We’re halfway through 2010, and it’s time to take stock of the best of the year to this point. We polled the Fandomania staff to get their favorites of the past six months. Yesterday you got the list of the staff’s favorite games of 2010, and today you’re getting our favorite movies of the front half of 2010, with explanations by the staffers who picked each one.
Iron Man 2
Summer Suzuki: If for nothing else, it was the fanservice at the end of the credits (even if it did look plastic and hokey) that left me a quivering pile of nerd goo on the theater floor. I thought it was a good second movie in a trilogy story, but I wish they hadn’t introduced/written Black Widow the way they did. Or shown her entire part in the movie in the trailer.
Kimberly Lynn Workman: Iron Man is back! I’ve been looking forward to seeing this movie since the closing scenes of the original Iron Man. And this sequel has made me even more hyped up for The Avengers. Gotta love a movie that not only makes you want more, but expands the universe in interesting ways.
Paige MacGregor: I thoroughly enjoyed Iron Man, and given that the sequel rectified my only complaint about the original — the two-dimensionality of Lt. Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes — by replacing Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle, I had very little to complain about with regard to Iron Man 2. Mickey Rourke is outstanding as villain Ivan Vanko (“Whiplash”), and a strong case can be made that Robert Downey, Jr. was born to play the role of Tony Stark/Iron Man. Among all of the other superhero movies released thus far this year, Iron Man 2 stands out as a true summer blockbuster, even though it was released a bit early to be considered part of the traditional summer blockbuster season.
Jason Dorough: Controversial in some circles due to Hit Girl’s gleeful penchant for slaughter, Kick-Ass is the most aptly titled movie of the year. It’s unabashedly a movie for and about comic book fans, and it adapts Mark Millar’s print series beautifully into a rough, colorful, and violent spectacle that has made it my favorite movie of the first half of 2010.
Summer Suzuki: I haven’t read the comic, so I can’t compare it to the movie. I liked the movie because it had highs and lows and some funny moments, and I like the idea of someone getting tired of people just videoing crimes and beatings to put on the web and deciding to do something about it. I also liked Hit Girl a lot.
Paige MacGregor: Because Defendor saw a limited release in the U.S., my boyfriend bought me the DVD. I was excited to watch Defendor, but I did not expect it to be my new favorite film (which it is) or to watch it three times in a day the first time I saw it (which I did). Defendor tells the story of Arthur Poppington (Harrelson), a developmentally delayed man who dresses up as a superhero called “Defendor” at night and fights vandals and corrupt cops with a trench club, a bag of marbles, and some very hokey dialogue. Defendor depicts the “real-life hero” in a way not accessible to films like Kick-Ass by focusing on Arthur as a person, rather than Defendor as a superhero. I highly recommend watching this film — it is absolutely worth your time.
Jason Dorough: Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s 2003 novel is a masterfully tricky movie from the first trailer you probably saw in theaters to the moment the credits roll at the end. If Alfred Hitchcock, Agatha Christie, and pre-Village M. Night Shyamalan were thrown into a big blender and then poured into a glass, Shutter Island would be that grotesquely intriguing smoothie.
Kimberly Lynn Workman: Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s in it! You need more reason to see it? Okay, how about because it’s based on a graphic novel. Plus, the team vibe in this is spectacular. I want to have a Jensen of my very own after seeing this. And the bad guys are over the top, but in a completely comic-appropriate way. A fun time!
Christopher Bohler: My favorite movie so far this year is The A-Team. It’s not great cinema, but man, I can’t remember the last time I had that much fun in a theater. All the characters are perfect and the action is ridiculous. The villains are fun, the heroes are fun, the action is fun, and the entire experience is all out fun. As Hannibal said in the movie, “Overkill is underrated.”
Paige MacGregor: Repo Men is a movie that allowed me to exercise my background in film theory as it examined the dystopian society created by large corporations and technological advances in the medical field. Jude Law acts as the main protagonist in the film, a “Repo Man” named Remy who finds himself on the other side of the organ repossession business after he falls behind on the payments for a very expensive replacement heart needed after a freak on-the-job accident. It may take a few viewings for the average moviegoer to pick up on some of the nuances of Repo Men, but even a first-time viewer will be entertained by Remy’s desperate attempts to avoid his organ repossession.
Kimberly Lynn Workman: This has been a heavily debated movie, which is always an interesting aspect for any feature in my mind. The movie is not straightforward, never giving you what you expect. It’s a hard movie to get through, even if you thought you were prepared for the journey, but it also makes you think about the larger implications it presents. You’ll be pondering this movie long after you leave the theater.
Jason Dorough: Every staff member was allowed to pick up to three movies for this list. After selecting Kick-Ass and Shutter Island, my last selection came down to a choice between Iron Man 2 and Drones. While I enjoyed both movies in very different ways, I decided to give the shout out to Drones here. It’s a fantastic paranormal indie office comedy produced by Amber Benson and Adam Busch and starring Jonathan Woodward, Samm Levine, and Angela Bettis. Check it out if you get a chance!