20. The Avengers
Director: Joss Whedon
Stars: Chris Evans, Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, Gwyneth Paltrow
Yes, we’re aware that The Avengers is the third-highest grossing American movie of all time. Indeed, we loved every second of Mark Ruffalo’s interpretation of the Hulk, a Marvel character previously unable to make a triumphant leap to cinemas. And, of course, we also ogled Scarlett Johansson’s curves in that black latex outfit.
All that being said, we stand by The Avengers just cracking the top 20 in this countdown’s rankings—sorry, comic book stalwarts. Enormously entertaining, Joss Whedon’s superhero blowout is a towering accomplishment that should be applauded, namely because Whedon somehow managed to fit so many larger-than-life characters into one movie and give them all breathing room.
The film’s closing action sequence, an eye-popping siege upon New York City that runs for nearly an hour and never loses its appeal, is extraordinary enough to excuse the script’s flaws (read: some hokey jokes and a slightly lagging first act). Simply for re-instilling that old, childlike feeling of cinematic grandiosity, previously experienced back in the Independence Day and Jurassic Park days, Whedon’s The Avengers deserves every bit of its staggering success.