The Best Movies of the Decade
And just like that, we're entering a new decade, and one that will hopefully bring us many great movies. But let us not forget the 2010s, and all the excellent films that were made over the past 10 years. Masterpieces from iconic filmmakers, surprise amazing debuts from new talent, superhero sagas that transcended the form, horror films that continue to freak us out, the return of dystopian heroes after a 30-year break… we've had it all.IGN's entertainment team got together and put together the following list of the best movies of the decade after much deliberation, lots of killing of darlings, and more than one Slack debate. We hope you enjoy reading this list as much as we enjoyed putting it together, and when you're done here, why not go watch a few of these classic flicks too?Oh, and a few things to keep in mind before we begin: This is not a ranked list, but rather just the 100 movies we thought were the best of the decade. As such, we've listed the films by year, and then by alphabetical order within each year. That said, please be sure to let us know what you think of our picks, and what faves of yours didn't make our list!Click to a particular year below, or read on to see the full list…
- The Best Movies of 2010
- The Best Movies of 2011
- The Best Movies of 2012
- The Best Movies of 2013
- The Best Movies of 2014
- The Best Movies of 2015
- The Best Movies of 2016
- The Best Movies of 2017
- The Best Movies of 2018
- The Best Movies of 2019
The Best Movies of 2010
A sumptuous, exhilarating and disturbing examination of the thin line between genius and madness and the lengths to which an artist will go to achieve perfection, Black Swan cements Darren Aronofsky's place as one of the most important filmmakers working in cinema today. And if the first hour it's an entertaining-if-hardly-groundbreaking examination of the struggle for perfection in art, it's elevated by the final half-hour, an astounding sequence that has to be seen to be believed; cinema of the very purest form that is, in-its-own way, pretty much perfect.
I Saw the Devil
This Korean thriller is not for the faint of heart. What lies within is a deliciously violent game of cat and mouse between a super cop and psychopathic serial killer. While some scenes may veer into torture porn territory, the film shows enough restraint to get its grisly point across while letting your imagination fill in the more… colorful moments.
Inception is a breathtaking achievement and a movie-going experience well worth your time and investment. In a year full of 3D remakes, reboots, sequels, and empty star vehicles, one hopes audiences will reward such terrific but challenging original entertainment with their wallets.
Kick-Ass is as good a superhero movie as had yet been made in 2010 — storytelling of the very highest order, crafted by experts who know, love and treat the subject matter with the respect it deserves. The result is utterly compelling from start-to-finish; an adaptation that perfectly captures the anarchic nature of the comic while at the same time eliciting unexpected emotions from a film about a crime-fighting kid in a wet-suit.
The Social Network
The Social Network is a gripping, expertly made and wonderfully performed character study, a very modern story about some very classic themes. But as great as the film is, you can't overlook the fact that if you knew these people in real life you would block them on Facebook.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Edgar Wright's infinitely enjoyable/quotable adaptation of the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O'Malley is a whirlwind of wit and whimsy as Michael Cera's fuzzy, bass-strumming, Toronto-based titular troubadour finds himself pitted, video game-style, against the seven "evil" exes of one Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). With songs composed by Beck and a sweet and sour romance underneath all the crazy and infectious ruckus (though one could easily argue that Scott winds up with the wrong person if indeed he should wind up with anyone), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a kooky kaleidoscope of awesome.
Toy Story 3
Leave it to Pixar to make the best threequel ever. The story of Andy moving on to college, leaving Woody and Buzz and the gang dealing with a great, understated villain in Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear at the new daycare center home, is the most fun of the Toy Story films. It works as a drama, a comedy and an action film – a trifecta of storytelling that live-action Hollywood should take pointers from. It's a beautiful, vibrant story about memories, the passing of time and how you treat the people in your life. So many moments – character moments, mind you – crossover into "great" or "perfect" status, and the last 15 minutes are some of the strongest work the studio has ever done. The movie is simply pure wonder wrapped in joy.
The Best Movies of 2011
Proving that an R-rated raunchy ensemble comedy could star women, and not just the Frat Pack, and also be a huge hit, Paul Feig's Bridesmaids featured SNL's Kristen Wiig (who co-wrote the movie) as an unlucky-in-love maid of honor. One of the most gloriously giddy gigglefests of the decade, this film offered up a fearless look at female friendship in between jokes about sex, farts, and diarrhea. It also helped launch co-star Melissa McCarthy into leading woman status.
Given how popular found footage films and superhero movies were by 2012, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to combine the two genres. The result is a superhero movie that works on several levels, and one that really nails the 'gaining superpowers' concept. But acquiring super-powers doesn't necessarily mean you also develop a sound moral compass, and the film turns into a thought-provoking examination of the psychological problems that come with effectively-becoming God. So not only does Chronicle succeed in giving the superhero movie a found footage spin, but it also manages to bring something new to the sub-genre, resulting in a film that goes deeper than the average comic book adaptation.
The combination of car-thrills, an excellent synth-pop soundtrack, great performances and the juxtaposition of beauty and shocking violence, has made Drive a cult classic. While the story is like many other revenge B-movies from the days of yore — even acting and feeling like an '80s movie — Drive is a delicately crafted thriller that utilizes a nuanced indie spirit to freshen an otherwise stale story. And Ryan Gosling rests at the center of this morbid tale – a dark knight whose murderous fury tragically engulfs his taste for a normal life.
From "soup to nuts," consider Fast Five a sort of Empire Strikes Back of the Fast and Furious series. Like its Star Wars forerunner, the film serves as the middle installment for a new trilogy, it ups the excitement level, completely changes the tone, and leaves audiences with one hell of a cliffhanger.
Looper was one of 2012's most engaging sci-fi films, one that works as both a thriller and a character piece about people faced with making big life decisions (often at the business end of Blunderbuss). It could have all been insanely gimmicky, but Looper is instead tastefully executed.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
As The Incredibles director Brad Bird’s first live-action film, Ghost Protocol became the much needed shot of adrenaline that the Mission Impossible franchise needed after five years, kickstarting, at the same time, the saga’s expert use of “Tom Cruise is actually doing it himself!” stunt pieces. In this case, scaling the side of Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It has audiences clamoring for more, which is rare after the fourth movie in a long series.
The Tree of Life
The Tree of Life is a mysteriously abstract, internalized effort from filmmaker Terrence Malick, one that challenges its audience in more ways than one (some might find it a serious chore to get through). The story sporadically juxtaposes the beginning and end of the Earth with a tale about a Texas family struggling to survive in the '50s. Told through long sweeping verses, the film is about as far away from mainstream Hollywood entertainment as possible, yet it is incredibly immersive, slowly drawing you into its tragic and emotional story and complicated imagery.
X-Men: First Class
X-Men: First Class is a big, ambitious film that bites off a lot more than most superhero movies could ever hope to chew. It rarely stumbles — some might say it's overstuffed, but hey, repeat viewings to take it all in are what fanboys like us are made for — it frequently excites, and it also feels. It's finally just the story of two men and their friendship, which is doomed from the start. We know that story so well, and yet somehow director Matthew Vaughn made it feel fresh and new again.
The Best Movies of 2012
The Avengers marks the first time Earth's Mightiest Heroes banded together on screen and is the true launching point for much of what's unfolded since in the MCU. It’s funny to look back now at the pre-Avengers landscape and consider that there was any doubt that the Marvel Studios shared-universe plan might not work out. Of course, we can thank writer-director Joss Whedon for much of the success of this first full team-up movie. His feel for the characters and their various interactions is a key aspect of why Avengers works, as is his inherent fanboyism. Whedon, along with mega Marvel boss Kevin Feige, just get it. And now, the Avengers aren’t just Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but Hollywood’s as well.
The Cabin in the Woods
The magic of Cabin in the Woods is the potential debate over who/what the monster actually is in the movie. There are the literal monsters from the menagerie, of course, but then there are the Ancient Ones as well as the humans who have crafted this whole horrific display in order to please their masters. Either way, Cabin in the Woods provides a unique spin and analysis of the horror and monster movie tropes, flipping them all on their head and providing a context that reminds us why these kind of movies work so well even when they are campy or absurd.
Quentin Tarantino doesn't shy away from the horrors of slavery in Django Unchained even as he delivers a weird, wild, and bloody violent crowd-pleaser in this raucous salute to the spaghetti western. The film is designed as a crowd-pleaser and it most certainly delivers on that promise, offering up plenty moments of over-the-top gunslinger violence and humor. One of the most striking things about the story, though, is how well Tarantino balances the tone, veering between absurd comedy and brutal scenes of life for slaves in the antebellum South. The casual and incessant racism on display is shocking, but sadly accurate for the era depicted.
2012's damn fine Dredd adventure, written by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation) and directed by Pete Travis, gruesomely brought John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra's 2000 AD comic strip to life with a tight, violent story set in the dastardly dystopian future metropolis of Mega-City One. Featuring a mostly-masked Karl Urban as the titular "judge" – a cop with the jurisdiction to summarily arrest, convict, sentence, and execute criminals – Dredd captured the intense and gritty nature of the source material while providing a principled and pulp-y story that allowed Judge Dredd to simply be… Judge Dredd. By the time Urban growls "I am the law" – Dredd's simple catchphrase – you get chills, and totally forget the silly '90s Sylvester Stallone Judge Dredd movie even existed.
