It seems that with each new year Hollywood is starting to release more films that target the geek space, namely the comic book realm, thanks to the successes of Marvel’s films, and Nolan’s Batman trilogy. 2013 featured four major comic book movie releases, and a bevy of science fiction related films that all offered fantastical content, which allowed you to lose yourself in their worlds for two or more hours at a time.
Many other great films released this year, but those that dealt with real life issues and drama can be judged by the Oscar crowd. Here at EntertainmentBuddha.com we only believe in using your imagination while watching a film, so if you like true-to-life genres you’ll have to wait for the industry awards shows to air, because you’re not going to find films like The Butler on our Top 10 Movies of 2013 list. Besides, can’t you just watch the news to see real life drama taking place everyday?
Below you’ll find the 10-ish best geek movies from 2013 according to the Entertainment Buddha. The initial review scores may not reflect the final order of this list, because overtime opinions can change a bit, but for the most part this list plays out in order based on the scores the films first received. Head on down below to see which flick took the #1 spot!
Here’s to another great year of geeky movies in 2014!
10. The Wolverine/Thor: The Dark World (Tie)
The Wolverine and Thor: The Dark World were both solid films, but something about them just didn’t elicit the same level of excitement as a few of the other comic book movies that released in 2013. The Wolverine is hands down the best movie about Logan, but its nerved action, and lack of blood really hurt the overall package. Jackman is a stud, but until Hollywood lets him wield the claws like the real Wolverine, his version of the character will always feel flat.
Thor: The Dark World is a solid sequel, but it just didn’t pack enough of a punch to place it any higher on this list. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki definitely stole the show, and proved that he’s probably one of the most intriguing comic book movie villains to date, but the main villain felt weak in Thor 2, which threw off its ability to cause genuine concern for the good guys and girls.
Score – 7.5/10 Buddhas
Score – 7.5/10 Buddhas
9. Pacific Rim
Guillermo del Toro’s original take on the kaiju concept was a fresh and new entry in 2013, which was a nice change of pace from all of the comic book movies. The massive Yaegars clashing with the even larger kaijus provided some of the best imagery in 2013, and they made big ass robots cool again. Everything from the visuals to the sound design really helped to offer a clear picture of what it’d be like to pilot a massive robot to battle even bigger monsters from another universe. Pacific Rim’s concept is about as geeky as it gets, and the world probably wouldn’t mind a second helping, so hopefully a sequel will somehow get made in the future.
Score – 8.5/10 Buddhas
8. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy continued in 2013 with The Desolation of Smaug. For a middle entry in a trilogy it achieved what it needed to do by pushing the plot forward from the first film, while also setting up the climax to be featured in the final film. Everything from the production to the acting helped to bring Tolkien’s Middle-earth to life once again, and outside of a few fundamental changes to the story, The Desolation of Smaug did a fine job of recounting the journey of Bilbo and the Dwarves through Mirkwood to Lake Town, and finally Erebor.
You either love or hate Jackson’s take on Middle-earth, but as it stands there’s no better vision offered, and The Desolation of Smaug helped to reinforce Jackson’s great grasp of the core material.
Score – 8.9/10
Oblivion may have borrowed concepts from a few other sci-fi films, but the sheer beauty of its presentation is undeniable. Outside of Gravity there was no other film released in 2013 that offered the same level of beautiful cinematography as Oblivion. The majestic landscapes of a scorched Earth brought beauty to the desolation presented in this film. Tom Cruise may be a little odd in real life, but he’s a top-notch actor that once again proved why he makes the big bucks thanks to his role in Oblivion. As long as you didn’t spoil it for yourself, this movie also has a pretty great twist that will smack you in the face, making everything you’ve seen so far finally make a bit more sense.
Score – 9/10 Buddhas
Neill Blomkamp cemented his status as the king of gritty original sci-fi status with 2013’s Elysium. Once again he managed to craft a futuristic world full of great story telling potential without the need of heavy CGI effects. This achievement really helped to sell the drama of Elysium, and made its dystopia seem like something we truly could encounter here on Earth. The gory violence is brutal and unflinching when it comes to total body explosions, and slow motion grenades to the face have never looked more graceful.
By the end of the film, even with all of the mayhem and technical wizardry taking place, Blomkamp and Damon still managed to coax an emotional reaction out of viewers thanks to the focus on humanity, and the sacrifices people make everyday for the greater good. If you like realistic science fiction there’s nothing better than a Blomkamp directed flick.
Score – 9/10 Buddhas
5. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
If you weren’t sold on The Hunger Games franchise after the original, there’s a great chance you were after watching Catching Fire. There’s simply no way to deny the talents and beauty of Jennifer Lawrence as she once again steals the spotlight as Katniss Everdeen. There’s something about her that lights up the screen, and each scene she was in was made better thanks to her acting skills and natural good looks.
Catching Fire also felt more intense that the original, and offered a much deeper look at the overall plot of the trilogy. All of the newly introduced characters pulled off their roles perfectly, and while the ending’s twist may be easily guessable by book readers and casual fans alike, the film still achieved its goal of a middle act in a trilogy. Time can’t move fast enough to see where Katniss’ eyes look next!
