So after the most disappointing movies of 2013, it is time to focus on the most surprisingly good movies of 2013. These may not be the best movies, but are better than they have any right to be. The movies that I went in with very low expectations (and didn’t have my hopes changed from the trailers) and instead found movies that were some of the most enjoyable of the year. So, in no particular order, here are the top 5.
World War Z: After the first trailer, I thought this looked horrible. I expected a boring trek through some landmarks with zombies who are not zombies. Instead, apart from a bit of a silly ending, I found this to be quite a tense ride that explored some interesting facets of human behaviour in the face of extinction. And the Zombies did feel like Zombies.
Pain and Gain: After Transformers, I couldn’t think less of Michael Bay’s film credits. But while he does still make his Transformers trilogy some of the worse movies ever made with so much squandered potential (how did he muck up giant robots?), he somehow gets a true story based on bodybuilders work.
Elysium: I hated District 9. I hated the heavy-handed allusions to class and racism and the social commentary of it. So why did I like Elysium? I guess it felt that one-step slightly toned down from District 9 where the social commentary didn’t feel like it pervaded every aspect of it while watching it, eventhough it did.
Kick-Ass 2: I didn’t feel Kick-Ass deserved a sequel and this looked, from the trailers, to be pretty much a rehashing of Kick-Ass. However, this film delivered allot of new elements and progressed the story of the Kick-Ass world to keep me entertained. It tackled different themes, eventhough there was some repetition in some character arcs. It even fit in a teen-drama with Hit Girl that, although having quite a predictable and pandering pay-out, felt like it had a good place in the story. This is an example of how to do a good super-hero movie sequel with a self-contained story without trying this whole shared world Avengers copycats that everything is trying to do (Man of Steel/Justice League, The Wolverine/Days of Future Past, Spiderman/Sinister Six).
The Wolverine: It was an unnecessary movie, but this turned out to be surprisingly entertaining. Although the whole “things still hurt even though he heals” wasn’t explored (I had my hopes up from the pre-movie interviews) and the plot was still non-sensical and overcomplicated, it was still okay. And considering how bad the trailers looked and how much I am sick of X-men movies having an overabundance of Wolverine, I did think this was better than it had any right to be following Last Stands and Origins.
So there it is. The 5 most surprising movies for me. Not sure what will be next.