I don’t know what I’d do without blockbusters. They make us laugh, cheer, and cry. Sometimes all at the same time. There are some stinkers that hide away every year, but even those occasionally have their moments. 2014 was a standout year for movies in general but especially for us blockbuster lovers. Let us look back at the 7 best blockbuster movie moments of 2014.
7. IN THE FACE – Godzilla
Godzilla is surprisingly devisive. When the credits began rolling, I was hopping up and down in my seat with excitement while others scratched their head at a blockbuster that actually had some thematic weight to it. No moment stands out more than the finishing move by the giant atomic lizard. Godzilla grabs the giant MUTO and hurls his atomic death ray into the mouth of the beast. You don’t have to like this movie. You just have to admit this moment is totally kick-ass.
6. Rhino’s Rampage – The Amazing Spider-Man 2
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a movie I have many feelings about and only a few of them are positive. It’s terrible on almost every level. I’m not blind to the good aspects of it. The opening with his parents on a plane is also not good. The real opening after that crappy opening is flat-out awesome. Spider-Man flying through the buildings to catch a few bank robbers is the thing comic book dreams are made of. He makes quips to the Rhino, he saves civilians, he made an over-acting Jaime Foxx feel better about himself. It’s one of the best representations of Spider-Man in any medium. It makes the other 2 hours that much more painful to sit through.
5. “If we burn, you burn with us” – Mockingjay Part 1
Mockingjay couldn’t be more different from the other movies on this list. There are no grand battles. Most of the conflict comes from political scheming and propaganda pieces clashing against each other on the airwaves. It’s utterly fascinating. It isn’t until Katniss sees firsthand what The Capitol is delivering to the other Districts that her willingness to defend her family emboldens her to become the rebels Mockingjay. It’s a show stopping moment in a movie that ends far too soon.
4. Human Work – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is science fiction at its best. It’s allegorical but never beats the audience over the head about the evils of society. A highlight of the film is none other than Koba, who I recently declared as the best villain of 2014. His descent into madness is a polar opposite to the rise of Caesar in the first movie. What’s most important in a villain like Caesar is that we understand where his pain resides. When Caesar tells Koba to let the humans finish their work on the dam, Koba then proceeds to show Caesar, and the audience, what real human work is.
3. Price of Freedom – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe don’t always have merits beyond being highly entertaining. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a prime example of that previous statement being far from the truth. Subtlety isn’t the name of the game. Tackling big ideas and incorporating them into a tight narrative is all that matters here. Steve Rogers and his ragtag team of sorta-Avengers sneak into SHIELD HQ, well-aware of how outgunned they are; Cap puts his faith in people to help even the odds with a rousing speech. Every Captain America movie needs one, but it’ll be hard to top this.
2. Dance off, bro/Take my hand – Guardians of the Galaxy
I still don’t know whether I like The Winter Soldier or Guardians of the Galaxy more than the other so don’t ask me. What I do know is the emotional moments in Guardians are far and away some of the best material Marvel has done. The movie doesn’t tackle hefty political themes of freedom versus fear like The Winter Soldier, but who is to say themes of lost souls finding solace in one another can’t be as important? Gunn’s oddball family dynamics with his relentless humor are never represented better than in this one-two punch. As Ronan the Accuser prepares to decimate a planet, Star-Lord distracts him with an ’80s dance off. It’s two tonal choices (Ronan’s lawful evil versus Quill’s chaotic good) that come head-to-head in hilarious fashion. Since this is a James Gunn movie, the scene is followed up with: Gamora inspiring Quill to finally come to terms with his mother’s death and Drax and Rocket standing alongside their new family. With a hero-shot so good, I’m practically in tears whenever I watch it.
1. Edge of Tomorrow Ending
Yes, a movie nobody went to go see still counts as a blockbuster as long as it is marketed as such. Edge of Tomorrow is so simple and clean in its execution, I continue my refusal to believe that modern blockbusters can’t become instant classics. Edge is structured similar to a run-and-gun video game but with more precision than just “shoot everything” and has a strong emotional undercurrent to boot: Cage’s willingness to accept death. Cage attempts to avoid his fate at every turn to no avail. Once Cage willingly opens himself to put his own life on the line – with the help of a rockin’ Emily Blunt – he achieves enlightenment. There are complaints about how the film should have ended with Cage sacrificing himself and not returning to the previous day. Those were also the people who complained about Godzilla, so we’ll try to pay no attention to them. In all honesty, the ending might actually be a perfect ending. By the final fight, Cage is willing to die. Once he embraces something bigger than himself, he earns the right to live. After undergoing a literal life-changing experience, Rita asks him, “What do you want?” All he can do is breathe a sigh of relief, smile, and laugh. It’s a cherry on top of one of 2014’s greats.