For big cinema, 2021 was the year of bug fixing. A lot of new ones were also made, but for us it is much more important that Hollywood and not only studios really tried to change the state of affairs for the better. All that was needed was to give competent directors and screenwriters to do their job. Take risks when it makes sense, and, conversely, avoid obvious pitfalls when they loom in the way. Our final list included just ten paintings, the authors of which, it seems to us, adhered to this simple strategy. All these films have only one thing in common: they are worthy of your attention.
Zach Snyder Justice League
Zack Snyder can be accused of many sins: pretentiousness, clumsy, lack of taste and sense of proportion. All this, to one degree or another, is deserved: take at least the poor “Army of the Dead” . But what cannot be taken away from the director is the author’s clear vision – that the current Hollywood system is trying to either curb or suppress.
Four years ago, she managed to do this, and we got a toothless, sterile “Justice League” , which left nothing in the heart but emptiness. However, Snyder’s fans did not stop and continued, together with their guru, to fight for that very author’s vision, buried somewhere in the Warner Bros archive…. And we won! “Snyderkat” should be honored for at least a rare victory over the stubbornness of the studio bosses. But fortunately, it is also an outstanding movie.
Well, who else besides Snyder would dare to film a four-hour superhero opera that takes itself so seriously that it presents all comic absurdity with genuine sincerity and deep pathos? Justice League is a fresco film, iconic film, pop gospel about gods and monsters without any newfangled winks from the audience. You can love him, you can hate him, but it cannot be denied that there is no other such tape and, most likely, there will not be.
Suicide Squad: Mission Kick Through
Although there is, for example, “Suicide Squad”- the second successful attempt of the “Vorners” to pray for past sins, and at the same time another author’s blockbuster. James Gunn’s handwriting is visible in everything here: in the restless chamber, in the hooligan humor, in the amazing musical selection, and, of course, in the characters. On the screen again, the director’s favorite rogue – only traumatized even worse than the Guardians of the Galaxy. The adult rating finally allows Gann to imagine not just another cute losers, but truly repulsed freaks, whose moral compass has been demagnetized a long time ago. What is one scene in which the Peacemaker and Bloodsport, exchanging obscene jokes, cut out an entire village of rebels…
But at the same time, of course, each of the psychos has something familiar, understandable and humane. Although the director still delivers elements of the drama head-on, some episodes and dialogues are quite capable of touching the audience’s heart. After all, with all the cynicism and rivers of blood, “Suicide Squad” is an extremely kind and optimistic movie. You have to live as if your head could explode at any moment – such is a simple lesson in punk philosophy from James Gunn.
Spider-Man: No Way Home
Marvel has clearly lost its grip this past year, even though it has released more films than ever before. Neither Black Widow , nor Shang-Chi , let alone the Eternals, were able to return people to cinemas and stay in trends for more than a week. But the new “Spider-Man” was able to – so much so that he broke all the box office records of the quarantine period. The secret to success turned out to be simple: to give the fans exactly what they ask for, but to do it competently and, more importantly, respectfully.
As stated in our recent reviewNo Way Home could easily have become a lazy collection of hits from yesteryear, a string of references for references. No one would be surprised or even condemned: they say, this is Marvel. However, director John Watts and the writing team took a different path: they listened to the audience and worked on the mistakes of the previous installments. Thanks to this, “No Way Home” finally feels like a movie about Spider-Man, and not just another addition to the MCU.
This is the story of Peter Parker personally: his mistakes, defeats, victories and the final transformation into a hero who knows the price of great power. And all the Easter eggs, quotes and the appearance of actors from past film adaptations serve only as a frame. However, it is damn impressive: hardly any film in recent years has caused the same stormy response in theater halls – and at least for this the fresh “Spider-Man” deserves a place in the selection.
Major Thunder: The Plague Doctor
Who in their right mind could imagine that one day next to the next blockbusters of Marvel and DC , whose budgets are in the hundreds of millions of dollars, there will be a Russian film adaptation of Russian comics? Probably no one, but it did happen.
“Major Thunder”- by no means a perfect movie, not even close. Weeds and roughness in it in abundance. However, it is so geeky, so sincere in its desire to simply entertain the viewer, that it’s hard not to be fascinated by it. As if the creators knew that there might not be a second chance, and therefore they immediately gave out the purest, most concentrated film comic strip that they were capable of.
Here and Snyder, and Nolan, and Raimi, and Schumacher: pathos is intertwined with comic, absurdity with gloom. The hero and the villain are not just enemies, but, as it should be, curves of reflection of each other, avatars of two opposite Ideas with a capital letter. Order vs. Chaos. Justice versus Revenge. Mercy versus Cruelty. And all this is crowned with jokes about shawarma. How can one not love such a thing? It is not surprising that, having failed in the domestic box office due to the usual skepticism of the audience, The Plague Doctor took the Netflix charts and earned 81% of Rotten Tomatoes users. There is something to be proud of.
Films like Dune, are not published every year and even, perhaps, not every decade. Almost every picture tries to tell a story and introduce the characters to viewers, but when was the last time you were introduced to the whole world? And worked out to such trifles that you don’t even doubt its reality? It seems, stretch out your hand – and you will feel the coldness of the stone or the heat of the sand. At the beginning of the 2000s, it was so addictive in Middle-earth or at Hogwarts, and now the audience is just as easily transferred to the harsh Arrakis.
Yes, not all: to some, the journey seemed tedious and boring, someone got entangled in the intricacies of intrigues between the great houses, and someone was simply pushed away by the pathos and total seriousness of what was happening. However, those whom Dune fascinated are unlikely to forget it – and, most likely, will languish in anticipation of the second part.