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Kaboom! Magazine.com 18 Most Explosive Films of 2018

Kaboom! Magazine.com 18 Most Explosive Films of 2018

What are the most explosive films of 2018? Everyone spent most of the year trying to plan flights to Wakanda or trying to avoid the snap, but the 18’s did feature a lot of films that made people rush to their local movie theaters. To honor the year that was, Kaboom! Magazine.com is ranking the best movies of 2018. No mixed bags, interesting trainwrecks, or blockbusters that boast big box-office tallies. Just the true greats — movies big, small, and from around the world. From No. 18 all the way down to No. 1, these are the films that left us blown away.

18. Blindspotting:

Blindspotting is one of the year’s great films, and somehow you can tell from the opening moments. The film was written by Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal, who also take the lead roles, but such is the fusion of intention between the director and the screenwriters that the movie has the feeling as having sprung from the same mind. The filmmakers adopt, as if spontaneously, a tone that allows for humor, lightness, absurdity, and even some flirtations with the surreal. Yet an undertone of tension pervades. Even when things seem to be going well, there is always the possibility of a sudden plunge into shattering violence. Blindspotting is more than just a showcase for Diggs and Casal. The whole ensemble is strong, most notably Jasmine Cephas Jones as Miles’ level-headed wife and Jamina Gavankar as Collin’s straitlaced ex-girlfriend. Notice, as well, Ethan Embry, who plays a racist white cop. He has perhaps three lines, but he makes a powerful impression in a key scene.

17. Annihilation:

Annihilation is the best sci-fi film in years, a mind-blowing trip into an inscrutable heart of darkness that marks writer-director Alex Garland as one of the genre’s true greats. Desperate to understand what happened to her soldier husband (Oscar Issac) on his last mission, a biologist (Natalie Portman) ventures alongside four comrades (Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny) into a mysterious, and rapidly growing, hot zone known as the “Shimmer.” What follows is an unsettling, and finally hallucinatory, tale of destruction and transformation, division, and replication—dynamics that Garland posits as the fundamental building blocks of every aspect of existence, and which fully come to the fore during a climax of such surreal birth-death insanity that it has to be seen to be believed. Apropos for a story about nature’s endless cycles of synthesis and mutation, it combines elements of numerous predecessors (Apocalypse Now, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stalker, The Thing) to create something wholly, frighteningly unique.

16. BlacKkKlansman:

As energized as anything he’s made in years, Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman tackles our current white nationalist-stained era via the based-on-real-events tale of 1970s African-American rookie undercover detective Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), who infiltrates the KKK with the aid of Jewish partner Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver). Lee has a tendency to let scenes run on long after their point (and impact) has been made, yet here, that habit rarely undercuts the electricity of his action, which has Stallworth and Zimmerman posing as a racist white man (the former on the phone, the latter in person) to gain the confidence of the Klan and its leader, David Duke (Topher Grace)—all as Stallworth develops a less-than-upfront relationship with an African-American activist (Laura Harrier). Concerned with issues of intolerance and identity (and what it takes to “pass” in particular societies), rife with current-events parallels, and canny about its own place in cinema history (and movies’ effect on the national discourse), it’s amusing, suspenseful, and intensely engaged with the present moment.

15. Wreck-In Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet:

John C. Reilly’s lovable video game villain returns for this sequel, which sees Wreck-It Ralph and his sidekick Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) venturing out of the confines of their arcade in search of a replacement part for Vanellope’s broke game. They log onto the Internet, naturally, to do some online shopping—only to discover a wild and uncharted world unlike anything else they’ve ever experienced.

14. Sorry To Bother You:

First time director Boots Riley rolls together ideas of race, identity, and capitalism into one absolutely wild dystopian alternate reality in which people in poverty voluntarily submit themselves into indentured servitude. The world building is deep and effortless, as the film follows Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) and his rise in a telemarketing company. The key to his success is employing a “white voice.” What you think will be a hilarious satire, however, quickly morphs into a dark parallel universe that’s not actually too far from our own.