The Master is a film about control and power. Like another Paul Thomas Anderson film, There Will Be Blood, this is a study of men trying to wrestle their world into something understandable. As the film unfolds, you'll have to question who is ultimately in control here. Can we change the course of our lives? How far does faith go? The film poses hard questions and doesn't give any easy answers. The Master is a movie that needs to be experienced. It is impactful, thoughtful, and it says something important. The story resonates, and the performances will stick with you.
Director Gareth Evans delivers the goods with The Raid, a film that is not only extremely well staged, framed, choreographed, acted and edited, but also allows for a tight, stripped-to-basics story to unfold in the moments where the audience gets to catch its breath. Seasoned with remarkable knife fights, gunplay and brutal hand-to-hand combat, the choreography, and bone-crunching martial arts techniques on display are sometimes jaw-dropping, and wince-inducing. The speed of the action is mesmerizing, and each combat set-piece is more enthralling than the next. In short, for martial arts fans – The Raid is a true gift of awesome.
Skyfall is a supremely confident movie from a confident director, Sam Mendes. The action doesn’t dominate proceedings: it’s all in service of telling a story about betrayal and revenge, and one that takes James Bond back to his roots. As the villainous Silva, Javier Bardem would undoubtedly steal the movie if it wasn’t for another defining performance by Daniel Craig as 007. Skyfall really provides him with the opportunity to showcase his ability as a great actor. Just as Bond reminds those around him that sometimes you need a man capable of pulling the trigger, Skyfall reminded audiences that the Bond films can still be relevant. It's arguably the best Bond film yet.
Zero Dark Thirty
Director Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty isn't just great dramatic filmmaking, it's also great journalism — which is a really weird concept, but there you have it. The film tells the decade-long tale of how a CIA operative slowly, methodically located Osama bin Laden in the wake of 9/11. In so doing, the movie could've turned into a dry, by-the-books accounting of the humdrum reality and red tape that led up to that fateful raid on bin Laden's compound in May 2011. But instead, it's one of the best films of the decade, a thrilling procedural and study of the labors of obsession. Zero Dark Thirty reminds us that sometimes real-life tales make for the best kinds of movies. It's next-level filmmaking — smart, brave and intense.
Our Personal Favorite Movies of the Decade
Now that we've picked what we consider to be the best movies of the decade, we also wanted to share our personal top picks. Here are the all-time favorite movies of the decade for IGN's staff:
- Inception (Jim Vejvoda)
- Mad Max: Fury Road (Terri Schwartz)
- The Master (Simon Cardy)
- The Social Network (Dale Driver)
- Blade Runner 2049 (Matt Purslow)
- Mad Max: Fury Road (Scott Collura)
- Captain American: The Winter Soldier (Lauren Gallaway)
- The Social Network (Francesca Rivera)
- Thor: Ragnarok (Laura Prudom)
- Spider-Man Into the Spiderverse (Nick Limon)
- Creed (Jesse Schedeen)
The Best Movies of 2013
12 Years a Slave
Filmmaker Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave forcefully seizes our attention, demanding we witness our nation's fully-realized Hell. It's gut-wrenching from start to finish, and while there are emotional epiphanies along the way, the script by John Ridley returns again and again to the physical cruelty. It's an ultimately cold experience, but one that must be seen.
Blue Is the Warmest Colour
Abdellatif Kechiche's romance is one of the most achingly honest portrayals of a romantic relationship ever committed to film. Based on the comics by Julie Maroh, the film is about the first meeting, the intense attraction, the sexual explosion, and the eventual sliding into normality of the relationship of two young women in France. Not only does Blue show the rush of first love, and the glories of young lust, but it really understands how a relationship can stale, and how two people can drift apart for reasons of class and vocation. At 179 minutes, it also has time to breathe.
Top to bottom, Frozen is a delight. The writing is witty, the voicing is excellent, the story is nuanced and the songs are some of the best since Beauty and the Beast. It's a throwback to a wondrous time in Disney animation, and just a ton of fun.
Black Panther director Ryan Coogler made a powerful directing debut with Fruitvale Station, which builds incredible tension by starting at the sad end, and following Michael B. Jordan's protagonist in the last 24 hours of his life. There is a palpable sense of fear throughout the film, and when the moment comes, it’s even more gut-wrenching knowing the character as you do.
Gravity is at once an extraordinary cinematic revelation marking a significant technological advance, a deceptively simple allegory, and a survival thriller set in the life depriving recesses of space. Alfonso Cuaron demonstrates a masterful use of both CGI and 3D technology. The film is hypnotic, mesmerizing and, frankly, just damned entertaining.
