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YouTube's Jack Howard selects his 10 best films of the year so far


Now that we’re halfway through the year, I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on the movies that have been and gone. I’ve already been very impressed and surprised by the quality of films this year and there’s still another 50% to go. But without further delay, here are my top ten favourite films of the year… So far.

10. John Wick: Chapter 2

In 2015, everyone was surprised to find that the first John Wick movie turned out to be really great. So I was delighted to find out we’d be getting another one.

I thought I knew what to expect from this sequel but it still surprised me. It’s just as exciting as Chapter 1 and does a really great job at continuing to build on the world that the first one created. Bring on Chapter 3!

9. Baby Driver

Edgar Wright’s latest is a genre mash of musical and action movie. He blends the gritty with the whimsical and makes it work - telling a fairytale story against a gangster backdrop. So many people have been excited by this film and I agree that it’s refreshing to see an original film exceeding both critically and financially.

However, it’s not without its flaws, which is why it’s not higher on my list. I still feel like Wright hasn’t learned how to end his films. But I still had a great time watching this one - check it out if you haven’t seen it yet.

8. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

This was every bit as good, if not better than the first Guardians, in my opinion. It probably helped that I didn’t have any expectations before seeing this, I just wanted it to be fun.

And it was fun - but it ended up being a lot more than that. The story was a lot more personal and packed a more emotional punch than I expected it to. Also - dat soundtrack. Wow. I’m still listening to it almost four months on.

7. The LEGO Batman Movie

This is without a doubt the best film featuring Batman since the Dark Knight trilogy. Also, it’s hilarious. Not only are the quality of jokes exceptionally high but the quantity in which they happen is insane. It’s so funny that when one joke happens, two more have happened while you’re laughing.

The balance of story and humour is really well measured and it ends up telling a really touching story about family. If they can do it with LEGO, why can’t they do it with real life humans?

6. War for the Planet of the Apes

This might be the best trilogy in recent memory and it is held together by Andy Serkis’ terrific performance as Caesar. Since the first film in 2011, people have been crying out for him to be nominated for an Oscar for this role and I hope he finally is.

War is a bleak, cold and tragic story. Having seen Caesar develop and grow over three films, this really felt like a fitting ending to the trilogy. Leave it there, please.

5. Wonder Woman

In the 76 years since Wonder Woman was created, this is her first theatrically released feature film. Which is insane when you think about it. She’s one of the most iconic characters ever created and it’s taken almost a century for her to get on the big screen. But it was worth the wait.

Currently, we are living in a world of cinema driven by superhero films that can be hard to differentiate. A lot of the recent Marvel films, like Doctor Strange or Ant-Man are operating with a level of awareness. Ant-Man can’t even say his own name without somebody snickering. The film treats it like it’s silly - they don't allow us, as an audience, to be full immersed and we can’t buy into it emotionally.

However Wonder Woman employs a much more old fashioned approach. Diana’s earnest, strong sense of morality is infectious and the film’s sincerity is never compromised. There’s so much to say about this film and it’s significance but I still have four more films to get through. I liked it a lot and I want more of it.

4. Spider-Man: Homecoming

If there was a film I was hoping would make it onto this list, this is it. I’m a huge Spidey fan and I am overjoyed that we have finally got an accurate cinematic interpretation of the character.

The film doesn’t feel like a superhero movie, it feels like a teen coming of age story with Spider-Man in it. Like Wonder Woman, I really enjoyed seeing Peter’s moral code at the front and centre and there was a naïveté to his character that we haven’t seen before. Good job Marvel, the ball is back in your court. Now don’t drop it.

3. The Big Sick

This film has only just come out in the UK but I got a chance to see it when I was out in LA. It’s a refreshing take on the classic rom-com genre. It’s produced by Judd Apatow and you can see his fingerprints all over it.

It’s a story about culture clashes, love and the bleak situations life can put you through. It manages to do all that and be exceptionally funny. There are a few narrative issues that are typical of movies adapting true stories, but overall, this is a really special little film.

2. Get Out

The director, Jordan Peele is famous for being part of the comedy duo 'Key and Peele' who have created and performed some of the most popular comedy sketches in recent memory.

For Peele’s first feature film, this probably isn’t what we expected. But he has confidently made a smart social satirical horror/thriller, addressing real, potent concerns in a provocative and darkly comic way.

But the best thing about Get Out is that values its plot and characters highest of all and allows the social commentary to seep through naturally.

1. Dunkirk

This is easily the most overwhelming experience I’ve had in the cinema this year.

If you haven’t seen it yet, please treat yourself to an IMAX ticket. The immense scale and booming sound is worth the price of entry alone. Nolan’s manipulation of time and use of crosscutting action in other movies is at the forefront here, creating suspense that left me stunned in my seat when the credits started to roll.

It’s too early to say this - but I will anyway - I think Christopher Nolan will win Best Director at every major award ceremony for this film. No other filmmaker would or could have made this.