13. Blockers:

The trailers for Blockers did not do the film justice. From a brief two-minute clip, it looks like another raunchy teen comedy about a bunch of parents who try to stop their kids from losing their virginity on prom night. Surprisingly, though, this film takes a nuanced and responsible approach to both parenting and sexuality. Sure, there are scenes of John Cena butt-chugging and trying to sneak around a house while avoiding two parents involved in a kinky blindfold sex romp, but it also starts necessary conversations about autonomy, consent, and the path to sexual maturity. Director Kay Cannon takes immense care with complex issues, while still allowing the material to remain light and, most importantly, absolutely hilarious.

12. Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom:

We have to go back to the island again, this time to save the dinosaurs that have caused so much trouble to begin with. In this latest entry in the franchise, a volcanic eruption threatens the prehistoric inhabitants of Isla Nubar. Naturally, a team of scientists put themselves in peril in order to protect the creatures.

11. Game Night:

Once you reach a certain age, game nights can give boring suburban adults a sense of thrill and accomplishment that they might not be getting out of their middle-aged lives. In Game Night, a super competitive couple (Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams) see their weekly game night go absolutely batshit crazy when a murder mystery party turns into an actual kidnapping. Sure, there are real guns and real danger involved, but it’s a hell of a lot more fun than winning at Pictionary.

10. Deadpool 2:

The Deadpool franchise is hardly a superhero. If anything, it’s an excellent spoof of superhero movies, with its titular character talking shit about everyone from Wolverine to Batman to Thanos—pretty much mocking the whole spectrum of the genre. Deadpool 2 is a movie about dick jokes with occasional action sequences thrown in. This is a movie whose distant connection to the greater Marvel and X-Men universe only functions as a way to make fun of it. At its high points, Deadpool 2 is the greatest modern satire of a highly lucrative and bloated film genre. And even at its lowest, it’s one of the best comedies of the year.

9. Halloween:

Another Halloween movie? Yes, there have been more disappointing entries than good ones, but like some other films on this list, it’s the people behind the movie that had us intrigued. This latest reboot is a direct sequel to the 1978 original that started it all, and Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role as Laurie Strode, a character doomed to live in the shadow of Michael Myers, the seemingly omnipresent masked killer. The director and co-writer? David Gordon Green, whose dramas, which include George Washington, All The Real Girls and Joe, have been nothing short of wonderful. If nothing else, we were excited to see what he could do to breathe new life into an ageing slasher franchise.

8. First Man:

Delivering a gorgeous exploration of the mind of one of history’s greatest introverts, Damien Chazelle flushed jazz out of his system and took on this contrasting project, crafting a beautifully shot, harrowing, and claustrophobic narrative. In contrast to “La La Land,” a bright, extroverted, and often cheery ode to Hollywood, “First Man” takes a somber, cold and enclosed approach to one man embarking on a trip to Earth’s natural satellite. But with this tale lacking the story conflict of “Apollo 13,” and Armstrong being an introvert’s introvert, a man who processes pain alone under the stars, keeps his friends at arm’s length, and travels to the most secluded place man has ever reached, its power is surprising. But then, Chazelle excels at making internal conflict external and several of the action sequences thrust you deep into the experience, creating intense, near vomit-inducing moments of thrill and vertigo. His interweaving of the physical and psychological make the movie a must-see.

7. Ocean’s 8:

An all-female reboot of Steven Soderbergh’s 2001 hit Ocean’s Eleven – itself based on the 1960 film of the same name – this star-studded heist caper is slight on surprise but ridiculously abundant in talent, led by Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett and Anne Hathaway as master thieves in an infectiously fun outing.

