I loved Gravity. If you didn't see my review on Letterboxd, you can check it out there (username Kleeberg) - don't worry, I didn't spoil anything.
So why did it kick ass?
1. The Sound
In space, no one can hear you scream. The absence of sound during space scenes really, REALLY ramps up the intensity when there is a moment with sound or the score kicks in and smacks you in the face. See this in a theater with a great sound setup, and be prepared to get knocked on your ass right away.
2. Sandra Bullock
Yes, this is odd for me to say, as I normally don't like her much (aside from Speed, but that's probably more of a camp "well, she didn't ruin the movie" point of view). However, she was really great here - which she needed to be, as there are really only 3 human actors in this thing. Although we didn't really get to know her character aside from where she lived and one thing from her past, I still grew attached to her. Rooting for a Sandra Bullock character? A far cry from me wanting her to fall off of the face of the Earth (which this movie is about - hey, look at that!) after I watched Miss Congeniality.
3. The Earth
Yes, it's fat and it's gross (unless you're looking at it from say, space), but we take this massive home for granted on a daily basis. Our planet simply looks amazing in this movie. From the reflection in the facemasks to the flat out gorgeous sunrise, this thing is a visual feast. The Aurora Borealis looks breathtaking. Cuaron did something really special here...which brings me to...
Alfonso Cuaron is slowly turning into one of my favorite filmmakers. He really knocked it out of the park with 2006's Children of Men, one of the 00's masterpieces. Here he comes again, with what I believe will go down as one of the 10's masterpieces. Long takes, which may be becoming his signature style (take cover, PT Anderson), are done masterfully here, lending a very real sense of peril and time. Some of the shots in this movie are simply breathtaking. I wish I could describe them in more detail, but I'd rather everyone goes into this movie knowing as little as possible. Just a gorgeously made film.
5. 90 Minutes
This thing definitely does not overstay it's welcome. I've noticed that runtimes are getting longer and longer, with people wanting to squeeze more out of every movie made. This can be great if it's a story that I don't want to end - however, more often than not, I do want the movie to end. At a (now) scant hour and a half, Gravity tells the story it needs to and doesn't add filler. It's gripping from beginning to end without the fat - the way a movie should be.
As you can tell, I loved Gravity. Go check it out, and let me know what you thought.