Over time, superhero films have become the center of pop culture with Marvel and DC single-handedly keeping them afloat and making absurd amounts of money in the process. However 2018 was different. Like every year before, superheroes dominated the box office, but superhero movies seemed to be even more cemented in pop culture this year. Here are my rankings of this year’s superhero film offerings.
As soon as Aquaman started, the horrendous opening scenes showing Aquaman’s parents, with the awkward fight choreography and surprisingly poor acting from living god Nicole Kidman landed with a thud. For a 2.5 hour film, it was definitely an out-of-body experience but in a bad way. It was painful. That pretty much sums it up. Plus, a Greta Van Fleet song was in it. Yuck.
8. Avengers: Infinity War
The movie that was supposed to be ultimate culmination of a huge universe landed with a thud. With the writing styling of a sitcom with somehow less tension, Infinity War feels almost goofy at points until it hits that genuinely surprising ending. That’s the thing that made this movie a culture event. Sure, it was promoted as one, and hyped up as one, but in retrospect, that shocking ending only feels like just that, a shock tactic.
7. Ant-Man and the Wasp
Ant-Man and the Wasp was wildly forgettable. Paul Rudd is still charming, but it’s interesting how genuinely uninteresting Ant-Man is. The Wasp is the most interesting character, but almost every character here is more interesting then the titular one. It’s enjoyable but it’s been mostly an afterthought since July.
6. Teen Titans Go! To The Movies
A Deadpool film for 10-year olds, Teen Titans Go To The Movies is a fundamentally fine and enjoyable film, but it’s really quite interesting once you think about it for a second. Who is this movie for? The 10-year olds who this film is attempting to entertain, it’s primary audience, won’t get some of the best jokes here. Still, as a 15-year old, this is pretty wonderful.
5. Deadpool 2
The slightly better Deadpool film this year. Teen Titans Go! To The Movies starts incredibly well. The first act of this movie is so genuinely funny and exciting that the way it slowly wraps up can’t help but feel like a slight disappointment. Still, Reynolds is having a great time, and every character is pretty fun. If you liked the original, this is more of a movie then Deadpool, but equally as fun.
Something about Venom stunk from the first trailer. From that horrific shot of Venom eating someone and the dark tone that oozed from the trailer, no one was super excited for Venom. And yet, it made millions and millions of dollars, and was the 5th most popular film of the year. Venom surprised in that it was a ridiculously enjoyable film, with an excellent central performance from Tom Hardy. It’s not a *good* movie per say, but it’s one of the most enjoyable things in a while.
3. The Incredibles 2
A sequel to one of the most acclaimed animated films of all time, The Incredibles 2 is a wondrous experience. Picking up right from where the first one ended (a smart idea), the movie unfolds quickly, swiftly with the same hallmarks of the original. The beautiful jazz music that accompanies the credits immediately shoves you into that same world. The one that every kid who was born after 2000 remembers fondly. Not to mention Brad Bird’s excellent direction – for any film, this has some of the best direction of the year. It’s not surprising that a Brad Bird film would be good, but a sequel to more than a decade old animated film, well, that’s an entirely other feat.
2. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
From the moment the trailer dropped, Spider Verse was going to be something special. Sure, it did almost everything one would want from a Superhero film and was wildly entertaining, but a general resistance to the genre overall was a large obstacle from loving this movie. For one, everything was done as rich and wonderfully as anything could be. The animation was incredible but it was full of depth. The voice acting was incredible from Mahershala Ali to Nic Cage. The plot was great in that it felt like a genuine take on the “the word is blowing up” story we’ve seen so many times in superhero films. Sure, it was delightful, but it was difficult to connect with it on a deep level.
1. Black Panther
Black Panther is one of the first MCU films to feel grounded – even from Wakanda, the film feels genuine. This was a Ryan Coogler movie as opposed to a Marvel movie. But soon, Black Panther became a cultural phenomenon. It’s the sort of movie that left a mark on 2018, from the excellent visuals, to the incredible ensemble, it’s not a movie that will be easy to forget for a while. That’s why it’s number one.