2012 will most likely be remembered as the year of resurrection, as several existing characters had their origins examined, established and questioned, as this year’s top five shows.
5 – Men In Black 3
Sequels are usually a good opportunity for weary stars to simply cash in on a quick buck. Men In Black 2 definitely suffered from the sequel syndrome, as Will Smith phones it in. But Men In Black 3 is a refreshing exception to the rule.
The film sees the cast reenergised especially Will Smith and let’s face it a motivated Smith is a tour de force in his own right. Here Josh Brolin is added into the mixer and I had my reservations of once again Tommy Lee Jones taking a back seat but Brolin fills the hole and matches Smith punch for punch.
The retro feel of the story works well and the writing is fantastic as Etan Cohen does what seems to be pretty big in Hollywood at the moment, exploring established characters origins.
But Cohen does a really good job of keeping the suspense and it comes as a genuine surprise, leaving you with that feel good factor that you wouldn’t have expected even from the first outing. Yes that’s right Men In Black 3 surpasses the previous two entries.
Nod your head the black suits are staying.
4 – Prometheus
Ultimately this film was a bit of a let-down. It was eagerly anticipated and started off promisingly, but was let down as the film fell into a hole of predictability before trying to climb itself out of said hole.
Yet it managed something very important in the Alien series and that was finally saving us from Alien vs. Predator purgatory. The franchise was at risk of falling into the straight to DVD black hole thanks to those travesties. Thankfully Ridley Scott returns to the franchise with a prequel looking at the origins of the Aliens and Prometheus provides a sort of rebirth.
The script isn’t the strongest and Logan Marshall-Green was horribly miscast. But the attention to detail in terms of props and set dressings is immaculate. When you go back and watch Alien you being to realise and appreciate the subtle and the more obvious nods to the original.
Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender are the stars of the show and are perfectly cast in their roles. Rapace is probably the only actor who could pull off the role of lead female protagonist without falling into a forest of clichés and pastiche. The comparisons to Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley are hard to avoid and though Rapace’s Shaw character is strong she is not necessarily the gun-toting, vest wearing, kick-ass 80s female action hero.
Fassbender is on another planet as the android David. Channelling David Bowie and the Replicants from Blade Runner, Fassbender seals himself as the most convincing android ever.
These factors coupled with the stunning visuals (Scott has always had the eye) given Prometheus a place on this list.
3 – The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight trilogy has revolutionised the way big action blockbuster film makers view the medium. Christopher Nolan has brought the art of colour, scale and character to the genre.
The debate rages whether The Dark Knight Rises was as good as its predecessor, I’d say not. It was a daring, grander attempt, but it lacked the Catherine wheel that was Heath Ledger as the Joker. But Tom Hardy has a physical presence in the film as Bane and is aided by some great set pieces.
The Dark Knight trilogy had a slow start with Batman Begins, but it has now redefined what the superhero genre should be and in the process breathed life into several superhero film franchises including Spiderman and the Avengers.
The greatest achievement of Nolan’s has to be reversing the damage done by Joel Schumacher’s homoerotic hero played by George Clooney. Batman is no longer a byword for camp, but a darker, more serious, conflicted superhero played by Christian Bale.
Sort of as Tim Burton imagined him in the original and how Michael Keaton played him in the original, but ramped up in sheer scale and audacity of course.
2 – Margin Call
Yes it was released in October of 2011 in the States and was given a slow drip release across the rest of the world, but the film didn’t arrive here in the UK until 13 January 2012.
The film was more than worth the wait. An ensemble cast of heavyweight Hollywood actors, J.C Chandor’s tightly written script and fantastic direction and photography aided by Farnk DeMarco. Margin Call tells the tale of the moment the music stopped on Wall Street as the recession took hold.
Loosely based on the Lehmann brothers bank collapse there are fantastic performances from the likes of Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto and Simon Baker. One of the greatest Wall Street films made, Margin Call provides the human story.
1 – Skyfall
James Bond made a return to the big screen after four painstaking years on the shelf. The whole series was in a limbo following the under whelming Quantum of Solace and financial troubles at studio MGM.
But the producers aided by star Daniel Craig who took it upon himself to ask Sam Mendes to direct and Javier Bardem to play the archetypal Bond baddie Silva. These guys aided by a stellar support cast including Ben Whishaw and Ralph Fiennes completed Bond’s transformation from Cold War relic to a post-Wikileaks hero.
But Skyfall wouldn’t have been what it was without Dame Judi Dench who as M was more prominent than ever. Finally Judi Dench was given a substance filled role to get her teeth into.
2012 may well be remembered as the year that Daniel Craig established himself as the greatest James Bond ever, finally dethroning king Sean Connery. Skyfall had it all; action, humour, breath taking photography thanks to Roger Deakins, a pulsating score thanks to Bond first time composer Thomas Newman, but most importantly it brought emotion to the screen.