As we're wrapping up 2015, I've got my two annual year in review posts to do, one movie and one book post. For my movie post this year, I'm going to give a brief review of all the movies I saw in theaters this year as well as of the seasons this year of my favorite TV shows. Enjoy!
Divergent Series: Insurgent (PG-13)
The second movie in the Divergent series, based off of the book series by Veronica Roth, took some pretty strong turns from the book's plot. Some people found this ineffective, but I personally enjoyed it quite a lot. Considering I didn't like the last book of the series too much, this gives me hope that the movies will find a better way to go about it with their split Allegiant/Ascendant. In this movie, I really enjoyed the simulations Tris had to go through for all of the factions in the movie and the depth and importance they had to her as a character. I also think they did a bit better with Tobias's character and I liked the additions to Peter and Caleb's characters. I was happy to see Uriah at last, even though it was only briefly, and the shock ending that kept me going with the book series was just as good here. Thumbs up.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (PG-13)
The second full-team Avengers movie, in my opinion, rocked just as much as the first, and I had a lot more emotionally invested in this one. Though the movie had to juggle a ton of characters, it did a pretty good job of keeping things balanced, except for maybe Thor. I did have a lot of questions about the Black Widow/Hulk romance that, to me, seemed to come out of nowhere in this movie. However, I loved the new character development on Hawkeye, and I loved loved loved Scarlet Witch, as discussed in this post, as well as her brother and Vision. The dialogue continued to be snappy, the plot just a bit weird but who even cares?, and I really liked seeing the dichotomy between Vision and Ultron, as well as all the set-ups for the next Avengers set movies. Thumbs up, extra for Scarlet Witch.
Now, a lot of people thought this was kind of ridiculous, going in, and honestly, so did I. I mean, Ant-Man isn't exactly the most exciting superhero you've ever heard of, and the commercials made it seem kind of campy. But I have faith in Marvel these days, and, obviously, I'm a fan of the Avengers set, so I had to give it a go. And it was actually really great! It's not too big of a deal, compared to the other Avengers movies, but it's really, really funny. I just about died laughing at the Thomas the Train bit (if you've seen it, you know what I mean, bro). I don't think it's necessary for Avengers fans to watch it, but you might want to anyway, just for the fun of it. It's got a different sort of feel from the others, but it's still connected. Thumbs up.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (PG-13)
The conclusion to The Hunger Games movies, which of course were a major phenomenon and very important to me. You. Guys. I still cannot. I thought this movie was great. They sped up the timeline a good bit from the book, but I had very few complaints about it (mostly just in the epilogue scene: (spoilers, highlight to see) Katniss's dress was a bit too much, and I think the scene would've worked better as a conversation with Peeta rather than a monologue to her child, but yeah). I think if you could smush it back to back with Part 1 into a single (very long) movie, it'd be a fantastic watch. Which it already is, but, you know, that gives it more context. I cried, I had chills, I'm still getting bouts of the feels. I will never get over Suzanne Collins's genius, never ever. YOU. GUYS. Thumbs up!
Supernatural Season 10, 2nd Half (TV-14)
The second half of Supernatural's season 10 fell across the beginning of this year, with some pretty controversial episodes. Though I have an undying love for Supernatural, I'll admit there was some weirdness going on. The central plot with the Mark was fine, very angsty which is very Supernatural, but there was generally this sort of plodding feel, waiting to get to the part (spoilers, highlight to see) where the Mark actually gets taken off. Furthermore, I didn't really appreciate Rowena's presence. She didn't do much for me. I also think the death of Charlie, which was very controversial), was unnecessary. I know women on this show tend to die (for realsies, not getting revived and all of that stuff), but I think they could chill with that. My favorite episodes from this segment were "Halt & Catch Fire" and "Angel Heart," though neither are too high up on my list of overall favorites. Of course, the brilliant characterization and snappy dialogue that make this show so wonderful continued, and I suppose that's what I'm here for. Also for the feels. So for this bit of the show, I'm going thumbs sideways.
Supernatural Season 11, 1st Half (TV-14)
Though I can't say I'm much more interested in the Darkness plot than I was in the Mark plot, this season so far has been a bit more vibrant. I do like the way the Darkness's existence pushes Crowley and God's characters into further light (haha, punny). The mid-season finale, though, totally caught me off guard--I feel like things got way dark way fast, and I have a lot of questions about where the writers intend to go with this whole thing, though, like many, (spoilers, highlight to see) I do find Lucifer's return intriguing. I also am as upset about Hannah's unnecessary death as I was Charlie's, especially because I did ship Hanstiel low-key. My favorite episodes were probably "Plush", because Donna's a great character, and "Just My Imagination." I look forward to where the season goes, and also to more Castiel, because when do I not look forward to more Castiel? So far, I suppose I'm giving this season a hopeful thumbs up.
Doctor Who Series 9 (TV-PG)
I'm not sure what to feel about this series. I love the 12th Doctor a lot, truly, and he just gets better with time. Not to mention, I'm a fan of the sonic sunglasses. I'm also very appreciative of Missy, with her brief appearance in this series, and the writing on the show continues to be clean cut and intense as always. The Doctor's monologue in "The Zygon Inversion" about war, of course, was fantastic, hence it going viral online. However, Clara's character throughout the series continued to fall apart--as the time has passed with her, she's gotten less and less cohesive, with some bright moments but mostly a lot of disconnect. Her characterization is just so spotty. She used to be one of my favorites, so I hate to say it, but I think it might've been better if she'd left at the end of series 8. "Face the Raven" made me feel (spoilers, highlight to read) like she went out, ultimately, with a whimper rather than a bang, but the finale made up for that in a lot of ways. I like to think of Clara exploring the universe with Ashildr and having adventures and saving more people even without the Doctor. My favorite episodes this series have been "The Witch's Familiar" and "Heaven Sent" (OMGOSH WHAT A CRAZY AWESOME MIND-BLOWING EPISODE THAT'S WHAT DOCTOR WHO'S SUPPOSED TO BE.) I'm hopeful for what will come next, now that (spoilers, highlight to read) Clara has been released from her slow destruction as a character. I hope Moffat and the others do whoever the next companion is more justice. Also, I look forward to the Christmas special with River! Another tentative thumbs up, mostly for Peter Capaldi and those final two episodes.
So there it is, my TV/movie review post for 2015. What do you think? Do you agree with my ratings? Unfortunately I have yet to see the new Star Wars, but I will very soon, and I'm super eXcItEd! Yay for a female and a black main character! Yay for Star Wars! And of course there are a couple BBC TV show Christmas specials before the year runs out.
I'll see you again Tuesday, and next Saturday we'll wrap up our year in review with the best YA books of 2015.
Images via Amazon.
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