2012 in film: From The Avengers to Skyfall

A personal look into this year's most important movies

Despite the crisis of the sector and the economy in general, 2012 has brought many quality films and box office records have been shattered. Some franchises have ended (The Twilight Saga), others have started (The Avengers) and some have successfully continued their run (James Bond). There have been a lot good quality movies, as well some very entertaining ones (even both in the same movie). But what has been the biggest movie? What is the film you most remember or the movie that you went to see more than once?

The Avengers

Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey JR.’S robot face and a CGI’d Mark Ruffalo are the Avengers.

The Avengers tells the story of a team of superheroes who have to get together to fight an alien menace and save the day. Directed by Joss Whedon, it has become officially the third on the worldwide box office of all time, beating all time hits like Toy Story 3  (plus, who knows what kind of fortune Marvel is doing with merchandising). The Avengers created quite a buzz and a pretty active fandom. It was only logical, seeing as Marvel had been building up expectations for this movie since the first Iron Man in 2008. So, it’s been a long time coming.

The Avengers is a two-and-a-half-hour epic of action and superheroes. It does not need a long introduction, because all the characters have been introduced in their own movies, even the villain. It was entertaining, had some decent visual effects, and unending one-liners provided by the star-packed cast. Of course, The Avengers isn’t the most original movie in the world and some critics have deemed it simple and way too hyped. Nevertheless, most critics had positive words for Joss Whedon’s piece and it has an average of 69 on metacritic. Besides, it was good fun.

The Dark Knight Rises

The end to Christopher Nolan’s contribution to the Batman franchise is as big as it was promised. It has many ties with from Batman Begins (that Scarecrow cameo!), it has nuclear thingies, Catwoman, and Bane with his peculiar voice. It gives Nolan’s story arc a proper ending with many blasts and twists. The critics have mainly praised it (with a 78 on Metacritic and 87% on Rotten Tomatoes) and it did well in the box office, becoming the seventh high grossing movie of all time (worldwide).

Even though most said good things about this film, it was not so warmly welcomed in my environment. I enjoyed it thoroughly (how could I not, with so much Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Gary Oldman?) but my friends considered it boring, too long, and glum. Not at all a worthy follow-up to The Dark Knight. What do you think?

Skyfall

The latest James Bond offering is different in many aspects. It shows a tired, aged, and not-so-confident Bond — someone who fails and is not perfect. It also delves further into the character’s psyche and backstory, showing us pieces from his past. It has a cast full of stars, too: apart from Daniel Craig and Judi Dench, this movie also features Ralph Fiennnes, Javier Bardem as a terribly creepy villain, and the always lovely Ben Whishaw. Another really long movie, but with good pacing.

Skyfall has the best box office numbers since Mr. Craig landed the role and it recently became the biggest movie ever in England, beating even Avatar, the Usain Bolt of movies (Get it? ‘Cause it has many records. Like the ones he got in the olympics. Which is related because James Bond was in the opening ceremony of the Olympics!). The press has also been really kind with Skyfall with an astonishing 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. In fact, I had never seen a James Bond movie but everyone was talking which is why I got intrigued. And it was well worth the euros.

Biggest disappointment: Prometheus

This movie enjoyed a splendid marketing campaign, what with the viral videos and all, a great director in Ridley Scott, and a very interesting cast led by Michael Fassbender. However, in my opinion, it failed to live up to those expectations. The characterisation was sloppy, many things happened too soon or not fast enough, and there were many, many things left unanswered. Why did the geologist, a man who had been chosen among thousands to that particular mission, get lost? Wasn’t he supposed to be an expert? Why does Charlize Theron’s character have a top-notch medical cabinet that operates only on men? I don’t mean to say it’s a horrible movie. The visual effects are real good, the landscapes and the photography is beautiful. But the script wasn’t as solid as it could have been.

A personal favorite: Looper

Looper Joe as portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Time travel has not yet been invented, but in thirty years it will be.“ Looper tells the story of a hired gun that kills targets sent from the future and gets in trouble when his older self is sent to him to be eliminated as well. Looper is the latest work of Rian Johnson, author of the beautiful neo-noir Brick (2005) and The Brothers Bloom (2009) a movie about con men. This one features Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and a BAMF Emily Blunt. And Gordon-Levitt acting as Bruce Willis and putting Bruce Willis faces. Truly priceless. It has parallel timelines, time-travelling paradoxes, action, blunderbusses… What’s not to love?

European touch: Dans la Maison

A small story, a small jewel. Dans la Maison (In the House) tells the story of a high school teacher who encourages one of his students to become a writer and corrects his works. A simple and apparently overdone story of the marginal kid and the caring, good teacher. But this movie is much more than that. The characters, while realistic, are quite complex and the story keeps you on the edge of your seat. And there are twists. Sometimes comedic, other times dramatic, In the House plays with its own narration, mixing what is real and what could be real. A nice change from the big epic super-powered and super-produced blockbusters. I think it hasn’t reached the US yet but if you love a good story and especially if you love literature, it is a good choice to spend the evening. Highly recommended!

Yet to see but looking forward to it:
- Lincoln
- Django Unchained
- Zero dark thirty

So, what have been your favorite movies? Which ones have disappointed you? Was 2012 a good year for cinema overall? What do you think?

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About the author: Clara Luja Azpiri
Clara Luja Azpiri
Currently working as an English and Basque teacher, I'm from Bilbao, in the north of Spain. My passions are rock, cinema and all things british. I love sci-fi and fantasy, -especially in TV shows and movies- and I also love vampires, time travel, parallel/alternate realities and gossip! The shows I'm following right now are Vampire Diaries, Revenge, Gossip Girl and Doctor Who.

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