So, before I begin this will be short as I haven’t seen nearly as many new movies this year as I’d like, but none-the-less here are my thoughts on things based on what I have seen.
As seems to something that’s going to continue well into the next decade Marvel took a big chunk of the blockbuster release schedule this year, but, unlike the last few years they actually lived up to the hype.
Following on from the sugary but ultimately unsatisfying confections of The Avengers and Iron Man 3, and the frankly rubbish Thor: The Dark World, Marvel studios stepped up their game in 2014 with the thriller-like Captain America: Winter Soldier that re-established some sense of intrigue in the ongoing Avengers storyline and the massively enjoyable and fun Guardians of the Galaxy that was one of the most enjoyable things I saw all year, whether new or not.
The X-Men also re-established themselves as a group of Marvel characters worth watching as Bryan Singer returned to the director’s chair for Days of Future Past which built on the great work Matthew Vaughan did in First Class to be a great action adventure and set up some exciting prospects for the future.
Family films were broadly catered for from the usual places but for me the stand out was The Lego Movie.
Like Guardians of the Galaxy it was a massively entertaining ride with enough smart jokes to make it something far more than any pre-release talk could have suggested.
It also added another great take on Batman to the cinematic canon that looks set to get his own stand alone follow-up.
One of the most anticipated movies of the year was Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. I was very glad I had avoided most of the pre-release hype and bluster when I went to see it and enjoyed it hugely as it combined a sense of adventure with ideas and thoughts akin to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
While it was divisive with audiences, for me it perfectly balanced the two kinds of sci-fi, with spectacle standing alongside science and including one of the best pieces of stand alone world building I’ve seen in a long time.
Something of a wild card entry for me was The Imitation Game as, while its subject (Alan Turing) was one that greatly interested me and it starred Benedict Cumberbatch, who is generally a great performer, it had something of the look of an Oscar-bait biopic come English costume drama to it.
Thankfully it avoided this and ended up being very entertaining while also tackling some serious issues and taking a look at an only recently revealed part of second world war history.
In the end though, my favourite film of the year has to go to Matthew Warchus’ Pride. With its story of gay rights campaigners in London supporting striking Welsh miners in the mid-80s it could have been a very worthy film, but, instead it took a huge load of exuberance and positivity, along with all the issues surrounding both sets of characters, and created the most all-round entertaining and engaging movie I saw all year.
At no point did it shy away from anything, but at the same time it didn’t preach or posture and, while it encouraged tears along with the laughter, Pride made for the best time I had in a cinema in 2014.