UNILAD Voices is a new series where our writers argue in favour of an opinion they’re truly passionate about. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
It’s that time of year again when film journalists take some time to reflect on the last 12 months and work out what movies they think are the best of the year.
And it’s no different here at UNILAD Towers where, earlier this month, the best and brightest of us sat down to put together a comprehensive list of what we think are the greatest films of the year.
Of course when I say the best and brightest what I actually mean is I spoke to the only other two members of staff who regularly visit the cinema. It’s not ideal but we made it work.
I won’t lie it was a tense meeting but, after an anxious five minutes of deliberation, we decided that there was only one real contender for the ‘Best Film of 2018’.
The winner by a comfortable distance was… A Star Is Born!
Yes, really. When we voted and scored the films, A Star Is Born triumphed over all other films in contention including; Three Billboards, A Quiet Place and You Were Never Really Here.
Unfortunately for my team though only one of us is the ‘Senior Entertainment’s Writer’ and to quote Thanos himself, ‘the hardest choices require the strongest wills’.
To that end, I’ve made the executive decision to snatch the title from A Star Is Born, like the Mad Titan ripping the Mind Stone out of Vision’s head, and give it to Avengers: Infinity War.
Why? Well because I truly believe in my heart of hearts that Infinity War is the best film of the year and deserves to be recognised as such by all the Nine Realms from Midgard to Nidavellir.
Plus A Star Is Born will get a tonne of award nominations later this year whereas the poor folks behind Infinity War will have to settle for its record-breaking run at the box-office. Poor them.
So what has Infinity War done to convince me that it’s the best film of 2018, a year that I think most cinemagoers would admit is chockablock with certified gems – or should that be stones?
Well, it goes without saying that in terms of scale no film this year, in either ambition or execution, has managed to compete with the grandness of Infinity War.
There’s only one word to describe the entire endeavour and it’s ‘epic’ from start to finish. Everything about the film is bigger, louder, and more powerful than anything we’ve seen from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Of course if being ‘big’ was enough to make something the best then the Hulk would be everyone’s favourite Avenger, and we know that’s not the case.
The same true of Infinity War, despite its vast set pieces, all the zipping across the galaxy the characters do and the offhand one-liners there’s something special at the heart of Infinity War, a soul.
Both the directors (the Russo brothers) and screenwriters (Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) have managed to give every character, and there are an awful lot of characters in this film, the time to shine.
More impressively the characters aren’t reduced to stereotypes or flanderized into glib caricatures, instead, they’re broadened and allowed to breathe.
We see the impact of their previous adventures weighing on them and it informs how they behave when Thanos, and his Black Order, come knocking.
Of course, I can see the counter-argument to this, the Russos were essentially handed these characters on a silver platter and did little to develop them beyond watching the MCU Blu-Ray collection and carrying on doing what had done before.
To think that though is to miss the point entirely. The Russos actually managed to do two very impressive things with Infinity War, the first is the most obvious.
They managed to tie together all the loose MCU threads which have built up over the last 10 years into a coherent satisfying narrative, which considering there are 18 movies in this colossal franchise is impressive in itself.
But more than that the Russos have managed to do something 10 times as impressive, they managed to maintain tone across all these different films.
A common criticism of the MCU and Infinity War is that it’s totally inconsistent with the more recent Marvel fare, Ragnarok, Homecoming, etc.
I’d argue however it’s not, it’s actually inconsistent in genre by which I mean some films are comedies, others coming of age stories or straight sci-fi movies, but the characters and their arcs are actually tonally identical.
For example, Thor is still trying to deal with the grief of losing everything, Iron Man is reeling from his fallout with Cap, Vision and Wanda are trying to maintain a relationship, it goes on and on.
These things, which could be so easily lost to service the plot, are maintained which is just mindblowing considering the amount that Infinity War had to cover, including introducing us properly to Thanos.
Thanos (Josh Brolin) will rightly go down as one of cinema’s all-time greatest villains next to Darth Vader and Heath Ledger’s Joker because he’s everything a great bad guy should be.
He’s intelligent, dangerous and frighteningly powerful. From the moment he appears on Thor’s ship you know he means business and the film never treats him as anything less than the direst threat the Universe has ever faced.
Like all great villains, though Thanos isn’t just bluster and rhetoric, he has a goal, one that he’s single-mindedly devoted to and will do anything to achieve because he thinks he’s right, he thinks he’s a hero.
And the most terrifying thing the film allows you to see things from his perspective because he seems so vulnerable, you almost come to believe in the righteousness of his cause.
It’s only when you see the impact his deeds have from the viewpoint of others, specifically the Avengers, you remember what Thanos did was so dreadful.
Finally the reason I consider Infinity War the best film of the year is the ending, which has got to be the defining moment of my ‘cinematic year’.
It was just so unexpected, so random, it felt like it had to be a fake out but no it was the ending and it was bleak.
Oh sure we know it’s going to be reversed but in the moment it was one of the most upsetting things I’ve ever seen and I love it when films make me feel things like that.
To me Infinity War is the best film because it works so incredibly well, the action’s great, it’s moving, the villain’s amazing… Basically, it’s perfectly balanced as all things should be.
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More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.