Donny Cates’ Venom – I’m pretty sure I’ve had his run on my top 10 before so I didn’t want a repeat here. But needless to say, the ending was great and it was a really important run for me.
Star Wars: Vision – The Twins – This might be the greatest piece of Star Wars media I’ve ever seen. The kind of ridiculous anime I’ve come to love from Trigger. If they had done the whole of Star Wars: Visions, it would have made my top 10 but I felt weird doing an entire entry for one episode.
Only Murders In The Building – Believe the hype! This show is incredible. Proves that comedians can change with the times and still be relevant! Among other things, the week-to-week mystery was very fun to engage in.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife – A nearly perfect film and experience for me. I’ve spoken at length in our review episode. If they hadn’t gone back to Gozer instead of creating a new villain to fight this would have made my top 10 easy. Love the new cast and the perfect blend of new and nostalgia.
Invincible – This was so close to making my top 10, but there was another show I loved more. Beautiful animation and a wonderful adaptation. Just an incredible show.
When I approached my top 10 this year, I wanted to look back and think, “what stuck with me” and more specifically “what made me feel ‘love’”. That’s a really silly thing to think about, but 2021 saw a shift in me in the things I watch or read. I was looking for a specific feeling and that feeling was “love”. Not in the sense of “do I love this?” but in the sense of “did this elicit a powerful emotional response that rocked me to my core?” I like to think that, with a handful of suggestions, everything on this list did just that. There’s some reviewing here but mostly my goal is to say how this thing impacted me.
10) Knockout City
During the pandemic, I got into online gaming so I can spend time with my friends safely. There was Dead By Daylight, which I loved, Fall Guys, which I liked, and Battlefront II, which was fun. But I really didn’t have a desire to play them without my friends (Especially Fall Guys). Then came Knockout City. This game just feels great. When you’re on a team and it’s going well or when you get the right combo of catch, throw, hit… such a good feeling. I’ve played it by myself plenty of times and I haven’t gotten bored of it. Chances are if you’re reading this, I’m playing it.
9) Star Trek: Lower Decks – Season 2
100% the best thing that has come out of Kurtzman’s reign of Star Trek. Season 1 was good and funny but Season 2 is legitimately some of the best Star Trek I’ve ever seen. There’s an incredible balance of humor and heart. The creator Mike McMahan is a big fan of Star Trek and the love is on every frame of the series. It’s still an adult animated show but sometimes, I forget that. It’s also the first show in a while to bring back some of the most ridiculous elements of Star Trek, which have been missing for decades, and for that, I’ll always be grateful.
This was the year that Birthright ended. I’ve spoken about the series for many years. Joshua Williamson and Andrei Bressan story about fantasy and family has been a consistent read since 2014. Andrei Bressan’s art was always at the top of his game with some of the fantasy battles you’ll ever see. Hell, issue #44 might be one of the best issues of a Comic Book I’ve ever read! I miss the Rhodes family every day and my heart broke when I turned the last page, knowing that that was the end.
7) Free Guy
Holy hell, what a surprise. I wasn’t quite in the same boat as everyone else, when they were writing the film off, I was still thinking, “well, it could be alright” with a shrug. But I left that theatre, both times, in tears. What a beautiful story, filled with love and hope, and humor! I found that movie far more inventive than I thought it would be, with how it realized the world. There’s not an ounce of cynicism I see in that film and I love it to pieces.
6) Godzilla: Singular Point
I love a good silly Godzilla film any day of the week, Godzilla: Final Wars and Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla are two of my all-time favorites. But I really love the ones that make me think, the ones where I sit there and contemplate the themes and I didn’t expect to get that with this Godzilla anime. I love the ridiculous sci-fi of this show, the concept of time travel, and paradoxes and nonsense. But what I most love it for is giving Jet Jaguar a hell of a showing. His evolution from a Cell Phone to a giant robot is so compelling. Truthfully it should have been called Jet Jaguar: Singular Point but it wouldn’t have sold very well, I guess. Hopeful for a season two order.
5) Spider-Man: No Way Home
I believe this ended up on all of our top 10 lists. What a movie right? I already reviewed it on the show so I shouldn’t say much here, but I still can’t get over how perfectly balanced this film is.
4) The Matrix: Resurrections
In my opinion, what you get out of the Matrix is a totally personal experience. For me, I forgot how much I loved the Matrix films. All three of them (three used to be my favorite). Rewatching all of them up to The Matrix: Resurrections was so special for me since I rediscovered my love for the films. We will have a lengthy review of this film coming up but I just want to comment on how some have called it cynical, and an “f you” to WB, or even (unbelievably) intentionally bad. Not just from people who don’t like it but from people who do. I reiterate that your personal feeling on the Matrix is totally your own and perfectly valid, it’s why it’s so beautiful to me, but I don’t see it. Where others saw cynicism towards Hollywood, I saw a beautiful love story with a big heart, big and bold ideas, and a beautiful ending that had me in tears. Someday I hope I can write something about the most influential love stories so I can gush about Neo and Trinity for pages.
3) Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Video Game
This game being so high on this list is a big surprise to me. The story of this game might have changed my life. To be clear, I’m not going to hype up this game for anyone, but it touched me in a way few stories really do. I’ve never stopped thinking about moments from this game. These are my favorite versions of the Guardians. The gameplay is lacking, it’s a long game with not a lot of variety to the gameplay and that sucks. But the story is so engaging and personal and the twists and turns just kept me going. I almost called out of work (for the brief moment last year that I had a job) so I could play the next chapter. Getting to know the guardians and the other characters and learning to build that family unit was so special to me. I hope we get that sequel cause I’m sure we’re all dying to know who the flark keeps opening the fridge??
2) Tick, Tick…Boom!
Ya, I’ll admit there might be some recency bias with this one, but man, I haven’t stopped thinking about this. It’s an incredible portrait of a creator and a great look at Johnathan Larson. Andrew Garfield commands the screen and Lin-Manuel Miranda directs the hell out of this film. You never know it was his first feature. After watching this film I picked apart the easter eggs and looked up the original performance that this is based on. The music is wild and catchy (The number of times I’ve listened to Therapy…) and at the end, I was sobbing. What more could you want from a movie musical? This is one of the few times where, 20 minutes in, I turned to my partner and said “this is fantastic” and that feeling didn’t stop.
1) The Mitchells vs. The Machines
I called this pretty early on but I adore this film. Every beat makes me laugh and the emotional highs hit me right where they’re supposed to. Every Time I’ve watched it since has been like the first time. The animation is so unique and beautiful to look at and the story of this weird nerd finding her place in the world and her family resonated with me. It’s an incredibly inventive film with a big heart that deserves all the love in the world.