As has been the case over the past few years, this year’s biggest movies were inspired and adapted from all things nerd. It makes our job here at Word of the Nerd a lot easier when every week there is a new trailer, casting announcement, image released, or rumor circulating. There is always something to write about. Lucky for us, the nerd movie’s quality has skyrocketed, and several of the best films of the year are based on comic-books or older geek movies.
Though there has been some bad movies this year (I’m looking at you, Terminator Genisys…and no, I’m still not confident how to spell Genysis, and I’m not going to learn now!), and then there was what might be the worst movie of the decade (the film that shall not be named), there were also some good to great nerd movies released this year.
What follows will not be my personal favorite movies of the year. Instead, we reached out to you, the Word of the Nerd reader. You voted in our end of the year poll, you told us what you thought were the best movies of the year, and we listened. What follows will serve as Word of the Nerd’ Top 5 films of 2015. Check out the list below!
Right off the bat, our community decided that five films wasn’t enough, and the fifth spot was split between two of the summer’s biggest releases. On one side, you have Jurassic World, a film that finally gave us a successful Jurassic Park sequel. Jurassic World hit the sweet spot between paying homage to the franchise’s best, while also still establishing itself as its own brand of dino-fun. The is at its best when it is showing the audience just how awesome dinosaurs are. Some people have complained about the generic human characters, but again, these standard characters are really just a viewpoint for the audience to experience one thing: the combination of wonder and fear at the sight of an extinct species.
On the other side, we have Pixar’s return to form with Inside Out. I am so glad our community decided to honor Inside Out, as it holds a special place in my involvement with Word of the Nerd. Inside Out was the first article I wrote for the site, and what a way to kick off a new partnership than by geeking out over this film. Whether it be the music, the humor, the beautiful animation, or its extreme creativity, Inside Out proved that Pixar is at their best when they dive into new and original material. Inside Out perfectly told the story of a young girl experiencing emotional change. There is a real message to the movie, it is ok to feel different emotions, you can’t always be happy, and this is a message that made Inside Out one of the year’s most powerful films.
Easily one of the most anticipated films of the year, Avengers: Age of Ultron was the kickoff to the summer season and the film was a huge success. Joss Whedon returned to write and direct the sequel to 2012’s massive hit. Though some feel as though there may have been too many cooks in the kitchen, maybe a few too many subplots, it is obvious that Whedon’s focus was on the character development of these superheroes. Yes, the action was fun, and the battle scenes made for some awesome moments, the movie was great at continuing the journey these characters have started. Whether it be Tony Stark reeling from the events of The Avengers, or Captain America continuing his distrust of the modern-day government (Civil War anybody?), or Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanov reckoning with their inability to connect with other people, Age of Ultron showed that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is at its best when the characters are front and center.
Speaking of keeping Marvel focused on the characters, let’s look at the most pleasant surprise of the year: Ant-Man. After all of the behind-the-scenes drama surrounding Ant-Man, most of us were just hoping for a somewhat competent film, we ended up getting one of the year’s best. Though Age of Ultron was a worldwide epic featuring a city being dropped from the sky, Ant-Man’s climax is exclusively set inside a little girl’s room, though it is just as epic. Ant-Man brought the humor, the creativity that comes with a shrinking hero, and some real heart in the form of some great relationships. The action was fun, the Marvel easter eggs were there, and Paul Rudd is an absolute blast. We were expecting the worst, and we were given one of the best. Ant-Man and The Wasp can’t come soon enough.
Read More: Film Review – Ant-Man
This is the one film on the list that has the best potential to crossover with the Academy Awards. This is also the film that has no right to be this good. George Miller, who has spent the last two decades directing Babe and Happy Feet films, has returned to a franchise that has not had a release in 30 years. This film is part sequel, part prequel, part reboot. It is rated-R, and features a hero who says maybe 17 words total. But as you can see by our ranking, and all of the awards it has been racking up, Mad Max: Fury Road is the real deal and easily one of the year’s best.
Equal parts action movie and commentary on variou social subjects, Fury Road continues the journey of Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), though he more serves as a viewpoint for the audience, as the real protagonist is Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron). The film is epic in every sense of the word. The world it builds is so vast and expansive, though we learn about it through small details, not expository dialogue. The action scenes (or action “scene,” since the film is one big car chase), largely accomplished with practical effects, are simply amazing. George Miller directs with twice the energy of filmmakers half his age. Lastly, the film succeeds on its commentary. Fury Road is both an action epic and a feminist triumph, and it is great to see a studio get behind a summer blockbuster with this much thought behind it.
You knew it was coming, after months of a near-perfect marketing campaign, opening to critical acclaim, and destroying box-office records, you all knew that Star Wars: The Force Awakens would be Word of the Nerd’s number one film of 2015.
What more is there to say about The Force Awakens, the film has perfectly recaptured the magic of the original trilogy. When we talk about A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, we are talking about what some consider to be the best films of all time. And now we are talking about a film that is comparable to those, so yes I think we have found a momentous film.
Since its release, there have been multiple attempts to take down the film, critically speaking. Though I am not saying The Force Awakens is a perfect movie, nor is it exempt from criticism, there is a level of movie magic that these folks are missing. Though some of the details may not be as tight as we would like, the movie feels right. And with Star Wars, sometimes the feels are more important than the air-tight details.
That being said, I’ve seen the film four times now, and I do feel as though it is a total home run. The return of the original cast is great, and they have successfully passed the torch to the new generation. Finn and Poe Dameron are extremely likable and they are perfect for taking us on a new Star Wars adventure. Kylo Ren is amazing, easily the film’s most complex character. I love how he is layered, he’s a bad guy with some inner conflict, this is just great storytelling. And Rey, well, she is just the best. Though I do not have children, I plan to in the future. If I am blessed with a little girl, I like living in a world where my hypothetical little girl has a Star Wars heroine she can look up to, and it’s great that she is a well-written strong character like Rey.
Read More: Film Review- Star Wars: The Force Awakens
What say you? Though these were six films our community voted as the best of the year, but there were countless other films released this year. What were some of your favorites of the year? Do you agree with our choices? Let us know in the comments below, and we will see you guys next year!