5. 'The Avengers' (2012)

There have been two Spider-Mans and three Hulks in the past decade; widen the net to include next year's "Man of Steel," there have been two Supermans. This is not a genre that rewards actors. Or the workaday humbleness that's traditionally a hallmark of classic genre filmmaking. There is, however, a sheepish smile of recognition behind the scale of this thing (from director Joss Whedon and his all-star cast) that's warmer than anything in two-thirds of the films on this list. Also, every genre needs the stars of its genre to acknowledge their universe. This is the genre's "How the West Was Won."

( August 27, 2012 )

There have been two Spider-Mans and three Hulks in the past decade; widen the net to include next year's "Man of Steel," there have been two Supermans. This is not a genre that rewards actors. Or the workaday humbleness that's traditionally a hallmark of classic genre filmmaking. There is, however, a sheepish smile of recognition behind the scale of this thing (from director Joss Whedon and his all-star cast) that's warmer than anything in two-thirds of the films on this list. Also, every genre needs the stars of its genre to acknowledge their universe. This is the genre's "How the West Was Won."

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