EPISODE 100!!! We made it. Triple digits. In celebration of this moment, we’re listing YOUR (and our) TOP 10 GEEK MOVIES, which means science fiction, fantasy, and comic book films! Daryl and Jay are joined by Josh and Angie Taylor from Network 1901 and Modern Mouse Boutique to share YOUR (and our) TOP 10 GEEK MOVIES!
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Wow, this was a hard list to put together! I had to tweak my initial list because I didn’t want it to be ALL Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe films. 😉 There’s a lot of geek films I really love that didn’t *quite* make this list, but here are my top 10!
There *had* to be a Christopher Nolan film on this list, and I wavered between a couple of them. But I ultimately had to go with “Interstellar” because I just love the movie’s setting, scope, and visuals. Also, this is my husband’s all-time favorite movie, so I think some of his enthusiasm for it has rubbed off on me. 🙂 It’s probably Nolan’s most emotional film, and it has powerful themes involving love, family, and sacrifice. While the ending with the tesseract slightly stretches plausibility (more so than the rest of the film), it by no means takes away from the film’s overall impact.
9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
I always have a hard time choosing between “The Half-Blood Prince” and “The Deathly Hallows – Part 2” as my favorite Harry Potter film, but I think I have to go with this one. Harry’s selfless sacrifice and eventual triumph over the darkness and evil of Voldemort is a poignant and satisfying way to wrap up the franchise. Also, the montage with Snape’s backstory is probably my favorite part of the entire film series, and it always makes me cry. Fans have debated whether Snape ultimately falls in the “good guy” camp or not, but I feel his sacrifice for Harry and enduring love for Lily Potter add important nuance to his character.
8. Wonder Woman
I love this movie even more as time goes on. It’s not just my favorite DC Cinematic Universe film, it’s one of my favorite films, period. I love the mix of courage and compassion within Wonder Woman’s character; she’s a badass fighter but also puts herself at risk in order to help those in need. Her love for others makes her stronger. Plus, Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor makes for a great sidekick, and it’s nice to see how well they work together and support each other.
7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
This film has some great action sequences, but what makes it a favorite of mine is the deeper themes that Cap struggles with in his second solo film. Part superhero flick and part political thriller, “The Winter Soldier” has one of the most shocking twists in the entire MCU (Hydra has been controlling S.H.I.E.L.D. all this time!). Although Captain America is a soldier who’s used to following orders and performing his duty, Steve Rogers has to strike out on his own after learning the truth about S.H.I.E.L.D. I also love how the themes in this film carry over into “Civil War.” Cap’s trilogy is, quite possibly, the best character arc in the whole MCU.
6. Casino Royale (2006)
There was initially some skepticism about Daniel Craig’s casting as James Bond, but his first outing as the famous spy was well received by both fans and critics. Craig is my personal favorite Bond; he’s a Bond for the modern era, giving us a darker spin on the franchise and diving deeper into the spy’s psyche. I like the tragedy and nuance this film adds to the character, and of course you still have all the cool gadgets, fast cars, and exotic settings the Bond franchise is known for.
5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1
Even if the villain isn’t the strongest, everything else about this movie is pretty awesome. With great characters, colorful visuals, and a super-cool retro soundtrack, this is one of the funniest AND most emotionally authentic movies in the MCU. Because beneath all the jokes and witty one-liners, this movie is really about a bunch of people who feel like misfits but find a sense of friendship and family with each other. “Guardians of the Galaxy” is all about embracing your quirks and realizing that you have something special to offer the universe.
4. Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr. is my favorite actor, and Iron Man is my favorite Avenger, so it’s no surprise that “Iron Man” is my favorite MCU film. It’s the movie that set the tone for the rest of the MCU. It has great humor and superhero fight scenes, but more importantly it features characters that have depth. It’s been interesting to see Tony Stark grow throughout the MCU, and to watch how his experiences as a superhero have changed his view of the world.
3. Star Trek (2009)
I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the original crew of the USS Enterprise. Even though the special effects from the original 1960s series look dated today, the strength of the characters shines through. I thought J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot did a great job capturing the spirit of the original series while also injecting some fresh energy into the franchise. This film has one of my favorite-ever ensemble casts, and I liked how the actors added some new layers to the characters yet still retained the traits that made these characters so beloved in the first place.
2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
This is probably the most controversial pick in my top 10 list, so I feel like I have to go into a little more detail/explanation here. I wavered for a long time whether to put “The Last Jedi” or “Return of the Jedi” in this spot, because when I updated my Star Wars rankings after seeing “Solo” a few weeks ago, I still had “Return of the Jedi” as my No. 2 Star Wars film. But after watching “The Last Jedi” one more time, I have to say honestly that it’s taken over my No. 2 slot. Even though I’m a little nervous to put it here based on how divisive the movie was!
Sure, there are some things I would tweak about the movie (i.e. dial down the humor in a couple spots + film Leia’s Force scene in space a little differently). But at the end of it, this movie’s profound themes of legacy, learning from failure, and letting go of the past touched me deeply. This wasn’t the Luke Skywalker we expected, but (I believe) it’s the one we needed. This movie has some of my all-time favorite Star Wars scenes: Kylo and Rey fighting the Praetorian Guards in Snoke’s throne room; Holdo splitting Snoke’s flagship with a self-sacrificing lightspeed jump; and Luke Force projecting himself across the galaxy and saving the Resistance. Of course, whether this movie remains at No. 2 will depend on how Episode IX wraps up some key character/story arcs, but I’m on board with the direction this film appears to be taking the franchise.
1. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
“The Empire Strikes Back” is my favorite Star Wars film AND my all-time favorite film. To me, this movie just perfectly captures what Star Wars is and what Star Wars means as a franchise. On its own, “A New Hope” is a fun space opera adventure, but “Empire” takes the story and pushes it in a darker — and deeper — direction. Darth Vader’s famous “I am your father” revelation is a fantastic plot twist that forever alters the way we see both Vader and Luke’s characters, and it sets up a poignant ending to Vader’s story arc in “Return of the Jedi,” where he sacrifices his life for his son.
Of course, as much as I love it, “Empire” still has a couple flaws. The multiple ways the characters pronounce “Han” always drives me crazy and the moment Leia kisses her brother Luke is…well, I just try to pretend that’s non-canon. Yet even though Star Wars never has been — and never will be — perfect, it has this powerful, enduring appeal because despite the space-fantasy setting, the characters and their struggles remain relatable. I hope we’ll be returning to this galaxy far, far away for a long time.