Spike Jonze's Her is a heartfelt examination of technology and relationships, with star Joaquin Phoenix subtly commanding the screen as a man who craves connection. The film is staggering in scope while exploring the tiniest facets of intimacy and attraction. Phoenix's introspection thrives in Jonze's living, breathing sci-fi landscape, accompanied by Arcade Fire's soft piano melodies. Her builds and builds in unexpected ways as it climbs towards a profound conclusion, as messy, passionate, impactful relationships always do.
Inside Llewyn Davis
At this stage of their career, the Coen Brothers are working with a confidence and a maturity stripped of a need to razzle-dazzle. While their protagonists often find no direction home, they transport you again and again. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly minor key; just because Inside Llewyn Davis doesn’t have the genre trappings of a Fargo or No Country for Old Men, or the Big Lebowski catchphrases, this is one of the finest works by – let’s just call it – the most consistently innovative, versatile and thrilling American filmmakers of the last quarter-century.
Denis Villeneuve’s first English-language film was a gripping ensemble about two kidnapped girls and a distraught dad who tries to take the law into his own hands. Often hailed as one of the decade’s most underrated dramas, Prisoners, headlined by raw and obsessive performances from Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, is a dire and disturbing mystery with a haunting finish.
From the mischievous mind of Harmony Korine – screenwriter of Kids and director of Mr Lonely and Trash Humpers – comes Spring Breakers, a flashy attack on consumerism and the American dream that plays like an arthouse episode of Girls Gone Wild.
The Wolf of Wall Street
Martin Scorsese has made a GoodFellas for a new generation of filmgoers in The Wolf of Wall Street, another blackly comic crime epic about a very different kind of outlaw: the renegade capitalist. This is the best pairing of Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio to date.
The Best Movies of 2014
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
A Girl Walks Home at Night takes its cues from vampire film of yore, but in Ana Lily Amirpour's hands it's something brand new, evoking an underground comic book, black ink realizing fringe characters and splashy frames both intimate and wide. This low-budget genre experiment gives any well-tread tropes new life from its Iranian settings.
The Babadook is a brilliantly made, elegant horror film, with real psychological depth. It's also a celebration of a school of horror that's been dormant for much too long, belonging firmly to a genre that understands the power of restraint and terror of the unseen. There are definite shades of The Haunting and The Innocents in this film, but it stands proudly in its own right. This is modern psychological horror at its most rich, macabre, and moving.
Alejandro González Iñárritu's tragicomedy pulsates with the polyrhythms of 21st century ambition. What makes an artist an artist? What does it take to stay relevant? Why the hell should any of that matter to Times Square tourists? Birdman excels when raising questions, and it's pure joy when it acknowledges that some questions are unanswerable.
Filmed over the course of 12 years, capturing the real world aging of its stars, including young Ellar Coltrane (who was a first-grader when the movie began production), Richard Linklater’s ambitious Boyhood is an emotional powerhouse, probing the depths of the parent/child relationship. Although he had an ending in mind, Linklater wrote the script as the decade progressed, evolving the story naturally based on the footage he'd captured each year.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
With a mix of effective character moments, viscerally thrilling action, humor, intrigue, and surprising heart, Captain America: The Winter Soldier remains one of Marvel Studios' strongest entries. This one was a game changer, in fact.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
The Apes franchise returned to greatness with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a film that works as both a rousing summer tent pole movie as well as an intelligent science-fiction tale with heart.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Maybe Guardians of the Galaxy would’ve been a huge risk in lesser hands, but from the opening credits to the final reel, there’s a genuine swagger about the whole film. It exudes charm and confidence throughout, and is flippant in all the best possible ways. From the moment Star-Lord dances into view, it’s almost as if James Gunn and his entire company can be heard saying, "What are you worrying about? We got this." And they really did.
Gone Girl is a powerful adaptation of a complex book told in the vein of a deliciously pulpy crime thriller. As in Gillian Flynn's novel, there's far more to this tale than initially meets the eye, for Gone Girl is ultimately the story of a tortured, noxious, violent relationship that is also, often, unnervingly relatable.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Grand Budapest Hotel is what feels like Wes Anderson’s most heartfelt film thus far, one that effortlessly straddles genres and works as both a nostalgic paean to a more innocent time and an examination of the very nature of storytelling itself. But most of all, it’s a beautifully realised account of the friendship that once formed between a lowly lobby boy and the legendary concierge who took him under his wing.
Christopher Nolan’s sprawling space saga was a dystopian delight filled with time warp twists and ghostly gotchas, as a last ditch effort to find humanity a new home, led by Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, took us through a wormhole and into wondrous new corners of a distant galaxy.
