The staypuffed Awards: THE BEST OF 2013
The inaugural awards are here to recap the year's best in popular culture. Which creative team delivered the comic title of the year? What news sent the web into a flurry of discussion? And what was the best film of 2013? Read on for answers to this and much, much more!
GAME OF THE YEAR / TOMB RAIDER
Developer Crystal Dynamics took on the unenviable challenge of rebooting and reinterpreting one of gaming's biggest icons, Lara Croft, and pulled it off with a burst of energy. Taking us back to her roots, the brutal Uncharted-inspired gameplay showed us a young and vulnerable Lara that faces unthinkable challenges, while also challenging the player. Intuitive combat, stunning environments and a roller coaster of a story, Tomb Raider was the best game I played this year (and before you ask, no, I haven't play Grand Theft Auto V).
BEST COMIC EVENT / INFINITY
While DC stumbled with their disappointing Justice League shake-up Trinity War, Marvel shone with impressive crossovers this year: Age of Ultron was solid, and Battle of the Atom was quintessential X-Men. But the best crossover event of 2013 was undeniably Jonathan Hickman, Jim Cheung, Jerome Opena and Dustin Weaver's Infinity. A marvelous space opera that saw Thanos attack Earth while our Mightiest Heroes aren't there to defend it, the event was one of the best and most daring in years. No tricks, no gimmicks, just brilliant storytelling.
COMIC OF THE YEAR / BATMAN
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo can do no wrong. Since joining forces in 2011 and surprising us with a chilling new Dark Knight mystery, they have delivered a thrilling and fresh new take on 75-year-old mythology. From a terrifying spin on the Joker in Death of the Family to a modern remix of Batman's origin with Zero Year, they have proved there's still more stories to tell. The highlight? Batman #24, a 64-page opus filled with incredible moments that any Bat fan simply MUST READ.
BIGGEST NEWS / BEN AFFLECK IS BATMAN
At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Man of Steel director Zack Snyder announced that the sequel would feature none other than the Dark Knight himself - and everybody went nuts. Then the news broke in August: Ben Affleck was our new Batman - and everybody went nuts... a completely different kind of nuts. The internet exploded with vicious hate, sputtering defenses and terrible ‘Matt Damon as Robin’ jokes. Many petitioned to “force” Warner Bros. to recast, while others suggested he’ll do just fine. Talk about a reaction...
BEST TRAILER / X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
Of all the trailers that hit the web this year, X-Men: Days of Future Past stands as the very best. Next year's hugely ambitious "midquel" (combining the casts of First Class and the original trilogy) is one of the most exciting films of 2014, and that was solidified by the fantastic first trailer. Telling us enough to be intrigued but not spoiled, the teaser is emotional, action-packed and intense, making fans squeal with glee (I know I did). The final shot of the two Professor Xs talking face to face is just the icing on the cake.
BEST SCI-FI / STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS
JJ Abrams' rick-rollicking 2009 Star Trek reboot was damn good fun, whether you were a Trek fan or not. Creating an inviting universe to interest newcomers and plenty of fan service for existing viewers, it worked. And fast-forward to this May, and the series looks better than ever. Ramping up the stakes and the action, Into Darkness saw the USS Enterprise take on the year’s best villain - and worst kept secret - Khan, and become one of 2013’s most engaging and entertaining films.
Read my Star Trek Into Darkness review here.
FACE OF THE YEAR / JENNIFER LAWRENCE
Jennifer Lawrence has taken the world by storm. Proving she can tackle character-driven independent films and big-budget blockbusters, her diversity, maturity and talent is a wonder to behold. And this has been her year. Winning just about every possible acting award (Oscars, Golden Globes, Critic's Choice and more) and starring in three hugely successful films (Silver Linings Playbook, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and American Hustle), the 23-year-old has taken it all in her stride, retaining her charming and likable personality. She’s now one of the biggest people on the planet - and one of the most beloved.
Read my review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire here.
FILM OF THE YEAR / MAN OF STEEL
2013 has been one of the most polarising years for blockbusters. Some say it has been a disappointment, others say it has been a strong one. I'm with the latter. There hasn't been a more divisive film than Man of Steel - and that's why it's my film of the year. It's been such a huge talking point in pop culture this year that it's been impossible to ignore, and I loved it. A complex new interpretation of the most recognisable hero in comics, Zack Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer gave us an edgier Superman, a reflective Clark Kent and a Kal-El searching for a purpose. There’s the Batman Begins-esque recalibration of his origin - going from a superhero to a super-charged ET - the strong acting, the bombastic and spectacular set-pieces, real-world reflections and a serious treatment of the source material. If this is where a DC cinematic universe is heading, count me in.
Read my Man of Steel review here.
And that wraps up the very first staypuffed Awards! Of course, these were just based on my opinion, and I'm sure there'll be people who think differently. I'd love to discuss so leave your thoughts in the usual place.
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