We’re at the start of April, which means we’re already a quarter of the way through 2017. Before I start panicking about how quickly that has flown by, I’m gonna start running through my favourite three films of the year so far.
Beauty and the Beast (2017) dir. Bill Condon.
I’m a Disney person; it’s in my bones. But believe me when I say this remake was far from perfect – there was a weird, unnecessary cross-dressing joke, and I’m still wrapping my head around the LeFou business (I mean, seriously, Cogsworth was right there). Nevertheless, this was also a gorgeous tribute to one of my favourite animated Disney classics, and it still sort of managed to make itself a little bit more modern – I didn’t really care about Belle being an inventor, but I loved that she was teaching some of the other girls in the town to read. I also thought Gaston was updated brilliantly; just dark enough, while managing to retain that slight element of silliness. The thing I truly loved about this remake, though, was the aesthetic – the Beast was a bit too pretty, but the way the settings, castle, and mostly the enchanted objects were visualised were stunning. It wasn’t life changing cinema, but it was enough to satiate my Disney cravings, and offered some fresh content alongside the classic stuff.
Logan (2017) dir. James Mangold
I’m not really an X Men fan – I really like lots of the movies, but I’ve never been as invested in the X Men as I am the Avengers, or Spider-man (Spidey and the Hulk are my all time faves, if you were wondering). I kind of went to see Logan with mixed expectations as a result, but I was completely blown away – it was a properly good movie, as a stand alone film, as a neo-western, and as a superhero movie. Logan served as a proper love letter to fans of Wolverine and Professor X, and a real tribute to their friendship, too – it had me weeping for characters I’d never really loved, and attached to new characters who I barely got to know. The sweeping visuals were stunning, the performances by the three leads were incredible, and the story was darker and grittier than any other Marvel movie I’ve seen. It’s got me even more hyped for the next Guardians of the Galaxy, even though I’m sure that will serve as quite a stark contrast.
The Lego Batman Movie (2017) dir. Chris McKay
Black. All good movies start with black. And Lego Batman was a ridiculously good movie. If you liked the humour of The Lego Movie, it’s even more evident in its sequel(ish) – the self aware, silly piss-takes are even more frequent and just as delightfully bizarre. There’s a run down of all the previous Batman movies (even the weird ones), and the addition of the Joker is just pitched just perfectly. It’s also never too dark, so if your kids are young, you’re probably safe to enjoy it with them. There are loads of silly references even to other franchises (teeny, tiny spoiler – Daleks!), and to be honest, it was just nice to get actual character development out of a DC movie again. I love animated cinema, but I think this one might be hard to beat this year.
And those are my top three movies of the year so far. It was a pretty solid start, although admittedly the first thing I saw in the cinema this year was Passengers (spoiler alert: that was a terrible, terrible film). Nothing has quite reached the dizzying heights of La La Land or Moonlight yet, but I’ve got high hopes that 2017 will be a pretty great year for cinema.