J.J. Abrams Films Ranked
Happy Birthday J.J. Abrams! It seems fitting to look back at Mr. Reboot’s films. For this list, we are limiting our discussion to theatrical releases that J.J. Abrams has directed. We’re not talking about television (though he’s created several hit series, including Lost and Alias), and we're also steering clear of his producing and writing credits. Surprisingly, this only leaves five movies to choose from. Maybe next year, our present to J.J. will be ranking all the movies he has produced… there are a lot of those!
Anyway, without further ado, let’s rank these films!
5. Super 8 (2011)
The fact that this is Abrams' worst directorial work says something about just how talented Abrams really is. This movie is far from bad. After his success in producing the found footage film, Cloverfield, J.J. decided to try his hand at directing Super 8, a loving homage to Spielberg’s E.T. Written and directed by Mr. Abrams (and produced by Steven Spielberg himself), this movie delivers on mystery and suspense. What’s not to love about a team of kids going on a fantasy-filled monster hunt? Unfortunately, the plot and characters take a back-seat to the spectacle, and the movie struggles to fully engage us. Even with its issues, the film is well worth a watch, if only for the amazing train crash scene.
4. Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)
Into Darkness is a remake of the second (and best) Star Trek film from back in the day: Wrath of Khan. Khan is back, and more Cumberbatch-y than ever! This is another thrilling installment in the Star Trek reboot. With fewer lens flares than the 2009 film, Abrams finds a sweet spot between the ridiculous and the adventurous; it's a blast! Journey to the final frontier (space, that is) with engaging action scenes, stunning visuals, and characters that you love. Where this movie falls short is the treatment of its villain. Khan spends too much screen time as a less-than-believable good guy, with his paper-thin temper and inaccessible motives. Although Cumberbatch delivers an Oscar-level performance in a scene or two, we walked away feeling slightly underwhelmed.
3. Star Trek (2009)
Can a franchise with one of the most die-hard fan bases on the planet be successfully rebooted? Yes—if it's directed by J.J. Abrams. With the ever-charming Chris Pine taking over the character of Captain Kirk and Zachary Quinto killing it as Spock, the U.S.S. Enterprise flies its way into audience’s hearts once again. A fun (if not slightly confusing) time travel plot allows this reboot to break away from the original series’ timeline without offending too many Trekkie historians, which is no small feat. Enjoyable and engaging, Abrams dazzles us with lens flares as he revives this beloved franchise.
2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
You love it or you hate it. Some think this is the best Star Wars movie; some think it’s the worst. Whatever your stance, we can all agree that it was a huge responsibility to reboot this beloved franchise. But after rebooting Star Trek, J.J. Abrams was primed for the task. There was simply no way that he could've made a movie that pleased every die-hard fan. So, what did he do? He remade A New Hope. No complaints here—it was a fun reintroduction to a beloved universe. Starring Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, it shows how far we have come since 1977, while still hitting all the nostalgic chords we hoped for. We saw Han, Chewy, Leia, and Luke. We got a lightsaber battle, a fun villain, and many, many unanswered questions. Given a seemingly impossible task, J.J. Abrams made a great movie and paved the way for more fun.
1. Mission Impossible III (2006)
Mission Impossible movies are all the same... or are they? Let me refresh your memory. Mission Impossible III is the one with Philip Seymour Hoffman as the villain looking for the Rabbit's Foot. He plants little detonators into people’s heads and makes them do what he wants. Meanwhile, Tom Cruise has gotten out of the spy game, and is now happily married. That never ends well, does it? This movie does the truly impossible by overcoming the train wreck that was Mission Impossible 2. J.J. Abrams revived the classic spy thriller with this fun action flick. Hoffman is a phenomenal villain (as always, RIP) opposite one of the most charismatic leads of our era. The movie comes together in spectacular fashion to make what we think is J.J. Abrams’ best directorial accomplishment yet.
Well, that’s it! What do you think? Are we crazy? Why? Let us know!