another great cast pulling off something spectacular. There’s something otherworldly about Tom Cruise. It’s very easy to knock him but there is nobody out there doing the things that he does, taking those risks and living as a character in the same way. That failed jump in London set up Fallout as the film we all knew we wanted to see – where Cruise fell out of things. Every time you thought there was no way they could top the action and it had to plateau, they piled it on anew. Henry Cavill and his non-CGI’d moustache were a great addition and anything Simon Pegg does is fine by me.
Bohemian Rhapsody – It feels to me as though people had made their minds up about BoRhap as we are apparently calling it. There were issues with the script and with the cast and with Queen and then it all came together. I challenge you to find anyone who took to a role in the way Rami Malek did with Mercury this year. He was absolutely spellbinding. I bought it all, even the teeth. He was powerful and vulnerable and fabulous in turn. I know the timeline was off but time is an invention of man and I will let them throw all of Queen’s hits at a wall and see what sticks if this is the result. It was sublime and ridiculous. It was We Will Rock You (the musical, not the song) but without Ben Elton. It did what it needed to do and I was drawn in and certain that I should grow a moustache by the time the film ended. I also cried for the final twenty minutes, an incredible feat considering my heart is a shard of ice on a string.
Widows – I did not think I would enjoy this film as much as I did. There, I said it. I assumed there would be a lot more focus on Liam Neeson and his fifty-thousand thieves as they skulked around Chicago with bags of swags. It is to the benefit of the film that they’re blown up in the opening scene (not a spoiler). Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki and Michelle Rodriguez then absolutely own it. This film is everything that Ocean’s 8 should have been (you will now note that Ocean’s 8 did not make the cut). It didn’t feel the need to unnecessarily provide exposition or detail of the end heist. We were shown what that money would mean to those women without them saying anything. They were absolutely badass and the twists and turns were a welcome surprise for me. It goes without saying that I now have a massive crush on Debicki. I don’t want to cheapen this post but I will – if I could be sentenced to death by snu-snu then I would want her to be my executioner.