Top 100 Movies: Part 9

My Top 100 Movies list continues yet again with some more of my top picks. Again, these are my favorite movies, not necessarily "the best." These are the ones that I actually own and watch more than once. 
32: Thor
Among the Avengers, Thor is easily the most difficult character to bring to the big screen, yet Kenneth Branagh and company manage to pull it off somehow. Unlike a lot of Marvel movies, my expectations for Thor were rather low considering that the film could have easily been horribly corny and dumb, but to my surprise, that was far from the case. Branagh used his Shakespearean background to handle the family drama elements of the film to great effect. Chris Hemsworth brought a strong bombastic presence to Thor that worked perfectly for the character, and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki turned out to be the best villain since Darth Vader. Their brotherly conflict between Thor and Loki is my favorite aspect of the film.

31: Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal

Originally released as a four episode OVA, but later released as a feature film, Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal follows the origin of the fictional samurai Rurouni Kenshin. While anime generally carries the stigma of being "weird" or "over-the-top," Trust and Betrayal is a refreshingly subdued and tragic drama that is more inline with the samurai epics of Akira Kurosawa. Of course the film is stylized to a degree, but the animation is rather stunning, and the action manages to both be realistic and incredibly intense. Among Asian cinema, or any cinema for that matter, Trust and Betrayal is one of the best examples of a tragic drama, and if you are interested in samurai or historical films, this is a must watch.

Captain America has been one of my favorite comic book characters ever since I was a kid, and while not on the same level of brilliance as Iron Man, The First Avenger effectively and accurately tells Cap’s origin story. As a fan of older films, Joe Johnston’s "old-timey" visual style for the film worked surprisingly well at conveying the 1940s time period, which gave it the feel similar to comic books of the era as well. Chris Evans surprised even me by how great he was in the role of Steve Rogers, and considering how well he has done lately, there could not have been a better choice for the role. Also, it made me feel proud to be an American yet the patriotism never felt overpowering as to distract from film's story.

Despite a few flaws with the plot, Thor: The Dark World is a blast to watch, and it also has heart. As with the first Thor, the brotherly conflict between Thor and Loki is the core of the film. Alan Taylor gave Asgard a grittier and more believable feel that reminded me of a combination of Tolkien’s work and even Star Wars to some degree. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is an absolute joy to watch play fan-favorite Loki as he gives his best performance in the role to date, and Hemsworth continues to own his role of Thor.
Thor: The Dark World Review

Serenity is the follow-up to Joss Whedon's incredibly shiny Firefly TV series that was unjustly cancelled. It had almost everything that made the TV show amazing, but amped it up to feature film quality production. For a freshman outing as a theatrical director, there are few, if any, films that rival Serenity. “You can burn the land and boil the sea, but there's no place I can’t be since I've found Serenity.”
Serenity Review

Before Spider-Man 2, The Dark Knight, and Iron Man, X2: X-Men United was the king of comic book films, and it still holds up so well today. Hugh Jackman perfected his version of Wolverine in X2 with the film delving further into his mysterious past (which was ruined by the horrible Wolverine: Origins). X2 set the new standard for comic book sequels with bigger action, deeping character development, and an ending that made X-Men fans everywhere excited for the next installment, which unfortunately disappointed fans.

26: Aliens
James Cameron’s Aliens is one of the most thrilling and pulse-pounding film experiences I have had in a very long time, maybe ever. While the first Alien movie was great, the fact that I knew who would survive detracted from the experience, but that was not the case for Aliens. After a slow tension filled start, Aliens explodes with tons of action and thrills throughout. And who can forget the final dual? That was amazing! (I will not spoil anything by saying more)
Aliens (1986) Review.

Few films pack so much pure entertainment into 116 minutes than Back to the Future! From the clever script to the witty dialogue to the quirky sense of humor, Back to the Future is the definition of a classic. Describing why Back to the Future is such a great film is incredibly difficult. It is just fun, but smart fun. Plus, I love time-travel stories!

Seeing heroes being torn down and having to face not only a new threat, but an inner struggle are some of my favorite types of character stories, and Iron Man 3 does that with one of the best heroes on the big screen, Tony Stark. Thanks to Shane Black’s witty script and direction and Robert Downey Jr.’s flawless performance as Tony Stark, Iron Man 3 succeeds on all almost fronts, of course, it is not perfect. Also, who can forget the twist? Never before have I been so utterly shocked and dumbfounded sitting in theaters than I was while watching Iron Man 3, and if you have seen the film, you know what I am talking about. 
Before Titanic and Avatar, James Cameron actually made a few freaking awesome sci-fi films and there are none better T2. Deciding between Aliens and T2 for my favorite Cameron flick was not easy, but after some deliberation, T2 came out on top, partially due to the fact that it has been one of my favorite movies ever since I was a kid. I am a Terminator fan, plain and simple, and as far as I am concerned, the Terminator movie timeline ended here, because the sequels never happened if you go by the superior Sarah Connor Chronicles timeline. Maybe the new Terminator film coming next year will deliver, and if not, I can just rewatch T2, again.

22: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Unlike the other Star Wars prequels, I believe Revenge of the Sith to be legitimately good movie. It definitely has its flaws, like the acting, and it could have been a lot better, but there is a lot to like about Ep. III. For the most part it wraps up loose ends, provided a satisfying conclusion, and delivered some insanely awesome Lightsaber battles. If, however, you are not a Star Wars fan, I can completely understand why you do not like the movie, but as a Star Wars fan, I still enjoy it.  

21: The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is a sequel film to The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya television series, and no, it is not some epic quest or action thriller, instead the film is a superb character piece that takes the likable characters from the series and gives them depth through some of the best character drama I have ever seen. Along with this excellent character development, the movie has reality altering time-travel, science fiction elements, and humor that fans of the SOS Brigade have come to expect from franchise. It is essentially flawless. However, as amazing as the film is, watching the series first is mandatory.

Please check back tomorrow for my review of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Thursday for my review of Edge of Tomorrow.

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