Ranked: Movies 2019

Another year of movies in the bag. In the theater this year, I watched 29 movies and reviewed 23 of’em. Those 6 un-reviewed movies are mostly horror, which I watch alone (because the Mrs. doesn’t care for’em). As is tradition, I present to you my ranked list of movies in 2019.

Since I only put them in tiers now as I review them, this is the only place I’ll have an ordered list. These are only the movies I personally watched and reviewed. If your favorite isn’t on this list, it’s just because I didn’t watch it. I’m only one man, and I have books to write, dude.

Without further ado, here they are from worst to best:

23. Dark Phoenix

Some of you may have had fun with this one, but I hated it so much. I didn’t think it could get worse after Apocalypse, but it totally did. This movie throws away so much established X-Men lore that you forget which way is up. Who are the bad guys? Who are the good guys? No one knows anymore. Bring on Disney’s version. I’m done with this incarnation. (full review)

22. Ad Astra

This slow-paced snooze-fest just didn’t do it for me. It was trying to be profound, I think, but its message was thin and its execution was poor. There are some beautiful effects that capture the expanse of space, but that’s about all you’ll find here. (full review)

21. Godzilla: King of Monsters

This movie isn’t exactly bad. It has some really exciting sequences with monsters fighting monsters. It’s pretty, even exciting at times. But the plot is laughable and the acting is atrocious. The dialog in this movie is some of the most cringe-worthy you’ll find in 2019. (full review)

20. Dumbo (2019)

Based on a movie with practically no plot, this incarnation could have gone one of two ways: bad or really bad. In my opinion, it’s just bad. The CG elephant is effective at pulling on the heartstrings, but there’s just not much to latch on to, leaving the movie as sadly forgettable. (full review)

19. The Lego Movie 2

While the first Lego Movie was a delight, this one just plodded over rehashed territory, with the jokes not landing nearly as well, and the songs not quite as ear-wormy. It’s probably still pretty good for kids, but the magic’s been lost. (full review)

18. Detective Pikachu

I fully admit that this low ranking might be undeserved. Fans of Pokemon seem to really dig this fun romp through Nintendo’s massively successful video game franchise. As someone who grew up just before the Pokemon craze, though, I walked out mostly confused. The fact that a movie filled with characters I have no connection to still placed above the others on this list, though, means there’s a lot to like. (full review)

17. Men In Black: International

Why didn’t this work? It should have worked! Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth are two of the most charismatic actors working today, and their charms are on full display in this one. They aren’t at fault for the tired plot and the world that’s lost its luster, though. If I were making the decisions, I’d give them another shot, but I doubt it’s in the cards. (full review)

16. The Lion King (2019)

There’s not really anything massively wrong with the “live-action” version of the film. It hits all the same beats as the well-loved cartoon, and the voice-acting is top-notch. The new Timon and Pumbaa are delightful, as well. But the fact that realistic animals can’t properly emote leaves this feeling a little bit dead, albeit beautiful. (full review)

15. HTTY Dragon: Hidden World

I really enjoyed this movie, and when I walked out of the theater, I had warm feelings of awesomeness. But as time went on, the story faded and the memories abandoned me. It’s a great a watch, but not good enough to stand the test of time. (full review)

14. Charlie’s Angels (2019)

This movie totally bombed, and I think that’s mostly a shame. It’s fun and hip, with an outstanding performance from Kristen Stewart. Before this, I didn’t know I needed her in my life, and now I’m taking a serious look at every movie she’s in. It’s not perfect, but I wish it had done better. I can see the makings of a great franchise in the shadows. (full review)

13. Hobbs & Shaw

Having never watched a single Fast & Furious movie, it might seem odd that I would watch this at all, but I love me some Statham, Johnson, and Elba. None of them disappoint in this fast-paced insano-action movie. I had a great time and have fond memories. (full review)

12. Frozen 2

This movie is weird, man. Trippy and esoteric, the story can sometimes be hard to grok. From Kristoff’s freaky power ballad to Elsa’s strange ret-conned heritage, the whole movie is just bizarre. Still good, mind you. Just crazy weird. (full review)

