Before we look ahead to what 2019 has to offer, the Cinelinx team has gathered to present our individual picks for this year’s best movies. Check out the first part of our staff breaking down their 2018 favorites!
[Update: You can now read Part 2 of our team's lists.]
As we have in the years before, we tasked our writers to choose the FIVE movies they thought stood out from the crowd this year. 2018 was an incredible year for movies (for both blockbusters and smaller flicks) and narrowing down our lists to only five choices was pretty damn difficult and even required us to break our list into two parts this year! That said, our team toughed it out and made it happen:
I felt like I saw a lot of really good movies this year, even if I didn’t get out to the theater as much as I had hoped. Because I missed a few films that I think would have ended up on my “Best Of” list here, I’m instead skewing this list towards my personal Favorite films. While they may not have been, technically, the best the year had to offer, these are the ones that stuck with me most.
Avengers: Infinity War - Infinity War brought together 10 years of Marvel storytelling in an impressive way. While the rest of the story still needs to be told, Infinity War manages to tell an epic story all within itself that keeps you invested the entire time. That’s not to mention the incredible ending that seems to change everything.
Sorry to Bother You - There aren’t many films that feel truly original, while managing to subvert all your expectations in the best way. This comedy with a science fiction twist manages to not only be hilarious and bring excellent performances, it also has strong themes that will keep you thinking long after the credits roll.
You Were Never Really Here - The Joaquin Phoenix film is a brutal, but powerful story about dealing with personal demons. While the basics of the story are deceptively simple, the neo-noir style keeps you sucked in until the very end.
Annihilation - Alexander Garland’s trippy science fiction film is something I find myself still thinking about at random points, even nearly a year after checking it out. There’s so much going on in the story, it can feel overwhelming at times. Coupled with the character drama and the mystery surrounding the strange happenings within the veil, it’s equal parts terrifying and engaging.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - Though it comes late in the year, Spider-Verse manages to be one of the best films I’ve seen this year. Not only was it a great Spider-Man movie, it’s one of the best superhero flicks around. With stunning animation and solid themes, this is a film we’ll be talking about for a long time to come.
Honorable Mentions: Solo: A Star Wars Story, Hold the Dark, The Meg, Black Panther, Aquaman, A Quiet Place, Love, Simon.
Avengers: Infinity War - So. Many. Feels. This movie not only shocked me as a Marvel fan, but as a movie fan. There was a good chunk of things brought from the comics, but there were somethings put in this film I did not expect...especially with the release of other said Marvel films so close to this release.
Black Panther - This was a powerful and emotional thrill ride that I was not expecting to be one of my favorite films of the year. Chadwick Boseman and Michael B Jordan really did an amazing part selling their roles, but Letitia Wright, who played Shuri, really stole the spotlight in this film. I really hope, eventually, they make a Black Panther film with her taking the mantle of Black Panther, as they did in the comics.
Isle of Dogs - This is by far my favorite, wackiest film of 2018 and while is sounds crazy enough...the whole film was a stop motion Animated film! Not only was the story great, but the over all cast was full of wonderful talent. You had actors ranging from Bill Murray,Harvey Keitel, Scarlett Johansson, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Bryan Cranston, and many more! Please go watch this film now if you have yet to do so!
Ready Player One - This film not only has some of the best easter eggs of the year, it also had an actor that is local to the area I live in! Tye Sheridan and his family have lived in my area of Texas for sometime. I can't tell you how many times, while working at Gamestop, that Tye would come in for our Call of Duty tournaments and just to buy games. Its pretty surreal to see someone from such a small town become such a huge star that he is today!
The Predator - Critics and fans alike say this film wasn't the best. I DISAGREE. I loved everything about this movie, the action, art design, acting, and story was pretty great. Say what you will, but I FREAKING LOVED IT!
There’s no denying that 2018 was a good year for movies and I got to see my fair share in theaters. However, picking my top five proved difficult (since so many of them were awesome!), but I did my best with my picks below.
Avengers: Infinity War - Could you really doubt that this film wouldn’t be on my list? While I haven’t seen all of the MCU films, I’ve seen more than enough to know I had to be present when ten years of worldbuilding culminated in one of the most epic clashes I’ve ever seen. Seeing all the different heroes interact, some for the first time, was cool to watch and at times very funny (especially Star-Lord and Iron Man). And that ending...all these months later and I’m still not over the aftermath of that snap. I can’t wait to see how Avengers: Endgame follows up on all of this.
Black Panther - I admit I was hesitant to go see Black Panther because, having missed Civil War, I’d yet to see Black Panther in action and I was worried I wouldn’t like the film. However I had nothing to worry about: from beginning to end I fell thoroughly in love with the story and the fictional Wakanda (which I wish wasn’t fictional at all). I also had a deep appreciation for Killmonger’s story.
