The record-books are calling it one of the biggest years in cinematic history, and they wouldn’t be wrong. 2015 has been packed with plenty of incredible treats, so we rounded up our writers and voted on the ten we thought to be the best. So, without much further ado, here are The Edge’s top ten films of the year.
10. Avengers: Age of Ultron (dir. Joss Whedon)
Avengers: Age of Ultron released last May was one of the most hotly anticipated releases of the year for superhero fans. Indeed the movie brought back together nine fantastic superheroes against the charismatic Ultron played by James Spader. Age of Ultron is well-paced, each character has plenty of development and a time to shine throughout, and the film also brings forward the wider problems of artificial intelligence as well. What’s great and what differs from the first Avengers too is that most of characters already know each other and already work as a team, allowing the relationships between them to be explored in greater detail, making for one of the biggest, boldest and deepest Marvel movies to date, and one of our favourite films of the year.
Words by Lisa Veiber – Read our original review here.
9. Ex Machina (dir. Alex Garland)
Alex Garland’s debut feature as director, Ex Machina, was one of the smartest, most exciting, and most subversive films of the year. Whilst the men talk big ideas about art and technology, there’s a woman (albeit a robot) locked in the basement. Shot with the colours and control of a horror film, with two all-timer performances from Alicia Vikander as robot Ava, and Oscar Isaac as her arrogant creator Nathan, Ex Machina wrongfoots you at every turn and ends with the biggest gut-punch revelation of the year, making it a must-see.
Words by George Seabrook – Read our original review here.
8. Kingsman: The Secret Service (dir. Matthew Vaughn)
Kingsman: The Secret Service is a classic rags to riches tale of a streetwise London kid, and his journey to being a badass gentleman spy. The thing that makes Kingsman slightly different from the rest of spy genre though, is its comic book violence, and general hilarity. The whole plot is over the top and ridiculous, from Samuel L. Jackson’s squeamish billionaire evil genius with a lisp, to the scene in which a massacre takes place in a right wing, conservative, Bible-belt church. It’s great fun, whilst also introducing characters that are charming and exciting, that you can’t help but build an emotional attachment to. The whole film is an absolute thrill ride and a joy to watch, and that’s why it deserves a place on our top 10 films of the year.
Words by Rehana Nurmahi – Read our original review here.
7. The Martian (dir. Ridley Scott)
At number seven on our list, Ridley Scott’s The Martian is almost this year’s best space film (dammit Star Wars, why you so good?). Seeing Matt Damon lost on an alien planet for the second time in as many years (stop sending him into space, he’s a total liability), The Martian is hands down the happiest tale of a man’s desperate struggle for survival of 2015. Its enormous success at the box office, and, now, being included among the Oscar contenders, is just really great to see – not only does it mark a long awaited return to form for Ridley Scott, it (along with Star Wars, let’s not beat about the bush) opens the doors to blockbuster space films in Hollywood again. To steal from Inside Out (another to make the list): take them to the moon for me.
Words by Matt Clarson – Read our original review here.
6. Jurassic World (dir. Colin Trevorrow)
Full of charismatic characters, blood-thirsty predators and that warm feeling of nostalgia – Jurassic World comes in at number 6 for very good reasons; even if some of them are Chris Pratt’s new-found muscularity. Bringing back one of the best trilogies of the 90s, the prehistoric sequel sees the park fully open and operational – though not for long, with the foreseeable outbreak of the Indominus Rex undoing the good work of Irrfan Khan. Even with some negative criticism and questionable filmic choices – Jurassic World deserves its place in the top ten for sheer entertainment alone. Where else can you watch a Mosasaurus go full Sea World in the same place as a blood-thirsty pteranodon attack?
Words by Ashleigh Millman – Read our original review here.
5. Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (dir. Alejandro G. Iñárritu)
One of the best Best Picture winners in years (there’s a statement that’s bound to piss just about everyone off), Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) succeeds on just about every level. It has a perfectly structured screenplay, with memorable dialogue and characters that feel fully realized and multi-dimensional. It has genuinely insightful ideas about the nature of fame, the human condition, the superhero craze and even the function of criticism. It has a terrific ensemble in which every single cast member pulls their weight and gives it their all (special mention goes to Emma Stone who was robbed of her supporting actress Oscar – robbed I tell ya!). It has intelligence, emotion and sharp humour and, on a technical level, is absolutely faultless. It even manages to make its central gimmick of a single shot feel somehow ungimmicky. So to clarify, it’s a film with a brilliant cast, script, score, and story, all brought to the screen with brilliant editing, cinematography and direction. So given all that, it’s probably kinda good and deserves a place somewhere in this list. Fuck the ending though.
Words by Harrison Abbott – Read our original review here.
4. Inside Out (dir. Pete Docter & Ronnie Del Carmen)
The best animated feature film to come from Pixar since the release of Toy Story in 1995, Inside Out was arguably also the best animated film of 2015. The film is set in the mind of eleven year-old, Riley with her emotions: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust guiding her through life and fighting for lead position at the control desk. It’s an insight into the wonderful world of a child, beautifully created with bold colours and characters voiced by Amy Poehler and Bill Hader, in a world that often focuses on the negative. You can tell that this film will stand the test of time and be up there alongside the great animated films; The Lion King, Toy Story and Shrek, due to its ability to focus on growing up so perfectly. Inside Out educated all those watching and evokes powerful memories and that is why it is one of the best films of 2015.
Words by Georgia Simpson – Read our original review here.
3. Mad Max: Fury Road (dir. George Miller)
Some action films throw around driving cars and fighting each other as if it’s the most mundane thing in the world. Some know how to make something that feels so mindless, with the characters performing actions that defy all logic, it’s just so genuinely enjoyable to watch. Mad Max happens to be that kind of film, where War Boys spray chrome on their mouths and a blind guy spends the whole film on the back of a truck playing an electric guitar that doubles as a flamethrower, that we embrace it wholeheartedly rather than feeling the need to question it, making for easily one of the year’s best.
Words by Augusta Melbourne – Read our original review here.
2. Whiplash (dir. Damien Chazelle)
Whiplash, written and directed by Damien Chazelle depicts the story of an ambitious drummer Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) and his ambiguous relationship with his instructor Terence Fletcher (J.K Simmons). Fletcher is notorious for his terrifying disciplinary methods, in his attempts to coach his orchestra to the highest standard possible. As a result, the film is intense, thrilling, and simultaneously mesmerising. Simmons is undoubtedly Whiplash‘s main strength, demonstrating an incredible ability to become such a multilayered character. The audience is constantly trying to analyse Fletcher, questioning whether he is a truly evil man, or just a mentor who wants his student to reach the top. It’s a role that earned Simmons an Oscar and certainly made Whiplash one of the best films of 2015.
Words by Hollie Geraghty – Read our original review here.
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (dir. J.J. Abrams)
Easily the most anticipated film of the year, The Force Awakens not only broke every opening week release record imaginable but also brought back the infectious Star Wars fever from the original trilogy that captivated audiences – something the prequels just didn’t have. Real sets, nostalgic references, characters that the viewer actually sympathises with, were all brought forward by director J.J. Abrams to the 7th instalment of the saga. The emotive and unstable Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) excels as the lead antagonist against the ever-so-plucky Resistance and their Jedi heritage, with a determined scavenger named Rey (Daisy Ridley) becoming embroiled in the fight while finding herself. Abrams’ mix of familiar, but captivating, plot-lines and a refreshing new energy puts The Force Awakens up there with the very best of predecessor George Lucas’ genre-defining moments – an undeniable success that endears fans and newcomers alike, capturing our imagination like never before.
Words by Marcus Bridgland – Read our original review here.