2018 in Film and 2018 Film Review Archives

Best Film:

Red Sparrow (d. Francis Lawrence USA 2018) – Review

Runners Up:

A Quiet Place (d. John Krasinski USA 2018) – Review

A Star is Born (d. Bradley Cooper USA 2018) – Review

Avengers: Infinity War (d. Anthony RussoJoe Russo USA 2018) – Review

Unsane (d. Steven Soderbergh USA 2018) – Review

 

2018 in Film

2018 was a year of relative change. In some ways there were moments of innovation and the desire for new works. But this certainly wasn’t without the current climate still looming in the shape of franchise giants like Marvel and DC, in fact of the 47 reviews for the year, 18 or 38% of them were sequels, prequels or spin off films. If we were to include reboots, films based upon a game or book as well, that figure is overpowering compared to the 16 original ideas of those 47 reviews (not including tales inspired by true events). Still, many of the films based on books or games weren’t especially huge franchises – with the exception of Tomb Raider. Having said that, many of the reboots were of big names: Halloween, Robin Hood and Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse yet again trying to keep their Spider-Man alive for the third time in 20 years. The criticism that there are too many unoriginal ideas in Hollywood has some merit but it’s not to say there aren’t original films out there.

In fact, looking to the original outings, there is an overwhelming presence of horror – horror of all genres! What seemed to be dying into jump scare riddled hauntings, has since seen some interesting revivals. Unsane even dared to push technology, A Quiet Place pushed sound design and Hereditary brought back some much-needed life into the genre. All were original ideas and fared a lot better than horror reboots like Halloween and The Predator. The other strange amount of presence comes from heist movies. Den of Thieves, King of Thieves, Widows and Ocean’s Eight were amongst the films that took Heist elements to the forefront – with only Ocean’s Eight being a sequel (though some were based on true events). What is perhaps less surprising is the kinds of thrillers that we’re getting with Red Sparrow and Hotel Artemis, whilst sequels also throw in Sicario: Day of the Soldier. These films show the tense political climate that we seem to be in and the dark tones of these films and the complexity of films like BlackKklansman bringing in real events to further hammer in the film’s themes as a modern concern.

With franchise films, we see similar themes come back but with a lot more of a lighter tone. They do need to follow on from the established franchises that have been built up already – MCU or DCU etc. The biggest landmarks for these franchises came with films like Avengers: Infinity War, which showed the build-up of over 20 films previously over 15 years; but interestingly, even here, with the light marvel we had a dark tone SPOILERS: Thanos, the villain, wins and kills half the population. END OF SPOILERS. The vast majority of these films are super hero films in science fiction or fantasy settings and the darker implications and complexity of what happens seems to hint at a dissatisfaction and longing. We’re confused, conflicted and not dreaming of the real at all. Despite the relatively safe bets of these super hero films the original horrors are the other successful counterpoint. New stories, but dark and fearful.

It is perhaps refreshing that we’re starting to get a lot more original ideas with films that look to push boundaries of filmmaking: A Quiet Place and Unsane; but there is no surprise with franchise films like Avengers: Infinity War. The interesting aspect of these franchise films is that with Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Nun and especially Venom; we’re getting more spin off films. Characters continuing and developing, or seeing their origins; and there’s also a lot of conflicted anti-heroes or villains. This was kind of a big thing, for Marvel anyway (DC is almost copying), and you certainly see this with Black Panther, Ant-Man and the Wasp and Aquaman. Interestingly reactions have been relatively mixed with concerns that the nostalgic buzz is starting to die out, but with a look to 2019 it does seem like this will continue on regardless. We’re all set for Joker and Birds of Prey (separately), though also seemingly nervous about others: Silver Surfer, Gambit, Joker and Harley Quinn, Star Trek 4, Dr. Doom, Alien: Awakening. Fortunately, despite how these films reflect bad times, we may get some original outings in 2019, but the franchises will continue: Avengers: Endgame, Dark Phoenix, Spider-Man: Away From Home, IT: Chapter Two, Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Despite the original versus unoriginal argument around film today, the success of Red Sparrow is actually almost completely in how it strives to an emotional experience: through performance, cinematography and how the stories are told.

 

 

Further Reading

2018 Gross

 

Archived Reviews

Instant Family: ‘Sean Anders’ Comedic Love Letter’

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: ‘Sony Manages Multiple Film Worlds’

Stan & Ollie: ‘Slapstick Friendships’

Holmes and Watson: ‘Whatever Happened to the Holmes Spoof?’

Mary Poppins Returns: ‘The Sequel No One Wanted’

Aquaman: ‘DC’s Black PanThor’

Mortal Engines:All World, No Story’

Robin Hood: ‘Losing the Fable, Gaining a Label’

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald: ‘The Magic Continues?’

Widows: ‘The life of the Wife of a Criminal’

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: ‘Style Over Substance’

Halloween: ‘Masks of Vengeance’

A Star is Born: ‘Bradley Cooper Debuts into Realistic Filmmaking’

Johnny English Strikes Again: ‘Rowan Atkinson’s Grumble against Technology’

Night School: ‘Let’s Look at Contemporary Rom Coms/Comedies’

Venom: ‘Tom Hardy Villainous Split’

King of Thieves: ‘The Older Heist’

Crazy Rich Asians: ‘The Excess of Style’

The Predator: ‘And What Went Wrong?’

The Nun: ‘Hollywood’s Contemporary Horrors’

BlacKkKlansman: ‘Racism Today’

The Festival: ‘UK music festivals get a film…’

The Meg: ‘The B Movie Star’

Ant-Man and the Wasp:  ‘Meanwhile in Ant-Man’s World’

Mission Impossible: Fallout: ‘The Stunt Franchise’

Hotel Artemis: ‘The Problems of Great Worldbuilding’

The Incredibles 2: ‘The Parent Super Heroes’

Sicario: Day of the Soldado: ‘Humanising the Soldier’

Tag: ‘The Shotgun Comedy based on a Story of Friendship’

Hereditary: ‘Burn the Witch’

Ocean’s Eight: ‘All Girl Heist Reboot?’

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: ‘Lizard Skins’

Breaking In: ‘Breaking Out’

Solo: A Star Wars Story: ‘The Star Wars Heist Story’

Deadpool 2: ‘Marvels Loving Self Parody Sequel’

Raazi: ‘The Bollywood Spy’

Isle of Dogs: ‘A Quirky Stop within Motion’

Avengers: Infinity War: ‘A Marvel Climax’

A Quiet Place: ‘A Quiet Family’

Rampage: ‘The Rock of Friendship’

Pacific Rim Uprising: ‘Too Many Threads’

Unsane: ‘Stalker Selfie – A Personal Look at Stalker Victims’

Tomb Raider: ‘Video Games as Films’

Red Sparrow: ‘The Gritty Spy Film’

Black Panther: ‘Marvel’s Black Superhero Film’

Den of Thieves: ‘Emotion and Plot’

The Commuter: ‘Part of a Genre’

 

Timeline
2019 2017


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