Best of 2016 Awards: Movies

Despite a record-breaking year in 2015, 2016 had its fair share of great movies. Along with the many sequels to our favorite franchises, there have been plenty of original films that kept things fresh for moviegoers. As look back at the dreadful events of 2016, let us give away awards to some our favorite movies as voted by my Nerd Reactor colleagues.

  • First Runner-up: Everybody Wants Some!!
  • Second Runner-up: Green Room

Moonlight is one of those rare films that’s both poignant, expressive, and beautiful. We suspect that Moonlight will be net multiple Oscar nominations and for a good reason. Barry Jenkins is able to take his time during Kevin’s narrative to give tender, love and care to a film that could easily be heavy handed. The film tackles coming-of-age themes that aren’t really seen in Hollywood today: Race, sexuality, and loneliness. In addition, the film is supported by a plethora of strong performances by its cast, most notably Naomie Harris (SPECTRE) and Mahershala Ali (“Marvel’s Luke Cage”). This is definitely one of the most emotional pictures of the year.

  • First Runner-up: Train to Busan
  • Second Runner-up: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

In China and Hong Kong there have been a few adaptations about the life of Bruce Lee’s martial arts master, Ip Man. Yet it’s Donnie Yen’s Ip Man franchise that is the most entertaining out of the bunch. Understandably, Mike Tyson gets second billing next to Donnie Yen but Tyson is more of a cameo (think The Joker in Suicide Squad). However, this outstanding film showcases the talents of Donnie Yen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and Jin Zhang (The Grandmaster). Donnie Yen gets to flex some of that dramatic muscles with the emotional subplot between Ip Man and Cheung Wing-sing. It’s that emotional layer that puts it above other generic martial art films. Jin Zhang also does well in his role as the villain of the film. He’s able to give audiences a relatable villain to somewhat root for when the epic showdown between Ip Man and Cheung Tin-chi goes down.

  • First Runner-up: Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Second Runner-up: Moana

There have been a lot of incredible animated films to come out during 2016. Thanks to the bar that Disney Animation and Pixar has raised, many animation studios have been raising their game to match the quality of the Mouse House. That’s why this year’s Best Animated Film category has been one of the hottest of them all. The winner though is the smart, deep, and entertaining Zootopia. It’s tempting to dismiss a talking animal film set in a city but when we saw how marvelous Zootopia was, all doubt was set aside. The film is a visual masterpiece with its use of a wide spectrum of color palettes. Yet what makes Zootopia so special is its deep familiarity of societal racial problems. It’s the kind of subject matter that you wouldn’t expect from an animated film, but Zootopia pulls it off beautifully. It mixes its deep themes with an engaging mystery storyline that’ll entertain both kids and adults alike. It’s a one-of-a-kind animated film.

  • First Runner-up: Train to Busan
  • Second Runner-up: Don’t Breathe

Much like its predecessor, 10 Cloverfield Lane came out of nowhere and released with only a few months of marketing time. However, 10 Cloverfield Lane takes a completely different approach than the original Cloverfield. Yet 10 Cloverfield Lane is frightening due to the talents of everyone involved. Dan Trachtenberg ups the thrills, mystery and suspense to the confines of a small bomb shelter. The tension is amped by terrifying and intimidating performance by John Goodman. His performance was so intense and so good that many people predicted a possible Oscar-nomination for the actor despite the film coming out in March. This is the film that will keep you on the edge of your seat for the entirety of the film.

  • First Runner-up: Moonlight
  • Second Runner-up: Sully

Arrival is one of those rare original sci-fi films that’s actually quite good. It’s also one of the most gripping, fascinating, and dramatic sci-fi films we’ve seen this year. The film is filled with unexpected twists that’ll keep you at the edge of your seat. With a complicated and conceptual plot and striking visuals, director Denis Villenueve gives audiences a chance to enjoy the discovery in the same way the characters experience it. That’s where most of the drama comes from, the discovery of whether or not these alien ships are peaceful or hostile is quite stirring. Stars Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner also provide strong performances which is able to ground this fantastical film.

  • First Runner-up: Everybody Wants Some!!
  • Second Runner-up: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Deadpool can be considered a lot of things including action, a superhero movie, raunchy, a lover of chimichangas, etc. Yet Deadpool is also really, really funny which is why it has won our best comedy movie of 2016 award. Star Ryan Reynolds absolutely put the film on his back to give Deadpool fans the movie they deserve. He’s not the only one to provide all the laughs in the film. The always funny TJ Miller also used his improvisational skills to go toe-to-toe with Ryan Reynolds’ motor-mouth skills. It really is one of the funniest films we’ve seen this year.

  • First Runner-up: Deadpool
  • Second Runner-up: Doctor Strange

With as many action films as there were in 2016, Captain America: Civil War stood among the best of them all. Civil War gave moviegoers plenty of thrills, laughs, and excitement as we saw Team Iron Man go head-to-head against Team Captain America. Not to mention that airport scene is, by far, one of the best fight scenes in a superhero film ever. I could talk more about the film but trust me when I say that we’ll be seeing Captain America: Civil War again later.

  • First Runner-up: Arrival
  • Second Runner-up: Star Trek Beyond

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has quite an interesting run towards release a few weeks ago. Yet the Gareth Edwards directed film is by far one of the most entertaining sci-fi films to come out this year. It’s so good that some people have considered this to be the best Star Wars film of all-time. Yes, even more than the lauded Empire Strikes Back. That’s a bold statement yet there’s some heft to that statement. Despite a semi-predictable storyline, Rogue One’s popularity is strengthened by its gang of characters. These characters all have a personality that audiences can get connected to. That connection is the reason why audiences have loved Rogue One as much. Certainly, that’s the reason why we do as well.

  • First Runner-up: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Second Runner-up: Deadpool

There are plenty of reason why Captain America: Civil War is the clear runaway winner of our best movie of the year award. In addition to everything I said above, Captain America: Civil War is the culmination of the many things that happened in the previous MCU films. Yet the ever-forward-thinking Marvel Studios wanted to do something different with Civil War. Civil War marks the first solo film where it felt like an Avengers film. They had old characters and introduced new characters and was still able to balance things out. We got enough moments to let every character shine for as long as needed. There’s going to be tons of repercussions from the events of Civil War that’ll resonate throughout the rest of Phase 3. We really can’t wait to see what the Russos have in store for us with Avengers: Infinity War.

What did you think of our winners? Feel like there should be different winners? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments section below!

We’ll see you in the next year Reactorites!

About author

Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1110 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.

From around the web: