Top 10 Blockbuster Moments of 2017
The above video is a tribute montage of all cinema in 2017 made by Perri Nemiroff, one of my favorite Youtube personalities that happens to have an adorable cat. If the video made you believe that 2017 was an awesome year for movie fans, well, that'd be because it kinda was, especially for our inner (and sometimes outer) kids giddying over superhero landings, interconnected universes and giant monsters smashing helicopters.
Sure, most of these popcorn entertainment are crammed out on some invisible assembly line to cater to our deepest need for escapism so we can willingly cough up our hard earned cash, and won't be enshrined on the movie hall of fame as masterpieces a la Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas, or the more recent Birdman or Whiplash. But the moments, the few and far between fleeting moments that completely justify the price of entry, are what constantly remind us why we became movie fans, and urge us to continue being so. It was also these moments that left us with a dropped jaw, a goofy ear-to-ear smile or tear stains on our cheeks.
These are the some of the best moments selected from 2017's most extravagant cinematic productions. Spoiler for each of these titles, obviously. Enjoy
- Jason Statham fights a bunch of bad guys on a plane while making weird faces to a baby in his arm - The Fate of the Furious
- One-shot stairway fight scene - Atomic Blonde
- A familiar face is reborn (and subsequently rekilled because of an eye color mistake) - Blade Runner 2049
- Groot's quest to retrieve Yondu's prototype fin - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2
- Yoda scene - Star Wars: The Last Jedi
- John Wick vs Common (Round 1) - John Wick Chapter 2
- Captain America teaching us about patience - Spider-Man: Homecoming
- Opening montage of the Alpha station - Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets
- End battle - War for the Planet of the Apes
10. Superman returns - Justice League
Justice League may be a hot mess as a movie, but as every questionable DCEU output, it has its share of fan-pleasing and sometimes downright awesome moments, and one of them is the long-awaited resurrection of the Man of Steel. An uncontainable force of evil has been summoned to Earth, our heroes have banded together in an effort to defend our home, and....they got their ass handed to them. It then falls upon world's greatest detective to come up with a brilliant solution: let's just take this completely unstable alien cube, put it in the easily-hackable alien spaceship which gave birth to Doomsday last time it was used, and resurrect the all-powerful alien who may or may not kill us all when he wakes up.
It boils down to the fact that you simply cannot have a Justice League without Superman. Even for someone who's never touched a comic book before, the idea is unfathomable. So up until this moment, virtually every audience has been holding his/her breath for the great comeback scene, and boy it did not disappoint.
Kal-El, in a state of delirious amnesia, schooled the rest of the league in an overwhelming fashion for disturbing his beauty nap. Nothing, and I mean absolutely NOTHING the league threw at him, Cyborg's arm cannon, Aquaman's trident (with five prongs?), Diana's lasso or even Flash's super speed could even begin to counter the raw unleashed Kryptonian power. The only detriment to this gleeful sequence is the laughable effect on Henry Cavill's lower jaw.
9. Post credit scene - Split
Just when you think Split will go down in history as the first M. Night Shyamalan movie without some kind of a world-shattering twist (or at least an attempt thereof), audiences who knew their Shyamalan flicks were treated with a chill-inducing revelation after the end title card, while the rest were left confused with a "wait, is that...?"
Split turned out to be set in the same cinematic universe with Unbreakable, an unconventional superhero movie Shyamalan made way back in 2000, before the spark of superhero craze that engulfs the world today was lit. It starred Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, and that's where I'll leave it in case you haven't seen that movie yet. This little information does not intrude the main plot of Split in any way, guaranteeing a satisfying experience for those who didn't get the reference; but for those who did, the concept of Split became that much elevated.
Split was about a man with 23 personalities, with a 24th beast mode breaking out. His shift in personality could go as far as changing his body chemicals, harden his skin and give him incredible strength and agility. That requires some suspension of disbelief. But turns out what we really witnessed is the origin story of aasupervillain in a universe of superheroes, now it all makes sense. Well played!
8. Opening scene - Baby Driver
You know what the worst thing about Edgar Wright's Baby Driver is? Aside from the retrospective sense of weirdness given what we found out about Kevin Spacey? It never did surpass its own opening 10 minutes. For future references, this is what a pitch perfect action scene looks like. From the very second Ansel Elgort's protagonist Baby starts energetically rocking to Bellbottoms all my himself inside his getaway red Subaru WRX while his partners in crime are away doing the "criminal" stuff, we instantly got all the reason we needed to be invested in this character and, by extension, the whole movie.
What followed was an adrenaline-overdosed highway chase scene that rivals, if not surpasses, the best that the Fast & Furious franchise ever had to offer, with stunning car stunts completed done sans green screen, and the best thing is, it was, from start to finish, precisely timed to the soundtrack, offering an exhilarating hybrid between action and music that rivals, if not surpasses, the best that the Guardians of the Galaxy movies ever had to offer. Now that is really badass!
