Film reviews & opinions from 2018

The Year of the Spider-Verse.

Akhil Arora’s movie reviews of 2018 took him to space, underwater, a virtual world, and a galaxy far, far away.

Aquaman Jason Momoa


“[Simply] too over-stuffed and over-long, […] the unique visual style of its underwater universe [is] overshadowed by the excesses around it, leaving behind a film that’s as muddled as our oceans today.”

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

“[Into the Spider-Verse] takes a wacky comic storyline with an outlandish concept, and transfers it onto the screen in a fascinating and fresh manner.”

Ralph Breaks the Internet Disney Princesses

Ralph Breaks the Internet

“[The] Wreck-It Ralph sequel is clever and self-aware enough to not just mine the decades of nostalgia for a dozen laughs but turn that shameless self-promotion of Disney’s several intellectual properties into a storytelling tool.”

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald Eddie Redmayne Newt Scamander

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

“There’s little sense of what The Crimes of Grindelwald is about, and in trying to serve an ensemble while keeping an eye on the big picture, [J.K.] Rowling fails in crafting a narrative that is engaging, meaningful, or even just enjoyable.”

First Man Ryan Gosling Neil Armstrong

First Man

“[Damien] Chazelle isn’t ever carried away by the magnitude of Armstrong & Co.’s achievements and hence, his film stays away from treating them as legends originating from a mythology.”

Venom Tom Hardy


Venom is neither here nor there, and its failure to be self-aware makes it feel like a movie from a different superhero era at times.”

A Predator in The Predator

The Predator

“[A] frequently-nonsensical chapter which indulges in the action-movie tropes it wants to mock … and routinely fails in being funny, as instead of laughing with the characters and the movie, you’re laughing at them.”

Mission Impossible Fallout Tom Cruise

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

“[It] has where it counts, offering thrilling action set-pieces throughout. With nearly all running into double-digit minutes, the attention to the level of detail and the commitment to top what came before is astounding.”

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight

“Many superhero films have since tried to copy its formula, but most have failed. The biggest fault … has been the relentless focus to ground themselves in grittiness, either oblivious or uncaring of the aspects that matter more. […The Dark Knight’s] script was full of clever call-backs and foreshadowing, and had bits and pieces of humour in the right places … to offset the otherwise depressing nature of events on-screen.”

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Ant-Man and the Wasp

“Recurring gags power much of the humour in Ant-Man and the Wasp. The advantage of such call-back moments is that it rewards the audience for remembering little details and makes them feel smart because they know what’s about to happen.”

Incredibles 2 poster

Incredibles 2

“That the film manages to convey [so much] while being a rollicking memorable ride—action sequences with Elastigirl are awe-inspiring, while Jack-Jack steals every scene he’s present in—is what makes it great.”

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom Chris Pratt Blue

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

“[Its] themes are dealt with in as perfunctory a manner as J.A. Bayona’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back reference, as the film is happy to oblige and hand audiences what they’ve come for.”

Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story

“Partly thanks to Harrison Ford, Han Solo is one of the most famous characters in pop culture, let alone Star Wars. Telling his origin story, as the new standalone Star Wars film does, is the definition of low-hanging fruit.”

Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2

“There are a few things all that meta-referencing can’t solve, but when it’s such fun for the most part—minus a rough second act—it’s hard not to be swept away.”

Avengers Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War

“[Since it] is the beginning of the end for the current generation of Marvel superheroes, it can do away with some and still have plenty to go around. That helps generate stakes and makes Infinity War different from any other Marvel film.”

Tye Sheridan as Wade Watts in Ready Player One

Ready Player One

Ready Player One relies on its target audience’s encyclopaedic knowledge, hedging its success on the enjoyment of seeing your beloved characters [and] objects in a different context, rather than an investment in its own characters.”

Annihilation Natalie Portman


“[Annihilation] turns a story about coping with the loss of a loved one into a look at our self-destructive nature, and how that manifests itself.”

Alicia Vikander in Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

“The problem with most adaptations of video games is two-fold: keeping a check on the exposition, and designing action set-pieces that are interesting to watch. Roar Uthaug mostly fails on both counts.”

Alexander Skårsgard in Mute


“A disaster of epic proportions. Mute includes a terrific trio of actors—Alexander Skårsgard, Paul Rudd, and Justin Theroux—but the writing is so poor, tone-deaf, and all over the place that it feels like Duncan Jones has forgotten what movie he was trying to make in the years he kept waiting for the green light.”

Black Panther Chadwick Boseman

Black Panther

“[Ryan] Coogler knows fully too well the reach of something like Black Panther, and he uses the Marvel canvas to paint a bigger—but more importantly, a powerful—picture.”