NerdCraft Nation: Year One
Just over a year ago, we had the pleasure of debuting our podcast, a love letter to nerd culture and the media that we consume outside of our day jobs. Together, we relished in the “Avengers assemble!” scene, were disappointed by Game of Thrones’ final season, and questioned why certain pieces of media were ever made. We even streamed a playthrough of Kingdom Hearts III!
Today, we’d like to revisit what we’ve reviewed so far and give our definitive rankings on our freshman year. All ratings are out of 10! Note: Click on the images for a link to the episodes!
8) X-Men: Dark Phoenix (3.3)
Austin: 6 | Brandon: 3.5 | Chris: 1.5 | José: 2
The final entry in the Fox X-Men movie franchise went out with a whimper instead of a bang. After the sheer awesomeness of Logan, we went back to our younger cast of mutants at yet another attempt at the Dark Phoenix storyline that just doesn’t improve on much of anything and fails Jean Grey even more than X-Men: The Last Stand did. Let’s just hope that our favorite band of mutants fare better under the MCU.
7) Game of Thrones: Season 8 (3.9)
Austin: 1.5 | Brandon: 6.5 | Chris: 2.5 | José: 5
After a two year hiatus, Game of Thrones came back only to deliver one of the most disappointing TV finales in recent memory. Entire plot threads, like Jon Snow being a Targaryen and Arya’s ability to shapeshift, ended up being pointless. The Long Night was darker than a tar-covered panther eating black licorice at the bottom of the Black Sea. The Night King ends up dying with a quick stab, Cersei and Jamie die together under a pile of rocks, and Bran ends up being King of Westeros. That’s right, Bran. BRAN!! The guy who’s basically Snoop Dogg in Stephen Hawking’s body. That Bran.
6) Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (5.8)
Austin: 6.5 | Brandon: 6 | Chris: 5 | José: 6
Rounding off the Sequel Trilogy, Episode IX of the Skywalker Saga ended up trying to please everyone by ultimately pleasing no one. Palpatine was brought back with no rhyme or reason, character arcs were completely ignored or abandoned, more questions were brought up with no answers, and we ended up with so much cringey fan-service it made us miss the days of the Prequel Trilogy.
5) Captain Marvel (7.5)
Austin: 8 | Brandon: 8 | Chris: 7 | José: 7
Marvel’s first female-centric superhero film gave us a throwback to the 90s with an excellently de-aged Samuel L. Jackson, introduced the Skrulls into the MCU and we even got our first taste of Brie Larson as Carol Danvers. While not quite the critical standout that Wonder Woman was, Captain Marvel still delivered a great sci-fi action flick, grossed over $1 billion at the box office and gave us a glimpse of what was to come in the next phase of the MCU.
4) Young Justice: Outsiders (8.4)
Austin: 7 | Brandon: 9 | Chris: 9| José: 8.5
After a six year hiatus, the fans of this beloved animated series managed to revive a show cut too soon. Outsiders picked up two years after where we left our heroes at the end of season 2 (Invasion). We got to meet lovable new characters as well as catch up with our original cast of young heroes who have matured into their roles, while also navigating the complexity of being mentors to others. This season left us grateful for its return and we’re pretty excited to see what comes next.
3) Spider-Man: Far From Home (8.6)
Austin: 8.8 | Brandon: 8 | Chris: 9 | José: 8.5
Picking up from where we left off in Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home shows us what Peter Parker has been up to since he came back from “The Blip” as everyone has to move forward in a post-Iron Man world. It’s quite an accomplishment to make the first post-Endgame MCU movie this good. Far From Home not only showed us that Spider-Man is still spectacular, but those post-credit scenes gave us new and exciting paths to look forward to in the MCU. Especially since Mom and Dad (Disney and Sony) finally made up.
2) Shazam! (8.8)
Austin: 8.5 | Brandon: 9 | Chris: 8.5 | José: 9
In what wound up being one of the most surprising developments of 2019, Shazam! was a genuinely charming and heartwarming superhero film. For once, the main hero wasn’t cleaning up the sins of their father, but instead learning how to accept a family that wants him, rather than the mother who abandoned him. It also didn’t hurt that it wasn’t gritty and we finally had a color palette!
1) Avengers: Endgame (9.4)
Austin: 9.8 | Brandon: 8.5 | Chris: 9.4 | José: 9.4 | Siva: 10
Are you really surprised? The highest-grossing film of 2019 — and of all time — tops our list of favorites from the past year. It’s rare that a movie lives up to, and even exceeds, expectations (looking at you, Star Wars). We discussed the ups and downs with special guest star Siva Nagarajan, who had some fresh perspectives and some equally fresh hot takes (along with the rare Austin Butler sighting!). While we wished Black Widow had a better send-off and the time travel had made more sense, we just loved that amazing “Avengers, assemble” scene. Joe and Anthony Russo, along with Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, delivered a strong finish to the first decade of the MCU.
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