John Wick is a brilliant B-movie that features a knockout performance from an A-lister. The universe that’s set up is an intriguing one (and would be fleshed out in the sequels), while the mission that Wick embarks on is a compelling one. And in terms of action, drama and excitement, the film truly delivers.
The Lego Movie
It’s heartening that despite all of the licensed characters, The LEGO Movie remembers there’s something much more enduring – and that’s LEGO itself. It really gets to the heart of what the toy is all about and why it has prospered for over 60 years. It’s a film that believes everyone can be creative; that everyone is special; and that imagination is so powerful it can flourish even within a system bound by rules. Not bad for a film about a toy.
A thought-provoking and strangely hilarious feature that blends elements of drama and horror with the blackest of comedy, Nightcrawler is a film that truly gets under the skin. It was a revelatory directorial debut from Dan Gilroy, while Jake Gyllenhall delivered a career-best performance.
Whiplash is an urgent and often emotionally harrowing film. Ultimately, it serves as an example of two young talents who have all of the potential to become genuine masters of their craft (star Miles Teller and director Damien Chazelle) and one journeyman (J.K. Simmons) who has long been one. The film is a stunning work that explores the price of great artistry, all the while demonstrating precisely what that looks like.
The Best Movies of 2015
The Big Short
Adam McKay's darkly comic chronicle of the late 2000s financial crisis makes a complicated tale palpable for the layperson even as it triggers outrage at the fatcats who helped cause it. McKay's bitter contempt for how the whole thing got so out of control informs every facet of this self-aware and often hilarious diatribe. It provokes the necessary outrage at the system and its failures and corruption.
Creed is a mirror of Rocky's story and we have all been watching that unfold on the big screen for decades. Ryan Coogler's film does nothing to break the mold. Rather, it shows that the mold exists for a reason. Michael B. Jordan delivers a knockout performance, and Sylvester Stallone does as well. In the end, we can all only hope that we'll get to see Adonis on screen for just as long as we've seen Rocky.
It may be a cautionary tale that combines smart sci-fi with unsettling horror, but the most disturbing aspect of Ex Machina is the plausibility of the storyline, with it easy to imagine events like this playing out in the real world. Anchored by three dazzling central performances, it’s a stunning directorial debut from Alex Garland that’s essential viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in where technology is taking us.
The Hateful Eight
Armed with vicious humor and an intense story, Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight is as brutal in its insights into race relations and human nature as it is in its depiction of violence and the Wild West.
Pixar has never been so formally and visually inventive and rarely so funny as they are in Inside Out. Perhaps lacking the sledgehammer tear duct attack of Up, it’s also an exceptionally poignant and thoughtful look at developing and understanding our feelings. It’s also simply enormous fun.
David Robert Mitchell's It Follows is an ethereal dream turned nightmare. Unlike most horror movies, It Follows doesn't rely on jump scares. Instead, it believes in unsettling viewers by choreographing the scares ahead of time. That figure in the distance? That's the demon. And it's slowly making its way towards you. Few films manage to build dread in broad daylight, but It Follows executes on its scares flawlessly. And thanks to a gorgeous score by composer Disasterpiece, it's a nightmare you don't mind taking part in — from a comfortable distance.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Over-the-top stunts and eccentric characters and designs are all hugely important to Mad Max: Fury Road, as are the troubled figures like Max himself and Furiosa, but it’s the overriding sense of the film’s uniqueness, its striving to be something more than just another action movie, that is most impressive. Mad Max: Fury Road is a one of a kind. Like the world it creates, it is a thing of beautiful brutality.
The Martian is a triumph. From sound design to the visuals to watching the problem-solving unfold, it is astounding. It is emotional and logical at the same time and it just might inspire a new generation to look to the stars. More than anything though, it is Matt Damon's ability to bring laughter and tears which makes this something special.
A stunning-looking and daring filmmaking endeavor, The Revenant brings one of the Old West's greatest legends to cinematic life with utter ferocity and complete conviction from its cast.
Room is by no means a feel-good movie, but it does instill a sense of hope in the dingy, 10-by-10 world that Emma Donoghue and Lenny Abrahamson have created. This is a mother-and-son story, the likes of which we've never seen before, and stars Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay bring both energy and subtlety to their characters. In the end, Room offers a harrowing but intimate look at the trials and tribulations of abduction, as well as the aftermath.
Denis Villeneuve’s taut thriller Sicario features powerful performances from Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, and Josh Brolin, along with a crackling script that makes it one of the darkest and most intense rides of the decade. As a drug war drama, it tackles the complexities present on both sides of the violence.
Spotlight is a crackling movie, carefully mixing in its real-life church abuse story with the tale of who the journalists were who helped to uncover it, as well as what was going on in the world at large at the time. The film is about the power of investigative journalism, about the good that it can do, but it is also quite clearly about the evil that men — and institutions — can do.
