5. The Amazing Spider-Man
After the disaster that was the original Spider-Man trilogy, The Amazing Spider-Man restored my faith in the character. The Amazing Spider-Man completely did away with Toby MacGuire’s wimpy, annoying Spider-Man, and replace him with Andrew Garfield. And, as a result, Spider-Man was as Spider-Man should be; a wise cracking, charismatic vigilante. The Amazing Spider-Man certainly took a page of the Dark Knight trilogy’s book, with the dual conflict of Spider-Man vs. the cops and Spider-Man vs. the bad guys. One of the scenes that stood out to me the most was when Peter was having dinner at Gwen’s house, and his father, the police commissioner, said that Spider-Man was going after only similar looking people, and not actually helping. It’s here that Peter evolves from a vengeful teenager into the crime-fighting vigilante known as Spider-Man. And it’s this evolution, which takes place over the course of almost the entire movie, that makes The Amazing Spider-Man so fascinating. We get to see the transformation that takes place in Peter from an irresponsible teenager to a more mature person, and not just as Spider-Man. Andrew
Garfield’s performance is certainly a part of this, and it is a stellar performance. But it is also due, in part, to the excellent screenplay that went into this movie. The writers got the script down almost perfectly. Spider-Man definitely makes his share of wise cracks, but they manage to write them in without it going the way of Batman & Robin. It is also the dialogue that is part of the reason that the viewer will have so much invested into the characters. This is also because of the stellar performances across the board, but especially by the two leads, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. The Amazing Spider-Man really managed to breathe new life into the Spider-Man franchise.
4. The Dictator
The Dictator was easily the most hilarious comedy of the year. It’s also probably the funniest comedy I’ve seen in a long time. It certainly has it’s fair share of stupid jokes (which are funny nonetheless) but it rounds it out with some smarter jokes, and, especially at the end, excellently hilarious irony. Sacha Baren Cohen does an excellent job as Admiral General Aladeen, using both his excellent improv skills and acting talents to make the movie funnier than it has any right to be. For example (and this is just one of many) there is a scene where Aladeen and Omar on a helicopter speaking Arabic. And they’re talking about a car with the number designation 911. And, of course, you’ve got the two white passengers freaking out. The scene is hilarious, and it’s only one example of many hilarious scenes in the movie. While it does follow the standard romantic comedy plot arc, I really can’t bring myself to care. The movie is hilarious, and it has some great political messages as well. The first scene that comes to mind is easily the movie’s best, Aladeen’s What if America were a dictatorship? speech. And the fact is, a lot of what he says in that speech is actually already going on. And I love it when movies can simultaneously expose the flaws with how our country works and manage to be downright hilarious as well. The Dictator is a masterpiece.
I had never heard of Looper before it won IGN’s best Sci-Fi movie award. And I’m not sure why I hadn’t heard of it, really. Once I’d watched it, it was clear why it had won the best Sci-fi award. The movie gets almost everything right. While it is a movie about time travel, with an extremely interesting premise, it doesn’t really use that time travel to try to mindf**k you. Sure, the time travel aspect makes the movie what it is, but it’s not extremely complex. And while I do like time travel movies/books/games etc that are complex, a little less complexity is nice. The movie is about a man named Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who is a Looper. Thirty years from when the year the movie takes place, time travel is invented, and the gangs use it to send back people they want dead for the Loopers to take out. Part of the deal, however, is that you may have to end up killing yourself. So when Joe’s future self comes back, played by Bruce Willis, and prevents his death, the gangs go after him. But this isn’t the main focus of the movie. Instead, the main focus of the movie is the future Joe hunting down a child, a child who will, in the future, become the Rainman, who is the cause of the death of future Joe’s wife. So, of course, Joe wants to prevent this from ever happening. But instead of present Joe helping him, he bonds with the child, who turns out to be a powerful telekinetic, and his mother. The scene towards the end of the movie, where present Joe sees all the events play out, and chooses a course of action that will prevent them from ever happening, is a testament to what humans will do for those that they care about. Plus, there is an extremely awesome action sequence when Bruce Willis all but exterminates the gang in the present.
2. The Avengers
The Avengers proved that a superhero crossover movie could not only work, but that it could also be one of the best movies of the year. It also proved that superheroes don’t always have to be dark and somber, as the Dark Knight trilogy had seemed to prove. But the Avengers proved that superhero movies don’t have to be realistic. They don’t really even have to be all that dark. While the plot is your standard alien invasion plot, what makes this movie work is the characters. The first half of the movie is, essentially, about the group of superheroes, who have very different personalities, learning to work together. One of the best scenes in the movie is probably when all of them (except for Hawkeye) are in that science lab on the helicarrier, and they’re all at each other’s throats. And what the movie does really well is show how the team manages to evolve into a group that can work extremely well together by the end. Each of the characters is written extremely well, from Black Widow to the Hulk to Iron Man. Plus, each and everyone of the actors int he movie delivers a stellar performance. Mark Ruffalo is easily the best Bruce Banner ever, Scarlet Johanneson’s Black Widow is stellar, Chris Hemsworth does an excellent job as Thor, and the cast is rounded out by Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, and Chris Evans’ Captain America, all of which are stellar. But it is, at the end of the day, Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man that essentially makes the movie. His performance as Tony Stark is flawless, and his wisecracks throughout the movie are equally great. And while the first half of the movie is building the team, the last half is the newly forged team fighting back an alien invasion. And that large scale, climactic action sequence is an awesome scene.
1. The Dark Knight Rises
It really had to be number 1. There was no movie in 2012 that even came close to matching the excellent finale to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. For eight years, there were no sightings of Batman. But that was before Bane decided to make an attempt to take Gotham down. And while Bane can’t even come close to matching the Joker, he is an extraordinarily well done character. In typical Christopher Nolan style, the movie is filled with character development. We see Bruce Wayne rise form the darkness to, once again, become Batman. We see Selina Kyle turn from a petty thief into an agent of good. Throughout the movie, the characters are developed extremely well. And the movie comes with a message as well. And that message is that anyone can be a hero. It is in this movie that that really becomes clear. The Batman can be anyone, but, above all, he is a symbol. He is a symbol of hope. And while The dark Knight Rises is a superhero movie, it is, at the same time, a social commentary about economic and social inequality. Bane’s character, while evil (I mean, he was going to destroy Gotham City), brought a good message. His goal was to remove the rich and powerful from the comfortable nest of lies that they had built on top of the people. There’s a scene in the movie where Bane is standing outside of Blackgate Prison, speaking about Harvey Dent. And that scene is very powerful, and, to the people of Gotham, Bane may have seemed like something very good at first. And this a testament to Bane and (SPOILER ALERT!) Talia’s genius at the head of the League of Shadows. And the actors chosen for this movie certainly played a massive part in it’s success. Christian Bale’s Batman is now the definitive batman actor. Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman will probably never be eclipsed. And Tom Hardy’s Bane, despite a mask obstructing much of his face, does an excellent job as one of the best Batman villains ever created. The return of Michael Cain as Alfred, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon ,and Morgan Freeman Lucius Fox are all also excellent performances, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake made an excellent addition to the cast. The Dark Knight Rises is not only the best movie of 2012, it is one of the best movies of all time.