6. A Quiet Place:

Is there a better argument for the continued viability of the collective moviegoing experience than the dark satisfaction that comes with feeling skin-crawling dread at the same time as dozens of people in close proximity to you? John Krasinski’s shiver-inducing post-apocalyptic horror fable was the closest thing we got to public-viewing necessity in 2018. The high-concept story verges on the ridiculous: after a civilization-annihilating invasion of aliens, one family on a remote farm has to thread the needle between the rapacious outer-space beasts’ strengths (blinding speed and ferocity, keen hearing) and great weakness (lack of sight). With Krasinski’s deft handling the plot’s parameters allow for far more than just a survival story. Though punctuated with long, taut stretches of silence, the film’s true heart is located in a deeply sincere rendering of fierce familial bonds which is all the more impressive given the scarcity of dialogue. And in the midst of all the scarifying hugger-mugger, spaced with neatly delivered jolts of electric fear, Emily Blunt is excellent but the true standout is Millicent Simmons, the deaf actress playing the young daughter who might just have the key to their survival. Here’s the hoping that the already-announced sequel won’t be the letdown horror sequels so often are, because this is one quiet place we’d very happily revisit.

5. A Star Is Born:

“It’s the same story told over and over, forever,” muses Bobby Maine in the most self-referential moment of “A Star Is Born” Version 4, but the joy and tragedy of Bradley Cooper’s immersive remake lies in how its characters don’t know what story they’re in until it’s over. Though the drama hits its high notes with aplomb (who among us didn’t get chills from the “Shallow” number?), it’s the many little humanizing details conveyed by two of the year’s most endearing leads that grant this familiar tale its spontaneity, flooding the opposite yet entangled trajectories of Jackson and Ally with messy emotion and intimacy. Much is made of the importance of ‘the moment,’ from Jackson’s advice to Ally to “take it in,” to Lady Gaga’s show-stopping rendition of the tellingly titled “Always Remember Us This Way,” but the moment is always in flux as the couple navigate a haze of fame and booze while their bond remains the one constant element in their lives. Though their story was written many years ago, “A Star Is Born” gives its characters a will of their own, so when those big, weepy moments arrive, you buy them hook, line, and sinker.

4. Incredibles 2:

With the long-anticipated sequel to his 2004 animated hit The Incredibles, Brad Bird returns to the retro-future, the Googie dreamland of Batmobiles and Bond cars, gee-whiz and Gerry Anderson, where a few bright individuals fight to keep our sense of wonder out of the clutches of the nogoodniks and the killjoys. Bird’s cranky, exceptionalist vision hasn’t mellowed with the years; the villain this time around is a Mabuse-esque mass-media hypnotist named the Screenslaver. But his mix of cartoony forms and crisp, lively camerawork still makes for spectacular chases and set pieces. The world of his anti-Watchmenzips, shaming most of its live-action counterparts in the superhero genre.

3. Crazy Rich Asians:

The shiny opulence and broad comedy of Crazy Rich Asians can blind viewers to some of the movie’s more granular, less flashy pleasures. This adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s bestselling novel of the same name is built around a central romance between NYU professor Rachel Chu (Wu) and mega-wealthy heir Nick Young (Golding), but the movie’s most potent material concerns the intergenerational struggles between Rachel and Nick’s skeptical mother, played with nerve by Yeoh. Each verbal slight stings; each withering glance leaves a mark. When the two face off over a game of mahjong at the film’s conclusion, it’s as gripping as any white-knuckle gambling movie showdown. Even in this rarified rom-com world, the stakes are high and the actresses are unquestionably playing for keeps.

2. Black Panther:

Marvel’s best movie succeeds because it roots its superheroes and fantastical elements in reality. Chadwick Boseman stars as the titular superhero, who succeeds his father as the King of Wakanda—a secret African nation that holds a wealth of vibranium that allows it to be most technologically advanced country on Earth. But his sovereign is challenged by a complicated foe played by Michael B. Jordan.

1. Avengers: Infinity War:

Every comics fan’s wildest dream has come true with Marvel’s mega-blockbuster, which caps a decade of superhero world-building with a hugely entertaining spectacle of laughs, surprises and heartbreak. This third Avengers movie – and the 19th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – may well be its best outing yet.

What was your favorite film from 2018? Let us know right now by leaving your comment below.