Before making waves with The Florida Project, director Sean Baker stunned viewers with Tangerine, a movie filmed entirely on iPhones. Starring transgender actresses Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki, Tangerine broke down barriers for both casting and filmmaking, creating a paradigm shift that garnered aspirational acclaim.
The IGN staff who voted for this list had at least one favorite movie that didn't make the cut. These are the titles we would've included if we could have!
- Jojo Rabbit (Jim Vejvoda)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Terri Schwartz)
- Shutter Island (Simon Cardy)
- Moneyball (Dale Driver)
- 10 Cloverfield Lane (Matt Purslow)
- Under the Skin (Scott Collura)
- Pacific Rim (Lauren Gallaway)
- What We Do in the Shadows (Laura Prudom)
- Annihilation (Nick Limon)
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Jesse Schedeen)
The Best Movies of 2016
Arrival is a language lesson masquerading as a blockbuster, though much more entertaining than that sounds. The film features shades of Interstellar, Contact and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but never feels derivative. Rather it’s smart, sophisticated sci-fi that asks BIG questions, and does a pretty good job of answering them.
The fact that the original Deadpool film works so well was fairly surprising upon its release, given the long and troubled history that Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller faced in trying to bring the film to the big screen. It's a hilarious, foul and thoroughly watchable superhero tale, and it also proved that the genre can appeal to a mass audience even with an R rating — indeed, such a film can succeed by embracing that rating.
Smart, scary and with a spurting vein of blood-soaked black humour, Green Room is a romping, stomping, powerhouse grindhouse flick, an exhilarating throwback to midnight movies and an instant cult film in the making.
Park Chan-wook's The Handmaiden is an unrelenting look at sexuality, classism, gender politics, and racial tensions interspersed with moments of pure, unadulterated evil. And in scrutizing the seedier sides of mankind, the filmmaker finds humanity. It's all presented beautifully with unexpected moments of levity that will leave you catching your breath in between flushed cheeks.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Full of off-kilter characters, an improbable set of events, and a touching if predictable ending, Taika Waititi's Hunt for the Wilderpeople is as enjoyable to watch as it is a gorgeously shot film. The movie's deadpan sense of humor makes many of the jokes unexpected, even very late into the proceedings.
La La Land
La La Land is an ambitious premise that breaths new life into the classic Hollywood musical while also serving as a love letter to the people who chase their dreams in Los Angeles. Filled with fantastic music and terrific lead performances, this is a joyous film.
Moonlight shines a much-needed light on a culture that has too long been forced to reside merely on the fringes of the silver screen, only occasionally being allowed to poke its head in. With Moonlight, Barry Jenkins put an end to that exile, and he did so with style, emotion, and skill.
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
There is an energy and enthusiasm to every aspect of Popstar, and that enthusiasm radiates out to the entirety of the cast. Scene after scene is wonderfully conceived and executed and it makes for a great time at the movies.
Rogue One is a movie crammed with fan service, but when fan service is done this well, there’s little to complain about and much to adore. The film offers a remarkable recreation of the original Star Wars’ world, while exploring this universe from a different, edgier perspective than is the norm. It also expertly delivers thrills, tension and genuine stakes, despite the audience's prior knowledge that the movie’s central mission will be a successful one.
This musical comedy set in 1980s Ireland, from Once's John Carney, charmed audiences worldwide, telling the story of a lovelorn teen (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) who starts a band to impress his crush (Lucy Boynton). Featuring Game of Thrones' Aidan Gillen, Midsommer's Jack Reynor, and a raucous 80s soundtrack, Sing Street is irresistibly sincere and impeccably optimistic.
Train to Busan
Train to Busan is proof that no matter what country you're in, mankind loves blockbuster movies and zombies. An enlightening look at the struggles of a Korean businessman pave the way for a sympathetic descent into a zombie apocalypse set on a frickin' train. The magic of Train to Busan lies its ensemble cast that never reallly seem to like each other, but their dependency on one another raises the stakes to a whole new level thanks to inter-group politics and desires. Every zombie encounter is more difficult than the one our heros leave behind. And just when you think there's no way a movie can escalate the danger any further, director Yeon Sang-ho finds a way.
Robert Eggers made his mark with The Witch, a remarkable tale of fear and horror that also serves as a very disturbing coming of age story. Anya Taylor-Joy mesmerizes as the girl torn between her crumbling family and survival.
The Best Movies of 2017
Edgar Wright's Baby Driver is a slick heist drama elevated by his decision to choreograph the whole movie to its fantastic soundtrack. Ansel Elgort has all the necessary grace and swagger needed to play the title character of Baby, and the action set pieces coupled with musical accompaniment are incredible.