11. Alita: Battle Angel

Foul, you say! I’ve got Alita way down at C-Tier, and here she is above a lot of the B-Tier stuff. Hindsight is a funny thing. I rewatched this on a plane to Japan (fittingly) and I enjoyed the heck out of it on repeat viewing. It’s not really a complete movie, but when it works, it works so well. I wish we could see more of Alita, but sadly, I don’t think it’s in the cards. (full review)

10. The Rise of Skywalker

Unlike Alita, Rise of Skywalker just got worse on a second viewing. Though it’s a lot of fun to see all these great characters again, the story is so ret-conned and disconnected from the rest of the trilogy, that it feels like a hackjob when you’re really paying attention. Still, it’s Star Wars. And Star Wars is fun even when it’s at its worst. And this is far from the worst. (full review)

9. Jumanji: The Next Level

The gang is back, this time on a new mission in the same old game, with everyone playing different characters. It’s more of the same, but even with the expected drop-off in shiny newness, there’s still a lot to love about this movie. The laughs are genuine, and Awkwafina makes any movie better. (full review)

8. Dora and the Lost City of Gold

Like Pokemon, Dora came along after I’d made it to adulthood, so I went into this knowing absolutely nothing about the show. While Pokemon only delivered to its fans, however, Dora managed to be accessible by all. This movie is an unexpected delight that I would rewatch in a heartbeat. (full review)

7. Shazam!

Given that I previously ran a Chuck fansite, you might not be surprised to find out that I really love me some Zach Levi. He absolutely crushes this role in a heartfelt superhero movie about family, belonging, and acceptance. Though tonally inconsistent, Shazam still is a shot in the arm for the DC superhero franchise, and I’m ecstatic that there’s a sequel on the way. (full review)

6. Knives Out

I don’t watch many non-blockbuster movies. Not because I dislike them, but because I just don’t have the time. If there aren’t explosions or rousing scores, it’s just easier to watch them later at home. Some friends convinced me to watch Knives Out, though, and I’m glad I did. It’s a fun mystery, expertly crafted by Rian Johnson. (full review)

5. Spider-Man: Far From Home

This is another movie that I ended up seeing twice in the year, and I enjoyed it more the second time. It manages to acknowledge the events of Endgame, without being trapped by them, using it all to inject some heart in what is ultimately a high-school comedy. Jake Gyllenhaal nails it, and that ending — wow. I’m glad Disney and Sony made up. (full review)

4. Glass

I like Shymalan. Even the bad stuff. Well, maybe not The Happening. That movie was dumb. But Glass is more akin to his good stuff, weaving together two seemingly disparate movies into a trilogy of epic proportions. I enjoy this take on how the world would actually deal with superheroes, and though some didn’t love the way it wrapped up, I dug it. (full review)

3. Captain Marvel

Am I a Marvel fanboy? Yes. Do I think people need to leave Brie Larson the hell alone? Also yes. Is Captain Marvel revolutionary? Not really, but it’s still Marvel at its best, managing to tell the same story in a new and exciting way. After multiple viewings, I like it more each time, and I appreciate better what Brie Larson brings to the character. Go away, Captain Marvel haters. She’s here to stay. (full review)

2. Aladdin (2019)

And here’s where I lose you. I get it. This movie took on the impossible, taking one of Disney’s best movies and trying to replace possibly the best Disney character ever. You can’t simply replace Robin Williams, and that’s why this works. Will Smith doesn’t even try. He gives us Will Smith with all the awesomeness that makes him a national treasure. This movie re-imagines the world of Aladdin on its own terms and I loved the heck out of it. Maybe it’s not for everyone, and you can call me crazy for putting it at number 2, but it’s my blog, so… (full review)

1. Avengers: Endgame

Was there every any doubt? Endgame is a masterpiece of film-making, managing to deliver on 10 years and 22 movies worth of promises in a ridiculously satisfying way. It services the most important characters beautifully, while leaving no one completely behind. It has consequences. It has heart. It has action. It’s just an unbelievable accomplishment that I don’t think we’ll see the likes of for a very long time. I harbor absolutely no hesitation in declaring Avengers: Endgame as my favorite movie of 2019. (full review)

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