Kingsman: The Secret Service (B+)
A fun riff on James Bond films, with some great action scenes. Fair warning, however: a lot of the film is over-the-top, and a few scenes go a bit too far - most notably a gag at the very end.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (A-)
A fairly solid ensemble superhero film, though it struggles at times beneath the weight of the franchise it's supporting. The Hulkbuster fight is probably the highlight, though there are other great moments sprinkled throughout. Ultron is no Loki, however, and I'm still not sure about that Black Widow/Banner romance.
Jurassic World (B+)
While this film does draw heavily from the original Jurassic Park for its plot points, it still manages to be a fairly fun ride. Bryce Dallas Howard's businesswoman character felt like a refugee from a 1980s action movie, however...
Terminator Genisys (B-)
By all rights, I should have hated this, since it rewrites events from the first two Terminator films. Fortunately, the final product turned out to be an adequately entertaining film, although still very derivative. (And it still makes a total mess out of the already convoluted post-T2 timeline.)
A perfectly competent, entertaining superhero movie, like all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far. Likable cast, likable humor, good special effects. But I find myself wondering what Edgar Wright's version would have looked like.
Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' (B)
A total nostalgia trip for DBZ fans, with a reborn Frieza in top form. However, I actually got more out of the fight scenes with the supporting cast than the actual Goku vs. Frieza rematch. Also, "Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan" still sounds silly, even if it looks cool.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (B)
I appreciated that this adaptation (of a 1960s spy TV series) was true in many ways to the original, including the story format and the time period. The film proposes an interesting origin story for the characters, though I prefer the original cool-and-collected Illya to the ticking time-bomb in this film. Unfortunately, I doubt this film will revive the franchise.
Crimson Peak (B)
Very stylish horror film, with memorable characters and settings. The plot doesn't have many surprises, and you have to tolerate a lot of Gothic cliches, and there are a few rough bits... but if you can get past that, it's entertaining to watch.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (B+)
While in many ways, this is a stealth reboot of the original Star Wars, the film still succeeds in revitalizing the franchise, with new heroes for a new generation.
Mr. Holmes (B+)
Moving and compelling, Ian McKellan does an excellent job as an elderly, failing Holmes.
Mad Max: Fury Road (A-)
A total thrill-ride of a movie, with some seriously impressive practical-effects action scenes.
Surprisingly fun and witty, not what I've come to expect from Feig and McCarthy. A great send-up of spy films, while also a solid spy adventure unto itself.
Justice League: Throne of Atlantis (B-)
An adequately entertaining Justice League film, featuring a new take on Aquaman.
Justice League: Gods and Monsters (A-)
An intriguing alternate take on the DC Universe, with a darker, less noble version of the Justice League and other characters. Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman aren't nearly as friendly as usual, so you can see why the world is wary of them, but it makes for an interesting story.
- I've also seen Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and Inside Out as of this writing, but that was after New Year's, so they just miss the cut.
- Low expectations helped a few films this year, specifically Jurassic World, Terminator, and Spy.
- The Marvel Cinematic Universe may be starting to wear out - Age of Ultron didn't quite have the pop of its predecessor, and Ant-Man was more competent than exciting. Also, the Marvel movies might actually be getting too tied to one another at this point - this especially hurt AoU.
- I expected Gods and Monsters to be unpleasantly dark, based on the three preview shorts, but it was actually pretty good. We're supposed to get a sequel miniseries, hopefully it won't fall on its face...