Blade Runner 2049
Perhaps one of the greatest fears fans had about a Blade Runner sequel was that it would simply replicate (ahem) the innovative and influential visual style Ridley Scott established in that film, while filling it with some kind of standard good-vs.-evil Hollywood cop tale. But Denis Villeneuve was well aware of what the original film was about and shows enormous respect for it. Instead, 2049 plays off of the themes, plot, and characters of the 1982 movie without cannibalizing it or negating or retroactively ruining any of those elements. Rather, it organically expands and grows what came before. It’s a deep, rich, smart film that’s visually awesome and full of great sci-fi concepts, and one that was well worth the 35-year wait.
Call Me by Your Name
Before Suspiria, director Luca Guadagnino helmed an honest and intimate romantic drama, penned by James Ivory, about the relationship between a grad student and the 17-year-old son of his professor. Call Me By Your Name, which received standing ovations during advance screenings, scooped up many awards and nominations, including a Best Actor Oscar nomination for standout Timothée Chalamet, cloaking him instant stardom.
Pixar’s journey to the Land of the Dead was an ambitious undertaking, even for a studio that’s produced some of the best animated films of the past 20 years. But Coco wonderfully explores familial themes, identity, and learning what it means to grow up in a world that isn’t perfect.
Dunkirk doesn’t dwell on the horror of war but instead successfully conveys the sheer terror of it all through both small, human acts and deafening scenes of conflict. This isn’t a war story that leads to victory — that’s not what the story of Dunkirk is about. The war would continue for five more years. But through its miraculous events, Chistopher Nolan and an outstanding cast are able to depict not only the overwhelming, inhuman forces in play but the power of small acts of decency and bravery.
Get Out’s whole journey, through every tense conversation, A-plus punchline, and shocking acts of violence feel totally earned. And the conclusion is worth each uncomfortable chuckle and moment of doubt.
IT may not be the best Stephen King movie (even though it comes impressively close), but it’s probably the MOST Stephen King movie. Director Andy Muschietti evokes the horror author’s effortless melodrama and in-your-face psychological torments simultaneously, because he seems to understand that these sensibilities bring out the best and, by definition, the worst in one another.
Lady Bird is a heartfelt and very funny story about a young woman trapped in that seemingly never-ending moment between immaturity and maturity. Saoirse Ronan gives a standout, brilliant performance and so does Laurie Metcalf as her long-suffering, big-hearted mother. It’s a remarkable solo directorial debut from Greta Gerwig.
Logan is in many ways an emotional, heavy picture, but it’s also an uplifting one that reminds us that it’s okay to fight for something more, something better. It’s an amazing swan song for the Wolverine character, and for Hugh Jackman, and perhaps the best of the X-Men movies.
Paddington 2 maintains the same level of heart and humor as its predecessor to become a truly unforgettable, lovely experience. That may seem like a hyperbolic way to describe such a simple film, but it’s only once you let Paddington 2 truly suck you into its adventure that you realize just how great this film truly is.
The Shape of Water
The Shape of Water is a visually and emotionally engrossing fable, one that synthesizes so many of Guillermo del Toro’s peculiar tastes and diverse artistic influences. It is a fairy tale, a monster movie, a Noir, a social commentary, and a valentine to the Golden Age of Hollywood, but above all else, it is a love story. It is poetic yet accessible, and earnest without being maudlin.
Thor: Ragnarok is a goofy, kitschy, fun romp and the most purely entertaining of the three Thor movies, marked by its distinctive designs, ‘80s synth score, and assemblage of spirited characters. It’s carried by the excellent chemistry between Thor, Hulk, and Valkyrie, who give humanity to a visual effects-heavy spectacle that finally makes good on Thor’s title of God of Thunder.
The Best Movies of 2018
A Quiet Place
Anchored by propulsive performances and a simple but effective premise, A Quiet Place firmly establishes John Krasinski as a director to watch. Between its unique approach and gleeful desire to shock you, it's a memorable mix of horror and family drama.
Avengers: Infinity War
Using the strength of its powerful and interesting villain to set the stakes higher than ever, Avengers: Infinity War successfully brings together the first 10 years of the MCU into a largely effective cocktail of super-heroic dramatics. The fact that it manages to give nearly every member of its admittedly overstuffed cast at least a moment to shine is its greatest feat. Sure, it ends on a cliffhanger, but those final moments elevate the entire series in a poetic, if horrific, coup de grace.
BlacKkKlansman is one of Spike Lee’s best movies. With a dynamite cast, sharp script and pointed humor that underscores real-life, disturbing horrors, it’s an entertaining crime drama that amuses and shocks and invites the audience into a complex and impassioned conversation about the power of racism — and the moving image — to influence our lives.
