Upon revisiting the 2010s, the entire film landscape experienced massive changes over the decade. Comic book adaptations and superhero movies began their ascension to box office supremacy. Netflix and other streaming services went from promising utilities to necessary platforms by the end of the decade. Also, innovative filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Bong Joon-ho, and Christopher Nolan all released films that are still revered in 2022.
Despite these transformations, the previous decade managed to provide some instant classics. From the ending of the Infinity Saga in the MCU to the first non-English language film to win Best Picture, there is a wide variety of great films to revisit. Below is a list of the best movies of the 2010s, according to IMDB.
After years of teasing the Mad Titan, Marvel finally unleashed Thanos in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. Thanos sets out to collect all six Infinity Stones to restore balance in the world. In his mind, half the galaxy’s population must disappear, and the stones will achieve his goal with the snap of a finger.
On one end of the galaxy, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and the Guardians of the Galaxy fight Thanos on Titan. In Wakanda, Captain America, Wanda Maximoff, Black Widow, Thor, Black Panther, and all the Wakanda forces take on Thanos’s army. The legendary fight sequences are stunning to revisit upon rewatch. Infinity War became a crowning achievement for Marvel with many citing the film as one of the five best films in the MCU.
After The Dark Knight and Heath Ledger’s tragic passing, all the pressure was on Christopher Nolan to end his Batman trilogy on a high note. Nolan mostly succeeded with 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises. Eight years after the events in The Dark Knight, Batman ceases to exist, and Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has become a hermit due to the death of Rachel Dawes. When Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) steals Bruce’s fingerprints for Bane (Tom Hardy), the playboy billionaire returns to the public eye to thwart the powerful mercenary’s takeover attempt.
However, Bane breaks Bruce, transferring the hero to a prison on the other side of the world. Bruce must escape captivity, reaffirm his position as Batman, and save Gotham City from destruction. Nothing could live up to The Dark Knight, and Bane was not as good as the Joker. However, The Dark Knight Rises is a pretty good ending to a wonderful trilogy.
When watching a Quentin Tarantino film, expect fast-moving dialogue, witty characters, and a lot of violence. 2012’s Django Unchained perfectly followed Tarantino’s formula to a T. Jamie Foxx stars as Django Freeman, a Black slave purchased by a German bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), to accompany him on a mission to kill three outlaws.
After the successful mission, Schultz agrees to help Django find his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), and rescue her from slavery. The duo track Broomhilda to a plantation owned by Calvin J. Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), a racist, brutal slave owner. The ensuing drama at the Candie ranch leads to guns, blood, and death, just the way Tarantino likes it. Remember, the “D” is silent.
Who would have thought Todd Phillips, the director behind Old School and The Hangover, would go on to direct one of the most successful comic book adaptations of all time? In 2019, Phillips introduced the world to Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), better known as Joker. Arthur is an aspiring comedian and mentally ill clown in 1981 Gotham City.
When society turns against Arthur and abuses him, the clown drifts into nihilism and becomes a violent criminal. Under his Joker gimmick, Arthur becomes a cultlike hero to the anti-establishment. The standalone origin story became the sixth-highest-grossing film of 2019 and garnered 11 Oscar nominations, with Phoenix winning Best Actor. Joker will receive a musical sequel titled Joker: Folie à Deux in 2024.
Avengers, assemble. The culmination of a decade-long story came to an epic conclusion in Avengers: Endgame. After the events of Infinity War, Thanos erased half of the world’s population, and the remaining Avengers are in disarray without any signs of hope. Five years later, though, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) escapes the Quantum Realm and reunites with the surviving Avengers.
Because of Lang’s survival, the Avengers determine that time travel is possible. The team uses the Quantum Realm to return to the past, gather the Infinity Stones, and reverse Thanos’s snap. However, the Avengers slowly realize that what they do in the past affects the future, and they eventually run into an older version of Thanos. The epic fight for humanity culminates in one final battle between The Avengers and Thanos’s army
With his trademark tone shifts and high concepts, Bong Joon-ho is one of the most important filmmakers of the 21st century. After Snowpiercer and Okja, two films set in English, Bong returned with a South Korean film about the wealth gap and class divide in 2019’s Parasite. The film depicts the poor Kim family and their attempt to ingratiate themselves with the wealthy Park family by posing as highly qualified employees.
The scheme works, and the Kims reap the benefits of working for the wealthy. Halfway through the movie, there is a huge twist in tone as Bong flips the entire movie on its head and turns it into a thriller. Parasite shocked the film community when it became the first non-English language film to win Best Picture at the 2020 Academy Awards.
Who knew that jazz would be the perfect setup for a physiological thriller? Written and directed by Damian Chazelle, Whiplash stars Miles Teller as Andrew Neiman, an aspiring jazz drummer and student at the Shaffer Conservatory in New York City. Neiman attempts to join the Shaffer Conservatory Studio Band led by Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons). Neiman quickly realizes that Fletcher leads via ruthless, aggressive, and demeaning tactics in order to get the very best out of his students.
Fletcher even launches a chair at Neiman’s head in order to prove a point about musical tempo. Whiplash is a tour de force in pacing as the movie never gives the audience a second to catch its breath. Chazelle, Teller, and Simmons received immense praise for their involvement, and Simmons went on to win Best Supporting Actor at the 2015 Academy Awards.
After the worldwide success of 2008’s The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan returned to theaters with Inception, an original story about dream stealing. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), a highly-trained thief, is a master in the art of dream infiltration. Cobb can enter the subconscious and extract vital information. Mr. Saito (Ken Watanabe) hires Cobb to pull off the impossible task: plant an idea into someone’s subconscious, otherwise known as inception.
The target is Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), the son of Saito’s business rival, and Cobb must implant the idea of terminating his father’s company. With the help of his team (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Elliot Page, and Dileep Rao), Cobb must succeed in order for his criminal charges to dissolve, which means he can return to the country to see his children. Inception became Nolan’s first film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars and grossed over $830 million worldwide, establishing him as one of the most bankable directors in Hollywood.
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