Top 5 Movies of 2018

2018's been one of those years for film that's been all over the place. Whilst there have been some horrendous disappointments (mostly Venom), there have also been some absolute gems, including some that were definitely unexpected. Here's my top five films of 2018. 
As is the case for any standard list of the best things, this is all just one man's opinion (even though it's obviously the right opinion).

5. Creed 2

Going to keep the boxing puns to a minimum. Creed 2 shows signs of common sequel-itis that often comes with second instalments of a franchise but still packs an unexpected amount of heart, hitting you just as hard if not a bit more than the first.

Being one of the biggest pay offs for emotional investment in lead, Michael B. Jordan's Adonis Creed, Creed 2 doubles as an incredible sequel 33 years in the making to Rocky 4, causing him to struggle with his pride and hunger for revenge. With the Creed series trait of modernising the human storytelling in sports drama, it also drags the plot of the original Rocky series back down to reality, not only expanding on the perspective of the antagonist Drago family but the escalation of the son-father figure relationship between Adonis and Rocky Balboa which brought several tears to my eye. Being what's hopefully the final entry in the Creed-Rocky franchise, Creed 2 stands out from it's predecessors by embracing the series' darker elements, utilising it for some beautiful character progression and of course, some incredible fight scenes.

4. Hereditary

Definitely the most controversial film on the list. The reception of Hereditary has been split down the middle between horror fans and mainstream cinema-goers. For anyone who's tired of the typical horror film, Hereditary pushed the boundaries of what you'd expect from the genre. Instead of the casual jump scare from a demonic nun or something popping out of the corner of the screen, director Ari Aster made us learn how unsettling prolonged, eerie moments occurring onscreen can be. Unexpected twists and turns in the plot and amazing performances from the cast made Hereditary a must-watch for anybody looking for a definitive scary movie.

In an industry where horror movies are often snubbed from awards ceremonies because they make use of the same old tired tropes, and draw in the same sheep crowds with a low bar for quality, Hereditary is a reminder that this genre is meant to be an experience that sticks with you in all the right ways.

3. A Quiet Place

At the start of 2018, I'd never have expected two horror films to make this list but that's just an example of the decent changes this year has brought to the genre.

Whilst Hereditary focuses on the eerie and creepy strengths of storytelling in horror, John Krasinski's (Jim from The Office) directorial debut goes in the opposite direction. Yes, it's about creatures jumping out and killing people, but with a unique premise that's so well written and directed, you feel on edge during the entirety of the run time. With the story at the forefront being about parenthood as opposed to scares, it can be argued that this is as "heartwarming" as horror can possibly be.

For a film with barely any dialogue, A Quiet Place is one of the most engaging watches I have had in a long time. I've never felt so invested in a new group of characters from the get-go like I have with this film. It also serves as proof as to why Emily Blunt and John Krasiniki are two of the best actors working today.

2. Avengers: Infinity War

Being the climax to ten years of cinematic universe build-up, there were no better directors for the job than t
he Russo brothers, the two behind the best Marvel film ever, Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Balancing a theatrical runtime with dozens of characters sounds like an impossible task on paper, but the Russo brothers pulled it off magnificently by making the villain the hero of his own story. Thanos, the purple genocide-obsessed tyrant, has now been cemented as one of the best antagonists of all time with a definitive performance from Josh Brolin and writing that actually makes his character's goals understandable

Supported by quality performances from all of the cast, Infinity War is a testament as to how far comic book films have come in cinema. Just because a franchise is family friendly, dealing with super powered beings, it doesn't mean that it can't smack you in the face with realism. Connecting with the message from it's comic book origins, it teaches us that the good guys don't always win.

1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse

Batman used to be my favourite superhero. The older I've gotten, the more it's become Spider-Man. Despite the powers he has, Peter Parker is a human being with the same problems as you or me: balancing responsibilities to make life as bearable as possible despite the woes of never having enough money or time to do everything you want to do. He's an inspiration to both children and adults alike because of the choices he makes, always doing what's right even if causes problems for himself . He even cracks jokes to ease the weight that comes with the insanity of life for him and those around him.

Spider-Man films up until now have had their strengths but have always been flawed in capturing what being the wall-crawler is really about. The Sam Raimi films (the first two at least), paid homage to the epic tales that came with being Spider-Man but showcased a neutered Peter Parker in the form of Tobey Maguire. In a complete 180, The Amazing Spider-Man films had an almost-perfect Spider-Man and Peter Parker with Andrew Garfield but the films themselves were hollow, poorly-written messes. Spider-Man: Homecoming almost had it right with a definitive take on the character starring Tom Holland. It was handled well under the Marvel banner but it forgot to show us the consequences that come when Spider-Man makes the wrong choices. But then this beauty of a film came along.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse is the number one film of the year because of its utilisation of the character, trust in the audience's knowledge of it, the style its shown in, and understanding what it really means to be Spider-Man. By the character, I don't even mean just Peter Parker because this is more Miles Morale's story about wearing the mask than Peter's. In a world where literally everyone knows the name "Spider-Man", Into the Spider-verse offers something new by building on the films that came before, seamlessly throwing audiences into the insane fun that is comic book storytelling mixed with harsh truths of reality. Different incarnations of Spider-Man are thrown together for what is one of the best comic book films ever, including a new fan favourite that is an older, grizzled incarnation of Peter Parker that's been battered through life's troubles. Nicholas Cage voices a noir-styled Spider-Man who fights Nazis, for God's sake.

Written with some of the best comedy in years, it finely treads that sweet line of fun and drama that comes with any Spider-Man story. Being animated with the intention of it looking like a living comic book, this movie's visuals leave you in awe as you watch thought bubbles and worded sound effects zooming across the screen, elevating every scene.

What's more is the soundtrack and score is made up of some of the best artists and composers working today: Blackway; Post Malone, Thutmose, Lil Wayne, DJ Khalil, Vince Staples. I may have a below average knowledge of the music industry but I know good music when I hear it. It works side by side with the gorgeous animation and the fantastic writing to turn this passion project into pure art.

The only time you're not left with a smile on your face is when the film is intentionally teaching you the same lessons that Miles is learning himself. Ones that made me shed manly tears. There won't always be someone to save you or do the job for you when it comes to being Spider-Man. Making the wrong decision has lasting consequences. You need to be ready. If not, people die. It's all about a leap of faith. You'll know when you take a chance and if it doesn't work, you try again.

Out of all of the films I've seen this year, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse is the one I can't stop thinking about the most, with its messages burning bright in my head to this day. A particular one being "that person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero".

It's not just the definitive Spider-Man or superhero film. It's the definitive film of 2018, bringing an entirely new form of cinematic masterpiece to the big screen, fully grasping what it means to have an amazing experience that's both fun and leaves an impact for years to come.

So those were my top five movies of 2018. What are yours? Let us know via the official Alt:Mag Facebook or Twitter pages, or by leaving a comment below. Happy new year, everyone!

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