2011 was one hell of a year for nerds who enjoy movies. We had a few great surprises early in the year, were treated to one of the best blockbuster summers in recent memory, and had an amazing holiday season lineup. Making this list was hard as hell and I made sure to add a list of honorable mentions at the bottom of this list for all those great films that just missed the #10 spot. Be sure to check out the movie reviews for each film linked under their title for my full impressions. Below is the official Never Ending Radical Dude “Top 10 Movies of 2011”.
10. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER
Marvel Studios did a lot of things right this summer and audiences finally got the Captain America movie they deserve. The thing I liked most about this film was that it was a Captain America movie first and a tie-in to the 2012 blockbuster event THE AVENGERS second. Chris Evans (THE LOSERS) owned as Steve Rogers (aka Captain America) and Joe Johnston (THE ROCKETEER) did a wonderful job crafting a comic book movie with heart, great characters, epic World War II set pieces, and some intense shield-throwing action.
9. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL
Tom Cruise (VANILLA SKY) is back as Ethan Hunt in the fourth installment of the amazing Mission Impossible series and I could not be happier. This was Brad Bird’s (THE INCREDIBLES) live-action directorial debut and he did a great job keeping this franchise fresh and exciting. Cruise does all his own stunts here and you have to see them (preferably on a nice IMAX screen) to believe them. The entire cast was entertaining, the locations were breathtaking, and the action felt real and intense. Tom Cruise is the man and NEVER disappoints.
8. RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
This one was the biggest surprise of the summer! I never really was a fan of the PLANET OF THE APES franchise, but I sure as hell am now. This prequel/reboot is a cool modern sci-fi film that boasts an intriguing story, some sweet ape-infused action, and some of the best use of CGI ever seen. The main ape Caesar is such an awesome character and proves to audiences that you can and will care about a completely animated creation. I hope this one gets a sequel so we can witness the further rise of these apes.
7. SUCKER PUNCH
Zack Snyder (300, WATCHMEN) is one of the most visionary directors of our time and he continues to show off his amazing talents with SUCKER PUNCH. This is obviously a passion project for Snyder and it shows. SUCKER PUNCH is a nerds wildest wet dream come true and boasts and impressive array of sci-fi settings and some of the most beautifully crafted action sequences I have ever witnessed. Sometimes you needs to get rid of that pesky thing they call substance to make way for some amazingly awesome style. This movie kicks ass!
6. FAST FIVE
I honestly never imagined a Fast and Furious movie making my top 10 movies of the year list but this one deserves it for sure. FAST FIVE successfully rejuvenates the franchise and is one hell of an action movie. This movie has everything an action fan like myself would want including cool characters, awesome locations, and some high adrenaline action sequences that rank as some of the best I’ve seen in recent memory. This franchise is reborn and I simply cannot wait for the sequels!
This is one of the most bad ass stylized action films I have ever seen. IMMORTALS sets a new benchmark for stylized action sequences even beating out Zack Snyder’s amazing film 300 in almost every way imaginable. IMMORTALS also proves to audiences that Henry Cavill (THE TUDORS) is prime leading man material and I am reassured after seeing this film that he will be a great Clark Kent/Superman in 2013’s MAN OF STEEL. If you missed this one in theaters do yourself a favor and check it out when it comes to Blu-Ray later this year. Highly recommended.
4. SUPER 8
I always look forward to any project J.J. Abrams (STAR TREK) is involved with and SUPER 8 proved to be an instant classic in the vein of E.T. and THE GOONIES. I’m a sucker for coming-of-age stories AND anything involving aliens so you can imagine just how much I enjoyed this one. SUPER 8 has it all including a great story, interesting characters that feel real, perfect pacing, and some amazing action sequences and creature designs. A must-see for all.
3. X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
The X-Men franchise is back and directer Matthew Vaughn (KICK-ASS) has successfully breathed new life into this franchise. Sure there are a crap ton of plot holes that do not match up with previous installments, but who really cares when a movie is this good. X-MEN: FIRST CLASS is hands down the most fun I have had in the theatre this year and I simply cannot wait to see what direction the franchise goes from here. PLEASE make a sequel to this reintroducing Cyclops and giving him the on-screen treatment he deserves!
I can easily say that DRIVE has everything I look for in a good movie. There is a great story here that involves some eccentric and fun characters, the cinematography is beautiful, the action is brutal and well choreographed, and the music compliments the film so much that it brings it to new heights. I also enjoyed that director Nicolas Winding Refn (BRONSON) was not afraid to stay in one moment for a long time letting the audience soak up all the ambiance and beauty each scene had to offer. A stunning achievement in film making and one of the few movies I consider a perfect 10 out of 10. This is pure cinema.
It was very difficult deciding between HANNA and DRIVE for my movie of the year. Both were awarded with a perfect 10 out of 10 review score and both are beautifully stunning films in every way possible. The coming-of-age story in HANNA is a truly unique and beautiful experience that struck a chord in me that few movies can. I was captivated from beginning to end with the films beautiful camera work, the richly deep and real characters, the mesmerizing soundtrack and some truly intense action. HANNA also boasts one of the single best action sequences in a film that is all shot in one take. Amazing stuff.
HONORABLE MENTIONS (Click the movie title below for the full review)
Click HERE to see last year’s “Top 10 Movies of 2010”.