2019 Entertainment in Review: The Year’s Hottest Movies


2019 was arguably one of the biggest years of the decade when it comes to the movie industry. Several films released in 2019 broke major records and saw some of the biggest releases in film history. In this article, movies that reached critical acclaim and broke various records will be recognized and recommended.

Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame is the biggest release of the year, breaking box office records by becoming the highest grossing film of all time. Avengers: Endgame concludes the entire “Infinity Saga” that had been built up since 2008’s Iron Man. The movie is a celebration of superhero movies, and binds the entire series together into one, epic conclusion. It has satisfying character moments, great battles, a hilarious and epic script, and amazing visuals. This movie is a prime example of how to conclude a saga in one of the best possible ways. Endgame will surely be a staple in film history and should be studied for future franchises on how to properly end a saga while satisfying fans.


On the complete opposite side of the superhero genre comes Joker, an origin story for the famous Batman villain. While Endgame is a colorful and exciting conclusion to a saga, Joker is a dark, gritty character study on a mentally ill man who plummets into madness to become the famous Joker villain. Joker manages to be a shocking and incredibly violent film that sparked a lot of controversy from critics and audiences, and despite this, was the film to receive the most Oscar nominations at the 2020 Academy Awards. Joker is the first Rated R film in history to gross over 1 billion dollars and was the seventh highest grossing film of the year.

Check out our review on the Joker movie here: https://ucanest.org/1290/features/joker-review/

Spiderman: Far From Home

Spiderman: Far From Home is another huge Marvel success, coming out only a couple months after the overwhelmingly successful Endgame. Although it didn’t quite reach the box office heights of Endgame, it still rode off of its success to become the fourth highest grossing film of the year and reached over 1 billion dollars in the box office. The movie also reached major critical acclaim and satisfied audiences from around the globe. Many praised the film for having some of the most creative fights in the entire series and possibly in film ever. Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio also pleased many fans with his great antics and deviousness of a plot-twist villain. The movie’s success set in stone another Spider-Man movie and many are incredibly excited to see what’s next.

Captain Marvel

The last super-hero movie on this list is Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel was one of the first super-hero movies of the year, coming out a couple months before Endgame. Captain Marvel is the fifth highest-grossing film of 2019, and like other Marvel movies, reached critical acclaim and viewer satisfaction. The film explores the origins of Captain Marvel and Nick Fury, giving Marvel’s Infinity Saga more context for both future and past films. Captain Marvel hits on all the beats that Marvel is known for: fun dialogue, great character moments, and exciting battles. Captain Marvel is an enjoyable watch for both casual viewers and fans, despite not reaching creative or emotional heights that other super-hero films this year seemed to hit.

The Lion King (2019)

Regardless of how critics and audiences feel about this film, it is undeniable Lion King broke major records and is a staple in realistic animation. Lion King became the second highest-grossing film of the year and the seventh of all time. In fact, it’s the highest-grossing animated film of all time. Lion King is a nearly complete remake, with the same songs, same shots, and same story as the original, although, it does have a couple differences, such as less colors and a few plot points that attempt to cover plot holes that were in the original. The film will please many viewers and disgust others, it’s a mixed film when it comes to its reception. Many will love the beautiful animation and songs of this nostalgic revisit while others will find the film to lack charm and substance, either way, this film was a major success and a staple in the industry.

Frozen II

Notice the overwhelming amount of Disney on this list? It really shows how much of a successful year this was for Disney, arguably the most successful possibly ever. Frozen II only builds onto the success of Disney in 2019. Other than Lion King (2019), Frozen II is the highest grossing animated film of all time. It also is the third highest grossing film of the year. Frozen II takes the magic of the first movie and builds upon it, constructing new and unforgettable songs, fun moments, and mesmerizing visuals. While objectively it doesn’t carry the emotional density of the first film, Frozen II still concludes with satisfying character moments and a sense of wonder. Frozen II is a fun ride for all ages and is a fantastic dive into the unknown

See our review here: https://ucanest.org/2371/uca-entertainment/frozen-2-review/

Rise of Skywalker

Rise of Skywalker is the final Star Wars movie in the Skywalker Saga and the new trilogy, on top of that, it’s the last Disney movie on this list! Rise of Skywalker, more than other movies on this list, is the most mixed when it comes to critical and viewer reception. Some fans absolutely adored this film while others found it anti-climatic and ridiculous. Although it suffers with mixed reception, the movie still reached over 1 billion in the box office and is the 9th highest-grossing film of the year. Star Wars is as campy, exciting, and over-the-top as usual in Rise of Skywalker. It contains many shocking plot twists and emotional moments that take risks.

