Halfway through 2019 and it's already been another huge year for movies. Much of the conversation - and box-office - has been dominated by Avengers: Endgame, which has taken over $2.7 billion to become the second highest-grossing movie of all time, but there's been more than just Captain America and Iron Man on offer. Captain Marvel soared higher, further, and faster than any female-led comic book movie before; Dark Phoenix and Hellboy bombed; Green Book shockingly took him Best Picture at the Academy Awards; and the deal was closed on the Fox-Disney merger.
Of course, the year is far from over and there's still a number of major movie releases still to come in 2019. There are summer blockbusters like The Lion King and Hobbs & Shaw, awards contenders such as The Goldfinch and Martin Scorsese's The Irishman, the return of Quentin Tarantino with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and some little indie flick called Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
That means the picture at the end of the year might look quite different, but there have already been so many worthy films released in 2019 - some of which will almost certainly still be right up there come December - that Screen Rant's writing and editorial team have come together to offer up their take on the best movies of 2019 so far.
The list was decided by tallying votes, which means there were a few films that didn't quite make the cut, but these did all receive a couple of nods, so they deserve a shout out if nothing else.
- Captain Marvel
- Fighting With My Family
- Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
- John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
- The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
6. Detective Pikachu
How do you break the "video game movie curse"? By making a Pokémon movie wherein Pikachu becomes a surprisingly furry, unsurprisingly cute detective, voiced by Ryan Reynolds. Directed by Rob Letterman, Detective Pikachu takes place in Ryme City and sees Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) come across a talking Pikachu that only he can understand, and who also happens to be a brilliant detective. Together, the pair investigate the disappearance of Tim's father.
Detective Pikachu didn't perform quite as well at the box-office as Legendary might've hoped, but its $450 million haul - against a budget of $150 million - still made it a decent success. More importantly, it was the rare video game movie to not be critically savaged. The film performed admirably here, with 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the best-reviewed live-action video game movie on the site. A sequel is already in development, and this definitely has franchise potential.
"Detective Pikachu is the live-action Pokémon movie we never knew that we needed. The film's worst quality is that you can't actually reach through the screen and give that fluffy little lightning mouse a hug." - Hannah Shaw-Williams.
A biopic of a legend of British music, directed by Dexter Fletcher, may sound familiar, but that's roughly where the similarities between Bohemian Rhapsody (on which Fletcher was uncredited) and Rocketman (which he directs in full) end. Rocketman, based on the life of Elton John, has delighted audiences and critics alike, with 89% on Rotten Tomatoes and an "A-" CinemaScore.
Given free reign, Fletcher was praised for his direction and musical storytelling, while star Taron Egerton has also been greatly acclaimed for his portrayal of the icon. That showed at the box office too, with Rocketman almost quadrupling its $40 million budget, with a haul of $157.1 million at the time of writing.
“Rocketman isn’t just another Walk Hard, it’s an Elton John jukebox musical that applies his music to real life. The result puts most other pop biopics (especially that one director Dexter Fletcher helped finish) to shame. Everything is fantasticly realized - I was doing double-takes of Taron, especially nearer the end - but what I loved most is how every song was applied to story in a way that, even if out of order, relied on their original meaning and development. Needless to say, I’ve been listening to "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" a lot since first seeing this!” - Alex Leadbeater.
4. Avengers: Endgame
Through 11 years and 21 movies, it was all building to Avengers: Endgame. The 22nd installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the conclusion to the entire Infinity Saga, and a movie event bigger than anything else witnessed this decade, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the preceding Avengers: Infinity War. The film had to follow on from that movie, closing off the battle against Thanos, while also giving a satisfying end to the journeys of core heroes such as Iron Man and Captain America, and leaving something for the future too.
Its astronomical box-office lets you know just how well they accomplished it. Avengers: Endgame has flaws, sure, but it also delivers the exact kind of blockbuster experience necessary, managing to be both emotionally weighty and a lot of comic book fun, with a three-hour runtime that somehow zips by. Its attempt to beat Avatar has dominated the conversation, but it shouldn't be forgotten just how good a movie this is. There's plenty more to come from the MCU, from the imminent release of Spider-Man: Far From Home to Black Widow, The Eternals and more, but this won't be topped anytime soon.