Score – 9/10 Buddhas
4. Star Trek: Into Darkness
J.J.’s rebranding of the Star Trek movie franchise has definitely rubbed purists the wrong way, and they’re free to feel that way, but overall his two Star Trek films have been fantastic to say the least. If anything, they make Star Trek cool looking for a whole new generation of geeks and Trekkies.
Into Darkness, as long as you didn’t spoil its plot, offered a great twist that many long time Star Trek fans enjoyed. The cast once again proved that there can be a new take on the Enterprise and its crew with another round of great performances, and homages to the original cast. The level of action that takes place in this film is high, and the tension remains thick until the very end. There’s a great scene during the conclusion that hearkens back to a very emotional moment from the original Star Trek films that probably got a few Trekkies a little teary eyed as well. Barring the overuse of lens flares, Into Darkness is a visual masterpiece that all science fiction fans should enjoy.
Score – 10/10 Buddhas
3. Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 and RDJ kicked off the 2013 movie blockbuster season in style. Once again Downey Jr. brought his A-game to the role of Iron Man/Tony Stark, and he firmly entrenched himself as being the only man in the galaxy to play that role. He did so well in Iron Man 3 that Marvel and the studios had to dump truckloads of money on him so he’d commit to playing Iron Man in The Avengers 2, and possibly another stand alone film. Those are just a few reasons why Iron Man 3 kicked so much geek ass in 2013.
Iron Man 3 also managed to tell a much more personal story about Tony Stark and how the events of the other Marvel films have shaped his psyche. It had a more serious tone than the other Iron Man films, which is a great thing overall for comic book movies. They don’t always have to be about massive city-sized explosions and destruction, so it was nice to see Iron Man 3 take a slightly more personal approach. Seeing Gwenyth Paltrow all toned up in a sports bra kicking ass wasn’t too bad to watch either.
Overall, Iron Man 3 is just a great comic book movie that nailed all the right chords in the minds of fans and film lovers, hence its high ranking on this list.
Score – 10/10 Buddhas
2. Man of Steel
If this list were purely based on how many times each of the candidates were viewed, then Man of Steel would have taken the top spot. After a disappointing first viewing, namely due to exhaustion, the overall quality of Snyder’s Superman reboot didn’t quite grasp my awesome censors right away. After a subsequent viewing post some well needed sleep, Man of Steel finally clicked.
The first two original Superman movies will always resonate with geeks born in the 70’s and early 80’s, but Snyder has finally figured out how to make a great Superman flick in the modern era. What really worked in Man of Steel was Henry Cavill’s performance as the titular character. This dude took the role to heart and busted his ass to become the best built Superman actor to ever sport an “S” on his chest, and his acting skills weren’t too shabby either. Seeing him in the Superman costume for the first time probably gave all Superman fans the chills, and once he started flying, those same fans probably thought back to their childhood when they too use to sport a red cape and pretend to zip around the sky while listening to John Williams’ iconic Superman movie theme.
The high octane action was a big departure from the other Superman films, but it also was a much truer representation of what a fight between two gods would look like. Watching Superman and Zod duke it out above Metropolis is a visual treat, and by far the greatest battle Superman has taken part in on the silver screen. The controversial finale brought a level of realism to the character of Superman, and the emotions he has to deal with as a god, so it was a great way to shock fans, and to get them to buy into the psyche of an alien with superpowers living on Earth.
Man of Steel gets better and better the more times you watch it, which is why it squeezed its way into the top two even though it didn’t receive a perfect review score. Trust in EB, just watch it again if you didn’t completely love it the first time, because there’s a great chance you’ll change your mind.
Score – 9/10 Buddhas
Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity is simply a marvel to behold. The moment this film begins its clear that it’s special. The glorious one shots set against the backdrop of space provided some of the best looking cinematography in 2013, if not of all-time. This film made you feel like you were with Sandra and George as all hell broke loose in space thanks to the great camera work that mixed first person shots with planet-wide third person shots. This technique almost made the movie feel like a 1.5 hour long theme park ride on steroids.
The fear felt by Sandy’s character is palpable throughout the entire run time, which causes you to wince in pain every time she fails at trying to save herself. The drama is insanely real, and the fact that an accident like the one in the film could actually occur made the ordeal taking place on screen seem even more realistic and frightening. Your internal organs remain in a state of disarray throughout the entire movie until the last iconic shot of the entire film thanks to how well it does at drawing you into the world of the characters.
If Gravity doesn’t win a handful of Oscars it’ll be a travesty. It’s easily the best geeky film of 2013, and quite frankly it’s probably the best film period. Cuarón deserves Oscars for directing, and the cinematography, and Bullock deserves another golden man for her performance. It’s hard to overtake the Man of Steel as the best geeky movie of the year in our opinion, but that’s exactly what Gravity managed to do, which is why it’s the clear winner of 2013.
Score – 10/10 Buddhas
2013 was loaded with great geeky films, and while they all kicked ass individually, when compared to each other it’s hard to pick just ten, but I feel our list contains the ten best. Man of Steel may slightly be out of place thanks to its initial review score, but like a fine wine it ages well over time. Gravity on the other hand was magical from the get go, and its sheer beauty and gut busting tension are what drove it to the number one position.
Feel free to weigh in on our list using the comments section below. You can also list your top picks if it so moves you. Here’s to hoping for another great run of geeky films in 2014!
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