Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 - The Year in Review (lionsroar)

2021, unfortunately, did not live up to the promise, as we still haven't shaken COVID and may never. While the world seems to be in a rush to get back to normal, we here at Trophy Unlocked still don't feel comfortable sitting in a crowded movie theater, so all the new films we've reviewed this year have been seen from the seats in our living room.

The Best of the Year (in no particular order).

The Beatles: Get Back

While technically not a movie, the project itself did start out as one. Perhaps it was COVID that pushed back the release and gave director Peter Jackson more time with the footage, but the movie turned into a three-night nearly eight-hour-long documentary about The Beatles recording an album in January 1969 and playing one last live show. While this isn't something that I would sit down and watch again right away, I was very happy to have finally seen this project. If anything, the documentary is perhaps an hour too long for the non-Beatles-indoctrinated out there, as there is too much time spent on the group goofing around rather than being productive. Now let's see them re-release Let It Be.

Judas and the Black Messiah

The story of Fred Hampton, a leader of the Black Panthers in Chicago, might be one that may not have been known if it weren't for this film. Daniel Kaluuya gives a compelling performance and while the film might not be "fun" to watch, it is still an important one that should be seen.


Pixar has become hit and miss in recent years, so it was nice to see them hit one with Luca. A sweet story about being a fish out of water, or in this case, a sea monster, this is a nice treat. This is what a family film should be. Very enjoyable.

No Time to Die

All things come to an end, and while James Bond will go on, it will do so without Daniel Craig as the MI6 agent with a license to kill. Bond goes out in a big way and leaves you wondering how they're going to continue. While I might have my doubts when Craig came onboard, he has proven to be one of the better Bonds and sorry to see him go.

Black Widow

After 13 years and 20+ films, it's sort of hard to give up on the MCU cold turkey. While I'm still not excited about Phase 4, it was nice to get a Phase 3 fix of sorts with Scarlett Johannson's swan song as Black Widow, a character who needed a movie, though it might have been nice if they didn't use it to try and sell some later Phase 4 film as well.

For some reason, DC does much better with animated superhero films than it does with live-action. Case in point, Batman. This year, there was the two-part epic, The Long Halloween, which manages to set the right tone while also utilizing a wide variety of the villains in the Batman universe.

The Disappointments of the Year (in no particular order)

Zack Snyder's Justice League

Perhaps 2021 is the year of the long re-edit. The Beatles: Get Back is, in essence, a redo of the film Let It Be and Zack Snyder's Justice League is a four-hour re-edit of an otherwise failed film from 2017. While better, it is also longer, nearly four hours long, and it is not enough to really change my opinion about the original version nor Warner Bros.' handling of the DC films.

Space Jam: A New Legacy

Why was this made? It is not a story that needed to be told and the star of the film, LeBron James, does not come off as either a good actor or a good father (I know it's fiction). James does not have the cache that Michael Jordan had when he made Space Jam, which wasn't a film that needed a sequel or a reboot, and this film is proof of that.

Clifford: The Big Red Dog

Family films usually mean they're aimed at children and not any adult who has any discerning tastes. Clifford fits that bill very nicely. It's hard to hate a puppy dog, but the film is nothing but predictable. It tries very hard to show diversity, including placating Chinese nationals, but that is about all the heavy lifting it does. If you find yourself knowing what's going to happen next, you're not alone.

Godzilla vs. Kong

If you like your films big and stupid, then this is the one for you. Your mind will be blown by the visual effects and you won’t need it for the rest of the film.


Disappointment is perhaps misplaced here. I wasn't really looking forward to the film the way some may have been. Going in, I had no expectations, but even those were not meant. The film is good, but not great, and slow-paced, which is not a good thing for science fiction. Blame me for wanting better or more, since there is a sequel in the planning stages.

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