Well, its been a year. Last year’s New Year’s Resolution was to watch 365 films throughout the year. About halfway through the year, I stopped posting the films I have seen, and I stopped taking note of the titles in the last quarter of 2012. It was an utter failure. I did, however, watch a decent amount of films. Not 365, but a decent amount.
To turn this into a more positive post, I am going to list my favorite (and least favorite) films that were released throughout the year (with a small excerpt explaining why I loved/hated them so much). Feel free to post your favorite films you have seen in the comments below.
Top 2012 Films:
2012 was an incredible year for superhero flicks. Arguably the best of the bunch was The Avengers. The film was bound to succeed with its superstar cast both on and off the camera. Even so, I was skeptical. An ensemble this notable seemed too good to be true. To say the least, I was blown away at the midnight showing. I was also blown away the next day, as well as the third time I paid to watch the film in theaters. The characters were portrayed with enthusiasm for the source material, the action was larger-than-life, and there was a surprising amount of depth to each hero’s story arc. The Avengers, above all else, was also the first good Hulk film. Man, I loved that film.
The Dark Knight Rises
I am, undoubtedly, a huge fan of Nolan. His Batman reboot is without a doubt the best to date. Outside of the caped crusader, Nolan writes and directs compelling, game-changing films. Inception and Memento are the two obvious examples. The Dark Knight Rises was easily my most anticipated film of the year, and it lived up to those expectations. The single greatest thing that TDKR accomplished was making a dynamic Bruce Wayne. It is rare that a protagonist (in a franchise) undergoes a huge character arc in the third installment. This is clearly the story that Nolan wanted to tell from the beginning, and TDKR uses what we know from the two previous entries to tell a truly “epic” tale. Nolan pairs this with iconic cinematography and one of his best written works in the dialogue department to make one of his most notable films to date. A film this large is bound to be filled with minor gripes and unexplained story elements, but overall, The Dark Knight Rises was among the most impressive films I’ve seen since Inception.
Is it just me, or has this film been forgotten already? I walked out of Looper with a hanging jaw. If there is one element, or cliche, in science fiction that grinds my gears, it is time-travel. Time travel makes a film’s plot and consistency very transparent. When you aren’t trying to wrap your head around this always-confusing mechanic, there is actually a compelling personal drama and surprisingly fleshed out sci-fi flick. Part of Looper’s success can be attributed to an intriguing concept/premise. Maybe I just lowered my expectations because Bruce Willis stars in it, but Looper was a surprisngly well-written, self-contained film that was better than most of this year’s blockbusters.
Perhaps the most obvious pick of the bunch, Skyfall undoubtedly finds its place in my favorite films of 2012. While I am not a huge Bond fan, its hard to deny that Skyfall mixes style and substance in a truly fascinating way. Comparisons to the Bourne trilogy were made, but Skyfall is a much more meaty film. Perhaps it is the artistic approach taken, shaken together with some off-the-rails action that captured my eye. Regardless, I left Skyfall feeling like an overwhelmed kid. Most importantly, I couldn’t wait to see it again.
Expecting some backlash from this pick. Unlike a large amount of people, I loved Prometheus. It did two oh-so-essential things right;
1) It was a deep sci-fi film. You’d be surprised to see how far the rabbit hole can go. It’s mythology, some old but much of it introduced, can be argued for hours. While many believe this is lazy writing, I believe otherwise. Ambiguity asks the audience to explore; to get lost in the film. That’s exactly what I have done. It is refreshing to see a film live so far beyond the film itself.
2) It still entertained non-invested audience. Plot pieces, on a personal level, made for an intriguing string of events. From *spoilers* Peter Weyland’s quest for eternal life to the lengths David went to fufill Peter’s dream, *end spoilers* Prometheus is gripping from start to finish.
(I’m giving The Amazing Spider-Man and Cabin In The Woods an honorable mention)
Worst 2012 Films:
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
I know a lot of people who loved The Hobbit, but Peter Jackson’s latest is an example of a downright poorly written film. Terrible pacing (an absolutely agonizing first half), cookie-cutter characters, slapstick comedy (presented so tastelessly) all contribute to a terrible time at the cinema. The Hobbit’s worst crime, however, is its sense of conflict. It goes without saying that a film is conflict. The Hobbit’s main obstacle and objective does not focus on the external goal constructing the new trilogy, but has to do with escaping a random ambush in a mountain. The lack of development for the main conflict makes The Hobbit feel pointless, beyond introducing a few vital characters. At least Golum’s scene was entertaining, I guess.
Paranormal Activity 4
You are probably asking yourself: “Who would possibly look forward to Paranormal Activity 4?” The answer, of course, is not me. I knew PA4 was going to be garbage the second I saw the preview. But tradition called for this, so I paid almost 15 dollars to see it on Halloween weekend. The first film holds somewhat of a legacy in the marketing department, and was a fairly good horror film. The second one, as redundant as it was, also entertained. The third one could have been good, but the tired plot twists turned this franchise into a giant cliche. In the latest installment, prepare to witness the same ending for the fourth time. Cringe-worthy dialogue will leave you at the edge of your set, preparing you for yet another sequel in 2013. There was so much wrong with PA4, but I can’t be bothered to actually put anymore thought into that train wreck. Just…don’t watch it.