With the gang safely delivered to their hideout, you'd think the fun would have to be suspended a bit for some much-needed expositions, but not so fast! First, we get to enjoy hands down the most entertaining coffee-buying scene in anything EVER, with one consecutive shot of Baby walking to/from the coffee shop, again perfectly timed with the soundtrack with even occasional glimpses of the lyrics hiding in plain sight, disguised as fleeting graffiti on the wall. It simply doesn't get any better than this.
7. Projector - IT
You don't necessarily have to be medically diagnosed with coulrophobia (fear of clowns) to be scared shitless by these brief two minutes taken out of the biggest Stephen King-adapted movie of 2017 (that didn't flop). The Losers Club, having finally banded together with all members in place, began their investigations on their common fear: the evil entity known simply as It. They gather at a projector room to study the sewer layout of the town, finally deducing that the creepy and abandoned Well House is where It dwells.
However, things take a sharp dive when the projector seemingly takes on a life of its own and displays, at a frantically increasing rate, old photos with Bill and Georgie, finally focusing on a family portrait with their mother's face slowly morphing into that of the infamous clown played by Bill Skarsgard, complete with a twisted leer. The kids quickly toppled the projector in the hopes of shutting it down, but it relentlessly flicked through more images of the clown, until he suddenly wasn't there.
Instead, there's a real fullscreen-sized Pennywise halfway out of the projected wall, deliriously laughing at his screaming prey. Picture the scene of Sadako/Samara from the Ring movies coming out of the TV set, and magnify her size by 20 times, and you get some idea of the breathless sense of desperation one gets when watching this scene in a theatre.
6. No Man's Land - Wonder Woman
Not long after entering the world of men, Diana witnessed its ugliest offering: war. Led by Steve Trevor, the gang traveled past many injured and displaced victims in dire need of help, and the good-natured Diana had to be constantly dragged away. But when she learned that a woman's entire village is trapped on the other side of the so called "no man's land", enough finally was enough.
In a moment that still sends chills down to every fiber, Diana sheds her disguise as a secretary and reveals the Amazon warrior inside, walking towards the German front deflecting every firepower with her bracelets and shield in beautiful slo-mo. Inspired, the Allied soldiers mustered for an all-out attack that finally drove the Central troops away. Diana dashed into the village and took out all enemies in a spectacular display of badass-ness, coupled with her newfound signature theme. The rush finally ended with Steve & co replicating an Amazon "Shield!" technique which helped Diana take down the final sniper (along with the entire clock tower, which was kinda unnecessary?).
The sequence reminds us of why we fell in love with these spandex sporting heroes in the first place. They inspire us to do what we normally cannot. Wonder Woman as a movie perfectly captured that characteristic side of Diana, and this sequence is the epitome of it all.
5. Remembering Papa - Coco
With his great-great-grandfather Héctor on the verge of irreversably falling into oblivion, Miguel gets his blessing and returns to the world of living. Wasting no time, he rushes back home and desperately attempts to remind a senile Coco of her Papa, to no noticeable effect. Just when all seems lost, Miguel picks up Héctor's guitar and starts to pick on its strings. Well, Pixar has been playing with our heart strings for over 20 years, so why the heck not?
He plays and sings Remember Me, appropirately the most memorable song of the movie, and slowly but surely, Coco's empty expression morphed into one of joy, and she started to sing along, much to the astonishment of rest of the family member. We don't really see Héctor come back to life...or rather as close to life as he could get at this stage, but we got everything we needed from the scene.
I'm not crying. You're crying!
4. Thor vs. Hulk - Thor: Ragnarok
Trapped on planet Sakaar and forced to battle in a coliseum for his freedom, the God of Thunder, in the grand debut of his new look, was ecstatic to find out that his deadly opponent turned out to be "an old friend from work". Unfortunately for him, it happened to be the one friend who would happily smash his face in even on the best of days. They proceeded to battle to the satisfaction of every watching audience, well perhaps with the exception of Loki.
Seeing Hulk in action is always amazing, and this Thor vs Hulk battle, in many ways, topped the Hulkbuster vs Hulk fight from Age of Ultron. The two strongest Avengers put up an awesome display of their destructive powers and indestructable nature. Moreover, the scene contained some genuinely hilarious moments, most memorable of which had to be Thor trying to calm down the green monster with the "sunset" monologue that worked so well with Black Widow, but not so much with his goofy face. Hulk grabbed Thor in rage and smashed him repeatedly on the ground, prompting Loki who suffered the same fate himself not that long ago to jump up and yell "yes, that's how it feels".
Some fans might be a bit let down that we won't get a standalone Planet Hulk adaptation, but ask yourself, can it really get any better than this?
