Director: Peter Travis
Distributor: Entertainment Film
The odds were well and truly stacked against poor old Dredd – a relatively low-budget adaptation of a comic-book character whose popularity peaked decades ago, a reboot of a much-maligned 1995 film, and to top it looked a bit like Indonesian cop movie The Raid, despite having been buried in post-production purgatory for so long that the first trailer had La Roux as its soundtrack. But Alex Garland and Peter Travis silenced them all with a raw and uncompromisingly violent take on the trigger-happy 2000 AD antihero, and its less than stellar takings belie – like Blade Runner before it – cult status. Who cares that we probably won’t see a second great Judge Dredd film? Until summer 2012 there hadn’t even been one of them.
2. Avengers Assemble
Director: Joss Whedon
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
Plenty has been written about Joss Whedon’s triumphant Avengers Assemble elsewhere on this site, but there’s no getting around just how titanic this joyous superhero team-up was and how much it has raised the stakes for the superhero movie sub-genre. We’re now living in the post-Avengers world, and every superhero movie to follow has a hell of a lot of work to do.
Director: Josh Trank
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
2012’s surprise hit that lit the career touch paper on director Josh Trank – now rebooting Fantastic Four – and screenwriter Max Landis – whose forthcoming projects include a Frankenstein reboot and TV show Vigilant – Chronicle was a found-footage superhero hit, depicting the outcome of inflicting powers on a bunch of hormonal shits with chilling realism.
4. The Cabin In The Woods
Director: Drew Goddard
Trapped in the cellar at the abandoned, haunted house known as MGM, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel collaborators Joss Whedon (writer) and Drew Goddard (director) finally released their whip-smart spin on Eighties horror, The Cabin In The Woods, which managed to slip in references to everything from Hellraiser to The Ring.
5. The Amazing Spider-Man
Director: Marc Webb
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Very much the underdog story in this year’s crop of superheroic mega-events, but that’s just how our friendly neighbourhood wallcrawler would like it. Despite early fanboy outrage over the corpse of Sam Raimi’s trilogy being not yet cold, Marc Webb’s moody outsider take won over not just the ticket-buying public, but the hardest of all groups to appease – you lot.