See our review here: https://ucanest.org/2570/showcase/star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker-review/

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a fun Tarantino thriller that’s captured several nominations at the 2020 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood covers wonders of the Golden Age of Hollywood and the Manson family using fictional characters and scenarios. The movie writes itself into a scenario in which “What if Sharon Tate was never killed?”  Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) are each as lovable and interesting individually as they are a duo. They certainly help carry the movie forward and make it as much of a ride as it is. If you’re a fan of Tarantino’s previous films and over-the-top thrillers, this movie will not disappoint.

The Irishman

The Irishman is a Netflix crime drama directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese and has captured many 2020 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. The Irishman contains a triple A cast of unforgettable actors such as Robert De Niro,  Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, and more. The movie contains great storytelling, exciting scenes, and clever dialogue through another brilliant drama by Scorsese. If you are a fan of the genre, this film will stick the landing perfectly for you. This is one of the best Netflix originals released in 2019 and possibly ever.

Marriage Story

Marriage Story is a Netflix original romantic drama about a theater director and a theater actor who struggle through their divorce. The movie has received several nominations at the 2020 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson give convincing and deep performances that resonate with the themes of the movie. The movie is a frustrating ride, since it’s easy to pull for both characters and to want them to get back together. For fans of romantic dramas, this movie is one of the strongest the year has to offer.

Honorable Mentions

Since there were so many successful and unforgettable films this year, it is incredibly difficult to cover every single movie. So here are several honorable mentions of successful and critically loved films that could not be covered in this article.

Toy Story 4, 6th highest grossing film of the year and critically loved

Aladdin (2019), the 8th highest grossing film of the year

Klaus, a loved 2D animated Netflix movie with a nomination for Best Animated Feature for 2020 Academy Awards

Missing Link, won Best Animated Feature at the 2020 Golden Globes

Jojo Rabbit, a riveting comedy with compelling performances and is nominated for Best Picture for 2020 Academy Awards

Parasite, one of the most successful foreign films of the year and nominated for Best Picture for 2020 Academy Awards

Little Women, nominated for Best Picture for 2020 Academy Awards

Ford v Ferrari, an exciting sports drama that’s nominated for Best Picture at 2020 Academy Awards

Rocketman, one of the most critically and viewer loved biopics of the year

The Lighthouse, an incredibly creative and innovative horror drama with several Oscar Nominations

Midsommar, one of the most chilling and unforgettable horror films of the year

Rambo: Last Blood, a reboot of the series that brings back over-the-top violence and scenarios

Terminator: Dark Fate, a reboot of Terminator that reached mixed reception, yet is described by many to be a lovable return to Terminator’s madness.

Us, a chilling horror by Jordan Peele with an amazing screenplay similar to that of his previous film, Get Out

Uncut Gems, a surprisingly deep performance from Adam Sandler that creates one of the most shockingly amazing films of the year

Detective Pikachu, one of the most critically acclaimed video game movies of all time with beautiful colors and a fun script

How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World, a great end to the How to Train your Dragon trilogy and is nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 2020 Academy Awards

Pain and Glory, an absolute thrilling foreign drama with unforgettable performances

Knives Out, an exciting whodunnit drama with legendary actors such as Daniel Craig and Jamie Lee Curtis

Peanut Butter Falcon, a heart-warming film about a boy with down syndrome befriending an outlaw with a great message

John Wick 3, a return to the world of John Wick with just as much epic action as before

and so, so much more!


Overall, 2019 was one of the best years for the industry, possibly ever. Disney saw one of the most profitable years in their entire filmographical existence and many unforgettable films reached both theaters and Netflix this year. The success of 2019 gives hope that the future will only get better and better, and that the industry will only continue to makes huge strides of brilliant filmmaking.