3. Throne room - Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Sensing the conflict inside Kylo Ren, Rey was convinced that she could do for him what her broken and disillusioned master did for Darth Vader a long time ago, and in blind confidence, surrendered herself to the First Order. In an act that rhymes with the previous generation, Kylo took Rey in front of Supreme Leader Snoke, who revealed that he was the one who bridged the Force connection between the two all along, and his intention was merely to use Rey to locate Luke Skywalker and kill her afterwards.
Rey fought back but proved to be no match against the immeasurable dark power of the mysterious dark lord. To reward his apprentice who happened to be going through some serious self-searching, Snoke asked Kylo to execute Rey, sensing that he will indeed "switch on the lightsaber and kill his true enemy". Unbeknownst to him, Kylo had something else in mind. Let's just say Snoke was half the man he used to be. Cue arguably the best action scene of the movie, as Rey and Kylo team up against the Praetorian guards, who finally get something to do in a Star Wars movie but suck at their job as ever.
With the battle won, Rey believed she had accomplished her initial goal of redeeming Ben Solo, but once again when faced with a choice, he chose to be Kylo Ren. Kylo confronted Rey, forced her to admit her own identity as an abandoned orphan, and genuinely asked her, even begged her to join him, seemingly not as an apprentice, but as an equal. Rey also made her choice after a brief hesitation, orphan or not, she chose the light. They struggled for Luke's old lightsaber in a stalemate of Force strength, breaking the saber in half, and the scene finally ended with Holdo's heart-stopping lightspeed kamikaze run.
Holy cow! What a scene it was! Rarely has there been one scene in any Star Wars that had so many things happen! Maybe I'm among the minority that not only appreciated the divisive decisions made about Snoke and Rey within these short moments, but also cheered for the audaciousness behind them. The scene has everything a Star Wars fan could hope for, stunning visual, compelling characters, lightsaber action and major usurpation of what we thought we knew.
2. Meet the parents - Spider-Man: Homecoming
Successfully asking your dream girl to the homecoming dance is enough to lift any depressed spirits who recently had their tailor-made Spidey-suit confiscated by Tony Stark, and it was no different for Peter Parker. Cue a "teenager prepping for an awkward date" montage set to Save It For Later by The English Beat, which abruptly ended the second Peter knocked open Liz's door, because the person who answered it was Michael freakin' Keaton!
In every movie theatre down to every corner of the world, there was utter silence, save for maybe dramatic inhales. The villain being the father of the hero's girlfriend or friend, or otherwise sharing some far-fetched personal connection, is an age-old trope prevalent in the superhero genre, not to mention used for pretty much every villain in the past Spider-Man movies. So how is it that we did not see this coming? Well, you get the racial distinction for starters. It also happened at the "wrong" moment, in the middle of a comical montage and stopping every positive momentum dead. It's not how it's supposed to be done, and yet it makes total sense nevertheless. MCU is so underrated from a film-making perspective.
What more can I say about the most maddeningly intense and terrifying ride to a ball ever captured on a screen? Seeing Michael Keaton's Toomes slowly but surely figuring out Peter's secret with half his face bathed in the shade of green (from the traffic light) sends everybody's Spidey-sense tingling.
1. So, This Is What It Feels Like - Logan
"I see you on your back. There's blood everywhere. You're holding your own heart in your hand." This is Yukio's vision of Logan's future in The Wolverine (2013), and intentionally so or not, Logan (2017) at least metaphorically fulfilled that vision in the most heartbreaking, emotional and bittersweet way possible.
Mortally wounded by his soulless clone, Logan urged his daughter to run away, so she doesn't have to fight anymore. With Laura's hand in his and Logan, on his last breaths, asked her to "not become what they made her to be". A tearful Laura finally breaks down and calls him Daddy, and Logan spoke his immortal last words: "so, this is what it feels like", before life finally escaping his eyes.
But what did he mean by that? Was he referring to the feeling of death, after a long and arduous life? Was it the sense of relief now that he at long last did not have to fight anymore? Or was it fatherhood, having a child of his own to love and be proud of and in turn be loved in a way that only family can give? We won't ever know for sure, and it can easily be all of those things at once.
The movie concluded thereafter with Laura and the other kids holding a makeshift funeral for Logan, with Laura quoting from the classic western Shane (1953), likely the only movie she'd ever seen, as a heart-wrenching eulogy. With the ceremony concluded, the kids continued their escape as Laura doubled back one last time, took the cross in front of his tomb and repositioned it as an "X". Cue emotional score and slowly fade to black.
You can pretty much take these last moments of Logan, being also the finale to Hugh Jackman's immortal rendition of Wolverine, and patent it as a "soul detector", its core functional philosophy being "if you didn't feel even a stir of emotion inside, you ain't got it". This is what "perfect ending" looks like, the ending that Hugh Jackman along with us fans needs, deserves and craves. We always knew that farewell was around the corner, and we have all imagined, when we were brave enough, how this beloved character can bow out in the most fulfilling, compelling and unforgettable way.
So, this is what it feels like.