2018 was another rollicking year for superhero and sci-fi flicks. What's most impressive is not just their financial reception, but the critical reception to these movies, with Black Panther and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse already making waves on the awards circuit.
That's because the majority of these movies were based on deep, emotional character studies, with more moments steeped in substance over style. Of course, we had quite a few scenes where studios and directors also paid service to fanboys across the fantasy, superhero and action genres, so let's look at the top 10 moments this year that stood out.
10.) THE WASP RETURNS
In 2015's Ant-Man, many were disappointed we didn't get to see more of a young Janet Pym in action. That's because the film focused on an older Hank (Michael Douglas) and the baton being passed to Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), but still, we felt short-changed, as she was a founding Avenger in the comics. While that wasn't the case in the MCU, and despite being older in Ant-Man and the Wasp, Michelle Pfeiffer's Janet proved she was just as much a badass.
Team Pym used Scott's experience in the Quantum Realm to track Janet, and when they finally located her and she came back to the real world, it was clear she never stopped being a warrior. It was a very warm moment to see the entire family reunite, but the way Janet re-emerged from the Microverse to stop Ghost from destroying the world using an unstable portal, and how she then used her newfound powers to the heal the villain, finally gave us the Avenger we were missing all along.
9.) UNTIL ALL ARE ONE
In five Transformers movies from Michael Bay, we never got an in-depth look into the origins of Cybertron and the war that tore the planet apart. He glossed it over, expecting fans to fill in the blanks. But director Travis Knight does the opposite with Bumblebee in just two short scenes, showing us how the Decepticons considered the Autobots to be brothers-in-arms who betrayed them.
Knight's first sequence showed the Generation One versions of Optimus and 'Bee going up against Shockwave, Starscream, Soundwave, Ravage and more. For the first time, we really saw Cybertron under siege, evoking the War for Cybertron video game. We then saw more of Optimus holding off his enemies, even doing his signature jump move from the '80s cartoon's opening credits, right after he tasked Bumblebee with scouting Earth as a new home, where he promised the Autobots would become one again and take back the galaxy.
8.) HAN GETS CHRISTENED
For decades now, since we first saw Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 1977's Star Wars: A New Hope, we assumed that was the scoundrel's real name. In Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story, however, as the director details Han's (Alden Ehrenreich) early days as a criminal, we finally see just how he got this moniker, and it turns out to be from the least expected source.
When Han and his lover, Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke), try to escape Corellia, she's kidnapped by gangsters at an Imperial outpost, while Han is taken by the Empire to join its army against his will. While there, he's asked his name by a senior officer and, when Han proves reluctant to give it, seeing as he's all alone, the officer officially gives him the designation of "Han Solo." It might be underwhelming to some, but for many it's an iconic moment that stays true to the franchise's dry comedy.