The following list deals with movie endings, so spoilers…obviously.
The end of the year is here, which seems like the perfect time to look back at some of our favorite movie endings of the year. Movie endings are vitally important to this discussion. They can drastically impact how you feel about a movie as you walk out of the theater. An otherwise great movie with a weak ending can make you feel like you wasted your time. At the same time, a strong ending can leave you feeling like you had a fantastic movie experience. It can help you overlook the earlier parts of a film that maybe weren’t all that great.
2018 was had some remarkable movie endings. From powerful performances to epic moments, some endings gave us closure, while others excited us with what is yet to come. Here are the best movie endings of 2018.
Black Panther – UN Address
For the most part, I tried to stay away from post-credits scenes for this list, but there were a couple that were so good they could not be overlooked. The first came at the end of Black Panther. Following T’Challa’s decision to reveal the truth of Wakanda to the world, he addresses the United Nations, offering to share everything Wakanda has with the world. Somebody in the crowd scoffs, asking what a nation like Wakanda could possibly offer anybody. T’Challa just smiles before the scene cuts back to the credits.
If the rest of Black Panther wasn’t enough to make you smile, this moment certainly is. This guy is being a smug asshole and we just know T’Challa, or probably Shuri if we’re being honest, is about to put him in his place. We don’t even need to see what happens next. Not knowing makes it all the better because you can let your imagination run wild with ideas for how the technology of Wakanda is about to be introduced to the world. And that guy is going to look like a complete tool.
Annihilation – The Shimmer Effect
Annihilation is one of those movies that seems designed to get audiences talking. The entire film, from start to finish, is as much a metaphor than an actual story. And that sort of symbolic storytelling is always going to get theater audiences debating amongst themselves about what the movie was really about.
This goes double for the film’s ending, which saw that both Lena (Natalie Portman) and Kane (Oscar Issac) had been changed by the Shimmer they had explored. We see their eyes glowing with the same strange light that permeated the alien barrier. What does it all mean? The movie doesn’t say, mostly because what matters is that they changed at all, not what they changed into. But it was a beautiful and ambiguous ending to a beautiful and ambiguous film.
Avengers: Infinity War – The Snap
How can we talk about film endings without the ending that has been discussed nonstop since April, and will continue to be a topic of debate until the story is (we hope) resolved with Avengers: Endgame next year?
Those of us who knew how the comic book version of the Infinity Gauntlet story went always sort of assumed we knew how Avengers: Infinity War would end. And yet, we also couldn’t believe that Marvel Studios would just ice so many great and popular characters like that. This meant that regardless of whether you “knew” what was going to happen, the snap moment was just as shocking. They really did it. Marvel ended a movie with the bad guy on top, and some of our favorite heroes dead. While we of course expect our heroes to prevail in the end, it doesn’t make that moment any less shocking.
Deadpool 2 – Cleaning Up the Timeline
The other post-credits sequence that makes the cut is the series of them that make up the ending to Deadpool 2. Audiences see Wade Wilson get his hands on Cable’s time sliding device and watch him use it to save his love Vanessa, thereby undoing the inciting incident of the entire film. Because hey, the movie really doesn’t care at this point. The scene also pulled some additional great moves, like killing the version of Deadpool from X-Men: Origins – Wolverine and shooting Ryan Reynolds in the head before he can make Green Lantern.
This collection of scenes are some of the funniest in what is already an incredibly funny movie. It also does the courtesy of bringing Monica Baccarin’s Vanessa back to life, which means we’ll likely see her again assuming we do in fact get more Deadpool movies. Since her death was actually one of the most heartbreaking movie moments in 2018, this is a good thing.
Hereditary – Paimon Rises
Hereditary is an absolutely harrowing film. While most of us watch films to gain a sense of pleasure, all you really get from Hereditary is utter exhaustion. The film is absolutely horrifying from start to finish, but much of that horror comes from nothing more than a constant state of dread that permeates the story. We see terrible things happen to people but there’s always a feeling that the worst is yet to come. And then it does.
Hereditary‘s ending finally cuts loose, offering an odd sort of relief when the monsters come out. Dad catches fire and burns to death. Mom becomes possessed and chases her own son into an attic, slamming her head into the ceiling over and over again at supernatural speed. Son jumps out a window in a final attempt to escape whatever is coming for him. It’s all in the service of finding a suitable host for a demon, and the monsters win.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Welcome To Jurassic World
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was, if I’m being honest, only a mildly acceptable film overall. It had its moments but it wasn’t all that great. However, the ending of the film was incredibly valuable, if for no other reason than it means that the forthcoming Jurassic World III will be something entirely fresh and new.
After spending five movies on an island in the Caribbean, dinosaurs are finally loose in our world. They get freed from their captivity in Northern CA at the end of Fallen Kingdom, and we see various species simply roaming the countryside like any other wild animal. Fans don’t really know what’s in store for the next installment, but at least it won’t involve being stuck on an island with dinosaurs.
A Star Is Born – Tribute
Not every great ending is a happy one. The story of Jack and Ally in the most recent remake of A Star is Born is one that is destined to end badly. While the two clearly love each other, there are other forces at work which are simply too strong to be defeated. In the end, doing what he thinks is best for Ally, Jack removes himself from her life.
The movie ends with Ally paying tribute to Jack the only way she knows how, with a song. She performs a song that he had written for her, the film cuts back and forth between Ally’s solo and the one time Jack played the song, just for her, at the piano. It’s a beautiful and touching and the only way the story could end.
Bohemian Rhapsody – Live Aid
Bohemian Rhapsody is a good movie. It’s entertaining and fun, even if it leaves a lot to be desired regarding the deeper story of Freddie Mercury and the members of Queen. That being said, the movie knows how to make Queen look and sound amazing while performing, and this is all the more true with the movie’s finale: Queen”s famous 1985 Live Aid performance.
The scene is presented as a continuous sequence of over 15 minutes long that recreates the majority of the actual Live Aid show. It feels like you’re watching Queen perform live. This is, of course, helped by the fact that while you’re seeing actors, as you’re hearing Queen’s performance. Still, Rami Malek and company bring all the energy and life of Queen to that stage and they bring Bohemian Rhapsody to an epic conclusion.
Vice – Cheney’s Rebuttal
There’s no question that Adam McKay’s movie Vice about former Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney, is a movie that has an angle. It takes a dim view of Cheney’s agenda, and the way in which he handled the affairs of state. However, that doesn’t mean the film only ever gives one side, and in the end, the movie lets Dick Cheney say a few words. Sort of.
While Vice is a movie that knows it’s a movie, adding obviously theatrical flourishes throughout, it only truly breaks the fourth wall at the end. Christian Bale, as Cheney, stops an interview and begins to directly address the audience. What Bale says as Cheney you could very easily believe the man himself might actually say. He apologizes for nothing, believing that what he did was right and necessary under the circumstances. It likely won’t change your opinion of the man or the movie, both are controversial, but it certainly lets you glimpse the other side.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse – Miles’ Origin Story
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a movie with multiple Spider-Men, also a Spider-Ham and a Spider-Gwen. Each one gets a chance to give their version of the classic Spider-Man origin story just like it was written in the original comic book. However, one origin story we don’t actually get until the end of the movie.
True, we witnessed the origin story of Miles Morales during the movie, it’s what the movie is all about, but Miles doesn’t actually become Spider-Man until the end, and so it’s not until then that he can really tell his story. He also tells us the most important lesson of the film, and possibly the most important lesson of any movie in 2018. It’s not that just anybody can be Spider-Man. It’s that Spider-Man can be anybody.