Mission: Impossible - Fallout - Every time I think the Mission Impossible saga can’t possibly get any better, a film like this comes along. Fallout, in my opinion, blows all previous entries out of the water (even Ghost Protocol), with a climactic fight that left me on the edge of my seat. It was a fitting conclusion to the story that Ghost Protocol started, though I’m sure the story of Ethan Hunt is far from over.
Incredibles 2 - After seeing the awesomeness that was Incredibles 2, I’m not even upset that we had to wait 14 years, this movie was absolutely worth the wait. Picking up where the first film left off, it all felt like the same universe (even though computer animation has evolved by leaps and bounds since the first film). My favorite scene from this film remains Jack-Jack’s encounter with the raccoon (runner up is definitely Edna’s reaction to Jack-Jack). I dearly hope there is an Incredibles 3 (but I hope it doesn’t take another 14 years).
Annihilation - I had to include this film in this list, because it remains one of the most mind-blowing films I saw all year. I loved the world inside the Shimmer (especially the deer with flowering antlers). There are a few moments I could’ve done without in this film but really it is a satisfying story overall. And what I love most about the film is it doesn’t tell you everything, some details are left for the viewer to figure out (which you don’t see very often).
Mission: Impossible - Fallout - Let’s be real; the best movie of the year is Mission: Impossible - Fallout. The MIssion: Impossible films have been defying expectations from day one, and somehow, inexplicably, this one DOES IT AGAIN! How does the 6th film in a 3-decade-old franchise end up as the best one? Tom Cruise is impeccable in the role he was born to play and no amount of special effects can come close to creating the thrills that this film made without them.
The Favourite - I’m a huge fan of Yorgos Lanthimos, and his latest film is his most accessible. You see, his films are odd, disturbing, and harsh. They are films that challenge you. That’s why I love them. The Favourite does so in a Stanley Kubrick-esque package (my favorite director), with a fantastic cast and impeccable production. It’s a comedy, but probably the opposite of heartwarming.
The Guilty - Foreign films are great because they bring us perspectives and techniques we aren’t used to seeing. The Guilty is easily the most tense, emotional, and engaging film I’ve seen this year. It is successful because of the way the film is made. It takes place entirely in one room, and in doing so it effectively keeps you hostage. Many people will not see this crime thriller but I’m telling you now to make sure to find a way to do so.
Upgrade - My dark horse candidate for most entertaining film of the year. It’s an old-school sci-fi B-movie combined with a modern thriller like John Wick. It’s like the type of movie John Carpenter made in his prime. It’s Paul Verhoeven and David Cronenberg at the same time. It’s fun, goofy, and best of all, wickedly smart. Not enough people saw this movie. A shame.
First Man - There were a number of great films I could have chosen for my 5th favorite film of the year, but I had to go with First Man. This is a historic drama about the space race, but more personable and emotional than its predecessors. Director Damien Chazelle shows that his success with musical films was not a fluke - he has talent to bring an important story to the big screen in an engaging and interesting way. Throw in a good performance by Ryan Gosling, and you have a solid and unique viewing experience.
Titan - This is Netflix original, a Syfy movie at that with the lead role given to Sam Worthington. So, this military research base is trying to sync human DNA with other species so the can make a subspecies of human to send of into space for exploration. I enjoyed watching the transformation from human to the subspecies. The story was pretty basic, but the overall direction is something i really loved. Just thinking about mixing DNA for space exploration is such an awesome idea! I really love it.
Mission: Impossible - Fallout - Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Simon Pegg, and Ving Rymes. That is the crew that truly delivered an amazing action packed movie and one of my favorite MI films since the beginning of the series. This was one of those films where you can sit back and enjoy all the pieces coming together and not be confused as to what is going on. Very entertaining from start to finish!
Ralph Breaks the Internet - Pixar and Disney have done it again. Wreck-It Ralph was already an amazing film and this one did not disappoint. Ralph visits the internet to save his best friend V ‘s game “Sugar Rush”. While in the internet, V has found a new game and new home, but Ralph does not want to let go. As he tries to help her he does more damage then he expects. Overall I laughed and most importantly even shedded a tear.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - This film had some mixed review from fans and critics. This is the second movie in a three part series, but you must know the second movies are mostly storytelling films to bridge the first and third film. Even with all the hate I really enjoyed this, watching the awesome acting of Eddie Redmayne and Johnny Depp really just sold the film for me. Please though, watch the first film so you can really enjoy the second one. THIS IS CRUCIAL!
Solo: A Star Wars Story - Ok, this film lets you see the biggest Star Wars nuts you'll ever meet in the Galaxy. Solo was a great movie for me. I must say, this was the first Star Wars film I was able to just watch and enjoy the universe. It was great to finally get a bit more of the back story for Han Solo, the smuggler turned Rebellion Hero. The addition of a young Chewie and Lando really made this feel like a film we should have got before Episode IV.
As I mentioned, our team has grown and had so much to say about this year's films, we had to break our list up into two parts. Come back soon to see the rest of our team's choices, but in the meantime be sure to share your TOP FIVE films of 2018 with us online by using the #Top5Films2018 tag on our Twitter!