2018 was a pretty terrible year by many measures, but it was a damn good year for movies. While big budget sequels of varying quality continued to dominate the box office, there was still room in theaters for new and original stories to stand out while streaming options give them a shot at reaching the wider audiences they deserve—including me, in a couple of cases. My top 10 favorites (plus 4 honorable mentions) were unexpectedly tough to sort out, but they represent a more varied list than I would have initially guessed at the beginning of the year.
Joss Whedon reached deep down and tapped into what made the comics of the 60s and 70s so much fun, inspiring a generation of creators who were subsequently side-tracked by a misunderstanding of Alan Moore's Watchmen. It's the kind of movie DC's stable of characters (other than Batman) are best-suited for and will likely never get, and in some ways, it reminded me of the unfairly maligned John Carter (of Mars).
Licensing decisions are made well in advance of the release of a movie, so I have to wonder if this had anything to do with Burroughs' estate, what's considered public domain and who has the rights to what's not, but it's difficult to justify treating this movie like a niche play—not with a reported $250m budget on the line.
In an alternate dimension, where we're a less cynical culture and hollow crap like Avatar and The Lorax tank at the box office, John Carter would be lauded for what it is: an unapologetic, old-fashioned swashbuckling adventure for all ages.
"From the Director of 300 and Watchmen" isn't an ideal tagline for a PG-rated movie aimed at kids.