Movie Talk looks at the most anticipated movies of 2013 – you know, those films that EVERYONE couldn’t wait to see thanks to either their hyperactive pre-launch publicity, fanbase hysteria, or general all round word-of-frothing-mouth excitement (or an addictive cocktail of all three) and picks out our Top Ten Movies that were actually as good as, or even better than, their hype.
And that’s no small feat given how much hysteria some of these films generated.
If you think we’re full of you-know-what, let us know in the comments.
The Top Ten Movies That SO Did Not Live Up to the Hype follows shortly.
1) Iron Man 3
Topping our list has to be Robert Downey Jr taking his third bow as the super-cynical squillionaire who likes to moonlight in a metal suit. Seriously? Who knew he could top the caustically tongue-in-cheek wonderment of Iron Man 1 & 2? Well he did, with help from Ben Kingsley’s slyly witty super-villain, Gwyneth Paltrow’s kick-ass Pepper Potts, some slam-dunk action and a plot which actually took the metal-suited-superhero silliness to a whole new level of fabulous.
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2) Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Not since The Empire Strikes Back, has the second in a trilogy managed to live up to the promise of its forebear while actually providing something a little bit different for the fanboys and fangirls to sink their teeth into. And all that while staying true to Suzanne Collins’s blockbuster books. That Jennifer Lawrence’s star is currently on fire in the movie firmament didn’t hurt either!
3) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Once you’ve seen one hobbit you’ve seen them all, right? Ummm, no, wrong actually. If you take the hobbit out of his burrow, and stick him into a lair with a huge fire-breathing CGI dragon. Add to that the cult coup of transporting the Sherlock double-act of Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch (with dragon breath) to Middle Earth and you’re onto a winner. Those pesky dwarves led by Richard Armitage in hairy face aren’t too shabby either.
4) World War Z
Brad Pitt and Zombies… Just when you thought the paterfamilias of the Brangelina clan had completely lost his mojo, he pulled this much-maligned vanity project out of the bag, creating a rip-roaring new take on the whole walking dead milieu.
5) Thor: The Dark World
Tom also rises, as Hiddleston’s Loki comes into his own beside Chris Hemsworth’s hammer-weilding Norse God. Given that the two of them have Anthony Hopkins for a dad, it’s probably no surprise that this superhero fantasy went into gravitas overload for its second outing – but it still delivers a hefty dose of wow factor.
Maybe not as hyped as the top 5, but certainly much anticipated after the enjoyment of Disney’s last animated fairytale feature Tangled. The House of Mouse’s take on the Snow Queen adds a talking snowman, some super-cool ice effects (geddit?) and a sublime playlist of singalong songs from Book of Mormon duo Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. Nice ice, baby.
7) Star Trek Into Darkness
Taking the ‘never naff off a trekkie’ mantra to heart, the makers of Star Trek go one better with this enterprising re-imagining of the genesis of Kirk’s nemesis Khan. Armageddon-style scenes of death and destruction are backed by Benedict Cumberbatch (what, him again?) going the full dark lord as a man with a bit of an axe to grind (and several other things besides).
8) Man of Steel
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s another Brit doing a stellar job as an American icon. Maybe Zack Synder’s brooding reinvention of the DC deity didn’t get the full nod from the critics, but the Super One’s fanbase seemed very pleased with the powerhouse result. And absolutely no-one can deny Henry Cavill looked good in that moulded plastic suit. The next in the franchise, Batman vs Superman, must be a shoo-in for most hyped movie of 2015 (even with the rather bizarre fit up of Ben Affleck in the Bat suit).
9) Monsters University
Twelve years in the making, Pixar’s long-awaited prequel to Monsters Inc may not get quite as high marks as Mike and Scully’s original pairing but it didn’t disappoint either – looking particularly good next to the supersonic bore that was Planes… And the voice double act of John Goodman and Billy Crystal is still a match made in monster heaven.
10) Zero Dark Thirty
Maybe not so much hyped as mired in pre-launch controversy re: the use of torture in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and whether the film was an apology for it, Kathryn Bigelow’s military thriller earned its stripes with an edge-of-your-seat final half hour (depicting the raid on Osama’s hideout) and a much more complex look at the events than anyone was expecting.
So here ends our Top Ten. Agree? Disagree? Think we’ve lost our marbles? Let us know in the comments.
And just in case you were wondering, here’s The Top Ten Movies of 2013 That Sooooo Did Not Live Up to the Hype.