The Wills 2017

I thought this picture didn’t exist, but I was wrong! “I’d like to thank…”

So two years ago, I posted a list of the films I’d seen in that previous year in my personal order of preference. Last year, the inaugural Wills (still not a great name but I can’t think of anything better) included 31 films, while this year I’ve seen 33 – almost three films a month, though some months are more active than others!

In contrast to last year’s more polarised crop, this year’s films were a balance between very good and average. So when I say something is my 28th best of the year, unless I actually said it was crap, it more than likely had something going for it (and you should click through to read the full review obviously). I think this is probably an case of me seeing more of what I wanted, and less of what I didn’t want to see.

As with last year, there’s no way I’m going to start doing ‘Best Actress’ or ‘Best Soundtrack’ – nobody reading this would want to read through all that, and I’d rather just judge the films, because that’s what we all do! So here are my top 33 of the last 12 months…

The films that were either disappointing, merely OK, could have been better or I liked parts of:

33. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – Mr Cruise probably should have heeded his own advice…

32. The Girl on the Train – a disappointment considering how good the book was, though Emily Blunt is great

31. Silence – a slog – a beautiful, contemplative but largely infuriating slog

30. Baywatch – so much potential to be a Jump Street successor, unfortunately not met (still amusing though)

29. Suicide Squad – a prime (but not only) example of studio interference ruining things, plus Jared Leto…

28. Allied – interesting, stylish throwback that nevertheless ends up feeling less than the sum of its parts

27. Manchester by the Sea – very good performances slighted by an overbearing sense of moroseness: grief porn

26. Rogue One – a second instance of interference, scuppering what could have been a great new direction

25. Kong: Skull Island – fun and ridiculous, but far beneath the actors and yet more nonsense franchise fodder

Movies I thought were good, or that I was pleasantly surprised by:

24. Passengers – an imperfect example of sci-fi entering the mainstream, with good performances

23. The Accountant – what an absolutely bananas action/drama/black comedy, as unique as its protagonist

22. Ghost in the Shell – a brave stab at an anime adaptation that nevertheless feels too slight

21. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them – surprisingly fun and a fresh view on the Potterworld

20. Star Trek Beyond – ignoring Into Darkness and going back to basics gives Trek a welcome kick

19. Sausage Party – a shining example of bad taste with some wit and a truly unforgettable conclusion

18. Alien Covenant – while it has its issues, it’s a gory and cerebral return to facehugger form for Ridley Scott

17. Jason Bourne – still far better than (most of) the competition, but not a patch on the originals unfortunately

Second to last, movies I enjoyed or was really impressed by:

16. Doctor Strange – Marvel adapts and comes up trumps with Cumberbatch’s esoteric, mind-bending sorcerer

15. The BFG – Spielberg masterfully brings a kid’s favourite into the modern era, with perfectly cast Rylance

14. Assassin’s Creed – critically slammed but an absolute guilty pleasure, music, action and Fassbender particularly

13. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – lacking in comparison to the first, it’s still funny, different and striking

12. Lion – a real surprise; gripping real life story with great performances and a naturalistic, sober feel

11. The Girl With All the Gifts – a really quite excellent little British horror drama that deserved more attention

10. Hidden Figures – a stirring biopic with interesting performances and a new perspective on NASA and diversity

Finally, the best (in my opinion anyway):

9. The Lego Batman Movie – honestly, my second favourite Batman movie – Will Arnett can do no wrong

8. Fences – an acting tour-de-force with astonishing performances from Denzel Washington and Viola Davis

7. Logan – Wolverine signs off in stylish, violent and somber style – thanks and goodbye Hugh Jackman

6. Get Out – a scorching comedy horror unafraid to confront racial barriers

5. Wonder Woman – a cut above the usual superhero fare and a welcome boost for women in cinema

4. John Wick: Chapter Two – it can’t beat the first, but it’s still centuries ahead of everything else

3. T2 Trainspotting – the gang’s reunion is clever, emotional and far more interesting than expected

2. Free Fire – barely anything to fault with this action-thriller, which offers a unique, enjoyable and original story

1. Arrival – cerebral, tense and emotional – and excellent sci-fi? Denis Villeneuve tops my list again

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