"Avengers: Endgame is a monumental epic of a superhero movie - the movie Marvel Studios has been building toward for 10 years - and it manages to deliver. It’s not necessarily a perfect movie, but it is super entertaining and offers plenty of fan service. It manages to continue, and in some cases wrap up, the storylines of many major MCU characters, while giving the original six Avengers a nice sendoff. Marvel Studios has created a number of “event” movies over the years, but Avengers: Endgame is the ultimate event." - Molly Freeman.
3. Toy Story 4
"Why?" That's been the question on the lips of many a Pixar fan ever since it was announced back in 2014 that a fourth Toy Story movie was happening. After a universally beloved ending with Toy Story 3, there wasn't a great deal of hunger for more of Woody, Buzz et al. And yet, Toy Story 4 is another reminder that you should never bet against Pixar. Picking up with Woody and the gang after being left with Bonnie, Toy Story 4 brings a new character into the mix in the way of Forky, a spork who has been turned into a toy but believes himself to be trash, leading to an existential crisis. Relatable much? This leads to a road trip adventure, a carnival, and a reunion with Bo Peep.
People might not have wanted it to exist, but that hasn't stopped them from going to see it. In the week since it released in cinemas, Toy Story 4 has already grossed almost $300 million, and should end up with far more than that. The reviews, too, have been superb: fans and critics have been full of praise for just how good the movie is, and it currently sits at 98% on Rotten Tomatoes.
"I was very skeptical of Toy Story 4 when it was announced and doubted it could live up to the high bar set by the previous three. But in my mind, it was just as strong as the others. I thought Pixar did a great job with Woody's arc, crafting a compelling and resonant journey that was very emotional. And I loved all of the new characters, most notably Forky and Duke Caboom. I'll always feel Toy Story 3 was the perfect ending, but I'm happy they made one more to close the franchise out." - Chris Agar.
Marking the directorial debut of Olivia Wilde, Booksmart puts a new spin on the well-worn high-school comedy genre. It stars Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever as Molly and Amy, two best friends who are on the cusp of graduating high school and, although they've got the grades they wanted, realize they forgot to have some fun along the way. So it leads into both a first and last night of drink, drugs, debauchery, and, er, dolls.
Booksmart has proven a hit with critics, with plenty of praise for Wilde's direction, the razor-sharp script, the performances of the cast (including a scene-stealing turn from Billie Lourd), and its comparisons to a classic of the genre, Superbad. That didn't translate to box-office success though, with the film making just $21 million in total (against a budget of $6 million).
"Booksmart is one of those rare films that is able to tap into the feeling of being a teenager - the angst, the self-doubt, the hormones, the friendships and fall-outs, the good times and the bad - in a way that feels almost painfully authentic. With a ridiculously smart script and brilliant chemistry from its two leads, Booksmart is hilarious, emotional, and, in 2019 so far, the one movie that is a pure joy from beginning to end." - James Hunt.
Get Out is one of the biggest movie successes of the last few years. It became an instant horror classic, a rare genre film to score a Best Picture nomination, a cultural touchstone, a meme. Needless to say, Jordan Peele's follow-up to that, Us, was one of the most hotly anticipated movies of the year. Starring Black Panther duo Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke, Us saw a family's beach vacation go horribly wrong when their doppelgangers arrive and begin to viciously torment them.
Us was always going to be compared to Get Out, and the film didn't perform as well as its predecessor either critically nor commercially. But it should be judged on its own merits, and in that regard it was another success for Peele. Us brought in $254.7 million on a budget of just $20 million, holds 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and, although its themes are a little more jumbled, still makes for a thought-provoking horror with some genuine scares, further confirming Peele as one of the genre's most important voices.
"Jordan Peele's followup to Get Out is pretty much exactly what you want a director's sophomore feature to be: ambitious, inventive, well-acted, and further proof that they're not just a flash in the pan. If Us' central metaphor is perhaps a little too open to interpretation, that just makes the film all the more interesting to discuss, debate, and deconstruct." - Sandy Schaefer.
Related: All The Clues To Us' Big Twist