It’s officially the halfway point of the year. It’s been an up and down affair for the most part, with a not so stellar summer season, and much of the years most anticipated films dropping late, but the first half still managed to produce some quality work. And no doubt, this list will be amended by the time it’s all over, let’s see how the film industry has treated us this far.
But as per usual, we can’t get into the very best without mentioning some other very impressive films that fell just short of our top ten. With that said, here are our honorable mentions for 2019 so far…
How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
“A fitting finale to an exceptional trilogy” – Courtney Small, Cinema Axis
“Brightburn takes a cool premise and executes it in a blackly fun but nihilistic manner.” – Stephen Porzio, Film Ireland Magazine
“It’s an exciting premise with limitless potential that gets stuck in your typical boy-loses-girl/boy-wins-girl-back Rom-Com.” – P.A Clouden, BeOnAirNews Network
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
“Sometimes you have to be honest about the movie you really are – smashy smash. If you can reconcile that, then it’s not so awful.”- Wenlei Ma, News.com.au
“Clearly, Theron can turn her hand to any genre.” – Anthony Lane, The New Yorker
“Shazam!…brings a different level of joy to superhero films. It also reminds us of a time when we believed that anything was possible.” – Jenna Busch, VitalThrills.com
And now, without further delay, here is our top 10 list of the best films of 2019 so far, starting with…
#10 – Captain Marvel
With the shock ending of Infinity War and the die-hard anticipation behind Endgame, Captain Marvel swooped in to gather a billion dollar box office for herself with her introduction into the MCU. Captain Marvel sated the appetites of fans desperate to know what had happened to their favorite heroes and her origin was just the palette cleanser we needed till April arrived. Packed with fun action scenes and a marvelous performance from newcomer Lashana Lynch, it is one to watch over and over again.
#9 – Alita: Battle Angel
A surprising hit near the start of the year and still managed to hold up among other blockbuster contenders. Alita features impressive animation, but most importantly, an engaging and entertaining story which left fans hungry for more of Alita’s world. Expect the battle angel to make her return to the big screen very soon, and we’ll definitely be ready this time.
#8 – Fighting With My Family
A film that had no business being any good turned out to be one of the most entertaining films of the year. Based loosely on the real life story of Saraya-Jade “Paige” Bevis who came from a professional wrestling family and ended up becoming one of the most successful women’s wrestlers in the WWE. The heart of the film isn’t even in its spectacle, but in its human characters who’s journeys are somehow even more exciting than what goes on in the ring.
#7 – US
Jordan Peele’s second directorial outing was just as good as his first. US is very different from his smash debut however, in that it is way more of a thinking man’s thriller than an action packed horror film. Peele’s decisions are so subtle, it may take two or three viewings to catch all of them, but the more you realize, the more haunting of a film it becomes. Lupita N’yongo delivers the most charismatic and layered performance of her career which makes the film all too uncomfortably real by its conclusion, which we think was Peele’s point all along.
#6 – Rocketman
Sadly Rocketman won’t get the same level of love that Bohemian Rhapsody was able to capture, even though it deserves it. Taron Egerton gives a fabulous performance of the legendary singer and we think the studio’s reluctance to go even deeper into John’s lifestyle kept the film from being as strong as it could be. And yet, we still loved it. The music, the pageantry, the excellence of Elton was on full display and by the end of the film, you’re not only a fan of the artist, you’re more in love with the art.
#5 – John Wick 3: Parabellum
Had enough gun fights, sword fights, car chases and motorcycle chases yet? Yeah, neither have we. Keanu Reeves does a lot of things right, playing John Wick is definitely one of them. The third installment of this franchise does nothing to change the formula from the last two films. It’s heart pounding action from beginning to end. And with a fourth installment due out soon, it looks like we’re only going to get more from Mr. Wick and we’re damn sure looking forward to it.
#4 – Aladdin (2019)
Disney decided to put their foot down and pull out all the stops for their fourth live-action adaptation. Getting the services of Academy Award-nominated duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul to pen a new song for Naomi Scott to sing as Princess Jasmine was definitely the right call. Disney figured out the right balance to strike between the animation and live-action that worked and set a new standard going forward. Aladdin stunned everyone at the theaters to be not just one of Disney’s best, but one of the year’s best (so far anyway…). And has shockingly netted Will Smith his highest grossing film of his career. (Seriously?)
#3 – Toy Story 4
Come on, you knew Pixar was gonna be here. The second the company announced they were adding another installment in the Toy Story franchise, we were a little nervous. Toy Story 3 was the perfect wrap up to a franchise that had done us so well that we were sure there was no way they could top it. Then we met Forky, Gabby Gabby, Ducky, Bunny, and Duke Kaboom (played hilariously by Keanu Reeves), and we realized we could love this franchise till the end of time. While 3 certainly was the most emotional journey for audiences, Toy Story 4 brought the laughs in abundance. Easily the funniest of the 4 films, it has us wondering how far this story could go.
#2 – Booksmart
Speaking of funny, the best and smartest comedy of the year is undoubtedly Booksmart. It’s what every coming-of-age comedy wants to be with more laugh out loud moments than your most salacious R-rated comedy. Our two main characters go on a journey to show their stuff outside of their intellect. What may sound silly is actually much sillier than that, but you won’t be able to stop yourself from laughing at the antics they get into, and underneath that is a heartwarming story of friendship and love that is only matched by the number one film on our list, which is…
#1 – AVENGERS: ENDGAME
You guessed it, what else could it be but the highest grossing, most anticipated film of the year? And what we got was by far, the most satisfying, tear-jerking, heartfelt, rollercoaster we ever could’ve expected. A culmination of over 10 years of consistent films, Endgame tugged on our heartstrings, reminded us of where we started and raised the stakes like no other franchise has. Endgame not only showed Marvel to be a formidable juggernaut, but laid the groundwork for how other studios can follow in their paths: Grab hold of a beloved property, make us fall in love with your characters, and deliver consistent storytelling for over 10 years, and you too can have us eating out of your hand when it’s all said and done. And we know, it’s unlikely that superhero films ever get Oscar considerations, however, we think a strong argument can be made for Robert Downey Jr. as a testament to the amount of effort and skill he put into Tony Stark should be rewarded.
So there you have it. Our list of the best films of 2019 so far, and we’re looking forward to what comes next. We’ll see if any of these films last by the end of the year. What did you think of our list and what are your picks for the best films so far?