3. The Avengers
I harp on about Joss Whedon’s one note depictions of these characters quite a bit, but The Avengers was undeniably a huge undertaking, and the result was one of the most engaging and joyful theater experiences in recent years. It was difficult not to feel like a kid again as we sat in our seats and watched the now iconic shot of the Avengers finally fully assembling. Introducing a new version of Bruce Banner in Mark Ruffalo, bringing these characters together and orchestrating an enormous alien invasion staged in downtown New York is daunting, and Whedon and co. pulled it off with skill and a lot of humor. The film never stopped feeling like the audience was experiencing an epic scale story. Maybe we can look back now and find something to nitpick (I’m guilty of it), but very few films have touched the sheer joy of seeing all of these beloved characters overcome their near hostile differences in order to save the world.