5 – How To Train Your Dragon 2
The writer and director Dean DeBlois takes the comedy to a deeper place, the kind of place leaves us craving for not only more dragon action, but also leaves us wanting to see more of this beautiful world. Yeah it’s an animated world, but it’s a beautiful one at that. These scenes, especially the ones that contain all the action are blissful, exciting, and breathtaking. What this sequel succeeds at, where other sequels fail, is that it builds upon itself, expanding the world we see, and introducing new characters, which makes the dynamics that much more impressive. The film has plenty of heart, emotion, humor, and action, and it soars on almost every level imaginable. While the dark tones may make it hard for the young members of the audiences to watch, How To Train Your Dragon 2 is just the kind of sequel that we all deserve.
4 – The Lego Movie
Everything is indeed awesome about Phil Lord and Christopher Miller‘s The Lego Movie. What looked like a long form commercial actually turned out to be one of the most entertaining films of the year. The Lego Movie is the kind of film that builds upon itself brick by brick, giving us more and more reasons to fall in love with it. Though it looks like a kids movie, it’s a film that can be best described as childhood nostalgia come to life. It consistently reminds us of how much fun it was to let our imaginations run wild just by playing with these iconic toys. But it’s ultimate message had a truth that often goes unsaid. So for The Lego Movie to deliver that message with fond memories and child-like humor was one that could be heard from miles away. Though the opening sequence could have been widdled down by a few minutes, the exposition is far better than the films mentioned in the most disappointing films this year.
3 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
While DC Comics is playing catch up, Marvel Studios shows no signs of slowing down or mocking the competition, choosing to run full steam ahead with films like Captain America: The Winter Soldier. While it may be one of the studios’ most controversial films yet – dealing with controversial issues like unwarranted surveillance and wiretapping – the sequel finds a way to still be true to itself and the Marvel mantra. Like the previous Marvel solo films, Captain America: The Winter Soldier stands on its own, while staying within the universe that the studio has so carefully crafted, and then expanding on those ideas to build a much large and cohesive universe. Chris Evans returns as the titular Captain America, and he is joined by some Marvel alum, but also newcomers like Anthony Mackie, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, and the legendary Robert Redford. While we still have Guardians of the Galaxy to wait for, if these results stand, Captain America: The Winter Soldier will go down as one of the best Marvel movies ever to come out of Marvel Studios.
2 – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Every bit funny and witty as it is charming and quirky, The Grand Budapest Hotel is truly one of the best films of the year, and not just so far. Visually appealing in almost every way, Wes Anderson delivers one of his most impressive films to date. As well thought out and clever has this film is, even the cinematography is magical. Almost every shot and every scene is a sight to behold. It is a spectacle in every sense of the word. The film brings together a wonderful collection of talent, which includes the likes of Ralph Finnes – in a rare comedic performance – Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Saiorse Ronan, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Owen Wilson, Jude Law, Bob Balaban, and more. Anderson reminds us that a great comedies with a largely multitalented cast, doesn’t need big budgets, it just needs to bring out the laughs in a goofy and quirky way.
Hit the jump to see our number one movie of the year.