Mark Julian Ranks The 2012 CBM Film Slate
We've covered a lot of films here at CBM that were released in 2012 and this geek cinephile runs down his top films of the year. Ordered not in terms of artistic achievement or technological feats but ranked on pure entertainment experience.
At the end of the day, the one, simple thing we want out of a trip to the movie theater is to be entertained. A few films that were released in 2012 received more forgiving reviews from critics because they sought to accomplish something unique [Cloud Atlas]. Other films were subject to more harsher reviews because of their attempts at technological advancement [The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey]. Here I'm going to circumvent such things and rank the films we covered here at comicbookmovie.com purely on their ability to entertain.
1. The Avengers - This was definitely the year of Joss Whedon and Marvel Studios. Back when Whedon was first announced as the director of the film, there was a general, nervous murmur - "He's never done anything this big, who's really in charge Whedon or Marvel and will he be able to manage all the egos on set." As 2012 comes to a close, there can be little doubt left about Whedon and the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. | Click HERE to ready my full review.
2. The Dark Knight Rises - A film with monumental expectations due to the colossal success of The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan found himself in an unenviable position of having to closeout one of the most successful and critically acclaimed trilogies of our generation. Add an unfortunate and senseless tragedy to the mix and The Dark Knight Rises may not receive the true appreciation it deserves until a few years have passed and the masses are able to judge it solely on its own merits. | Click HERE to ready my full review.
3. Chronicle - It's rare these days that unheralded films go on to reach the level of success and acclaim that Josh Trank's debut feature film achieves. What's even more impressive is the fact that Trank and co. accomplished this on a relatively shoe-string budget of just $15M. | Click HERE to ready my full review.
4. Looper - Time travel is an incredibly tricky subject. One misuse of this ability and the entire film becomes hokey. Looper avoided this potential pitfall by setting some tight parameter around who, why and when time travel is used. Some fine performances from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis also help to elevate the film from good to great.
5. Dredd - There aren't enough adjectives in the dictionary to describe just how much of an injustice it was to see Dredd earn so little at the box office. Hopefully those involved with the Robocop reboot took note and won't repeat the same marketing missteps.
6. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Honestly, not as good as Peter Jackson's earlier Lord of the Rings films but that's entirely due to the source material and not the director. A novel that very much intended for children, An Unexpected Journey turned out much better than I anticipated and subsequent films should only improve as the kiddish undertones make way for traditional medieval fantasy.
7. The Cabin in the Woods - The film certainly picked an ideal time for release. With the moviegoing audience hungry for anything Whedon-related, Drew Goddard's spin on classic horror tropes was one of the few surprise films of 2012. There's now two factions divided on whether the film warrants a sequel and I'm definitely in he pro-sequel camp.
8. Skyfall - I liked Skyfall but I didn't love it. Bond came off as old, broken and battered but then inexplicably regained all his skills to take down the bad guys. Luckily, there's some gorgeous cinematography, beautiful Bond girls and fine supporting performances that distract you from thinking too hard while the film is playing. | Click HERE to ready my full review.
9. The Amazing Spider-Man - Story issues aside, there's some really nice VFX and fine civilian performances on display in Marc Webb's introduction to big-budget Hollywood. Hopefully, we'll get a more focused story in the sequel. | Click HERE to ready my full review.
10. Ted - Another surprise film of 2012, I went in not expecting much from this movie and was pleasantly surprised. If you like the humor in Family Guy then you'll love Ted.
11. Wreck-It Ralph - The best animated film of the year in my opinion. John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman were wildly entertaining in their respective voice-over roles. The film makes a nice full rotation as well, introducing us to seemingly trivial elements early on that come back to have great significance as the film closes.
12. Prometheus - In parts this film was really great, some of the scenes and visuals are up there with some of the very best of 2012. But other parts of the film are truly terrible, particularly the nonsensical decision-making of the excavation crew which could quite possibly be the worst to ever grace a movie screen.
13. The Man With The Iron Fists - The story surrounding the lead character played by RZA is forgetful but the action scenes, fighting styles and camp speak to a forgotten period of classic martial arts cinema. Won't appeal to everyone but it will definitely strike a chord with martial arts enthusiasts. | Click HERE to ready my full review.
14. The Expendables 2 - An improvement upon the first film and Jean-Claude Van Damme made a pretty entertaining villain for Stallone and crew. In the future, I'd like to see the cast shrunk down a bit as it as the number of actors on screen became too unwieldy at times.
15. Cloud Atlas - Over hyped and by all estimations not as good as the book. Cloud Atlas is a film that you can't simply watch but requires a certain level of preparation and foreknowledge in order to get the cinematic experience it promises. | Click HERE to ready my full review.
16. Men in Black 3 - A serviceable entry into the franchise that featured solid performances from Will Smith and Josh Brolin but not enough screen time for Tommy Lee Jones. | Click HERE to ready my full review.
17. Snow White & The Huntsman - Visually astounding and a plot that had the potential for a wondrous fantasy epic, the story was hamstrung but questionable editing decisions and wooden dialogue. | Click HERE to ready my full review.
18. The Hunger Games - Aside from Jennifer Lawrence everything about this film is forgettable.
19. John Carter - Not as bad as the critics made it out to be, the true misstep in the film was made by whoever approved the budget.
20. Silent Hill: Revelations 3D - A poor follow up to the best video game adaptation to date. | Click HERE to ready my full review.
21. Brave - Entertaining for the target audience, but anyone outside the target demographic will have a hard time finding entertainment here.
22. Mirror, Mirror - A more comedic undertaking than the other Snow White film of 2012, the impressive cast is woefully underutilized in this snoozer.
23. Wrath of the Titans - All the profit from this film should be split between VFX comapies The Moving Picture Company and Method Studios.
24. Ghost Rider: SOV - The best thing that can be said about this film is that there probably won't be another one, at least not from Sony.
[Note] Films covered on CBM that I didn't see or had no interest in watching: Life of Pi, Total Recall, Django Unchained, The Bourne Legacy, The Muppets [UK 2012 release date], Battleship
Have your own 'Top films of 2012' list you want to share? Feel free to discuss in the comments section below or write up your own list in the features section.
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