The Avengers (2012) Directed By: Joss Whedon
The last five years have been big ones for superheros, with franchises being built, demolished (looking to you Fantastic Four) and reestablished. Some have been massive hits, some have merely tread water tying one film to a larger cinematic universe but it’s undoubtedly been the decade of superheroes and The Avengers success was as exciting as it was surprising. Joss Whedon and co. brought together these larger than life characters from their own separate stories and created a larger universe as well as crafting a movie that all other franchises would then try to emulate.
12 Years A Slave (2013) Directed By: Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen has become one of the most exciting directors today with films such as Hunger and Shame but it’s 12 Years a Slave that is arguably his tour-de-force. Possessing a keen and artistic eye, he captures inhumane brutality in a manner in which you can’t peel your eyes away. It’s unforgiving in it’s depiction and the cinematography by Sean Bobbitt never shies away from the ugly nature of the films content, all the while composing picturesque shots with clarity. Hosting a revelatory turn from star Chiwetel Ejiofor and having the pleasure of introducing the world to Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave is a film wrought with emotion and likely one that will be definitive of all the careers involved.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Directed By: George Miller
For audiences that have begun to feel oversaturated in remakes, sequels and bland, empty action flicks, Mad Max: Fury Road was like being electrocuted back to life. Unhinged with anarchistic energy and utilizing practical effects to dizzying results, the film was action packed while also telling a feminist friendly story about empowerment, with Charlize Theron’s Furiosa being the film’s real protagonist. The film is so good, so refreshing, that it’s easy to overlook the fact that it’s essentially a two hour car chase. Inventive, and reminding viewers that cinema still has much to offer even in the familiar genres or stories, Mad Max: Fury Road has become an instant classic.
Ex Machina (2015) Directed By: Alex Garland
Alex Garland wrote and directed one of the best science fiction films not just of the last five years, but of all time with the quietly unsettling Ex Machina. Everything from the ground up of this production works, adding layers of intrigue. From the disconcerting, and gradually deafening music , to Rob Hardy’s eerily stark and clandestine compositions, and the contrast of the futuristic creations being set smack dab in the middle of overwhelming nature, to the three dynamic lead performances, Ex Machina clicks. It’s dialogue heavy without being overly verbose and keeps up a tension filled mood for the entirety of the running time. It isn’t reinventing the science fiction wheel, but it reestablished itself as a fresh look into the genre, with modern eyes, modern fears, and some excellent talents.