Black Panther delivers the goods as an adventure film, a political statement, and a cultural celebration. There's a very human feel to the story, with an emotional weight to its themes and compelling performances from the cast.
It takes real intelligence to make the best dumb jokes. Game Night has plenty of both, combining skilled filmmaking and ridiculous gags in equal measure, and letting the seriousness and silliness play off of each other for maximum effect.
Hereditary is one of the scariest movies around, and a spectacular showcase for actors Toni Collette and Alex Wolff. The film’s subtle shocks and realistic drama combine to create a dreamlike atmosphere, drenched in psychological horror, which builds and builds to a climax that you won’t forget anytime soon…
Roma feels grandiose, but it stays grounded in a powerful and personal story about family. The exploration of political upheaval, class and gender inequalities make this an important film, but the fact that it always remains connected to its personal story makes Roma a compelling and emotional film, shot masterfully by a veteran director who finally created his masterpiece.
Sorry to Bother You
Boots Riley's Sorry to Bother You somehow effectively combines the nightmarish clerical surrealism of Franz Kafka, the impish punk rock weirdness of Alex Cox, the colorful naughtiness of John Waters, the dark social satire of Jonathan Swift, and the righteous social indignation of Spike Lee. The film emerges as one of the most original, striking, enervating, wickedly funny, singular, and perhaps most important features of the last 15 years.
Spider-Man: Into Spider-Verse
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse hits all the marks to be an all-around moviegoing blast. Miles Morales has a memorable big-screen debut thanks to a compelling story and strong performances from its heroes and villains. Miles’ journey from everyday teenager to a genuine city-saving superhero is one of the best Spider-Man movie stories ever. The addition of other multiverse characters doesn’t overshadow Miles’ story, and taking a bold departure from the Pixar animation style we’ve come to expect from mainstream animated films, Into the Spider-Verse delivers a dynamic visual experience unlike any other.
The Best Movies of 2019
1917 is an expertly crafted and emotionally exhausting thrill-ride behind enemy lines. Gloriously shot, deftly paced, and striking in its gruesome recreation of the time and place, Sam Mendes’ 1917 wisely never loses sight of the smaller, intimate elements in a fast-paced story with immense scale and action. 1917 firmly places the emphasis on what is “human” in such a dehumanizing environment.
Avengers: Endgame is easily the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most ambitious, emotional, and affecting film to date, somehow managing to tie up more than a decade of storytelling in a confident (and mostly coherent) climax. In terms of pure heart, Endgame holds nothing back. This may not have been the only way for Marvel to end the first chapter of its sprawling superhero saga, but when faced with 14,000,605 possible outcomes, it manages to be a surprising and satisfying one.
Olivia Wilde thoughtfully brought together a cast and crew full of impeccably talented women to make a teen comedy that overachiever girls could truly call their own. The script is snappy, outrageous, and full of heart, giving depth to stock characters often marginalized and mocked. And it does all this while thoughtfully exploring the pressures and pitfalls of the unique hell of being a teen girl. The cast is pitch-perfect, scoring big laughs, heart swells, and even tears.
Martin Scorsese’s revisionist take on the gangster genre he helped define is a story of epic proportions that benefits from subtly brilliant special effects and three knock-out performances from Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino. The master filmmaker has made an introspective, thoughtful, even somber film that manages to be just as entertaining as his classics, even while diving deep into the darkest souls and finding some semblance of a heart.
Joker isn’t just an awesome comic book movie, it’s an awesome movie, period. It offers no easy answers to the unsettling questions it raises about a cruel society in decline. Joaquin Phoenix’s fully committed performance and Todd Phillips’ masterful albeit loose reinvention of the DC source material make Joker a disturbing yet moving experience.
Knives Out is a crime thriller with its tongue placed firmly in cheek. From frame one, Rian Johnson and his cast are clearly having a blast, and that mix of comedy and mystery makes it a genuine crowd-pleaser. Moreover, through clever plotting and smart sleight of hand, Johnson has crafted a whodunit that’s worthy of Agatha Christie or Arthur Conan Doyle, and one that keeps audiences guessing until the final few reels.
Parasite is a film that sneaks up on you. The first hour is a dark screwball comedy that’s filled with funny characters and silly situations. Then a sudden about-turn changes everything that’s come before, and funny becomes serious, before just as quickly segueing into tragedy. There are no heroes and no villains in this story. Instead, it’s a heartbreaking tale of why the haves and have-nots will stay that way, crafted by a virtuoso director at the very top of his game.
Those are IGN's best movies of the decade. How closely does our list match yours? What titles do you love that we missed? Let's discuss in the comments!